Champagne through pinot gris & beyond

A mixed bunch

I try to arrange tastings in groups, and when transferring the notes to publication also run a theme. But there are always wines that miss out or didn’t fit at the time, so now and then I offer a mixed bunch. Here’s one of them.

Hatt et Söner Brut Champagne 2012: A blanc de blanc wine, which translates to 100 per cent chardonnay. An intriguing nose that’s of the earth: grounded, slightly feral and completely beguiling. The feral character transfers to the palate, which is again earthy, supporting top notes of fruit – a combined apple/pear/apricot – that hit the sweet spots as they travel. 95 points and top-end price at about $100.

Hesketh ‘Rules of Engagement’ South Australian Pinot Gris 2016: Neutral on the nose and fairly calm across the palate, but has a hot finish and is rather disappointing. 86 points and there’s plenty of other wine at $14.

Hex & Heysen Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2016: OK but lacking, and hot on the finish. 89 points and very pricey at $27.

Hesketh ‘Wild at Heart’ South Australian Rosé 2016: A fresh nose at first, but then a hint of plastic or something artificial creeps in. It did not impress me. Nor did it work across the palate. No-go for me. Very disappointing, 83 points and not worth $14.

Redman Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot 2013: Such a nose as this can only lead to something good or even better. Such a nose settles the mind and prepares the body to receive a nectar of some description. A beautifully balanced wine that pleases all along its passage across the palate. Sweet and sour meld, part, then come together again. 97 points and very good value at $36.

Bethany Barossa Cabernet Merlot 2014: Good crimson colour, earthy nose, and black fruits with just a hint of feral on the journey. Interesting wine, 93 points and worth $26.

Wykari ‘Single Vineyard’ Clare Valley Shiraz 2014: Black as midnight in the glass, nose sensual, as is its journey across the palate: a slow lazy pace before it ramps up to a climax. It’s a beast, a lovely beast. 95 points and very good value at $28.

Auburn Hills Clare Valley Shiraz 2016: Almost barrel-sample smell: clean, young and fresh. The same could be said as it crosses the palate. All is balanced. Its youth has its own attraction, but might disappoint those that like the full, richer style of shiraz. 93 points and the top end of a suitable price range at $27.

Gartelmann ‘Diedrich’ Hunter-Clare Shiraz 2014: Beautiful perfumed nose. Trips across the palate in a delightful way. It’s light but there is plenty of depth and the flavour lingers long after it’s swallowed. Still young but has a great deal going for it. 94 points now and I think more to come. $45 is a lot but it’s worth it.

Gartelmann ‘Jonathan’ Mudgee Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: Damp earth and mint on the nose. Vibrant in the mouth, it zips around hitting the pleasure points as if it were in a pinball machine. It’s short on the finish and I think still needs to come together. Giving it the benefit of the doubt, 92 points now. If it melds it might get a couple more and be worth the $35.

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