Elgee Park Family Reserve Viognier 2016

From the oldest Viognier vines grown on the Mornington Peninsula and potentially in Australia, Elgee Park has played a significant role in the 20th century rebirth and development of the wine scene on the Mornington Peninsula.  

This wine is pale straw coloured with a greenish tinge. 

Opens with lifted floral aromas. Apricot and orange blossom, passionfruit with a hint of pine.

The palate is redolent of apricot, white peach, passionfruit, honeysuckle, spicy ginger and flinty notes. 
This is a well-balanced wine, focused, plenty of acid to carry it through to the last drop and a little crunchy tannin.
There's a smidgeon of savoury complexity from barrel maturation.
It feels buttery but is balanced by the stone fruits, fresh racy acid and the crisp dry mineral finish.    

Even though this is still a light, fresh wine, it is a good interpretation of the variety. 
Will get more of that velvety richness if you put it down for a few years but firing on all cylinders at present.

Source: Restaurant Wine List. ABV: 13.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $30.00. Rating: 90 Points. 
Website: http://elgeeparkwines.com.au

Spinifex Clairette 2015

In this post I thought I'd nerd things up somewhat with a white grape variety that is rare worldwide: Clairette.

After some grape varieties were rescued from the brink of extinction in the recent past such as Viognier, Clairette appears to be doing the opposite. With a change in modern wine drinking culture and its supposedly unloved status with winemakers, the variety appears to be heading towards the exit door. At least Spinifex is flying its flag.

For those not bored with wine geekery, Clairette is a variety that predominantly grows in the Languedoc Roussillon and Rhone regions in France. It dates back to the 1500's in France and is one of the oldest grapes used in wine production. Of the thirteen grape varieties permitted in Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines, Clairette is the most common white variety.

This is the first release of a 100% Clairette from Spinifex, the variety previously used as a ccmponent in the renowned Lola blend. 
The fruit comes from a 20 year old southern Barossa Valley vineyard. 
Hand harvested, fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled without filtration.   

A pale straw coloured wine. An aromatic mix of apples, guava, citrus blossom and fennel coming through on the nose with hints of florals and herbs adding further interest.
Light- to- medium-bodied in weight, good texture and mouthfeel. Broad flavour profile with stone fruits, mandarin and herbals 
The second glass tasted better with the stone fruit, mineral and grassy herbaceous character shining through. It's textural, dry, delicate but ultimately simple. 

The grapefruit acidity holds reasonably well throughout, providing freshness and length to the dry finish.
A dry citrus bitterness on the aftertaste. It's an interesting wine possibly best suited to blends.

Vinodiversity is an excellent resource for rare varietals in Australia including Clairette.

Source: Winery. ABV: 12.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $22.40. Rating: 89 Points. 

La Bise Adelaide Hills Arneis 2016

An Arneis from the Adelaide Hills. Winemaker Natasha Mooney has created a cool, seductive and elegant wine from fruit grown at the Amadio vineyard in Kersbrook. 300 cases made. 

Mooney's brand La Bise (The Kiss en francais) aims to breathe the "kiss of life" into vineyards requiring that extra t l c. The brand also stamps her personal touch with wines that she considers "unconventional", "thought provoking" and "offer an alternative without the intimidation" to drinkers.

Alluring pale gold in colour.
Rich with scented florals, citrus and almond aromas on the nose with some apples and herbal notes 
Apple, peach, ripe pear and almond flavours follow onto the long palate that is mid-weight and well-balanced.

The mouth-watering lemon acidity and slatey mineral charm give this wine a fresh, clean and dry mouthfeel. 
No "intimidation" here, this is an Arneis spot on for personality and drinkability.

Source: Sample courtesy of La Bise Wines. ABV: 13.2%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $22.00. Rating: 91 Points. Website: https://labisewines.com.au

Off The Books Gundagai Touriga 2016

Preservative free and unadulterated, made in the Joven style for early drinking is what winemaker Nicholas Crampton says of this Touriga, one of the wines in the Off The Books range. 770 dozen made.

The rationale behind the range was that when small parcels of fruit became available such as from ten year old Touriga vines grown at the Book Book vineyard at Ladysmith, south-east of Wagga Wagga, it was a no- brainer to "bring these gems to life and to showcase the fruit quality and the story of the vineyard," he stated.  

The Touriga pours a dense black crimson into the glass.

Strong perfumed aromas of savoury dark plummy fruit, violet and lavender florals and toasty oak. Further aromas of cinnamon and a hint of white pepper add interest.

The nose segues to a buoyant dark and red-fruited palate. Plum, blackberry, boysenberry. Perfume and fruit upfront and then transitions to a mid-weight, generous core with secondary flavours of coffee, spice and earth. The florals hang around and there is a smooth leather-like texture to the back. A savoury line of bright acidity and firm tannins drive the wine to a lengthy finish. 

Nicholas Crampton is onto something good here with this well made, well priced, polished and easy drinking Touriga. This wine will have you reaching for that second glass. Recommended.   

Source: Sample courtesy of Fourth Wave Wine. ABV: 12.2%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $20.00. 
Rating: 91 Points. Supplier Website: https://www.fourthwavewine.com.au

R.L Buller & Son Valerie Mondeuse 2006

Named in honour of the family matriarch Valerie Bullerthis straight varietal Mondeuse comes from vines planed in the early 1920's at the family's original Calliope Vineyard in Rutherglen. The flagship Calliope brand range is used to showcase Buller wines from exceptional vintages, of which 2006 was one. 

Mondeuse Noire to be exact, is an ancient and obscure red variety grown primarily in the eastern French province of Savoie that it appears had been cultivated prior to the Roman annexation of Gaul (France) in 58BC. The variety was brought to Australia in the early twentieth century by viticultural entrepreneur Francois de Castella.

Deeply purple-coloured, almost opaque in the glass.
There are complex aromatics showing fresh violets, sweet blueberries and blackberries, dark chocolate and cedar smoke. 
An engaging, fragrant nose arouses the senses to dive straight in.

In the mouth it sits at medium to full-bodied in the weight stakes. The palate exhibits violets and warm purple fruits that are intense and generous in their flavours. Earthy savouriness, pepper spice and a hint of leather add to its complexity and interest. The texture is soft, silky and with the well-structured drying tannins and the acid good enough to provide an even glide across the mouth and great palate length. 

Concentrated, succulent, satisfying and immensely drinkable.  

The old Mondeuse vines have really produced something special here. 
Old Father Time has been kind and repaid cellaring with interest. Glorious stuff. 

Source: Cellar. ABV: 16.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $45.00. Rating: 95 Points. 
Website: http://www.bullerwines.com.au/default.asp

Soumah of Yarra Valley Brachetto Tranquillo 2016

To my knowledge, the second Brachetto to be bottled in Australia after Pizzini. Theirs is made into a low alcohol, pink moscato style whilst Soumah make theirs into a still (tranquillo) wine. From Yarra Valley and King Valley fruit. Packed in 500ml bottles. 

It's an alluring rosy, crimson coloured wine.
Candied red berry fruit, strawberry, raspberry and a hint of rosewater on a heady nose.
The wine exhibits a light- to- medium body with a smooth, juicy texture that is so easy to drink. 
Strawberry, sweet cherry, raspberry and spicy musk flavours.
It's semi-sweet but with the vibrant acidity makes the wine fresh on the palate. The finish ends up delightfully savoury and off-dry. 

Houston, we have a ripper wine here to accompany dessert dishes. This will be a real crowd-pleaser. Elegant and fun to drink. Do yourself a favour. Try with chocolate covered strawberries ! 

Source: Sample courtesy of Soumah of Yarra Valley. ABV: 10.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $30,00. Rating: 92 Points. Website: https://soumah.com.au

Soumah of Yarra Valley Savarro 2016

What crosses my mind when reviewing a wine are questions such as "Is this the best wine of this particular variety in Australia?" and "Is it value for money?" 

Soumah has named its single vineyard Savagnin as Savarro, a recognition of the ancient variety's original name and homeland in the Bolzano region of northern Italy. It has gone by other pseudonyms since, some of our wineries even getting in on the act with names such as Savinno from Dalfarras, Sentio Wines' Blanc and the quirkily-branded Girl Talk from Tscharke.

Grown at the Hexham vineyard on the Warramate Foothills in the cool climate of the Yarra Valley, the Savarro has picked up a swag of trophies and medals at wineshows since its first vintage, the latest a Silver Medal at the AAVWS in 2015.

The duck egg blue label is visually very impressive and informative. Good start.
Pale straw colours in the glass with green tinges around the edges.
The bouquet presents with a clean, fresh fragrance of melon, pear and lemon with hints of grass and fresh ginger adding interest.

Textural palate has surprisingly some weight to it with nashi pear, lemon and minerals with a slight oily Gris-like quality to the mid-palate and a chalky minerality on the back. Super fresh and balanced wine that tastes really good. Dry, spicy mineral finish with flavours that persist and that are drawn out by tangy lemon acids.

It is one of the best Australian Savarro/Savagnin wines on the market that I've tasted. Quality, a little pizzaz, good value for money and a standout food wine to boot. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Source: Sample courtesy of Soumah of Yarra Valley. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $29.00. Rating: 93+ Points. Website: https://soumah.com.au

Margan Estate Breaking Ground Albariño 2017

Albariño has taken its time to get out of the blocks in Australia. Through no fault of its own, this exciting new variety had a troubled introduction here. Propagating material from Spanish authorities supplied to the CSIRO and subsequently to Australian wineries that was believed to be Albariñowas in 2009 identified as the French grape Savagnin causing a debacle with wide-ranging consequences.
Albariño is the iconic Spanish white grape variety with its homeland in Rias Baixas DO in the north-west Spanish region of Galicia. In neighbouring regions of Portugal, its genetic cousin is known as Alvarinho and it appears to have a close relationship to the French variety Petit Manseng.

Margan Estate was the first to plant Albariño vines in the Broke-Fordwich GI sub-region of the Hunter Valley in 2014. This is its second release and it forms an important part of the Breaking Ground wine range that celebrates the winery's new wave of Mediterranean varieties and viticultural innovation. 

Co-owner and chief winemaker Andrew Margan feels Albariño has great potential in the Hunter given the Valley's similar warm maritime climatic conditions to Rias Baixas region.

The wine pours a very attractive and inviting light golden colour into the glass.
Expressive aromatic bouquet consisting of apricot, pineapple, citrus with hints of whipped cream and subtle florals. It's vibrant to sniff on and worth the price of admission.
The first sip is delicious. Bright apricot, lime, pear. lemon zest and honey flavours. Another mouthful shows the wine as light-to-meduim in weight with a long dry palate of zingy grapefruit acidity and well-balanced fleshy apricot and spicy pear flavours and mineral intensity.

It's textural through extended lees contact and midway, a little oily with a slight spritz action to walk it out towards the long zesty mineral aftertaste. Very well put together indeed.  

This would be a worthy alternative to the Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigios of this world and if you are looking for a delicious point of difference wine-wise this spring and summer, look no further. Well Recommended.

Source: Sample courtesy of Margan Estate Wines. ABV: 11.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $30.00. 
Rating: 93+ Points. Website: https://www.margan.com.au

Dalfarras Pinot Grigio 2016

The Dalfarras wine range is made at Tahbilk Winery. This Pinot Grigio is crafted from grapes sourced from vineyards in Victoria's King Valley and Goulburn Valley. 

The wine is made in an interesting way with each juice parcel undergoing a different form of treatment such as malolactic fermentation, French oak and yeast lees. The final product is a blending of each of these parcels.  

There is a distinct pinkish tinge to the bronze yellow colour.
The bouquet is quite light. Melon and spicy citrus notes. Not challenging aromatically. 

However, it is the palate that stars here. Nashi pear, soft white peach, lemon rind and spice. Some florals with juicy and zesty acidity. Light-to-mid weight, silky and textured in the mouth with sweet spice fanning out on the finish.

It is interesting to question whether this wine is more Pinot Gris than Pint Grigio. To me, it is more textural than crisp, more unctuous than lean. Nevertheless, it's been w
ell made the way it has and for a multiple award-winning wine, it is insane value for money.  

Source: Retail. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $11.90. Rating: 92 Points. 
Website: http://www.dalfarras.com.au

Humis Vineyard Grenache Rosé 2016

The Rosé Revolution continues unabashed. Fans of the pink wine style rejoice ! Here is a classy and flavoursome example from 100% Grenache grown at the Humis Vineyard in Heathcote. 

Vineyard co-owner and vigneron Hugh Jones claims that Grenache loves this region, "maybe too much" with its Mediterranean climate and unique soil composition. "I think it makes a lot of sense (to grow it) in this area," he said with this second vintage awarded an impressive silver at the recent Saint Martin Heathcote Wine Show.

No mean feat given the calibre of the other entrants.
The Rosé pours a brilliant salmon pink colour. 

There are terrific aromas of ripe strawberries, cherry blossom and orange with a dusting of white pepper that transit through to the palate. An ample palate begins with a creaminess that is then supported by strawberry and cherry flavours and a refreshing grapefruit acidity.

It's a round and juicy mouthfeel with whispers of cream and spice. Good fruit weight and balance. 
Mouth quenching moderate acidity and fine crunchy tannins linger long on a refreshing, dry and savoury finish. With a light chill, its effortless drinkability and interest will keep you coming back for more.

This is great value for such a cracking rosé. Calls out for a plate of sushi and sashimi. 
Highly recommended for the warmer months ahead.

Source: Sample courtesy of Humis Vineyard. ABV: 13.1%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $20.00. Rating: 93 Points. Website: https://www.humisvineyard.com