Humis Vineyard Carménère 2014

The Humis Vineyard is a relative newcomer to the wine scene with vines planted in 2011 on the eastern slopes of the Mount Camel Range in Victoria's Heathcote Region. The winery's 10 acres of Carménère is according to co-owner Hugh Jones, the largest planting in Victoria of the variety and the 2014 vintage is the first.

Hugh says that the wine is made at nearby Mount Burrumboot Estate by Cathy Branson. "Cathy uses very much traditional means, the reds handpicked, crushed, fermented (air born yeasts only) and pressed," he adds further. "They then spend a good 12-14 months on a mix of 33% new to 66% old French Oak. We then try to give them at least six months in the bottle prior to sale."

The wine pours a magnificent crimson red depth of colour with youthful purple hues.
The nose brings forth aromas of raspberry, sour cherry, vanilla, violet and a graphite edge.        
Complex and intriguing indeed.

The palate gives plenty of character with subtle bitter herbs, goji berries, dark mocha chocolate and florals with some subtle cigar box. It's savoury with a nice hint of bitterness at the tail end.
Mid-weight wine with fine, elegant tannin structure and vibrant acid brightness throughout.

Reminded me somewhat of similarities to Grenache with its earthy red berry characters.
An exciting variety and a superb wine. 

Source: Winery. ABV: 12.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $25.00. Rating: 91 Points. 

Angove Alternatus Carignan 2016

The red variety Carignan suffered from a lowly reputation in 1970's and 1980's southern France owing to over-production and poor quality wines. A charmless cash crop if ever there was one. Responsible for the so-called 'European wine lake' Carignan wines inundated the market during that period. The variety has since slowly regained its mojo thanks to an enthusiastic next generation of vignerons who have attempted to restore respect and produce wines of character and complexity.   

Even though the largest plantings are in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, the variety originated in Aragon, northeastern Spain and now plantings grow in Priorat DOQ, Sardinia, California, Chile, Israel as well as Australia. The excellent Vinodiversity site has more information on the variety here.

This varietal comes from the stalwart Angove Family Winemakers in McLaren Vale. The grapes for the Alternatus Carignan are grown at the family's organic and biodynamically certified vineyard in the Vale's Seaview sub-region.

The Alternatus brand is a Mediterranean-inspired range of wines and the Angove Family has bucked the traditional use of Carignan in blends and released it as a stand alone varietal. More power to them I say.

The colour here is bright crimson purple with magenta hues.  
Lifted stewed aromas of spiced plum, dark cherries, cranberries and licorice. A slight meaty, gamey aspect too. 
Rich cherries, dried herbs and gentle mouth-coating tannins. Soft and smooth in the mouth. 
It's light- to- medium-bodied, well-rounded with distinctly soft flavours of dark berry fruit, black olive and earthy herbal notes. A slight spicy bitterness on the finish. 
It's a must with tapas dishes or as something different to match chargrilled barbecued meats.  
The Alternatus Carignan is not a transcendental wine experience but there's certainly a lot to like here. 

Source: Retail. ABV: 13.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $23.00. Rating: 89 Points. 

Spinifex Pinot Noir 2016

From one of the top producers in the Barossa Valley, Spinifex has released a Pinot Noir, a variety that is uncommon in the region.
Grown on a single vineyard high in the Barossa Ranges. Wild fermentation, all whole bunches and matured on lees.

A ruby coloured wine with faint hues.
Cherries, red currants, wood smoke predominantly over forest floor earth and mushroom notes.
Palate mirrors the aromatics faithfully with spicy fine-grained tannins on the finish. 
Varietal sweet and sour red berry flavours are quite restrained but it is still a bright, fresh and youthful mid-weight wine that holds its own throughout the journey. 
Works well. There is something I like about this wine and it is a recommendation if you are into trying a different style of Pinot Noir.  

Source: Gift. ABV: 12.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $ N/A. Rating: 89 Points. 

Teusner Vin De Plaisir 2013

Here is a wine based upon the French concept of a vin de plaisir - a wine for pleasure - giving the drinker an immediate sense of pleasure and enjoyment.

An eclectic trifecta from Teusner in the Barossa Valley of varieties Montepulciano 50
%, Carignan 30% and Mataro 20%. i like Teusner wines, especially The Riebke Shiraz and this blend from winemakers Kym Teusner and Michael Page ticks boxes for the above criteria.

Bitter chocolate, amaro herb, dark sour cherry, plum and ferrous qualities, Some smoke too from its time in oak.

Give it a time to breathe and the palate offers up blackberry, plum, dried herbs, earth and licorice. 
Fleshy and juicy to the taste with a slight metallic edge, which doesn't derail things. Fine tannins to this medium-bodied blend. 
Better than a quaffer. Interesting wine to drink and a good standby at home for those unexpected moments. 

Source: Retail. ABV: 14.5%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $22.00. Rating: 89 Points. 

Amato Vino Slankamenka Bela 2016

I do like artistic labels on wine bottles. The ones that tell a story or are visually eye-catching or that simply may help punters remember a particular brand or wine amongst the competitive crowd. I do rate this particular label from Amato Vino.

Slankamenka Bela is an ancient white variety named after a municipality in the Vojvodina region of northern Serbia. It might sound like an expletive to some when vocalised but for the curious, its name appears to refer to the white grape from the town of Slankamen in that historic region and translates as 'salt-stone white'.   

Brad Wehr is the brains behind amongst others the Amato Vino label. He was seeking the Sicilian variety Grillo 
at Ricca Terra Farms in the Riverland Region. What he thought was Grillo turned out to be after DNA analysis Slankamenka Bela instead. It is the only Australian region at present growing this variety. 

The grapes from the one acre vineyard were handpicked, wild-fermented in stainless steel tanks, before bottling. Unfined and unfiltered. The wine pours a light sulphur yellow colour into the glass. 
A really interesting nose, something that knocks you back on your heels. No shortage of lift here with the aromatics. Grass, ginger, citrus, stone fruits, salami meat. 
Medium-bodied, the palate has a creamy texture underlined by honeyed, musky, yeasty, stone fruit flavours. Very fine talc-like mineral tannins wash across the tongue. 
What I like here is the fresh, funky, saline qualities and the balance between the bitter sweet spicy flavours. Apple, nashi pear, radish and pine. Lots of dry tangy flavours expressed on the finish. 
All in all, so well done and a delicious, quality wine. Go forth ! 

Jancis Robinson MW labelled the Slankamenka Bela variety "uninspiring". I think she would delete the first two letters of her assessment after tasting Brad Wehr's work on the variety ! 

A wine to bamboozle your friends. This is a great find, an exciting, refreshing and easy to enjoy wine with a point of difference.   

Source: Retail. ABV: 12.8%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $25.00.
Rating: 93 Points. Website:

Unico Zelo Cherry Fields Dolcetto 2016

If there is a better wine for a casual lunch, I'd like to know. 

This Dolcetto from the Unico Zelo winery is an absolute cracker. 
The third incarnation of this wine from creative winemakers Brendan and Laura Carter is a blend of fruit from family-owned vineyards at Polish Hill River in the Clare Valley and Kersbrook in the Adelaide Hills. Naturally fermented with eight months in French oak barrels.

Dark garnet colours. Smells fresh and sweet but tastes dry, 
Both the nose and palate offer up black plum, cherry jam, dried cranberry, cola and earthy mushroom nuances. A sprinkling of herbs and a hint of vanilla adds more intrigue and enjoyment. 

The palate is round and concentrated, the structure superb.
Delicious, juicy fruit weight with refreshing acid and tannic grip makes for some remarkably easy drinking. Long fruity, herbal aftertaste.  

Great value for such a fantastic Aussie red. Pair with Italian antipasto or a rich tomato pasta dish and order another bottle. Drink until 2021. Delizioso ! 

Source: Retail. ABV: 13.8%. Closure: Cork. Price: $23.00. Rating: 93 Points.