Exhausted from the festive season and thinking of resolutions we will never keep, there is but one promise that we shall hold steadfast for 2016… and that is: we shall drink well.
For your January pleasure: a wild-eyed Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc, a delicious Pinot Gris, a dead sexy Margaret River Chardonnay and a lovely Barossa Shiraz that represents amazing value for money. That’s the year off to a fine start.
2015 Wild Nature White RRP $30 There are lovely things happening up there in those Hills. I don’t exactly know what’s going on; perhaps it’s something in the water, but it seems there are a group of wine producers up that way, kindred spirits they be, that are producing some of Australia’s most exciting wines. Tim Webber and Monique Millton are the good folks behind Manon and they have just released the first wines under the fledgling label.
The Wild Nature White is a Sauvignon Blanc hailing from a wild–grown vineyard in Hahndorf that had been abandoned for five years. By wild–grown they mean no sprays, no pruning or irrigation, horses strolling the rows. It’s basically been left to do its own funky thing before they have stepped in to harvest the plentiful tiny bunches and guide it gently to bottle with no added sulphites and weighing in at a gentle 10.5% alcohol.
Cloudy pale orange hues in colour with, as the name suggests, vivid, wild, vinous aromas flowing from the glass. Aromas of gooseberry, lemon and stonefruits are underscored with hints of crushed stone, nettle, dried tangerine rind and fresh herbs. The palate is pure as can be with a pleasing textural tweak as it flows through the mouth. It’s quite a delicate, subtle wine.
Savoury in structure with a gentle tug of sweet fine-grained tannin on the finish and a salivating acid profile. Great sapid, textural drinking.
THE OTHER WINE CO.
2015 Pinto Girls RRP $26 Fresh from their victory at the Hot 100 Wines show with their stellar, über– slurpable Grenache, I think it is poignant that we shine a light on another wine in their quiver, the delicious 2015 Pinot Gris.
Pinot Gris has been touted as the ‘next big thing’, well, since the last next big thing I guess and we really should be getting stuck into more of it, it’s pretty delicious and conducive to long lunches on sunny days with good company.
The Other Wine Co. is part of the Shaw + Smith stable of wines; snappy labelling, snappy wines and their catch cry of “the right grape grown in the right place” is sound advice that should be tattooed on every winemaker’s stained hands. And it appears that they have the formula right as this is one of the best Pinot Gris’ that I’ve seen out of Australia and one that will put a smile on many a face over the next few months. Mid-pale straw in the glass with classic varietal aromas of pear and stone fruits with a dusting of soft spice, nougat, almond blossom and clotted cream. Slinky and textural as it sashays across the tongue with a lively fruit flow.
The wine shows excellent clarity on the palate with pure stone and citrus fruits, bright acid drive and a gentle phenolic twist to its dry, savoury finish. Great summer drinking here. Peel me a prawn Jeeves.
2012 Chardonnay RRP $45 It’s no great secret that Chardonnay is the most improved grape variety in Australia over the last decade or so.
There is great diversity in style, though sometimes that can be a negative as you are expecting something cuddly and endearing and get slapped in the face with a wine that has Spinal Tap sulphides and a leanness that can be confronting. Chardonnays from Margaret River are always a good bet. It’s a region blessed with a great maritime climate and a bevy of top wineries producing great Chardonnay.
No doubt they’ve become finer and more elegant over the years too… and that’s a great thing. Voyager Estate is one such winery that is producing superb examples of this noble variety and the wines just seem to get better. Mid–straw in hue with inviting aromas of nectarine and citrus fruits with hints of lemon curd, gentle spice, roasted cashew, oatmeal, almond butter and deftly–judged French oak.
Great clarity and drive on the palate with fruit flavours of white peach, nectarine and citrus leading the charge, underscored by hints of cinnamon, marzipan, clotted cream, roasted nuts and spicy oak nuances.
There’s plenty of focus and precision here with a porcelain-like acid line, a pithy lemon twist and a long, moreish finish that fades elegantly with notes of nectarine, spice and meal. A beauty.
2014 Schist Rock Single Vineyard Barossa Shiraz RRP $20 I like Domenic Torzi. There is very little B.S. about both the man and his wines; no fluff, no marketing smoke and mirrors, just good honest wines that are always beautiful to drink and reflect both the place and the year in which they were grown… you cannot ask for much more than that.
The fruit here comes from the Torzi Matthew Mt. McKenzie vineyard in the Eden Valley, higher, of course, than the Barossa Valley floor, with a larger diurnal temperature range leading to wines that are slightly finer, tighter in tannin and shape, but still sing of Barossan origins. It’s well worth checking out the whole Torzi Matthews range including the Vigna Cantina wines from Italian grape varieties.
And being of good Calabrian bloodstock, Dom does a mean olive oil that should be on your shopping list. Deep red/purple in the glass with a vibrant nose of spiced plum, blueberry and dark/ black berry fruits. Hints of Asian spice, malt, licorice, creamy oak, cranberry high–tones and a light herbal note… almost like cascade hops that lingers in the background.
There is lovely flow to the palate with pure plum and berry fruit front and centre, followed closely by sultry fruitcake spice notes, licorice, blue–fruit compote and sexy oak. It’s expressive, generous and dangerously good to drink with fine tannin and a finish that lingers nicely.
Value–wise it’s hard to beat and it deserves a place on everyone’s table. torzimatthews.com.au