Wednesday, September 29, 2010


- Barossa Valley, SA
- $24-$33
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

One of the Barossa's highest profile producers, Torbreck, is an internationally recognised name well known for rather expensive, ultra-ripe, generously oaked reds packaged with distinctive white labels and visible corks. A unique wine within Torbreck's range is the Cuvée Juveniles; a relatively affordable, unoaked red with a coloured label and a screwcap closure.

I'm beginning to really appreciate unwooded Barossa GSMs for their ability to be cracked and enjoyed immediately, and Torbreck's 2009 Cuvée Juveniles instantly fits the bill, with a lightly spiced fragrance of liqueur cherries, blueberries, dates, cinnamon and spirit that strikes an aromatic lift and warmth from first pour. Its palate touches the edge of ideal ripeness without showing any baked fruit, allowing a pleasing burst of smooth, deep, dark, rich and pure GSM flavour to progress in a somewhat coarse fashion, with lingering, bountiful warm fruit notes interspersed by a faint spiciness and ever-so gentle, fairy floss-like tannins. A kind acidity helps hold the wine together without domineering, yet it's a generous dose of warm, Barossa sun-drenched, sweet/dark fruit flavours that defines not just the finish, but also this wine as a whole. So if a generously ripened Barossa red isn't your thing, then caveat emptor.

O Probably exactly what you'd expect from an unoaked Torbreck GSM. It's rich, heavily fruited, lightly spiced and dark, without a shred of interfering oak to cloak its substantial fruit. However, there are better, more affordable unwooded GSMs out there, but like its rivals, the Torbreck makes for perfect BBQ fodder. Drink to 2013.
89 points

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $28
- Screwcap
- 12.0%alc

Grüner veltliner is an Austrian variety presently taking the fine wine drinking world by storm. Some of grüner veltliner's classic attributes are; an ability to produce a diverse range of styles, from lean to bold; as well as its distinctive peppery tones. Hahndorf Hill's Marc Dobson and Larry Jacobs have acted quickly on this emerging trend, by being among first in Australia to release this increasingly popular style.

The first thing you'll notice about HHW's inaugural Gru is its clarity of colour, which foretells an equally clean fragrance of white pears and apple juice with an uplifting whiff of white flower. Fittingly, its medium-bodied palate is all about purity, mineral drive and refreshingly soft acidity; as these key components highlight, lengthen and refresh its gris-like crunchy apple and nashi pear flavours to generate a relatively uncomplicated white that's balanced to perfection. The most pleasing factor here is the consummate ease at which it flows down the palate, so don't expect to stop at just one glass (or bottle even!).

ü Hahndorf Hill's first grüner is a spotlessly clean effort made beautifully from young vine material. It's a real crowd pleaser; a summertime light lunch special. Drink to 2012.
90 points

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $35
- Screwcap
- 14.0%alc

It wasn't that long ago I made mention of my desire to see Hahndorf Hill take either component of their blaufränkisch/trollinger rose and turn it into a single varietal red; so now, I'm quite literally drinking my own words! Hahndorf Hill's 2008, Australia's only blaufränkisch, was made from vines approaching 20 years of age, with the wine having spent 11 months in French oak.

In its native Austria blaufränkisch is said to produce a lively, cherryish wine and this descriptor holds true for the Hahndorf Hill. There's a certain sweetness and warmth to its lifted cherry fragrance, almost reminiscent of Kirsch, but that fruit sweetness is wisely underpinned by suggestions of damp, earthy soils and a well defined spice/herbal/floral edge. Its vibrant palate sits happily in the medium weight range yet is a touch lean on opening, however, it develops beautifully with air, revealing a truly expressive length of fruit (considerate oak handling and appropriate vine age?) that takes on a variety of guises. Initially its flavour is all bright cherries, raspberries and blueberries in an almost fruit bomb-like fashion, but that gives way to prouder nuances of licorice, which morphs into enduring notes of menthol and herb held together by a fine tapestry of sour acids and light tannin.

ü+ All up this is a very convincing first effort from a difficult season. Kudos must go to its vibrancy, length, drinkability and unique nature. I'm already loving Hahndorf Hill's new direction with the variety. Drink to 2013.
91 points

Sunday, September 19, 2010


- Heathcote, VIC
- $40-$50
- Cork (Diam)
- 13.5%alc

Nebbiolo can be a difficult wine to make, which generally puts it out of reach of your day to day drinker, but for my money it's the new variety most likely to consistently produce world-beating Australian wines. What I love most about Australian nebbiolo, is how it presents a striking contrast to the pre-conceived notion of rich, heavy, ultra-ripe, porty Aussie reds, whilst performing at a standard comparable to our country's modern day benchmarks.

Rising up with fragrant tones of rose petal, orange rind and exotic spice, Vinea Marson's 2006 is initially airy in its feminine lift but underneath that first layer of aroma lies something darker and more masculine; as deeper notes of dark cherry, tar and licorice invite the nose repeatedly towards a deep, multi-faceted bouquet of undoubted complexity and grace. Light-medium bodied, lean and brittle, its palate anxiously buzzes into the mouth with an electrifying acidity, but when you look beyond that brisk structure you'll discover a satisfying depth of savoury red fruit flavours that actually form something soft and supple. To finish, the sour-edged acidity regroups and hangs around till the end, dragging with it some ultra-fine tannins and a complex unison of orange rind and tar notes that make the aftertaste particularly appealing and flavoursome, if a bit tense.

ü There's tons of character, complexity and structure here, but it hasn't brought itself together just yet. Either give it a good decant, some good home cooking or a stint in the cellar. Drink 2014-2018.
93 points

Saturday, September 18, 2010


- Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, SA
- $20-$32
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

In this modern age of regional identity the Taylors bi-regional Jaraman range provides an intriguing point of difference. The range now includes such combinations as an Adelaide Hills/Yarra Valley pinot noir and a Margaret River/Adelaide Hills sauvignon blanc, but tonight I'm looking at the more traditional Clare Valley/McLaren Vale shiraz; a wine regularly discounted by retailers.

The tell-tale signs of over-ripe, jammy fruit emanate from the glass of Taylors' 2007 Jaraman Shiraz; roast meats, raspberries, fruit cake and dates dictate its nose alongside a liberal dose of smooth, sweet oak, but forgivingly, there's also faint touches of chocolate and cinnamon that optimistically suggest it might be come together on the palate. Unfortunately, the optimism dissipates on first touch. There's plenty of over-ripe, raisined fruit quality evident from word go, which gets extended fleetingly by sour-edged, thinly structured sweet BBQ sauce-like flavour. I've had a few less-than-perfect reds from '07 salvaged by some decent tannin structure, but this wine misses that boat completely, as its finish spikes and jars with all the co-ordination of an Elaine Benes jive.

X For its price this is way too much of a chore and not enough fun. Drink to 2012.
85 points

Friday, September 17, 2010


- Pemberton, WA
- $16-$23
- Screwcap (Stelvin-Lux)
- 13.5%alc

If there's but one thing I strongly admire about Larry Cherubino's recent accomplishments, it's the increased exposure his success has helped bring to Western Australia's often underrated, 'other' (than Margaret River) fine wine districts.

The back label of Ad Hoc's Pemberton sourced Hen & Chicken boldly states; 'OAKED CHARDONNAY', a message which echoes through to its rich, generous bouquet of unashamed winemaker extract. To some extent its forward scents of toasty butter/vanilla oak, creamy malolactic influences, nuts and nougat overshadow its melon/peach fruit aromas, but it still entices the nose with assertive intensity and complex appeal. There's a noticeable generosity of weight and flavour in the mouth, as the palate pumps out grapefruit and peach tones contradicted by an emerging cheesy funkiness and a mouthfeel that's almost as creamy and full as a litre of yoghurt in a 750ml tub. To finish off it lingers with extensive cheesy/leesy/malo notes, nutty goodness and a balancing, soft yet bright acidity that ensures another glass isn't too far away.

ü+ Given that Ad Hoc also make an unwooded Pemberton chardonnay to cover the bases (cleverly named the Tree Hugger!), this well worked, classy little beast hits its personal mission statement perfectly. Drink to 2014.
91 points

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


- Coonawarra, SA
- $28-$42
- Screwcap
- 15.0%alc

After two straight stunners from 2004 (95pts) and 2005 (93pts), Majella's much-loved cabernet sauvignon felt the effects of the difficult 2006 (90pts) and 2007 (88pts) seasons, but now it's back with a ripe, powerful, gutsy offering from 2008 that does stray towards high alcohol territory (well, according to the back label at least).

I usually expect the Majella to be among Coonawarra's most gloriously fragrant cabernets, and the 2008 doesn't disappoint. Its intense fragrance leaps from the glass with strong cedar/pencil and minty/herbal notes providing the lift, supported by vividly ripened blackberry, dark plum and violet tones with a confident measure of creamy vanilla/cedar oak. Maybe showing a hint of menthol, its aroma is fractionally warm without being spirity, but it certainly shows some legs in the glass. On the palate it's a big, dark bruiser of a cabernet, which forcefully throws down a rich, ripe announcement of strongly varietal black and purple fruit flavours built up by a dry coverage of cedar that accentuates itself as it penetrates. Initially it moves with a surprisingly creamy flow and texture, but that creaminess is offset when it dances to a very long, physical finish with a left-foot/right-foot combination of dusty, powdery tannins and bright acids. At no point does alcohol obscure its overall balance.

ü+ Majella's 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is right back in the house style in an even bigger than usual, generous fashion that leaves the mouth knowing exactly what hit it. Drink to 2023.
94 points

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


- Clare Valley, SA
- $20-$25
- Screwcap
- 12.5%alc

Crabtree first came to my attention in a big way when their 2009 Watervale Riesling took out the top gong in the Young Riesling class at last year's Royal Adelaide Wine Show. The Hilltop Watervale Riesling is Crabtree's second riesling label, which, I'm hoping, won't cause confusion to anyone in search of a riesling from southern NSW.

There's an immediate sense of place to Crabtree's 2010 Hilltop Riesling, which blows off a pleasingly assertive floral/lavender tone that's completely in tune with its classic Watervale lemon citrus and mineral characters. On deeper inspection touches of musk and bath-salts add even more appeal, completing an undoubtedly youthful yet open and balanced aroma. When the palate hits it spreads with a wonderfully natural movement indicative of fine Clare riesling, releasing clear-cut lemon/lime citrus flavours switched on by true purity and crispness. The long finish kicks into gear with a direct line of dry, chalky citric acids that scatter towards neatly defined points like tiny fragments emanating from smashed glass. I've heard the word soft used to describe some 2010 Clare rieslings already, but this doesn't fit that bill; it's zingy, crisp and full of life.

ü+ Another beautiful Clare riesling from the hands of Kerri Thompson. I actually find this superior to Crabtree's award winning effort from last year. Drink to 2018.
93 points

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Inflatable astronauts in pink tutus (top) provided a popular talking point for Adelaide locals and tourists alike during the 2010 Fringe Festival, while the fate of our beloved Adelaide Oval (above) remains a point of controversy for our chauffeured elite and hill-dwelling swillers alike.

As much as I love living in Adelaide; a city surrounded by world class wine regions just a step away in every direction (well, except west), I can't help but feel that we're left out from time to time when it comes to other fun wine matters.

I was reading my Clonakilla newsletter the other day, which made mention of a series of dinners put on by winemaker Tim Kirk across the nation, organised to highlight the most exquisite representations of terroir available from Australia. The wines Tim's chosen for the dinner are:- Grosset Polish Hill Riesling, Giaconda Chardonnay, Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir, Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, Wendouree Shiraz, Cullen Diana Madeline and Morris Old Premium Muscat, which, in my view, is about as close to a perfect line-up of Australian wines as you'll find. But wait, here's the catch; these sublime dinners are taking place in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Perth...

Friday, September 10, 2010


- McLaren Vale, SA
- $48-$60
- Cork
- 15.0%alc

As proud members of Penfolds' Grange Growers Club, Oliver's Taranga has the enviable role of supplying McLaren Vale fruit for Australia's most famous wine. With my tongue completely in cheek, an apt sales pitch for Oliver's flagship HJ Reserve Shiraz could be; 'it's the fruit that Penfolds' $600 Grange rejects, that makes our $50 HJ Reserve the best.'

Warm and heady, this faintly meaty, generously oaked 06 McLaren Vale shiraz reveals a deep, layered aroma with notes of mocha, walnut and vanilla oak laid across black plums and raspberries with a fresh, spirity whiff of menthol present. Its palate is smooth, luscious and seriously concentrated, with a voluminous depth of rich, bright and meaty regional fruits held together by the maker's trademark classy oak treatment. It finishes with good length of licorice-infused fruit, alcoholic warmth and a saturated structure which veers as much towards sour-edged acidity as it does dry tannin, and although it already displays ample substance, there's enough here to suggest it'll open further with bottle age.

O Weighty, deeply fruited, handsomely oaked and warm; the 2006 HJ Reserve is a McLaren Vale shiraz with more generosity and warmth than Santa on a charity cruise across the Nullarbor. Drink 2016-2020.
92 points

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


- Yarra Valley, VIC
- $26-$39
- Screwcap
- 13.0%alc

The in form De Bortoli produced two flawless examples of cheap pinot noir under their Windy Peak and Gulf Station labels from 2008, so it's been with great expectation I've awaited the release of their premier pinots from that same vintage.

Stylishly presented and utterly convincing, De Bortoli's 2008 Estate reveals a lightish yet gloriously direct and fragrant nose of raspberries and cherries lifted by spicy, savoury notes of earth and undergrowth, with a backing influence of cedar oak showing winemaking polish. Dry and savoury, its long, distinctly light-weight palate unravels compacted small berry and dry earth flavours that grow with an expansive fistful of bony tannins, leaving the mouth with suggestions of spicy sour-edged fruit, pencil shavings-like oak and a hint of forest floor. Its outstanding length, dryness, shape and structure thoroughly exceed the expectations of its modest price, while it should fill out beautifully with careful cellaring.

ü+! If De Bortoli experience more vintages like 2008 they could re-write the book on Australian pinot noir, in terms of affordability and scale of production. Drink to 2017.
94 points


Three different, delicious pinots from the same maker and same vintage, for the cumulative total of $50 on (significant) discount. Is there any other maker in Australia, or the world even, that could match this feat right now?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


- Coonawarra, SA
- $10-$21
- Screwcap
- 13.5%alc

Having improved dramatically over the last few years, Wynns Shiraz has now become an 'everyday drinking wine' of the highest standard. Whether your intentions are for short-medium term cellaring or immediate drinking, it's an absolute steal for as little as $10.

Opening to youthful notes of both raspberry and chocolate bullets on first sniff, the 2009 Wynns later reveals ripe scents of raspberry, choc-currant and licorice with smatterings of chocolate/vanilla/cedar oak and menthol. Medium-full and plush, its palate contains a brightly lit yet soft core of red/black berries and licorice ensconced in chocolate/vanilla oak, with its smooth oak influence becoming more pronounced as it moves down the palate alongside a fair coverage of approachable, faintly sour-edged structure.

ü+ Probably not quite the freakish bargains the last two wines were; the current Wynns Shiraz is a softer, brightly fruited Coonawarra red which is ready to enjoy now. It's still great value though. Drink to 2014.
89 points

Monday, September 6, 2010


- South Eastern Australia
- $8-$16
- Screwcap
- 14.0%alc

One of my favourite $10 shiraz labels; Bin 555, is but one Wyndham Estate wine poised to benefit from the company's acquisition of ex-Saltram winemaker Nigel Dolan. Nigel's efforts from the 2002 and 2004 vintage (when with Saltram) were nothing short of spectacular.

Surprisingly composed for its price, the 2008 presents bright raspberry, plum and creamy vanilla oak aromas with a touch of white pepper in a simple, appealing fashion. Its smooth, medium-full bodied palate also reflects pure, unadulterated, attractive simplicity, with a soft, insignificant structure outlining an effortless balance of bright varietal fruit flavours with muddy fruit undertones (Riverland component?) and a finish set off by a ping of acidity.

ü+ A charmingly presented quaff completely devoid of offensive elements. For $13 with a 100g block of 70% cocoa dark chocolate right now; it's brilliant. Drink to 2012.
88 points


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $20-$30
- Screwcap
- 13.0%alc

You can call me naive but I'm sensing a growing underswell of consumer resentment directed towards sauvignon blanc. Sure, Australia's infatuation with 'Savvy B' may have gotten a little out of hand, but let's not forget, there's still plenty of dedicated producers making sauvignon blanc of true integrity in this country (just like Shaw and Smith).

Something of an Adelaide Hills benchmark, Shaw and Smith's 2010 presents an openly aromatic nose of distinctive, pungent varietal quality; revealing ripe gooseberries and lime juice with touches of sweaty funk and an impressive mineral thread. Although there's a definitive indication of refinement to its mineral-accented character, the palate loses nothing by the way of varietal integrity or intensity, as it announces a ripe, juicy undercarriage that bursts with funked-up, almost smoky flavours of honeydew melons, lime and fresh grass, before it's driven to a long, uplifting finish by a zesty extract of sherbet-like citric acids.

ü+ Displaying more shape, refinement and funk than you'd normally expect from an Adelaide Hills savvy; the 2010 is right on the style button set by Shaw and Smith's recent outings. Drink to 2012.
91 points

Friday, September 3, 2010


- Coonawarra, SA
- $32-$44
- Screwcap
- 13.5%alc

Wynns has access to a rather substantial 44 ha of mature vineyards within the V&A Lane district, located smack-bang in the middle of Coonawarra. The first, impressive releases from this sub-region come in the way of a 2008 Shiraz (92pts) and a 2008 Cabernet Shiraz.

Notably closed on first sniff, the V&A Cabernet Shiraz slowly opens to an aroma of spicy vanilla oak overlying a concealed depth of red berry/blackcurrant, mulberry and plum notes with lashings of licorice and violet. Medium-bodied and elegant in the modern Wynns style, its firm palate presents initially subdued forest berry flavours cloaked in polished vanilla oak, but the wine expands with waves of grippy, tightening and grainy tannins, revealing a wonderful length of rich, saturated flavour counter-balanced by a fine-grained dustiness.

ü+ A skillfully blended, long-term Coonawarra red which should take years to unravel and show its best. Drink 2018-2028.
94 points


- McLaren Vale, SA
- $35-$45
- Cork
- 14.5%alc

Given the difficulties faced by McLaren Vale growers across the last few seasons, it's quite amazing how I've yet to encounter a disappointing wine from the Samuel's Gorge stable. Part of the brand's success must surely rest with Justin McNamee's decision to focus his red production solely around the varieties of grenache, tempranillo and shiraz.

Quite ripe and meaty without being confectionery, this floral, spicy and clove-scented 2008 Grenache reveals a currant-like fruit nose with notes of rhubarb backed by creamy oak. Beautifully crafted and long, it's a rather savoury, dark-fruited and medium-full bodied grenache framed by marginally sweet/sour edges, however, it finishes with pleasing balance and a myriad of varietal spices in the clove/cinnamon/nutmeg spectrum, as well as a gracing of brisk, ultra-fine tannins underscored by a lingering meatiness.

ü A pleasingly composed, well-weighted McLaren Vale grenache of the ripe, meaty and spicy style. Drink to 2014.
91 points


- McLaren Vale, SA
- $35-$45
- Cork
- 14.5%alc

The spirited Justin McNamee's Samuel's Gorge label has emerged as a name to watch closely when it comes to Australian tempranillo. All the releases I've had thus far have displayed a consistent, well ripened style which harnesses McLaren Vale's rich fruit character with tempranillo's fragrant, spicy and exotic nature.

Ripe and juicy, the 2009 Tempranillo presents an intriguing mix of deeply fruited plum, dark cherry and strawberry aromas in an open style, with heady notes of clove and cinnamon adding further interest alongside a proud influence of spicy dark chocolate/vanilla oak. Its medium-full bodied palate is particularly bright, flavoursome and evenly measured, with a distinctive thrust of dry, prickly tempranillo tannins extending its beautifully ripened, juicy plum, berry and rich chocolate flavours towards a long, more savoury finish marked by dry spice characters.

ü+ Successfully marrying varietal flair with regional generosity, the 2009 marks another great tempranillo from Samuel's Gorge. It's new-age wines like this that guarantee tempranillo a place in the McLaren Vale landscape for generations to come. Drink to 2017.
93 points

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Oliver's Taranga is one of those wineries whose long lineage in the wine industry dates back to a deep history of grape-growing (since 1841), yet more recently (since 1994), winemaking has become their forte. Present day winemaker Corinna Rayment picks the best selections from over 100 ha of estate owned vineyards for release under the Oliver's Taranaga label, and for my tastes, she's made some pretty smart selections over the last few years, especially when it comes to reds.

Oliver's Taranga started out, like many in McLaren Vale, as shiraz specialists, but as the years have passed they've seen a growing number of new varietals included in both their vineyards and the finished bottle, allowing them to pick and choose grape varieties for the Oliver's Taranga label as season's see fit. Today, Oliver's Taranga's range includes varieties such as fiano, viognier and tempranillo, which are soon to be joined by a sagrantino and even a moscato (cellar door special?). The company's flagship remains the smartly oaked yet well fruited HJ Reserve Shiraz, which, as any of their employees will be willing to share, can share vineyard sourcings with that of Penfolds Grange (I'm told Penfolds will be using fruit from Oliver's Taranga for the 2010 Grange).

Before I go any further I want to make mention of what makes any visit to Oliver's Taranga cellar door special; customer service. I usually visit Oliver's Taranga's cellar door once or twice a year and every time I go the service is top notch. All the cellar door hands I've become familiar with (Briony, Trudy and now Sally) present their wines with utmost consideration and respect for the visitor, whilst showing not a shred of wine-'snobberishness'. A good old fashioned chat and a laugh over a tipple of wine is always the order of the day at Oliver's Taranga, none of this; 'I'm pouring the wine, now when are you gonna leave?' sort of rubbish. Clearly, all of Oliver's Taranga's cellar door staff feel part of their extended family and they're only too keen to let strangers into that circle as well. For quiet, weekday cellar door experiences Oliver's Taranga is pretty close to a 10 out of 10 every time, regardless of what you think of the wine. Make sure you drop by next time you're in the Vale, you won't regret it.

If anyone's interested, Oliver's Taranga is also looking for a weekend chef to run their kitchen on saturday and sundays for light lunches. A focus on regional produce is essential.

Oliver's Taranga tasting notes posted below

Oliver's Taranga Fiano 2010 ($24) Oliver's Tarnaga also sell fruit to Coriole for their fiano. The third fiano I've had from this label and by far the most interesting. It's quite a lean, dry style, with lemon citrus notes marked by apricot kernel undertones and a pleasing hint of light spice apparent. There's a also a good thrust of driving acidity, making the whole experience seem quite distinctive. 90

Oliver's Taranga Viognier 2008 ($18) Classic peach fuzz, apricot and lemon nose precedes a mouthfeel with quite a luscious, oily feel, yet just restrained varietal fruit flavour. For $18 it's not bad, just adding to the region's potential with the white Rhone variety. 88

Oliver's Taranga Tempranillo 2009 ($32) Oliver's Taranga believe this is their best tempranillo yet and I'd have to agree. It reveals that classically varietal exotic spice fragrance, with savoury yet ripe undertones of dark berry/plum fruits harmonised by smooth vanilla/chocolate oak. On the palate its surprisingly elegant and medium-bodied (for both region and style) with a fine, long drive of sweet, earthy flavours framed by svelte, prickly temp tannins and beautifully restrained alcohol (13.0%). It's very well composed. (full review soon) 91

Oliver's Taranga Cadenzia Grenache 2008 ($30) I'm a bit unsure what happened here because I've been following Taranga as one of McLaren Vale's better makers of grenache lately. On the nose it's decidedly sweet for the region, with a boiled lolly-like expression of ripe, jammy and confectionery raspberry/blueberry fruits which transfers over onto the palate. The fruit sweetness only becomes more pronounced as it drives down the palate, displaying none of the savoury, earthy or spicy characters which lovers of the McLaren Vale style have come to expect. A shame, because the 2006 (93pts) was excellent. 86

Oliver's Taranga Corrina's Blend Cabernet Shiraz 2006 ($30) This wine's been around for a while now and it's still holding up quite okay, despite losing some of the fruit freshness and structure I recall tasting it previously. Now, it's chocolate/vanilla oak sits quite firmly on top of its fruit, which resides in the ripe McLaren Vale-cabernet currant fruit spectrum, with some shiraz derived nuances of dark plums and berries happily residing beneath. It's palate is very smooth, rich, ripe and chocolatey, reflecting its region well in an already approachable style. 90

Oliver's Taranga Shiraz 2007 ($29) Initially shows its vintage with a ripe, meaty and dark fruited nose, but it's also surprisingly composed and withdrawn. Its palate is quite rustic and deeply flavoured, but there's an underswell of over-ripe fruit flavour which becomes more pronounced as the wine drives, leaving an impression of dark plum/berry tart flavour to linger underneath some fine tannins. 89

Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz 2006 ($50) Straight away shows some classy, snazzy oak; scented with nutty, mocha and walnut tones overlying a beautifully composed, regional and seasonal expression of savoury berry and plum aromas with a touch of cinnamon spice. The palate also reveals some overlying nutty/mocha oak characters, but underneath that lies some pretty smart fruit. It's all quite tightly wound, elegant and measured at the moment, but it should open up with layers of flavour and texture with medium-long term cellaring. (full review soon) 94

Oliver's Taranga The Banished NV ($40) Average age 20 yrs grenache-based fortified. One of my favourites of SA's 'house tawnys', and this bottle was freshly bottled from the barrel. It's lighter, fresh, long and precise, and it reveals layers of flavours which just unwind down the palate with its beautifully fortifying spirit, displaying a wonderful, nutty rancio character and perfectly balanced sweetness. Beautiful; and I don't even mind the slight price increase. 94

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $43-$59
- Screwcap
- 13.5%alc

The first day of spring has arrived and with it comes blue skies (well, today was grey but monday was blue), higher hopes and the news that Grosset's cellar door is about to re-open. To mark the occasion I'm pulling one of Mr Grosset's recent classics from my cellar; the 2004 Piccadilly Chardonnay.

At 6 years old Grosset's Chardonnay is brightly scented with funky, melted butter-like aromas of primary fruits, which have evolved over time with its winemaker inputs to produce a product greater than the sum of its parts. Its fragrance genuinely enthralls the nose, with distinctive tones of cumquat, white nectarine and paw paw underpinned by rich, inviting suggestions of nutty white nougat and vanilla. Smooth, spotless and stylish, its vibrant palate graces the mouth with a wonderfully soft yet full and creamy announcement of perfectly integrated fruit and oak, before the whole package is faultlessly harmonised by soft, fluffy acids that refine the wine as it penetrates, leaving the mouth feeling majestically clean and refreshed.

ü+ An essential Grosset Chardonnay. Drink to 2012.
96 points