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Wine Reviews By Barry Weinman

Wines of the Week

Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Chardonnay– 2018. White peach and grapefruit over marzipan and gentle spicy oak notes. The palate is supple, refined and full of life, with the acidity adding delicious energy.  Yet the intensity of fruit at the core is the defining feature. A very fine wine indeed! (18.5/20pts – $50). (16 October)

Patritti – April Red – 2020. An unusual blend of Grenache and Pedro Ximinez from historic Adelaide vineyards. Ripe, bright and succulent with juicy cherry and berry fruit, with liquorice and spice on the finish. Zippy acidity adds to the fun. Delicious alternative to lighter reds as the weather warms. (17.3/20pts – $24). (16 October)

Higher Planes – The Messenger – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016. The cooler climate, minty fruit is ripe and supple, and has been skilfully combined with fine oak and tannins resulting in an elegant, approachable wine. Yet there is the depth and structure to support bottle aging. A lovely wine. (18.5/20pts – $50). (16 October)

Singlefile – Cabernet Sauvignon – The Philip Adrian – 2017. Opens with cooler spectrum berry and red currant fruit that is perfectly ripe. The palate is intense, yet fine and elegant, with supple oak (50% new) adding depth and savoury complexity. Impressively packaged, this is a masterpiece for the vintage. (18.6/20pts – $100).

Recent Articles

All that Glitters is not Gold

16th October 2020

Decanter Magazine recently announced the results of their World Wine Awards. Fraser Gallop was awarded Best in Show for their 2018 Parterre Chardonnay (from almost 1,000 Chardonnays!).

Wendouree: 2013 & 2017 Vintage Review

11th October 2020

With the imminent release of the 2018 vintage, I took the opportunity to open a cross-section of wines from both 2017 & 2013 for the tasting panel to see how they are developing.

Substance versus Style

30th September 2020

In the wine industry, like in fashion, styles change over time. What is considered fashionable is often dictated by wine show judges and the major newspaper wine writers.

Leeuwin Estate: Not Just a One Trick Pony

Barry Weinman: 30th September 2020

Year after year, Leeuwin Estate’s Art Series Chardonnay garners a huge amount of praise and attention, and rightly so. After all, this has a long history of being one of the greatest white wines made in Australia, with an enviable 38 vintage history.

A multi-axial approach towards understanding the (red) wines of Burgundy

Brendan Jansen MW: 24th September 2020

The wines of Burgundy can be as seductive and beguiling as they can be confusing. This small plot of land – with the Cote D’Or comprising only about 13,000 hectares as compared to Bordeaux’s over 120,000 hectares – is infused with wine history and intrigue. The still wines of Burgundy, of both red and white incarnations, are widely viewed as the most wonderful in the world of wine. Winemakers around the world aspire to produce wines that can come close to rivalling the best Burgundy has to offer.

Clive Otto and the wines of Fraser Gallop

Brendan Jansen MW: 15th August 2020

After working at Vasse Felix winery from 1989 to 2006, Clive Otto joined Fraser Gallop wines. This is his 14th year at the helm as chief winemaker. All of Clive’s wines, even those that he makes for other growers in Margaret River, have his stamp of elegance and understated austerity.

Riesling: Southern Exposure

15th August 2020

At the end of a 25-wine tasting of very high-quality Riesling, I found myself reflecting on just how much I enjoyed the tasting. This was due to a number of factors. To start with, there was the purity of fruit, approachability of the wines and sheer quality of winemaking on show…

Penfolds Collection: 2020 Release

Barry Weinman: 31st  July 2020

Penfolds is a brand that needs no introductions. From the humble Koonunga Hill through to Grange, generations of Australians have built their cellars around these iconic wines.

The Many Faces of Cabernet Sauvignon

30th July 2020

When I think of versatile red grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon does not normally spring to mind. Shiraz, after all, is the ultimate chameleon, thriving in all but the very coolest vineyards in the country.

Chardonnay: July 2020

Barry Weinman: 18th July 2020

I am a huge fan of Riesling, a variety that can also claim the title of best value white wine in Australia. But in the cooler months, Chardonnay is my go-to white.

Faber Vineyard: Celebrating 20 years of Riche Shiraz

16th July 2020

John Griffith established Faber in 1997 after a very successful six-year stint at Houghton.

At Faber, the aim is to craft the best wine possible from grapes most suited to the region in which they are grown. In the Swan Valley, John believes this is Shiraz, Verdelho and Muscat (for fortified wines).

Swan Valley Chenin Blanc – Back to the Future

2nd July 2020

World Chenin Day last week was an opportunity to move my focus to the Swan Valley. Chenin Blanc, along with Shiraz are the most important grapes grown on Perth’s doorstep. And the panel celebrated with extraordinary tastings.

Grenache and Friends

25th June 2020

Grenache is a most versatile variety. Originating in Spain, but made famous by the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache was the most widely planted red variety in the world until the late 1990s.

Cherubino: June 2020

Larry Cherubino first came to attention in the late 1990s as senior winemaker at Houghton. Larry oversaw an expansion of the range, and was responsible for making some brilliant (and great value) wines from across the state. The 1998 Moondah Brook Cabernet is still brilliant drinking for example.

Blind Devotion

WINE MUSINGS – BRENDAN JANSEN MW: 31st May 2020

My friends and I enjoy playing an options game, in which we serve wine to each other blinded, that is with all identifying information about the wine hidden, and then provide options for the taster to guess what the wine is. We might ask about the vintage, the producer, the origin, or the variety, for example. It is important for us that the tasters are totally blinded to the wines – sometimes even hints like the bottle shape and the capsule can offer clues. We have been known to decant bottles under cork into screwcap bottles, and vice versa, just to confuse matters!

Picardy and Friends

18th May 2020

The Pannell family are stalwarts of the Australian wine industry.  Bill and Sandra founded Moss Wood in 1969, before moving their focus to Pemberton in 1993 with the establishment of Picardy.

A different environment.

First published in the Western Suburbs Weekly in November 2019

Given the rapid increase in the number of high-quality wines from Margaret River, Great Southern and Swan Valley, it has never been a better time to “shop local” for all our wine drinking needs. And we need only look to our east coast neighbours to fill in the gaps.

Sittella Wines: Sparkling Success

Barry Weinman: 7th May 2020

When I sat down to write this review, my intention was to write about a cross-section of the Sittella’s range, given they make excellent (and great value) white and red wines from Margaret River, Swan Valley, Pemberton and Frankland.

Cabernet Sauvignon: April 2020

10th April 2020

I hope you and your family are safe and well during this difficult times.

Given everything that is happening globally, it seems a bit irreverent to be reviewing fine wines. But given that we are living in relative isolation, a decent bottle of wine at the end of the week might bring a little consolation.

Chardonnay – New Release

18th March 2020

In recent years, Cullen’s Kevin John has been one of my favourite Chardonnays from Margaret River, holding its own against the region’s best. So the release of the 2018 vintage is eagerly anticipated.

New Release – April

20th April 2020

Over the last few weeks (before the COVID-19 shutdown), the panel had a first look at several producers.

First Taste: Duval-Leroy & Giovanni Rosso

27th March 2018

Depending on who you believe, there are somewhere between 6000 and 15,000 unique grape varieties grown globally. Of course, only a proportion of these are used for wine production, and even less are in common production.

New Release: Barolo and Barbaresco

11th March 2020

Unlike Cabernet or Shiraz, Nebbiolo is not a household name here in Australia. Yet some of the world’s great wines are made from this grape from the Piedmont region in Italy. The two key districts are Barbaresco and Barolo.

Barolo, whilst not a household name in Australia, is a wine of great repute. The neighboring village of Barbaresco, being only 1/3 of the size of Barolo, does not have quite the same recognition, but the wines can be just as impressive.