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Pierro Chardonnay Hatherleigh Pinot Noir McLaren Vale Regional Report Churton: Vineyard as a garden of Eden Birds of a feather: Rudi Bauer and his Quartz Reef Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2009-2014 Riesling Rendezvous 2016 Do preservative free wines age? UPDATE: WET changes have wine producers hopping mad #2 Terroir Unlimited: Terroir Al Limit 2016 Mount Pleasant 1965 Vines Rosehill Vineyard Shiraz 2014 Balnaves The Tally : Vertical Tasting 1998-2013 Napoleone Cider Yarra Valley Penfolds Max Schubert Cabernet Shiraz 2012 News: Wineosphere powered by The Wine Front. Wild Duck Creek Duck Muck redux The Wine Hunter 2015 Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz 2010 Passopisciaro Rosso

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. Pierro chardonnay is one of my go-to recommendations for ‘fine’ examples of Australian chardonnay, mostly unswerving in its personality, expression of the grape, power and presence in the glass. I like drinking the stuff. The vineyard […]


Hatherleigh Pinot Noir – a retrospective

Established in 1996 with most plantings going on in 1999, this is Nick Bulleid MW’s labour of love, all planted to pinot noir. In the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, the site is set at 910 metres above sea level. It’s an east facing slope in the tiny village of Laggan, near Crookwell. It’s […]

919708 - beautiful vineyard at mclaren vale, south australia

McLaren Vale Regional Report – June 2016

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. The McLaren Vale region is one of Australia’s premier and most […]

churton vineyard

Churton: Vineyard as a garden of Eden

You get the feeling Sam Weaver is tired of the nincompoops. He was the first to plant a vineyard out in the Omaka Valley though he rightly doesn’t like the expression. “If you spend any time in Marlborough you’ll hear people talk of the sub-regions. One of them is what they refer to as the […]

Rudi Bauer by Alli Albanese

Birds of a feather: Rudi Bauer and his Quartz Reef

Sometimes the luck runs against you. Seven years ago I spent three full days with Rudi Bauer of Quartz Reef in Central Otago and at no point did he show me his own vineyard, his own winery or his own wines. The man is a mountain of humility. It wasn’t a tactic but it worked […]


Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2009-2014

A precious afternoon one on one with the bloody great Kevin Judd. Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc tasted back to its origin in 2009. While quietly spoken, there’s intensity and intent behind his words. Determination, thoughtful approach, deep understanding of the art and science of winemaking. “I just wanted to show people that these wines are […]


Riesling Rendezvous 2016 – general riesling tastings

Riesling Rendezvous 2016 held in Seattle is over and done with, a large scale event that drew riesling winemakers, lovers, wine writers, MS, MW, CMS, you name it, like riesling, they were there, from all over the riesling planet. Seminars, grand tastings, blind tasting sessions, riesling-based cocktails (!); it had it all. The following notes […]

919708 - beautiful vineyard at mclaren vale, south australia

Do preservative free wines age?

Accepted wisdom is that ‘preservative free’ or (very) low sulphur wines must be consumed within a year or at most two from bottling. The absence of added preservative means that they’ll drink well in the short term, if they’re well grown and made, but will fall over pretty quickly. Make hay. Don’t hesitate. So if you […]

barossa valley grenache pic

UPDATE: WET changes have wine producers hopping mad #2

Opposition to the proposed changes to the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET) is mounting. The proposed changes, if introduced, will dramatically effect the bottom line of producers as the WET rebate is slashed from the current $500k down to $290k over the next two years. More alarmingly – and tellingly – the proposed changes include an “eligibility clause which […]


Terroir Unlimited: Terroir Al Limit 2016

Next level wines. I can think of few Spanish producers making wines of such excitement, charisma and transparent-feeling representation of place. Terroir Al Limit produce cuvees of skeletal architecture, and filigreed expression of grape varieties, like no other from Priorat, let alone Spain. Simply said. Though there’s a raft of pleasure in unfurling tempranillo set […]

workers in field with buckets and horses

Mount Pleasant 1965 Vines Rosehill Vineyard Shiraz 2014

The Mount Pleasant winery is my special subject. It was the home of Australia’s first great winemaker – Maurice O’Shea – and until the early 1960s it was known as the producer of Australia’s best table wines. Its reputation has barely been dimmed in the years since but nevertheless, scores of wineries have since overtaken […]

balnaves the tally

Balnaves The Tally : Vertical Tasting 1998-2013

“When I first started making wine in Coonawarra,” Balnaves long-term winemaker Pete Bissell says, “we always thought the warmer vintages were the better vintages. Now I’m starting to think the cooler vintages are better.” It’s the kind of thing only time can tell you, and the Balnaves team have had plenty of that. In their […]

napoleone cider feature mike bennie

Napoleone Cider Yarra Valley – a tasting in 2015

The Napoleones have been orchardists since the 1940s. Maybe five percent of the fruit go to the ciders, the rest goes to market, but it was how they started off their agricultural endeavours with fruits. It was 1985 that Punt Road put the vines in the ground. Geez, they’ve come along nicely. Then 2008 was […]


Penfolds Max Schubert Cabernet Shiraz 2012

Penfolds Max’s. It’s not just a new wine, it promises to be a new range of wines. This 2012 blend of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, from the Barossa Valley and Coonawarra, has been released to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Max Schubert’s birth. 500 dozen were made. It was matured in 100% new American oak […]

wineosphere on black

News: Wineosphere powered by The Wine Front.

If you have an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch then today The Wine Front world just grew significantly bigger, and better. Today we launched our dream app: Wineosphere. It’s FREE to download. We’d love to have developed it for both Android and iPhone but we had a choice between doing nothing and developing for one platform only; we […]

wild duck duck

Wild Duck Creek Duck Muck redux

“We finally got our first spittoon four years ago. The first time I saw it I thought it was a funny shaped barrel. My son Liam reckons I’m still trying to work out what spittoons are for, but yes, our cellar door now has one”. That’s how I remember him. It’s been six or so […]

Wine hunter complete

The Wine Hunter 2015

UPDATE: The Wine Hunter: Premium Hardcover Edition is now available. The full price is $52.50. This includes postage to an Australian address. For international orders, please contact: campbellmattinson@gmail.com All orders are being taken via Paypal. ___________________ In 2006 James Halliday called The Wine Hunter book “One of the most remarkable wine books to come my […]

henschke hill of grace shiraz graphic

Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz 2010

It’s the little things, the flutter of wings, that count. When I heard recently that new Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh had been asked to pay John Worsfold’s consultancy fee in wine, rather than in money, I was pretty sure I knew what that wine would be. Aussie sporting heroes and high profile business folk […]


Passopisciaro Rosso – from up high on Etna

Winemaker Andrea Franchetti was looking for another ‘extreme’ place to make wine in league with his winemaking and growing at Tenuta di Trinoro in Tuscany. From the relative isolation of Sarteano, tucked away from the bustle of Tuscany’s more favoured terroirs, Franchetti’s early forays to Etna led him to find the Rampante vineyard, the highest and wildest […]


Rolf Binder Heysen Shiraz 2013

18 January 2017

I don’t have air-conditioning at home (intentionally), but last night, when it was 32c at midnight, certainly tested my resolve. Cooler tonight (at last), and a quick spell in the fridge for the big reds does the trick nicely. The show must go on…

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Posted in Barossa Valley, shiraz et al0 Comments


Abbotts & Delaunay Alto Stratus Carignan 2014

18 January 2017

Always a good/interesting expression of old vine Carignan from this producer. Importer: Fourth Wave Wine

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Posted in Languedoc, other reds0 Comments


Eden Road Wines Courabyra Chardonnay 2015

18 January 2017

Winemaker Nick Spencer sent back vintages spanning 2012-2014, along with this, the current release, to illustrate how these wines are progressing. It was fun. Good work experience, as it were.

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Posted in chardonnay, Tumbarumba0 Comments


Nunc Pinot Noir 2016

18 January 2017

Bibendum wine wholesalers and importers have their own range, Nunc (est Bibendum!), produced by Dave Mackintosh. It is from Yarra Valley vines.

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Posted in pinot noir, Yarra Valley0 Comments


Eastern Peake OB Terroir Pinot Noir 2013

18 January 2017

From a select parcel of fruit, released after several years careful cellaring. This is at the apex of Eastern Peake’s wine. It’s a fascinating estate, wine endeavour and legacy going on there. Unique site too. Anyway, here’s a superb pinot, idiosyncratic as the best can be, with all the DNA of fine wine.

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Posted in Ballarat, pinot noir, Tip Top Tipple0 Comments


Pierro Pino’S 2013

18 January 2017

Well, here you go. This is 90% pinot noir and 10% shiraz. Pino’s of course was one of GW’s (and mine growing up), favourite north shore Sydney red-and-white-checked-table-cloth-red-pasta-joints. Pino’s nailed that simple pasta, affable pizza, excess-salt-on-everything vibe. Pink Lemonades for the kids and a crap Chianti for dad. A wink and a limoncello. Them’s were […]

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Posted in Margaret River, pinot noir, shiraz et al3 Comments


Nocton Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

18 January 2017

From the Coal River Valley ‘sub-region’ of Tasmania. “Proudly celebrating a Chinese Tasmania collaboration to produce world class wines from the Coal River’s ancient soils”, says the tagline.

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Posted in pinot noir, Tasmania2 Comments


Soho Sauvignon Blanc 2016

18 January 2017

It’s pretty easy to understand the popularity of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, well, the better ones, anyway.

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Posted in Marlborough, sauv blanc et al0 Comments


Murdoch Hill Ridley Pinot x Two 2016

18 January 2017

Pinot meunier and pinot noir in a holy alliance. What a thing! Adelaide Hills really is striking out with some clever wines, Murdoch Hill right in that front row. This is made for a light chill and enthusiastic, nay, urgent drinking.

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Posted in Adelaide Hills, other reds, pinot noir, Tip Top Tipple0 Comments


Eastern Peake Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2014

18 January 2017

Only this pinot noir wine was produced from 2014 off the estate vineyard at Eastern Peake. Low yields, tough year, hungry soils. It spends 12 months in barrel maturing, and then hangs out in bottle to rest a while. Unique site in Ballarat, more or less. Wonderful wines from a special place.

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Posted in Ballarat, pinot noir0 Comments

Father's Ruin Pinot

Gentle Folk Ochota Barrels Father’s Ruin Pinot Noir 2016

18 January 2017

Winemakers Gareth Belton and Taras Ochota share some pinot noir fruit from a vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. They both made wines using the fruit, then got the idea to blend the two versions together, and produce a wine that would honour their children born in winter of 2016. I know this kind of sharing […]

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Posted in Adelaide Hills, Pinot Nior0 Comments


Fratelli Alessandria Dolcetto d’Alba 2015

18 January 2017

Importer: World Wine Estates

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Posted in Italy, other reds, Tip Top Tipple0 Comments


Azelia Dolcetto d’Alba Bricco Dell’Oriolo 2014

18 January 2017

Importer: Heart & Soil

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Posted in Italy, other reds0 Comments

chalmers nero davola

Chalmers Nero d’Avola 2015

18 January 2017

Heathcote nero d’avola. From Chalmers: “Grown in our highest block on top of the ridge with complex rocky terrain … for the first time in 2015, natural malolactic fermentation was done in stainless steel tank.”

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Posted in Heathcote, other reds2 Comments

marchand & burch mount barrow pinot noir

Marchand & Burch Mount Barrow Pinot Noir 2016

18 January 2017

The Mount Barrow vineyard is at Mount Barker in Western Australia. We’re talking the Great Southern region, of course.

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Posted in Great Southern, pinot noir0 Comments


Chateau Thivin Les Griottes de Brulhie Cote De Brouilly 2014

17 January 2017

I suspect there is increasing interest in cru Beaujolais. And so there should be. It’s a great wine for warmer climes like Australia. Importer: Heart & Soil

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Posted in Beaujolais, other reds6 Comments


Tripe.Iscariot Brawn Chardonnay 2014

17 January 2017

Winemaker Remi Guise reminded me I had this note on hold from a while back. Slipped through the cracks. He’s the one making all that fantastic chenin out of Margaret River. Well, here’s another white wine looking sensational. Margaret River chardonnay via Jura, perhaps, and that’s a positive.

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Posted in chardonnay, Margaret River, Tip Top Tipple12 Comments

Nautilus Sauv Blanc

Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc 2015

17 January 2017

From various vineyards in Marlborough, this is the ‘straight up’ version from Nautilus. Typically a pretty ‘classy’ expression.

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Posted in Marlborough, sauv blanc et al0 Comments

MezzaCorona Grigio

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio 2015

17 January 2017

Though I know the word more or less translates, I couldn’t shake the image of a low-carb version of the famed Mexican beer. From Trentino. I believe a Costco exclusive? Suggests so on the RRP sticker on the bottle.

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Posted in Italy, pinot gris/grigio0 Comments


Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2016

17 January 2017

The 2015 version of this wine was an absolute belter. This isn’t quite in the same zone, but it does a very good job of showing a drinker just how sophisticated sauvignon blanc can be from Marlborough, even without the oak/lees work of fancier versions of the same. This is a high class producer creating […]

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Posted in Marlborough, sauv blanc et al1 Comment

What is The Wine Front?

WINEFRONT is Australia's oldest and most active wine review site. It keeps consumers ahead of the game by reviewing wines as they are released. It's run by Campbell Mattinson, Gary Walsh and Mike Bennie. A full history of reviews and articles can be accessed via WINE SEARCH. Winefront started in 2002 and is entirely independent.




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