As you can see the volume of posts has dropped off a bit lately as I’m still not feeling great. My ankle issues turned out to be an arthritis flare up, and the last few weeks haven’t been much fun. Hopefully I’m over the worst now (fingers crossed).
Meanwhile, this is a collection of wines that were almost great. Some are great value, some are fun drinks, some are massive disappointments.
Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2015
The second label for Mount Difficulty, this is a gentle off dry style that relies on palate weight to make the case. Generous and pleasant, though the tendency is slightly towards heaviness. More acidity would be welcome, but the textural width makes it an enjoyable enough drink. Drink it cold. Best drinking: 2017-2019. 16.8/20, 89/100. 14%, $29. Would I buy it? A glass.
Rock of Wisdom SuperFly Shiraz 2017
Cool packaging and fun wines, if a little simple for high points. This tastes like it’s still fermenting, with a flash of reduction. Plump lurid red plum fruit, the acid isn’t quite right through the finish but it’s a playful red with easy instant appeal. Best drinking: 2017-2020. 16.8/20, 89/100. 13.5%, $20. Would I buy it? No.
Tahbilk Riesling 2017
Nagambie isn’t the first place I’d think of for Riesling (though the old Mitchelton wines were always good), but this is a solid drink. A flash of peach on the nose, the juicy stonefruit palate is not really varietal, but plenty of juicy fruit if raspy acidity to finish. Nice fruit flavour, if a pretty simple wine, the acid a little intrusive. Best drinking: 2017-2022. 16.8/20, 89/100. 12.5%, $19.50. Would I buy it? A glass.
Ara Single Estate Pinot Noir 2014
Liquid raspberry, in a slightly acidic form. The fruit is just a little underpowered, but the open fruit is friendly, if a little bitter. Ambitious for the dollars, though the sweet and sour characters aren’t quite congruent. Drinkable. Best drinking: 2017-2020. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $19.99. Would I buy it? A glass.
Calabria Private Bin Nero d’Avola 2016
This is the pick of the Calabria Private Bin range. Well priced and varietal. Loaded with black jelly bean fruit. It’s all simple, slightly sweet fruit but also easily attractive. The fruit is only light to medium bodied, but acid and alcohol are not obtrusive. What you want in a budget Nero and not unbalanced at all. Best drinking: 2017-2020. 16.5/20, 88/100. 14.5%, $15. Would I buy it? Probably not, but I’d recommend.
Cockfighter’s Ghost Single Vineyard McLaren Vale Shiraz 2015
From the Chairmans Vineyard in McLaren Vale. Lots of luscious chocolate oak and ripe fruit, but the alcohol and oak tannins hits like a punch. A raw punch. It’s all too much, even though it has plenty of impact. Best drinking: 2018-2022. 16.5/20, 88/100. 14.9%, $25. Would I buy it? No.
Deviation Road Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2016
I like the Deviation Road bubbles, but the table wines haven’t moved me. Partial barrel ferment, this has some textural breadth, which is surprising given the low alcohol, though without the viscosity to carry it off. Ultimately its forward and a bit middling. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12.5%, $30. Would I buy it? No.
Kings of Kangaroo Ground Pedersen Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
A new name for me, though this Heathcote Cabernet is old school, with an utterly oak forward style, the coco-vanilla richness driving the lavishness, the alcohol and acid drying out the finish. Would be a more convincing wine with less. It’s annoying, as underneath the form isn’t bad – this just tastes fractionally overwrought. Will improve with bottle age though. Best drinking: 2019-2025. 16.5/20, 88/100+. 14%, $27. Would I buy it? No.
Rock of Wisdom SuperFly Grenache Mataro 2017
Lots of fun here but its just a little too simple to be more than a quaffer. A dash of undergrowth on the nose, plus pure fruit exuberance. Juicy flavours with the barest kiss of creamy oak through the middle. It’s fun, easy drinking, the intensity isn’t quite convincing but it’s a simple friendly drink. Best drinking: 2018-2021. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $20. Would I buy it? A glass.
Rock of Wisdom SuperFly Rosè 2017
Light and fresh Barossa pink, if marginally too acidic and sharp edged. Smashable though. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 16.5/20, 88/100. 13.5%, $20. Would I buy it? A glass.
Scotchmans Hill Jack & Jill Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Bellarine Peninsula Sauvignon Blanc that is made for restaurants. Grassy and limey with a dash of asparagus, I don’t get why this was held back. Varietal though, if sweet and sour fruit. Phones it in. Best drinking: 2017. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12.5%, $30. Would I buy it? No.
Tim Adams Pinot Gris 2017
Slightly off dry. Just the barest hint of blush in the colour. You don’t notice the sweetness save for a dash of sherbet on the finish. That said, it’s a one dimensional wine with just a little peach juice on the subtle palate, then some phenolic push through the finish. Simple drink, if clean and long. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12.5%, $22. Would I buy it? A glass.
Chapel Hill Sangiovese Rosè 2017
Rather lurid pink, this is an old fashioned Aussie rosé. Slightly off dry with pink raspberry fruit and has some phenolics. Juicy, but I find the sweetness and the acidity don’t match up. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 16/20, 87/100. 12.5%, $18. Would I buy it? No.
Heggies Vineyard >500m Chardonnay 2016
Such an odd wine. Very light, with minimal oak and a palate profile that is simply citrussy. Clean, but unremarkable and curiously lacking much substance. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 16/20, 87/100. 13%, $22. Would I buy it? No.
Scotchmans Hill Jack & Jill Chardonnay 2015
Bellarine Penninsula. Nutty and a bit brassy with caramel oak and surprisingly warm acidity. Ripe, forward, full flavoured but clumsy richer styled Chardonnay. Good intensity but lumpy palate flow and an unbalanced drink. Drink up. Best drinking: 2017. 16/20, 87/100. 13.5%, $30. Would I buy it? No.
Cockfighters Ghost Single Vineyard Sangiovese 2016
Also from the Chairman’s Vineyard at Blewitt Springs. Bright ruby with a bit of purple. It’s very ripe, with smoky, cherry fruit, the heavily alcoholic palate is all soft cherry fruit, with no tannins but plenty of alcohol. Hard going. Best drinking: 2017-2020. 15.8/20, 85/100. 14.9%, $25. Would I buy it? No.
Harewood Estate Flux III Chardonnay 2016
The Harewood wines are typically excellent, but these flux styles just completely miss the mark. Light and peachy style with minimal oak, it’s short, a fraction tart and a bit tinny. Odd. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 15.5/20, 84/100. 12.5%, $27. Would I buy it? No.
Oxford Landing Merlot 2017
Bright purple juice with light edges. Juicy, slightly sweet and pleasant. It’s an easy, approachable, sweeter style that is inoffensive. Good for the dollars, clean and well made, if not anything more. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 15.5/20, 84/100. 13.5%, $8.99. Would I buy it? No.
Calabria Private Bin Aglianico 2015
Ripe, toffeed red cherry fruit with a tarry depth. Palate is chewy and packs in some fruit intensity, even though this has a lean and astringent back end that smashes up against the alcohol and biting acidity. Honest $15 red, but the balance isn’t right. Best drinking: 2017-2018. 15/20, 82/100. 14%, $15. Would I buy it? No.
Mitchell Mataro Grenache 2012
All Clare Valley. Note the Mataro, not Mourvedre. Coffee oak nose with rice bran. Palate is rough, sweet and sour plus overly alcoholic, the fruit cooked and the finish warm and drying with raw tannins, hot alcohol and then a real bitterness. It’s a rough car wreck. 14.5/20, 80/100. 14.8%, $22. Would I buy it? No.