Category Archives: New Release – Wine Reviews

Value Picks from Singlefile: May 2024

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.

The biggest surprise for me though, was the remarkably beautiful Vermentino from 2023. One of my wine highlights this year. Could this be the next variety to shine in the Great Southern? I hope so…

Reviewed

Singlefile – Single Vineyard – Mt Barker – Pinot Noir – 2023. This is in a different league to many of the pinots that the panel reviews. As expected, the pretty aromatic red berry and cherry fruit is the focus, but the wonderful silky structure is what sets this apart. Supple intensity, excellent length and persistence of flavours. Whilst this is a lovely drink now, you can sense that this is going to develop brilliantly in the bottle over the next 5 – 8 years. 13.7% alc. – 94pts – $37.

Singlefile – Run Free – Pinot Noir – 2023. Supple, fleshy and delicious. Not overly complex or serious, but who cares when you can drink a wine this slurpable at a price that is affordable enough to have with a mid-week bowl of pasta. From estate vineyards in Mt Barker and Albany. 13.8% alc. 90pts – $28.

Singlefile – Vermentino – 2023. Wonderful aromatics here. More savoury than floral, but captivating all the same. Lychee and marzipan notes build on a palate that is seamless, gently textured and showing a touch viscosity. The length of flavour is outstanding. I would take this over a SB every day of the week, and it would be brilliant with seafood. My suggestion is to not drink this too cold. Between 10 and 15 degrees seemed to be where it really shone. I can’t recommend this wine highly enough as an alternative to the mainstream varieties that we know and love. 11.9% alc. 95pts – $NA.

Swinney – Farvie – 2022 Vintage in FocusS

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.

In the end, I tasted the wines over a five day period, with their personalities really developing over that time.

On opening, the wines were extremely refined and elegant, with the extraordinary texture being the feature that underlined the inherent quality. Whilst the shiraz and grenache also showed superb fruit, the mourvèdre in particular was very shy.

One day two, the wines seemed to regress further into their shells, with the textural mouthfeel being the defining character. If anything, the wines were at their least exciting at this point, but provided an excellent counterpoint to a rich lamb ragout.

One day three, the fruit started to come into its own, and the wines started to drink delightfully.

Day four is when it all came together, especially for the mourvèdre. The fruit positively exploded from the glass, all the while supported by the fine tannins and acidity.

Even on day five, the wines were still holding up well, though the structure was starting to break up a bit.

If you are going to drink any of the wines in their youth, then the grenache would be my pick, given its delightful berry fruit. The shiraz is also wonderful drinking, but its best is surely years in the future.

As for the mourvèdre, this is a wine that will handsomely repay time in the cellar.
In conclusion, these are some of the best wines to come out of the region, but they are wines that demand your attention to ensure that they give the most pleasure possible.

Reviewed.

Swinney – Farvie – Grenache – 2022. Great colour in the glass and wonderfully pure, pretty grenache fruit on the nose. And on the palate this explodes into life. Yes, it is fine, elegant and structured, but the fruit is an absolute joy to behold. Ripe plum, echoes of liquorice, cinnamon and an almost umami-like savoury goodness add to the enjoyment. The finish is a highlight, as it is silky and finely textured. Counterintuitively, the fruit seemed to recess back into the wine over time and took a full three days to show its best. If you must drink one of the Farvies now, then this is the one that I recommend. 28% whole bunch, wild ferment, 11 months in oak (0% new) 14.0% alc – 96pts – $150.

Swinney – Farvie – Syrah – 2022. The colour in the glass is just amazing and there is sensational red berry fruit. In the mouth, this is very fine, elegant. supple and subtle, yet at the same time this has tremendous impact and wonderful intensity. The length and persistence of flavours is outstanding, as is the purity of the fruit. Gentle spice and amazing texture are supported by the finest of tannins that add silkiness and structure, but do not impede the flow of the fruit in the slightest. Irresistible now, but sure to age for decades if you can keep your hands off it. Remarkably, this had 65% whole bunch in the (wild) ferment. 14 months in oak (0% new) 13.5% alc, 97pts – $150

Swinney – Farvie – Mouvedre – 2022. This is quite a different beast. It is just as fine and elegant as the other Farvies, but here, the fruit takes on a very different tone. Rather than berries or plum, this is much more savoury, with an almost earthy character running the length of the palate. Minerality, chalky tannins and balancing acidity all serve to keep the fruit in check. A fascinating insight into the variety, but also into the way a wine can evolve (for the better) once opened. On days 1 – 3, I much preferred the Syrah and grenache, but on day four, this came into its own, the rich berry fruit positively bursting from the glass. I was stunned by the transformation. 66% whole bunch, 11 months in oak (0% new), 14.1% alc, 95+pts – $150.

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone Chardonnay releases

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.

And this played out perfectly in the glass, with the Karridale being full of nervous energy, whilst the Wilyabrup shows more ripe stone fruit notes, despite having the same alcohol.

I recommend getting a few friends together and comparing the two wines. I would be interested to see which wine comes out on top.

Reviewed

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone – Wilyabrup – Chardonnay 2022. This has lovely ripe fruit with almond meal notes and texture/viscosity that is most attractive. The palate has depth and is quite seamless, with pineapple-like acidity building and adding drive and persistence. On the finish, the stone fruit builds and is a feature. Barrel ferment (35% new oak), wild yeast, no malolactic fermentation. 12.5% alc – 95pts – RRP $65.

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone – Karridale – Chardonnay 2021. There is more nervous energy here. Yes, the fruit is ripe but it is the acidity that defines the palate, in a very good way, adding freshness and vitality and bringing the mouthfeel into focus. A wonderful wine that will be at its best in 3 – 5 years. Barrel ferment (40% new oak), wild yeast, no malolactic fermentation.12.5% alc – 95+pts – $65.

Singlefile-Family Reserve-Chardonnay-2022. What a wonderful wine! This is beautifully balanced, combining the best of both modern and traditional chardonnays, conferring a degree of richness and viscosity to the fruit, whilst maintaining freshness and drive thanks to the beautifully balanced acidity. The end result is an irresistible wine of great quality. Nine months in oak (1/3 news), partial malolactic fermentation. 13.3%alc – 96 pts – $60.

New Release Shiraz – March 2024

New Release Shiraz – March 2024

Silver Spoon Estate – The Hallmark – Shiraz – 2018. This is quite lovely. Superbly ripe fruit that has been handled beautifully in the winery. This is supple, fine and elegant, with great intensity and depth, though this is not much more than medium bodied. So approachable now, that it is hard to imagine why anyone would age it. but the very fine tannins and polished acidity will ensure that this will keep for a decade or more if desired. Gentle liquorice and spice notes build. 15.0% alc – 95pts – $80

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Shiraz – 2022. This is fine and elegant, with lots of fine, cedary oak and spice notes to complement the fruit. This is a lovely wine. Silky mouthfeel, near seamless palate transition and intrinsic, though not overt depth and power. The balance is a highlight. A fine wine that will only get better for a decade or more. 13.5% alc – 95pts – TBC.

Galafrey – Dry Grown Vineyard – Shiraz – 2019. A rich, yet elegant wine that is stuffed full of ripe plum fruit, but remains balanced and fresh. The intensity and power are balanced by a nervous acidity keeping the whole package alive and fresh. Liquorice, spice and graphite tannins lead to a slightly chewy close. Value. 14.0% alc, 94pts – $35.

New Release Whites: April 2024

New Release Whites: April 2024

Barry Weinman: 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.

Galafrey also contributed a surprise with their delicious, if not mainstream Muller Thurgau. Surely this is the only example made in Western Australia? Definitely worth a try.

Reviewed

Famille Bougrier – Confidences – Vouvray – Chenin Blanc – 2022. This is quite rich, viscous and textured, that has some resemblance to viognier/white Rhone. Gentle stone fruit, supple mouthfeel, excellent length and persistence. This is really very good drinking and outrageous value to boot. 12.5% alc – 92pts – $23.

Galafrey – Reserve – Riesling – 2023. Gentle savoury notes are a feature initially, however the highlight is the palate, which is pristine and pure, with wonderful mouthfeel and texture. The acid drive makes this feel very dry, but I suspect that there is a touch of residual sugar that does wonders in fleshing out the mid palate and making this a superb drink now. But the aforementioned acidity will also confer extended aging abilities. 12.0% alc – 94+pts – TBC.

Galafrey – Dry Grown Vineyard – Muller Thurgau – 2023. This starts off steely, restrained and taut, but with air, the citrus fruit builds with attractive orange blossom highlights. I do not have any experience with this variety, but my feeling is that this will do very well with 5 years in the bottle. A great wine to challenge your wine-loving friends. And an excellent drink to boot. 93pts.

Cherubino – Gingin – Willows Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2022. OMG. This is an absolute treat. Here, the superb fruit has been deftly handled in the winery to present a compelling, seamless (if somewhat youthful) wine with real impact. Stone fruit, peach, viscosity, texture and supple oak are all in harmony, thanks to the superb winemaking. Fine. Modern expression of Margaret River Chardonnay. 13% alc – 96pts.

Cracking Cabernets: Bargain Alert

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.

Leading the charge is the cracking 2020 cabernet from Victory Point. The Berson family supply fruit to some of the region’s finest wineries, with small volumes made under the Victory Point label. At $55 from the winery, this is one of the great bargains.

A real surprise was the 2018 Cabernet from Galafrey. A good year in the Great Southern combined with mature vineyards and a quality winemaker has resulted in an affordable, age-worthy red of some note.

The final wine is Juniper’s Cornerstone Cabernet from Wilyabrup. From the much-lauded 2018 vintage, this deserves to be popular.

Reviewed

Galafrey – Dry Grown Vineyard – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is still just a baby. There are attractive blueberry fruit notes, but straight out of the bottle, this is a bit grippy. Having said that there is no denying the impressive intensity and length of the fruit. With air, and despite its relative immaturity, the palate is remarkably seamless in the way the fruit transitions from front to back. But this needs time. A decade would be a great start. A bargain for the cellar. 14.0% – 94pts – $35.

Victory Point – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Wonderful nose, wonderful palate, wonderful wine. This has intense blackcurrant fruit supported by very sympathetic, quality oak handling. The red berry fruit on the nose sets the scene, but it is in the mouth where this gets really exciting. The palate is totally seamless and the mouthfeel and balance exquisite, with great concentration of fruit and length/persistence. A magical wine that despite its immediacy (it is delicious right now), is capable of medium-term ageing. 15 months in French oak barriques (38% new),13.5% alc, 96pts – $55. (packed in a lightweight bottle).

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone – Wilyabrup – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. Precise, ripe and so, so approachable, yet there is a serious nature to this wine lurking beneath the placid exterior, with the tannins kicking in on the finish, closing down the fruit somewhat. But with air, the fruit quality really shines, complemented by supple winemaking inputs. 94% Cabernet (Houghton clone), with a splash of malbec and cabernet franc, 17 months in French oak barriques (45% new). 14% alc – 95pts – $80.

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Oh wow. The quality and class of this wine just leaps out of the glass, with superb fruit that has both red and blackberry characters. Supple, texturing oak adds to the innate depth and power, but the wine remains lithe and elegant the entire length of the palate. One of the superstars of the 2020 vintage and a huge bargain at $100. 13.5%, 97pts – $102.

Other highlights

Cape Mentelle – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. The blueberry fruit is an absolute highlight. Pretty, fresh, vibrant and polished. The tannins and oak serve merely to highlight the fruit quality, adding mouthfeel and texture without impeding the flow of the fruit in the slightest. A lovely wine. 13.8%, 95pts. Confusingly, Cape Mentelle makes two similarly labelled wines. This was the expensive one under cork.

Chardonnay – When only the best will do!

Chardonnay – When only the best will do!

Barry Weinman: 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.

The Cullen Kevin John in particular , appears to be a significant shift in style to this taster.

Reviewed

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Chardonnay – 2021. Just magnificent, and very, very Leeuwin. Ripe, yet restrained, rich yet subtle, intense, yet possessing an ethereal delicateness. Great length, amazing power and sublime mouthfeel, the persistence is a feature. But for me, what defines this wine is the immediacy. Whilst this will drink well for a decade, it is just sublime now. Why wait? 13.5% alc, 97pts – $160.

Cullen Kevin John – Chardonnay – 2023. This is irresistible. I found myself swallowing this without even giving thought to the finer details, such is the immediate beauty on show here. On second taste, this has ripe, bright peachy fruit, that has surprising viscosity and a wonderful mouthfeel. The acid and oak are completely invisible, but play an important role in maintaining the flow on the palate. This is clearly different in style to recent Kevin John chardonnays, but no less compelling. Drink now and be happy. 13.5% alc – 95-96pts – $TBC.

Howard Park – Allingham – Chardonnay – 2022. A taut, restrained wine that has wonderful line and length, but needs 2 – 4 years for the fruit to unwind and fully assert its power and quality. The taut acidity is a feature, as is the seamless oak and winemaking additions. The length is a highlight. 12.5% alc – 95pts – $100.

Vasse Felix Chardonnay – 2022 Vintage

Vasse Felix Chardonnay – 2022 Vintage

Barry Weinman

17th March 2024

I recently wrote about the superb Tom Cullity 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.

Speak to Paul Holmes a Court about chardonnay and you will find his excitement most infectious. Whether it is the Heytesbury, Premier or humble Filius he gets a sparkle in his eye and his enthusiasm becomes almost palpable.

With the talented Virginia Wilcock constantly finessing the style in the winery searching for ever finer expressions of Margaret River Chardonnay, the results are outstanding.

But it is important not to understate the impact that Bart Molony and the team have in the vineyard. The estate has over 100 hectares of chardonnay vineyards spread across the region, which has allowed the selection, over time, of the best sites and clones from which to produce the various styles, including providing fruit for Vasse Felix’s ambitious sparkling wine program.

The opportunity that the diverse vineyard sites provides is perfectly displayed in the DHJ1 Chardonnay. The fruit for this wine comes from a single plot from the coolest part of the Wallcliffe region which, in 2022, produced such high quality fruit, albeit in a different style to what makes up the rest of the range, that it was decided to produce a stand alone wine.

Clearly different in style to the Premier and Heytesbury, but no less worthwhile.

If you get the opportunity, try the DHJ1 alongside one of these wines to see the differences for yourself. It is a fascinating experience.

And the 2022 Heytesbury is a star!

Reviewed

Vasse Felix – Chardonnay – 2022.

Pristine fruit is what this wine is all about. Fine and elegant, with excellent mouthfeel. The winemaking is quite superb, the texturing oak and barrel work adding depth and impact without detracting from the stone fruit notes. The finish has excellent length and persistence. What impressed me most about this wine was how it continued to develop depth and power over 2-3 days after opening. An excellent wine in its own right and good value to boot. 84% Gingin clone/16% Bernard clones 95, 96 and 76. 8 months in oak (44% new), 13% alc, 94pts – $45.

Vasse FelixDHJ1 – Chardonnay – 2022.

A very fine and elegant wine. The fruit is more in the grapefruit/melon spectrum than stone fruit, . The mouthfeel is silky and supple and the palate transition is totally seamless. What sets this apart is that the final wine is much more than the sum of its parts. The entire package is restrained and fine, yet the end result is a wonderful wine that is full of life and energy. Good now, but will be even better in 5 years. Gingin clone, 8 months in 1-3 y/o oak, 12.5% alc, 95pts – $75.

Vasse FelixHeytesbury – Chardonnay – 2022.

Taut and fine, this is a model of restraint initially. But don’t be fooled by first impressions, this is a wine of great intensity, depth and flavour. Intense, peach-like stone fruit characters dominate the nose, whilst the palate adds citrus notes to the mix. The oak and winemaking inputs are, somewhat magically, invisible and impactful at the same time, conferring a sense of power and gravitas to the wine without impeding the flow of the fruit. The acid drive is a highlight, whilst the length and persistence are impeccable. A graceful, elegant wine that will be at its peak for a decade to come. Gingin Clone, 8 months in oak (56% new), 13%alc, 96pts – $120.

Tom Cullity Vertical Tasting

Tom Cullity Vertical Tasting

Barry Weinman: 2nd 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.

When Vasse Felix retired the Heytesbury Cabernet and replaced it with the Tom Cullity, I thought that this was a stroke of marketing genius. The Heytesbury was a superb wine in its own right, so replacing it with another high quality wine at a 40% price increase sounds like music to any accountant’s ears.

But this simplistic view fails to capture the true picture of what the team at Vasse Felix were trying to achieve. The name change heralded a shift in focus. Whilst the fruit for the Heytesbury was the best fruit each year, sourced from across both the estate and grower vineyards, the Tom Cullity is produced from a small section of the Wilyabrup vineyard adjacent to the winery and cellar door.

This includes some of the oldest vines in the region (50+ years old), all of which are on their own rootstock and are unirrigated. The end result is that there has been a significant drop in volume of production as compared to the Heytesbury. Annual production is limited to between 500 & 1000 cases. So, it turns out that the bean counters are not as happy as they might have been, but the consumers are the winners.

Bart Molony

But the story does not end there. Bart Molony, the Chief Viticulturalist is actively working to further improve the fruit quality and ensure that the characteristics of the fruit produced matches the aspirations of Virginia Wilcock and the winemaking team.

One key change is the move to using the Houghton clone of cabernet exclusively in the Tom Cullity. This includes grafting/replanting some parts of the vineyard that were planted to Clone SA125. This clone is the backbone of cabernet on the east coast of Australia, where it produces deeply coloured wines. VARIETIES + CLONES | Yalumba Nursery.

The Houghton clones come from a historic five-acre block in the Swan Valley which was planted in 1930. Selections of the Houghton clones of Cabernet Sauvignon. A key feature of the Houghton clone is that it produces less herbaceous characteristics than SA125. Houghton-Clone.pdf (margaretriver.wine).

The soil (terroir, if you will) also plays an important role, especially in warmer vintages such as 2024, with the vines looking in ridiculously good health, despite being unirrigated. The oldest vines are on their own rootstock and were planted in the very early days of the winery. Their roots penetrate into the clay layer below the topsoil, ensuring that they can access the moisture they need to thrive in a hot, dry summer.

When it comes to the wines themselves, the first observation was how the climatic variation associated with the different vintages was immediately apparent in each wine. From the elegant and pretty 2019 to the sublime 2018, they are all beautiful, but each is a unique expression of the vintage conditions.

However, what was more revealing for me was the similarities between the wines. The exquisite tannin and oak management were evident in each and every wine. Always harmonious and never intrusive, and perfectly judged to match the fruit characters of the various vintages.

There is also a purity of fruit that is just sublime. Precise, focused and ripe, yet elegant and supple.

Other tasters were equally impressed, with descriptions including “effortless”, “sublime” and possessing a “fluidity”.

Regardless of how one describes them, the end result is nothing short of spectacular, with the vintage variations dictating when the wines should be consumed, rather than their absolute quality.

The Wines

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity – Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – 2015. Straight out of the bottle, there are dusty, almost tobacco leaf notes. This quickly evolved into more primary fruit characters. On the palate, the pristine fruit is the star. There is incredible depth and intensity, even though this would only be considered medium bodied. The length and persistence are amazing, as is the mouthfeel and texture. The latter supported by incredibly fine tannins that coat the tongue, but do not impede the fruit in the slightest. 96pts. 14% alc.

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity– Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – 2016. Here, the beautifully perfumed fruit is apparent from the start. Blueberry, gentle spice, even a touch of minerality. The finish is slightly firmer than the 2015, though the tannins are no less fine. This is a wine that is firmly in its youth and deserves decades to show its best. I love it. 14.2% alc – 96pts.

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity – Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – 2017. This has everything in place but is somewhat shy and muted right now. Again, the depth and power are breathtaking, but the inky fruit is still wrapped in a cloak of winemaking goodness. Tannins are a highlight. Superb wine for the vintage. 14.5% alc – 95pts

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity– Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – 2018. One sniff of this wine is enough to show that it is truly outstanding. The pristine fruit is unbelievably pure. The blueberry fruit takes on a slightly darker tone in this vintage and is the star of the show. The tannins and oak are, at first glance, invisible, such is the grace and beauty of the fruit. It is only on the very close that they start to make a presence, more texturally than in any overt way. A statuesque wine and one of the great Margaret River cabernets (and surely one of the world’s great cabernets). 14.5% alc – 97pts

Paul Holmes à Court

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity– Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – 2019. As with the 2018, the perfumed fruit is the most striking feature here. But in 2019, this takes on a supple, almost slippery mouthfeel that makes it irresistible now. So fine and elegant, yet full of life and personality. Amazing that a wine this young can drink so well. The acid structure ensures that this will live for a decade or more, but I would prefer to enjoy this in its youthful prime. The cooler year precluded the inclusion of Petit Verdot. 14.5% alc – 95-96pts.

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity – Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec – 2020. This is the most impactful of the lineup, with the tannins and oak making an appearance much earlier in the palate transition than the previous vintages. But with a little bit of air, the spectacular fruit starts to build and just keeps on going, coating the whole length of the palate. Intense and powerful, yet this remains silky and supple. A superstar, but one that I would like to see in the third decade of its life. 14.5% alc – 97pts.

New Release Margaret River Cabernet – February 2024

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.

And now 2022 is staking a claim.

The wines below are due for release in the coming months, and are definitely worth seeking out.

The 2020 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet reaffirms Leeuwin’s place in the upper echelon of Cabernets. And the fact that this is available (pre release) from the winery for $105 makes it a bargain.

Nocturne’s 2022 Sheoak Vineyard is yet to be released, but assuming a price under $70, then this too is a great bargain. Whilst Nocturne is not a producer that is widely known, the wines are made by Julian Langworthy (from Deep Woods), a winemaker at the top of his game right now.

Speaking of value, the Grace Farm Cabernet Malbec 2018 is a great buy at $40. A trophy and gold medal winning wine from the sought-after 2018 vintage. This is a wine that is ready to go right now.

Reviewed.

Nocturne – Sheoak Vineyard — Cabernet Sauvignon – 2022. Brilliant cabernet that, like Baby Bear’s porridge in Goldilocks, is just right. Medium bodied, seamless, fine and elegant. The winemaking (oak) is very much in the background, with the fruit front and centre. It is only on the close that the structural components start to build, adding texture and depth, whilst being in no way aggressive The graceful palate transition is a highlight. A wonderful wine (in a very heavy bottle). Made using estate grown fruit. 14.5%alc, 95-96pts – $TBC.

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Whilst at 13.5%, this has the same alcohol level as the 2022 Cullen Diana Madeline, this is a riper, more accessible style that allows the fruit to shine. That said, the structure and power continues to build in the mouth for some time after it is swallowed, making for a textural, impactful wine that remains supple all the way to the very long close, with the fruit lingering the whole time. Impressively subtle power here. Great drinking now or in 30 years (the 1991 is drinking brilliantly now). Another stellar wine that cements Leeuwin Estate in the highest echelon of Margaret River cabernet producers. 13.5% alc, 95-96pts – $102.

Cullen – Diana Madeline – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2022. Yep, this is good. In fact, it is very good indeed, but here the fine tannins and oak suppress the fruit initially. These are never aggressive, but they do require a bit of patience to let them settle down and relax. By doing so, you will be handsomely rewarded. Another cracking wine from one of the greats. 13.5% alc, 95pts – $TBC.

Grace Farm – Cabernet/Malbec – 2018. Impressive! Act one is the fruit which has immediate impact, flooding the nose and palate with fleshy berry fruit. Act two is the acid that keeps the fruit balanced and in check. The supporting cast includes the oak (44% new) and tannins, which build the mouthfeel and texture, without taking anything away from the fruit. A single vineyard blend of cabernet sauvignon (80%), malbec (8%), petit verdot (7%) and cabernet franc (5%). 14.0%, 95pts – $40.