Wine Reviews By Barry Weinman

Brendan Jansen MW has just returned form a sojourn in South Australia, and the first of his reports has just been published (see below).

Barry Weinman is now writing a weekly column for the Western Suburbs Weekly Community Newspaper. Full reports will be published here in the week following the print edition.

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 – Cabernet Sauvignon – Red Knot – 2018 (17/20pts – $15) Ripe, plummy fruit that is fresh, youthful and vibrant, but not overly complex. Soft tannins and balancing acidity support a gentle finish. Not overly typical, but a good BBQ red.  Along with the excellent Shiraz, this is a bargain given that Dan Murphy’s will discount this to around $12. (November 25). 

Xanadu – Cabernet Sauvignon – DJL – 2017 (17.8/20pts – $25) Lithe and fresh, with bright redcurrant/ blueberry fruit. The palate has fine tannins and supple texturing oak that provides balance and allow the fruit to shine. Lacks the ultimate depth of the best, but fine drinking given the price. Trophy for best Cabernet at Perth. (November 25). 

Plantagenet – Cabernet Sauvignon – Aquitaine – 2017 (18,3/20pts – $45). Plantagenet is surely one of the most underrated wineries in Western Australia. This is dense and inky, yet supple enough to drink now. The savoury oak adds texture and depth, without constraining the excellent fruit. Structured and cellar-worthy, so food is a must if drunk now. (November 25).

Grosset – Riesling – Polish Hill – 2019 (18.8/20pts – $60). Beautiful perfumed fruit, with floral and lime juice highlights. There is even a touch of aromatics reminiscent of a fine gin. The palate shows all of this, yet it is remarkably fine, restrained and elegant, with great length, persistence and near seamless palate transition. Exceptional.

Cherubino – Riesling – Great Southern – 2019 (18.5/20pts – $35). The floral aromatics are a highlight here with musk and gentle herb highlights. The pristine fruit is seamless and near ethereal, showing great depth. The mouth-feel is a highlight, with the elegant fruit perfectly balanced by the lemon-like acidity. Now – 10 years.

O’Leary Walker – Riesling – Polish Hill River – 2018 (18/20pts – $25). Steely, powerful and austere compared to the Grosset, this is a more traditional with lemon zest acidity defining the finish. There is excellent fruit tucked in behind the structure, but this needs years to hit its peak.

Recent Articles

Grenache and Grenache blends at Fox Creek in McLaren Vale

Brendan Jansen MW: 28th November 2019

A Grenache masterclass at the Master of Wine (MW) seminar took us to Fox Creek Winery in McLaren Vale. We were hosted by Marketing Manager James Carman and Winemaker Ben Tanzer.

The Lenswood subregion in the Adelaide Hills

Brendan Jansen MW: 25th November 2019

A day trip to the Adelaide Hills as part of the MW seminar culminated in a tasting and lunch at Anderson Hill winery. Producers from the newly defined subregion gathered to enlighten us about the benefits and rationale of naming their subregion, and to outline specific characteristics of the area.

Buy West – Buy Best

Barry Weinman: 25th November 2019

This article first appeared in the Western Suburbs Weekly on the 22nd November 2019

In James Halliday’s Top 100 wines, a remarkable 27% of the wines reviewed came from Western Australia. South Australia was next best with 25%. To put these figures into perspective, Western Australia accounts for only 5% of all of Australia’s wine, whereas South Australia produces 50%.

More than a coming of age – 21 years of Mark Messenger at Juniper Estate

Brendan Jansen MW: 20th November 2019

What a privilege to have been included in a small select group of wine writers and experts to celebrate Mark Messenger’s 21 years at Juniper Estate. For the tasting, Mark whetted our appetite with a young and old example each of Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz, before we embarked on the mammoth vertical tasting comprising 21 vintages of the Juniper Estate Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon (minus the 2006, when the fruit didn’t come up to scratch).

Riesling: No Longer The Bridesmaid?*

Barry Weinman: 5th October 2019

Riesling has been the perennial bridesmaid of the Australian wine scene. Capable of breathtaking beauty, but routinely overlooked in favour of more overt wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and complex, approachable Chardonnay.

The Institute of Masters of Wine – Annual Claret Tasting – 2015 Vintage

Brendan Jansen MW: 10th December 2019

Each year, the Institute’s Bordeaux tasting is one of the most anticipated and well-attended tasting events on the calendar. The Institute holds Claret tastings in the USA and Australia annually also, but the event in Vintner’s Hall in London is arguably the biggest. Again, the event was sold out this year.

Tasmania’s Terroir

Brendan Jansen MW: 10th October 2019

My recent visit to Tasmania was my first, and not wanting to bite off more of the Apple Isle than I could chew, I limited my winery visits to the Pipers River area and the south around Hobart and the Coal River Valley. I was immediately struck by the diversity of terroirs, even those in very close geographical proximity, and foremost among my inquiry was an attempt to make sense of the Tasmanian wine geography.

Life is a Cabernet

Barry Weinman: 23 October 2019

The life of a wine taster may sound glamorous, tasting dozens of wines each week, trying to find high quality and good value wines that we are happy to recommend. But the reality is often quite different from the image.

Stefano Lubiana Wines

Brendan Jansen MW: 21st October 2019

In well-established Old World wine regions, producers can command prices many times that of their neighbouring competitors, based upon reputation. Prices can vary hugely for wines of different producers from, for example, the very same Burgundian commune and vineyard quality designation.

Stellar Sittella

Brendan Jansen MW: 7th October 2019

There is no shortage of passion in the wine industry. But rarely is the confluence of factors of passion, technical know-how, economic backing and singularity of focus found together.

Sittella wines is, I believe, an example of such an establishment. Founded in 1993, with the winery built in 1998, what began as a hobby has become a sophisticated operation.

Far from home: Less common European varieties in the Antipodes

Brendan Jansen MW

13th September 2019

France has long been regarded, and regarded itself, as the centre of the wine universe. This is understandable, given the offerings of classic wine production areas such as Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Loire and Rhone Valleys, and Alsace, to name but a few. (More)

Deep Woods Estate

8th August 2019

As it is with all professions, some winemakers are more capable than others. And then there is the elite few, who seem to be able to regularly achieve things that others can’t. Perhaps it is a result of hard work, technical expertise, passion, a special understanding of the vineyards, or even an innate affinity for turning grapes into wine.

Ribafreixo: Wines from Portugal

Brendan Jansen MW: 2nd August 2019

My word! It is always wonderful to discover a new and relatively little-known producer, churning our really delicious wines at bargain prices. These situations do not happen often, and usually don’t last, as the hype can take over, and prices are hiked.

New Release Cabernet: July 2019

10th July 2019

It is always an interesting exercise when two bottles of the same wine end up in a tasting, or in tastings that are close together, as it is a chance for panel members to measure the consistency of their notes and scores. The closer the scores, the happier the panel. (Read More)

Emirates Business Class Lounge Wines: June 2018

15th June 2019

In the course of my work, I spend a large amount of time traveling internationally. This includes regular travel on Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways, as well as less frequent trips on Malaysian, Asiana etc.

By far the best wine that is regularly served in Business Class on any of these flights is the Charles Heidsieck Champagne served by Singapore Airlines. A superb wine of great complexity and finesse. Interestingly, I believe the wine being served is a much more recent disgorgement than that which is available in Australia.

For something a little different, I recently flew six sectors on Emirates, becoming well acquainted with the wines being served both in the lounge and on the plane. (Read More)

New Release Premium Shiraz: June 2019

17th June 2019

For those who have been following my reviews for some time, you will have noted that there are some wineries that get reviewed more often than others. One of those is Shingleback and another is Angove. Both wineries are making wines at a variety of price points that are class- leading.

New Release Chardonnay – June 2019

Barry Weinman: 24th June 2019

I love Chardonnay. If I had to choose just one white wine style to drink, this would be it. Part of the appeal is the versatility that the grape affords. From zesty, racy unoaked styles made famous by Chablis, to the powerful rich and textured White Burgundies, there is a style for every occasion.

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: May 2019

Barry Weinman: 31st June 2019

In the global wine market, Western Australian wines are positively cheap, when quality is factored in. In an effort to lift the profile internationally, a number of producers have released, or are planning to release limited edition Reserve wines at a higher price point.

Spoiled For Choice: Selecting your next wine

Brendan Jansen MW: May 28th 2019

It is no surprise that we return to familiar brands, styles and varieties in wine choice, and no surprise that we rely on the recommendation or advice of others in making our choice. The subject of fashion in wine, and the importance of a brand’s story was the subject of a previous wine musing…!