Shiraz

Top 5 Reds Under $40 for our Glorious Pseudo-Winter…

Winemaker Robert Gherardi of Mr Barval wines

Winemaker Robert Gherardi of Mr Barval wines

2016 Mr Barval Nebbia, Margaret River

“We can’t get enough of this.  Bright strawberry lift on the nose, refreshing acidity on the medium bodied palate, plenty of fine grained tannin and structure, and enough spice to make this a desperately interesting, delicious, moorish wine.  Redolent of violets, rose petals and suggestions of the old adage ‘tar & roses’.  96 points, $40”

Who is Mr Barval...?

Who is Mr Barval...?

Winemaker Alex Head, at Head Wines in the Barossa.

Winemaker Alex Head, at Head Wines in the Barossa.

2014 Head Red, Shiraz, Barossa Valley

“This is the ‘entry level wine’ from winemaker Alex Head’s collection, and great value at that.  Alex describes it as a “barrel cull” from the great single vineyard wines of Brunette, Blonde and Contrarian wines (YES – worth tracking down and treating yourself).  With parcels from the Marananga, Greenock, Stone Well and Light Pass subregions, this sees 12 months in mainly older oak, and a tiny injection of Grenache, Mataro and Cabernet Sauvignon from Greenock.  A super exciting winery to watch – it is recommended that you try all of his wines – but start here – a great litmus.  93 points, $25”

2015 Head Red Shiraz, Barossa Valley

2015 Head Red Shiraz, Barossa Valley

Flowstone Vineyard, Forest Grover, Maragret River

Flowstone Vineyard, Forest Grover, Maragret River

2015 Flowstone Shiraz Grenache, Margaret River

“The thirst for red blends, alternate varietals, and ‘old world styles made in a new-world manner’ is absolutely dominating wine trends on and off wine-lists this year.  The Flowstone Grenache Shiraz (winemaker Stuart Pym) has been good for a couple of years running, and exemplifies perfectly why shiraz and Grenache should be seen together.  Juicy and plump, yet structured and savoury, this is fresh and energetic and absolutely delicious.  92 points and $24”

Currently available at our On The Vine stores http://onthevine.com.au/

2015 Flowstone Shiraz Grenache, Margaret River

2015 Flowstone Shiraz Grenache, Margaret River

Mandoon Estate restaurant, Caversham WA

Mandoon Estate restaurant, Caversham WA

2014 Mandoon Estate Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River

“Ryan Sudano at Mandoon Estate is responsible for some of the best value, age worthy, exciting, classical and delicious red wines made in WA at the moment.  The Cabernet Merlot is an incredible starting point, and showcases his ability to create wines of suppleness, finesse, fresh fruit, balanced tannins and spicy oak.  The grapes are picked from the northern end of the great Research Station vineyard.  This is always a winner.  93 points and $26”

Currently available at our On The Vine stores http://onthevine.com.au/

2014 Mandoon Estate Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River

2014 Mandoon Estate Cabernet Merlot, Margaret River

View over an Ulithorne Vineyard, McLaren Vale

View over an Ulithorne Vineyard, McLaren Vale

2015 Ulithorne ‘Specialis’ Tempranillo Grenache Graciano, McLaren Vale

“Aromas of sarsaparilla, pomegranate, ripe raspberry, hints of liquorice, raw cocoa and cracked black pepper.  It is not too heavy in the mouth as the flavours might suggest – medium bodied – it just sings of life, vivacity and spice.  This is a perfect ‘gateway wine’ into the world of European reds, lovely acidity and tannin profile to balance out the fruit of the front of the palate.  Get around this.  94 points and $25”

Currently available at our On The Vine stores http://onthevine.com.au/

2015 Ulithorne 'Specialis', Temp, Grenache, Graciano, McLaren Vale

2015 Ulithorne 'Specialis', Temp, Grenache, Graciano, McLaren Vale

Sidewood - top of the Adelaide Hill

There’s been plenty of hype around the place recently for the wines from Sidewood in the Adelaide Hills.  Understandably so.  The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc received a 95 point score from James Halliday - an incredible score for a wine that retails around the $20 mark.  For lovers of the Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc style, this is as crisp, pristine and restrained as you could hope for.  So too, the thirst for cool climate, lower alcohol, elegant reds is extending towards varieties like Shiraz, from regions such as the Adelaide Hills.

 

So here we are.  In 2004, vigneron husband and wife team Owen and Cassandra Inglis purchased the vineyards and have been working towards producing wholly estate grown, cool climate wines - it seems their reputation has caught up with their vision.   Their impact on the national wine scene was further accelerated when they employed Adelaide Hills superstar Darryl Catlin - former senior winemaker for the inimitable Shaw & Smith.  

 

Between an enviable position nestled high up in the Adelaide Hills (380m above sea level), years of viticulture experience between Owen and Cassandra, an experienced winemaking team and a solid reputation, Sidewood wines are consistently going from strength to strength.

 

To the wines:

 

2016 Sidewood Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills

“Fermented wholly in stainless steel to preserve maximum freshness and fruit intensity, this concentrated yet fine example of Adelaide Hills savvy is an undisputed bargain.  With characters of citrus blossom, snow pea and fleshy citrus fruit, there is a lovely textural complexity (thanks to the 4 months on lees in tank) to bolster the energetic fruit on the palate.  Lingering flavours through the length and finish - a superstar, a no-brainer.  93 points, and $20.”

 

2014 Sidewood Shiraz, Adelaide Hills

“This is an exciting, fresh and juicy example of cool climate Shiraz.  The already aromatic characters of the shiraz grape are accentuated by a whole berry component in the ferment - essentially contributing partial carbonic maceration to the mix.  This exaggerates the flavours of ripe raspberry, blood plum and black currant. Finished off in French barriques, it is rich yet elegant, structured yet fine - absolutely everything you could want from a shiraz.  Just lovely.  94 points, $26”.

Kaesler Stonehorse - a tempestuous beast

Kaesler is another ‘century-plus-old’ cornerstone winery of the Barossa.  Founded in 1893, the first owners planted out 96 acres with Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro (Mouvedre) and White Hermitage vines. 

These days, the winery is perhaps known for premium Barossa wines such as the Old Bastard, and the Bogan – names that usually provide a chuckle, but invariably are rated extraordinarily highly by national press.  The vineyard from which the grapes for the Alte Reben Barossa Valley Shiraz are sourced, is described as a “national treasure” by James Halliday. 

If either provenance or ownership is anything that interests you as it does me, the Kaesler family sold the winery in 1968.  The current owners, who have owned it since 1990, are a small group of investment bankers who also own the incredible Yarra Yering winery in the Yarra. 

2014 KAESLER STONEHORSE Grenache / Shiraz / Mouvedre

66% G /28% S /6% M

“This is the $20 superstar from Kaesler.  The first time I tried this I was blown away by the finesse of it – it’s perfectly Barossa in its ripe fruit and spice, however it’s got more of a delicate edge than I was expecting, and certainly I was most impressed by the medium palate weight, savoury, balanced nature of it.  So too, the 2014 vintage shows a cavalcade of fruits: blackcurrant, cassis, raspberry, mulberry and blackberry, balanced by licorice, hints of juniper, and a ‘tar and roses’ vibe.  Not unlike wet asphalt after a summer rain.  The palate is concentrated, medium bodied, intense, juicy but structured and lingering through the finish. The oak is lovely around the edges- spicy, elegant. This felt like it had a bit more oomph than the 2013 vintage (no Mouvedre included), but both were/are exceptional in their own ways.  This over delivers value for the money.  Finally – a mid-week wine that confidently crosses over into the weekend… 92 points and $23”

TOP 10 WINES UNDER $20 – WHITE AND RED

We all love great wine, sure we do.  But everyone needs a weekday wine.  A Monday night wine.  A ‘cooking’ wine – some of it might even end up in the food.  So here is a list of our top 10 wines below $20 to fill the weekday nights without emptying the piggybank.

WHITES:

Houghton Stripe Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2016

$9.99 – These guys get a lot of press – but they’re worth it.  You want a reliable, fresh and crisp SSB – this is it.  Change from a twenty… or two bottles – depending on how hard your day was. 90pts

Howard Park Flint Rock Chardonnay 2016

$19.99 – About 5 years ago Howard Park introduced the regionals range – same Howard Park quality that we know and love, at a fraction of the price.  Usually $25, but at LB stores for $20 91 pts

Vasse Felix Classic Dry White 2016

$16.99 – Sem Sav Blanc.  Vasse needs no introduction - a high-class outfit producing great wines consistently, year in, year out.  This is a cracker. 91 pts

Deep Woods Estate Chardonnay 2016

$17 – this is Margaret River’s best value, under $20 Chardonnay.  Great every year.  Over delivers complexity, flavour and length.  Love it. 93 pts

Bellewinter Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, Margaret River 2016

$11.99 – bright, citrus fruit, grassy herbal notes and plenty of ripe tropical fruit.   89 pts

 

REDS:

Willow Bridge Dragonfly Cabernet Merlot 2015

$14.99 – Reds from the Geographe might seem exotic – but they shouldn’t.  A great region producing exciting wines, this being silky, spicy, plush and satisfying. 93 pts

Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz 2014

$19.99 - Margs Shiraz is an underrated style.  Juicy and bright, full of life, spice and joy.  A great estate. 91 pts

Stoneberry Premium Red, WA 2015

$8.99 – Change from a ten.  Simple, juicy, bright – not complicated, just delicious.  Exclusive to LB stores. 90 pts

Amelia Park Trellis Cabernet Merlot 2015

$14.99 – We reckon this is the best Cab Merlot from Margs at this price.  Amelia Park are kicking countless goals right now.  Don’t miss out on the fun. 93 pts

Houghton Stripe Red Classic 2014

$9.99 - The pigeon pair to the SSB.  A blend of three varieties, cabernet dominant. Consistent like the sunrise. 90 pts

Deep Woods Estate Ebony Cabernet Shiraz 2015

$12.99 – Silky, juicy, plump and difficult not to finish the bottle. Love the sweet fruit VS the savoury spice.  Great every year.  92 pts