Wine Reviews By Barry Weinman

Wines of the Week

Picardy – Chardonnay 2023. This is a fine rendition of chardonnay. White peach and lemon dominate both the nose and palate, with subtle oak and winemaking inputs adding greatly to the package. Length and persistence are exemplary, with supple acidity adding drive on the finish. A very appealing wine that, with a few years in the bottle, should build greater depth. 12.5% alc, 94-95pts. (16 May).

Picardy – Pinot Noir – 2022. A very pretty wine. Cherry, liquorice and spice make up the foreground, with complexity building minerality and an almost ferrous character adding greatly to the finish. This is supple enough to enjoy now (with or without food), but a few years in the cellar will see this build a lovely velvety texture and get even more expansive on the finish. An excellent pinot which is very well made. 14.0% alc. 94pts. (16 May).

Picardy – Tête de cuvée- Pinot Noir – 2022. This is altogether more serious and powerful, yet magically, comes across as soft, supple and seamless straight out of the bottle. (OK, so I did use a glass). With air though, the power and intensity of this wine starts to express itself more fully. Density, structure, intensity – all the hallmarks of a fine wine. Five years in the cellar will see this start to sing as the fruit opens up and the finish starts to fan out. Again, minerality, and an almost saline tang brings the finish to life. 13.5% alc. 95+pts. (16 May).

Recent Articles

Picardy in Focus: New Releases June 2024

Barry Weinman: 16th June 2024

Established in 1993, Picardy have been quietly forging a reputation for high quality wines from the Pemberton region for three decades now. And, when judged as a whole, the current releases are, in all likelihood, the best ever released by the Pannell family under the Picardy label.

New Release Pinot – May 2023

Barry Weinman: 30th May 2024

I love good pinot noir, and my obsession with the variety has been fuelled over the years by the challenges of finding high quality wines at affordable prices.

In recent times, the overall quality of Australian pinot has improved in consistency greatly, to the point where there are now a number of (relatively) affordable wines that offer excellent drinking.

Value Picks from Singlefile: May 2024

Barry Weinman: 23rd May 2024

It may seem a little unusual for a winery with Singlefile’s reputation to be singled out for value, but the panel was very impressed by the value on offer when looking through a range of new releases from the 2023 vintage.

The pinots appeared in a masked tasting of high quality wines and were amongst the cheapest in the tasting. But this did not prevent them from standing out for quality and drinkability.

Swinney – Farvie – 2022 Vintage in Focus

5th May 2024

Right at the start, let me make one thing clear. The 2022 vintage Farvie reds from Swinney are outstanding. And the wines have been highly lauded, with Brendan Jansen MW going so far as to pronounce the 2022 Farvie Mourvèdre the best wine he had tried in the last twelve months.

Reviewing the wines, however, required the most analysis of any wines that I have tasted in recent times and there was a lot to unpack to get to the heart of these wines. This was because the wines presented in a way that is different to most wines reviewed.

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone Chardonnay releases

21st April 2024

I recently reviewed the excellent Cornerstone cabernets and the new release chardonnays are also very impressive indeed.

In this case, the wines come from two contrasting vintages which, if anything, should accentuate the differences between the cooler Karridale region and Wilyabrup which is warmer.

New Release Whites: April 2024

7th April 2024

There were a couple of left-of-centre wines that stood out in this tasting.
One was an excellent value ($23 from Dans) Vouvray from Famile Bougrier, a delicious, textured summer drink.

Cracking Cabernets: Bargain Alert

24th March 2024

There is an almost never-ending stream of great cabernets coming out of Western Australia, but they often come with a premium price tag.

However, there is value to be had at several price points as the panel discovered in a large tasting of primarily top-end cabernets this week.
Ok, so none of the wines are outright cheap, but if quality is what you are after, then these wines offer superb value at several price points.

Chardonnay – When only the best will do!

21st March 2024

Here is a preview of some new release superstars of Western Australian chardonnay. These are wines that every collector should have on their wish list.

What sets these wines apart from their predecessors is the immediacy that they offer. Both the Leeuwin and the Cullen are more delicious in their youth than in previous recent vintages.

Vasse Felix Chardonnay – 2022 Vintage

17th March 2024

I recently wrote about the superb Tom Price Cabernet/Malbecs from Vasse Felix and the great passion the viticultural and winemaking teams have for cabernet sauvignon and malbec. If anything, their passion for chardonnay is even greater, reaching an almost reverential nature.

Tom Cullity Vertical Tasting

Barry Weinman: 3rd March 2024.

Virginia Wilcock: Chief Winemaker at Vasse Felix

To celebrate the launch of the 2020 Tom Cullity, Paul Holmes à Court (proprietor) and Virginia Willcock (chief winemaker) hosted a tasting of six vintages to give us the opportunity to see how the wines had developed in bottle, and how the style has evolved over time.

New Release Margaret River Cabernet – February 2024

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.

Wines to Watch – February 2024

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.

Budget Champagne Uncovered: December 2023

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.

Champagne: Off the Beaten Track

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).

November 2023 New Releases

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.

Sevenhill Cellars New Releases: Spring 2023

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.

Plantagenet Winery: Wyjup Collection: Spring 2023

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.

Highlights from the tasting panel: October 2023

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.

First Impressions – Reds: Spring 2023

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.

First Impressions – Whites: Spring 2023

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.

New Release Reds: October 2023

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.

Winery in Focus: Picardy Spring 2023

Barry Weinman: 30th September 2023

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.

Grosset 2023 Vintage Rieslings

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.

September New Release

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.

Singlefile New Releases – Spring 2023

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.

Cherubino Chardonnays: 2022 Vintage Reviewed

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.

Highlights from the tasting panel

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.

July 2023 New Releases

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.

Barossa Valley Value

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.

New Release Barossa: Welland and More

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.

Recent Release Whites: June 2023

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.

Xanadu 2023 Premium Releases

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.

2008 Vintage Champagne Tasting: The Quercus Collective

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.

Introduction to the wines of Feudo Arancio

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.

Swinney Farvie 2021 Vintage Review

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.

Tim Adams Wines

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.

Fervor Wines: by the Garland Project.

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.

Cherubino in 2023: The Classics Revisited

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.

Singlefile in Focus: April 2023 New Releases

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.

Premium Cabernets: April 2023

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.

Vickery: A Masterclass in South Australian Riesling

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.

Skigh Wine

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.

New Release Chardonnay: March 2023

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.

New Release Chardonnay: December 2022

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.

Levantine Hill in Focus: November 2022

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.

New Release Highlights: November 2022

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.

Credaro in Focus: November 2022

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.

Grosset 2022 Rieslings Reviews

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)

Leeuwin Estate in Focus: Spring 2022

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.

Amelia Park Wines: October 2022

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…