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:

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:

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. 

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:

Hither & Yon Tannat 2013

From Sands Road single vineyard fruit in McLaren Vale, the Tannat vines were established in 2006. The wine saw eighteen months in a combination of French oak barrels and stainless steel vats.

Deeply dark coloured juice with slight purple hues.
Aromas of black plum, dark cherries, forest earth and a potpourri of flowers and herbs.
Dark chocolate, aniseed, white pepper, a good lick of oak and dark brooding earthy flavours. Mid palate exhibits a sour tannic quality. 
Medium-bodied with a truckload of rustic, earthy tannins that grip and pucker the palate.

The mouthfeel is juicy and rich with a dark liquorice-type smoothness and with the wine's fresh acidity and those dry tannins flowing through to the long, powerful finish, it makes for an intriguing experience.

I wouldn't say Tannat is a delicious wine to drink per se but this edition is very approachable.  
The Leask brothers, Malcolm and Richard have crafted a stylishly-packaged, excellent drink here from start to finish at a price not too hard on the pocket. Cellaring over the next three years will benefit the wine. 

Source: Retail. ABV: 12.8%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $22.00. Rating: 91+ Points.

Humis Vineyard Carménère Petit Verdot 2013

A one of a kind blend of two lesser known Bordeaux varieties - Carménère and Petit Verdot - from the Humis Vineyard at Corop in the Heathcote Region. The Mediterranean climate of the region enables both varieties to thrive given their own idiosyncrasies.

Some of the Petit Verdot in the blend, explained co-owner Hugh Jones was made available from Cathy Branson at Mount Burrumboot Estate - who also makes the wine - after the local starling population took a liking to the small berries in his vineyard !    

There is an intensely dark colour to this 80/20 blend.  

Funky, herbal, floral, dark fruit-driven nose with a vanilla edge.
Fresh violets, dark chocolate, leather and dark fruit 
flavours of blueberry, blackberry and plum burst forth on the palate. 
A touch of confectionary adds more complexity.

The palate is alive and kicking with fruit, dark chocolate and dried herbs.
Even though it is a dry wine, there is a leather-like silkiness to the palate that glides right through the mouth.

Dry, bold, good weight on a medium-bodied palate. The natural acidity and the tannic grip provide a fresh and vibrant finish. An awesome and compelling blend to while away the cold winter nights. 

Source: Winery. ABV: 13.2%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: $25.00. Rating: 91 Points. 

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.