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Les Dolomies Madeleine 2017

Produced from gamay and called ‘vin de France’ which puts me in two minds that this might be from rogue plantings in Jura, or, like a few other producers stretched by frost and hail, a convenient sourcing from outside the region, but the truth is this is from the hamlet of Brery in Jura, and a rare bird. Organic farming underpins all Les Dolomies, the wines all produced naturally and often without sulphur. An outstanding wine producer in any consideration.

This is a wine that puts me in mind of iridescence, I know, esoteric and lofty, but the shape-shifting, shimmering, vibrant nature of the wine compels me there. Bright, deep garnet colour aside, the perfume is a cornucopia of just-ripe red berries, lavender, rosemary, with flavours set to light, bright, more of the cool red berry flavours with faint rasps of tannin and a stream of fresh acidity proving refreshing and revitalising. Light, crystalline, crisp. Gosh this is good. Far from ‘classic gamay’, this is such a delicate, beautiful, wildly drinkable wine. I’m so into it.

Importer: Greg Murphy Wine Imports



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12%
Price : $66
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2019 - 2021


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Posted in Jura, natural wine, organic, other reds, Tip Top Tipple0 Comments

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Les Dolomies La Cabane Pinot Noir 2017

Despite Les Dolomies only being founded in 2008, Céline Gormally has rocketed through the pack of long-term traditionalists and generational families to be at the apex of Jura wine. Or so I say. Les Dolomies are one of my favourite producers in this pint-sized wine region, stoically organic, producing beautiful wines that mainline that sense of ‘minerality’ while showcasing purity of fruit, an elegance, high drinkability. Usually the whites for me are more compelling than the reds, but that’s often the case in Jura, one of the few regions on earth where you taste red wines before whites (and vin jaune) in the cellars of the vignerons of the region. Here’s a beautiful pinot, regardless.

Has that aroma of autumn leaves, truffle, game meat, ripe black cherries and wet slate. Stunning. Flavours fill the palate in a fresh-feeling sluice of dark cherry juice, bergamot tea (tannins and all), clove, ripe raspberry, anise, some fig-like character and a light pulse of barely-there spritz that dissipates with time. Has this wholesome, nourishing kind of thing, if you can imagine. Lots of character, length, interest, drinkability. It’s not in the elegant zone, but geez it has some flair. Delicious flair.

Importer: Greg Murphy Wine Imports



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $59
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2019 - 2022


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Posted in Jura, natural wine, organic, pinot noir, Tip Top Tipple2 Comments

Red Burgundy Bottle

Main Ridge Estate Half Acre Pinot Noir 2017

The new guard is in at Main Ridge, the wines still humming; such a wonderful carriage of history and culture of this place. You could rationalise that Main Ridge are the ‘Wendouree of Mornington’, but they are of course their wholly own thing. Half Acre from 2017 has some grunt, no doubt, but structure and tension are also distinct calling cards. I love that this half acre wine is now actually one and a half acres, though…

Dark cherry, whiffs of char, maraschino, strong violet floral character, faint clove. Heady and potent perfume. All dark and brooding in palate, sheath of lightly-smoky, suede tannin, inward concentration of cocoa-dipped dark cherry and a curl of briary, earthy, savouriness. The finish unfurls into a plume of sweet-sour fruit, warm nuttiness and light character of salted liquorice. Texture is beautiful with the heft under control, and the general feel of power yet finesse is all there. A superb expression.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 13.5%
Price : $90
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2030
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Posted in Mornington Peninsula, pinot noir0 Comments

Bernhard Huber Alte Reben Spatburgunder 2014

Bernhard Huber Alte Reben Spatburgunder 2014

Baden is the turf, Bernhard Huber the producer, the vines ‘old'(ish). Pinot noir from Germany is one of the trends on the rise, if you follow the fancy haircuts of Sommelier Land for what’s The Next Big Thing. I’m getting down with German pinot.

Sleek, spicy, herb-laced red of light cherry fruitiness, pepper drift, sluice of botanical-tangy acidity. I like it. Feels refreshing and compact across the palate, leaner flavours but wholly delicious and seriously pretty. I love this feel. And the spice, spice, spice. Shows off the restraint of pinot noir fruit but delivers a big hit of fine detail. Finesse and freshness. Something to savour, something to gulp. You know the drill.

Importer: Cellarhand

 



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $95
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2019 - 2024


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Posted in Germany, pinot noir3 Comments

Wines By KT Peglidis Watervale Riesling 2018

Wines By KT Peglidis Watervale Riesling 2018

The DNA strands of Watervale swirl between Peglidis and Churinga vineyard wines from Wines by KT, always rendered with texture and personality in mind. The 2018 releases feel a little easier access, though cellaring will be a charm regardless.

Has that almost slurpy, mouth-watering texture, if you get the gist. Drizzles across the palate with juicy, pulpy mixed citrus, tonic water, juniper and a lick of steely-mineral character. Plenty of detail in the wine but you feel overwhelmed by its ease of drinking and sense of general ‘deliciousness’. I like the light pucker that rolls through the finish too; that’s a delight. A hard one to put down.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2028+
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Posted in Clare Valley, riesling, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value0 Comments

KT Churinga

Wines by KT Churinga Watervale Riesling 2018

Small batch, ultra-high quality, personality imbued wines from Clare Valley doyenne (too young for that title!) Kerri Thompson. Or something like that. Always such a pleasure looking (tasting/drinking) these wines. More texture and character than most Clare stalwarts, the KT wines are carving their own totems. Great stuff.

Lovely sour-green apple characters through palate with the squeak of chewy phenolic grip expected, a squirt of quince juice, a scattering of pulverised granite mixed through sweet lime to finish. Yummo. The perfume is all that, floral, fragrant, citrusy, stoney, a cavalcade of the stuff and grand in its way. I like this as a younger drinking wine without the tension of 16/17, but all the better for it to rip into.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2030+
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Posted in Clare Valley, riesling, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value2 Comments

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Von Hovel Scharzhofberger GG Riesling 2016

Unusual way of reviewing at times, but here’s the 2016 after the 2017 has been reviewed. Good oh! Quality producer, vineyard and GG designate. A potent combo.

Not quite the velocity of other GG wines from 2016 but there’s plenty of concentration, limey-green apple freshness, floral character and the hallmark waxy-honeycomb undertow that lends detail and extra in texture. It’s mouthwatering at the same time as having some good width and weight, a comely combination of freshness, fruit character and non-fruit, mineral-like characters. A winner.

Importer: Heart & Soil



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 10.5%
Price : $140
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2019 - 2030


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Posted in Germany, riesling0 Comments

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Giant Steps Tosq Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

Giant Steps via Central Otago? Giant Leaps, though Tasmania is under their charter now too of course. Produced at Maude winery with guidance from Steve Flamsteed. It’s 100% whole bunch, which is a bit wild for Central Otago. Tosq is also an organic (certified) vineyard, as is Maude production, as is Giant Steps winery, so organic appears on label with force.

Peppery/brambly characters seasoning ripe red cherry fruit – a pretty start. Lots of scent. Bright flavours, pretty here too, satiny texture with cool red cherry fruit characters, lick of cranberry, splash of tangy pomegranate, lively feel and a creep of firm tannins for shape. A vibrant and lifted CO pinot. It’s amazing how outsiders interpret the region and seem to excel. Really lovely wine, is the message anyway.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 13.5%
Price : $75
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2028
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Posted in Central Otago, organic, pinot noir0 Comments

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Giant Steps Clay Ferment Ocarina Chardonnay 2018

Produced in ceramic eggs. Fruit is sourced from three vineyards under the care of Giant Steps. More imagination and execution from Steve Flamsteed and team, a near indefatigable force. This wine hangs out in egg from harvest to after winter, then is pretty much decanted into bottle with nothing added aside a splash of sulphur.

Textural white of high interest and compelling drinkability – light chalkiness, faint stoney characters meshed to green apple, ripe citrus and white chocolate notes. So much going on. The wine slips over the palate with ease, finds some good concentration of flavour, delivers inherent freshness. Dials up the chardonnay fruit character yet holds such essential purity then, again, that texture is such a charm and so unique. A wonderful expression. I’m in.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $55
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2030
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Posted in chardonnay, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value, Yarra Valley0 Comments

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Mica Pino 2018

From Gibbston Valley in Central Otago, a co-op project between Jo Perry (Dormilona) and Tamrah Washington (Seresin).

Tangy, spicy, red cherry-orientated fruit characters. Succulent, sour tang to taste, spice and silk. Good length, intensity, chew and crunch. A touch tart but the gist is CO pinot with some class. Has that skeletal, on the edge Gibbston Valley quality which some will pass on, but others get the gist of. Great to see new characters in the fray regardless.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 13.5%
Price : $55
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2026
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Posted in Central Otago, pinot noir1 Comment

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Mica Dejo 2018

Ferguson Valley verdejo, made in qvevri with four months on skins before being pressed off. No sulphur added to this wine. A new project from uber talent Jo Perry of Dormilona, Margaret River fame.

Floral and green gauge notes, faint mezcal and cucumber, green citrus fruit scents, white pepper. Squeaky textured and doused in pepper with citrusy fruit flavour underlying. Tight, chewy, punchy, skeletal wine, but with heaps of character in the mix. Charisma plus and worth the entry fee.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 11.5%
Price : $30
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2023
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Posted in orange wine, other whites, preservative free, Western Australia0 Comments

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Mica Tino 2018

New wine project from Dormilona (Margaret River) and Jo Perry. This one comes from the Carpe Diem vineyard. “I wanted to make pinot noir, I tried to make it in Tasmania, so I called up a friend in NZ and she said ‘yeah let’s do it’ (the friend is Tamrah Washington), and the project was born. This is of course not pinot noir, it is vermentino from Margaret River, and it spent some time on skins, on lees, and generally just building interest into the wine.

Light and yet textural, squirts of vermouth-like herb and botanical characters, juniper even, tang of citrus, lightly lemony to finish. Fine chalky texture, pure, drives well. Fine and frisky, precise. Lovely drink. Get amongst it.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 11%
Price : $30
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2022
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Posted in Margaret River, other whites0 Comments

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Chateau Pato D.J.P. Shiraz 2017


Malt and clove oak over strawberry and raspberry fruit character, a touch of dark chocolate. The palate shows medium weight with ripe-dark berry and plummy fruit flavours, a strong layer of malty oak, chewy tannins to close. A heftier rendition of Hunter shiraz but should service an audience well and balance is good.



Tasted : NOV18
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $40
Closure : Screwcap


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Posted in Hunter Valley, shiraz et al4 Comments

Briar Ridge Vineyard Stockhausen Shiraz 2017

Briar Ridge Vineyard Stockhausen Shiraz 2017


Sweet-sour fruit scents with wet herb, grassy notes, a touch of malty oak. The palate is quite stern, tart with sherbetty acidity, shows some good sour cherry fruit character and just on medium weight, but feels a bit unresolved right now and malty oak is a feature again. A bit short and shrill to close, but the gist is pretty good and you can see it maturing well.



Tasted : NOV18
Alcohol : 14%
Price : $28
Closure : Screwcap
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Posted in Hunter Valley, semillon et al0 Comments

Briar Ridge Vineyard Stockhausen Shiraz 2017

Briar Ridge Vineyard Dairy Hill Shiraz 2017


Red berry fruit meets some swampy, stewed fruit characters with some wet herb and sea spray following in. The palate is relatively washy, soft, diffuse in flavour, shows some sour-sweet cherry fruit character and whips away on spice and tart acidity. It’s not quite holding the shape of a young wine, and feels a little over-under in its ‘cooking’.



Tasted : NOV18
Alcohol : 13.8%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap
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Posted in Hunter Valley, semillon et al6 Comments

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Audrey Wilkinson Shiraz 2017


Svelte, succulent red of sweet fruit intensity, herbal detail, spice, elegant tannin profile. First whiff gives you sour-sweet cherry fruit, peppery spice and sweet earthy notes, and the flavours follow suit. Good stretch of flavour, vibrancy of acidity in tow. A sleek, sexy Hunter shiraz.



Tasted : NOV18
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $20
Closure : Screwcap
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Posted in Hunter Valley, shiraz et al0 Comments

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Audrey Wilkinson Winemaker’s Selection Shiraz 2017


Toasty oak notes over red berries, cherry, sour cherry, whiffs of malt and sweet earth. Pleasing, slightly rustic scent, but anchors the region and variety well. Spicy, medium weight red, again the oak notable with splintery notes over the red cherry, just ripe raspberry fruit flavours. Slender and sleek in the palate, there’s a bit of grip to close and a touch of lemony-tart tang poking out. It’s good.



Tasted : NOV18
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $40
Closure : Screwcap
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Posted in Hunter Valley, shiraz et al1 Comment

Stargazer Rada

Stargazer Rada 2018

A blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier, the newest wine from winemaker Sam Connew based out of the southern bits of Tasmania. A marriage of Pipers Brook and Coal River Valley here, however.

Yum! A powdery-textured, lightly chewy red of just shy on medium bodied. There’s a sense of vivacity and vitality here, all sour-sweet red berries and rose water scents and flavours, a bit more sweetness to taste than to sniff on, but pretty much judiciously married to the tart acidity and dusting of green pepper. It’s definitely in a spectrum. Has a gluggability to it, the only quibble the length and the lemony-sherbetty acidity that finishes the wine. I’d drink this with a little chill.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2023
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Posted in other reds, pinot noir, Tasmania0 Comments

Tupelo

Stargazer Tupelo 2018

A clever blend of gris, gewurz and riesling from clever winemaker Sam Connew. This one comes from Coal River Valley vines. Oh for more Australian, early drinking, layered wines made from blends of grapes. Such great drinking in concept, delivered well here too.

Slippery texture, glorious, ebullient perfume, good length, lots going on in the flavour zone. This is super drinking here, a wine of charisma and individuality, shapely, generous in a way, but cinches up nicely and resets on good acidity. Pear, light mandarin character, faint nutty savouriness in the bitter-nutty marzipan zone – a double act in bouquet and palate. It’s not overly serious, but serious enough, and the drinking is real good. Kudos.



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $32
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2019 - 2022
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Posted in Gewurztraminer, pinot gris/grigio, riesling, Tasmania0 Comments

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Mayer Bloody Hill Pinot Noir 2018

The ‘half price, funky shit’, describes Timo Mayer, ‘funky shit is gold, you could clean it up if you want to, but why bother, I love it”. He’s talking about reduction as ‘funky’ here. Great to see Timo’s son River in the cellar and taking on some of the duties, and he’s made some of the wines in Germany to hit Australian soil under the Mayer label. This is a pinot noir revelling in the good kind of reduction, so caveat lector/emptor. That being said, a strong contender for best value wine I have seen in years. Freakishly good.

Turned earth, wet slate, screech of tyres on bitumen quickly whipped away to dark and sour cherries, black plum. I love it. The palate is sinewy, touched up with more earth and slate characters, a slip-slide of booze-y cherries underlying, finishing tight, smoky and firm, but very long. Character, intensity and drive are writ large, it’s an incredibly serious and satisfying wine for the bucks. Big glasses and decant; drink with someone you give a shit about.

 



Tasted : FEB19
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $30
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2019 - 2028
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Posted in pinot noir, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value, Yarra Valley15 Comments

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The WINEFRONT has flourished as a wine review and information site since 2002. We believe in hard work, realistic scoring, reliability and rigorous independence. We cover Australian wine principally but we extend coverage across the wider world of wine. The hunt for the next beautiful wine knows no boundaries. 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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