Most Recent Tastings
Barry Weinman: October 31, 2017
Grant Taylor established Valli in 1998 and has been making the wines ever since. The focus in primarily on Pinot Noir, from five vineyards across Central Otago.
21st August 2017
Ostler wines are situated in Waitaki Valley, North Otago. Whilst this is a brand new Geographic Indication (GI), Ostler produced their 1st vintage back in 2004 from vines planted in 2002. There are another 8 – 10 wineries in the region, with 100 hectares under vine.
18th June 2017
Pinot Noir is not the easiest wine to make well. It tends to do best in cooler, boutique wine producing areas and requires plenty of attention in the winery. Also, the attention required in the vineyard precludes large scale plantings. So compared to Shiraz, these are not the cheapest wines to produce.
31st May 2017
When it comes to Australian Pinot Noir, the reputation of Bass Phillip is unequalled. Their reputation is backed up by the prices that their top wines sell for. The range tops out with the Reserve at closer to $600. The entry level wines, however, are most reasonably priced, starting with the Old Cellar ($35), followed by the Crown Prince ($60).
20th February 2017
I had a call from a friend recently saying that he was dropping around some wines for me to try. These turned out to be sixteen highly regarded new world Pinots. This was a brilliant way to end a tiring day.
20th November 2016
The chance to taste the newly released 2015 Felton Road Pinots was an opportunity too good to miss. Needless to say, the quality of the wines was outstanding.
3rd July 2016
Ethereal at its best, yet notoriously difficult to get right. Given the challenges in producing the wine, finding good value Pinot is indeed difficult.
28th April 2016
Central Otago Pinot Noir is often defined by purity of fruit combined with a degree of generosity This combination makes for great drinking wines that can also age well in the short to medium term.
11th February 2016
The panel looked at a few of the Red Burgundies imported by Lamont’s in Cottesloe.
With a number of producers and villages represented, there are a variety of styles available. They vary in price and quality, but are worth trying. If John Jens is in the restaurant, you may be able to try one or two by the glass.
18th November 2015
Wines made with Pinot Noir are some of the most challenging to make. That said, there are a few winemakers in Australia who have mastered the art, including the likes of Phillip Jones at Bass Philip and Mac Forbes.
20th September 2015
Felton Road Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Central Otago. The first vines were planted in 1992, and the first wines produced in 1997. Amazingly, Blair Walters has been the winemaker for every one of those vintages, meaning that 2014 is his eighteenth vintage at the winery.
30th July 2015
Notoriously difficult to produce, Pinot Noir remains the Holy Grail for many winemakers and enthusiasts alike. At their best, Pinots possess an almost ethereal quality, fanning out and caressing all parts of the palate.
Finding good Pinot Noir is difficult enough. Finding affordable Pinot Noir that offers good drinking is a great challenge.
13th March 2015
The surprise of this tasting was the Trapeze Pinot Noir. This is made by Brian Conway at Izway (a Barossa Shiraz & Grenache specialist) using Yarra Valley fruit. This is an affordable, great drinking Pinot.
Reviewed: 11th January 2015
Pinot Noir is the Holy Grail for many winemakers and consumers alike. Site selection is critical, as is the use of the best varietal clones in the vineyard.
Reviewed: February 14, 2014
The wines reviewed here are all worth a look. If you love pinot, then the Shaw & Smith is an excellent wine. If your budget is a little tight, then the Windy Peak is an authentic rendition at a bargain price.
Reviewed: 7th February 2014
In a line up of 25 red Burgundies, the wines of Emilie Geanet stood out for their sheer quality. Admittedly, they are not the cheapest wines available, but they are certainly worth looking for if you enjoy quality Burgundy.
Reviewed: 9th September 2013
A couple of interesting pinots from Dalrymple came in during the week, so I put together a small bracket to see how they came up. Dalrymple is a Tasmanian winery and the fruit for all three wines came from the Coal River region. The quality across the range was very high, with the wines offering an attractive blend of fruit and spice.
Hosted by Phillip Rich at Lamont’s in Cottesloe
Reviewed: 3rd June 2013
I must admit that I had reservations about attending this tasting as I had spent the day working in Sydney and had flown in just in time to attend. The thought of a hot shower and warm bed was very appealing. I am so glad that I did attend though as it was a fantastic evening.
Phillip Rich was in town to showcase a range of wines that he imports in to Australia. Two things made the night so enjoyable. Firstly, the wines ranged from very good to spectacular. The red Burgundies from Hudelot Noellat in particular were nothing short of spectacular.
Reviewed: 25th April 2013
I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Jim Jerram from Ostler recently to try their current range of wines as well as several older Caroline’s pinot noirs.
Reviewed 23 January 2013
It was a fascinating exercise to look at the two pinots from Moss Wood. One is from Margaret River and the other from Mornington. Stylistically, the wines were quite different, with the feminine appeal of the Mornington being my pick.
A Sommeliers Australia event
Sam Badger and Lamont’s Cotesloe
Reviewed: 10 December 2012
This was an interesting tasting, with the 2010 wines from Australia showing well. In particular, the Provenence was a highlight. I was also very impressed by the Evesham Wood from Oregon. The highlight however, was the bracket of Burgundies. There were a couple of superb (if expensive) wines on show.
Reviewed: 17 September 2012
Giants Steps have been taking, well, giant steps in their pursuit of making wines that reflect the place in which the grapes are grown. With access to several excellent vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Steve Flamsteed has produced a superb range of wines that speak of the place where they were grown.
The current release of chardonnays and pinot noirs are from the 2011 vintage. This was a very cold and wet vintage that presented numerous challenges in the vineyard and winery. Properly managed, it is clear that the vintage has produced some excellent wines, albeit in a finer, more elegant style to the 2010s. I expect that in the longer term, the 2011′s from Giant Steps will be fantastic.