Wine Reviews By Barry Weinman
Wines of the Week
Nocturne – Sheoak Vineyard — Cabernet Sauvignon – 2022. Brilliant cabernet that, like Baby Bear’s porridge in Goldilocks, is just right. Medium bodied, seamless, fine and elegant. The winemaking (oak) is very much in the background, with the fruit front and centre. It is only on the close that the structural components start to build, adding texture and depth, whilst being in no way aggressive The graceful palate transition is a highlight. A wonderful wine (in a very heavy bottle). Made using estate grown fruit. 14.5%alc, 95-96pts – $TBC. (22 Feb).
Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Whilst at 13.5%, this has the same alcohol level as the 2022 Cullen Diana Madeline, this is a riper, more accessible style that allows the fruit to shine. That said, the structure and power continues to build in the mouth for some time after it is swallowed, making for a textural, impactful wine that remains supple all the way to the very long close, with the fruit lingering the whole time. Impressively subtle power here. Great drinking now or in 30 years (the 1991 is drinking brilliantly now). Another stellar wine that cements Leeuwin Estate in the highest echelon of Margaret River cabernet producers. 13.5% alc, 95-96pts – $102. (22 Feb).
Cullen – Diana Madeline – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2022. Yep, this is good. In fact, it is very good indeed, but here the fine tannins and oak suppress the fruit initially. These are never aggressive, but they do require a bit of patience to let them settle down and relax. By doing so, you will be handsomely rewarded. Another cracking wine from one of the greats. 13.5% alc, 95pts – $TBC. (22 Feb).
Grace Farm – Cabernet/Malbec – 2018. Impressive! Act one is the fruit which has immediate impact, flooding the nose and palate with fleshy berry fruit. Act two is the acid that keeps the fruit balanced and in check. The supporting cast includes the oak (44% new) and tannins, which build the mouthfeel and texture, without taking anything away from the fruit. A single vineyard blend of cabernet sauvignon (80%), malbec (8%), petit verdot (7%) and cabernet franc (5%). 14.0%, 95pts – $40. (22 Feb).
Mandoon Estate – Wild Bunch – Chenin Blanc – 2023. I love this wine. It has all the crunchy freshness of chenin blanc, but with greater textural components than most. The way the flavours and textures evolved as it warmed up in the glass showed just how versatile these wines can be. (Straight from the fridge it was crisp and refreshing and, as it warmed a little in the glass, the textural components and richness built). 94pts – $TBC. (18 Feb).
Leo Buring – Leopold – Riesling – 2022. Pristine and very fine, this appears delicate on first impression. But underneath the lemon essence notes, the thrilling acidity brings the palate to life. Perfectly balanced, with length, precision, poise and elegance. A great drink now, but also age worthy. From Tasmania. 12% alc. 93-94pts – $37. (18 Feb).
Yalumba – The Signature – Cabernet/Shiraz – 2018. A beautifully constructed wine that has significant depth and density. This is in a style that is different from southwest Western Australia, as there is greater viscosity and a degree of earthy, chocolatey complexity. Yet at its core there is purity to the fruit that is quite captivating. Drink any time over the next 20 years. 14.5% alc. 94-95pts – $70. (18 Feb).
Barry Weinman: 22nd February 2024
Whilst it appears that every year is a good year in Margaret River, there are clear vintage variations that impact on the style of the wines. And some years are just that little bit better. 2018 was lauded as one of the best vintages of recent times, and the 2020 appears to be at least as good.
18th February 2024
I have not seen anything on the Mandoon Estate 2023 Wild Bunch Chenin, but it is a cracking wine and one that is sure to be crazy value given that it is a Swan Valley white wine.
Barry Weinman: 27th December 2023
Those who know me well know that I have a particularly fond spot for sparkling wines and Champagnes in particular. And over the festive season, my consumption (or at least the amount I open) increases further.
Barry Weinman: 27th December 2023
At this year’s Taste Champagne, I took the opportunity to try as many grower/cooperative/lesser-known Champagnes as I could, given the amount of attention that this section of the market has been getting of late. So, with a somewhat heavy heart, I ignored the likes of Charles Heidsieck, Veuve Clicquot, Moet and Roederer, and headed to the grower tables. (The heavy heart came from ignoring Charles Heidsieck, which is one of my favourite wines).
6th December 2023
The temptation to try the latest releases from the fabled Wendouree winery proved irresistible, so into the tasting they went. These wines never fail to surprise me in just how medium bodied and elegant they are. Relatively low alcohol levels are a feature and reflect the finer style.
I previously wrote about the changes that are afoot at Sevenhill and the rejuvenation continues with some cracking wines in the current releases.
Interestingly, the highlights for me came from the lighter style wines such as the Riesling and Rosé, rather than from the traditional red wines for which the winery is know for.
One of the highlights was the wonderfully textured Pinot Gris from the Adelaide Hills. Excellent drinking this summer.
12th November 2023
I wrote about the changes at Plantagenet at this time last year and I was keen to see how the wines were evolving, as Mike Garland’s influence increased over time.
2022 was the first vintage where Mike was involved at every step of the process, and the riesling and malbec are the first wines to be released from this vintage.
Barry Weinman: 6th November 2023
2021 vintage represents the 50th release of the Vasse Felix cabernet, and what a wine it is. Surely the best wine ever released under this label and at $55, an absolute bargain on the world wine stage. I could not resist drinking a glass (or two) at the end of the tasting, such is the quality and approachability.
The panel was also very impressed by the current Flametree Chardonnays. The S.R.S. is a serious, age worthy wine, whilst the standard release makes for excellent early drinking.
Barry Weinman: 25th October 2023
Here is a summary of some of the highlights from a recent trade show that I attended. You can find the whites here.
I have not pointed the wines as it is hard to be completely objective when the winemaker is telling you just how good his wines are :). But I would be more than happy having a glass of any of the wines.
Barry Weinman: 25th October 2023
Here is a summary of some of the highlights from a recent trade show that I attended. I have not pointed the wines as it is very hard to be objective when the winemaker is telling you just how good his wines are.
But the fact that they have been reviewed here means that I am very happy to recommend and drink them. Most would score between 93 & 95 points.
Barry Weinman: 7th October 2023
Here are some of the highlights from tastings over the last few weeks.
The cabernets showed particularly well, led by the astonishingly good Woodlands ‘Eleanor’ Cabernet. A truly great wine.
Over the last two weeks, the Panel looked at a cross-section of the Picardy range against a variety of high-quality comparators.
That the pinots were good would not be a surprise to anyone, but what impressed me the most was the quality of the whites.
Barry Weinman: 27th September 2023
The tasting panel was uniformly stunned by the breathtaking beauty of the 2023 Grosset rieslings. They are as close to perfection as I could possibly imagine.
Barry Weinman: 17th September 2023
The big surprise in this tasting for the panel was the superb Battles chardonnay. Not a label that we had tried before, but a great wine.
The Hutton chardonnays were a fascinating contrast between the powerful Reserve and the restrained elegance of the Triptych.
11th September 2024
Since day one, I have been a huge fan of Singlefile. The combination of high-quality wines, beautiful packaging and sensible pricing has been quite irresistible.
And it seems that I am not the only one who thinks so. Looking at the winery’s website, the majority of the wines are sold out. I can think of no better praise indeed.
Barry Weinman: 14th August 2023
I am honestly amazed at the quality that Larry Cherubino maintains across his range, given the vast number of wines he makes under his own labels, not to mention the consultant winemaking that he offers.
10th August 2023
If you put a cross-section of wines in front of a group of wine drinkers, there will invariably be differing views on the relative merits of each wine. And my observation is that the more experienced the drinker/taster/aficionado, then the more divergent the opinions become.
6th August 2023
Over the course of several tastings, these wines stood out for their quality and relative value. The Hazeldene chardonnay and the Vasse Felix cabernet in particular were standouts.
30th July 2023
With changing fashion and the ever growing availability of new and unusual wines, it is easy to overlook some of the wine styles that made Australian wine famous and provided decades of pleasure to the wine drinking public.
9th July 2023
It is no secret that the Barossa Valley makes brilliant shiraz, and, in this tasting, several wines shone for their quality and relative value.
But the highlight of the tasting was the sheer quality of the Barossa cabernets from Welland.
Barry Weinman: 1st July 2023
Here are some of the highlights that came across the tasting bench this month. When it comes to Chardonnay, we are spoiled for choice. And then there is riesling…
A couple of these wines have been reviewed before, but such is the quality, I thought it worth revisiting them.
Barry Weinman: 22nd June 2023
There is no better way for me to assess the quality of a wine than to taste it in a masked line-up of some of Australia’s best wines of the same variety.
So it was with the new premium release cabernets and chardonnays from Xanadu under the Reserve and Stevens Road labels.
Barry Weinman: 10th June 2023
To celebrate the launch of The Quercus Collective, owners and Champagne aficionados Paul and Louise Avon-Smith hosted a tasting of twenty-one 2008 vintage champagnes.
The Quercus Collective is a bespoke commercial wine cellaring business in Perth’s Western Suburbs. The facilities offer a number of state of the art, climate controlled 1,000 and 2,000 bottle cellars.
Barry Weinman: 4th June 2023
Grupo Mezzacorona is a grape growing cooperative in the Trentino region of Italy. It is remarkable for the fact that, after building a thriving wine business in Trentino, they diversified into Sicily in the year 2000.
They are now the largest grower in Sicily, with a remarkable 600 hectares under vine across two estates, with plantings completed between 2001 and 2006. All vineyards are now organically farmed.
Barry Weinman: 1st June 2023
If Swinney is not a household name for wine lovers across Australia, it should be, given the quality of the fruit that they produce, and the famous wineries who are queueing to buy fruit each year.
Barry Weinman: 1st May 2023
Wandering through my local Dan Murphy recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see some excellent value wines in the “cellar release” section.
Barry Weinman: 10th May 2023
For aficionados of Western Australian wine, Mike Garland needs no introduction. Recently, Mike has taken on the head winemaker project at Plantagenet, and has also branched out with his son, Callum, to release a range of wines under the Fervor Label.
Barry Weinman: 1st May 2023
The last time I checked, Larry Cherubino was producing almost 70 different wines from fruit sourced across the south-west of Western Australia. Many of these wines are produced from less mainstream varieties (such as Fiano and Tempranillo) or from mainstream varieties made using alternative winemaking techniques.
Barry Weinman: 23rd April 2023
A highlight of recent tastings was to compare and contrast cabernets from the Riversdale vineyard in Frankland. The vineyard is under the control of Larry Cherubino and also provides fruit to the likes of Singlefile.
Barry Weinman: 16th April 2023
How good is Western Australian cabernet? The answer is truly awesome. The latest releases from the likes of Moss Wood, Cullen and Leeuwin Estate are some of the best wines released under these labels. But the West does not have it all its own way, with terrific wines being made across the country.
Barry Weinman: 26th March 2023
For this article, I thought I would give ChatGPT a go for the introduction. Yes, it was interesting, but to me at least, it came across as somewhere between an advertisement and a eulogy.
I have included it at the bottom of the page for interest’s sake, but the rest is very much in the style of Barry Weinman, as written by Barry Weinman.
Barry Weinman: 19 March 2023
Skigh Winery takes its name from winemaker Skigh McMannus. Having started his career at Howard Park, Skigh worked vintages at wineries in various wine regions across the globe, before establishing his eponymous winery in 2016.
Barry Weinman: 11th March 2023
In a line-up of quite expensive white Burgundies, three wines stood out for the quality and value that was on offer.
Barry Weinman: 12th December 2022
Perspective is so important when comparing wines, and the inclusion of the superb Vasse Felix Heytesbury and Voyager MJW chardonnays in this masked line up of wines served as an excellent reference point for the rest of the wines.
23rd November 2022
That Levantine Hill is so successful is no accident. Rumour has it that in excess of $100 million has been spent on setting up the vineyards, cellar door and winery and, under the watchful eye of Paul Bridgeman, the wines are living up to expectations and their reputation has been steadily growing on the east coast.
21st November 2022
There were a number of highlights over the last few weeks, including a pair of very fine 2022 rieslings from the Great Southern.
Wine reviews by Barry Weinman: 1st November 2022
A little while back, I wrote briefly about the fascinating story of Credaro: https://finewineclub.com.au/2019/12/19/credaro/
The next chapter in that story is happening in 2022, with the family celebrating the 100th anniversary of the planting of the first vines on the family property in Carbanup.
Wine Reviews by Barry Weinman: 20th October 2022
On the world stage, and here in Australia, riesling is one of the great bargains. At a time when top-end local chardonnays are selling for $130 – $200 a bottle, the very best rieslings in the country are selling for less than half this amount. (Read More)
Barry Weinman: 13th October 2022
Over the last few years, the Margaret River region has seen more climatic variation than we have become used to. 2017, 2019 and 2021 were all unusually cool, with 2021 in particular also having to deal with untimely rain events. Read more.
Barry Weinman: 8th October 2022
Amelia Park remains one of the more memorable cellar doors in Western Australia. The vista as you walk into the tasting room is nothing short of breathtaking. And when you combine that with superb (and great value) wines and knowledgeable staff, it makes for a fantastic experience. more…