Current Issue #488

Wine Reviews: Autumn drops

Wine Reviews: Autumn  drops

Autumn has to be one of my favourite times of the year. It offers reprieve from the heat of summer and the marked change of the season is palpable; it’s as if the earth is taking a deep breath after the rigours of a long growing season and drawing its energy back into the soil for storage over the winter months. But the wines we drink as the weather cools needn’t be heavy or cumbersome and this month’s selections are a testament to pure drinkability.


2008 Cuvee Helen Blanc de Blancs RRP $55 The folks at The Lane have got it covered with amazing views, superb food and a great line-up of wines. They have nailed it with the release of their new Sparkling offering, produced in the traditional method (a la Champagne) with five years on its yeast lees adding layers of complexity to the rich Chardonnay fruit. Pale straw with an energetic bead, the initial fruit aromas are of crunchy apple with a light splash of citrus. Then the wine opens up with hints of white peach, soft spice, freshly baked apple pastries and creme fraiche with a light waft of brioche. The palate is uplifting and expressive, with great clarity and focus on display as the fruit-focus fans out on the palate, getting richer and gaining complexity, all the while being reined in by a bridle of fine, lacy acidity, finishing long with a touch of cream. Superb.


2012 ‘ e Vivienne’ Chardonnay RRP $80 Singlefile have been hitting them out of the park lately. The Vivienne is their new flagship Chardonnay release and it slips effortlessly into the top tier of wines from what – over the last 10 years – must surely be Australia’s most improved variety. It’s packed full of rich, ripe stone fruit and citrus aromas and flavours, with hints of spice, white floral notes, oatmeal, nougat and just a touch of struck flint. It displays plenty of texture in the mouth with the wild ferment and creamy lees characters adding layers of complexity. There’s great clarity, grace and detail here, yet the wine finishes rich and dry with a vapour trail of spice, crushed stone and deftly judged French oak. A great debut.


2014 Cult Syrah RRP $30 A visit to Brendon Keys’ Basket Range property in the Adelaide Hills does not come without inherent risks. First, he is a mad skater, so watch where you tread as there are boards laying around all over the place (not to mention a ramp in the front yard). Secondly, since he makes so many cracking wines it’s hard top get out of there without a car full. The Cult Syrah hails from the ‘Coulter Vineyard’ in Lobethal – organically farmed, cool-climate fruit that gets a portion of whole bunches in the ferment giving the finished wine a sense of space and airiness. Perfume too – the 2014 has got that in spades with notes of jasmine flickering over a core of dark, spicy berry and plum fruits with hints of cured meats and a gorgeous savoury flick in its tail. Just great juicy drinking.


2013 Mataro RRP $29 There’s nothing dodgy about the blokes behind this label – Wes Pearson, Peter Bolte and Peter Sommerville – as this blend of 87 percent Mataro co-fermented with 10 percent Grenache from the Sellicks Foothills sub-region of McLaren Vale is a beauty. Mataro is a grape that carries a bit of funk in the trunk. You’ll often find sheen of spicy, meaty goodness flitting around the wine’s edges, and this is no exception. There’s some sexy fruit expression lying beneath that exoskeleton of exotic spice and roasting meats; juicy plums, a touch of redcurrant, a little purple-flowered perfume and lift from the Grenache component and a lovely flow across the palate, finishing silky smooth and savoury. A session Mataro if ever there was one.


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