Reviews, articles from home & around the planet

South China Post Magazine, 20 March: Nellie Ming Lee

In Australia, the grape is widely known as shiraz. The country has been producing shiraz wines since at least the 1830s. Early documents refer to it as scyras, but that seems to have evolved into shiraz.

Australian shiraz has found its home in the Barossa Valley, northeast of Adelaide, and McLaren Vale, south of Adelaide. The oldest shiraz vines in the world were planted in 1847 by Johann Frederick Fiedler on Lot 1 at Hundred of Moorooroo, in the township of Tanunda, and are still producing grapes, for Turkey Flat Vineyards. Shiraz wines from this area are intense – in their youth they give explosions of ripe fruit and spice on the palate, and become more mellow with age. A popular style is the GSM, a blend of grenache, shiraz and mourvedre (also called “mataro”).

McLaren Vale shirazes are softer on the palate, with exuberant berry fruit, raspberry, chocolate and licorice notes. The grapes here are naturally smaller, which gives the wine more tannins. Shiraz is usually made on its own but some winemakers add a touch of viognier, to add complexity to the fruits in the final wine. A terrific example of a McLaren Vale shiraz is by Geoff Merrill – an old-school winemaker who still insists on using corks and who ages his wines himself before release.

Syrah should not be confused with petite sirah, which is a different grape entirely. Petit sirah is another name for durif, a cross between syrah and peloursin that was created in the 1880s. Full article


Grape Expectations, 19 March: Writer: Max Crus (Simon Hughes)

At some point in the week These reviews and article  will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), The Northern Star (Lismore), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National), Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National) and The Daily Advertiser, (Wagga Wagga)

Yalumba The Y Series riesling 2015, $13. The actual RRP of this is $12.99, which is $13 unless you buy by credit card, and still great value. But who cares? Maybe if you’re buying 20,000 cases. Would you get a discount? 8.6/10.

Yalumba The Y Series Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $13. As above and while not quite as good value, is still worth the extra cent if you pay cash. 8.4/10.

Bay of Fires Pinot Noir 2014, $43. At the rich end of Tassie pinot, this would be a suitable drop for sharing on a balcony overlooking the posh houses on the Derwent. 9/10.

Bay of Fires Chardonnay 2014, $42. I wonder why the Chardonnay is a dollar cheaper than the pinot, does it spend less time in the barrel? It’s none the worse for it if so. Delightful. 9/10.

Vasse Felix Margaret River, 2014, $45. Vasse always makes me think of Felix the Cat which is no bad thing and a quiet reminiscence is as good an accompaniment as any for a quiet chardonnay. 9.1/10.

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Margaret River (cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, malbec) 2012, $90. Try this beside a shiraz and you really see the stark difference between the two breeds, like a Merino next to a Suffolk, either of which would work. 9/10.


Democrat & Chronical, (Rochester USA) 18 March, John Fanning

Lessons from one of the biggest wine collapses in modern history.

By the time you read this, I will have just returned from Down Under—a 10-day trip exploring the wineries of Australia. So of course I’ve been thinking a lot about Australian wine lately, but also about trends, and the larger question of why people drink the wine they do.

It’s a question that relates directly to the remarkable rise and fall of the Australian wine industry between 2000 and 2010—perhaps the most dramatic in the modern history of wine.

At the start of the century, Australia was but a blip on the international wine radar; if good wines were being made there, they were predominantly being consumed within the country. Then, really quickly, the export market got hot, then exponentially hotter, until folks the world over were clamoring for Aussie wine.

Australian wine boomed about 10 years ago and then…. (Full article)


The Australian, 19 March: Max Allen

Rose on the rise: the pink wine makes a comeback

It was just after Christmas when I realised the rose revival had well and truly arrived. Strolling through my local wine barn, I turned into the pink wine aisle and was met by a scene of pillage and plunder. The normally neatly stacked shelves were half empty; cardboard wine boxes had been broken into, their contents raided. It was if a mob of thirsty shoppers in a rose rage had descended on the store, buying bottles faster than staff could restock. (Full article)


The Australian, 15 March: Max Allen

How to be a wine expert

Here’s a great trick I learned early on in my wine career: just close your eyes.

The next time you stick your nose into a wine glass, or take a sip of something you’ve never tasted before, let those eyelids fall and concentrate on your other senses: think about the aroma molecules jostling for attention in your nostrils; pay attention to the flavour molecules tumbling around on your tongue.

I’m not the only one who swears by this little tip. For this story, I picked the brains of leading wine scientists, winemakers, sommeliers, wine show judges, merchants and the odd Master of Wine to see what wine tasting wisdom I could glean. And almost all of them advised the eye-closing technique — among plenty of other tips. (Full article)


Time Out, Hong Kong, 10 March: Eddie McDougall

Australia is a massive country – some wine regions in the Land Down Under are larger than entire winemaking countries elsewhere in the world. Due to its sheer size, it’s no wonder the country has become a key player in the wine world, the sixth largest by volume of production. What really puts Australia on the map though, is its commitment to innovation and quality. From its humble origins as a wine supplying penal colony, Australia has developed and established new styles and impacted wine industries across the entire planet.

Main red grapes: Shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir
Main white grapes: Chardonnay, riesling, sauvignon blanc, sémillon


Deep Woods Estate, reserve cabernet sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia. Medium acidity levels with notes of blackcurrant, spices and cedarwood.

Yarra Yering chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria. Notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of spices on the nose with a biscuity, doughy finish.

(Full article)


Daily Chronicle (Illinois USA), 19 March, James Nokes

Australian wines making a comeback

Australian wines, once left for dead after years of mass-produced, high-alcohol fruit bombs, have made a comeback. Led by a group of brash winemakers willing to buck the trend, the wine region, once recognized for cheap, wedding wines with small animals on their labels, has undergone a surge in quality.

Discovered at a small tasting, the Killibinbin Seduction Cabernet Sauvignon Langhorne Creek 2013 ($15.99) has a ripe elegance about it with currant and mint notes. It’s a fresh, snappy representation of Cabernet with some clove and cinnamon notes in the background.

Produced by Brothers in Arms, a family-run estate an hour drive from Adelaide on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, the Killibinbin line has eye-catching labels as well. The labels could double as posters from a black-and-white era of suspense films. There are beautiful women screaming in terror, damsels in distress and provocateurs teasing the consumer. (Full article)


Ciao, (Sydney inner west lifestyle paper), Winsor Dobbin

Reviews for

  • Stella Bella 2013 Sangiovese Cabernet,
  • Reilly’s Barking Mad 2015 Watervale Riesling,
  • Hither & Yon 2015 Grenache Mataro.

Wines reviewed on Winsor’s blogs are:

Irvine 2014 Springvale Merlot:

Paulett 2015 Polish Hill River Riesling:

Frogmore Creek 2014 Fume Blanc: 

Glaetzer-Dixon 2015 Avance Pinot Noir: 

Loira Vines 2015 Shiraz: 

Bream Creek 2012 Pinot Noir:


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