For anyone like me who likes sunshine and warmth, late April in Sydney is a bit sad.
That’s because now is when you start realising that summer beach action is now a long way away. Sure, we might get a warm day here and there, but unless you bugger off to Queensland (which we’re doing in a few weeks) the ‘who-is-up-for-a-swim’ warmth is out.
At least there is football and cycling to watch. Oh and rich red wine to drink – which is where this handy compilation of 10 wintery rich reds I liked this month comes in.
From next-level lavishness to pure, silken drinkability, this little collection is warming joy to help sustain you through any chilly evening.
Tapanappa Whalebone Vineyard Blend 2020
A rarity, I guess. There is just this single release from Tapanappa’s Whalebone Vineyard in 2020 as there was just 8 tonnes of grapes harvested due to crap flowering. Who’d want to be a grapegrower, eh? It’s a whole vineyard blend too, featuring 52% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and Cab Franc. What a big and lush beast it is too with the most seductive, chocolate-and-rose-water, sexy time oak/fruit nose you can think of. The palate then kicks on with concentrated fig and dark berry compote, milk chocolate and more before powder coated tannins to finish. Very much a modern right bank style with oaky biceps a flexin’. Is it too much? It flirts with excess, and needs cellar time. But it’s not hot or hard, just very rich and bold. Impressive. Best drinking: I’d go later. Late this decade. Then for another decade, easy. 18.5/20, 94/100. 14.5%, $90. Tapanappa website. Would I buy it? A bottle for the cellar.
Howard Park Arbor Novae Grenache Shiraz 2020
A new range for the Howard Park wine club, released for Earth Day on Friday and produced in partnership with the charity Carbon Positive with $1.50 from every bottle going towards the charity’s tree planting. This marries old vine Swan Valley Grenache, to Frankland River Shiraz. Works a treat too – bright ruby coloured, the ripe Grenache energy jumps out at you with this raspberry pastille thing. It’s a little confected, but authentic and ripe and cosseting, and you can taste the old vine concentration. The back palate gets darker, the Shiraz a passing plum plumpness, then fine tannins. I like this so much. It feels so real, if just a little warm. Kudos. Best drinking: good now and for a decade. 18/20, 93/100. 14.5%, $30. Howard Park website. Would I buy it? Yes.
Chapel Hill The MV Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Gee this is a dense and compact McLaren Vale red with a thick wall of mint and sawdust and dark berry and a cooked berry compote palate. It’s a wall of a wine. Inelegant. A thunderous clap of dark flavour and oak though. Bitter and warmish finish. A time and place wine – I can admire the blackness, though not sure I could drink more than a glass. Best drinking over the next fifteen years. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $33. Chapel Hill website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Paisley Wines Denim Mataro 2019
Flavour packed Barossa Mataro. Decadent and has the limitless Mataro blackness sown up so well. It’s just a bit coffeed and warm, but that also adds even more lusciousness. It’s plenty savoury, in that black olive fudge Mataro way too. Slightly breathy finish. More than handy. Best drinking: now to a decade as a start. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.7%, $30. Paisley Wines website. Would I buy it? I’d share a bottle.
Terre à Terre Crayères Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2019
The classic Aussie blend. Includes 2% Cab Franc. 8 months in 39% new oak. 11 months in large old oak. Great colour. Lots of red fruits, dark fruits, oak plays a part but doesn’t dominate. The way the oak and the faintly meaty red fruit weave into each other, and the tannins rise up late – the class is obvious. The only challenge remains the breathy alcohol. I find this has a spirit edge, like high alcohol grain spirit and it just deadens the palate enough to rob it of ultimate glory. Lots of gold medal quality in the fruit and structure though. Best drinking: you can open it now, but a few years might help. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $50. Terre à Terre website. Would I buy it? A glass or two.
Tokar Estate Shiraz 2019
Now this is especially chunky for Tokar Estate. Yarra Shiraz via Heathcote. Lovely glossy berry light red ruby colours, the flavours all red berry liqueur, concentrated and quite dense for Yarra reds. Has a glossy feel to it that is quite svelte. Rhubarb pie with cloves. Great presence and flavour, even if I want it to be a little less ripe. Best drinking: nowish, no hurry. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14%, $30. Tokar Estate website. Would I buy it? Share a bottle?
Chapel Hill The MV Shiraz 2020
Another biggun’. Deep, purple red colours. Squeaky purple texta nose. A little tar and play doh. Slick oak and drying edged purple fruit tending a bit hot and dry acid and warm alcohol to finish. Plenty of slick flavour, even if feels like it’s heading towards overripeness. Best drinking: over a decade, for a start. 17.5/20, 91/100. 14.5%, $33. Chapel Hill website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Longview Devils Elbow Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Pencils shavings and cedar announces the varietal nose. I am Cabernet! It’s a bit of a raw wine underneath, both ripe and unyielding and dusty and alcoholic and yet with pointy acid too. It doesn’t flow easily, but it does have power, and it does taste like cool clime Cabernet. But a wobbly baby giraffe of a wine too. Best drinking: worth a 3-4 year sleep. Then drink for a decade. 17/20, 90/100+. 14%, $30. Longview website. Would I buy it? A glass
Paisley Silk Shiraz 2019
I like the old school decadence in these Paisley wines, even if this goes a bit too large. Heavy dose of vanilla bean ice cream oak on the nose. The palate is ultra vanillin too – plush and generous with textural width and the polish of new wood. But the oak tannins too. Less would be more, even if that texture is sexy. Best drinking: it will live for a decade for a start. 17/20, 90/100. 14.7%, $30. Paisley Wines website. Would I buy it? A glass.
Vigna Cantina Sangiovese 2020
No shortage of authenticity here from Dom Torzi. It’s more Barossa than Sangiovese. Caramel chews, plum juice, the palate ripe and more sweet fruit than savoury, though there is some forest berries and rusticity to the tannins. Pretty affable rich fruit, oak in the background. Not fancy, but good slurping wine that is reasonably balanced. Best drinking: good now. 17/20, 90/100. 14%, $28. Torzi Matthews website. Would I buy it? A few glasses.
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