Recent Tastings

Barossa Valley Value

30th July 2023

With changing fashion and the ever growing availability of new and unusual wines, it is easy to overlook some of the wine styles that made Australian wine famous and provided decades of pleasure to the wine drinking public.

Soul Growers Wines

22 February 2022

If I had to use one word to describe the team at Soul Growers, it would be passionate. The enthusiasm, dedication and attention to detail is evident in everything that they do.

New Release Shiraz & Grenache: Feb 2022

18th February 2022

There were a number of highlights for this tasting starting with the soon to be released 2020 Farvie’s from Swinney. These wines are truly stunning.

The panel was also stunned by the quality of the two wines from Domaine Belle. If the rest of the range is on a par with these, then this will be one of the finds of the year

Spoilt for Choice: Shiraz and Friends

5th August 2021

When it comes to Shiraz, Australia really is the lucky country! As a consumer, not only are we spoilt for choice when it comes to the different expressions of Shiraz, we are also blessed that there is extraordinary value to be had.

Faber Vineyard: Celebrating 20 years of Riche Shiraz

16th July 2020

John Griffith established Faber in 1997 after a very successful six-year stint at Houghton.

At Faber, the aim is to craft the best wine possible from grapes most suited to the region in which they are grown. In the Swan Valley, John believes this is Shiraz, Verdelho and Muscat (for fortified wines).

Grenache and Friends

25th June 2020

Grenache is a most versatile variety. Originating in Spain, but made famous by the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache was the most widely planted red variety in the world until the late 1990s.

Shiraz: October 2018 New Releases

Barry Weinman: 24th October 2018

The panel was in a tough mood this week, with only three out of the fifteen wines tasted making it to this review. Interestingly, the top wines came from Brash and Avani. Both are wineries that I am unfamiliar with.

Paxton Wines Master Class

24th July 2018

Paxton Wines was established in McLaren Vale in 1979 by David Paxton, and (ironically for the region), focused on growing Chardonnay for a number of years before transitioning its focus to Shiraz.

New Release Reds: April 2018

22nd April 2018

This week’s new release tasting resulted in only three recommendations, but all are very worthwhile.

New Release Shiraz/Blends – November 2017

20th November 2017

There are a very few wineries in Australia who, day in and day out, produce outstanding wines at prices that must surely make other winemakers cry. Two such wineries are Shingleback and Angove. Both are from McLaren Vale in South Australia, and both make extraordinary wines for the price.

Faber Wines Retrospective Tasting – Part Two: Reserve Shiraz and Frankland River Cabernet

Barry Weinman: 12 October 2017

A few single vineyard wines sit at the top of the Faber quality tree. In the case of The Reserve Shiraz, all fruit comes from 2 acres of estate vines planted in 1998. The cuttings for these vines came from Houghton’s Frankland vineyard.

New Release Shiraz – August 2017

Barry Weinman: 8th August 2017

Howard Park seems to be on a roll at present, with Janice McDonald in control of the winemaking. Recently, their wines under the Madfish label impressed the panel, but this time it was the turn of the Scotsdale and Leston Shiraz to steal the limelight. The drinkability of the Scotsdale (Great Southern) resulted in a slightly higher score, but both are excellent.

March 2017 – New Release Shiraz

Barry Weinman: 1st April 2017

A few weeks back, I wrote about the Chardonnays from Bird in Hand, which were most impressive. In this tasting, their Shiraz was the star. Whilst it would be easy to recommend their uber-premium M.A.C. Shiraz at $350/bottle, their standard Shiraz is a standout at $35.

Cherubino Shiraz – 2015 Releases

Barry Weinman: November 2016

I have written previously about the magic that Larry Cherubino can work with grapes. His Rieslings and Cabernet based wines are often brilliant.

A challenge for consumers can be the plethora of different wines released from each variety. These appear under a number of different labels including Cherubino, The Yard, Laissez Faire, Avant Gardiner, Ad Hoc and Middle of Everywhere.

Shiraz – October New Release

1st October 2016

The team at Xanadu continue to be in top form. This time it was a brilliant value Shiraz under the Exmoor label (new to me) that grabbed the panel’s attention.

Shiraz – New Release

12th March 2016

The Hollick was the surprise package of this tasting. An excellent wine that became quite compelling once it had a chance to open up. At $25 it is also excellent value.

New Release Shiraz

24th January 2016

When the temperature is nudging 40° C, tasting Shiraz and blends is not the easiest task, as keeping the wines cool (around 20 degrees) can be a challenge.

Mid-Price Shiraz

4th October 2015

This tasting reinforced two points

  • The diversity of wine styles that can be made with Shiraz
  • What good value Australian Shiraz can be

Shiraz – New Release – 8 August 2015

The inclusion of several “pairs” of wines made this a really interesting tasting.

The first pair were Shingleback “Red Knot” Shiraz’s. It was remarkable to see how much the 2012 had filled out with the two extra years in bottle. Admittedly, 2012 was a great year, but no $15 wine has a right to drink this well after a couple of years in the cellar. The just released 2014 may be even better, and is sure to follow in its footsteps.

2012 Shiraz – Benchmark Tasting @ Faber Vineyard

30th June 2015

There are a number of great comparative tastings held each year in Australia. For example: Cape Mentelle hosts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cullen has Chardonnay, Peel Estate is Shiraz and Frankland Estate explores Riesling. In each case, a specific vintage is tasted with renowned wines selected from around the globe.

New Release Shiraz – August 2014

7th August 2014

Sue Hodder and the team at Wynns have been in great form of late when it comes to cooler region Shiraz. From the White Label Shiraz (Reviewed elsewhere and an absolute bargain) through to the special release wines, the 2012 vintage has proved to be outstanding.

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 30th March 2014

Whilst I have no direct control over the wines that are submitted to the panel for tasting, the wines on display for this tasting were very impressive in general.  The wines came from some well known labels, as well as several that are new to me.

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 4th January 2014

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 20th September 2013

This tasting was defined by the number of outstanding wines on show.  Interestingly, several of my favourites came from producers that I know little about.  The wines from Salomon, Jericho and Shottesbrooke were all noteworthy.

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed 7th August 2013

This tasting saw the new releases from Cherubino and Sandalford, and neither disappointed.

The highlights for the tasting were two wines from Cherubino (Ad Hoc and Laissez Faire) and the pair from Angoves.

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed: 26th June 2013

As the weather has turned and the temperature has dropped, the panel took the opportunity to look through a strong shiraz line-up. The cooler weather presents its own problems though, as the temperature of the wine influences the flavour profile, which can change the wines characters quite dramatically.

Shiraz and Grenache

New Release Tasting

Reviewed: 30 March 2013

The highlight of this tasting was not the smart shiraz on display, but a pair of wines made from straight grenache. The Angove was fresh, succulent and juicy, whilst the Patritti was a powerhouse of old vines fruit. Different in style, but both most worthy of your attention.

Faber Vineyard

New Release Tasting

Reviewed: 15 February 2012

John Griffith established Faber in 1997 after working with several wineries (including Houghton for 6 years) and a stint teaching winemaking at Curtin University.

Shiraz – New Release

Reviewed 17 January 2012

A short, sharp tasting resulting in some excellent wines. None more so than the Windy Peak. I would like to try this again as the panel was unanimous in their praise. At $14 or less, it is a great bargain.

Ultimately though, my wine of the tasting is the Forester Estate. Whilst good now, it will be even better in a few years.