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, [...]

Video: the Mornington Peninsula wine region

I’ve just published two films on my Mornington Peninsula adventures, with an introduction to the region. The two parts go together, and feature many of the key winegrowers who have helped put this region on the map as Australia’s premier for Pinot Noir (although Tasmania may dispute this.

Part 1 – in order of [...]

Wines of the year (9) the rest

So, my final round-up of wines of the year, 2016. So many good bottles, of which this long series has highlighted just a few.

Contino Gran Reserva 2009 Rioja, Spain
We tried this from bottle and magnum. I preferred the bottle (the magnum will probably be better in time), and this is the one I took the [...]

Tyrrell's HVD Semillon 2010 Hunter Valley

Hunter Semillon. One of the wine world’s most distinctive wine styles. This is a good one: the single vineyard HVD from Tyrrell’s with six years’ bottle age. Just beginning to hit its stride. The HVD Vineyard was planted by the Hunter Valley Distillery Company, and the oldest vines here were planted in 1908. It was [...]

Lunch with Brendon and Kirstyn of BK Wines, Adelaide Hills, Australia

Brendon Keys, BK Wines

I met with Brendon and Kirstyn Keys, the B and K in BK Wines over lunch at the Harwood Arms. They had new releases in tow. They are in the process of building a winery right now.

Brendon has been working with concrete eggs. ‘I like what oak does to the fermentation, [...]

Gamay focus 21, Bass Phillip Gamay 2014, Gippsland, Australia

There isn’t a lot of Gamay in Australia, but there are two or three examples that get written up very highly by the critics. This is one of them: the Gamay from Bass Phillip, better known for exceptional Pinot Noir. The plot this wine was made from is in the Leongatha vineyard in South Gippsland, [...]

Rootstock (Sydney), a natural wine fair, focuses more on the vineyard in 2016

Late last year I had a lovely time attending Rootsock Sydney. It’s a lovely not-for-profit wine fair focusing on natural wines. One of the very best.

I really enjoyed it, but I was a bit worried by the obsession with winemaking processes in defining ‘natural’, and in particular with the fixation on sulfur dioxide levels. In [...]

Wolf Blass Black Label Vertical, 1974-2012

Chris Hatcher, Wolf Blass winemaker

This is the 50th year of Wolf Blass as a wine company, and it’s also the 40th vintage of the Wolf Blass Black Label. So winemaker Chris Hatcher was in town to present a vertical of this wine back to 1974.

Wolf made his first wine in 1967, when he produced [...]