The amazing Vanguardist Wines, from South Australia

I was really pleased to try these wines (thanks to Christina Rasmussen for getting these samples to me). They’re from a relatively new project, Vanguardist, which is a collaboration between three people, Alexandra Maurisset, Edouard Maurisset-Latour and Michael Corbett. Corbett is the winemaker, and is based in the Clare Valley, but he’s a Kiwi: the three [...]

Celebrating the Gourmet Traveller Wine Winemaker of the Year awards in Adelaide

David Bicknell receiving the Winemaker of the Year Award 2017

Twenty years ago, Clare Valley Riesling genius Jeffrey Grosset was the first recipient of the Gourmet Traveller Wine Winemaker of the Year award. That was back in 1998. And on Friday night at at glitzy gala dinner in the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, the [...]

Visiting Wirra Wirra, McLaren Vale

Wirra Wirra is one of those wineries that we sometimes take for granted. They’ve been there for (seemingly) ever, making good wines in reasonable quantities, but don’t often get the headlines. But the great thing about wineries like this is that they connect with lots of people, and you can find the wines pretty much [...]

D'Arenberg, with Chester and his Cube

On Wednesday I visited D’Arenberg, an important producer in Australia’s McLaren Vale region. I remember when I was first getting into wine in the mid-1990s and being seduced by the D’Arenberg reds, with their beautifully detailed back labels and distinctive red sash design. I remember buying and selling the famous Dead Arm Shiraz, which is [...]

Koomilya, the 'new Wendouree'

The Koomilya vineyard in McLaren Vale

Komilya is the exciting new vineyard-based project from one of the McLaren Vale’s stars, SC Pannell. I don’t like to hype wines, but this is one of the most exciting discoveries I’ve made in Australia. This is the McLaren Vale’s Wendouree, in terms of style, intention and potential longevity.

Stephen Pannell [...]

A day in Adelaide: Big Table, Lady Burra, Shobosho, Pink Moon

It’s nice to be back in Adelaide. I spent a few days here last July, and it’s a very liveable place, a little scruffy around the edges, but a great place to eat, drink and wander around.

I had a day in the city yesterday. I began by wandering through the Central Market, where there are [...]

Fine cool climate Aussie wines from Frankland Estate

Head 250 km east of the Margaret River wine region in Western Australia, and you’ll hit the remote Frankland River region. With the coast quite a distance south, this is a cool climate wine region. Frankland Estate was established here in 1988 on the Smith family sheep station, and has established quite a reputation for [...]

Fugazi! A lovely McLaren Vale Grenache from Ochota Barrels

Had this bottle the other night at Noble Rot. You can tell times are changing if I’m going out and ordering (a) a Grenache (b) from the McLaren Vale. Both grape  variety and region are underestimated, and it takes a producer like Ochota Barrels to show their potential, with the strong imprint of winemaking and [...]

A pre-ProWein tasting of some lovely Australian wines

On the eve of ProWein, Wine Australia put on a tasting of some really interesting Australian wines. Here are my notes on some of my favourites.

Bellwether Vermentino 2014 Heathcote, Australia
This is a distinctive white wine that’s mineral, stony and lemony with nice delicacy and hints of juniper. Lots of interest here. 92/100

Soumah Single Vineyard Hesham [...]

Blind Spot: Mac Forbes makes great value Aussie wines for The Wine Society

Blind Spot is a range of own-label wines made for The Wine Society by Mac Forbes. They’re great value, and made in quite an elegant style. I like them a lot, although the Pinot Noir will be too volatile for some. The Garganega, especially, is really beautiful for the price.

Blind Spot Garganega 2016 King Valley, [...]