Dinner at Taras and Amber's with the Basket Range crew

After our tour of the Basket Range it was off to dinner at Taras and Amber’s place, which is secluded and fringed with green. This is not what you’d expect from, Australia in late November. We arrive to find quite a crowd gathered, all relaxed, happy and engaged with each other. This is pretty much [...]

The Manon Wild Nature wines, made from abandoned vineyards

At my dinner with the Adelaide Hills Basket Range guys, it was great to meet Monique Millton (daughter of Gisborne, NZ’s James and Annie Millton) and Tim Webber. They are making wine together under the Manon label. One thing they are doing that is, as far as I know, pretty unique, is to make wines [...]

The Klopper Basket Range Tour

Visit finished, Ben and I hopped into Anton’s Land Rover Defender. All aboard for a tour of the Basket Range.

The Basket Range is a beautiful corner of the Adelaide Hills, and it is the epicentre for the new wave of interesting, naturally made Australian wine. There’s a fabulous critical mass of winegrowers who are working [...]

In the Adelaide Hills (1) Ngeringa and Anton van Klopper

The Monday morning after Rootstock. I threw all my belongings into a bag, and headed off to Sydney airport on the train. At the gate I bumped into a tired band of Rootstock survivors: Anton van Klopper, Tom Shobbrook, Monique and Annie Millton, and Tim Webber. They are cheerful but deeply weary. Most have had [...]

Penfolds' Chardonnays, from Koonunga Hill to Yattarna

Penfolds are famous for their Bin Series reds, a range led by the world famous Grange. But back in the mid-1990s they decided to try their hand at whites, and chose Chardonnay as their target. Yattarna was launched as the white Grange, but the project also launched a number of other impressive Chardonnays. These were [...]

Vinteloper Odeon Pinot Noir 2012 Adelaide Hills

Dave Bowley, the Vinteloper, came round to dinner. And he bought this: one of the best Australian Pinot Noirs that I have tasted. It’s from a single Vineyard in Lenswood, Adelaide Hills that was planted in 1986. The slope faces east; the clone is  D5V12; the elevation is 550m.

Winemaking: pigeage by hand & foot, wild [...]

New releases from Aussie star Shaw & Smith

I’ve reviewed the wines of Shaw & Smith before, here and here. I got to taste some of the latest releases, and I’m once again pretty impressed. The Sauvignon Blanc pays the bills for the other wines. The Chardonnay is probably the true star in the line up, but everything’s good here.

Shaw & Smith Pinot [...]

Two super Australian Chardonnays: Oakridge and Yalumba

Australian Chardonnay is probably the wine style that has changed most in the last decade. The best examples are totally brilliant, and while I still have a nostalgic fondness for the big bad-assed rich examples of the past, the new super-lean Chardonnays with their mineral tension are just so good. Aussie Chardonnay went on a [...]

Shaw & Smith Shiraz 2010

Met with Michael Hill-Smith today at the shiny new Liberty Wine offices in Clapham, to taste the latest releases of Shaw & Smith.

For me, this is one of Australia’s leading wineries. They make just four wines, all of which are excellent, from the cool-ish climate Adelaide Hills region in South Australia.

The Sauvignon Blanc 2012 is [...]

First Drop Mere et Fils Chardonnay, great wine, fabulous label

Aussie wine producer First Drop are fast becoming one of the cleverest at marketing their wines – even outdoing D’Arenberg. The good news is that the content of the bottle matches up to the ambitions of the packaging. This is a lovely Chardonnay, and the front and back labels are just brilliant.

First Drop Mere et [...]