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Wine Reviews By Barry Weinman

I am pleased to announce that Fine Wine Club contributor and panel member Brendan Jansen has been awarded a Masters of Wine by the institute of Masters of Wine. He is one of only 384 people world-wide who have been able to pass what must surely be one of the most difficult qualifications to gain, in any field of study.

Indeed, Brendan suggests that this was much more difficult to attain than his specialist medical degrees! Read More.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Fine Wine Club Newsletter. Delivered once every 4 – 6 weeks, the newsletter lists all the Wines of the Week for the previous month, as well as providing links to all new articles. Best of all, it is free.

Wines of the Week

Shingleback – Rosé – Red Knot – 2018 (17/20pts – $18). A blend of Pinot, Shiraz and Grenache. Very pale and quite savoury. The refreshing acid carries the fruit on the palate, giving the impression of a bone-dry finish. There is decent length and mouth-feel, ensuring that this would be great with food. The label says “Crisp and Dry” and this fits the bill perfectly. (April 17).

Paxton – Tempranillo – 2018 (17.7/20pts $25) Pretty red berry and floral fruit notes on the nose. The palate is bright and fresh, with delicious savoury fruit coating the palate and building in layers. The tannins and acidity keep things fresh, making for a great drink. Pizza or pasta – the choice is yours. (April 17).

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016 (18.8/20pts – $98). Wow, wow, wow, this has it all. Bright, fresh floral fruit and savoury notes from the oak leads into a silky finish framed by fine tannins. A joy to drink now, but sure to age well for a decade or more. Gets serious on the close, with density of fruit, graphite and tar-like notes. (April 15).

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Trinders – 2016 (18.5/20pts – $31). Given that this wine is the entry level Cabernet from Cape Mentelle, the quality is nothing short of outstanding. The dense, ripe fruit is a highlight. This is a serious wine, with chewy, structured fruit and savoury, texturing oak and tannins. Remains supple and lithe despite the power, with blueberry fruit building with air. Great now, but also age-worthy. (April 15).

Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – Filius – 2016. (18.2/20pts – $28). Fresh and supple red berry fruit, with hints of mint on the nose. The palate is fine and savoury, with supple tannins and acid combining on a silky finish. Fresh and approachable, this is such an easy drink now, but has enough depth and Bordeaux-like structure to allow for short to medium-term cellaring. Excellent. Aged for 12 months in French oak, this includes 14% Malbec. (April 15).

Recent Articles

New Release – April 2019

Barry Weinman: 17th April 2019

Personally, I would rather drink a white wine rather than a Rosé in general, but every now and then, a wine comes along to challenge my perceptions. The Red Knot Rosé is one of those wines. The label says “Crisp and Dry”, and this wine fits that description perfectly.

Cabernet Sauvignon: April New Release

Barry Weinman: 15th April 2019

Margaret River has a reputation for producing some of the greatest Cabernets in Australia, if not the world. So it came as no surprise to the panel that the 2016 Cape Mentelle Cabernet is a truly outstanding wine.

New Release Whites: March 2019

Barry Weinman: 24th March 2019

This week saw the panel try a couple of really smart wines from Singlefile under the Run Free label. Both the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are very worthy wines at around $25 per bottle.

Wine Musings III: Fashion and Wine

24 March 2019

Is the wine industry a fashion industry? If so who hold the power to influence styles? Brendan Jansen MW raises some questions in this Wine Musings article

Cabernet Sauvignon – New Release: March 2019

Barry Weinman: 16th March 2019

In a line-up of high quality wines, the Vasse Felix Cabernet really stood out. A wine with great poise and balance that has a very premium feel about it.

At the more affordable end of the spectrum, the Thorn Clarke Sandpiper is an excellent effort, with delicious fruit and supple winemaking.

Cabernet – Prestige New Release: February 2019

Barry Weinman: 27th February 2019

In a line-up of fine wines, three really impressed the panel. Each wine took a different approach in expressing its personality, but in each case, the results were outstanding.

Over time, their personalities will gradually express themselves allowing the patient to determine the final pecking order, but from a value perspective the Leeuwin Estate is the pick.

Chardonnay – Prestige New Release: February 2019

27th February 2019

Until recently, the world hierarchy of Chardonnays went something like;

  1. White Burgundy
  2. Chablis
  3. Everything else

But as in the rest of life, nothing stays the same for ever, and so it is that the current crop of Western Australian Chardonnays are of such high quality, that they must be considered a worthy challenger to the white wines of Burgundy. When price is brought into the equation, then no other region can even get close to matching the value on offer.

Wine Musings: Assessing wine quality: is it objectively possible?

Brendan Jansen: 17 February 2018

Can wine appraisal ever be truly objective? There are two extremes in the argument: the first is that wine appreciation is wholly subjective – “You know what you like, and that is the only important thing…” This position holds that, it does not matter what others think, what the individual enjoys, and regards as desirable, is all that matters….

Winery in Focus: Evans & Tate

Barry Weinman: 4th February 2019

Evans & Tate has had a chequered history. Established by the Evans and Tate families in 1974, the original Redbrook vineyard was planted in 1975. In 1983 the partnership broke up, with the Tate family taking control of the winery.

Wine musings: Is the notion of “typicity” the enemy of innovation?

Brendan Jansen: 27th January 2019

Wine quality is difficult to define, but is often spoken about in terms of the degree of complexity of wine bouquet and flavours, the length and persistence of these flavours on the palate, the intensity of aromas and taste, and the overall balance of the core elements of the wine. (Read More)

Winery in Review: Woodlands

Barry Weinman: 19th January 2019

Established in 1973 by David and Heather Watson, Woodlands is one of the earliest vineyards in the Margaret River region. The original Woodlands vineyard has a total of 10 hectares under vine, many of which are now approaching 40 years of age.

Pinot Noir – New Release – January 2018

Barry Weinman: 19th January 2018

The key feature of all the wines reviewed is drinkability. This is a cross-section of affordable Pinots that will provide uncomplicated drinking over the summer months.

There is also a good value red from the south of France that is excellent value (From Lamont’s Cottesloe).

Chardonnay – New Release – January

5th January 2018

Value for money Chardonnay can be elusive, so the panel was pleased to be able to recommend four wines at a range of prices that will make for excellent drinking this summer.