Author Archives | Mikerism

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Ricca Terra Farms Bullets Before Cannonballs 2017

Tempranillo, nero d’Avola, negroamaro and lagrein – all together as one. “What we are trying to do with these is plant the varieties together and then picked all together and ferment all together”, explains the affable Ashley Ratcliff. What an amazing thing he is doing for the industrial-growing focussed Riverland. If only other followed suit, though the upswing in dollars per tonne of the conventional, agri-industrial stuff will hardly stir others into creativity. Fair enough too.

Very fragrant, medium bodied red of high drinkability and charisma. Crunchy red-black berry fruit characters, light sweetness but coupled to ultra spicy notes and a squeaky, tangy, herb-laced finish. It’s bright, flavoursome and easy to drink – good fun, but with a serious undertow in the complexity stakes. Pizza ahoy, but also settle in.



Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 14.2%
Price : $22.50
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2020
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Posted in other reds, Riverland, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value3 Comments

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Ricca Terra Farms The Marathon Man 2017

Cabernet, merlot and a little bit of durif. Aiming to produce a wine of some impact and flavour. Those in the know know that Ashley Ratcliff, viticulturist and now producer of this own wine label, is a very enthusiastic long distance runner. Maybe also an homage to the mid 70s Dustin Hoffman flick too, but I didn’t ask. Middle of the pack for Dustin Hoffman’s body of work anyway. It all went down hill after Tootsie, and of course, I will stand by my opinion that he was appalling in Rain Man.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 14%
Price : $30
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2022
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Posted in cabernet et al, merlot et al, other reds, Riverland2 Comments

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Ricca Terra First & Final 2017

This is the first and final time this wine will exist, and ongoing, that is the gist of the wine label – the gist is, the label will house a one-off of each vintage. Geddit? “So I thought this year refosco by the Chalmers family, with nero d’avola, montepulciano and lagrein would be good”, says viti-vini Ashley Ratcliff. The fruit is co-fermented. Bonza.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13.5%
Price : $30
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2020
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Posted in other reds, Riverland0 Comments

Gentle Folk Clouds Riesling 2017

A new release wine from Gentle Folk and Gareth Belton. From Scary Gully Vineyard. Whole bunch pressed and fermented in tank before being put into barrel. Lo-fi stuff done good. This wine blew me out of the water. Exciting, diverse expression. Tasted on a rainy afternoon on a wet deck overlooking a small creek in Basket Range. Bucolic setting.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 12%
Price : $40
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2018 - 2023
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Posted in Adelaide Hills, natural wine, organic, riesling, Tip Top Tipple1 Comment

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Gentle Folk Forest Range Chardonnay 2017

The vineyard is in the (S)car(e)y Gully parish. Chardonnay. Twelve months in old barrel, left in barrel. Racked into tank to finish. Gareth Belton really fine tuning the winemaking and viticulture with latest releases, and resulting wines are testimony. Chardonnays are outstanding.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $50
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2018 - 2023
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Posted in Adelaide Hills, chardonnay, natural wine, organic, Tip Top Tipple2 Comments

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Domaine de Montbourgeau Cuvee Spéciale 2012

One of those Jura producers that seems to get overlooked for the Instagrammable ones, and by virtue of that, leaves us, the righteous, opportunity to access the wines! Hurrah! I often visit my friend Phillipe who runs Essencia, one of the world’s great cheese shops, and a generational cheese guy, and he always has Montbourgeau on hand. In the know. Meanwhile, sustainable farming is the ticket here, as is 20 to 90 year old vines. It is chardonnay that matures for four years, on lees, under a yeast flor. And so fresh out of these bottles. Amazing.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $69
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2018 - 2030+


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Posted in chardonnay, Jura, organic, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value16 Comments

Domaine de l'a

Domaine de l’A 2012

It is mostly merlot and some cabernet franc, with vines pushing towards 60 years of age and organic farmed. Vigneron family Derenoncourt keep things pretty small and controlled, a boutique/artisan expression of Bordeaux in Cotes de Castillon.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13.5%
Price : $95
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2018 - 2018
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Posted in Bordeaux, cabernet et al, merlot et al1 Comment

Adelina Shiraz Mataro

Adelina Shiraz Mataro 2017

From vines that stretch back over and up to around 100 years old. The fruit hangs out in old barrels and concrete for its maturation. Adelina quietly redefining wine styles from Clare Valley, and definitively at the top of the pack from the region. The wines, particularly the reds, pack in flavour, vitality and, importantly, fine-firm fruit tannin profile, where many from the region rely on heft, oak, ripe fruit for their character, which is fine, but at times clumsy. Anyways. Off the little soapbox.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 14%
Price : $27
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2025
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Posted in Clare Valley, mourvedre et al, shiraz et al6 Comments

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Koerner Mammolo Sciaccarello 2017

By the Koerner brothers, from the unusual Corsican grape variety sciaccarello, made in a light, rose-like style, from a vineyard named Vivian. Puts me in mind of:

Vyvyan: I must be hallucinating. What’s a good thing for a hangover?

Mike: Drinking heavily the night before.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13.1%
Price : $40
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2018 - 2020
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Posted in Clare Valley, other reds, Rose2 Comments

Moric Reserve Blau

Moric Blaufränkisch Reserve 2015

One of the great winemakers of Austria, from Burgenland, from older vines and born from biodynamic farming. Roland Velich, vigneron, is perpetuating a grand cru culture around his wines. This Reserve shows a little extra heft than expected, but it’s in the vein of elegance and finesse expected from this producer.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 14%
Price : $81
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2018 - 2025


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Posted in Austria, biodynamic, other reds0 Comments

Jérôme Prévost La Closerie Les Béguines Champagne 2015

Jérôme Prévost La Closerie Les Béguines Champagne 2015

My favourite Champagne, so take that as a caveat, and the bottle was shared through the extended family for pa pa’s significant birthday today. To add to the complexity, I bought three bottles in Australia, but this one was from Switzerland, as the price at Globus was just too darn appealing. Single, small site, organic farmed, pinot meunier, no additions, low yield, dry. Produced every single year. It’s the anti-Champagne Champagne, and so darn (vinous) and good. The 2015 (LC15 on bottle) is very lean and racy.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $180
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2018 - 2028


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Posted in Champagne, organic, other reds, Sparkling, Tip Top Tipple3 Comments

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Roberto Voerzio Barbera d’Alba Il Cerreto 2015

Roberto Voerzio is a fancier of barbera, even going to the extent to replant, at high density, some of his prized land. This is very low yielding too (a kilogram or less per plant) and made only with stainless steel maturation. It’s a glug-a-minute kind of vibe.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $68
Closure : Cork
Drink : 2018 - 2024


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Posted in Italy, other reds3 Comments

Latta Moonambel Quartz Bianco Non Dos 2017

Latta Moonambel Quartz Bianco Non Dos 2017

Serious yet vibrant/delicious sauvignon blanc from a single site, picked over several weeks, pressed and then all matured on lees for ten months. No additives aside very small sulphur addition (15 ppm, for number crunchers), and my word this is fresh feeling and taut. More beautiful wine from Owen Latta, and more, again, reflective of just how darn talented he is (and how evidently good his vineyard sources are).

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 12.5%
Price : $32
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2024
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Posted in Pyrenees, sauv blanc et al, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value2 Comments

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Cobaw Ridge Il Pinko Rose 2017

Produced from syrah from Cobaw Ridge’s biodynamic estate, it’s raised in both old oak and qvevri (amphora). It’s a serious rendition of the allegedly frivolous wine style of rose. Indeed, this is one that drinks a charm ice cold, but just as well approaching ‘room temperature’.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 11.5%
Price : $36
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2018 - 2020
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Posted in biodynamic, Macedon Ranges, organic, Rose, syrah, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value3 Comments

Proud Primary Produce Yarra Valley Syrah 2017

Syrah from 1000 Candles tended and made by Stu Proud, one of the great, avant garde ‘slashies’ in viti-cum-winemaker. This is 100% whole bunch. Stellar wine here.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $45
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2018 - 2030
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Posted in syrah, Yarra Valley0 Comments

Proud Primary Produce Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2017

I assume this wine has a cuvee name, but I didn’t get that details from Stu Proud when sitting opposite him last week. Good fella growing good grapes and now having a hand in the winemaking stakes from 1000 Candles vineyard, his charge.

Floral-esque perfume, roses and violets, then the cavalcade of red cherries, pomegranate, whiffs of cherry cola, musk. Smells of lots, nicely. The palate is sleek and juicy, ultra-fresh feeling, fine, with silty tannins, finishes off with twist of pucker and great, pippy freshness. Light, detailed, pristine, wickedly good wine.



Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $45
Closure : Diam
Drink : 2018 - 2023
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Posted in pinot noir, Yarra Valley0 Comments

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Two Tonne Tasmania The Wolf Pinot Noir 2017

If you’re into the Ricky ‘Bobby’ Evans collection of wines, here’s a new one. If you’re into really good Australian (Tasmanian, Tamar Valley) pinot noir, here’s a new one. This is the 100% whole bunch component of Dog & Wolf Pinot Noir, isolated as it stood out for young, sexy Evans, and he likely wanted a fancier priced wine so hey why not this. At $75, for me, in the idiom of Australian (Tasmanian) pinot noir, it sits well. It’s very good wine. 

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13.5%
Price : $75
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2030
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Posted in pinot noir, Tasmania1 Comment

Two Tonne Tasmania Dog & Wolf Pinot Noir 2017

Two Tonne Tasmania Dog & Wolf Pinot Noir 2017

Two parcels, first one picked a little earlier and 40% whole bunch. The other component is 100% whole bunch. Winemaker Ricky Evans is quietly going about planting and growing his own vineyard site – could cause bedlam when it reaches maturity if he is working at this pace. I don’t want him to come home to a red carpet and bigger head than usual (joking, Ricky Bobby), but cripes, his form so far with these wines is outstanding. It’s wonderful to see producers like him, Holyman, Mewstone, Stefano Lubiana and Dr Edge working to more savoury, tannin shaped wines amongst many pinot noir iterations more ripe/sweet/Otago-esque and come hither from Tasmania.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $50
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2030
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Posted in pinot noir, Tasmania, Tip Top Tipple, Top Value26 Comments

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Altamont Wine Studio Basket Rouge 2016

A box arrived at my front door (not office) and I couldn’t find any details included (I usually don’t look, preferring to be emailed, but hey), including no RRPs. Google Altamont Wine Studio and some back dated pages in top search results mention winemaker Brendon Keys, the back of the label says ‘Wines by Michael Sawyer’, and the website that tries hard to impress a coolness on readers about rock n roll and other ephemera says little info on (Adelaide Hills) vineyard or winemaking, indeed little about the wines at all. Oh well. It’s ticking status signalling, en vogue, of the moment boxes of ‘cool’ labels, something from Basket Range, and of course, this shouty missive – “PREMIUM VINEYARD SITES IN THE ADELAIDE HILLS HUSBAND TO RESPECTFULLY NATURAL WINEMAKING WITH EDGY INFLUENCES”. Sigh.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2020
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Posted in Adelaide Hills, other reds0 Comments

HolmOakPN

Holm Oak Pinot Noir 2017

Tamar Valley pinot noir here. Holm Oak a good grower-producer too. This has plenty of Tasmania’s pinot ‘richness’ though from 2017 cuts a lither shape.

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Tasted : JUN18
Alcohol : 13%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2018 - 2023
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Posted in pinot noir, Tasmania2 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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