New Release Tasting: April 2018

New Release Tasting: April 2018

Barry Weinman: 7th April 2018

We tasted a number of Italian and French wines this week, but a combination of cork taint and old-fashioned winemaking ruled them all out.

What did impress were a number of Western Australian wines. If you are after a bargain, then the 2017 Shepard’s Hut Pinot fits the bill perfectly. A delicious, vibrant, food-friendly wine that can be picked up for around $20.

Moving up the price range, the Windows Estate Chardonnay is a convincing effort, with powerful fruit matched to complex wine-making inputs.

Finally there are two vintages of Cape-Mentelle’s Zinfandel. The 2014 is structured, powerful and suitable for the cellar, whilst the 2015 is my pick of the tasting, offering vibrant, approachable fruit combined with complex spicy notes. A great drink now, but also worthy of time in the cellar.


Windows Estate – Chardonnay – Estate – 2016 (18/20pts – $45). Creamy and complex, yet retains freshness and vibrancy. Curry leaf characters, minerality, struck match and flintiness add depth and texture, reminding me of fine white Burgundy. Judicious use of high quality oak aids mouthfeel. Powerful and impressive!

Singlefile – Cabernet/Merlot – 2016 (17.8/20pts – $25). Mint and menthol notes combined with succulent ripe fruit, gentle oak and hints of spice. A delicious, early- drinking wine that would be great with braised lamb as the weather cools.

Shepherd’s Hut – Pinot Noir – Porongurup – 2017 (17.5/20pts – $25). Very pretty and almost delicate, with vibrant fruit on both the nose and palate. A touch of whole bunch fermentation adds a savoury, spicy component to the finish. Minimal oak and fine acid adds to the mouth-feel and finish. Makes me yearn for a simple roast to keep it company. Don’t be put off by the pale colour, this is a worthwhile wine.

Talisman – Zinfandel – 2014 (17.5 – 18/20). Starts off relatively restrained, but this builds with air to show plumy fruit and liquorice/earthy notes. Fine acids and drying tannins add depth, to a spicy, rich and intense wine. Short-term cellaring would help soften the tannins, but at four years old, this is already drinking well.

Cape Mentelle – Zinfandel – 2015 (18/20 – $65). Wow, this is fantastic. Pristine fruit, polished winemaking and quality oak all combine into a wine that is great now, but will also cellar for a decade. Long and supple, with only modest alcohol (for a Zinfandel), the balance is the key. Builds spicy notes on the long finish, with high quality oak adding depth. 14.5% alc.

Cape Mentelle – Zinfandel – 2014 (17.8/20 – $65). More restrained and taut, with depth, texture and structure. The tannins are firm, yet fine, keeping the whole palate subdued. Needs years, but all the elements are in place. 15% alc.