Both Barrels Shiraz Durif

Pleasantly surprised by this Aussie red from Laithwaites. It’s made by their RedHeads studio winery in McLaren Vale, and winemaker Steve Grimley has cobbled together some Coonawarra Shiraz and some Rutherglen Durif. The combination works really well, and at a penny under a tenner, this is pretty good value for money. As with most Laithwaites [...]

A lovely, affordable Hunter Semillon

Very nice wine, this. Hunter Valley Semillon is a unique style of wine. Pale, fresh, light in youth, yet ages brilliantly. And it comes from a very warm wine region. A vinous paradox. This is a good one at a nice price, ready to drink now.

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bottle-Aged Semillon 2006 Hunter Valley, Australia
10.5% [...]

Warming up with Shiraz after a freezing afternoon of rugby

Today I drove for 2 h 45 down to Somerset, stood and watched a game of rugby in the coldest conditions I can recall, and then drove back again.

Even though I’ve never been as cold (and I was wrapped up well), I don’t regret the journey, because it was a chance to see my older [...]

At the Australia Day tasting

Some great wines on show today at the Australia Day tasting in London’s Saatchi gallery. Great venue for wine tasting: lots of natural light, and big airy spaces. Couldn’t have been better.

I didn’t taste everything, by any means (in fact, I was only there a couple of hours). But what I did taste impressed. Some [...]

Funniest label of the year, so far

Caught a glimpse of this new wine label from D’Arenberg, for a celebratory sparkling wine they are releasing.

It’s very funny indeed. (For those who don’t get the joke, see this link.) I hope Pernod Ricard, who own Champagne Mumm, can see the funny side too.

Evoi The Satyr, a serious Margaret River red

This is a serious Bordeaux-style red from a small producer in Margaret River. ‘Evoi’ is, apparently, the ecstatic scream of joy uttered by the Maenads, who were the female followers of Bacchus. The producer website is here.

Evoi The Satyr 2009 Margaret River, Australia
14% alcohol. Intense aromatic nose of blackberry, spice, olives, some meaty notes and [...]

A couple from Ben Glaetzer

I’m a hypocrite. I go on all the time about how I love balance and elegance; I sing the praises of low alcohol, lightweight reds. And then I come across a couple of big, 15% alcohol Barossa reds that I find really delicious. I think it is because Ben Glaetzer can do big but still [...]

Yalumba Viognier 2010 Eden Valley

Impressive stuff from Yalumba who have pioneered this variety in Australia. They also do an excellent cheaper Viognier in their Y series which is almost as good. But this version, from their home in the Eden Valley, is quite serious. A really good expression of this variety.

Yalumba Viognier 2010 Eden Valley, Australia
13.5% alcohol. Complex nose [...]

Picardy - elegance from Western Australia

I have just written up the fabulously stylish Picardy wines from Western Australia’s Pemberton region. You can read the full review here.

They’re just so elegant, and probably my favourite is the Shiraz:

Picardy Shiraz 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Initially tight on opening, this really blossoms after about an hour. A really elegant, almost Pinot-like Shiraz with smooth, [...]

Two lovely wines from St Hallett

Impressed with these wines from Barossa producer St Hallett. The Faith Shiraz is riper and quite seductive, but with lovely fruit purity. The more expensive Scholz is deeper coloured, but less intense – it’s an elegant, expressive example of Barossa Shiraz with lots of personality.

St Hallett Faith Shiraz 2009 Barossa, Australia
Very appealing sweet berry fruits [...]