As mentioned in the editorial, here is a selection of wines that I think deserve greater global recognition. Many, in Australian terms, are considered expensive. The reality is they are not expensive compared with their European or Californian equivalents.
Equivalent in quality but not always in price. Several bordeaux and many burgundy are grossly expensive, as are a lot of Napa Valley cabernets. They’re expensive to me and billions of others, as we simply don’t have the income to buy them.
The fact that billions can’t afford them reinforces the status that wealth gives people. It’s status that is lacking for many Australian wines, with the genre having been reduced by the multitude of brands that cater for the bourgeois.
Not that we should be snobbish about the wines, but they bridle the more vinously interesting wines.
The wines reviewed here are not my full selection of global greats, just those tasted recently and not yet published.
Lowe ‘Nullo Mountain’ Mudgee Riesling 2013: This has a strong riesling nose that some (me included) refer to as kerosene. Many winemakers find this insulting to the wine, but no insult is intended. It’s a nose of noble bearing. At three years of age this shows hints of a great wine in the making. The acid is still high and I would not suggest buying this wine for a 2016-17 dinner party, but for the decade after. Kept right it will go a decade, I think even more. A very mean 93 points now but I am sure there are another four points to come as it matures. $50 may seem expensive but in global terms for this quality it’s great value.
Delamere Tasmania Chardonnay 2014: Lifting glass to mouth, the aroma reaches the nose way before glass touches lips. I was immediately captivated. On the palate it came alive, sending wave after wave of complex flavours and pure chardonnay pleasure. It pleases as only the very best wine can. 96 points and cheap at $45 if one considers the prices that white burgundy can fetch.
Paradigm Hill ‘L’ami sage’ Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir 2014: Raspberry on the nose over a background of forest floor. A gentle journey that builds towards the end, and good return perfume. 95 points and worth $69 for those into good pinot.
Delamere Tasmania Pinot Noir 2014: A beautiful expression of quality pinot noir. The nose has the slightly feral attraction I love. On the palate it’s red fruits, with the tannin/acid balance well tuned and the perfume at the back of the palate outstanding. 95 points and well worth $45.
Domaine Chandon ‘Barrel Selection’ Yarra Valley Shiraz 2015: This wine started to impress as the glass was lifted to the nose. The fragrant beauty was a delight. In the mouth it was such an elegant stroll across the palate, pure pleasure all the way. 95 points and $46 is cheap for this world-class wine.
Howard Park ‘Scotsdale’ Great Southern Shiraz 2014: The nose is gorgeous: black fruits and damp, rich earth. Across the palate it’s savoury, gripping and very sexy. It does things to the palate that really are very adult. 96 points and worth $46.
Howard Park ‘Leston’ Margaret River Shiraz 2014: This is a wine that makes one think. The initial taste is so dynamic that the thought process freezes, then restarts again on a deeper, more intense level. A long, drawn-out, beautiful expression of wonderfully crafted shiraz. 95 points, with I think another two to come, and $46 is value.
Paradigm Hill ‘Col’s Block’ Mornington Peninsula Shiraz 2013: This has the nose, almost the character, that one looks for in pinot noir: rich, dark, damp earth. It’s a wine of the earth, a finely tuned wine that stretches across the palate in a oh-so-lazy way. The power is immense without being big and ripe. 95 points and worth the $44 asked.
Majella ‘The Malleea’ Coonawarra 2012: If all the Majella wines are great, where does one put the Malleea (cabernet shiraz) in the hierarchy? It’s the best of the best grapes from the oldest vines and cosseted throughout the making. One puts it where it belongs, among the elite of the Coonawarra region red wines. The Coonawarra wines from 2012 are, across the board, of a high standard, and this Malleea doesn’t let Majella and the region down. It’s seductive and just a little wicked, every sip a delight to the senses. 95 points maybe more to come. $80-$90 is very fair for this quality of wine.
Flowstone Margaret River Shiraz Grenache 2015: The accompanying notes say: “This early drinking red wine has had its high and low periods”. I’m not doubting winemaker Stuart Pym’s assessment of his own wine but I think he is being a tad self-effacing. Taking all the Flowstone wines together, low is a damn sight higher than some others’ high, and many others’ middle-range wines. Also according to the notes, the make-up is 50 per cent shiraz, 48 per cent grenache and a “whiff of mourvedre”. It’s a very elegant wine, full of flavours that twist around each other in a flight of harmony. 94 points and great value at $25.
Haselgrove ‘Switch’ McLaren Vale GSM 2014: A grenache-shiraz-mourvedre blend, a braided wine, with varieties and flavours twisting and entwining around the palate. With depth and texture this is one finely crafted wine. 96 points and value at $40.
Mitolo ‘7th Son’ McLaren Vale 2014: A blend of grenache, shiraz and sagrantino. It works. Boy, does it work. That may not be a great description, but you can work it out for yourself. Dark and deep on the nose, the wine sits brooding at the front of the palate before majestically unfurling as it journeys. Flavours are immense, even intense, at points. Just hold it in the mouth and the experience will reward the buying of the wine. $35 and well worth it. 96 points.
John Duval ‘Plexus’ Barossa Valley Shiraz-Grenache-Mourvedre 2014: A wonderful, twisting, turning, tumbling array of flavours, giving pleasure from first sip to swallow. Can’t ask for more, really. 93 points and I think more to come. Pricey, but for those who have the money, $40 is well worth it.
De Bortoli ‘Noble One’ Riverina Botrytis Semillon 2013: Great intensity from the nose to the journey across the palate and the finish. The real beauty is the aftertaste and return journey. A multitude of flavours twist and turn, leaving impressions, than fading away, to be replaced by others, then repeated over and again. This has a long life ahead of it and will keep on giving. 96 points and worth the $30-$35 asked (half-bottle).