New tasting notes

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This month sees a major tasting of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet blends and merlots, with a welter of great Aussie cabernets to choose from.

Blinders from Plantagenet (tasting), Flametree SRS (tasting), Evans & Tate Redbrook (tasting), Castelli (tasting), Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz (tasting – great value discovery), Laurance Icon (tasting), Xanadu Reserve (tasting) and Stevens Road (tasting), Leeuwin Estate Prelude (tasting), and Brown Brothers Patricia (tasting).

Predictably great are Vasse Felix Heytesbury (tasting) and Moss Wood from 2010 (tasting), the Moss Wood being right on form after a disappointing ‘09.

And the big discovery in Margaret River is Thompson Estate, whose 2010 cabernet (tasting) is making a strong bid to play with the big kids. And it’s only $40.

Can’t find any decent Australian merlot? Then try Bird in Hand (tasting), Penny’s Hill Malpas Road (tasting), Smith & Hooper (tasting) and Leconfield (tasting).

There’s a lot of good-value drinking in the semillon sauvignon blanc blends, and also the semillons and straight sauvignons.

If you want the best from New Zealand, the latest Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc (tasting) should amply satisfy, as should the new one from Brancott Estate, Chosen Rows (tasting) – priced at (sharp intake of breath) $70.

Love Hunter semillon? You should try Coolangatta Estate (tasting), from the Shoalhaven Coast. I’ve tasted a vertical of their semillons, which are made by Tyrrell’s (tastings).

There’s also an interest-packed array of imported reds, with a great-value $20 Cotes-du-Rhone, Les Courtilles 2011 (tasting); superb Chablis from Louis Moreau (tastings) and Olivier Tricon (tasting), and some lovely dolcettos and barberas from Azelia (tastings) and Brovia (tasting).

There’s also a heap of Australian alternative varieties, with Yalumba’s Virgilius (tasting) and Clonakilla (tasting) being the outstanding viogniers, Delatite’s beautiful gewürztraminer (tasting), a smart new rondinella corvina from Freeman (tasting), and two ripping zinfandels from Kangarilla Road (tasting) and Cape Mentelle (tasting).

Go get ‘em! 

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