The Australian, 9 March, Daniel Hanna
We can’t all drink Dom or DRC every night of the week, but neither do we necessarily want to drink Chateau Cardboard. The trick is to find wines that offer a pleasurable drinking experience without breaking the bank. The following wines all have a quaffability about them. That is not the same as saying that they are simple wines; far from it: their little intricacies make them all rather more-ish. Enjoy a cheeky glass on your own or a bottle with friends without taxing either your brain or your wallet.
Yarrabank Cuvee Brut Sparkling 2011 ($38). The big retailers might be full of cheap champagne deals but it is good to see quality Australian sparkling wine holding its own for a few dollars less. This lovely wine from Yering Station, for example, is intense and rich on the nose, with a subtle mix of honey and lemon sherbet. The palate continues in the same vein but it is in no way a heavy sparkling wine. Far from it. There is zesty fruit, good acidity, and a fine bead too. There are yeasty, biscuity elements to it, but their delivery is also subtle and the overall balance in the wine ensures that no one component outshines another. Better enjoyed from a wine glass than a flute.
Fat Bastard Chardonnay 2014 ($16). The name is a dream for the sales and marketing people, and it is a good wine for gifting if you want to hand out an insult at the same time. Apparently winemaker Thierry Boudinaud exclaimed “My god, it’s a fat bastard!” upon tasting it, and so a brand was born. The wine itself is not as big as the name suggests: it certainly is full bodied but it is not huge. The ripe Californian fruit provides plenty of peach and melon flavours, and there are butterscotch and subtle spices in the background, but the finish is clean. Serving temperature is important: don’t over-chill it, but if you let it get to room temperature it can become blousy or, dare I say it, a bit flabby.
Saint-Andre de Figuiere Saint-Andre Rose 2015 ($25). Provence in the south of France is the spiritual home of rose and it is wines like this blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah and cabernet sauvignon from Saint-Andre de Figuiere that make them so incredibly popular around the world. If you are expecting juicy lolly water you will be disappointed: this wine is dry, crisp and fresh. The salmon pink tone hints at its delicacy and a light bouquet of summer berries and citrus fruits continues the theme. On the palate the beautiful fresh fruit is underpinned by a musky spiciness throughout while the refreshing acidity keeps you coming back for more. It is a perfect “lunch with friends” wine, or one for an early evening glass. Enjoy it on its own or with food.
Marchesi Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico 2014 ($35). Order a bottle of this wine when you arrive at your local Italian and the sommelier might just fall in love with you. It probably isn’t your looks that are firing their passions — it is the knowledge that you and your companions will all be happy with your choice. The Peppoli is one of those wines that satisfies oenophiles and detached quaffers alike: there is plenty of interest and authenticity in the sangiovese, while the small merlot component smooths off any rough, Tuscan edges to provide an easy drinking experience. Raspberries, dark cherries and violets combine with smooth tannins to deliver a vibrant wine that will go with anything from a vegetarian pasta dish to a steak, and lots in between.
The Financial Review, 10 March, Max Allen
Finding Riverland, the giant SA wine region you’ve never heard of
One warm London afternoon last autumn, a large group of avant-garde Australian winemakers took over a nightclub in Shoreditch, the capital’s current hipster hotspot, for a raucous tasting of their latest wines. The idea was to expose the UK trade and media to some of the buzzy small-batch Australian wines crackling through our own hipster hotspots back home. It worked a treat too: the response to the event was overwhelmingly positive.
One of the winemakers pouring at the event was 28-year-old Con-Greg Grigoriou, who sells wines under his brash, bold, Delinquente label… Full article
Grape Expectations 18 February Max Crus (Simon Hughes)
At some point in the week these reviews and article will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National) and Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National)
Heartland (Langhorne Creek) Shiraz 2014, $16. Heartland could easily be a new cult show on HBO or some pay tv station, ooh, hang on it is. Shame it’s about a girl and a horse. 8.7/10.
Heartland (Langhorne Creek) First Release Malbec 2015, $16. Come to think of it, Malbec would be a great name for a horse, and even better for a tv show. I’d watch it. 8.8/10.
Toppers Mountain Barrel Ferment Sauvignon Blanc, 2013, $30. Want your sav with a bit of punch, a bit of gravitas, a bit of panache? You could take it to a jelly wrestling tournament or just grab one of these. Cerebral sauv. 9/10.
Toppers Mountain (New England) Barrel Aged Gewurztraminer 2015, $35. This is about as gewürztraminer as it gets. Put on the lederhosen and kick up your heels, it’s delicious in that Teutonic kind of way. 9.2/10.
(Yalumba) La Maschera Rosé of Granaxia (Grenache) Barossa Valley, 2016, $22. La Maschera, the mask, would be just as good a name for a quiet Italian coffee grinder, despite the contradiction in terms…ie quiet and Italian. 8.8/10.
(Yalumba) Rogers and Rufus Rosé (Grenache of Barossa) 2016, $22. You probably wouldn’t use a legal firm called Rogers and Rufus, but you’d drink a coffee of that name, or a rosé. 8.7/10.