What To Buy

Wines of the Week

Duke’s Magpie Hill Reserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Oh wow. The purity of the ripe fruit is quite breathtaking. Yet the fruit is very muted, cocooned in a blanket of fine fine tannins. With time and patience, this will transform into something beautiful, but you need to be patient to see it at its best. 96pts – $42. (June 12).

Duke’s Magpie Hill Reserve – Shiraz – 2018. Strikingly vibrant colour. This is intense, powerful and quite beautiful. It is full of coffee and chocolate notes, with a hint of caramel, pepper and mint. But the dense ripe fruit is the main feature. Fine, elegant and even a touch reserved. Brilliant and age worthy. 18.5pts. (June 12).

SkighAbacus – Shiraz – 2019. Dense, powerful, cooler climate Shiraz that is taut and restrained. The ripe fruit has darker plum notes, supported by silky oak. But this needs a decade to really open up. 94pts – $45. (June 12).

WellandOld Hands – Shiraz – 2018. Impenetrable colour in the glass. Sweet, ripe old-vines fruit and supple (American) oak are the key here, with polished tannins and acid providing structure and balance. Layers of spice sit in the background of what is a dense, complex and very fine wine. 95-96pts – $70 (June 3)

Welland – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Mint, menthol, eucalypt, this has Cabernet written all over it, in a different expression to Margaret River. With power, intensity, beautifully ripe fruit, this reminds me of something from the Penfolds stable but at an affordable price. Not quite seamless, but excellent drinking. 94pts – $30 (June 3)

Nikola Estate – Verdelho – 2020. The first wine I have tried from the new owners of the Houghton winery in the Swan Valley, and it is a cracker. Fresh talc and floral notes that are pretty and delicate. Fine acidity adds life to what is a charming wine. 92pts. (June 3)

Shingleback – Red Knot – Shiraz – 2019. Sweet, ripe, vibrant fruit the main focus on the nose. The palate has excellent mouthfeel, with the fresh acidity and supple tannins and oak adding depth and balance. Superbly made and excellent drinking, this is a tribute to Australian Shiraz. 92pts – $15. (May 28).

Shingleback – Red Knot – Classified – GSM – 2020. More depth, with high quality ripe, fragrant fruit supported by supple oak. The palate is quite taut initially, but the fruit excels on a finish that has excellent balance. Medium term cellaring an option, or drink with a rich pork ragout. Brilliant! 94pts – $19. (May 28).

Vasse Felix – Tom Cullity – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017. Taut, restrained and shy, with hints of mint and gentle berries. The palate is spectacular. Seamless, silky and fine, with intrinsic power and great depth. Amazing now, but best in 20 years+. Equal to the best of Bordeaux at a fraction of the price! 97pts – $180 (May 28).

3drops – Pinot Noir – 2019. I fell in love with this the moment I tasted it. The nose is richly aromatic whilst the palate is silky and supple, with decent power and, more importantly, intensity. This is a great example of new world Pinot and will build with medium term bottle age. 94pts – $32. (April 11).

Mr Barval – Vino Rosso – 2019 . A blend of mature Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec aged in older oak, this is all about enjoyment. It starts with fine, elegant fruit that is precise and supple, but the highlight is the finish that has a silky texture and near-seamless palate transition. 94pts – $29 (April 11).

Tudor – Shiraz – 2018. More restrained, with a core of dark plum fruit coated in layers of chocolate and coffee. The ripe fruit has decent power and is remarkably balanced. The tannins and acid are firm but really polished. A great food wine, capable of short-term aging. Unbelievable value. 92-93pts – $13 from Aldi. (April 11).

GrossetPiccadilly Valley – Pinot Noir – 2019. Crimson colour. Beautiful, fragrant nose that is supple, lithe, elegant and refined. The palate is all about precision. Excellent oak handling and a silky texture add to the enjoyment. There is excellent length to close. A delightful, age worthy wine. 95pts – $80. (April 9).

CherubinoPannoo Vineyard – Pinot Noir – 2019.A meatier, earthy wine that has minerals, texture, depth and power. Chewy, yet supple mouthfeel, with cherry-like acidity carrying the finish. An excellent, food friendly wine that with air, expressed lovely cherry and strawberry fruit notes. 93 – 94pts – $65. (April 9).

Shaw & Smith – M3 Chardonnay – 2019. Beautiful ripe peach fruit with nutty notes and subtle oak adding depth. On the palate, the stone fruit is complemented by minerality and cashew nut mealiness. The acidity is refreshing on the close, without being overpowering, and will soften in time. 25% new oak. An excellent wine! 95pts – $55. (27 March).

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Chardonnay – 2018. Fragrant, floral and pure, with ripe nectarine and citrus aromas. The palate is spectacular. Fine and elegant, the complex stone-fruit flavours meld seamlessly with supple oak and gentle lees work, finishing with great length of flavours. Whilst a little closed now, this is a brilliant wine! 97pts – $130. (27 March).

Vasse Felix – Heytesbury- Chardonnay – 2019. A lovely wine! Cooler and restrained, reflecting the vintage. The fruit quality is superb, with stone fruit and zesty citrus notes. The palate is tight and intense, with innate power and fine structure. Oak (61% new) and winemaking characters (Barrel ferment, lees stirring) provide the perfect backdrop. 96pts – $92. (27 March).

Cherubino – Cabernet Sauvignon – Margaret River – 2018. Dense, textured and powerful, with mint and black currant fruit. The graphite-like tannins add depth. A very impressive, age-worthy red that is good value at around 95+pts – $TBC. (22 March)

Brookland Valley – Reserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is fine and elegant, yet has a core of ripe, powerful fruit that is very impressive. Textbook Cabernet with supple oak and super fine tannins adding texture and depth, but not impeding the fruit’s development on the palate. As good as it is now, will be even better with ten years in the bottle. Worth the premium over the Estate. 96pts – $TBC. (22 March)

Cullen – Chardonnay – Kevin John – 2019. An unbelievable wine that manages to combine intensity, power, restraint and finesse in the one package. A wine to make you swoon! Perfectly ripe fruit combines with pineapple acidity, providing a mouthful of joy. The finish is supple, textured and fine with great length of flavours. Elegant, restrained and very long. Brilliant now, even better in 10 years. 97pts – $135 (Feb 25).

Xanadu – Reserve – Chardonnay – 2018. The pale colour is deceptive – this is concentrated, intense, powerful and ripe. The muted fruit is quite pretty but needs time to open up. The acidity also needs a little time to settle back into the fruit. Give it five years and be rewarded. Magnificent wine. 96pts – $110. (Feb 25).

Hutton Vale Farm – Grenache/Mataro – 2016. The very pretty old-vines Grenache fruit has floral notes and is ripe, supple, elegant and lithe. Very refined and precise, this initially appears quite delicate. It gets a little textured and chewy on the close, as the fine tannins start to build, but this merely adds to the appeal. Will be brilliant with 5 – 10 years in the cellar. 95pts – $75. (Feb 16).

Juniper Estate – Single Vineyard – Shiraz – 2017. Liquorice and ripe fruit to the fore. Dense, chewy, textured, yet not heavy or cloying. This is a rich wine, yet it has been very well handled in the winery, resulting in a silky, mouth-coating wine with fine, texturing tannins. Impressive. 93pts – $40. (Feb 16).

Higher Planes – Malbec – 2020. Perfumed and fragrant, this is a riot of juicy fruit, with the delicious berry characters building with air. The chewy texture and gentle spicy notes make this great current drinking around the BBQ. 100% whole bunch fermentation. Excellent value. 92pts – $28. (Feb 6).

Preccavi – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017. Very fine, elegant and supple, the gentle fruit slowly building. The mouthfeel is quite silky, with a near seamless palate transition. The dusty tannins and persistence of fruit add a sense of gravitas. 93pts. $75 (Feb 6).

Stella Bella – Luminosa – Cabernet Sauvignon– 2017. Lovely fruit on the nose that is perfumed, floral and ripe. The palate has more of the perfumed, blueberry fruit, supported by fine tannins and supple oak. Balanced, elegant, long and delicious, yet age-worthy all the same. 95pts – $90 (Feb 6).

Hutton Vale Farm – Eden Valley – Riesling – 2019. In a line-up of dry Rieslings, the residual sugar in this came as a surprise, but the panel really appreciated this wine. Lime blossom, ripe citrus and musk lead to a palate that is viscous, rich and dense. The precise acidity balances the sugar nicely. Serve chilled with Asian foods. 92pts – $35 (Feb 3).

Mount Horrocks – Watervale – Riesling – 2020. Wonderful perfume. Dry, elegant, refined and pretty, with vibrant acidity adding life. Yes, this is age-worthy, but it is delicious right now. 93pts – $35. (Feb 3).

The Bio Project – Fiano – 2020. Quite subtle and fine, with supple mouthfeel and acidity. Impactful without being overtly fruity, with excellent fruit weight and length and crisp acidity to close. Will be best with food. 91pts – $25. (Feb 3).

Domaine Thenard – Pernand-Vergelesses – Ile Des Vergelesses – Premier Cru – Pinot Noir – 2014. More serious and structured than the Givry, with greater density of fruit. Complex, savoury and structured, this is an excellent food wine. But will also improve with a few years in bottle. Again, excellent value. 92 pts – $60. (Jan 31).

Batista – Pinot Noir – 2018. Pretty, elegant and vibrant, but with a core of dense fruit at its heart. Not flashy or showy, but very enjoyable. A modern, fresh Pinot that needs a few years to allow the tannins to soften. 92pts – $45. (Jan 31).

Picardy – Tête de Cuvée – Pinot Noir – 2017. Pretty, vibrant fruit that is balanced by souring cherry-like acidity and fine, savoury tannins from the fruit and oak. This is the most serious and powerful wine of the tasting, yet retains approachability, thanks to the delicious fruit. Long, complex and fine, drink this whilst waiting for the brilliant 2018. 93+pts – $70. (Jan 31).

Piper Heidsieck – Vintage – 2012. Altogether more complex and deeper than the NV, with rich brioche and dough characters. A lively mousse gives way to a palate which is finer and more elegant, with subtle berry fruit notes and a touch of pear. The finish is a delight, with supple texture, fine acidity, excellent persistence and length. An excellent follow-up to the 2008 and a tremendous bargain when on sale. 93pts – $90 (Dec 31).

Charles Orban – Blanc de Blancs – NV. Pale yellow colour, and fine mousse notable in the glass. Restrained and taut, with a slightly chewy texture, this has intrinsic depth and structure. An impressive wine that is excellent value (Dan Murphy/BWS). 92pts – $55. (Dec 31).

Veuve Monsigny – Premier Cru – NV. This is quite excellent. Fine and elegant, with ripe citrus acidity and very good length. Not complex, but very satisfying. I would be pleased to have another glass. Brilliant value at $30 from Aldi. 91pts – $30. (Dec 31).

Domaine Thenard – Pernand-Vergelesses – Ile Des Vergelesses – Premier Cru – Pinot Noir – 2014. More serious and structured than the Givry, with greater density of fruit. Complex, savoury and structured, this is an excellent food wine. But will also improve with a few years in bottle. Again, excellent value. 92 pts – $60 (Jan 31).

Batista – Pinot Noir – 2018. Pretty, elegant and vibrant, but with a core of dense fruit at its heart. Not flashy or showy, but very enjoyable. A modern, fresh Pinot that needs a few years to allow the tannins to soften. 92pts – $45. (Jan 31).

Picardy – Tête de Cuvée – Pinot Noir – 2017. Pretty, vibrant fruit that is balanced by souring cherry-like acidity and fine, savoury tannins from the fruit and oak. This is the most serious and powerful wine of the tasting, yet retains approachability, thanks to the delicious fruit. Long, complex and fine, drink this whilst waiting for the brilliant 2018. 93+pts – $70. (Jan 31).

Piper Heidsieck – Vintage – 2012. Altogether more complex and deeper than the NV, with rich brioche and dough characters. A lively mousse gives way to a palate which is finer and more elegant, with subtle berry fruit notes and a touch of pear. The finish is a delight, with supple texture, fine acidity, excellent persistence and length. An excellent follow-up to the 2008 and a tremendous bargain when on sale. 93pts – $90 (Dec 31).

Charles Orban – Blanc de Blancs – NV. Pale yellow colour, and fine mousse notable in the glass. Restrained and taut, with a slightly chewy texture, this has intrinsic depth and structure. An impressive wine that is excellent value (Dan Murphy/BWS). 92pts – $55. (Dec 31).

Veuve Monsigny – Premier Cru – NV. This is quite excellent. Fine and elegant, with ripe citrus acidity and very good length. Not complex, but very satisfying. I would be pleased to have another glass. Brilliant value at $30 from Aldi. 91pts – $30. (Dec 31).

Salena Estate – ex-PRESS.ion – Shiraz – 2019. Precise and focussed fruit complemented by coffee and mocha notes. The palate is an explosion of deliciously ripe fruit, with the tannins and oak adding texture. Not as structured as the Shingleback but more immediately impactful and moreish. An affordable, well-made user-friendly wine. A BBQ champion from the Barossa. 93pts – $30 (Dec 23b).

Shingleback – The Gate – Cabernet/Shiraz – 2018. Ripe berry and current, with supple oak support. Perfectly ripe fruit on the palate is silky and fine, with the Cabernet adding structure. The finish is long, supple and elegant, with a drying, textural finish that gets a touch chewy. An impressive wine that deserves time in the cellar. 95+pts – $40. (Dec 23b).

Voyager Estate – The Modern – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. Fragrant, ripe and pretty, with a core of berry fruit. The palate is supple, silky, and textured, with near seamless palate transition. Medium bodied in weight, this is a wonderful drink now but ultimately will benefit from a few years in the cellar. 93pts – $45. (Dec 23b).

Quartz Reef – Brut – Méthode Traditionelle – NV. Fragrant, bright, and balanced, with decent texture. Whilst relatively neutral, this is light, fresh and moreish, with gentle toast and brioche notes building on the finish. 62% Pinot Noir/38% Chardonnay. Biodynamically produced. 17.5pts – $40. (Dec 23a).

Delamotte – Brut – NV. A step up in complexity. Lithe and fresh, with a moderate dosage and driving acidity. A fine, elegant wine with excellent mouthfeel and presence. Excellent length supported by a bitter almond finish that adds to the appeal. 18pts – $75 (Dec 23a).

Alexandre Bonnet – Grande Reserve Brut – NV. A richer, more developed style than the Delamotte that whilst complex, remains taut and fresh with fine acid drive and gentle texture to close. Delicious and moreish, with brioche notes to the fore. 18pts – $70 (Dec 23a).

AVINA Champagne & Wine Locking Bottle Stopper ($20 from Winesave) is attractive and versatile. This seals so well that the bottle can be laid on its side in the fridge. It is also the only stopper that works with ordinary wine bottles as well if needed. This is my personal favourite. (Dec 16)

For me, the best all-purpose glass is the Riedel Vinum Riesling Grand Cru/Zinfandel glass. ($40). It makes everything from Champagne to Shiraz taste good, is attractive and is easy to fit into the dishwasher. I have been using this for years at home, and it is surprisingly durable. (Dec 16).

Marri Wood Park – Sauvignon Blanc – 2019. Lifted melon, stone fruit and grassy notes that leads to lemon fruit and acidity that build on the finish. The texture of the palate is a highlight, courtesy of the supple lees and barrel influences. Most importantly, this is a good drink. 17.8/20 (92pts) $28. (Dec 16).

Tahbilk – Marsanne – 2020. Aromatic and lifted, with sherbet, musk and floral fruit. Really quite delicious, if a little linear at present. Experience suggests that with bottle age, the palate will fill out and gain complexity and texture, transforming the wine. An Australian classic and a bargain to boot.  17/20 (89pts) $16. (Dec 16).

Wynns – Cabernet Sauvignon – “Black Label” – 2018. Another amazing wine under this historic label. Intense, pretty floral fruit, that is elegant, balanced, refined and very long.  With a supple and textured mouth-feel, this is delicious now but also sure to build depth and power in the cellar. 18.3/20 (94pts) $40. (Dec 16).

Flowstone – Queen of the Earth – Sauvignon Blanc– 2018. Powerful and overt, with grassy notes, lemon zest and minerality. The palate is more impactful than seamless, with intense grapefruit acidity and supple oak/lees add depth and mouthfeel. An almost saline minerality adds texture. The flavours linger for an age. 18.3/20 (94pts) $50. (13 Nov).

Wolf Blass – Grey Label – Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz– 2018. Refined and elegant, this is familiar, seductive and intoxicating all at the same time. The palate is quite closed, but shows lovely cinnamon, spice and savoury/textural components. With air the blue fruits build. Should age well and is great value when on sale. 18.5/20 (95pts) $45. (13 Nov).

Wolf Blass – Grey Label – Shiraz– 2018. Pretty and ripe, with an intensity and depth to the fruit that is captivating. The palate is supple and silky, with plum, blackcurrant and a touch of liquorice all supported by savoury oak. A near-seamless finish rounds out this rich, generous, irresistible wine. 18.4/20 (94+pts) $45. (13 Nov).

Mandoon Estate– Block 1895 – Verdelho – 2020. The original 1895 plantings are the oldest Verdelho in WA. Opens with lifted pineapple and tropical fruits on the nose. The palate is fresh and vibrant, with excellent length and texture supported by zippy citrus acidity. Drink now or cellar for increased complexity. (17.5/20pts – $28). (30 Oct).

Mandoon Estate – Reserve – Chardonnay– 2018. Perfectly ripe, but with cooler spectrum grapefruit and melon notes. The palate is mouth-watering, long and delicious, with zesty, lime-juice acidity driving the finish. A few years in bottle will allow the fruit to open, but a lovely drink now. From the cooler Karridale region. (18.3/20pts – $59). (30 Oct).

Mandoon Estate – Research Station Reserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016. Attractive red currant and blackberry fruit that is perfumed and lifted. Ripe berries flood the palate, supported by mint and gentle eucalypt. A wine of power and intensity, with super fine tannins leaving a drying finish, yet this remains remarkably seamless. (18.5+/20 – $TBC) (30 Oct).

Fraser Gallop – Parterre – Chardonnay– 2018. White peach and grapefruit over marzipan and gentle spicy oak notes. The palate is supple, refined and full of life, with the acidity adding delicious energy.  Yet the intensity of fruit at the core is the defining feature. A very fine wine indeed! (18.5/20pts – $50). (16 October)

Patritti – April Red – 2020. An unusual blend of Grenache and Pedro Ximinez from historic Adelaide vineyards. Ripe, bright and succulent with juicy cherry and berry fruit, with liquorice and spice on the finish. Zippy acidity adds to the fun. Delicious alternative to lighter reds as the weather warms. (17.3/20pts – $24). (16 October)

Higher Planes – The Messenger – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2016. The cooler climate, minty fruit is ripe and supple, and has been skilfully combined with fine oak and tannins resulting in an elegant, approachable wine. Yet there is the depth and structure to support bottle aging. A lovely wine. (18.5/20pts – $50). (16 October)

Singlefile – Cabernet Sauvignon – The Philip Adrian – 2017. Opens with cooler spectrum berry and red currant fruit that is perfectly ripe. The palate is intense, yet fine and elegant, with supple oak (50% new) adding depth and savoury complexity. Impressively packaged, this is a masterpiece for the vintage. (18.6/20pts – $100).

Devil’s Lair – Chardonnay – 2019. Very fine and elegant, with white peach and gentle nectarine aromas. The palate is fresh, vibrant and precise, with supple oak and partial (50%) malolactic fermentation adding depth and texture. The generous fruit has excellent length and persistence. A great drink now – 5 years. 18.5/20pts – $45. (30 Sept).

Duke’s – Magpie Hill Reserve – Riesling – 2020. Gently aromatic and perfumed fruit with lime blossom, talc and sherbet notes. The palate is steely and powerful, with great intensity of fruit. Seamless and very long, with tingling acidity to close. A profound wine and one of Australia’s greatest Rieslings. 18.8/20pts – $42. (30 Sept).

Castelli – Pinot Noir – 2019. Lighter, finer and prettier than many new world Pinots, resulting in a serious, yet approachable wine of some note. The quality fruit is savoury, supple, textured and quite delicious, with enough depth and structure from the clever winemaking to support short term cellaring.  Good value! 18/20pts – $34 (30 Sept).

Leeuwin Estate – Chardonnay – Prelude – 2018 (18+/20pts – $36). Gorgeous peachy stone fruit aromas and flavours. The palate is vibrant and alive, with the zesty grapefruit acidity giving way to gentle oak, barrel ferment and lees notes. The supple texture and near seamless finish is remarkable at this price point. While not as deep as the Art Series, it is still utterly delicious. (30 Sept).

Leeuwin Estate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Art Series – 2016 (18.6/20pts – $79). Wonderfully perfumed, with fragrant berries and so much more. On the palate, the fruit still shines, but the supple structure gives this a degree of gravitas.  Minerality, fine oak (50% new), chewy, savoury notes and talc-like tannins. Powerful enough for long term aging, yet subtle enough for immediate drinking. (30 Sept).

Leeuwin Estate – Shiraz – Art Series – 2017 (18.3/20pts – $42). This may be cooler climate Shiraz, but there is wonderful berry/cherry fruit leaping from the glass. The palate is vibrant and fresh, with supple oak and tannins adding depth and texture. Gets chewy on the close, but the finish remains relatively supple and poised, with excellent length. (30 Sept).

Leo Buring – Riesling – Leonay – 2019 (18.7/20pts – $40). A lovely mix of steely notes and gentle floral and citrus characters on the nose. The palate is restrained and taut, with fine, neutral acidity and a finish that feels bone dry. Great balance, with subtle depth and power, and seamless palate transition. A brilliant wine that will blossom with age. An icon! (15 August 2020).

GilbertsRiesling – 2019 (18/20pts – $24). I like this, as it was the most approachable wine of the tasting yet has excellent lime-like fruit that is fresh and bright. Gentle, texturing phenolics and subtle viscosity add mouthfeel, with the zippy, balancing acidity carrying the finish. Great value and capable of some bottle age if desired.  From Mt Barker. (15 August 2020).

Howard Park – Riesling – Porongurup – 2019 (18.5/20pts – $35). Zesty and racy, with lime acidity, steely fruit notes and a touch of perfumed talc. The palate is concentrated and powerful, with lemony fruit building on the finish. The fruit quality is a highlight though this needs a few years to hit its straps. (15 August 2020).

Howard Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Abercrombie – 2017 (18.5+/20pts). Initially shy and restrained, building bright blueberry fruit and even a touch of violets building with air. The palate is taut, dense and restrained with a core of ripe fruit that slowly builds. The tannins and oak are not obvious but make their presence felt in the way the fruit is shut down on the close. Potential. (July 30)

Higher Planes – Cabernet Sauvignon – Reserve – 2014 (18.5/20pts – $40). The nose is quite seductive, the fine fruit perfumed and redolent of ripe berries and cassis. The palate is most beguiling, with mint, gentle eucalypt and a hint of dried herbs. The finish is ultimately shut down by the very fine tannins and oak, yet remains near seamless. Good value. (July 30)

Peos Estate – Cabernet Sauvignon – Four Aces – 2018 (18.5/20pts – $35). A real surprise package that is supple, restrained, elegant and fine. This is tight and dense with very polished tannins and fine-grained French oak (50% new), leaving the fruit a little subdued at first. With air though, the blackcurrant fruit starts to shine. With only two barrels produced, this is a great effort from this Manjimup producer. (July 30)

Penfolds – Chardonnay – Bin 311 – 2019 (18.5/20pts – $50).  Perfectly ripe stone fruit aromas are supported by gentle pineapple, lemon pith and grapefruit notes. The palate has laser-like precision, with elegant fruit the star. Oak and lees work add depth and texture without impeding the flavour profile. Develops minerality and complex lees/barrel ferment aromas and curry leaf with air. Quite beautiful. (July 31)

Penfolds – Cabernet/Shiraz – Bin 389 – 2018 (18.7/20pts – $100). Vibrant colour and a nose that is supple, succulent and refined, showing perfumed blueberry fruit, with gentle mint highlights. The concentration of fruit is a highlight, as are the very fine savoury notes courtesy of the oak and fine tannins on a long, silky finish that is refined and polished. Needs years yet drinking well now. (July 31)

Penfolds – Shiraz – St Henri – 2017 (18.8/20pts – $135). Quite closed, with intense fruit and savoury menthol and dried herb notes. With air, the precise fruit gets better and better. The palate is outstanding. The fruit stunningly concentrated, yet remarkably elegant and refined. The velvety tannins build ultimately shutting down the fruit on the close. Balanced, long and extremely age-worthy, this is a great wine! (July 31)

Cherubino – Chardonnay – Laissez Faire – 2019 (18.5/20pts – $39). Pretty, perfumed, focussed, fine and intense. The powerful, yet sublime fruit has clear cool region characters and grapefruit acidity. The clever oak and lees work add to the appeal. Gets extra points for drinkability, as this is delicious straight out of the bottle. (July 18).

Cherubino – Chardonnay – Dijon – 2019. (18.5+/20pts – $45). Opens with complex, struck match and flint notes courtesy of the vanillin oak and supple lees work. The palate shows ripe stone fruit over complex yet supple worked characters and is very long and intense. Beautiful mouthfeel, with gentle toast from the oak and fine grapefruit acidity. Will be even better with a year or two in bottle. (July 18).

Shingleback – Chardonnay – Red Knot – 2019 (17/20pts – $15). Pristine, fine fruit that is redolent of peach and nectarine, complemented by fragrant vanillin oak notes. The palate is bright, and fresh, with gentle lees and malolactic fermentation notes. Straightforward? Sure, but this is an eminently drinkable wine and great value at $15. (July 18).

Faber – Shiraz – Riche – 2018 (18+/20pts – $27). Opens with some cooler, almost herbal notes and just a touch of tomato leaf up front. Give it some air though and the ripe, plummy fruit starts to shine. The palate is dense and textured, with spicy oak adding to the appeal. Whilst supple, round and balanced, this needs a few years to hit its straps. (July 16).

Faber – Shiraz – Reserve – 2017 (18.7/20pts – $65). Closed and restrained, but this is clearly a brilliant wine. Dense and textured, with high quality new French oak in support. The balance is a highlight, the mouthfeel aided by supple viscosity. Gets chewy and a bit closed on the finish, yet the tannins never dominate. Sure to age well, but great drinking now. (July 16).

Vino Volte – Chenin Blanc – Funky and Fearless – 2019 (17.8/20pts). Very enticing nose, with hints of pear skin, honeysuckle and tropical fruit, balanced by vibrant lime juice acidity. The gentle viscosity is a feature and a touch of phenolics adds depth and mouthfeel. Fine, long and textured, this is drinking a treat. (July 2).

Marc Bredif – Chenin Blanc – Classic – 2016 (18/20pts).  This is a lovely wine. Floral and fragrant, with a touch of residual sugar that adds depth and balance on the palate. Pear, honeysuckle and gentle toast all add to the package. Complex, racy acidity builds on the close. A classic Loire Valley Chenin that will age brilliantly. (July 2).

John Kosovich – Chenin Blanc – Bottle Aged Reserve – 2013 (18.2/20pts – $36). Very long and intense, with honeysuckle, lavender and spice. Supple, textured and delicious, yet complex and focused. The balance is a highlight, with racy acidity on the finish.  No oak used. Great drinking now, but also worthy of 5-10 years in the cellar. (July 2).

Yalumba – Grenache – Vine Vale – 2017 (18/20pts – $35). Somewhat muted nose at first, but with air, this is oh-so-pretty. The palate is an explosion of supple, red berry fruit. Serious enough to make you pay attention, yet delicious enough to wash down some roast duck. From 70 y/o vines. 30% whole bunch fermentation. (June 25).

Cape Mentelle – Shiraz/Cabernet- Trinders – 2018 (17.8/20pts – $31). Pretty, vibrant and perfumed, with attractive fruit that is a joy to smell. In the mouth, this is supple, fresh and elegant, with a delicious mouthcoating texture. The fruit is quite dense and structured. I have not tried this blend before under this label, but it is worth seeking out. (June 25).

Shingleback – Shiraz – Red Knot – 2018 (17.5/20pts – $15). Mint, menthol and supple plummy fruit on the nose, with gentle savoury notes. The palate is long, succulent and balanced, with just enough oak to add depth without overwhelming the fruit. A very good drink indeed, and ridiculous value from this perennial over-achiever. From Dan Murphys. (June 25).

Apostrophe – Possessive Red – 2018 (17.7/20pts – $16). Pretty, vibrant and quite seductive. The floral notes on the nose and palate are framed by supple, savoury textural components. The oak (new & 1y/o) adds depth, without impeding the fruit’s transition across the palate. Pepper and spice to close. Uncomplicated ,delicious and great value. Now – 5 years. (14 June).

The Yard – Cabernet Sauvignon – Riversdale – 2018            (18.3/20pts – $25). Dense, powerful and taut, with excellent depth. Yet remains elegant, refined and balanced, with hints of mint and eucalypt complementing the berry fruit. Somewhat linear, this really needs 5 – 10 years to open up (or time in a decanter). Shop around for a great bargain! (14 June).

Ad Hoc – Pinot Noir – Cruel Mistress – 2018 (17.8/20pts – $25). Pretty red fruit and black cherry aromas. The palate is delicious and seductive. The ripe fruit is balanced by supple mouthfeel and gentle earthy, spicy notes that add texture. Not overly complex, but a great drink and good value to boot. (14 June).

Picardy – Pinot Noir – 2018 (18.5/20pts – $45). Pretty, refined and elegant with the superb fruit the focus.  The balance is a highlight, with silky tannins and fruit that lingers for some time.  The savoury, structural components build on the finish adding depth.  A complete and quite beautiful wine with surprising power.  Now – 5 years. (May18).

Picardy – Pinot Noir – Tête de Cuvée – 2018 (18.6/20pts – $70). Whilst pretty and fragrant, there is more power, depth and structure here compared to the Estate.  Made in a Burgundian style, with a focus on texture and length of flavours.  Yet ultimately, the precise fruit is the star.  3 – 5 years cellaring recommended. (May18).

Shepard’s Hut – Pinot Noir – Porongurup – 2018 (18/20pts – $30). Bright and fresh, with a delicious savoury edge that adds depth to both the nose and palate. This has cherry, plum, spice and supple texture in a medium-bodied wine that deserves to be popular. Not easy to find, but brilliant value. Try Lamont’s in Cottesloe or Steve’s in Nedlands. http://shepherdshutwines.com.au/ (Nov 2019)

Sittella – Cuvee Blanc    – NV (18/20pts – $32). Fine, elegant and refined, with subtle stone fruit and lovely refreshing acidity. The mouthfeel is the highlight, with near seamless palate transition and excellent length and creamy texture. A precise wine that has grace and presence. Great value. (18 months on lees, 7 g/l dosage). (May 7)

Sittella – Cuvee Rose – NV (18.2/20pts – $34). Very fine mousse in the glass and on the palate. The red fruit is more pronounced here, with fresh strawberry and cherry notes. The palate richer and more rounded, with great length and subtle power. Autolytic characters and gentle grip add depth. (24 months on lees, 6.5 g/l). (May 7)

Sittella – Grand Vintage – Marie Christien Lugten – 2015 (18.5/20pts – $42). Leaner, finer and more elegant, with citrus-like fruit and subtle yeasty notes. The palate is restrained and taut, with underlying fruit power. As it warmed up, the fruit really built. An incredibly fine wine that deserves a year or two in the cellar. (4 years on lees, 7g/l). (May 7)

Marri Wood Park – Cabernet Sauvignon – Single Block – 2018 (18.5/20pts – $40). This is reserved and taut, yet the berry fruit has lovely mouthfeel and is polished, refined, elegant, and very long. A savoury, textural wine that combines high quality, perfectly ripe fruit with sympathetic winemaking. Approachable, but better with 5 – 10 years in the cellar. Great value! (April 10).

Singlefile – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – 2018 (18.2/20pts – $25). The ripe fruit is rich and intense, with concentrated berry notes. Excellent depth on the palate, with the fruit wrapped in a savoury, textural blanket. Clearly different to the wines from Margaret River, but equally worthy. An all-purpose wine that would be great with food, but even better in 5 -10 years. Bargain! (April 10).

Cullen – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – Diana Madeline – 2018 (18.8/20pts). Superb fruit has been massaged in the winery to produce a wine that very elegant and refined. The palate is ripe, supple and completely seamless, yet the tannins sneak up on the close, leaving a dusty, textual component that adds depth. A beautiful wine, and perhaps the best yet under this label. (April 10).

Cullen – Chardonnay – 2018 (18.8/20pts – $127). Beautifully fragrant nose with floral white peach and subtle nuttiness. The powerful and dense palate shows excellent fruit and superb winemaking. There is gentle spice, creamy, texturing French oak (50% new), citrus and tropical fruit on the mid-palate and a complex mealy nuttiness and great length on the finish. Now to 10 years. (April 27).

Domaine Oudin – Chablis – 1er Cru – Vaugiraut – 2017 (18/20pts – $80). Pretty, peachy stone fruit on the nose, with subtle minerality adding depth. The palate is supple, textured, creamy and long, with gentle toast on the close. No oak used. Fermentation and aging in stainless steel. A smart wine and very different to what we see from Margaret River. (April 27).