Current and New Release – Summer 2017
Barry Weinman: 28 February 2017
Every now and then, a wine surprises you for being far better than expected. This was the case with the Thomas Block Chardonnay from Paxton. McLaren vale is famous for its rich, ripe Shiraz, but here is a taut, structural Chardonnay that is really very good.
As expected the new release Kevin John Chardonnay from Cullen was impressive, but it was the Nest Egg Chardonnay from Bird in Hand that topped the tasting. I tried this again with a group of wine friends over dinner, and this was preferred to some big names from Australia and Burgundy. Expensive, but worth the money.
Finally, whilst it is not new release, the Vasse Felix Cabernet is a star. A brilliant wine and good value compared to some of the big names from Margaret River.
Pewsey Vale – Riesling – Prima – 2016 (17.5pts – $26). There are honeyed notes along with a touch of ripe pear and gentle toast leading to a textural, rich palate. Moderate residual sugar (25 gm/l) is balanced by decent acidity. Lacks the ultimate drive on the palate of the best German Kabinetts, but this wine gets extra points for being a delicious drink.
Weingut Kloster Ebernach – Riesling – Mosel – Domane MC – Feinherb – 2015 (18.2pts – N/A). Bright, focused and razor sharp, this is an excellent Riesling. There is a nervous energy on the palate, with the lime and mineral characters performing on a stage of taut acidity. Excellent length to close. Not yet available in Australia.
Weingut Kloster Ebernach – Pinot Blanc – Mosel – Domane MC – 2015 (18pts). Delicious wine from this underrated grape. Bright fruit (citrus, stone fruit and even a touch of pineapple) is balanced by fresh acidity. The fruit lingers on a very long palate. Morish, the residual sugar is perfectly matched to fruit and acidity.
Bird in Hand – Chardonnay – Nest Egg – 2015 (18.5pts -$79). Powerful dense wine with ripe fruit married to toasted oak and lees/barrel ferment characters. The palate is textural, rich and balanced. Made in a more traditional, easily accessible style, showcasing the Adelaide Hills fruit. A brilliant drink right now.
Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2015 (18.5pts). This is quite accessible, with the fruit on the nose the main focus. The palate is full, round and powerful with the pineapple (Mendoza clone) and marmalade fruit framed by complex winemaking inputs including struck match minerality and tight French oak. Seamless, this is a lovely wine now – 5 years.
Arivina Estate – Chardonnay – Wildwood Ridge Reserve – 2015 (18.3pts). Opens with gentle peach and melon aromas that build in the glass. Creamy, textured, fine and supple, this is an elegant, almost delicate wine that will build presence over a number of years.
Paxton – Chardonnay – Thomas Block – 2015 (18pts+ – $34). (Organic). Complex, dense fruit on the nose. The palate is taut and firm, the fruit sitting behind the structural components. The balance is noteworthy. The oak and winemaking components tightly bind the fruit, the latter sitting dormant and needing some time in bottle to express itself fully. A truly impressive wine from McLaren Vale.
Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – Premium (Gold Capsule) – 2013. (18.5pts+). A complex nose, with dense, ripe, precise fruit. Menthol, blueberry, liquorice and eucalypt notes are balanced by texturing oak. Very long, fine and elegant, this will age well for 15 years +.