Category Archives: New Release – Wine Reviews

Shepherd’s Hut: Value drinking for the summer months.

Shepherd’s Hut: Value drinking for the summer months.

Barry Weinman: 8th February 2022

Shepherd’s Hut wines started as a diversification opportunity for the Wishart family, during one of the many agricultural downturns that farmers have had to deal with. The first vines were planted in 1996 and, in 2020, management of the property and vineyards was handed on to Laura Wishart, Michael’s granddaughter.

Since then, Laura has almost single handedly managed the 18 hectares of vines, as well as looking after sales, marketing and distribution.

The majority of the fruit from the vineyard goes to other Great Southern producers, with a portion retained for the Shepherd’s Hut wines which are made by Rob Dilletti at Castle Rock.

The current release of Shepherd’s Hut wines are excellent value. The 2013 Shiraz for example, is a nine-year-old wine that is brilliant drinking and is currently available from the winery for just $22 (The full price is $30).

The pick of the current range is the 2021 Riesling, and if you get the opportunity, try the crunchy and refreshing SB. A delicious wine for the warmer months.

Given the value on offer, these wines are worth trying.

https://shepherdshutwines.com.au/shop-wine/

Reviewed

Shepherd’s Hut – Porongurup – Riesling – 2021. Silky, fresh, floral. This is everything that is good about Riesling in a refined, and elegant package. Great minerality and a steely backbone makes this age worthy, but personally I think this is already at its best. Lovely. Another cracking wine from this under-the-radar producer. 94pts – $22.

Shepherd’s Hut – Porongurup – Pinot Noir – 2020. Cherry and spice to the fore. This is not overly dense or complicated, but is delicious current drinking. Not frivolous, but very user friendly. The finish is defined by texturing tannins and souring cherry acidity. 91pts – $27.

Shepherd’s Hut – Shiraz – 2013. This banger of a wine is amazing value. The bottle age has rounded out the fruit on the palate, with supple texture, excellent balance and decent length. Not the most serious Shiraz on the market, but great drinking now and they are almost giving it away. 92pts – $22

Shepherd’s Hut – Shiraz – 2015. A fine, elegant and supple wine with medium fruit weight and excellent texture. This is great short-term drinking as the fruit is so approachable. 91pts – $25

Summer Drinking – Sparkling Shiraz

Barry Weinman: 3rd February 2022

Drinking wine during a hot Australian summer can be a challenging experience. The wines can heat up quickly, leaving the whites tasting flat and unexciting and the reds overblown, flabby and alcoholic.

There is no easy solution, and care needs to be taken to keep the wines at an appropriate temperature. Whites are fairly easy. Small amounts can be served cold from the fridge and allowed to warm up a little in the glass while drinking, with the bottle returned to the fridge to stay cool.

Reds are more challenging, as I prefer to drink my red wines at 18 – 20 degrees. A wine left on an outdoor table or kitchen bench may well be too warm to support an optimal drinking experience. So I have a few solutions that I turn to.

The simplest is to pop the red into the fridge for 30 minutes before serving small amounts and keep returning it to the fridge periodically. My preference however is to pop a decanter into the fridge for a few hours and then decant the wine (taken from the cellar at 18 degrees) prior to serving.

Again, small pours are helpful, and returning the decanter to the fridge may be required from time to time.

Then again, we could all just drink delicious sparkling Shiraz!

Sparkling Shiraz is a wine style that I tend to overlook when I am choosing a wine to drink. Memories of overly sweet commercial wine has embedded the notion that they are a difficult wine to match with food.

Fortunately, there are a number of serious sparkling Shiraz on the market that are dry enough to enjoy with food, yet still drink brilliantly on their own.

Below are a few of the panel’s picks from a recent sparkling Shiraz tasting that we held. The styles varied, but the quality was uniformly high. And the best part is that these wines are not particularly expensive given the care and attention they receive.

Happy drinking!

Reviewed

Faber – Noir de Noir – Shiraz – 2017. This is more serious and structured, with dense Shiraz fruit with real depth and power (liquorice, plum, cherry cola). The well-judged residual adds to the package. A complex, serious wine that just happens to be sparkling. 93pts – N/A.

Mitchell – Sparkling Peppertree – Shiraz – NV. Black olive is a defining feature here. Dense, powerful, impactful… Redolent of mint slice (chocolate), with excellent length. Despite the dosage, this feels quite dry, the inclusion of 8-year-old fortified Shiraz in the dosage adding depth. Most impressive and enjoyable, and a very distinctive wine. 93pts – $45.

Seppelt – Original Sparkling – Shiraz – NV. The aromatic fruit here is clearly cooler spectrum, with red berry fruit to the fore. The palate is pretty, fresh and vibrant, with well-judged dosage. Not the most complex wine in the tasting, but this is great drinking and good value to boot. 93pts – $25.

Sittella – Sparkling Shiraz – NV. The colour here is notably lighter. The key feature here is the fresh, bright fruit that is balanced by refreshing acidity and texturing tannins. Not the driest wine in the tasting, but well balanced and a most enjoyable drink. 90pts – $35.

St Hallett – Black – Shiraz – NV. Dark fruit in the cherry and plum spectrum. This is drying, savoury and delicious., with the medium weight fruit adding to the enjoyment. Good length, modest dosage and a touch of bottle age make for a great drink. 92pts – $50.

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume

Barry Weinman: 16th December 2021

It is hard to work out what is what when it comes to Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume, and his eponymous brand.

According to the website, the Jessiaume family have been making wines for seven generations from their estate in Santanay. However according to the Domaine Jessiaume website, the estate was sold in 2006.

What is apparent is that, following its purchase by investors in 2012, Jean-Baptiste along with his father and uncle took over winemaking and management of Domaine Chanzy. Towards the end of the decade, the family appear to have left Chanzy to start Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume.

This is the first time that I have tried the wines and the outcomes are very impressive. Overall, the wines are clean, fresh and very well made in a modern style. There was also excellent consistency of quality across the range.

A Western Australian distributor has been lined up, so expect wines to be available sometime around Q2 2022. Prices are to be confirmed.

Reviewed: Whites

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Bouzeron – Aligote – 2020. Just a touch of caramel, with lovely mouthfeel and texture. The fruit is quite shy initially, with hints of citrus and tropical notes building. Very food friendly. The fruit (100% Aligote) is hand-picked and barrel fermented (10 – 15% new oak). 90pts

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Santanay – Le Forge –Chardonnay – 2020. Fresh, zesty and neutral, with a touch of nuttiness to the nectarine-like aromas. The fruit has a lighter weight on the palate but is clearly high quality. Gentle oak and minerality add texture. The length and persistence are notable. Very well made. 91pts.

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Mercurey – Bois De Lalier – Chardonnay – 2020. More volume of fruit compared to the Le Forge and very well made. Textural, silky and near seamless, with stone-fruit building in the glass. 91pts.

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Rully – 1er Cru – Marissou – Chardonnay – 2020. Pretty fruit, in a cooler style, is supported by exciting acidity. Grapefruit and lemony acid keep the wine fresh and lively, while the oak is texturing without adding overt characters. An elegant, finer style that would suit short-term aging. 92pts.

Reviewed: Reds

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Santenay – Clos Du Haut Village – Pinot Noir – 2019. This has dense fruit for a Pinot, but just lacks the structure to elevate it to the top level. But this is supple, rounded and great early drinking with the strawberry fruit supported by fresh acidity. 90pts

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Volnay – Pinot Noir – 2019. Clean, fresh and elegant, with pretty red berry fruit to the fore. The palate is lithe and supple, and whilst not overly complex, has delicious cherry and spice notes. 91pts

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Rully – 1er Cru – La Fosse – Pinot Noir – 2019. This has attractive fruit in the cherry/plum spectrum, supported by liquorice notes. However, the texture here is the key feature, with graphite-like tannins and minerality to the fore. Dense, structured, modern. 92pts

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Volnay – 1er Cru – Le Ronceret – Pinot Noir – 2019. There is more depth and power here, with fruit weight akin to new world Pinot. The silky ripe fruit has real density and gravitas. An impressive wine. 93pts.

Jean-Baptiste Jessiaume – Santenay – 1er Cru – Les Gravieres – Pinot Noir – 2019. I like this a lot. This is dense and textured, with great oak handling. Yet this retains a lightness and elegance that makes it irresistible. Souring cherry acidity on the close adds life and balance. 94+pts.

Sittella: A Sparkling Success

Sittella: A Sparkling Success

Barry Weinman: 8th December 2021

2021 marks the 20th year of sparkling wine production at Sittella and to celebrate, the winery has released several new wines that are really quite extraordinary.

The winemaking team is headed by Colby Quirk and Yuri Burns and the duo have a singular ambition to produce the finest sparkling wines in Australia. To achieve this lofty goal, the pair are going to extraordinary lengths.

Firstly, in the vineyard, extensive work has been done to improve quality, with a very labour-intensive approach taken to ensure that growth and yields are appropriate for the vintage conditions.

All fruit for the sparkling Chenin comes from the Swan Valley, whilst the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir come from Pemberton, a region that similar climatic conditions to the Adelaide Hills and the upper Yarra Valley.

Secondly, they have set up a state-of-the-art winemaking facility in the Swan Valley winery. Alongside this, the team have built a degree of technical and practical expertise that is very impressive.

For example, they have adopted a somewhat oxidative approach to handling the juice which, counterintuitively results in greater freshness in the sparkling wines, whilst also dropping the amount of phenolic grip.

Another key winemaking strategy is the very tight approach taken to balancing the amount of total acidity and the pH. The aim is for a low pH and total acidity around 7g/l.

The result of this attention to detail is that the dosage can be kept relatively low, given the inherent quality and balance of the base wine. Even the sparkling Chenin, for example has only 7g/l of residual sugar.

The final piece of the puzzle is the ambitious reserve wine program they have embarked on for their sparkling wines. The Cuvee Blanc, for example, has the inclusion of 20% reserve wines. This is tipped to grow over time as stocks continue to build.

The release of the 2016 vintage sparkling range cements Sittella as the best sparkling wine producer in WA and has set them on a path to be the best in Australia.

Production of the vintage wines are very limited, so I encourage you to try them whilst they are still available. And the wines are a bargain in the global context!!!

Reviewed

Sittella – Brut – Chenin Blanc – NV. For the volume seller in the range (accounting for a third of the winery’s of entire production) this wine gets remarkable attention to detail. (100% handpicked fruit from mature vineyards, traditional method, 12 months lees ageing, low dosage.) The result is a pretty and floral wine with crunchy pink lady apples and a hint of lemon. With excellent length and mouthfeel, this is fresh, vibrant and perfect for a mid-afternoon drink. No food required. Excellent value! 91pts – $25

Sittella – Cuvee Blanc – NV. The base wine (2020 vintage) is fermented in a combination of old oak and stainless steel, with the addition of 20% reserve wines from the 2014 – 2019 vintages adding depth and complexity. The mouthfeel here is a highlight: Creamy, supple, gently textured and fine. There is depth to the fruit, but this possesses a lightness that is hard to resist. The subtle lees characters allow the fruit to be the focus. As it warms in the glass, the stone fruit characters build. 93pts – $34.

Sittella – Cuvee Rose – NV. Like the Cuvee Blanc, the fruit is hand-picked and has a similar composition of reserve wines. Again, there is a creamy texture, but here the red fruits get a chance to express with gentle strawberry notes courtesy of the inclusion of a small amount of a base red wine made from Pemberton Pinot. This is all complemented by gentle brioche notes. Gentle tannins add supple grip. This would be best served with foods such as Peking duck. 94pts – $38

Sittella – Grand Vintage – Blanc de Blanc -2016. This is an amazing wine. Very fine and refined, with subtle power shimmering across the breadth of the palate. There is great length and a drying finish that possesses excellent balance (Dosage 5g/l). A couple of years under cork should reward greatly and I have pointed this accordingly. 95pts -$50

Sittella – Grand Vintage – Marie Christien Lugten – 2016. Richness and power to the fore here. This has more of the brioche characters on the palate and excellent depth and texture. This is less approachable than the Blanc de Blancs and needs a few years to really flesh out. A serious wine that also happens to be sparkling! 96pts $50.

Sittella – Grand Vintage – Rose – 2016. What a beautiful wine. Pristine fruit, the subtle power and depth presenting with grace and elegance. As it warms, the fruit weight really shines. Made with the addition of 10% red wine using specific clonal selections to produce the vibrant colour. A portion of malolactic fermentation adds creamy texture. 95+pts – $50.

Sittella – Avant Garde – Blanc de Noir – 2016. This has a wow factor and is the most complete of the vintage wines on release. Pretty, but complex and powerful, in a food friendly style that is textured and almost chewy. Very different and very good. The bread-like yeasty notes are more notable here and fits the style perfectly. A clonal blend of 100% pinot. 4.5 years on lees. Disgorged June 2021. 95pts – $75

Sittella – Grand Prestige – Late Disgorged – 2009. This spent an incredible 12 years on lees and is 50/50 blend of Pinot and Chardonnay. The result is complex, distinctive and very impactful. Packs so many different aromas into the glass with toast, brioche and gentle nuttiness. There is even a hint of charcuterie plate in there somewhere. Yet this is fresh and vibrant. $120 seems too cheap. 96pts.

New Releases: November 2021

New Releases: November 2021

Barry Weinman: 24th November 2021

The importance of serving wines at the correct temperature was highlighted to me with this tasting. We were lucky enough to taste through a range of Pinots from Lowestoft, the Fogarty Wine Group’s new venture in Tasmania.

Initial impressions were very good, but the wines were served a little warm, as they had arrived in a car just before the tasting.

So it was difficult to get an accurate read on the absolute quality, as the temperature masked some of the wine’s elegance and balance.

Definitely a winery to watch!

From South Australia, it is great to see the continued evolution of Sevenhill in the Clare Valley. 2021 is the first vintage since the last of the major structural changes were made, and the first wine that I have tried from the vintage (27 Mile Riesling) is a cracker.

There was also a strong showing from some of the 2020 wines. I, for one, am excited to be able to see the changes made in the vineyard and winery translate into high quality wines.

Closer to home, Houghton delighted the panel with their fragrant 2020 Wisdom Pinot, whilst the excellent 2019 Rosabrook Dear Father Cabernet is a bargain at $35 from the cellar door.

Reviewed

Sevenhill – 27 Miles – Riesling – 2021. The changes in the vineyard and winery at Sevenhill are evident here. Lovely Clare fruit showing slate, lemon and mineral notes. The palate is taut and refreshing, with hints of floral sherbet. The elegance and silky texture are a feature on the finish. Age-worthy and very good. 93+pts – $50

Sevenhill – Spire’s Lament – Viognier – 2020. Pretty floral notes on the nose matched to a fresh, vibrant, zesty palate, with a lovely, slightly viscous texture and excellent fruit weight. Apricot fruit builds on the long finish. Delicious, this is summer in a glass. 91pts – $45.

Sevenhill – Open Range – Grenache – 2020. Pretty and supple, with bright juicy berry fruit supported by gentle savoury notes. On the palate, this is all about the joyful fruit, with gentle winemaking inputs adding to the package. Not complicated or serious but an excellent drink. The potential at Sevenhill is starting to show with this wine. 92pts – $80.

Leo Buring – Leonay – DW17 – Riesling – 2021. A different style to many, and all the better for it. This is supple, savoury and seamless, with a core of citrus running the length of the palate. Lemony acidity builds in the mouth, with floral notes and a dusting of talc on the finish. Intense yet delicious. And very age-worthy. Only 11% alc. 95pts.

Houghton – Wisdom – Pinot Noir – 2020. Another excellent release from Houghton. This is fine, elegant and moreish with excellent mouthfeel and texture. The balance is spot-on straight from the bottle. Delicious drinking now – five years. 91pts.

Trait – Sauvignon Blanc – 2021. Cloudy as this is unfiltered and unfined (production was too small apparently). I like this a lot. Vibrant fruit, with tropical and floral notes leads to a palate that is textured and complex, really benefiting from the barrel ferment (old oak) and lees work. Lemony acidity carries the finish. An interesting and impactful wine that will evolve over the next 6 – 12 months. 92pts – $35

Lowestoft – Lowestoft Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2019. Whilst the fruit here is lighter in style, this has seen the gamut of winemaking inputs, albeit in a sympathetic way. Opens with almonds and cashew nut, develops pineapple and stonefruit and then transitions to lees, malo and oak (fine and tight). A youthful and elegant style showcasing modern winemaking and pristine cool-climate fruit. 95pts.

Juniper Estate – Cornerstone – Chardonnay – 2020. Complex and worked, this is intense, powerful, dense and possessing great depth. The fruit is in the stonefruit spectrum but there is subtle grapefruit and melon notes sitting alongside this. The structure and texture are outstanding and the finish is very long and fine. I love it. From Wilyabrup. 95+pts – $60.

Rosabrook – Dear Father – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. This is intense and powerful, with quality fruit at the core. The balance is exemplary, with the fine textural notes providing a frame for the fruit. Delicious now but would also benefit from ten years in the cellar. A complete wine and a contender for best value Cabernet in 2021. 95pts – $35.

Morlet: Winery in Focus

Morlet: Winery in Focus

Barry Weinman: 17th November 2021

Like many wine lovers, Nigel Morlet and Phillipa Lamont dreamt of taking their passion for wine to the next level and starting a vineyard.

Unlike almost all of us though, the couple turned that dream into a reality with the purchase of an established vineyard on Clews Rd in Cowaramup over a decade ago, with the focus on supplying grapes to other producers.

The quality of the fruit must be very good as all the Cabernet produced has been sold under contract. But with a variety of grapes grown on the vineyard (four hectares under vines), the couple were able to produce their first wine under the Morlet label in 2011 with a Zinfandel. This was later joined by a Chardonnay and Petit Verdot.

But Zinfandel is the core around which Morlet wines are built. There are two reds made from Zinfandel as well as a Pet Nat and a Rosé (70% Zin/30% Merlot).

There are also plans to release a Cabernet when production levels permit.

Wines are now made by the talented team at McHenry Hohnen and production is very small. (Most wines are less than 1,000 bottles and some are just a single barrel).

Reviewed

Morlet – Urban Professor – Chardonnay – 2021. Pretty peach and nectarine notes, hints of citrus, and gentle ripe pineapple notes. The palate is fine and quite restrained, with slate, minerals and zesty acidity running the length of the tongue. Gentle melon and almond notes add interest. The texturing oak adds to the package. Has good fruit weight and depth, but really needs three-five years to be at its best. 92+pts – $35

Morlet – Delicious – Rose – 2021. 70% Zinfandel 30% Merlot blend. The fruit here is the main focus. Bright and fresh, with berries and cherry aromas and flavours. There is excellent length on a slightly chewy finish, and more fruit weight than many. The drying finish is a bonus. Lives up to its name: Delicious. 91pts – $30.

Morlet – The 8th Deadly Zin – Zinfandel – 2015. Amazing fruit on the nose that is ripe and succulent. This is complemented by leather, minerals and tobacco notes. The palate is textured and slightly chewy, yet the tannins are approachable enough to let the fruit shine. With admirable restraint and only 14.4% alcohol, this is excellent current drinking and will go a treat with a rich ragu! 90pts – $35.

Morlet – Reserve – Zinfandel – 2014. Not surprisingly perhaps, this is more reserved than Deadly Zin, and all the better for it. Balanced, restrained, drying and elegant, this shows how Zinfandel can be turned into fine, savoury, luxurious age-worthy wine. A single barrel produced (American oak) 14.9% alc, Drink with a slow cooked shoulder of lamb. 93pts – $66

Grant Burge 2021 Premium Release

Grant Burge 2021 Premium Release

Barry Weinman: 8th November 2021

A change of ownership must be a very challenging time for a winery with a history as long as Grant Burge. The Burge family arrived in the Barossa in 1865 and have five generations of winemaking experience.

Global wine giant Accolade purchased Grant Burge in 2015 but through the change in ownership, two key constants remained.

The first was winemaker Craig Stansborough who joined Grant Burge in 1993 and was quickly promoted to senior winemaker in1997.

The second was continuing to source high quality old-vine fruit from their core vineyards including the Filsell and Corryton Park vineyards.

Based on the three wines reviewed, the result is that the wines are better than ever. What impressed me the most was how the wines’ personalities really started to open up after a couple of days on the tasting bench. The fact that they were at their best after four days suggests that extended cellaring will be rewarded.

The pricing seems fair given the quality on offer when compared to what else is out there and the wines are now sealed with a screwcap.

Reviewed

Grant Burge Nebu 2018

Grant Burge Nebu – Cabernet/Shiraz – 2018. Wow, I like this a lot. Silky, supple, elegant and refined, this is an incredibly polished wine. The palate is very long, dense, beautifully textured and near seamless. There is concentration and power to the fruit, which is wrapped in a veneer of silky oak. With air, the fruit really opens up, becoming the star of the show. Ideally, give this 10 – 15 years in the cellar to show its best. 95pts – $100.

Grant BUrge Filsell 2019

Grant BurgeFilsell – Shiraz – 2019. My pick of the range, from a quality/value perspective. Straight out of the bottle, this is quite impenetrable. Purple/black colour, brooding fruit on the nose and silky yet highly structured palate. A wine of real gravitas, reflecting the old-vine fruit that goes into this. But with air, this really blossomed. Rich, ripe, succulent Barossa shiraz at its best. Patience will be rewarded. 95pts – $48.

Grant Burge Holy Trinity 2019

Grant Burge The Holy Trinity – Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvèdre – 2019. Whilst still powerful and intense, this was the most approachable of the three wines, thanks to the fragrant and vibrant Grenache berry fruit characters. Behind this sits savoury, almost earthy Shiraz and Mourvèdre which adds depth and power. The finish is all about the chocolatey fruit and whilst capable of aging, this is delicious now and would be great with spring lamb. 93pts – $48.

Singlefile Wines: Style meets Substance

Singlefile Wines: Style meets Substance

Barry Weinman: 29th October 2021

Singlefile Wines

In my book, Singlefile has been one of the top ten wineries in Western Australia for several years now. Brilliant quality and excellent value have set them apart from most other producers.

With the latest releases though, Singlefile has turned things up a notch, with exceptional packaging for some note-worthy new wines.

The Rosé looks great in its fancy bottle, While the Small Batch Pinot sets a new benchmark for Australian wine. I love it!

The great news is that the wine quality has never been better, and the value is spot-on. Every wine reviewed is a winner.

Reviewed

Singlefile – Single Vineyard – Riesling – 2021. Profoundly beautiful fruit on the nose that is elegant and fine yet possessing great intensity. The finish is taut and steely, with the textural components more accessible than the fruit right now, aided by gentle phenolics and thrilling acidity that drives the finish. After being opened, the citrus fruit blossomed, suggesting that ageing will be rewarded. From the Blue Lake Vineyard in Mount Barker. 95pts -96pts – $35.

Singlefile – Fiano – 2021. With floral fruit that is bright and light, this is so delicious and somewhat irresistible! The palate is fragrant, supple and lithe, and the balance is a highlight. Has floral notes similar to Riesling, with the mouthfeel and texture closer to Pinot Gris. Brilliant on its own, or with a pumpkin risotto. 93pts – $29.

Singlefile – Fumé Blanc – Sauvignon Blanc – 2021. Viscous, textured, and powerful, this is a serious, age-worthy wine, that flies in the face of a New Zealand SB. The supple mouthfeel is a highlight, with the oak (20% new French) adding texture and richness rather than overt flavours. Subtle aromatics build in the glass and fine acidity carries the finish. Very much in the white Bordeaux style. 93pts – $35

Singlefile – Rosé – Sangiovese – 2021. This wine looks great with its vibrant colour and striking new packaging. And the wine quality is right up there too. Pretty, almost delicate berry notes on the nose, and the palate is very fine and savoury, with delicate aromatics and hints of strawberry and spice. Beautifully made, with a bone-dry finish and great acidity, this is serious enough to command respect. Spring in a glass! 92pts – $29.

Singlefile – Small Batch Project – Pinot Noir – 2019. There are very pretty cherry/berry fruit notes, complemented by attractive savoury notes that add greatly, courtesy of the quality oak. The palate is powerful and intense, with depth and structure to match the high-quality fruit. Suited to medium term ageing, yet this is supple enough to enjoy now, given the great mouthfeel. Took three days on the tasting bench to show its best. 96pts – $59.
(From a single Porongurup vineyard planted to clones 777, 114 and 115. Only one barrel produced. Brilliant packaging!)

Singlefile – Chilled Red (Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier) – 2021. Light, fragrant and supple, with excellent texture and gentle tannins (thanks to some carbonic maceration). This is very attractive and refreshing and would be great served chilled on a summer afternoon with antipasto on the side. 90pts – $29

Geoff Merrill 2021 Review

Geoff Merrill 2021 Review

Barry Weinman: 20th October 2021

Geoff Merrill Wines are synonymous with McLaren Vale.

The first thing that struck me when reviewing the Geoff Merrill wines was the extra bottle age on the reds. It is great to see quality wines on the market with 6-7 years under their belt.

This showed in the tasting, with these wines showing just a touch of evolution, which greatly improved their drinkability.

And the Rosé and Riesling were a lot of fun (though I am not quite sure about the goose on the label…)!

Reviewed

Geoff Merrill Charley Rose – Rosé – 2021. Made from Grenache, this has pretty berry fruit that is savoury, drying and textured. Gentle grip complements the lingering fruit flavours. With minimal sweetness, this is fit for purpose and ready for spring! 88pts $25.

Geoff MerrillJacko’s – Shiraz – 2015. Attractive menthol/peppermint over ripe cherry aromas. This continues on the palate, with the souring acidity complementing the fruit well. Excellent length, the juicy plum-like fruit builds. Tannins get a bit grippy on the finish, suggesting that further time in bottle would be worthwhile. 27 months in large oak, 10 % new. 91pts – $30

Geoff Merrill Bush Vine – Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre – 2014. More menthol, but here the vibrant Grenache really shines. There are hints of cherry and ripe red plum and no obvious oak to dull the fruit. The palate is bright, fresh and modern, the zesty acidity adding life and drive on the finish. $28 – 91pts.

Geoff Merrill – G & W – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2014. Lovely bright red berry fruit supported by savoury notes from the oak (10% new). A more generous style than we typically see in Margaret River. with fine tannins adding texture. Really well made, with decent length and acidity. Drink now – 8yrs. Juicy. 93pts – $30.

Juniper Estate Rebranding & Victory Point Chardonnay

Juniper Estate Rebranding & Victory Point Chardonnay

Barry Weinman: 5th October 2021

Juniper Estate

Juniper Estate have commenced a rebranding of their range to allow for better segmentation in the market. The range includes:

  • Crossing is where the entry level wines are found
  • Canvas is for their non-traditional (for Margaret River) varieties
  • Three Fields focuses on traditional Margaret River varietals and will have the greatest commercial availability
  • Higher Planes highlights fruit from the Karridale vineyard
  • Estate showcases the Wilyabrup vineyard
  • Cornerstone is the super-premium range featuring both Wilyabrup and Karridale

There are some interesting wines in the Canvas range, but for me, the Three Fields is where the value really starts to shine.

Reviewed

Juniper Estate – Three Fields – Shiraz – 2019. Brilliant colour here. Starts off with savoury, earthy notes but there is a core of delicious ripe plum-like fruit at the heart of this wine. Excellent depth and really well made, with little in the way of new oak to get in the way of the expressive fruit. Fine graphite-like tannins add texture. Delicious drinking now with a bit of air or give it five years to flesh out. 92+pts – $28.

Juniper Estate – Three Fields – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Refined, elegant and polished, with precise ripe fruit that is very attractive. Excellent length of flavours and fine tannin/oak balance, with the sweet fruit really building in the mouth. Youthful and capable of aging but this is a delight to drink now. Fruit from the Wilyabrup and Metricup vineyards. 14 months in oak (30% new). 94pts – $35.

Victory Point

I wrote recently about the 2018 Victory Point reds. Superb quality at an affordable price. In this tasting, the panel also reviewed the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot was a pleasant surprise, given that Margaret River is not known for the variety, but it was the Chardonnay that really caught the attention of the panel.

A superb wine for the price.

Reviewed

Victory Point – Chardonnay – 2018. Bright lemony hue. The nose is rich, creamy expensive smelling, with supple vanillin notes. The palate is precise and taut, with a near seamless palate transition. Very long, the fruit is shy initially, but peach-like fruit really builds on the finish. Slate and minerals add to what is a great drink. Combination of Mendoza and Burgundian clones; 277,96,95 & 76. Barrel fermentation and 10 months in oak – 42% new. 95pts – $55