All’s white on the night
An assorted white wines round-up. There are three riesling wines, all showing some age, and with age comes great inner beauty. One of this riesling trio would be my pick as white wine of the year, should I give such an award.
Gris and grigio: the said difference is that gris is more Alsace in style, while grigio leads towards an Italian style. I don’t think this applies any more. Producers use whatever they fancy. That aside, some quality wines are coming to the fore, but dullards still turn up.
Semillon is still a star and there are two here, both good, but one more forward then the other. I still haven’t found a place in my heart for sauvignon, but I accept this is my issue and apologise to all ardent fans.
The wines in the “Interesting others” section are just that, and I enjoyed tasting and drinking them, all as the points reflect.
Chardonnay is still a great love of mine. It does everything sauvignon blanc doesn’t. It has many flavours and textures, and caresses the palate rather than brutalising it. Some cracking wines are reviewed.
Allegiance Wines ‘Alumni’ Clare Valley Riesling 2012: How wonderful to get a riesling with four almost five years of age, the nose has a character that in the UK is referred to as kerosene but I’ve discovered it’s not considered complementary in Australia, anyhow its gorgeous and draws the taster into the wine across the palate it caresses so many pleasure points by the time comes to swallow I was purring, damned if I was going to spit this out, 96 points and well worth $30
Pewsey Vale ‘The Contours’ Eden Valley Riesling 2011: I am full of admiration for those writers that give their top 20, 50,100 wines of the year. I find it so very hard to do as nowadays the average quality of Australian wine is extremely high, but I rate this one if not the very best white wine that came my way in 2016, 98 points and incredible value at $36
Patina ‘Scandalous’ Orange Region Riesling 2014: If this is scandalous then it’s saucy and flirtatious scandalous. The only offence this wine would give is to a dull witted puritanical hypocrite, a sweet edge to the wine adds the saucy pleasure very long length it just keeps on giving long after swallowed, 95 points incredible value at $25
Gris & Grigio
See Saw Orange Region Pinot Gris 2016: Beautiful array of fruits swelling around the mouth the flavours, all at the front of the palate, finish is short but its enjoyable enough 92 points and OK value at $25
Zonte’s Footstep ‘Doctoressa di Lago’ Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio 2016: PG can be so very dull, I always approach a PG tasting with low expectation therefore it’s a joy when one comes my way that has some body neatly balanced with acid and flavoursome points along the journey 92 points and value at $20
Handpicked ‘Versions’ South Australia Pinot Gris 2016: I couldn’t find a reference to this wine on the website but it may be there at the time of publication. The site is worth a visit as it’s an interesting concept. As to the wine it’s a run of the mill PG offering little but not causing offence 89 points its price $15 and there is a lot of wine at $15
La Bise Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2016: This is good, better than good it is excellent. Delightful perfumed nose of faint rosewater also a faint tinge of copper in the colour. It coats the mouth with pleasure, the balance outstanding, 96 points and great value at $22
Fox Gordon ‘Charlotte’s Web’ Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio 2016: A faint copper hue to the wine which in my mind is a good omen, rich flavours on the palate but not overblown, easy journey that pleases at every stage, 94 points and great value at $23
Robert Channon Granite Belt Pinot Gris 2016: Mostly crisp but with a slim vain of richness running through it, well-made and versatile it did well on tasting was enjoyed as a glass of wine and went well with a light supper 93 points and value at $20
Gartelmann ‘Benjamin’ Hunter Valley Semillon 2016: I note the website says drink now or cellar to 2021 or for maximum aging 2026. On tasting (pre reading the website) I was thinking great potential put it away for three to five years, that is I disagree with the drink now statement, to buy and put away $25 is cheap, 90 points now but several more to come
Huntington Estate ‘Special Reserve’ Mudgee Semillon 2015: Already well on in its development for a semillon that is, a gorgeous full rich wine that was a delight to taste and drink, 94 and well worth $28
Sauvignon blanc, plus
Nautilus Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2015: The link is to Dan Murphy’s who I think still have some of the 2015 in stock, others may have moved on the 2016, but I haven’t received that. Age has taken some of the harsh NZSB edge off, but it’s still the full on style that deflates the cheeks and pleases millions, extremely well made, 94 points and for those into the style worth $17
Sandalford ‘Estate Reserve’ Margaret River Sauvignon-Semillon 2016: Tasted in late December, it’s on the turn, the transformation from pimply awkward youth, to articulate well-mannered youngster with more development ahead, 91 now but maybe up to 94 mid 2017 and value at $25
d’Arenberg ‘The Hermit Crab’ McLaren Vale Viognier-Marsanne 2015: Green/gold colour the nose is hay and meadow wild flowers, it’s quite a shock on first sip the power thrusting flavours on to the palate in a full on charge, its only on the second taste it settles some. It demands attention and repays the thought put in to drinking. Works wonderfully at the table, almost any food will find it a suitable partner, 93 points and fantastic value at $15
d’Arenberg ‘The Money Spider’ McLaren Vale Roussanne 2015: Strange to say but for me it had an elderflower nose and initial taste, acid is still high but not out of control, it’s a cracking wine and well worth trying if you want to move out of the mainstream, 94 points and value at $20
Geoff Hardy ‘Hand Crafted’ Adelaide Hills Grüner Veltliner 2016: Towards the end of the Australian summer or mid-year this will be one cracking wine, at the moment its youth is holding it back but all the right parts are there and moving together, so a mean 91 now and more to come $25 is good value
Fox Gordon ‘Princess’ Adelaide Hills Fiano 2016: Tasted in December 2015, it was a whisker off its peak, not that it will fall away for a couple of years but on tasting the acid was out of line with the light white fruits but it will all fall in line very soon, 94 points and good value at $23
Sandalford ‘Estate Range’ Margaret River Verdelho 2016: Fragrant nose, zip and zing across the palate full flavours just emerging I think it will be showing better in 2017 but the undercarriage is there, 91 now more to come and worth $25
Mitolo McLaren Vale Vermentino 2016: As more wines made from vermentino become available it’s harder find to find a common theme, and that makes the wines even more interesting when on the bench. What I have found is a faint mixed herb character but can’t define it further, I have come to love the way the flavours of vermentino dance and entice as the tumble around the mouth, 94 points and worth $22
Robert Channon Granite Belt Verdelho 2016: Mr Channon, king of verdelho? I think so. Somehow Channon draws more out of the grape then most, it has a solid base but flavours tumble and skip across the base in a pleasing and enjoyable way 94 points and worth $28
Flowstone ‘Moonmilk’ Margaret River 2016: A fascinating mix of Savagnin, 78 per cent Gewurztraminer 13 per cent and Sauvignon Blanc 9 per cent. The quality of Australian wine is on average very high but now and again one comes my way that is exceptional a wine that on first sniff declares its high class character, this has an incredible mix of smell, flavour and texture and easy 95 points and outstanding value at $20
Delamere Tasmania Chardonnay 2015: The nose draws the taster in, it is what great chardonnay is all about, rich but with restraint one can sniff for ages and keep getting hints of this or that and something else. It’s pure joy and that is before it’s tasted. In the mouth it has a way to go but another couple of years will sort that out, its an easy 94 now but at least two/three more to come and for those into serious chardonnay the price is a bargain $50
Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ California 2014: The family made their mark with chardonnay and at the time it was exceptional (70/80s). Sadly I didn’t think this has evolved as well as the consumers palate has. Corse in style, plump but not attractive plump, 90 points and way overpriced at $25
Better Half Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2016: I have to admit to a tasting note that says recognise the nose but can’t pin it, later when reading the tasting note on the website I see its described as elderflower, that was it. I don’t usually add to my tasting note but on this occasion confess I did regarding the nose. Round in texture but with enough points of flavour to shape the roundness into attractive layers of interest. 94 points top end price at $35
Marchand & Burch ‘Villages’ Great Southern Chardonnay 2016: On first sniff and taste its easy to pass on this wine, but linger a while longer and the gentle fragrance grows and as it reaches half way across the palate the peach/cashew like flavours start to emerge, 92 now but I think another two to come, for those lovers of fine chardonnay $37 is a fair price.
Marchand & Burch Porongurup & Mount Barker Chardonnay 2016: Oh heaven, the nose is pure delight the palate an enticing seductress that takes the taster into her arms and does wonderful things, all adult so it’s up to you to fill in the blank part, naughty is indeed nice, 94 points with a couple more to come it’s pricy at $73 but globally cheap