Wine Reviews With Dave Brookes

Three South Australian top drops and a new Victorian wine are the orders of the day, according to our new wine reviewer Dave Brookes.

Three South Australian top drops and a new Victorian wine are the orders of the day, according to our new wine reviewer Dave Brookes. Knappstein  2014 Knappstein Ackland Vineyard Watervale Riesling  RRP $30 Riesling has to be one of the most undervalued grape varieties in Australia. It’s delicious when fresh as a daisy upon release and, with careful cellaring, develops the toasty complexity and wisdom of age. In fact, if I was permitted one white grape variety to drink for the rest of my years, Riesling would be my choice. Knappstein winemaker Glenn Barry has delivered a cracker from the Ackland vineyard in the Clare Valley’s Watervale sub–region. It is a wine that aches with fruit purity and drive — freshly squeezed lime juice, soft spice, a waft of flint and a flash of Christmas Lilly floral lift. Focussed, and finely honed on the palate, it finishes bone–dry with great clarity and a savoury, salivating acidity that begs another glass.   St Hallett 2013 St Hallett Old Vine Grenache RRP $25 In Australia we’ve a tendency to approach Grenache in the same manner as we do Shiraz, in the process losing sight of the one thing that makes the wine so attractive — its perfume. Toby Barlow, from St Hallett in the Barossa, treats it a little differently. The addition of whole bunches and carbonic maceration in the ferment, opens the wine up, allowing increased space and a sense or airiness on the palate. It is deeply perfumed with aromas of ripe berry and cherry fruits flecked with spice, lavender and jasmine. Its shape in the mouth is closer to Pinot Noir medium–bodied with a spacious mid–palate showing great detail and verve. Fine, ripe and sandy tannins provide gentle support and the structure from which the delicious, spicy fruit hangs the palate driven along by a seam of fine, lacy acidity. Delicious drinking.   Alpha Box & Dice 2014 Alpha Box & Dice Rebel Rebel Montepulciano RRP $25 Varieties that end with ‘o’ continue to gather momentum and the mavericks at Alpha Box & Dice have come up with another cracking wine here with the release of their 2014 Rebel Rebel Montepulciano. It is a variety that seems well suited to both the Australian climate and the food that tends to grace our tables. It sits at the lighter end of medium–bodied with fragrant red berry and cherry fruits bursting from the glass. Higher tones of crunchy cranberry make an appearance with hints of soft spice, dried mandarin, red licorice and purple floral notes. It’s bouncy and energetic on the palate with a vivid line, and the gentle tug of fine, ripe chalky tannin holds everything in line perfectly. A beautifully weighted, savoury red wine that will win many fans.   Sentio Wines 2014 Sentio Wines Lusatia Park Chardonnay RRP $42 Chris Catlow learned his chops at Paringa and Kooyong Estate in Mornington Peninsula before setting up shop in the grounds of the old mental asylum complex at Beechworth in North–East Victoria. Two successive vintage stints with young Burgundy superstar Benjamin Leroux followed and you can kind of see where this is headed. Chris produces three Chardonnays under the fledgling Sentio label and the one from the rock star Lusatia Park vineyard in Victoria’s Yarra Valley is a beauty. It’s all about drive and focus here with beautifully detailed stone–fruits providing the backdrop, underscored by hints of soft spice, oatmeal, beautifully judged French oak and wafts of struck match complexity. Delicate and complex with a sense of latent power, it’s a wine that provides beautiful drinking and this is a young wine label that is sure to make some noise in the future. [email protected] @vino_freakism

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