Wine Reviews By Barry Weinman

You may have noticed that my reviews have been a little less frequent of late. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that I am now writing a weekly column for the Western Suburbs Weekly.

Last week was a review of the brilliant sparkling wines under the Arras label, whilst this week is Houghton. I hope to be able to provide links to these article in due course.

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

Sittella – Avant Garde-  Pemberton – Pinot Noir – 2018 (18.5/20pts – $36). Dijon 115 clone, whole berry destemmed, 20% whole bunch fermentation, natural yeasts – a silky structure and dark cherry fruit results and even though 50% of the oak is new French (Vosges) oak, it is but a minor player. (7 Oct).

Recent Articles

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…!

Cabernet Sauvignon New Release May 2019

Barry Weinman: 28th May 2019

There are some varieties that are just that little bit more special to taste than others, and Cabernet Sauvignon, either alone or blended is one of those. Part of the attraction is that Australia (and Western Australia in particular) makes Cabernet-based wines that are the equal of any in the world when assessed for quality as well as value, so the quality of our tastings can be quite high.

Pinot Noir: New Release May 2019

Barry Weinman: 18th May 2019

Pinot Noir remains the holy grail for many wine drinkers. At its best, the grape is capable of producing wines of extraordinary beauty and complexity. All too often, however, events in the vineyard (and winery) conspire to make less than exciting wines.

The 2014 Bordeaux Vintage

Brendan Jansen: 20th May 2019

Every year, in London, Sydney and San Francisco, the Institute of masters of Wine hosts Bordeaux tastings. The biggest of these are in London, but a very significant number of producers was on show in Sydney this last weekend.

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay Vertical Tasting 2000 – 2016 Vintage

Barry Weinman: 4th May 2019

There has been much written about Australian Chardonnays over the years, documenting the changing styles and fashions. In the 1990s the trend was for big, ripe, buttery Chardonnays, with plenty of oak. This evolved over the 2000s, with the fruit richness and oak flavours gradually being wound back.

Howard Park Rieslings: 2018 Vintage

Barry Weinman: 25th April 2019

The Porongurups in the Great Southern region of Western Australia must surely produce the best Rieslings in Western Australia, showing great purity of fruit and outstanding balance. Whilst they lack the long history of the great Clare Valley Rieslings (such as Grosset and Leo Buring), they are challenging the quality. The other region to also star with Riesling in the last few years is Tasmania, but precious few of those make it to WA.

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)