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New wind blows at Thousand Candles Nineteen Eighty-Four: Californian Cabernet Australia The Barossa Cellar: Major build for the Barossa Valley Coriole Shiraz: 25 vintages of an Australian classic Australia’s Most Expensive Wines: $250 Pinot Noir from Yering Station joins the fray All the latest from Cape Mentelle Adam Granite Belt Regional Report 2017 Poll: The best Australian wine region to Grenache of the day Pierro Chardonnay Hatherleigh Pinot Noir McLaren Vale Regional Report
thousand candles redone

New wind blows at Thousand Candles

It was the best of stories. It was the worst of stories. Thousand Candles launched with a grand vision and an even grander vineyard and the perfect team of people to execute it. It had a beautifully-designed label, the hottest winemaker in the country at the time – Bill Downie – and a viticulturist as […]

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Nineteen Eighty-Four: Californian Cabernet

Decanter magazine reported of the 1984 Californian harvest, “This was one of those rare too good to be true vintages that was big in size and ranged from good to excellent in quality. The harvest was early due to a hot spell that kicked it off and a long period warm weather followed to keep harvesters […]


Australia’s Best Grenache? Yangarra Estate High Sands Grenache 2010-2014

Yangarra’s High Sands Grenache has been a star performer over the years (see all our reviews here) but the stunning quality of the just-released 2014 made us stop and think. Is this Australia’s Best Grenache? A recent chance to taste a complete set of this benchmark Grenache was the perfect way to dig deeper. What is now […]

The Barossa Cellar render

The Barossa Cellar: Major build for the Barossa Valley

It’s a great initiative, and step forward. The Barossa Valley plans to build an independent, globally recognised, regional wine museum. The Barossa Cellar, as it will be known, has been a dream of (the) Barons of Barossa for many years. With over $2.0M cash, pledges and in-kind donations already ‘in the bank’, it now looks […]

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Coriole Shiraz: 25 vintages of an Australian classic

Coriole Shiraz, I’m pretty sure, is a staple of many Australian wine cellars. I was lucky enough to taste through twenty five vintages at Coriole’s beautiful winery on a fine autumn day in April 2017. I first visited Coriole back in 1995, and have something of a history with their Shiraz. I can recall tasting […]

yering station scarlett pinot noir

Australia’s Most Expensive Wines: $250 Pinot Noir from Yering Station joins the fray

The price of Australia’s most prestigious wines – either by self-design or by sheer quality – is on a fast march. We have now reached a point where the extraordinary has become ordinary, or at least the new normal. A list of Australia’s Most Expensive Wines now makes for quite remarkable reading. Price has long been a […]

cape mentelle grapes

All the latest from Cape Mentelle

Just finished looking through the latest releases from Cape Mentelle and the range is looking in remarkably strong shape. All the individual wines are reviewed to the site but they are gathered here as a suite. The reviews below are from both Gary Walsh and I, denoted by our initials. PHOTO courtesy Cape Mentelle/Frances Andrijich.

adam wadewitz

Adam’s Era: Profile of winemaker Adam Wadewitz

Winemaker Adam Wadewitz is the latest star to join the Shaw & Smith team. Get set for another blast of quality releases. —— First published in Halliday Magazine in 2014. Written by Campbell Mattinson. Successful wineries are like successful relationships. They’re never accidental. They’re the result of a lot of good decisions taken over a […]

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Granite Belt Regional Report 2017

Mike Bennie headed to Queensland’s Granite Belt to put the region’s wines under the microscope. Misconceptions be damned: the result was as full of surprises as it was incredibly good wines.  

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Poll: The best Australian wine region to “tour” is?

Simple question: what’s the best Australian wine region to tour? Maximum of 3 answers allowed, though you can click on one only if your choice is overwhelmingly in one direction.

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Grenache of the day

Grenache’s time to shine has been over a century in the making. But the argument for grenache grows increasingly stronger … Words Campbell Mattinson Published: September 2012 _____________________ Suddenly it’s cool to love grenache. We’ve been growing it in Australia from just before the year dot and it’s always had it fans – and consciously […]

pierro chardonnay vineyard w kangaroo

Pierro Chardonnay – a ten year collection from 2006 to 2015

From seemingly nowhere, a ten year collection of Pierro chardonnay arrived at my front door. Thrilled. Blue chip stuff.  

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Hatherleigh Pinot Noir – Full Retrospective Tasting

Established in 1996 with most plantings going on in 1999, this is Nick Bulleid MW’s labour of love, all planted to pinot noir.

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McLaren Vale Regional Report

The Winefront’s Mike Bennie and Gary Walsh visited McLaren Vale in June to assess exactly where the region’s wines are at. The result was a thorough health check of the region with more than a few surprises. Indeed, the odd shock was in store.

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Domaine Clape Cornas 2013

19 August 2017

I often forget that Auguste Clape was once the mayor of Cornas. Nice little bit of trivia. The reputation of Clape is huge despite only farming eight-or-so hectares of land in the northern Rhone Valley. That being said, what land they do hold, is primo, and the vines are typically old and low yielding. Whole […]

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Posted in Rhone Valley, shiraz et al, Tip Top Tipple6 Comments

Marc Bredif Classic Vouvray

Marc Bredif Classic Vouvray 2014

19 August 2017

Geez, this is almost ubiquitous stuff with Vouvray. Young, old, various iterations of chenin, it’s omnipresent in the Loire/other white section of just about every wine list/wine store in the universe. One of those go-to wines for reliability and drinkability. Simple done well; great buying, really.

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Posted in Loire Valley, other whites, Top Value2 Comments

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Clos Mogador Nelin 2013

19 August 2017

You don’t often think Clos Mogador and white wine. This is mostly made up of the grape variety garnacha blanca with macabeau and escanyavelles, and allegedly (at least in past) the rest a melange of viognier, marsanne, roussanne and pedro ximenez. Priorat white aiming for an elevated standing. The wine is raised in stainless, old […]

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Posted in other whites, Spain, Tip Top Tipple8 Comments

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Peggy & Jean-Pascal Buronfosse Les Ammonites Chardonnay 2014

19 August 2017

Buronfosse have rocketed up my list of favourite Jura producers. They are more or less next door to the legendary Ganevat family in Rotalier in the south of Jura, and indeed, their cult-winemaking neighbours have helped out with some of the Jura winegrowing life for this younger generation producer. Excellent vineyards, clean-simple winemaking, topped up […]

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Posted in chardonnay, Jura, organic, Tip Top Tipple2 Comments


Clemens Busch Riesling vom Blauen Schiefer 2015

19 August 2017

First made in 2013, this is a release celebrating the blue slate geology of Mosel. Clemens Busch focuses on exceptional plots of organically farmed vineyards, but also differentiates through the varying colour slates of his sites. Marienburg is the locale for this wine, 1.6 hectare single vineyard. Blue slate in Punderich is unusual, more commonly […]

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Posted in Germany, organic, riesling0 Comments

Clemens Busch Vom Roten Schiefer

Clemens Busch Riesling vom Roten Shiefer 2015

19 August 2017

A blend of two vineyards, the neighbouring Marienburg and Nonnengarden, both dominated by the Mosel’s red slate. The first wine focussing on red slate came from 2003. Organic certified farming for Clemens Busch, and a long time at it. Also regarded as one of the great ‘natural wine’ producers of Germany, without ever having thought […]

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Posted in Germany, organic, riesling, Tip Top Tipple3 Comments

Clemens Busch Riesling vom Grauen Schiefer

Clemens Busch Riesling vom Grauen Schiefer 2015

19 August 2017

From the main part of the Marienburg vineyard. From the steep slopes, “a very pure place, about 25 cm of weathered slate and then you have rock”, explains Clemens of his selection. “Clean grapes (no botrytis) and mid-range ripeness (not over ripe), and lower alcohol”, explains Clemens. Only 3 grams residual sugar here. All wines […]

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Posted in Germany, organic, riesling, Tip Top Tipple0 Comments

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Clemens Busch Riesling Trocken ‘ls’ 2015

19 August 2017

‘LS’ on the bottle is for low sulphur. “We’ve been working organically since 1984, and have been making experiments with wines of low or no sulphur. I think riesling is a problem, not really a great grape to go without sulphur. If you want to do no sulphur then you need skin fermentation – we […]

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Posted in Germany, organic, riesling0 Comments

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Clemens Busch Riesling Trocken 2014

19 August 2017

Easily one of my favourite Mosel wine producers, if not overall one of the greatest producers of riesling of all, for me. Clemens Busch himself is a legend, one of the nicer, more thoughtful wine producers (and humans) on the planet. Gently spoken, modest, charming, witty. This isn’t a love story, but it’s easy to […]

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Posted in Germany, organic, riesling1 Comment


Ziereisen Tschuppen Blauer Spatburgunder 2014

19 August 2017

“Individuality is the signature of Ziereisen”, finishes a strong quote on the back label. Indeed, this organic producer from Baden does little that fits the convention of German winemaking, from vessels, amphora buried in vineyard, large old oak, concrete, stainless, mixes of all, to skin contact in whites, and, brisk, crunchy reds, whole bunch, you […]

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Posted in Germany, organic, pinot noir0 Comments

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Mada Wines Blanc 2017

19 August 2017

A constructed blend of gewurztraminer, pinot gris and riesling from Prunevale, aka, Freeman vineyard. The resulting wine is one of those interesting yet highly drinkable wines that come under the umbrella of ‘textural whites’, a phrase often bandied about without much anchoring, but reasonably descriptive – it’s not just quick, cold, yeast packet ferment in […]

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Posted in Canberra District, other whites, pinot gris/grigio, riesling0 Comments


Marc Chauvet Brut Millesime 2006

19 August 2017

A grower producer with 13 hectares of vines in the Montagne de Reims parish of Champagne. An interesting tidbit of information, Clotilde Chauvet (the winemaker of Marc Chauvet), was once winemaker at Rippon (after Rudi Bauer) and helped Rudi establish Quartz Reef in Central Otago. The wines typically see no malolactic fermentation, but do spend […]

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Posted in Champagne, Sparkling0 Comments

Enoteca Sileno

Cantalupo ‘Anno Primo’ 2009

18 August 2017

When it’s a warm to hot vintage for Barolo and Barbaresco, it seems to me, that the cooler climes of Alto Piedmont and Valtellina do very well. And extrapolating this out, with global warming, I think we may see some of the more storied sites in Barolo/Barbaresco losing ground to the cooler ones. That is, […]

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Posted in Italy, nebbiolo, Tip Top Tipple4 Comments

mount langi ghiran mast shiraz

Mount Langi Ghiran Mast Shiraz 2015

18 August 2017

This is the fourth release of Mount Langi’s ‘tribute’ to Trevor Mast. It hasn’t put a foot wrong as yet. It’s grown on the house Block 4 vineyard; vine age is around 25 years.

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Posted in Grampians, shiraz et al3 Comments

Vidal Legacy Syrah

Vidal Legacy Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2014

18 August 2017

I don’t know much about this, other than that it came from two vineyards (both on the gravels) and saw all-French oak, 38% new. It was 100% destemmed and given the flavour profile, that was a wise winemaking decision. Production was 20 barriques.

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Posted in Hawkes Bay, shiraz et al0 Comments


Arimia Estate Chardonnay 2016

18 August 2017

From Northern Margaret River, which I learn today, is about to get an airport that connects to Sydney and Melbourne, with a view to becoming international shortly after. My goodness me.

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Posted in chardonnay, Margaret River9 Comments

Glandore Rose Hunter Valley Vert

Glandore Estate Rosé 2017

18 August 2017

Not heard from Glandore in quite some time.

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Posted in Hunter Valley, Rose0 Comments

by farr three oaks chardonnay

By Farr GC Chardonnay 2015

18 August 2017

Cote Vineyard Chardonnay. According to Nick Farr: “A new wine that has been in the making for 40 years. With all the knowledge that I have been able to extract from my father, we created a close planted/high density planting of chardonnay and pinot noir on an exposed cote. These hillsides facing east, north east […]

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Posted in chardonnay, Geelong, Tip Top Tipple9 Comments


Higher Plane Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

18 August 2017

Just out of curiosity, I opened a bottle of 2010 Chateau Branaire-Ducru to taste alongside this, and there’s no doubt that Margaret River produces very good Cabernet, at fair prices, not that I really needed to say that, though perhaps it’s worth noting yet again.

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Posted in cabernet et al, Margaret River1 Comment

by farr three oaks chardonnay

By Farr Three Oaks Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

18 August 2017

As far as I can tell this is the name now given to the wine formerly known, simply, as By Farr Chardonnay. There is a now a ‘GC’ chardonnay sitting above it on the price hierarchy, from a new/different-but-still-estate vineyard.

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Posted in chardonnay, Geelong4 Comments

What is The Wine Front?

The WINEFRONT is Australia’s most active wine review site. It started in 2002 and is rigorously independent. It covers Australian wine principally but extends coverage across the wider world of wine. It aims to score all wines both realistically and reliably. The WINEFRONT is run by Campbell Mattinson, Gary Walsh and Mike Bennie.  A full history of reviews and articles is available to subscribers via the WINE SEARCH tab.



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