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Wine Code Breaker #398

2021 Ghost Rock Pinot Gris, Tasmania

The forbidden fruit can be many things. Your own forbidden fruit appears to depend upon your cultural leanings, educational curiosity and life experiences. Figs, apples, pears, pomegranates and grapes all get a mention. As an aside, it is highly amusing to discover that apple in Latin means apple, but when the same word is borrowed from the Greek, could also mean evil. A theological joke on us perhaps! And so we come to our Apple Isle where grapes are grown and fermented for our pleasure. The Forbidden Island has many temptations and Pinot Gris is just one that could be labelled as a forbidden fruit.

The 2021 Ghost Rock Pinot Gris is produced from a vineyard in northern Tasmania. It is a mostly clear wine that is lightly hued by a yellow pink and grey. The nose floods the senses with figs, pears and an intoxicating blend of honeydew and rockmelons. Crushed minerals and almonds add an enticement to the palate. The texture is lightly oily, yet grippy, which parts the seas allowing the flavours to be expressed elegantly and in abundance. This is forbidden fruit in a bottle.

Enjoy!

Rating: 93 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.8%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $30

Tasted: May 2022

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Wine Code Breaker #397

2019 Bird in Hand Montepulciano, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

We first meet Zorii Bliss on the frozen planet Kijimi. Of course, her fame as a spice runner is well known. Her passion for Italian varietals, not as much. During her years running spices around the galaxies, she had been known to drop into the Adelaide Hills from time to time to stock up between gigs. It also helped soften her rage towards Poe Dameron for rejecting her all those years before. Zorii kept meticulous notes of her spice running missions and as it turns out, her wine musings.

The 2019 Bird in Hand Montepulciano was secured from a secret rendezvous to Adelaide Hills in South Australia, planet Earth.  This wine is a dark crimson colour that opens up with dark fruits, earth and spices.  There are some cherries, herbs and briary notes, mysterious and whimsical, a little like the early years with Poe (sigh).  The palate brings these together with leather and lemon zest across a bed of spices and tannins that are almost Tatooine-like in their sandiness.  A sharp acidity with flavours persisting, reminding me that I am not alone.  This one is okay!

May the fourth be with you on this upcoming Star Wars Day.

Enjoy!

Rating: 93 pts

Closure: Vino-Lok (glass)

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 5 yrs

Price: $40

Tasted: January 2022

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Wine Code Breaker #396

2018 Mount Monument Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges, Victoria

The most famous mamelon is a breast-shaped hillock in Sevastopol. It was made so during the Crimean War of 1853-1856 (a war that is reported to have been started over an argument about a key) due to its strategic location.  A less famous mamelon was formed eons ago from an eruption of thick syrupy lava flowing through a vent in the bedrock of the Macedon Ranges.  This site provides the strategic canvas for a vineyard with its 630 metres of elevation, volcanic soils and aspect. 

The 2018 Mount Monument Pinot Noir from the Macedon Ranges in Victoria requires no key to open. Once poured it is quite a deep, crimson-coloured wine. It has a floral perfume to the nose with cherries, black olives and citrus peel dipped deftly in balsamic vinegar. The palate has those bold cherries on a backbone of sinewy silky tannins. Blueberries, black olives and savoury oak add complexity and provide a broad, fanning finish that would be a perfect accompaniment to celebrating the summit.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $45

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #395

2021 Bird in Hand Sauvignon Blanc Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Cat’s pee can be detected at 50 paces and assails one’s nostrils with such force that no other odour is able to be perceived for days. Poorly made Sauvignon Blanc can do something similar. At its least offensive, it is flabby and insults the senses. At its worst, you get cat’s pee. At its best, however, Sauvignon Blanc can be exciting with its freshness and vibrant aromatics combined with crisp, crunchy acidity make it a truly attractive wine.

The 2021 Bird in Hand Sauvignon Blanc from Adelaide Hills in South Australia is a very pale straw colour that flashes brightly. The nose is highly fragrant with guava, white peach, gooseberry, passionfruit balanced by a touch of herbaceous cut grass and green bean nuance. The palate is all guava, gooseberries and citrus that combined are striking and intense. Against a tight texture, these flavours are balanced neatly by its crisp acidity, culminating in a finish that is far from flabby.

Enjoy!

Rating: 93 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 12%

Drink: Now; 1-3 yrs

Price: $25

Tasted: March 2022

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Wine Code Breaker #394

2018 Protero Capo Gumeracha Nebbiolo, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Adelaide Hills is a remarkable region as it seems to have pockets that mirror some of the world’s great wine growing regions. Altitude and valleys create a landscape of microclimates that play with the coolness across the dry ripening periods. Add a bit of fog during harvest and they are the sites that are perfect for Nebbiolo. Of course, this is the grape that is thought to have a name derived from ‘nebbia’, Italian for fog. And so, perhaps Adelaide Hills is a home away from home for the grape of Barolo in Italy.

The 2018 Protero Capo is a Nebbiolo from a single vineyard named Gumeracha in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Its colour is a bright crimson that swirls proudly in the glass. The nose needs time for air to reveal its aromas; cherry fruits, earth, leather, spice, and a perfumed pot purri of rose petals sprinkled with desiccated cola. Oh, this is something special and this early conclusion was confirmed by the palate. The cherry, earth and spice flavours roll around in waves with coffee and sarsaparilla adding more complexity. The tannins are fine and firm and the acid crunchy aiding a long lingering finish. An aptly named wine as ‘Capo’ is Italian for boss!

Enjoy!

Rating: 96 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 7-10 yrs

Price: $80

Tasted: January 2022

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Wine Code Breaker #393

2018 Frankland Estate Shiraz, Frankland River, Western Australia

Frankland River as a wine region is the one closest to a Mediterranean climate in the Antipodes.  An inland area that experiences warm dry days and cooling nights.  The soils are a blanket of gravel ironstone above the mattress of hills and river valleys.  The beds divided by the rivers Frankland, Gordon, Kent and Tone provide the calming influence to the vineyards that sleep and thrive through the seasons.

The 2018 Frankland Estate Shiraz is from the Frankland River subregion of Great Southern in Western Australia. The colour awakens you immediately as it is poured; deep crimson with a bright purple hue. The nose is a caffeine hit to the senses with its distinct cool climate aromas including cherries, blackberries, black olives, cloves, herbs and a hint of chocolate that arouses further interest. The palate takes the cherries and blackberries to another level with some iodine, mineral and charcuterie. The fine velvety tannins are what lifts this wine to the next level as they wrap up the flavours and roll them gentle along on akin to the rivers flowing peacefully through the landscape.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $24

Tasted: February 2022

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Wine Code Breaker #392

2019 Ravensworth Hilltops Nebbiolo, Canberra District

The 15th of March is an auspicious day on our Gregorian calendar as it celebrates International Stab Someone In the Back Day, figuratively speaking. Harking back to less tolerant times, it is of course the Ides of March when Julius Caesar resigned to the smell of betrayal as the blade slipped all too easily between the ribs of his back. On this day, if you feel the urge, do what the modern day Romans would do and pour yourself a glass of wine.

The 2019 Ravensworth Nebbiolo is from a vineyard in the Hilltops region of New South Wales, not too far from the nation’s capital. The colour is a light crimson and flashes brightly along the edge of a blade. The nose is glorious with floral notes, rose water, red berries and hints of tomato relish dripping with savoury tarry nuances. The palate is keen with a balancing of lightness and power. Red fruits, tar, earth and savoury tones build in volume, splaying beautifully against the sharp tactile bed of tannins. Its persistence is alluring, calming and disarming; perfect for the day.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $45

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #391

2020 Passing Clouds Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges, Victoria

Growing grapes in cooler to marginal areas is tricky business.  Let’s face it, agriculture is a tricky business where you can be confronted with frost during bud forming, managing light into the canopy to help with ripening and preventing disease in the canopy itself.  Add into the equation the fickle Pinot Noir and it is tricky business indeed.  The Geneva Double Curtain trellis system, or GDC, is a possible solution.  They are a little higher than traditional systems so you gain a little more protection from frost.  Secondly, it splits the canopy in two and trains it to fall downwards in the guise of two curtains.  This automatically thins it to help increase light and airflow through the precious bunches as they form and ripen as well as preventing disease. 

The 2020 Passing Clouds Pinot Noir is from a GDC trellised vineyard in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria. A bright, deep, crimson-coloured wine that immediately confirms this is not going to be tricky business to enjoy. The nose is spicy, charry and perfumed with a base of sour cherries. The palate is elegantly balanced that curtains cherries, cream and nuts on one side and silky, slightly chewy tannins on the other to draw a long fanning finish.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 12%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $35

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #390

2019 Musk Lane Vineyard Nebula #2 Nebbiolo, Macedon Ranges, Victoria

The Carina Nebula is the largest of the nebulae that adorn our night skies and is visible only to residents of the Southern Hemisphere. A complex system with many features, it is amazing we do not hear more of its wonders. The Eta Carinae, Homunculous Nebula, Keyhole Nebula, Mystic Mountain and WR 25, which happens to be the Milky Way’s brightest star… And then there is the Defiant Finger. Yes, this is the system that gives the “finger” to all systems surrounding it and if you look very carefully you will find it adorning the label of a defiant Nebbiolo from Victoria.

The 2019 Musk Lane Vineyard Nebula #2 is a Nebbiolo sourced from a vineyard on the fringes of Bendigo and Macedon Ranges in Victoria, about 8,500 light years below the Carina Nebula. Of course the positioning is relative but the colour is not. A light crimson that is easily seen from both hemispheres of the glass bowl. Its aromas are far from nebulous; floral red fruits, leather, tar, nuts, earth and a hint of cola fill the atmosphere. The palate is light yet intense, with an interesting and appealing sappiness threading through the red fruits. The tannins, akin to fine sand, are firm and stand out proudly, giving the crunchy acidity the finger as it marches defiantly along the palate, lingering and fading in unison.

Enjoy!

93 pts

Closure: Diam

Alc: 12.3%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $40

Tasted: January 2022

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Wine Code Breaker #389

2008 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia

Cellaring a single bottle of wine has its risks and rewards. Tasting it in its optimum drinking window is the spiritual experience that you are aiming for. Keeping it too long and you will be disappointed. Conversely, drinking it too young and you are regretful. And so, here I was staring at an older vintage of wine and I called upon the angel number 389 to guide me. As my intention was to embark on a spiritual journey, I now had my angel’s full support with an impulse made known. I went for it with all my heart.

The 2008 Penfolds Bin 389 is a multi-regional blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from South Australia. Upon opening and decanting, it showed a deep red cerise colour that retained brightness at its core. The nose was glorious and inviting; plums, Chinese five spice, dark berries and an enticing entwining of liquorice and cassis. The palate whispered and roared with rich, voluptuous blackberries, black currants and those spices, this time with a plummy complexity. The tannins are fine and lingering somewhere between emery board and velvet. The persistence is spiritual and I am thankful for my angel’s guidance and support. There is no regret.

Enjoy!

Rating: 96 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 10 yrs still

Price: $100

Tasted: November 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #388

2019 Fallen Giants Shiraz, Grampians, Victoria

The Grampians dominates the township of Halls Gap in western Victoria. An imposing ancient sandstone mass with Dreamtime stories calling out the fallen giants that carved out the mountains, escarpments and ravines that the area is known for. And it is this landscape that provides a buffer to the afternoon sun for vineyards nestled at its foothills on elevated blocks. These sites benefit from the warmth of the day which abates early for a longer cooler period for ripening. This is a good thing for us.

The 2019 Fallen Giants Shiraz is from a vineyard at the base of the Grampians National Park located within the Grampians wine region in Victoria. It is a deep dark purple in the glass and you can do nothing else other than like it right there. The nose is a sea spray of spice, plums, soy, herbs and violets; highly appealing. The palate has a cool climate thread through it with cherries, plums, blackberries, spices, pepper and a hint of mocha. The tannins are velvety and elegant supporting a remarkably long persistence of flavours. It summary, this is a very good thing for us.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 7-15 yrs

Price: $35

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #387

2021 Granite Hills Riesling, Macedon Ranges, Victoria

Burke and Wills set out on their remarkable, yet tragic, journey from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria, facing their first challenge in the winter of 1860 when traversing the Macedon Ranges. This is a range that is dominated by granite outcrops that rise and fall 300 to 800 metres with icy chills to match. 1860 is also the year that some small vineyards were established. The industry, if you could call it that, waxed and waned until the depression of 1890 where it faded away. A revival occurred in 1971 with Riesling at the helm.

The 2021 Granite Hills Riesling is from a pioneering winery started by Gordon Knight in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria. It is almost clear with a light tinge of green in the glass. With swirling there is an immediate interest on the nose with guava, limes, passionfruit, grapefruit and minerals. The palate is more than a match, including some juicy lemons and an intensity of flavours that is aided by the zingy acidity. A long lingering textural finish affords you time to pay homage to pioneers of past and present.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 12.5%

Drink: Now; 7-10 yrs

Price: $32

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #386

2018 Oakridge Vineyard Series Henk Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria

The colour of a wine is seen as a marker of its quality. It can be enhanced through the winemaking process with a number of options available. Ultimately it will come down to the quality of the grapes. When it comes to Pinot Noir, there is a saying that the colour is irrelevant. This fickle thin skinned grape is alluring with its perfume and enticing with the way the flavours bounce around in amongst silky tannins. The colour too can bounce around from a light to deeply coloured variation of red.

The 2018 Oakridge Vineyard Series Henk Pinot Noir is from a single vineyard in the Woori Yallock, a sub-region within the Yarra Valley. It is a gloriously cerise coloured wine that has a nose that is an enticing mix of a little perfumed, a little fruit and a little earth. When put together, it makes for a bewitching nose. The palate presents a beautiful array of cherries and cranberries that clashes marvellously with the earth and lightly savour oak. The tannins are silky. The persistence is captivating. The whole package is delightful.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.1%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $40

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #385

2017 Ghost Rock Vineyard Zoe Brut Rosé, Tasmania

Walking into a French patisserie is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It can be a dreamy experience, particularly where there is une tarte aux pommes involved. The lightly crusted pastry, the apple and glazing…need I say more. Imagine if you could turn this into a sparkling drink. How would you go about it? My approach was to puree the tart until it was a fine, free-flowing liquid and transferring it to a Soda Stream. From past experience I did this outside and the result was, well, an explosive emulsion covering the freshly rain-cleansed Camelias! The easier way is to start with grapes and follow the traditional method, or Methode Traditionelle, for the crafting of fine sparkling wines.

The 2017 Ghost Rock Vineyard Zoe is a Brut Rosé that is made using the traditional method from a Pinot Noir dominant sourced from vineyards in Northern Tasmania. The colour is a delightful salmon pink with an attractively alluring fine bead. The nose is quite floral with strawberries, red apples and crisp skin influence in amongst rose petals. Hints of dough and yeast wafting gently are reminiscent of freshly baked pastries. The palate is crisp and creamy, with red and green apples that builds from a core of strawberries. The pastry-like dough adds to the complexity and the crunchy acidity the balance. A lovely, persistent finish that was significantly more pleasing than my Methode Stupide.

Enjoy!

Rating: 93 pts

Closure: Diam

Alc: 12.5%

Drink: Now; 3-5 yrs

Price: $38

Tasted: December 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #384

2020 Ox Hardy Grenache, South Australia

Grenache from McLaren Vale like other areas of Australia has evolved over the years into something that is very different from where it started. Amazing to discover that Grenache accounts for only 6% of the annual crush of this amazing region. From bush or trellised vines, there is something that the growers and wine makers are doing now that we, the consumers, are loving. Picked a bit earlier with less sugar and vibrant acidity, add a little stalk for some whole bunch ferment, be gentle with the oak, leave it for a bit, put it in the bottle and stick a label on it. Sounds pretty simple really, but that is the trick.

The 2020 Ox Hardy Grenache from the McLaren Vale region of South Australia is a vibrant lightly coloured crimson that instantly appeals. The nose throws out dry spices, red fruits, bay leaves, rosemary and hints of earth as they are gently coaxed with swirling. The palate is deft and expressive with those spices and herbs along with hints of cola and sarsaparilla. Finely textured with emery board tannins, it delivers a long pleasing finish giving you time to ponder how good this 6% is.

Enjoy!

Rating: 92 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $38

Tasted: October 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #383

2021 Rieslingfreak No. 4 Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia

The word freak as a noun refers to a very unusual and unexpected event or situation. As a verb, freak is to behave or cause to behave in a wild and irrational way. Coming across a winery that is called Rieslingfreak does get you wondering. Is it because the wine being offered causes you to behave in a wild and irrational way due to a very unusual situation in response to the contents of the bottle? As it turns out, it is called Rieslingfreak as the winemaker is obsessed by all things Riesling.

The 2021 Rieslingfreak No. 4 is, unsurprisingly or unfreakishly, a Riesling that comes from the Eden Valley in South Australia. The colour is almost clear with just a pale green tinge on display. The nose is intensely aromatic with fresh citrus, mostly limes, and green apples with a delicate wafting of blossoms. The palate carries the intensity of the nose through. This is when you start to feel an overwhelming need to freak out as the crisp acidity clashes triumphantly against the lively, lightly oily texture with talc notes splicing through. You are left breathless as the flavours linger for what could be seen as an unusually or freakishly long time. What a freak!

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 12%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $27

Tasted: October 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #215

2015 Dexter Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

One from the archives of 2017…When I heard Dexter mentioned, I immediately thought of the mini-series of the same name. A character who is an expert in the reading of crimson hieroglyphs and perversely hungry for justice. You constantly wonder if he is a hero or monster? Is he authentic or socio-path? Either way, he is a conflicting character that challenges the senses. Pinot Noir too can challenge the sense in a heroic and perverse sort of way. Its colour can range from light to deep, but in the end is irrelevant. The nose and palate can be confrontingly light, and conflictingly big in flavour. In the end, this is irrelevant as either way, it is a hero in the glass that confounds the senses leaving you desiring more.

The 2015 Dexter Pinot Noir is from a single vineyard site in Mornington Peninsula in Victoria that is surrounded lightly rolling hills carpeted by gum trees. It is a lightly crimsoned coloured wine that flashes very brightly. The nose is of rose petals, cherries, pomegranates, dried herbs and savoury notes that include green olives. Touches of pencil shavings only heighten the yearning for a taste. A lighter ethereal feeling wine that dances deftly across the palate. The fruit is there, but the leading performers are the savoury flavours and tannins combing heroically leaving an elegantly fanning finish. Having now met Dexter the winemaker, it is clear that he is an expert who is authentically passionate about making good wine.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.5%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs (at first tasting)

Price: $45 (upon release)

Tasted: April 2017 and November 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #382

2020 Ghost Rock Wines Oulton Pinot Noir, Tasmania

The location; a series of paddocks woven into a tapestry of rolling hills abutting the Bass Strait. A small single vineyard paddock within this quilt hugging a hill is planted to Pinot Noir. The weave of the vines endure, survive and thrive as the seasons pass. The soil and the interplay of the roots transports water and nutrients into a canopy that offers protection and vitality to the bunches as they form and ripen. The location; Oulton.

The 2020 Ghost Rock Oulton is a single vineyard Pinot Noir from a paddock just outside of Devonport in northern Tasmania. The colour is bright cerise with glints of rubies. The nose is all red fruits with cranberry and pomegranates standing tall amongst raspberries, strawberries and hints of cherries. Earthy tones, white pepper, smoky sap and savoury oak add complexity. The palate is an amalgam of the influences of the variety, the place and the winemaker. The deft hand of the maker is clear where the flavours of variety and place are not overshadowed on a soft silky texture. Crisp acidity drives its persistence giving you time to look around. The location; Oulton.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Diam

Alc: 13.5%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $52

Tasted: October 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #381

2019 Nocturne Cabernets, Margaret River, Western Australia

A nocturne has two meanings in relation to the arts.  On one hand, it can refer to a short musical composition that is romantic in nature and evocative of the night, typically for the piano.  The other references a picture of a night scene, romantic or otherwise.  There is a third reference that is gaining notoriety and this one brings pleasure to a third dimension of our senses.

The 2019 Nocturne Cabernets from the Margaret River district of Western Australia is a hauntingly beautifully coloured wine with its deep purples, reds and blacks. It is best poured with a Chopin nocturne rising and falling in the background. The nose against an artist’s night scene, real or imaginary, presents cassis, herbs, and spices that lovingly tease the senses. The palate is not to be rushed. Once tasted, it crescendos the berry fruits with trills of bay leaves, dark mint chocolate and freshly slivered fennel. The firm tannins and acid provide the structural elements for a long lingering and sensory pleasing finish as the last notes of Chopin drift away into the night sky.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $32

Tasted: September 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #380

2020 Kalleske Greenock Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Greenock I recently discovered is a small village on the mouth of the Clyde River in Scotland. So small in fact that there is one road in and out. The road out of course sees very little use with most of the residents having never felt an urge to see what is yonder. If you are looking for it, you have to take care with its pronunciation for no one will know where you are referring to. Go with Grrreeeeen-noock. Grrreeeeen-noock of course is also a sub-region of the Barossa Valley that was once known as Little Scotland. I have begun to ponder how an Scottish emigrant from Grrreeeeen-nock arriving today would describe one of this region’s famous bottles of Shiraz. With apologies to the Kalleske Prussian heritage, here goes…

Th’ 2020 Kalleske Greenock shiraz frae th’ Greenock sub-region in Barossa strath in Sooth Australia. Stunningly deep crimson coloor ‘at draws ye in loch a black hole. th’ beak has th’ hallmark black fruits, spices wi’ coffee, mirk chocolate an’ tooch ay a savoory black oli’es. th’ palate heids towards th’ broodin’ wi’ th’ mirk fruits lurkin’ an’ risin’ in waves ay firm velvety tannins. th’ peaks ur spices, th’ trooghs ur savoory. th’ finish lingers glorioosly an’ wi’ wee doobt, Greenock shiraz shoods be pronoonced Kalleske!

For those who struggle with the accent, the translation…

The 2020 Kalleske Greenock Shiraz from the Greenock sub-region in Barossa Valley in South Australia. Stunningly deep crimson colour that draws you in like a black hole. The nose has the hallmark black fruits, spices with coffee, dark chocolate and touch of a savoury black olives. The palate heads towards the brooding with the dark fruits lurking and rising in waves of firm velvety tannins. The peaks are spices, the troughs are savoury. The finish lingers gloriously and with little doubt, Greenock Shiraz should be pronounced Kalleske!

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 10+ yrs

Price: $45

Tasted: September 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #379

2019 Yangarra Estate Old Vine Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia

International Grenache Day is celebrated on the 17th September each year and it is an opportunity to celebrate all that is good about Grenache. It can be lightly crushed for a rose, blended with Shiraz and Mataro to create a GSM or vinified on its own. On its own, Grenache can swing from light and ethereal to bold and voluptuous. Balance though is the key for whatever style is the winemaker’s whim. At the high price point, complexity, longevity and persistence are the keys. At the lower end, it is its drinkability. Across all, yumminess is a feature.

The 2019 Yangarra Estate Grenache from McLaren Vale in South Australia is at the in between price point presenting a bright red coloured wine. On the nose, it is highly perfumed with spices, earth and liquorice; lovely and attractive. The palate brings out the red fruits; raspberries and pomegranates mingling on liquorice and spices with an earthiness that is the backbone. The flavours float effortlessly on a fine bed of obvious sandy tannins delivering a finely tuned wine that appeals as a marvellous example of the Grenache grape.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $38

Tasted: September 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #378

2017 RockBare Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia

In the arts, a fine piece is one that is said to have light and shade. Simply put, light and shade can be a metaphor for things that evoke an emotional response. In wine, light and shade can be the colours as they are swirled, the aromas as they rise and the flavours and textures as they wax and wane in waves. Grenache can do all these things.

The 2017 RockBare Grenache from the McLaren Vale in South Australia is lightly crimsoned, sparking a raised eyebrow. The nose is awash with rose petals, raspberries, cherries and liquorice that rise and fall with the swirls of the glass. A hint of nuts adds complexity and intrigue. The palate brings little waves of flavours that surprise. It is deceptive with its lightness, where touches of raspberries, blackberries and earth mingle and build with savoury notes, cola and a dusty oak. Its texture is something to marvel at as a bed of emery board-like tannins clashes delicately against the crisp acidity, leaving you with an emotional response that is best described as a sense of awe.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.5%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $28

Tasted: August 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #377

2019 Tobin Estate Max Shiraz Block Two, Granite Belt, Queensland

If you come by someone who has a property in the Granite Belt area and innocently ask them what they grow, their response might be “granite”.  It is an area where the parent material pokes out through the soil as mounds that can be anywhere from small to enormous.  Finding a site for a vineyard becomes that little bit harder and then managing it within the constraints imposed by the climate gets a tad more challenging.  Get it right, or perhaps having the conditions to get it right, and the granitic soils become a haven for cool climate wines that will more than please the senses.

The 2019 Tobin Estate Max Shiraz Block Two is from the Granite Belt region in Queensland. An at once vibrantly coloured wine that splashes bright dark reds around the glass. The nose is highly perfumed with plums and cherries transitioning to blueberries as the dominant fruit. Herbs of rosemary and bay leaf play with a quite spicy lift of white pepper, vanilla, fennel and cardamoms. On the palate, the blueberries and spices mingle easily within a tapestry of super fine tannins. A delightful mouthfeel is aided by the lively acidity. This and the persistence of flavours belies the efforts it has taken to get this to a glass.

Enjoy!

Rating: 93 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $60

Tasted: August 2021

Source: Sample from Tobin Estate. This is featured because it was delicious.

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Wine Code Breaker #376

2019 Paradigm Hill Les cinq Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

When is a single vineyard wine not a single vineyard wine? Perhaps it is when it is only a row or two from within the vineyard. Many wineries are starting to appreciate the complexity of their vineyard particularly where there is a desire to present a sense of place. You buy a block, put a fence around it and plant rows of vines. The rules of the slopes and soils do not follow the rules of estates. Of course this observation is not new. The vineyards of Burgundy in France have spent a millennia working through this process. The strict keeping of records aided their seasonal observations and we thank the monks for starting us off down this path.

2019 Paradigm Hill Les cinq is from Pinot Noir grapes that were sourced from a couple of rows with a single vineyard site in theMornington Peninsula region of Victoria. It is a light crimson coloured that is at once pretty and teasing to the senses. The nose is shy at first but easily encouraged blooming perfumes, red fruits, cherries and delicate spice. An earthy savoury influence builds its class. The palate dances delicately and delightfully with raspberries and cherries. It is a silken texture that supports a crescendo of flavours yet retains an elegance that is quite superb. We pause to thank the grower and maker for their efforts to capture detailed observations across the seasons that selected these few rows.

Enjoy!

Rating: 96 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.5%

Drink: Now; 10+ yrs

Price: $99

Tasted: July 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #375

2019 School House Headmaster Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, South Australia

A sheep station and a hotel were established to the north east of Penola in 1850 and both were but one of a few. Grape plantings followed soon after in 1861. With sheep and grapes there came jobs and with these, workers, and with workers, there came families. Families needed schooling and so in 1888, Comaum School became a small rural school on this sheep station to support this growing community. Today, this site is now a vineyard that teaches us the lessons of Coonawarra, the wine region.

The 2019 School House Headmaster Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra in South Australia is a brightly coloured crimson wine. The nose is at once varietal and regional; spicy cassis, touches of mint and herbs wafting above the glass. On the palate, there are blackberries that are dark, ripe and classy. The texture is firm with fine chalky tannins that creates an elegant and persistent palate. This glass is a class a lesson in Coonawarra Cabernet that is worth attending.

Enjoy!

Rating: 93 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 7-10 yrs

Price: $50

Tasted: July 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #374

2018 Shaw + Smith Shiraz, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

National Shiraz Day is marked down as the 22nd of July and I hope you celebrated this day in style. This day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on how Australian Shiraz has evolved in becoming the sheep’s back of the wine industry. It provided me with an opportunity to wonder if I taste and drink too much Shiraz…what better way to do this than over a glass of Shiraz.

The 2018 Shaw + Smith Shiraz is from the cooler climate area of Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Its dark garnet colour provides a mesmerising backdrop as I ponder if I taste and drink too much Shiraz. The aromas lift longingly from the glass; plums, cherries, blackberries, a little chocolate and herbs. A little soy and spices too, with time to pause and ponder if I taste and drink too much Shiraz. The flavours gently caress the palate with waves of blackberries and plums and cherries as cocoa, soy and herbs wax and wane. Its texture is velvety. Its persistence is remarkable, leaving me almost breathless with ample time to dismiss the thought that I taste and drink too much Shiraz.

Enjoy!

Rating: 96 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 10+ yrs

Price: $60

Tasted: May 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #370

2017 Garden of Earthly Delights (by Syrahmi) Nebbiolo, Heathcote, Victoria

The “Nebb Off” highlights are completed with a comparison of the fruits. As with all grapes, the flavours will be a function of place and season. The warmer the climate, the fuller and rounder the fruits will be. The cooler will be finer, perhaps more elegant. With Nebbiolo, you still get to see the tar, leather and earth, but you may also see variations around the red fruits and the spectrum they can splay before you.

The 2017 Garden of Earthly Delights Nebbiolo is from Heathcote in Victoria. A lightly coloured crimson wine as it splashes as alluring as the first apple offered to man. The nose has leather and earth entwined through a mix of sarsaparilla and cherries. Some oak deftly placed in the background. The palate has the tannins and acid pulling against each other yet appearing to act in union. The raspberry is less cola, yet highly appealing against the cherries and tar presenting a long lingering finish.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.8%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $37

Tasted: March 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #369

2018 Prōterō Gumeracha (by SC Pannell) Nebbiolo, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

The “Nebb Off” highlights continue where a comparison of tannins can be made. Nebbiolo tannins are inherently obvious and if mishandled, will dominate to deliver a chunky and chewy wine that will just not soften. Handled deftly, the tannins will balance the fruit and acid, giving you something to sip and marvel at.

The 2018 Prōterō Gumeracha (by SC Pannell) is a Nebbiolo from Adelaide Hills in South Australia. A light crimson-coloured wine leads into a nose that has tar and leather, delightfully contrasting the cherry fruits. Of course the tannins are firm, yet dance lightly across the palate where the acidity is the seesaw that teeters the cherries, cola and sarsaparilla. Lovely persistence that is a marvel.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $35

Tasted: March 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #368

2017 Mac Forbes EB40 Flaming Nebbiolo, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Ever heard of a “Nebb Off?” No? Let me explain. With the increased interest in Australian Nebbiolo, a “Nebb Off” is a flight of wines at a tasting that are, of course, Nebbiolo. A recent “Nebb Off” allowed for a comparison of Nebbiolo across three different regions. Needless to say, this was good fun with a highlight below.

The 2017 Mac Forbes EB40 Flaming Nebbiolo is from the Yarra Valley in Victoria and is a light cerise in colour. The nose of the Experimental Batch is perfumed, herbal with leather and earth. The palate sees the leather paired with tobacco, earth, and coffee beans on a tapestry of firm tannins, stitched together by crunchy acidity making it a “Nebb Off” standout.

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Cork

Alc: 13.5%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $40

Tasted: March 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #367

2020 Spinifex Garçon Grenache, Barossa Valley, South Australia 

Spinifex is a grass that is critical in holding back coastal foredunes from erosion in a harsh environment.  It appears delicate, yet can withstand much of what mother nature can throw at it.  It covers the surface of the dune and can be severely impacted by one storm, yet resilient enough to bounce back from the large swells that can pound the sand.  Human pedestrian traffic though can cause irreparable damage, so best to tread carefully along the dunes.  Spinifex is also the name of a winery that produces fine delicate wines from an environment that could be called harsh. They too are resilient, robust and tendered with care for us to marvel at.

The 2020 Spinifex Garçon Grenache is from the Barossa Valley in South Australia.   It is a beautiful light crimson-coloured wine.  The nose is perfumed of raspberry and spice with hints of graphite, earth and white and grey peppers.  The palate is delicate, with red fruits including raspberries, red currants and pomegranates. Dry spices and white peppers float easily across the palate with fine emery board tannins that along with the flavours lap gently against the dunes for a long, peaceful and lingering finish.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $30

Tasted: May 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #366

2017 La Petite Mort Marsanne, Granite Belt, Queensland 

La Petite Mort is the celebrated album by James, a British rock band.  Incidentally, my favourite song from this group is Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) but that is another story.  This album is influenced by the recent deaths of a family member and friend of the band.  The lyrics of the album could be described as confronting, polarising, a conversation piece.  La Petite Mort is also the name of a small batch winery that produces wines that could also be described as confronting, polarising, a conversation piece. 

The 2017 La Petite Mort Marsanne is from the Granite Belt wine region in Queensland.  It is a bright, light green tinged wine.  The nose is a touch confronting with nashi pear, honey and lanolin.  It may polarise some, but it moves into a conversation piece with the palate.  Those nashi fruits shine with crunchy textural features mingling with some green fruit notes.  A lovely, expressive wine where the melons, minerals and honey drive the persistence.  Confronting, polarising, a conversation piece, and this makes me walk like you.

Enjoy!

Rating: 90 pts

Closure: Diam

Alc: 12%

Drink: Now; 3-7 yrs

Price: $36

Tasted: April 2021

Featured

Wine Code Breaker #364

2019 Shadowfax Mondeuse Noir, Port Phillip, Victoria 

Mt Blanc in France is the highest mountain in the Alps of Europe.  In its shadows is the Savoie wine region of France.  This is the home to the Mondeuse Noir (or Noire) grape that the Gaul’s claimed “ripens amongst the snow.”  Then there is Werribee, located within the Port Phillip wine region it has one of Australia’s largest plantings of Mondeuse.  It has been in Australia for over 100 years but you wouldn’t really have known. It has been seen more as a blending variety elevating the acid and colour.  More recently, this grape is being showcased on its own to highlight its rustic and acid driven characteristics.  

The 2019 Shadowfax Mondeuse Noir from the Port Phillip region in Victoria is a bright ruby purple coloured wine.  The nose is instantly herbal followed by blackberries, spices, black olives as the savoury element and orange zest giving it a real appeal.  The palate has the dark fruits and black olives coming through mingling with a somewhat sappy crunchiness to the tannins.  The acidity brings it into balance and is better with a rustic plate of charcuterie and breads. This is not a wine for all, but is one of interest and worth trying. 

Enjoy!

Rating: 90 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13%

Drink: Now; 3-7yrs

Price: $34

Tasted: March 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #363

2020 Giant Steps Wombat Creek Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Victoria 

Hello Possums! Dame Edna Everage is our beloved megastar who is like no other. Hailing from Moonee Ponds, our Dame’s life experiences are something to marvel at. Her love of gladioli and outfits, whilst teetering on the fine line of outlandish and stylish, pale in comparison to her personality and cutting insight. She is sorry, but she cares. I have heard rumours Gladysdale in the Yarra Valley is a spiritual retreat for our megastar housewife for it is close to Wombat Creek. Why, this is the highest vineyard in the Yarra Valley and produces some stunning wines that are fit for our megastar and ourselves.

The 2020 Giant Steps Wombat Creek Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley in Victoria wears a bright crimson colour with remarkable ease. The nose balances out Edna’s gladioli with its cherry perfume, red fruits that are tending toward pomegranates, earth and soft spices of the oak. It is a gentle creature on the palate with elegant splaying of the red and cherry fruits across a bed of red rose petals, savoury spices and cedary tones. The velvety texture counter balances the crisp acidity to deliver a beautiful fanning tail that leaves you aglow.

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $60

Tasted: April 2021

Featured

Wine Code Breaker #362

2016 Printhie Super Duper Chardonnay, Orange, New South Wales 

The Orange wine region is located about 300km due West of Sydney.  It is an elevated landscape that belies its altitude.  Dominated by Mount Canobolis as there is nothing higher to the West.  A cool climate region that is relatively new, yet producing some stunning wines with pure fruit and regional zing. 

The 2016 Printhie Super Duper Chardonnay from Orange in New South Wales is a bright golden coloured wine.  The nose appeals instantly with its peaches, cumquat and other citrus elements.  There is oatmeal and honey with a touch of caramel.  The palate has the citrus, nuts and white peaches.  It is a complex palate with a creamy texture that provides its persistence.  It is cool, it is elevated, it is zinging with deliciousness. 

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 12.5%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $85

Tasted: March 2021

Featured

Wine Code Breaker #361

2019 Fighting Gully Road Sangiovese, Beechworth, Victoria 

The making of wine is a process that clashes the technical with creativity and music can help meld the two together to deliver something delicious.  I have recently wondered if you had a winery located in a former lunatic asylum, would you play Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on repeat?  This seminal album begins with a heartbeat and takes the listener on an immersive experience through the various stages of life before ending with a heartbeat.  The themes explored within the album would no doubt relate well to the vintage process as there will be ups and downs along the way.  A glass of Sangiovese from Beechworth made in an abandoned lunatic asylum is perhaps a worthy accompaniment to this wonderfully thought provoking album.

*Heartbeat* The 2019 Fighting Gully Road Sangiovese from Beechworth in Victoria also contains a small amount of Colorino.  Speak to me is what you will think of the dark crimson coloured wine in your glass as you raise it to your nose.  Breathe (in the air) from the glass and cherries will appear on the run with a wow of raspberries, herbs and dried flowers.  With time, there is a delicate and lively balsamic note that may metaphorically send you to the great gig in the sky.  The palate though is where the money is; the cherries and balsamic will have you thinking us and them thoughts as the savoury thread, herbs and spices present as any colour you like.  A little espresso may appear to give you brain damage as you start remembering games and daisy chains and laughs.  It is without doubt the winemaker kept the loonies on the path as the gravelly tannins and crisp acidity drives its persistence that is this glass’s eclipse.  I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon with a Fighting Gully Road Sangiovese.  *Heartbeat*

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $30

Tasted: January 2021

Featured

Wine Code Breaker #360

2016 Castagna la Chiave Sangiovese, Beechworth, Victoria 

Regions that have been put on the map by some wonderful examples of Shiraz are now being put back on the map, or their spot on the map is enlarged, with Italian varieties. Beechworth is one. A region founded on golden known for its cool climate Shiraz, you could say is now being re-pegged for Sangiovese. This region’s cool climate, a bit of elevation and dry Summers combining with the grape deliver flavours with sharp acidity that builds the wine. 

The 2016 Castagna la Chiave Sangiovese from Beechworth in Victoria is a bright crimson coloured wine.  The nose acts as a key opening with balsamic and leather moving through to cherries, blueberries, herbs and a little bit of tomato.  On the palate, the entrance expands with espresso and cola notes mingling with plums, cherries and leather.  These flavours are highly attractive on a mid weight palate, yet the golden nugget is its gravelly tannins complimenting the lively acidity that suggests this grape has a firm place in the region’s future. 

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Diam

Alc: 13.5%

Drink: Now; 5-10 yrs

Price: $75

Tasted: February 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #359

2019 Singlefile Family Reserve Chardonnay, Great Southern, Western Australia 

The Zephyr of Great Southern has struck again.  This Mistress of the Winds plays with the steep hills and valleys of the region and the Great Southern Ocean to deliver moisture laden breezes that cool the winters and warm the dry summers.  The vines grown on gravelly sandy loams benefit greatly to produce deeply flavoured grapes with crisp acidity. Chardonnay is a highlight of this region.  

The 2019 Singlefile Family Reserve Chardonnay from the Denmark area of Great Southern in Western Australia is a bright, lightly golden-coloured wine.  The nose is gloriously complex with freshly sliced peaches sprinkled with grapefruit on a bed of oatmeal and oak spice.  On the palate, the grapefruit pith balances out the white peach and ginger spice with hints of savoury nuttiness.  The creamy lees texture and its crisp acidity brings out an elegant and intensely flavoured lingering finish that leaves you thanking Zephyr for her favours.

Enjoy!

Rating: 96 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 13.2%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $60

Tasted: February 2021

Supplied by Singlefile as a guest panelist for their release. It was delicious and is thus highlighted.

Featured

Wine Code Breaker #358

2019 L.A.S Vino TNT Touriga Nacional Tinta Cao, Margaret River, Western Australia

Wagner’s 1876 opera, Götterdämmerung, is the last of the four musical and theatrical masterpieces that are better know as the The Ring of the Nibelung or the Ring for short.  This cycle tells the story of the killing of Siegfried by Hagen with a stab in the back.  Of course, this is not the first time such a killing has occurred.  Consider the infamous events of the 15th of March, known as the Ides of March.  Nowadays, it is celebrated as International Stab Someone in the Back Day.  Before you contemplate undertaking such an act, best to grab a red and ponder your options.  TNT might be one of those options to help you to work it through.

The 2019 L.A.S Vino TNT Touriga Nacional Tinta Cao is from Margaret River in Western Australia.  It is a bight purple coloured wine that is served from a squat little bottle that takes two hands to pour.  This has a simple and attractive nose with blackberries, spice and, as the nursery rhyme goes, all things nice.  The palate is one of bright dark fruits.  It is full-flavoured with blueberries, blackberries, spices, nutmeg and cinnamon.  A mouthfeel that is wrapped in fine powdery tannins that are balanced by dusty notes driving a lovely persistence that is worthy of sipping on while following the fourth cycle to its bloody conclusion. 

Enjoy!

Rating: 90 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14.5%

Drink: Now; 3-5 yrs

Price: $25

Tasted: February 2021

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Wine Code Breaker #357

2016 S.C. Pannell Nebbiolo, Adelaide Hills, South Australia 

International Nebbiolo Day is celebrated on the 5th March.  Barolo in Piedmont, Italy, is the original home. The Nebbiolo grape is now considered one of the 18 noble grapes, a term given to those varieties that are internationally recognisable.  It’s original style is of a wine that is light in colour belying its power.  High in tannins and acid, it is also highly aromatic and flavoured, and worthy of cellaring. Nebbiolo is also now making its name in Australia and Adelaide Hills is a region of note.

The 2016 SC Pannell Nebbiolo from Adelaide Hills in South Australia is a light red in colour with an intense brightness.  A delicate perfumed nose of roses, leather, cherries and cranberries. Minerals, cedar and earthenware with a touch of gaminess add depth and complexity – this built with time in the glass.  The palate is of cranberries and a touch of cherries entwined in soft aniseed flavoured leather.  The tannins are grippy, akin to 240 sandpaper but in a good way.  The acid is sharp and flavours are light, yet intense and complex.  And the persistence is gloriously noble, worthy of celebrating on its namesake day. 

Enjoy!

Rating: 95 pts

Closure: Screwtop

Alc: 14%

Drink: Now; 10+ yrs

Price: $60

Tasted: March 2021

Featured

Wine Code Breaker #356

2019 Mac Forbes EB57 Concrete Schoolyard Pinot Noir, Yarra Junction, Yarra Valley, Victoria 

Mac Forbes’s approach to winemaking starts in the vineyard.  As he states, “the vines are only as good as the soil they are anchored in.”  And with this, he works with the constraints of the seasons.  His EB – Experimental Batch – range is a place for play.   The vinification of the EB57 uses a concrete fermenter and concrete for maturation over 11 months.  No oak is used.  What we get to see with great clarity is the soil being expressed through the grapes of that season. 

The 2019 Mac Forbes EB57 Concrete Schoolyard Pinot Noir is from the Yarra Junction sub-region within Yarra Valley in Victoria.  A delightful bright deep pink to pale ruby coloured wine.  The nose is playful and highly perfumed with red fruits.  It draws you in.  The palate is an array of red fruits that builds on a bed of ethereal tannins.  It is expressive, simple, complex and playful all at once. 

Enjoy!

Rating: 94 pts

Closure: Cork

Alc: 12%

Drink: Now; 3-10 yrs

Price: $40

Tasted: December 2020

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Wine Code Breaker #355

2019 Soumah Syrah, Yarra Valley, Victoria

International Syrah Day appears to have got lost this year.  Celebrated on the 16th of February, it seems to have slipped most of us by.  Perhaps it was the hangover of the romance of the 14th or was it Global Drink Wine Day on the 18th. Perhaps it was due to the relatively limited use of the term Syrah that is used to adorn the bottle of our choice?  Better known Downunder as Shiraz, Syrah is in fact being observed more and more as the grape that formed the wine in the bottle on the shelf.  It’s use is more an attempt to describe a style; cooler climate with French oak.  In the end, it is a great demonstration of the versatility of the grape and this is what deserves to be celebrated on the 14th, 16th and 18th of February.   

The 2019 Soumah Syrah from the Yarra Valley in Victoria is a bright dark cherry colour in the glass. On the nose, the perfumed spices of St Valentine hang over delightfully along with touches of vanilla, herbs, blueberries and cedar-like pencil shavings. On the palate, Cupid strikes with a mix of blueberries and chocolate. It has leafy herbs that mingle with soft velvety tannins, delivering a highly appealing texture and a lingering finish that is worthy of its namesake day or any other day for that matter.

Enjoy!

Rating94 pts
ClosureScrewtop
AlcN/A%
DrinkNow; 5+ yrs
Price$40
TastedDecember 2020
Featured

Wine Code Breaker #354

2018 Mayford Tempranillo, Porepunkah, Alpine Valley, Victoria

A puppy whining in its youth for company can drive you spare.  Without giving puppy raising guidance, they need to be left alone to cope by themselves.  “Let it mature with you not in spite of you,” would appear to be the mantra.  So to with Tempranillo.  From its ancestral home in Rjorca in Spain, it has taken up residence in a small vineyard near Porepunkah in Victoria.  Here it is thriving in a landscape that is dominated by Mt Buffalo and the tempering katabatic winds.

The 2018 Mayford Tempranillo from Porepunkah which sits within the Alpine Valley region of Victoria, is a deep crimson and garnet coloured wine.  The nose is highly appealing with the red fruits, cherries and figs.  The palate is built on a bed of gravelly tannins that are firm and grippy, yet elegant at the same time.  Red fruits, sarsaparilla and cherries excite with their youthful zest and persistence that confirm it is delightful now, while screaming for more time in the bottle.  It may even whine quietly in your cellar.  Be firm.  Leave it alone to cope with itself and you will be rewarded. 

Enjoy!

Rating95pts
ClosureScrewtop
Alc13.9%
DrinkNow; 10+ yrs
Price$40
TastedDecember 2020 & January 2021
Featured

Wine Code Breaker #352

2016 Yagarra Estate Ovitelli Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Counting crows is a pastime oft spent during the long dry Summer months. They argk and squawk as only they can awaiting a carcass to appear. Counting Crows is also an alternative rock music group from California. In “Mrs Potter’s Lullaby” they poetically proposition, “if dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.” I suspect they were sipping on a glass of Yangarra Grenache at the time as it can put you into a euphoric trance that is somewhere between a dream and a memory. 

The 2016 Yangarra Estate Ovitelli is a Grenache from McLaren Vale in South Australia. Fermented in large ceramic eggs, the end result is a wine that is gloriously bright light crimson coloured as it is swirled around in the glass. The nose is highly perfumed with red fruits, spices and sarsaparilla. The intensity draws you in. The palate upon sipping weaves its magic with fine textural layers intertwining the red berries and spices. Ghosts come and go as the length and flavours rise and fall in waves and persist almost beyond what is real.  As you sit back in amazement, you may find yourself quoting poetry as you count the crows. 

Enjoy!

Rating96 pts
ClosureScrewtop
Alc14.5%
DrinkNow; 3-10 yrs
Price$70
TastedOctober 2020
Featured

Wine Code Breaker #351

2018 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia

The greatest wines are out of the reach of most of us.  They are wines that fill your dreams.  Their costs far exceed your bank balances, or the consequences of an extravagant spend far exceed the perceived benefit to the palate experience.  Then there are wines that you look at and um and ah over.  Their price is up there, but not stratospheric.  Their reputation is right up there too,  but not at the head of the peloton.  You may have had it years ago and thought it was pretty special and it would be nice to see it again.  It may have filled a day dream, but not a night of dreams and that is absolutely okay.  Penfolds Bin 389 is one of those and a benchmark of the great Aussie blend.

The 2018 Penfolds Bin 389 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz from the benchmark regions in South Australia.  Its colour is a vibrant display of ruby reds and purples that leaves you marvelling.  The nose is intensely youthful like the colour.  An abundance of liquorice spices, blackberries, blueberries and red fruits galore.  There is an ever so subtle oak with crushed nuts, Chinese five spices and an essence of Peking duck.  The palate presents flavours that are intense and mouthfilling.  Red, black and blue fruits play out on a bed of velvety and emery board like tannins.  It is juxtaposition between the raw and the integrated.  It is imposing and approachable.  It is rewardingly persistent transgressing your day dream to a marvellous shared experience.

Enjoy!

Rating97 pts
ClosureScrewtop
Alc14.5%
Drink10+ yrs
Price$100
TastedSeptember 2020
Featured

Wine Code Breaker #350

Non-Vintage Sparkling Shiraz, Turkey Flat, Barossa Valley, South Australia

A BBQ is an Australian institution.  Snags, salad and steak on a paper plate, all to be eaten with one hand and an implement.  But which implement is best? What do you really need?  A fork, a spoon or a knife? A splayd of course!  Combining a fork, knife and spoon, this is the ultimate Australian invention that will see you get through the BBQ with aplomb.  Of course, the other  Australian invention you need to sip along with is Sparkling Shiraz.

The Non-Vintage Turkey Flat Sparkling Shiraz is from the Barossa Valley in South Australia.  It is an almost violently vibrant, deep magenta coloured wine that is all the more remarkable for the very fine bead.  The nose is rich and luscious with plums, blue berry fruits, spices and chocolate shining through.  A bit of Christmas cake too.  The palate has a luscious array of dark berry flavours and plums that fill the palate to overflowing.  Dark chocolate, espresso, spices and glazed fruits are presented on a super fine bead that is complimented by light sandy tannins. This is a complex and lingering sparkling wine that stands magnificently next to a splayd as one of the great Aussie inventions.

Enjoy!

Rating96 pts
ClosureCrown
Alc13%
DrinkNow; 10+ yrs
Price$45
TastedOctober 2020
Featured

Wine Code Breaker #349

2017 Simonnet-Febvre Cesar Coteaux Bourguignons, Burgundy, France

Asterix and Obelix stories tell the tale of the Julius Caesar’s Romans and their fateful interactions with the Gauls in the territories that are now France.  Of course Getafix, the Druid, has access to a magic potion that keeps the Gauls and Romans in a semi-conflicted peace.  The potion remains a secret, but I suspect it was a blend of Pinot Noir and Argant.  An ancient variety, once thought to be introduced to France by Caesar, it was called Cesar.  It’s home is in the north of the Burgundy region.

The 2017 Simonnet-Febvre Cesar is from the Coteaux Bourguignons sub-region of Burgundy in France.  The colour is a very bright crimson and flashes as a potion drawing you in.  The nose is an elixir of cedar, cherries, secret herbs and raspberries.  The palate is driven by the herbs with raspberries and cherries.  Robust rustic tannins provide the bed for length.  The sharp acidity cries out for food and extends it out.  Perhaps best served with wild boar to keep the peace.

Enjoy!

Rating93 pts
ClosureCork
Alc13%
DrinkNow; 3-10 yrs
Price$40
TastedJuly 2020
Featured

Wine Code Breaker #348

2020 Dormilona Yokel Trebbiano Pet Nat, Swan Valley, Western Australia

Trebbiano is thought to have originated in Italy and during Roman times, made its way to France.  Today it is one of the most widely grown varieties in the world, but will mostly be seen in balsamic vinegars and some fortifieds.  It was introduced into Australia in 1832 by James Busby.  From there it made its way to other regions including the  Swan Valley in Western Australia.  Naturally high in acidity, it is no surprise that it pairs well with hard cheeses and Italian dishes.  As a Petillant Naturel, its little bit of fizz adds just a bit more excitement.

The 2020 Dormilona Yokel Trebbiano Petillant Naturel, or Pet Nat for short, is from a site in the Swan Valley of Western Australia.  Poured from a clear bottle, you experience a Springtime sunset in a glass; hues of yellow and orange that excite.  Add in sprinkles of a fine bead of the Pet Nat and your interest goes up a notch.  An appealing nose with pears, apples, lemons and a touch of mandarin rind.  The palate displays the fine bead as a light fizz, deftly swirling the flavours of peach, pear and green apples.  A refreshing crispness from the acidity aides to the relaxation as the sun sets below the horizon.  Time tough for another glass as twilight lingers some moments more.

Enjoy!

Rating90 pts
ClosureCrown
Alc12.5%
DrinkNow
Price$25
TastedNovember 2020
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Wine Code Breaker #347

2018 Coldstream Hills Merlot, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Miles is the somewhat hard to love character from Sideways, a movie that almost killed the sales of Merlot.  He had some self esteem issues; best summed up when he remarked, “half my life is over and I have nothing to show for it.  Nothing.  I’m a thumbprint on the window of a skyscraper.  I’m a smudge of excrement on a tissue surging out to sea with a million tons of raw sewage.”  Ironically, his favourite wine was not allowed to be used in the movie, a Chateau Petrus Pomerol.  A Merlot.  With International Merlot Day on November 7, it is worth reflecting how good this grape can be.

The 2018 Coldstream Hills Merlot is from the Yarra Valley in Victoria.  It is a dark red coloured wine with a bright, lively edge.  The nose is of tobacco and herbs; sage and bay leaves providing the frills to the red fruits.  The palate is a perfect match to the nose with some cool elegance and slightly sandy tannins.  Tightly structured around plums and briary fruits, with chocolate through the middle, gives it volume that finishes with cedar notes.  This is very youthful and needs time, providing you with more than a smudge of excitement in a glass.

Enjoy!

Rating94 pts
ClosureScrewtop
DrinkNow; 10 yrs
Price$35
TastedOctober 2020