Archive for January, 2014

Spitting: OptionalShadowfax

Shadowfax Chardonnay 2012

Style: Oaked, dry white

Country: Australia

Region: Geelong, VIC


Overview Nothing speaks of class like an elegant, cool climate Chardonnay. Gone are the days of over oaked wines that have been malo’d to within an inch of their lives. There is still the occasional punter that cries out for a buttery, oaky Chardonnay but slowly but surely winemakers are moving away from this style as it does not represent Chardonnay as much as it does new oak and malolactic fermentation. Geelong is quick becoming the next best thing in terms of Chardonnay and Shadowfax have always been on the ball in using fruit from great Victorian regions and making damn good wine. This wine is Chardonnay through and through, the oak is subtle and fruit elegant and structured.


Tasting note: Grapefruit aromas with a flinty edge and just a touch of toasty oak. The stone fruit on the palate is rich yet elegant, steely with a zippy citrus backbone and finishes with a lovely texture.


Final Say: Definitely a food wine. $25-$30 a bottle.


Score: 17.5 out of 20

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Spitting: OptionalHungerford_Hill_Cabernet_Sauvignon_2009

Hungerford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Style: Mid-Full-bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: Hilltops, NSW

Overview: Like most young wine region the Hilltops has proclaimed themselves as one of the most exciting Viticultural regions in Australia. We seem to have a lot of those. Eventually all this wine-wanker terms we use become cliché, marketing terms that cause or eyes to glaze over. Most wine drinkers in Australia wouldn’t even know where to point to on a map of NSW when asked where the Hilltops region is. So I proclaim that the Hilltops is not ‘one of the most exciting Viticultural regions in Australia’ but ‘the most exhilarating, stimulating and intoxicating (in more way than one) regions in Australia’. The Hilltops typically produce lean, cool-climate style reds but this Cabernet displays a power and depth of flavour expected from warmer climes with notes of cool-climate elegance with a modest alcohol level of 13%. Surely this is more than just ‘exciting’, surely this tantalises and titillates.


Tasting note: Dark plum aromas with notes of cassis, menthol and underlying hints of pencil shavings. The palate is a fantastic balance between rich fruit flavours and subtle elegance with mocha, blackcurrant and black olive notes. Grainy tannins corrugate the tongue and allows this wine linger for minutes on end.   


Final Say: Such adjectives. Much description. Wow. $25-30 a bottle.


Score: 18.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on

Chapel Hill ‘il Vescovo’ White 2012Chapel hill il

Style: Dry white

Region: McLaren Vale, SA

Overview: Summer is here. Forget the other side of the world, and their complaints of polar vortexes, for we are in God’s own oven, roasting, frying and begging for relief. Wine slakes our thirst but now is not when we crave the oak and body of a Chardonnay, nor even the racy acidity of Riesling or Semillon. What we crave is tropical and balanced, refreshing yet flavoursome. Our saviour comes in the form of Chapel Hill’s il Vescovo White, an innovative blend of Verdelho, Savagnin and Rousanne. These varieties are very different in origin yet, here in this blend, they complement each other to make an impressive summer wine.

Tasting note: Pineapple aromas leap from the glass, followed by elegant tones of lemon, talc and jasmine. The lemon character on the palate is slightly waxy and rind-like. It’s crisp and fresh too with lovely texture and acidity.          

Final Say: When not throwing it down to combat the heat, this wine is best enjoyed with food. $15.99 a bottle.

Score: 16.5 out of 20

Domaine Pinchinat Côtes de Provence Blanc 2011DomPin

Style: Dry white

Region: Provence, France

Tasting note: The nose is a delicate combination of straw, candied pineapple and crushed herbs. The palate is surprisingly robust compared to the nose, with flavours of apricot and sandalwood, and a lemon pith mouthfeel. A touch of oiliness on the finish completes this wine.

Final Say: A fantastic white blend that makes me wish I was at a quiet beach, just me and this bottle. $27.99 a bottle.

Score: 17 out of 20

Montvalley Shiraz 2004Montvalley

Style: Medium bodied red

Region: Hunter Valley, NSW

Tasting note: It’s been a while since I’ve seen a Shiraz as quintessentially Hunter Valley as this one. A dusty and leathery nose with subtle hints of blackberry and spicy oak. Nice aged plum and spice characters on the palate with just a bit of game.

Final Say: A good example of the Hunter Valley of old. $19.99 a bottle.

Score: 16 out of 20

Latitude 35 degrees South Cabernet Merlot 2009latitude

Style: Medium bodied red

Region: Western Australia

Tasting note: All you would expect from the union of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot: blackcurrant, plum, black olives and chocolate with a velvety mouth-feel and a soft, pleasant finish.

Final Say: Great value BBQ wine. $13.99 a bottle

Score: 16 out of 20

Handpicked Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 HP

Style: Full-bodied red

Region: Coonawarra, SA

Tasting note: Dark and brooding, one sniff and this wine is undeniably Coonawarra Cabernet. Menthol, black cherries and cassis with slight hints of raspberry and grainy tannins. Powerful, rich and ripe.

Final Say: A steal for the price, perfect as a cellar-dweller. $16.99 a bottle.

Score: 17 out of 20


Spitting: Optional

Printhie MCC Riesling 2012

Vintage: 2012

Style: Off-dry white

Country: Australia

Region: Orange


Overview It seems of late that many wine drinkers are obsessed with ‘dry’. It’s common to hear consumers in Cellar Doors, bottles shops and restaurants remark: ‘Is it dry? I only like dry wine. I think this might be too fruity for me. No, I don’t like rosé it’s too sweet. Riesling is a sweet wine isn’t it? DRY! DRY! DRY!’ It’s as if people see sweetness as evil, the dark side of wine which could be attributed to the popularity of wines like Blue Nun and Mateus Rosé. The thing is that wine should be balanced and in some cases Riesling can be too dry and too acidic. This wine is the perfect example of using a touch of residual sugar to add balance. At first I barely perceived the sweetness in this wine due to the fresh acidity and pristine fruit characters. By leaving a tiny bit of residual sweetness in this wine Printhie have made an impressive wine with great length and is perfect with Asian and spicy food.


Tasting note: A distinct nose of lemon sherbet, orange blossom and straw. The palate is pure and clean with a touch of lime juice. If it wasn’t for the residual sugar the acidity would induce sour warhead style sweats. The combination of pure fruit, powerful acidity and residual sugar grant this wine fantastic length.


Final Say: Get some balance in your diet. $20-25 a bottle


Score: 18 out of 20

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