New and Noteworthy

No Thumbnail

New Tastings: Pinot noir

Expect to hear relentless debates for the next year or so over which is the greater vintage for southern Victorian pinot noir: 2012 or 2013? The ‘12s are a wonderful crop of pinots, for sure, and the top cuvées from all leading producers are now

No Thumbnail

Sav blanc & semillion

Fermenting white grapes with their skins and seeds has become a fringe activity in some quarters in the winemaking business, and often the result is a hazy, brown/amber coloured concoction which has no freshness, charm or distinctive flavour and aroma. Trying to make sauvignon blanc

No Thumbnail

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet is a grape that’s grown all over the world, but it makes great red wine in relatively few places. It’s far more choosy about where it puts down roots than, say, shiraz. Marginal climates and over-cropped vines readily yield wines that smell and taste

No Thumbnail

Aussie sparkling

Australia is drinking more Champagne – over 6 million bottles were imported in 2013 – with favourable exchange rates and sharp prices (especially from the direct importers) being key drivers. I’ve had several opportunities to taste Champagne recently, both in my routine tastings at home,

No Thumbnail

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill – it’s not church altar wine, it’s a winery in McLaren Vale. But it is almost kind of holy water. The tasting room is a cute, old, deconsecrated church. Its labels feature churchy names such as The Vicar (tastings), The Parson’s Nose (tastings),

No Thumbnail

Alternative Reds

The biggest tasting I did last month was of 150 mixed red varietals – these are made from grapes other than the staples, shiraz, pinot noir, cabernet and merlot. This grab-bag of ‘alternative’ varieties is blossoming – both in the number of varieties being produced

No Thumbnail

Italian Beauties

At the end of each month I find I’ve sampled an assortment of wines that are exciting but aren’t necessarily current releases. Most of what I taste week to week is current-release wine, but one cannot live on raw young wine alone, so there are

No Thumbnail

European Riesling Feast

There’s a feast for European riesling lovers in my latest lot of tasting notes. From my recent trip to the Mosel Valley and Alsace, there are more than 75 wines from Schloss Lieser (tastings), Fritz Haag (tastings), Joh Jos Prüm (tastings), Dr Loosen (tastings) and Albert Mann (tastings) now in

No Thumbnail

Hewitson Reds

Dean Hewitson is a Barossa Valley winemaker who is making reds in a style that doesn’t always attract attention, but is very merit-worthy. These are elegant, profound wines, made usually from old-vine fruit, and they are never oaky, extractive, overripe or over-built. His 2012 reds which

No Thumbnail

Shiraz, shiraz, and still more shiraz!

In addition to the 164 tasting notes of new-release shiraz uploaded this month, there is a 25th anniversary vertical tasting of Turkey Flat Shiraz, 1990 to 2014 (tastings). Turkey Flat is one of the most consistently good shirazes of the Barossa Valley. It has never