What To Buy

Picardy – Chardonnay 2023. This is a fine rendition of chardonnay. White peach and lemon dominate both the nose and palate, with subtle oak and winemaking inputs adding greatly to the package. Length and persistence are exemplary, with supple acidity adding drive on the finish. A very appealing wine that, with a few years in the bottle, should build greater depth. 12.5% alc, 94-95pts. (16 May).

Picardy – Pinot Noir – 2022. A very pretty wine. Cherry, liquorice and spice make up the foreground, with complexity building minerality and an almost ferrous character adding greatly to the finish. This is supple enough to enjoy now (with or without food), but a few years in the cellar will see this build a lovely velvety texture and get even more expansive on the finish. An excellent pinot which is very well made. 14.0% alc. 94pts. (16 May).

Picardy – Tête de cuvée- Pinot Noir – 2022. This is altogether more serious and powerful, yet magically, comes across as soft, supple and seamless straight out of the bottle. (OK, so I did use a glass). With air though, the power and intensity of this wine starts to express itself more fully. Density, structure, intensity – all the hallmarks of a fine wine. Five years in the cellar will see this start to sing as the fruit opens up and the finish starts to fan out. Again, minerality, and an almost saline tang brings the finish to life. 13.5% alc. 95+pts. (16 May).

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. (May 23).

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. (May 23).

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. (5th May)

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. (5th May)

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. (5th May)

ith 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. (21 April).

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. (21 April).

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. (21 April).

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. (7 April).

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. (7 April).

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. (7 April).

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. (24 March)

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). (24 March)

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.(24 March)

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. (24 March)

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. (17 March).

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. (17 March).

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. (17 March).

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. (3 March)

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. (22 Feb).

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. (22 Feb).

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. (22 Feb).

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. (22 Feb).

Mandoon Estate – Wild Bunch – Chenin Blanc – 2023. I love this wine. It has all the crunchy freshness of chenin blanc, but with greater textural components than most. The way the flavours and textures evolved as it warmed up in the glass showed just how versatile these wines can be. (Straight from the fridge it was crisp and refreshing and, as it warmed a little in the glass, the textural components and richness built). 94pts – $TBC. (18 Feb).

Leo Buring – Leopold – Riesling – 2022. Pristine and very fine, this appears delicate on first impression. But underneath the lemon essence notes, the thrilling acidity brings the palate to life. Perfectly balanced, with length, precision, poise and elegance. A great drink now, but also age worthy. From Tasmania. 12% alc. 93-94pts – $37. (18 Feb).

Yalumba – The Signature – Cabernet/Shiraz – 2018. A beautifully constructed wine that has significant depth and density. This is in a style that is different from southwest Western Australia, as there is greater viscosity and a degree of earthy, chocolatey complexity. Yet at its core there is purity to the fruit that is quite captivating. Drink any time over the next 20 years. 14.5% alc. 94-95pts – $70. (18 Feb).

The wine that stood out for me in terms of quality and value was the Veuve Monsigny Premier Cru Brut from Aldi. Whilst this is all about zesty freshness and vitality, there is enough autolytic characters to make for an excellent everyday Champagne. And at $40 (for a limited time) this is the bee’s knees. (Dec 29).


A highlight of the tasting was the wines of Forest Marié. The Brut Tradition stood out for its balance of freshness with richness and texture. Good length, gentle grip, creamy mouthfeel and fine acid drive combine in a great drinking package. 9.6g/l dosage, a high proportion of reserve wines used. (Dec 29).

Jean Vesselle

There was only one wine on tasting (Extra Brut) and it was a highlight. Intense, rich, rounded and long. This was a great drink and one I recommend trying. (Dec 29).

Sevenhill – Pinot Gris – 2023. Floral and pretty with musk, ripe pear and talc notes expressing on both the nose and palate. This is a lovely wine that has an almost ethereal nature. There is density to the fruit, complementing the near seamless palate transition. A wonderful summer afternoon drink that would also accompany food very well. 12% alc, 93pts, $28. (6 December).

Sevenhill – Riesling – 2023. This is classic Clare riesling that is quite taut and restrained, with mouth-tingling acidity that builds in layers across the palate. The fresh lime notes build with air and the palate never gets aggressive or harsh. A very age-worthy style that would be a great match with grilled prawns at this early stage of its life. 12% alc, 94pts, $27. (6 December).

Hutton Vale Farm – Riesling – 2023. A very intense style that is bursting with fresh, zesty fruit, supported by thrilling acidity. This is a great drink and will be superb with gently poached salmon, as the acidity and freshness will provide the perfect foil to the richness of the fish. Just off dry, with a bright mid palate, this is not overly complex right now, but this will flesh out with age. In the meantime, enjoy it for its youthful exuberance. 12.5% alc, 93pts, $35.

Hutton Vale Farm – Off Dry – Riesling – 2023. A delicious, albeit unusual style in the Australian context, as there is obvious sweetness to the palate. This is supported by fine acidity and the combination results in a delicious wine that would be ideal served chilled on a warm day. And the lower alcohol means that a glass of this mid-afternoon is not going to set you on your ear. Give me a straw . 10.5% alc, 92pts, $35.00.

Greenock Creek – RoennFeldt Road – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is a big boy that is absolutely jam packed with flavours. Berries flood the palate, supported by bright acidity, supple tannins and impactful oak that adds some chocolaty, savoury notes. This is no shrinking violet, it is a full bodied, full throttle wine that floods the senses. And all the while, it manages to remain balanced and fresh. Remarkable. A style that is very different to MR, but an amazing wine. 14.5%. 96pts, $300.

Plantagenet – Wyjup Collection – Chardonnay – 2021. This is an impressive wine. Intense, powerful and compelling, with rich stone fruit characters complemented by complex winemaking inputs. The way this all comes together on the palate is quite brilliant. Whilst the rich winemaking notes stand out on the nose, there is a degree of restraint to the fruit, and the worked notes complement rather than dominate the flavours on the palate. The oak is fine and adds depth. Another year or two will really see this fill out, and five+ years in the cellar will do this no harm at all. 13% alc, 95pts – $80. (12 November)

Plantagenet – Wyjup Collection – Malbec – 2022. Inky, briary and intense, this is a cracking wine stuffed full of high-quality juicy fruit, complemented by gentle savoury notes that add depth and complexity. Not overly dense or cloying, and is all the better for it, allowing the fruit to sit front and centre under the spotlight. Just so delicious, no aging required! If you see this on a wine-list, I recommend you try it. 14% alc. 94pts – $80. (12 November)

Plantagenet – Wyjup Collection – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. First impressions are silky and fragrant, but this rapidly shuts down and the wine gets all dark and brooding. This is an intense, powerful wine that is built for the long haul. Having said that, at no time does this get harsh or aggressive. With patience, this will be a star. A complete wine. 14.0% alc. 95pts – $80. (12 November)

Flametree – S.R.S. – Chardonnay – 2022 This is really well made though, initially, it appears quite compact and restrained. The palate is both subtle and supple and starts to build impact the longer it lingers on the palate. The peach-like fruit really builds with air and is supported by fine acidity and supple oak. Whilst possessing excellent length, this remained closed in the glass, and only really started to hit its straps after being open for 24hours. One for the cellar. 13.0% alc. 95pts. (6 November).

Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon (Gold Capsule)– 2021. Fine, elegant and refined, this is textbook Margaret River cabernet. The medium bodied precise ripe fruit has been sympathetically handled making for a wine that is almost magically, supple and approachable today, yet simultaneously being capable of long-term ageing. With air, the lifted aromatics of the ripe, yet restrained fruit was a highlight. Celebrating the 50th vintage of the Vasse Felix cabernet and possibly the best wine released to date. Includes 14% malbec. The components spent 17 months in barrel (37% new). 14% alc. 96pts – $55. (6 November).

Picardy – Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon – 2023. This was a real highlight, as the vibrancy of the sauvignon blanc has been held in check by sympathetic winemaking, which included a proportion of barrel ferment I assume, to add texture and depth. The end result is a zesty, textured wine with lemony fruit supported by tangy acidity (which I very much enjoyed). Gentle astringency on the finish adds to the texture and mouthfeel, and there is excellent length and persistence of flavours. A very smart wine that will be great drinking this spring/summer on its own, or with some freshly shucked oysters. 12.5% alc, 92-93pts – $30. (Oct 2).

Picardy – Chardonnay – 2022. Whilst the SBS may be the crowd pleaser in the range, the Chardonnay was the wine that excited me the most. I would go so far as to say that this is my favourite wine of the entire range right now and is worthy of comparison to the best of Margaret River.
This is a complex wine that emanates subtle power beneath the nectarine and white peach fruit. A touch of lemon pith comes through on the palate, supported by supple minerality and lovely textural notes. The quality oak adds depth, while the supple worked characters (Lees stirring and partial malolactic fermentation) build texture. A bit of a sleeper. Clones 76, 95, 96 and 277, 13.5%, 95pts – $58. (Oct 2).

Picardy – Shiraz – 2021. Lithe and fresh, with supple, fragrant red fruits complemented by silky winemaking notes. This is very fine and elegant, its quality expressing in its finesse and length of flavours, rather than raw power. Good to go now, or in five -10 years. Diam cork, 94-95pts – $38. (Oct 2).

Grosset – Alea – Riesling – 2023. So very pale in the glass, with just a slight tinge of straw to the otherwise clear liquid. This is both fragrant and perfumed, yet possessing great intensity of fruit. On the palate, musk, lime, talc, perfume and even a hint of bubble-gum all express in what can only be described as a stunning wine. Whilst silky, the phenolics do add texture and mouthfeel. The persistence of this wine must be experienced to be believed, lingering for what felt like minutes. And the residual sugar is perfectly judged making for a brilliant drink. Why wait? 12.5% alc, 97pts. (25th Sept).

Grosset- Springvale – Riesling – 2023. OMG. This is so, so beautiful and fragrant, with perfumed musk, talc and incense notes. The palate is intense, reserved, powerful and near seamless. The length and persistence are noteworthy; however this is a touch austere right now and would really benefit from 5 – 10 years in the cellar. With air, the perfumed fruit builds and builds on the palate and is oh-so-pretty and this is supported by impressive minerality. Again, the colour is very pale indeed. A superb wine. 12.9% alc, 96pts. (25th Sept).

Grosset – Polish Hill – Riesling – 2023. This is the perfect counterpoint to the Alea. Perfumed and floral, but this is an exercise in restraint. Supple, silky and fine, with gossamer-like acid that shrouds the fruit bu tin no way impedes the expression. Length and persistence are exemplary. What set this apart for me is the fact that this would be equally enjoyable drunk any time over the next 20 years.12.9% alc, 96+pts. (25th Sept).

HuttonTriptych – Chardonnay – 2021. Tighter and tauter than the Reserve, with more subdued fruit. But everything is in place and the fruit is of decent quality. For me, this is all about restraint and poise. Elegant, yet there is a subtle intensity to the fruit which slowly builds in the glass over time. A fine, if understated wine with nectarine. supple worked characters. minerality, fine acidity and excellent length. A saline tang on the close suggests this would be a good pairing with food. Wild yeast, partial malolactic fermentation, barrel ferment and 8 months in oak (33% new). 13.5% alc. – 94-95pts. (17 Sept).

Battles – Chardonnay- 2022. The name is new to me, but the panel were full of praise for winemaker Lance Parkins. And I like this a lot. This is a wine where the sum of its parts is greater than the individual components. Quality, if restrained fruit and slick winemaking, but the impact is impressive. Texturing minerality and subtle stone fruit is supported by taut, yet fine acidity and texturing (yet invisible) oak. Superb drinking. Natural ferment and malolactic fermentation, 9 months on lees, 13% alc. – 95pts – $50. (Sold out at the winery, but still available in the trade). (17 Sept).

Bekkers – Syrah/Grenache – 2017. Inky, dense and powerful, with chocolatey overtones supported by a chewy, textured mouthfeel. Plush, silky and intense, with great length and persistence. This just keeps lingering. An amazing wine, but not for the faint hearted. A traditional Aussie red, with firm tannins that keep the balance. 14.5% – 95pts – $100. (17 Sept).

SinglefileOld School – Chardonnay – 2022. An “old school” wine by name, but this is a superb example of a middle-of-the-road chardonnay that is bursting with character. The fruit is everything in this wine, but thanks to skilful winemaking, the texture and mouthfeel are the defining features. This has a viscosity and silkiness in the mouth that is quite captivating. There is great length and persistence on the palate with grapefruit-like citrus characters building on the finish. This may be quite cellar-worthy, but my tip is to enjoy it in its youthful prime. And be sure to try it with food. Wild ferment in new Burgundian oak, 13.6% alc., 96pts – $79. (11 Sept).

SinglefileClement V – 2022. Dense, rich powerful and very good, with sweet ripe fruit to the fore, and gentle chocolatey notes building. Whilst clearly cooler climate, this is a generous style and all the better for it. Long, supple and delicious, with subtle clove notes and a refreshing touch of amaro-like astringency. Whilst age-worthy, this would be a brilliant BBQ wine this spring. A smashing drink. 14% alc. – 94pts – $37. (11 Sept).

Singlefile – Grenache – 2022. The fruit is pretty and perfumed and possesses great intensity. Not quite pinot, but definitely medium-bodied in weight. The palate is lithe, fresh, supple, long and gently textured. A complete wine that is already good to go but will cellar comfortably for a decade or more. If every you needed an argument to show that Frankland is perfectly suited to grenache, then this is the wine to use. 95pts – $40. (11 Sept).

Cherubino – Margaret River – Chardonnay – 2022. Finer and more elegant than most, but no less impactful. Gorgeous fruit is front and centre. The oak, tannins and acid add depth and texture, but they are, for all intent and purposes, invisible. The viscous, textured mouthfeel is noteworthy. A brilliant wine now, but should open up further over the next five years. 60% new oak, partial (10%) malolactic fermentation, 13.1% alc. The pinnacle of the range, utilising the best parcels of fruit from across Margaret River. 96pts. (23 August)

Cherubino – Pemberton – Chardonnay – 2022. A beautiful wine, that has intense peach aromas with layers of tropical fruit coming in over the top. This is dense and powerful, yet retains balance and charm. There is great length and persistence on a palate that is near seamless. A delightful wine that can be consumed with joy any time over the next five to seven years. Dijon clone, 13.1% alc, 96pts. (23 August)

Cherubino – Gingin – Chardonnay – 2022. From the Willows Vineyard in Wilyabrup, this feels a little more immature in the mouth, with the acid and oak more noticeable and the mouthfeel a bit leaner. There is still excellent fruit quality but it comes across as quite restrained initially. Yet this retains a degree of approachability that makes for an excellent drink, particularly with food. Think poached chicken breast or spinach and ricotta ravioli. But with air, this really opens up, showing intense, powerful fruit supported by gentle astringency. Impressive 13.7% alc – 95pts. (23 August)

Cherubino – On The Fringe – Chardonnay – 2022. There is a purity of fruit here that is quite special, no doubt aided by the use of large format foudre in combination with concrete eggs for maturation. The palate is elegant, lithe and supple, yet also intense, textured and deep at the same time. So, so good, but give it a few years to hit its straps. Fruit comes from a mature vineyard in Pemberton. 12.6% alc – 96pts. (23 August)

MillbrookSingle Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2020 . This has a bit of wow factor to it. Powerful, complex and intense, with peach, and mealy cashew notes. The palate is structured and deeply textured, yet this remains supple with near seamless palate transition. The acidity kicks in on the finish and drives the length of flavours, which linger for some time. A bigger style, with expressive oak, this was uniformly appreciated by the panel. 95pts – $35. (August 13).

The winery is on to the 2021 vintage, but the 2020 is still available in the trade.

Fraser GallopParterre – Chardonnay – 2021. This is a superb wine. Intense, powerful and deep, with great depth of flavours supported by citrus-like acidity. Stonefruit and grapefruit notes build in the glass, with flint and a hint of curry leaf minerality adding to the appeal. The length and persistence of flavours are a standout. Don’t be fooled by the lighter colour; this is a sublime wine that would be perfect with miso infused salmon. 95pts – $60. (August 13).

Tim Adams Aberfeldy – Shiraz – 2018. This is intense, powerful and impactful, with great depth of flavours to the inky fruit. Despite being tannic, structured and closed, this somehow, manages to be approachable at the same time, with ripe plum to the fore. The amazing old vine fruit has soaked up the new American and French oak with aplomb. This took 3 days to fully open up and the resulting wine was superb.

The Aberfeldy vineyard was a part of the original Wendouree vineyards and was planted in 1904. Many of the original vines are still in production. At $65, this is excellent value for a wine of this pedigree and quality. 95-96pts – $65. (August 13).

Oakridge – Hazeldene – Vineyard Series – Chardonnay – 2021. This is quite lovely. Ripe, yet restrained peach-like stone fruit expresses on both the nose and palate. There is tremendous length and depth of flavours, and the finish is balanced, polishedand rounded. Gentle lemony acid and subtle worked notes add to the appeal. A superb wine indeed. 95pts – $45. (August 6).

Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Black currant and red berries burst from the glass on both the nose and palate. Yet this is very supple, refined and long, with high quality texturing oak (33% new) providing the frame on which the fruit is hung. Subtle mint and polished tannins add to the package. This is a complete wine that is full of joy. A superb wine that is excellent value given its inherent quality. Cabernet sauvignon 85%, malbec 13%, with a splash of merlot and petit verdot rounding out the blend. 95-96pts – $55. (August 6).

St Hallett – Butcher’s Cart – Shiraz – 2019. This is rich, ripe and fragrant, with berry and plum fruit supported by gentle spice. The palate is actually quite taut and closed, but there is lovely plum and savoury notes that open up with a swirl of the glass.. This is ripe, but the fruit is beautifully controlled, with the acidity and tannins framing the fruit well. Excellent now, but also in 10 years. 93pts – $27. (July 30).

Grant Burge – Filsell – Shiraz – 2018. This is a much more savoury/earthy expression, with the fruit supported by coffee notes from the quality oak. Closed and restrained, yet there is impressive density here. The finish is structured and firm, yet the palate transition is near seamless, such is the quality of the tannins and acid. A lovely wine that could be enjoyed young, but would be best in 10 – 15 years. 95pts – $40. (July 30).

St Hallett – Blackwell – Shiraz – 2018. Pristine ripe fruit up front, leading to a savoury and acid-driven finish, with texturing minerality. Rich, dense and concentrated without being heavy or cloying. Have it with food if you are going to drink it young, or give this 10 years and it should really start to open up. 94pts – $50. (July 30).

Welland – Old Hands – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2021. This is taut and structured, but there is a lovely core of ripe fruit which floods a palate that is long, supple and delicious. With air, the blueberry fruit and spice notes meld seamlessly with the texturing oak and tannins. A superb wine with excellent concentration and a degree of gravitas which elevates it above the ordinary. 95+pts – $70. (July 9).

Welland – Valley & Valley – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2022. Whilst this has fine fruit that is both intense and concentrated, it is made in a style which is very approachable at this early stage. With air, pretty blueberry/mulberry fruit floods the palate, with decent length and persistence on the finish rounding out an excellent wine. Not as serious as the Old Hands, making for a pretty and enjoyable wine. 93pts. (July 9).

Welland – Valley & Valley – Shiraz – 2022 . The fruit here is a little more vibrant and forward, with the juicy berry characters the main focus. The palate is flooded with fleshy fruit, with enough acid and tannins to keep things fresh and balanced, but not so much as to impede the fruit in any way. An excellent drink now – 5 years. 93pts. (July 9).

MezzacoronaCastel Firmian – Teroldego Rotaliano – 2019. This is altogether more serious. Here, the tannins and acidity make their presence felt, keeping the fruit somewhat subdued initially. But with air, attractive black cherry and current notes build, supported by gentle spice/minerality and a chewy, textural finish. Excellent value. 93pts – $35. (4 June).

RotariFlavio – Reserva – Blanc de Blanc – 2013. 100% Chardonnay, this opens with creamy vanillin hints, stonefruit (peach) and brioche/lees notes. The lees characters are remarkably integrated given the extended time on lees (9 years). This is quite delicious. There is richness to the fruit up front, but this gradually gives way to refreshing acidity and supple textural grip. A serious wine with excellent length and persistence of flavours and lovely texture.

Made in an extra-brut style, remarkably, this has less than 2gms/l of dosage. It comes from the Trento DOC in the Trentino region and is made using the Methode Champenoise. 50% of the fruit saw barrel ferment and malolactic fermentation. Disgorged in 2022 and only 3000 bottles produced. 94 – 9pts – $80. (4 June).

SwinneyFarvie – Syrah – 2021. Oh wow. This smells quite stunning. Spectacular ripe fruit leaps from the glass, no doubt accentuated by the use of 58% whole bunches in the ferment. The palate is firm and taut, but everything is in place. The plum like fruit is supported by spice, coffee and chocolate notes. The finish is defined by silky tannins, immense length of flavours and seamless palate transition. This is as close to perfection as any Australian wine that I have tried. 97pts. (1 June)

SwinneyFarvie – Mourvèdre – 2021. First impressions here are somewhat different to the shiraz. This is dense, dark and brooding, with powerful fruit underpinning the chewy textural notes. But with air, the fruit blossoms, with beautifully fragrant and aromatic fruit stealing the show. It actually took two days for this to hit its peak, so cellaring is sure to be rewarded if you can find a few bottles. 95 – 96pts. (1 June)

Tim Adams – Riesling – 2015. Very similar profile to the 2022, but here the toasty complexity has been ratcheted up a notch and the colour is a little more golden. The palate is rounded and has softened enough to make this a great drink. Yet there is a backbone of acidity that keeps things fresh. Experience suggests that this is in a shy phase of its development and should evolve and become more expansive in a few years. 93pts – $25. (21st May).

Tim Adams – Shiraz – 2019. This is a crowd pleaser. Ripe fruit has been handled beautifully in the winery. This is full of rich berry goodness, supported by plum and just a touch of menthol. Supple oak and graphite-like tannins add texture, whilst the acidity supports the fruit, keeping everything fresh and lively. Not overly concentrated, but a few years should see this flesh out if you so desire. Nevertheless, this is good to go straight out of the bottle. 93pts – $22. (21st May).

FervorJulietta – Chardonnay – 2021. Fruit for this wine comes from the Singlefile vineyard in Denmark, with rumour having it that it was the same fruit that went into the Vivien, albeit with a slightly different picking regime. The hand-picked fruit was whole bunch pressed and the resultant wine smells very serious, with complex curry leaf minerality over the ripe fruit notes. The palate has an explosion of ripe fruit, with the oak still settling back into the wine. Needs a year or two but will be quite superb. 55% new French oak, partial malo. 95pts – $75. (May 10).

FervorEdward – Shiraz – 2021. The fruit for this wine (Clone 470) comes from the Swinney vineyard. 20% underwent whole bunch fermentation, and the wine was aged in 50% new French oak. Very pretty now, with wonderfully fragrant fruit. The palate is a blend of savoury complexity and primary fruit. It comes across much darker and more brooding than the nose initially suggests, and the finish is textural and taut. Leave it a decade if you can. 95+pts – $75. (May 10).

CherubinoGreat Southern – Riesling – 2022. Crisp and taut, yet simultaneously silky and fine. There are concentrated lime juice fruit characters, without the aggressive acidity associated with the fruit. The length of flavour is excellent, with the citrus notes lingering for what feels like minutes. But the most impressive feature of all is the texture and mouthfeel. There is a degree of viscosity and minerality that sets this apart. An intense wine. 95pts – $39. (1 May).

CherubinoFrankland River – Riesling – 2022. Fine, restrained and elegant, but this is not austere or aggressive in the slightest. Rather the palate has cascading fruit from front to back highlighted by lime-like acidity and texturing minerality. The latter is a key feature of this wine. Will benefit from extended aging, but is already a special wine at this early stage. 95pts – $35. (1 May).

CherubinoMargaret River – Chardonnay – 2021. Pretty pretty floral and stonefruit characters that are quite stunning, even if it is not quite typical of Margaret River (The fruit was Dijon clones 95 &96 rather than the more typical Gin Gin clone. The palate made me swoon, such is the beauty on show here. The pristine fruit has been hung on a frame of silky oak (60% new) and subtle winemaking inputs (only 10% went through malolactic fermentation). A gorgeous wine. 13% alc, 96pts – $75. (1 May).

Singlefile – The Pamela – Riesling – 2022. Fragrant and oh so fine, this is such a pretty wine, where the floral/perfumed/talc fruit is the main focus of the show. On the palate, gentle citrus notes build, but it is the minerality and fine fruit that carries the palate, leading to a finish that is bone dry. Seamless and irresistible, this is one of the best drinking young rieslings that I can recall. And sure to age well too. 11.4%alc, 96pts – $45. (23 April).

From the Misery Hill vineyard in the Porongorups. Only 235 dozen were produced.

Singlefile – Family Reserve – Chardonnay – 2022. This is an impactful wine that has a real wow factor. Here, the fully ripe grapes were beautifully handled in the winery to ensure that the fruit remains the focus, supported by high quality winemaking and oak (1/3 new). Aromas and flavours firmly in the stonefruit and citrus categories, with hints of honey. A complex, powerful wine with great length of flavours. This could take short-term ageing, but personally, I would drink this in its youth given that it already offers so much. 13.3% alc, 95pts – $60. (23 April).

Singlefile – Pinot Noir – 2022. This has vibrant, cherry/berry fruit typical of pinot which is underpinned by savoury, earthy, almost sappy notes that greatly add to the depth and complexity of the fruit. The fruit carries through on the palate, with the acid and tannins acting as a counterpoint, adding freshness and texture. The supple Burgundian oak (28% new) adds to the appeal. Delicious now, or in 5 years and excellent value. Fruit comes from the Misery Hill vineyard. 94pts – $38. (23 April).

Singlefile – Malbec – 2022. From a value for money perspective and for pure drinkability, this was the stand-out of the tasting. This is really perfumed with intense, pure berry fruit. Blackcurrant, mint and subtly spiced fruit is framed by very fine tannins and oak (25% new). The finish is silky and long, with excellent balance. Brilliant now, or any time over the next 10 years. A bargain. 14.4% alcohol, 95pts – $30. (Sold out at the winery, but Old Bridge Cellars had stock at the time of writing). (23 April).

Moss Wood – Wilyabrup – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. This is a spectacular wine. The redcurrant and blueberry fruit are the main feature, flooding the palate with ripe fruit. The very fine oak adds depth and contributes to the impressive texture though ultimately, the tannins (which are really fine) close down the fruit on the finish. This is a wine that is destined to have a very long future, yet it can be drunk with absolute joy now (try with a fine steak perhaps). 96 – 97pts – $150. (16 April).

Vasse Felix – Tom Cullity – Cabernet/Malbec – 2019. Wow, wow, wow, this is deep, powerful and so impressive. The aromas and flavours have the typical berry and mint notes you would expect from Margaret River, but it is the layers of spice, coffee and chocolate that set this apart. The tannins and acid are firm, but fit very well within the package, given the sheer density of the fruit. So good now, but sure to develop well for a decade or two. 96pts – $200. (16 April).

Xanadu – Reserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Oh boy, here we go! This is a wine that, despite being only medium bodied, has incredible depth and intensity. So much power, so much fruit, yet it retains balance and approachability, supported by the very fine tannins and oak. Supple, elegant and a classic in the making. A Tardis of a wine as there is a lot more to this wine than you initially think. 45% new oak, 14% alc, the fruit for this primarily sourced from the Timber Creek and Victory Point vineyards. 96pts – $110. (16 April).

Grosset – Gaia – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. This is quite a different style, reflecting its Clare Valley origins. The fruit is obviously high quality, but the acidity, fine tannins and texturing oak (45% new). serve to keep things subdued right now. Ultimately the fruit shines through, with great length of flavours, but this is a long term (20yr) prospect. From another drought year, only 200 dozen of this superb wine were produced. 96pt – $100. (16 April).

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Another super impressive, super impactful wine. The quality of fruit is what carries this wine to another level. That density of fruit makes it somewhat less approachable now, but the wine remains elegant throughout, with the berry fruit a feature, supported by gentle spice and texturing oak. Brilliant value for a premium Margaret River cabernet. 95 – 96pts – $98. (16 April).

Vickery – Eden Valley – Riesling – 2022. This is steely and taut, racy even. Yet the balance and poise are exceptional. Great length and persistence of flavours, with the lime-like acidity running beautifully across the finish. A hint of residual sugar (2.7g/l) adds to the drinking pleasure. A great wine. With air, the aromatics build, revealing a lovely perfume. 12.5% alc. 95pts – $24. (March 26).

Vickery – Watervale – Riesling – 2022. A tighter, more acid-driven style without the absolute depth of the previous wine. Straddles the middle ground, with fresh lime and zest notes and gentle texture. It was only with air that the real potential of this wine became apparent, with pristine fruit on display. 95pts – $24. (March 26).

SkighHomage – Chardonnay – 2021. The texture is a feature here. The high-quality fruit has peach and nectarine notes with hints of citrus adding freshness. Fine grained oak plays an important textural role, rather than adding primary flavours. The finish is fine and long. Estate grown fruit (Clone 1), aged in French oak (1/3 new), with lees stirring and partial malolactic fermentation. $58. (19 March).

SkighLong Lunch – Grenache – 2021. The fruit comes from the Swinney vineyard in Frankland. This is a delightful expression of grenache. Fleshy, vibrant and very long, the cherry-like fruit is a highlight. 15% whole bunch fermentation adds to the vibrancy of the fruit, whilst the oak (20% new) is primarily used to polish the tannins, as opposed to adding any overt flavours. My pick for early drinking. $58. (19 March)

SkighElsie – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2021. From a vineyard on Wildwood Rd in Yallingup, this is a cracking cabernet in a slightly plusher, more generous style than we typically see from the more southerly districts in Margaret River. Redcurrant fruit is supported by a supple texture and fine, polished tannins. The oak (15% new) is imperceptible. Excellent now, or in 10 years. $58. (19 March).

Domaine Humbert Fréres – Bourgogne Blanc – Chardonnay – 2019. This stood out in the tasting for the combination of minerally, savoury notes typical of the region and superb fruit that shows impressive depth and power. There is an amalgam of stone fruit, pineapple and citrus, but no single feature stands out. The palate is near seamless and the intensity and length of flavours are noteworthy. Very impressive indeed. As this is a white Gevrey-Chambertin, it wears the Bourgogne label. 94+pts – $???. From Lamont’s in Cottesloe. (March 11).

Vasse Felix – Heytesbury – Chardonnay – 2021. I like this a lot. Initially, it felt like the fruit weight has been pared back in comparison to earlier releases, but in a big glass, this really opened up over an hour or so to reveal beautifully ripe and pure fruit complemented by minerality and acidity that combine with the winemaking inputs to make for a superb wine. The finish is refined, elegant and restrained, yet there is considerable depth and power. An exciting wine that deserves fine food (A simple mushroom risotto worked a treat). 96pts – $120. (March 11).

Vasse Felix – Chardonnay – 2021 . This has been really well made. The precise ripe fruit is fine and elegant, supported by texturing oak and lees work that elevates this beyond the norm. Gentle stonefruit and citrus notes build in the glass and the texture is noteworthy. Lacks the ultimate depth of the Heytesbury, but is a fine wine by any standard and excellent value to boot. It does need time to open up, or serve it in a big glass and give it plenty of air. Like the Heytesbury, do not serve this too cold. 93-94pts – $50. (March 11).

Ferngrove – Cossack – Riesling – 2022. Pear skin, musk and sherbet aromatics are supported by muted citrus on the nose. The palate is bracing and lively, with fine texture and excellent length of flavours. The finish feels dry, and the acidity will support ageing. 94pts – $30. (Nov 21).

Singlefile – Single Vineyard – Riesling – 2022. I love the suppleness of this wine. The high-quality fruit is complemented by ever-so-fine acidity that lends this wine great drinkability. Enjoy with shellfish now or try medium-term cellaring. 94pts – $35. (Nov 21).

Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Beautiful fruit on the nose. Pretty and ripe, with cassis, blackcurrant, cherry and spice. The palate is supple, silky and very refined. Really elegant, yet with depth and great balance. Absolutely superb straight out of the bottle, but age-worthy as well. Serious stuff! 95pts – $55. (Nov 21).

GrossetSpringvale – Riesling – 2022. Pretty, pretty, pretty. This has superb aromatics on the nose that morph instantly into the corresponding flavours on the palate. Fine, elegant, almost ethereal, with lime, talc and pear notes all expressing. Amazing length and intensity, yet this is so so approachable. The minerality and intensity really build on the finish. Brilliant fruit with structure to support ageing. Irresistible. 95pts – $51. (20 October).

GrossetPolish Hill – Riesling – 2022. Taut, restrained and closed, yet this is powerful and very, very intense. There is an almost essence-like intensity, yet this is balanced and completely seamless, supported by very fine acidity. Drinking now? Sure, but this is a wine that I would definitely be popping into the cellar for a decade or more. Exceptional! 96pts – $75. (20 October).

Leeuwin Estate – Prelude – Chardonnay – 2021. Lovely fruit on show, with a nose that is pristine and perfumed, but it is on the palate that the cooler vintage notes become apparent. Here, grapefruit is a key feature, as is the silky mouthfeel and fresh, though very fine acidity. With air, the fruit builds, making for a great drinking wine! 94pts – $40. (13 October).

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Chardonnay – 2019. From another cooler year, but this counts for nought when you taste the wine. The power and depth of the fruit is stunning, supported by texturing, high quality oak. Whilst the fruit is still relatively closed, the almond meal/nutty notes abound. The length and persistence of fruit flavours is something to behold. Will be even better in 5 years time. Gingin clone, 100% new oak for 11 months with regular battonage. 96pts – $138. (13 October).

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This has gorgeous blue berry fruit, but the structure is the defining feature. Intense, powerful, textured and chewy, yet this somehow remains supple and elegant, with near seamless palate transition. The fruit for this wine comes from the Block 8 vineyard adjacent to the winery. It spent 23 months in (50% new) oak and includes 3% malbec.” 96+pts – $89. (13 October).

Leeuwin Estate – Art Series – Shiraz – 2019. Pretty, pretty red berry fruit just leaps from the glass, supported by spice notes and white pepper, reflecting the cooler vintage. Excellent length leads to a finish that is silky, supple, elegant and long. This has parallels with fine pinot, beautifully reflecting the vintage conditions. Such a bargain! (Aged in 600 litre oak vats, 33% new). 95pts – $42.  (13 October).

Amelia Park – Trellis- Chardonnay – 2021. This wine feels a lot more expensive that its meagre price. Hand-picked Wilyabrup fruit has been gently massaged in the winery (wild ferment, 6 months in older oak on lees). This smells impressive. Ripe chardonnay fruit with supple winemaking influences adding depth. Peach, grapefruit, subtle minerality. Excellent mouthfeel and texture and decent length to boot. Unbelievable value at $18. 92pts. (8 October 2022)

Amelia Park – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot – 2021. Silky, supple and textured. This is pretty and fine, yet there is excellent fruit weight sitting behind the textural components. Excellent length of flavours (blueberry) and balance, with a near seamless palate transition adding to the appeal. Aging in oak hogs-heads (30% new ) adds depth but not overt flavours. Would be great with food now or better still with 10 years in the cellar. 95pts – $35. (8 October 2022)

Amelia Park – Reserve – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2020. Gorgeous blueberry fruit on the nose. Depth, power, intensity. Superb fruit and structure, the oak acting as the frame on which the fruit is hung. Hints of spice and earthy notes round out a superb wine experience. An elegant wine with great length and persistence of flavours and a seamless finish. 100% Cabernet, 18 months in oak hogs-heads (40% new). 96pts – $70. (8 October 2022)

Amelia Park – Shiraz – 2021. The ripe fruit here is succulent and supple, with silky texture and savoury highlights. This is all about the superb fruit quality, and the result is quite spectacular. Impressive depth and intensity, yet this is disarmingly approachable at this young age. 95pts – $35. (8 October 2022)

Amelia Park – Reserve – Shiraz – 2020. A sublime wine that combines brilliant fruit and deft winemaking. The fruit expresses a myriad of flavours spanning plum and berry, with savoury/spicy notes and even a hint of licorice. This is really one for extended cellaring, but it is hard to resist right now. The fruit for this wine comes from the Swinney 801 Block (the source of Swinney’s Farvie) and is hand-picked, open fermented, has 15% whole bunch and spent 18 months in oak. 96+pts – $70. (8 October 2022)

Plantagenet – Wyjup Collection – Malbec – 2021. This was the absolute standout of the tasting. Structured, powerful and most impressive, the fruit is dense and powerful. Yet this retains vibrancy and a supple texture. With air, the balance and approachability are outstanding. A great effort and demonstrates just how good MT Barker Malbec can be. The fruit comes from just 0.3 hectare off the 50-year-old Wyjup vineyard. Only three barrels made (1/3 new oak) and includes a splash of shiraz. 95+pts – $70. (26 Sept).

Sittella – Avant Garde – Chenin Blanc – 2022. The fruit for this excellent wine comes from the 1965 Houghton plantings. Hand-picked and whole bunch pressed. The palate is viscous, oily, textured, clean, fresh and vibrant, with waxy citrus fruit supported by gentle phenolic texture. Now or later, the choice is yours. 93pts – $32. (Sept 11).

Sittella – Reserve – Chardonnay – 2021. Wow, this is quite superb. Rich, textured, powerful, with stone fruit and spice. The oak is an important addition to the textures and flavours. This runs in parallel to the fruit today, but a year or two will see this settle back and allow the fruit to be the star. Gentle mealy/worked notes add complexity, aided by a fine acid core. Has the quality to challenge the best of the region, but not the price. 95pts – $40. (Sept 11).

Sittella – Reserve – Cabernet/Malbec – 2020. What a lovely wine. Silky fruit, subtle oak, skilled winemaking, with excellent texture and mouthfeel. But this is reserved, shy and only hinting at potential. The density of fruit is a highlight. 94pts – $32. (Sept 11).

Faber – Riche – Shiraz – 2019 – Swan Valley. This is like meeting an old friend. At once familiar, comfortable and safe. It opens with ripe fruit, hints of tobacco and menthol. The palate is flooded with ripe fruit and fresh acidity, with spice and liquorice. A few years of cellaring would not hurt this one bit. The crowd favourite for bracket one, and insane value. 94pts – $23. (9 August)

Faber – Reserve – Shiraz – 2019 – Swan Valley. The fruit here is ripe, vibrant and quite stunning straight out of the glass. More berry than plum, with hints of mint and eucalyptus. The palate is supple, silky and very very long. The oak is the canvas on which the fruit has been hung, an integral part of the picture, but not a defining feature. The was one of the crowd picks for wine of the day. 96-97pts – $95. (9 August)

Angove – Organic – Sparkling – NV. For me, this was the surprise package of the tasting. Brilliant drinking at just $18 a bottle. Drying, taut and quite intense, this has a degree of power to the fruit. Apple, cinnamon and baker’s spices over fresh fruit and gentle autolysis notes. Bright acidity and gentle textural grip round out the palate. Delicious! 91pts – $18. (August 3).

Angove – Family Crest – Shiraz – 2019. This does not come across as big or powerful, but it is very well balanced and is supple, succulent and delicious. The souring acidity is a feature, adding freshness and keeping the palate lithe. Understated yet excellent, this took a day for the fruit to really build depth, so cellaring seams a good idea. 93+pts – $25. (August 3).

Angove – The Medhyk – Shiraz – 2018. Straight out of the bottle, this is a savoury, earthy expression of Shiraz that is restrained and shy. But with plenty of air, the latent power really starts to express. Great old-vine fruit and sympathetic wine-making combine in a polished, elegant McLaren Vale Shiraz of very high quality. Not flashy or showy, but confident and self-assured. Decant at least an hour before drinking to allow the fruit to shine. 95pts – $65. (August 3).

Angove – Organic – Shiraz/Cabernet – 2020. Pretty pretty fruit that reminds me of red berries and raspberry, The fruit is quite thick/dense, yet the balance and structure are spot on for a wine of this price. The palate transition is a bonus. Great value drinking! 93pts – $18. (August 3).

Cherubino – Frankland River – Shiraz – 2019. Dusty, savoury, almost earthy nose up front, with the fruit tucked away, cocooned in the structure. But with air, this really starts to sing. Ripe, precise cool climate shiraz, with white pepper and spice adding to the package. The oak adds texture but is otherwise invisible. A day later, this was magical drinking. 95-96pts

Cherubino – Margaret River – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019 . This has great typicity, with classic blackcurrant/ almost cassis fruit. But it also possesses a juicy/fleshy nature that makes it great drinking now. Supple, balanced and textured, yet there are fine tannins that make their presence felt on the palate which add to the enjoyment and will help cut through rich food. Again, the next day the fruit really started to sing, suggesting that my points will go up over time. 94-95pts.

Cherubino – Budworth – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is the essence of Cabernet with Ribena-like fruit cascading from the glass in waves. The palate is concentrated, dense, fine, elegant and restrained. The finish is supple and near seamless. Drinks brilliantly, but this really is a 20-year option. With the fruit coming off the Riversdale vineyard, this extraordinary wine that demonstrates that Frankland River can produce Cabernets to rival the best of Margaret River and Bordeaux. 96-97pts

CherubinoDijon – Wychwood Vineyard – Chardonnay – 2020. Fine, yet with innate power and great depth of fruit. Superb fruit and brilliant winemaking have resulted in a complete wine now, but one that is also worthy of 5+ years in the cellar. This is not a statement wine but is the most compelling wine in the range. 95+pts. (21 July)

Cherubino Margaret River – Chardonnay – 2020. The big brother of the range, and this is demonstrated by the extra depth and intensity of the fruit. Hints of pineapple over ripe stone fruit, with creamy oak and barrel ferment characters adding depth and texture. The mouthfeel is a highlight, with curry leaf minerality building. Gets ever so slightly grippy on the finish, so 2-3 years should see this do very well indeed. A fine, elegant wine. 96pts. (21 July)

Howard Park Allingham – Chardonnay – 2019. Opens with lovely peachy fruit that is fragrant and creamy. The sweet vanillin oak is an attractive addition, complementing the fruit perfectly. The palate is balanced, creamy, textured and near seamless, with fine acidity and excellent length. This is complete drinking now and quite superb, but a few years in bottle will do this no harm. An extra half a point for drinkability. 95.5+pts. (July 17).

Evans & TateRedbrook – Chardonnay – 2018. This is a cracking wine. Exquisite fruit and very fine, sympathetic winemaking have resulted in a superb drinking experience. Seamless and complete. The fruit will fill out with a few years in bottle, but this is good to go now. 95pts. (July 17).

Vasse FelixHeytesbury – Chardonnay – 2020. The curry leaf minerality have been turned up a notch in this wine. Great depth of fruit, moving towards citrus (pink grapefruit) rather than stone fruit. The density of fruit is a feature, giving this intrinsic power. A cooler style that would be brilliant with food, as the fresh acidity will cut through the palate. Stunning chardonnay that challenges the best of Burgundy. 97pts. (July 17).

Vasse Felix – Chardonnay – 2020 – This made me swoon just a little, such is the beauty of the fruit. Superbly handled, with the subtle winemaking inputs elevating the fruit on a dais. Underneath there is minerality and a lovely texture. The oak sneaks in on the finish, adding texture and mouthfeel. Superb drinking! 95pts. (July 17).

Frankland Estate – Alter Weg – Riesling – 2021. Taut, fine with fruit and acid in the lemony spectrum. On the palate, this really shines. Long and near seamless, with high quality fruit that really fills out on the mid-palate with air. This is in a different style to the Australian norm, with gentle phenolics and subtle worked (barrel ferment) characters. Worth trying to see how different Riesling can be. 93pts – $34.

Freya and Jules – Riesling – 2021. This is all floral and pretty, with steely notes, minerals and a hint of pear. There is gentle viscosity which greatly adds to the appeal, yet there are no overt phenolics. Gentle lime acidity adds freshness and vitality. Superb value from Aldi. 92+pts – $9 (June15)

Leo Buring – Leopold – Riesling – 2021. Bright, fresh and really quite delicious. This is packed full of citrus, with just a hint of residual sugar adding balance and adding to the drinkability. Underpinning the high-quality fruit is fine acidity. Different style to the Leonay and very worthwhile. 94pts – $35. (June15)

Lost Farm – Pinot Noir – 2021. A lovely wine that combines elegant, ripe fruit, with savoury, earthy notes. Minerality and even a touch of sea spray on the close. Lithe, elegant, supple, this builds depth and a slightly chewy texture with air. Very satisfying, if just a little closed at this early stage. Give it a few years. 94pts – $42. (June15)

Wynns – Harold – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. The purity of fruit here is outstanding. This does not have the showy vibrancy of some of the Margaret River wines that we are used to, but it has a quiet confidence in the way that it has captured the essence of Cabernet. Peppermint, cassis and gentle spice all evolve on a seamless palate. Great length of flavours. Beautiful now or in 10 – 20 years. 96pts (June15)

Houghton – Stripe Range – White Classic – 2021. This is quite neutral on opening, with subtle depth and weight. This is an intriguing wine in that the drinking pleasure it delivers is greater than a sum of its parts. History suggests that a few years in the bottle will see this flesh out nicely. 91pts. (June 10).

Houghton – Stripe Range – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Fresh, vibrant, juicy and succulent. Gentle savoury oak and fine tannins add to the appeal. This could be the perfect mid-week pasta wine for those who don’t want to spend a bomb. 91pts. (June 10).

Frankland Estate – Isolation Ridge Vineyard – Riesling – 2021. A drier year that produced pristine fruit. The nose has a wonderful combination of fresh, aromatic fruit and complex winemaking inputs. Ripe, with fine acidity and superbly judged residual sugar, the intensity is a revelation. The finish is textured and long, with great density. Apricot, almond, pear, nectarine and floral honeysuckle all make an appearance. (June 6)

Frankland Estate – Isolation Ridge Vineyard Syrah 2020. Quite a different expression of Frankland Shiraz. Here the aromatics are less overt, whilst the structure is the focus and the fruit taut, fine, unyielding. With air, the intense, dense and powerful fruit really shines. Despite the power, structure and almost chewy texture., this somehow remains near seamless. Only 6% whole bunch in this vintage. 95 – 96pts. (June 6)

Frankland Estate – Smith Cullam – Syrah – 2020. This is a special wine, combining the aromatics of the 2019 Isolation ridge, with the depth of the 2020. Yet, at its core, this is elegant and very fine. It offers the opportunity to be appreciated young, but also possesses excellent ageability. The tannin management is a highlight. A magical wine. 96pts. (June 6)

Louis Roederer – Collection 242 – NV. 56% from the 2017 vintage with a remarkable 44% reserve wine (34% Perpetual Reserve + 10% oak aged reserve wine from vintages between 2009 and 2016). This is fine, elegant and supple, yet possessing of impressive power and serious texture. Generous, yet refined. Superb! Dosage of 8gm/l. (April 21).

Moët & Chandon – Grand Vintage – 2013. This wine takes things to another level. Seven years on lees, and the 5gm/l dosage low enough to qualify as Extra Brut. A very good champagne with a fine, elegant mouthfeel and serious structural components. A great drink! (April 21).

Ayala – Blanc De Blancs – 2014. A beautiful wine with finesse and elegance, but also possessing great power, supported by an addictive creamy texture. If anything, this would be even better with a few more years in the bottle. Spent six years on lees and the dosage is 6gm/l. (11 April).

Bollinger – B13 – 2013. Made from 100% Pinot Noir (Blanc De Noirs), this wine is all about the power and intensity derived from the late 2013 vintage and of Pinot Noir. A wine with tremendous impact, this is a tour-de-force. But the style will not be for everyone. Seven years on lees, 6g/l. (11 April).

Billecart-Salmon – 2009. With a very low 2g/l dosage, this wine is technically an Extra Brut, though this not on the label. The power of the Pinot Noir (40%) is evident in this wine and is accompanied by a very attractive chewy texture and fine acidity. With excellent length and balance, this is a fine wine indeed! Nine years on lees. (11 April).

Duval-Leroy – Brut Reserve – NV. A richer, textured style with decent length and refreshing acidity. Whilst not the most complex wine in the tasting, this is a wine that brings pleasure and can put a smile on your face. Pinot dominant, with four years on lees and 8gms of residual. (April 3).

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils -Special Club – Grand Terroirs de Chardonnay – 2014. As the name suggests, this is really quite special. A Champagne with great richness, depth, intensity and power, with a creamy mouth filling texture. Outstanding Champagne! This is made from old-vines material with the vines between 60 and 100 years old. 5gm/l dosage. (April 3).

Pol Roger – Vintage Brut – 2013. The key here is the balance. This combines the finesse of the 2013 Blanc de Blancs with the richness of the NV. The result is a sublime wine that is brilliant value at around $125. 60% Pinot Noir 40% Chardonnay, 8gms/l dosage, disgorged December 2019. (April 3).

Forest Hill – Riesling – Block 2 – 2021. From the 1975 plantings. 15% matured in old oak with 9 months on lees. This is different to the standard wine. Finer, more elegant, almost ethereal in nature. There is also greater length and intensity, yet the phenolics are a lot finer. The textural components are a highlight. Seamless, yet possessing amazing intensity, this could be enjoyed any time over the next 10 – 15 years. 300 cases produced. 96pts – $38. (22 March).

Forest Hill – Riesling – Block 1 – 2021. From the original 1965 vineyard. This is a step up again in intensity compared to the Block 2, with a core of minerality running the length of the palate. Lime, lemon and steely acidity combine on the close. This is a powerhouse that needs years to reach its peak, yet is superb drinking now. A statement wine. Only 100 cases made. 97pts – TBC. (22 March).

Forest Hill – Chardonnay – Block 8 – 2018. The power here is palpable, but the fruit is cloaked with restraint. Citrus notes and lemony acid abound, the oak (25% new) and lees work have been absorbed by the fruit adding texture and depth, without over flavours. Very fine and elegant, with incredible intensity. The style here is getting ever finer, and cellaring is recommended. 95+pts – $50. (22 March).

Forest Hill – Shiraz – Block 9 – 2020. Wow, the intensity has been turned up here. The minerality again is a feature, with the perfume more subdued, and gentle savoury notes (including chocolate and coffee.) build. Great length, but this needs 10+ years to reach its best. Block 9 was planted in 1985. 95pts- TBC (22 March).

Forest Hill – Cabernet Sauvignon – Block 5 – 2019. The best parcels of fruit (Houghton clone) from a vineyard at the top of a ridge. The perfume is more notable here, with hints of berry and even a touch of violet. The palate is briary, textured and closed, but the potential is palpable. Give it 10 years and be rewarded. A classic Cabernet and proudly different to the wines coming from Margaret River. 95+pts – $65. (22 March).

SinglefileFamily Reserve – Chardonnay – 2021 is one of the most complete young Chardonnays that I can recall tasting. Great purity of fruit, silky textural oak (1/3 new) and subtle winemaking inputs combine in a stunning package. This starts in the stone fruit spectrum, with citrus notes driving the finish. Capable of cellaring, but irresistible now. 95+pts – $60. (March 16).

SinglefileThe Vivienne Chardonnay – 2019. Incredibly intense and powerful, with the winemaker’s inputs playing an important role (barrel ferment on solids, wild yeast, lees aging and partial malolactic fermentation). White peach and grapefruit give way to flinty minerality and curry leaf aromas. The sheer intensity of this wine will not be for everyone, but this is a wine that you need to try! 96pts – TBC (March 16).

SinglefileThe Philip Adrian – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is a magical wine that combines fragrant fruit that is fine and supple, with tremendous depth and intensity. The Houghton-clone fruit was matured in oak (40% new) for thirteen months. 2018 was a great year in Frankland and this wine is absolutely brilliant. 97pts – TBC (March 16).

Cullen – Diana Madeline – 2020. Wow. This is just subline. Fine, elegant, supple and restrained. Seamless and very long. Silky, with grace and presence. This is absolutely delicious now but would also benefit from 20 years cellaring. A masterpiece! 13 months in oak (50% new), 13% alc, from the Cullen Vineyard. 96+pts – $150. (March 4).

Moss Wood – Ribbon Vale – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Wow. This is quite beautiful. Exquisite fruit, supple winemaking and unobtrusive oak combine in a package that is refine, elegant, polished and deceptively easy to drink. The near seamless finish is a highlight. 95-96pts – $75 (March 4).

Moss Wood – Ribbon Vale – Merlot – 2019. The panel were very surprised when the identity of this wine was revealed. Fine, elegant, taut., the oak near invisible. Reserved and reminiscent of Bordeaux in structure. The red and blue berry fruit is ripe, but in the cooler spectrum. Excellent length of flavours, but very much built for the long haul. Lingers for what seems like minutes. 95pts – $TBC. (March 4).

Mr. Barval – Cabernet/Malbec – 2019. Excellent fruit on show here. Long, fine, textured and slightly chewy, this is restrained and taut. The length and persistence of flavours is a highlight. Unyielding, but has all the hallmarks of an excellent wine. Just give it a bit of time. 95pts – $TBC (March 4).

Woodlands – Margaret – Cabernet Blend – 2018. This has excellent depth, density and fruit weight, yet remains supple and restrained. An elegant wine that is refined and long. The super-fine tannins slowly build, shutting down the fruit on the very close. Another cracking wine from the 2018 vintage and good value on the world stage. 95pts – $80. (March 4).

Domaine Belle – Crozes-Hermitage – Cuvée Louis Belle – 2018. Wow. This is so modern and quite special. Ripe, textured fruit that is dense and powerful, yet it comes across quite restrained at present. There are liquorice and spice notes, but the star here is the fruit. Structured and very age-worthy, but a glass tonight with roast pork belly would be divine. 95pts – $80. (Feb 18).

Swinney – Farvie – Grenache – 2020. My notes were just a string of superlatives: Spice, pepper, texture, density, chewy, long and powerful. Near seamless, with graphite-like tannins adding texture. How so much depth and power can be packed into a wine this fine and elegant is beyond me. The best Grenache that I have ever tasted. 97pts – $160. (Feb 18).

Swinney – Farvie – Syrah – 2020 – This is so silky and supple. Fine, elegant ripe fruit that has latent power and supple texture. The density of flavours is a highlight; a beautiful wine with exquisite length. The subtle intensity is stunning. So much going on. Cellar for 10+ years. 96pts – $160. (Feb 18).

Vasse Felix – Syrah – 2020. This is a smart wine. Ripe but restrained fruit with savoury highlights supported by subtle oak. The fruit quality is very high and shows cherry, plum, currant and a squid-ink-like intensity. The tannins slowly build on the finish and, when combined with the fine acidity, serve to keep the finish in check right now. A variety of wine making techniques has resulted in a wine that is youthfully delicious now, yet worthy of time in the cellar. 93pts – $37. (Feb 18).

Vasse Felix – Heytesbury – Chardonnay – 2020. This is just sublime. Supple, subtle, refined and elegant, with near seamless palate transition. But what sets this apart is the way the fruit builds in the mouth over time. Ultimately, the acidity and the texturing oak make close the fruit on the finish, suggesting a year or two in the bottle will allow this to open even further. 96pts – $100. (Feb 16)

Cape Mentelle – Chardonnay – 2018. The fruit here is so intense, yet the balance is a highlight. Grapefruit, textural oak, peach and nectarine all come to mind. The palate is seamless and has great length and persistence. The worked cashew/almond meal notes adding depth and texture. My preference for current drinking. 95pts – $55. (Feb 16)

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. (8 December).

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. (8 December).

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. (8 December).

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. (November 24).

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. (November 24).

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. (November 24).

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. (17 November).

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. (17 November).

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. (17 November).

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. (8 November).

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. (8 November).

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. (8 November).

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. (29 October).

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. (29 October).

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. (29 October).
(From a single Porongurup vineyard planted to clones 777, 114 and 115. Only one barrel produced. Brilliant packaging!)

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 (21 Oct).

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. (21 Oct).

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. (5 Oct).

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. (5 Oct).

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 (5 Oct).

Leeuwin Estate Art Series – Riesling – 2020. The purity of fruit is outstanding, with lovely lime juice aromas. The near-seamless palate structure is very impressive. Delicate and ethereal, history suggests that this will comfortably age for 10+ years. Riesling is the largest planting on estate, which is a testament to the popularity of this wine. 93-94pts $23. (Sept 27).

Leeuwin EstatePrelude – Chardonnay – 2020. This is such an impressive wine. The peach and nectarine fruit has intrinsic depth and power. The textural components are a highlight as is the length of flavour. 40% new oak, no malolactic fermentation. 94pts – $38. (Sept 27).

Leeuwin Estate Art Series – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017. Fresh, vibrant and pretty red berry fruit, but with subtle depth that sets this apart from the ordinary. So long, fine, and elegant, with a silky texture. Very serious yet amazingly, drinking brilliantly now. 50% new oak and includes 2% Malbec. 95pts – $79. (Sept 27).

Howard ParkAbercrombie – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is a bit of Jekyll and Hyde wine. The fruit is fragrant, elegant and refined on the nose, but the power really shows on the palate. Dense, intense, and impactful, this has great depth to the fruit and impressive length. Drink now with the best steak you can afford or keep for 20 years and be rewarded. Superb! 96pts – $150. (Sept 23).

Victory Point – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is a most impressive. Long, fine and supple, with real density to the velvety fruit. Textured, and with near seamless palate transition, this is both age-worthy and hard to resist now. 94+pts- $55. (Sept 23).

Victory PointMallee Root – Cabernet/Malbec/Petit Verdot – 2018. Ripe blueberry fruit with hints of violets. Fine, supple and elegant, with subtle fruit and silky winemaking. A complete wine that makes me want to drink rather than taste. A bargain too. 93-94pts – $28.50. (Sept 23).

HoughtonJack Mann – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. Gorgeous ripe redcurrant fruit that has hints of violets and blueberry. This smells expensive. The palate is silky, supple and moreish. There is great depth and density, but this is all about restrained power. The fruit slowly builds in the glass, and this took three days to really show its best. Very age-worthy. 95+pts – $175. (Sept 23).

HoughtonC.W. Ferguson – Cabernet/Malbec – 2019. What a delightful wine. The pretty blueberry fruit has great depth, supported by supple spice notes (cloves). The fruit on the palate is initially closed and retrained. With plenty of air however, the wonderfully vibrant fruit shines providing great drinkability, even at this early stage of its life. The (expensive) oak has been carefully managed to ensure that the fruit remains the focus. My pick of the range and likely to be excellent value. 96+pts – $78. (Sept 23).

HoughtonGladstones – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. This is a very different style, with much greater fruit weight and density to the wines from Frankland. Not better nor worse, just different. The precise cassis-like fruit is perfectly ripe and quite beautiful., with great length of flavours. The texture is a highlight and the finish near seamless. The cooler year is reflected in supple earthy/herbal notes that complement the fruit very well. A textbook example of very high-quality cooler year Cabernet that is very age-worthy. 96pts – $100. (Sept 23).

EvoiReserve – Chardonnay – 2017. This smells expensive, with curry leaf minerality reminding me of a powerful Corton. The white nectarine fruit is textured, reserved and slightly chewy, with gentle tropical and pineapple notes. Minerality builds on the finish. With density and richness, the power belies the cooler year. 95pts – $69. (Sept 10).

Evoi – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2015. Serious fruit that has depth, texture and power. Impressive density of fruit for a wine at this price point and worthy of time in the cellar. A bargain. 93pts – $35. (Sept 10).

EvoiThe Satyr – Cabernet Blend – 2014. Impenetrable density of fruit. There is so much on offer, but this is so tightly wound that you are assailed by the power without the fruit getting a chance to fully express its character right now. A special wine that demands a decade in the cellar to unwind. 95+pts – $69. (Sept 10).

EvoiThe Satyr – Cabernet Blend – 2016. Here, the vibrant fruit and the skilled winemaking collide to make for a great drinking wine. Serious? Yes, but also full of life and personality. Worthy of time in the cellar, but hard to resist now. 95+pts – $69. (Sept 10).

Grosset – Springvale- Riesling – 2021. Exquisite wine. Precise, taut and restrained, but with a core of amazing fruit. Gentle lime comes to the fore, with a touch of zest adding the high notes. The silky mouthfeel is seamless, with amazingly fine and polished acidity that has the ability to carry this wine for decades in the cellar. Delicious and profound all at once. 96+pts. (Sept 1).

Grosset – Polish Hill – Riesling – 2021 . The aromatics here are a highlight. This is fleshy, juicy and packed with citrus fruit over a hint of musk. The palate is supple and has amazing intensity, with the fruit framed by slate and mineral notes. Great depth and length of fruit. With a riot of flavours, this is a super-fun wine now but also guaranteed to age for decades. 97pts. (Sept 1).

Grosset – Apiana – Fiano – 2021. This is quite superb. Fine, elegant and very long, with fresh floral fruit notes over perfumed talc and gentle spice. Length and persistence are a highlight with perhaps just a hint of residual sugar adding texture. A real surprise! 93pts. (Sept 1).

Vasse FelixFilius – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019. This is a beautiful wine, with balance, poise and elegance that belies its entry-level status in the Cabernet range. Supple, near seamless and very long, the fine berry fruit builds, supported by subtle, savoury oak. The tannins add gravitas, without diminishing the fruit. Superb drinking now, or in 5-10 years. 94pts – $29. (August 15).

Vasse Felix – Shiraz – 2019. Fine, elegant and refined with superb cool-climate fruit on show. The fruit is very pretty, but the textural, savoury notes elevate this to another level. Seamless and supple, the feathery tannins build on the finish adding depth. Age-worthy and good value. 95pts – $37. (August 15).

Vasse Felix – Cabernet Sauvignon – Gold Capsule – 2018. This is serious, structured, taut and closed. But the quality of the fruit and winemaking shines through with air. Silky and fine, the supple blueberry fruit is perfectly balanced by fine acidity and texturing oak. The addition of 8% Petit Verdot adding structure. At its best in 20 years, but magnificent drinking after a couple of hours in the decanter. What more could you ask for? 95-96pts – $47. (August 15).

Blackstone PaddockBarossa – Shiraz– 2019. The ripe fruit here is a knock-out. Supple, delicious and intense, with a savoury note and flinty minerality adding mouthfeel and depth. The quality oak adds layers of texture but does not diminish the joy of the fruit. Excellent drinking, but will benefit from cellaring. 95pts – $18 from Aldi. (August 5)

SeppeltChalambar – Shiraz – 2018. Dense and savoury, with dark, plum-like fruit. Yet this is integrated and harmonious, with supple oak adding a silky sheen to the fruit. The mouthfeel is a treat, with near-seamless palate transition with feathery tannins fanning out across the finish. Medium term cellaring an option. 94pts – $30. (August 5)

NucosVuelo – Carmenere– 2019. The fruit here is rich, ripe and dense. The palate is immensely satisfying, with a degree of silkiness to the fruit, decent weight and gravely tannins that add texture and depth. A great mid-week red from this underrated variety. 91pts- $13 from Aldi. (August 5)

Faber – Liqueur Muscat – NV. Intense fruit, with gentle rancio characters on the nose. The palate is rich, viscous, complex, intense and textured, with caramel, coffee and chocolate notes.  Rich and rewarding and very very long, this is delicious. Not subtle, and all the better for it. 95-96pts – $60. (August 1)

Stanton & Killeen – Classic Topaque – NV. Raisins, spice and gentle rancio leads to drying tea leaf notes and acidity. Viscous, mouth-coating and seamless, the addition of younger material giving freshness and balance. Evolves and lingers for what feels like minutes. 12-year average age. Warning: This is so easy to drink. 95+pts – $38 (500mls). (August 1)

Morris – Classic Muscat – NV. This has a real wow factor. Rich toffee, coffee and caramel leads to a finish that is balanced, long, succulent and near seamless. Brilliantly made, using a blend of older and young material to maintain freshness. A delight to drink and outrageous value. 95pts – $25 (500mls). (August 1)

Xanadu – Stevens Road – Chardonnay – 2019. This is impactful, powerful and intense, with nectarine and tropical fruit to the fore. High-quality oak/barrel ferment notes add the highlights, whilst lemon zest and fine acidity carry the very long finish. This is a statement wine that demands attention. 95pts – $80. (June 27)

Xanadu – Reserve – Chardonnay– 2019. Fine and elegant with great poise. Yet there is tremendous depth and innate power sitting behind the peach-like fruit characters. The high-quality oak has been pared back, adding depth and texture without overly flavouring the wine. Zest builds on the very long finish. Outstanding. 96pts – $110 (June 27)

Xanadu – Stevens Road – Cabernet Sauvignon – 2018. This is something of a gentle giant. There is powerful fruit, firm, structured oak and tannins, yet there is a warm heart nestling underneath all of the bravado. Opulent blackcurrant and eucalypt supported by graphite-like tannins and superb oak handling. Now – 20 years. 95pts – $80 (June 27)

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).