Current Issue #488

Wine Reviews: A Diverse Bunch

Wine Reviews: A Diverse Bunch

As we continue to steam onwards into 2016 and the South Australian vignerons begin to harvest their grapes, this month we present a wonderfully diverse selection of wines to tantalise your tastebuds. A Champagne bargain, a Hunter Valley Shiraz from a classic vintage, a superb McLaren Vale Grenache and a fledgling Adelaide Hills wine label’s delicious take on Semillon.

O C H O T A   B A R R E L S

2015 The Fugazi Vineyard Grenache RRP $40 Any wine named after an American post–hardcore band instantly wins me over. Your wine selection criteria may be a little more complex but rest assured that this is a cracking wine from one of South Australia’s top producers. Taras and Amber Ochota run their Ochota Barrels operation out of a shed in the beautiful Basket Range in the Adelaide Hills. The seed for the Ochota Barrels label was sewn during a surf trip through Mexico and it’s been onwards and upwards ever since. The Fugazi vineyard, sitting on a rise between the Onkaparinga River Gorge and Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale, is the fruit source for this particular wine. Planted in 1947, the wine Taras produces from this vineyard includes some whole bunches in the ferment, lifting the aromatic profile, opening the wine up and letting more light and space into the wine; it’s all about clarity, detail and purity. It’s a pretty, perfumed little thing on the nose. Cherry fruits and plummy notes provide the dominant fruit aromas but there are hints of raspberry coulis, rose water, jasmine, gingerbread and Asian spice adding complexity to the proceedings.The palate is finessed and textured, sitting at the lighter end of medium–bodied; again with fruit flavours of cherry and plum providing the base notes, underscored with hints of Asian spice, blossom, ginger–cake and earth. Excellent tension to its line with fine, lacy acidity giving it a fresh swing and fine, cascading tannins gently tugging at the palate providing support. We really should all be drinking more Grenache and this is a beauty.

V E U V E   M O N S I G N Y   C H A M P A G N E

Premier Cru RRP $30 South Australia now has four Aldi stores open with plans to open another 15. In recent years they have shaken up the ‘big box’ wine retail scene, giving the duopoly a few heart palpitations in the process with their wine selections and the swag of wine show trophies and gold medals they have won with their own labels. The Champagnes of Veuve Mosigny are one of the imported wines they bring into Australia and they represent great value for money, certainly over–delivering at the price point. The wine itself is produced by the very well–regarded Champagne house of Philizot & Fils and at this price, the fact that this wine is solely produced from a selection of fruit sourced from the higher grade premier cru vineyards is quite remarkable. But what’s it like? Well, dear reader… it’s quite lovely. The bead is energetic and fine, exuberantly reaching for the surface of the wine. The aromas are bright and quite bold with plenty of apple and citrus noses flowing into the nasal cavity. Flavoursome in the mouth with quite expressive flavours of spiced apple and lemony fruits along with hints of honeysuckle, proving dough, fresh brioche, acacia, almond blossom and apple pastries flitting across the palate. There’s impressive drive and freshness on display as it cuts a lively and delicious path, bright lemony acidity pulsing the wine along to its clean, refreshing finish. Superb value.

D E   I U L I I S

2014 Steven Vineyard Shiraz RRP $40 Breathe deeply. Remain calm and proceed in an orderly fashion, so not to arouse suspicion, to your nearest boozatorium of choice and stock up on as much 2014 Hunter Valley Shiraz as your arms can carry. It is a very fine vintage… very fine indeed. Those in the know are drawing parallels to the epic wines of 1965 and if any of you have been lucky enough to tuck into a 1965 Lindeman’s Bin 3100 or 3110 or similar, you’ll know that this is a very good thing. I recently spent a week in the Hunter Valley, embedded at Brokenwood winery during vintage and was lucky to take part in a tasting of around 40 of the top red wines from 2014 tasting and the consistency and quality was fantastic across the board. I was fortunate enough to try a bottle of 1965 Tulloch Private Bin Shiraz and can advise that if the locals are correct, these wines will have a very long life in the cellar. The De Iuliis Steven Vineyard Shiraz was the favourite of many of the winemakers at the tasting I attended. The 2014 Shiraz is deep red/ purple in colour with aromas of deep plum, black and blue berry fruits along with hints of dried herbs, soft spice, earth, roasting meats, violets and subtle oak nuances. In the mouth its medium–bodied and the aromas on the nose neatly transpose themselves onto the palate. Savoury and finely honed, there are oodles of super–fine, powdery chalky tannins providing support and a long, long finish. Classic Hunter from a classic vintage.

C H A R L O T T E   D A L T O N   W I N E S

2015 Love You, Love Me Semillon RRP $39 In South Australia, we are indeed lucky to have so many talented young winemakers releasing their own, fledgling wine labels in recent times. Transplanted Kiwi girl and Basket Range local Charlotte Hardy is the newest addition to the burgeoning Adelaide Hills wine scene. With time spent in the cellars of NZ superstars Craggy Range and vintages in the Napa Valley and Bordeaux at Château Giscours in 2005, Charlotte moved to South Australia in 2007 working as winemaker at The Lane before setting up a wine laboratory business before returning to winemaking for Tash Mooney’s consultation business in 2011. The Charlotte Dalton Wines philosophy is simple: it is based on a whole–hearted belief that the place and fruit that grows there dictates a style rather than the other way around… no trying to shove square pegs into round holes. In Charlotte’s words: “I want to make wines I want to drink, wines that are honest, wines that make people feel good.” And we can’t ask for too much more than that. Pale straw in hue with aromas of nashi pear, green apple and citrus fruits along with hints of dried straw, scattered herbs, apple flan, crushed stone and lighter wafts of clotted cream and almond blossom further in the distance. Perfectly weighted, with a silky fruit flow onto the palate, the fruit flavours again are apple, pear and citrus as the pure fruits swell on the mid–palate, reigned in perfectly by a seam of crisp, sapid acidity. There is a lot to like here and it’s a pitch–perfect debut that displays great tension between fruit and acidity.


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