Recent Release Whites: June 2023

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.


Tapanappa – Tiers Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2021. This has a bit of wow going on. Intense and powerful, with the lees, barrel and malo characters building in waves over the ripe stone fruit. The intensity on the palate is a feature, with the acid and secondary characters from the oak initially driving the finish. The phenolics do hold this back a little now, so give it time. But with air, this comes into its own. 95+pts.

Stella Bella – Luminosa – Chardonnay – 2020. A fine, restrained style, where the pristine fruit has been pared back and expertly matched to fine oak and subtle winemaking influences. This has everything, but does need time to open and reach its peak. With air, nectarine peach notes build, supported by cinnamon and clove spice from the supple oak. An excellent cooler climate chardonnay. 95pts.

Flametree – SRS – Chardonnay – 2021. Opens with fine fruit, but the finish comes across a touch closed right now. But with air, this really opens and builds. Long, complex, fine and elegant, with gentle viscosity and a drying finish. Needs time for acidity to come back a notch, but this is the complete package. 95pts.

Deep Woods – Reserve – Chardonnay – 2021. Intense, powerful fruit on the nose, supported by minerality/curry leaf and superb winemaking influences (barrel ferment, lees work, partial malo). On the palate, this gets even better. Here, the pristine fruit (white peach) is the key focus on entry, and continues the entire length of the palate. The grapefruit acidity adds life and structure, but does not impede the fruit flow in the slightest. A great wine. 96pts.

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Chardonnay – 2019. I have reviewed this before, but given the sheer quality this showed in the line-up, I thought it worth another mention. The depth here is unbelievable. This is a wine where the sum of the parts is much greater than any individual component. The way the fruit envelops and coats the mouth and lingers on the finish is brilliant. No descriptors required, this is a great wine. 97pts.

Cullen – Kevin John – Chardonnay – 2021. Like the Leeuwin, this was so good that it warrants a second review. There is intense fruit that reminds me of just ripe nectarines, supported by supple, expensive French oak and brilliant winemaking additions (Lees and barrel ferment work +/- partial malo). Superb length and persistence of flavours. The whole package is supported by fine acidity. Very age-worthy. 96pts.

Castle Rock – Riesling – 2022. This is superb straight from the get go. The fruit has almost tropical hints, with passionfruit and a touch of floral lantana. The palate is seamless and very fine. The acid is lively and acts as a counterfoil to the textured mouthfeel, thus conferring freshness and life. A delicious wine, that feels very dry and finishes with a hint of saline tang. 94-95pts.

Frankland Estate – Isolation Ridge – Riesling – 2021. A different style, with a touch of gentle sweetness to plump up the mouthfeel and balance the acidity. There is a touch more phenolics here too, delivering complexity and texture. This is at once approachable, but there is a serious side that will make its presence felt in years to come as this develops. Great length and persistence of flavours. Superb. 96pts.

Duke’s – Single Vineyard – Riesling – 2022. This is very taut and steely, with fine acidity that floods the finish. But this is full of potential, with plenty of life and energy to the pristine fruit. Don’t serve it too cold now, but preferably give this 10 years to open up. 95pts.

Pooley – Cooinda Vale Vineyard – Riesling – 2022. Oh wow, this is the complete deal. The superb fruit has floral and citrus characters that floods the nose and the palate, with the fine acidity acting as a lubricant, allowing the flavours and textures to flow seamlessly across the palate. A beautiful wine that will live for years and years. Feels just off-dry and is all the better for it (RS = 5.36gm/l). 12% alc, 96pts – $70.

Pooley – Butcher’s Hill Vineyard – Riesling – 2022. This is a much more reserved style where the textural components are the key characteristic now. But there is great depth and power to the fruit and the finish is very long indeed. A superb wine that is a 15 year proposition, yet the excellent line and length makes this a great drink now. Lovely wine. RS 2gm/l, 13.2% alc, 95+pts – $70.