Humis Vineyard Marsanne 2017

Impressive first release of Humis Marsanne from Heathcote fruit.

The wine exhibits a medium straw colour.
Heady aromas of lemon/lime, marzipan, green peas and hints of grass. Very fragrant and lively.
It tastes of green capsicum and honeysuckle showing alongside some peach and citrus nuances. 

There is an initial spritz interestingly but it's dry overall with tart acid, some mineral charm and soft chalky tannins.
The balance is just right and the texture and juicy flavours are persistent throughout.  

Although taut now, drinking appeal is not an issue. Will improve in complexity with up to ten years cellaring. Much to like here. 

Source: Winery. ABV: 13.1%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $20.00. Rating: 91 Points. 

Millbrook Barking Owl Viognier 2016

Yes, these feathered creatures do exist but their call is more of a yowing noise as opposed to a bark. Much like the wine. More bark than bite if you get the drift. 

Established in 1996, the Millbrook Winery is situated at Jarrahdale, south-east of Perth. It is one of four wineries owned at present by the Fogarty Wine Group. Its Barking Owl wine range is designed for short-to-medium term drinking. 

This wine is straw yellow colour with a green tint.

Moderate aromas of apricot, ginger and cinnamon spice coming through on the nose. 
The lean palate shows tropical fruit and fresh citrus flavours, soft acidity with the finish dry and crisp.  
It felt mono-dimensional and a little underwhelming to me and not the most convincing example of Viognier tasted.  

Nonetheless, there is a strangely crowd-pleasing appeal to this well made 
quaffer. Complementing for example a range of gastro pub fare would be a good fit.     

Source: Retail. ABV: 14.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $16.99. Rating: 87 Points. 

Pfeiffer Seriously Fine Apera NV

Childhood memories can have lasting impressions. Taking a quick, surreptitious swig of Grandma's port or sherry as a youngster was not the ideal way to introduce yourself to the world of wine. All you could feel from the experience was your very insides wanting to depart your mortal coil ! Thankfully, over time things and tastes do change and one's stomach evolves to cope with fortified wines such as sherry.   

To avoid a modern-day Spanish Inquisition of sorts, Australian regulations now prohibit the use of 'sherry' as a descriptor with 'apera' nominated the official go-to word. Cool term this, a play on the word 'aperitif', which at the same time keeps the Iberians reassured !

The grape varieties used in the Pfeiffer Seriously Fine Apera NV are Palomino or Palomino Fino to be exact, and the rare French variety Monbadon. The winery claims to have the only known plantings of Monbadon in Australia and use it for its similarities to Palomino.

Palomino is a white grape variety from Spain's Andalucia region used primarily in the production of sherry. The white variety Monbadon known as Berger in the United States, is the offspring of the Cognac grapes Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanc and from accounts is now virtually extinct in Southern France. 

The Apera is pale straw in colour with fresh aromas of almond, vanilla, apple and citrus on the nose. A dry palate displays roasted almond, some bitter herbal notes and citrus flavours that are refreshingly intense. It has a body the lighter side of medium. There's a freshness also that reminds of sea spray/sea shells, underpinned by appealing minerality and a tangy bitterness to both mouthfeel and finish. Serve chilled.

This wine has won accolades and awards as long as your arm over the years, the latest a trophy from the 2016 AAVWS for the Best Fortified Wine. So why turn to the Spanish stuff when Jen Pfeiffer along with other dedicated winemakers are producing such seriously good apera, helping to create a new wave of appreciation for the great Australian fortified wines of yesteryear. Now, Grandma would be pleased.    

Source: Sample courtesy of Pfeiffer Wines. ABV: 16.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $29.00. 
Rating:  91+ Points. Website:

Pfeiffer Seriously Pink Apera 2010

Seriously Pink could be described generally as an aperitif style fortified rosé. In specific terms however it is an apera, the name previously given to sherry-inspired wines. Since September 2011, Australian producers have been prohibited from using the term sherry due to European Commission and Australian regulations. 

This apera is a blend of Touriga, Tinta Rotiz (aka Tempranillo), Shiraz and Gewürztraminer (!) with a dose of brandy spirit added to oomph things up during fermentation. Despite the heat, it's well balanced. 

No prizes in guessing that the colour is somewhat on the electric pink side. Lifted fragrant aromas of fresh strawberries, roses and spices that invite you in. The palate is clean and refreshing with flavours of glac
ée cherries, florals, musk sticks and confectionery. Finish and aftertaste are refreshing and more-ish. Enjoy over ice as an aperitif. 

Lots of charisma and interest. Recommended.

Source: Sample courtesy of Pfeiffer Wines. ABV: 16.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $19.50. 
Rating: 90 Points. Website:

La Bise Adelaide Hills Nero d'Avola 2017

The inaugural release of Nero d'Avola from talented winemaker Natasha Mooney who has nailed this Sicilian variety on its head with fruit from the Adelaide Hills

Lots going on in the aroma stakes with smells of earth-dusted red fruits, chocolate, cherry cola and white pepper.
Black jelly beans, dried herbs and spice savouriness with the fruit ripe and flavoursome with raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate and sour cherry doing their best to entice and seduce.
Light- to medium-weight, excellent structure and the crisp cranberry acidity adds freshness and vibrancy. 

Chalky tannins and light spices on the back palate add to the long savoury finish. Stylish release from La Bise that is good to drink from start to finish. Big tick here.

Source: Sample courtesy of La Bise Wines. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $29.00. Rating: 90 Points. Website:

Water Wheel Primitivo Ancellotta 2014

This is the first vintage of a unique blend in Australia from the Water Wheel winery at Bendigo with the Ancellotta component coming from the only plantings of the variety to date in the country. 

Ancellotta Is a dark-skinned grape whose homeland is the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna, in particular the Po Valley where it is used to bolster the colour and character in lightly-hued wines such as Lambrusco.

Primitivo is itself a dark-coloured Italian variety and adding 20% of the dark-skinned Ancellotta into the mix and you get some seriously glass-staining, teeth-tarnishing deep purple/black colours.

Primitivo is grown in many areas of southern Italy, but the best according to Water Wheel winemaker Peter Cumming, an expert on Italian varietals, come from Manduria in the Puglian province of Taranto. 

The 2014 vintage opens with lifted aromas of violets, ripe blackberries and black pepper.
From the off the palate is medium-bodied and rich but not too dense or concentrated with 
soft, sweet berry fruits, plum, dried leaves and sweet spice.
The fruit-driven palate is balanced by dark chocolate, sweet spices and.rustic fruit tannins. 
There is a flavoursome, warm and juicy mouthfeel that culminates in a succulent aftertaste. 

Drinkability is good, very Italianate in feel and as Peter Cumming says "that savoury balance 
of Italian wines comes equally from the fruit and the winemaking". I couldn't agree more here.
All up, a really interesting wine at a brilliant price. 

Source: Sample courtesy of Water Wheel Wines. ABV: 14.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. 
Price: $16.00. Rating: 90+ Points. Website:

Spinifex Rosé 2016

Thinking pink has become de rigueur these days with the surging popularity of rosé wines and the unprecedented range to choose from competing for hearts, minds and wallets particularly throughout the warmer months. 

One of the more innovative rosé wines on the market is the one from Spinifex blended from 52% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 14% Mataro and 4% of the white variety Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano).

The fruit comes from old vines sourced from mature dry grown vineyards in the Barossa Valley that have an average, repeat average age of 65 years.

The 2016 is light salmon in colour and has finely perfumed aromas of cherry, guava, watermelon and musk.

Plenty of depth and complexity on the palate from the winemaking process delivering a style that sits at the medium- to fuller-bodied end of the spectrum. Juicy redcurrant, cherry, dried cranberry snd spice flavours are fresh and delicious.

Dry and chalky in texture with a slight crunch on the length but freshness is the feature here with its delicate fruit acids taking the wine to a pleasing savoury mineral finish. 

Thirst quenching dry rosé in the Provence style that should have a warning attached: Dangerously drinkable! Sit back on a balmy evening, sip this delicious Rosé and listen to the symphonic calls of cicadas in the backyard. Bliss.  

Source: Winery. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $24.00. Rating: 93 Points. 

Yarran Wines A Few Words Rosé 2017

Yarran is a small family-owned and -operated winery at Yenda in the Riverina region of New South Wales. A Few Words is one of its labels, the wines of which are designed to capture a particular region in an easy-drinking style.  

The front label of 
this 100% Montepulciano Rosé states 'Pale & Dry'. Yes, it is certainly that. Pale salmon in colour and bone dry.  

On the nose it's stewed strawberry and raspberry aromas with scents of cream and rose water.
Palate-wise, the bright, juicy strawberry and raspberry flavours with dried garrigue herbs and chalky minerality are carried through by a razor sharp acidity. 

The light palate finishes with a lingering touch of dry amaro like spice. If it wasn't for the wine's heat, this would be a very good rosé. Nevertheless, a flat out bargain.

Source: Retail. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $14.99. Rating: 89 Points.