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(2019) Named in homage to Max Schubert, the Cabernet is sourced from three regions of South Australia: Wrattonbully, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra, and the wine aged in French and American oak, only around 7% new. It's a bold, luxurious style of Cabernet, fully ripe, licked with tobacco and smokiness, bursting with black fruit and yet with a hint of cedar and blueberry cool precision. In the mouth it has substantial presence with its 14.5% alcohol, no shortage of ripeness and plummy weight, but the smooth tannins and balanced cherry-skin acidity is very well handled. A fitting partner to the Max's Chardonnay. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) An Australian take on Rioja/Priorat perhaps, made from Tempranillo, Grenache and Mourvèdre, and coming from the Clare Valley. There's a dark, creamy berry and even darker liquorice note on the nose, a suggestion of real supple depth of fruit, nicely integrated oak, and succulence. A big and upfront wine, it brims with sweet but spicy and dark fruits, the sheen of velvety oak adding yet more spice and structure with its plush, fine tannins and plenty of cherry-fresh acid to balance the richness.
(2018) Quite a different vintage from the 2015 this, with more pronounced herbal, peppery and raspberry notes joining the black fruit, a little balsamic and lifted character, all very attractive in a firmer way. In the mouth the wine has the same sense of opulence and plushness, a dark, glossy pool of black fruits inviting you to dive right in, but there's a little more of an edge too, firm, liquoricy, mocha-deep, but giving a certain tangy presence. This is a slightly more savoury, structured interpretation, and again, a very successful one. This will improve further with mid-term cellaring, whilst the 2015 is irresistible now.
(2017) 54% Mourvedre with Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Shiraz. Big spicy nose, plenty of lift and charcoal, sweet fat currants and blackberry. Loads of lift. The palate has so much sweet fruit, curranty and intense, but lively freshness again, with plenty of juiciness and spice.
(2017) A more leathery character, cedar and graphite and a solidly plummy fruit. A more concentrated style with spices and fleshiness. The palate has a surging sweetness, with chocolate, cigar smoke and cream, silky tannins and juicy cherry skin bittersweet acidity.
(2017) A similar leather and cedar nose. Subtle violet notes, real dark blue-black fruit touching on damson-skin and blueberry, but still that little floral lift. There's a brighter fruit and acid character compared to the Ernest Allan, fresh, still with a touch of cocoa and sweet ripeness, but a little more energy.
(2017) Still labelled as 'The Angelus' in Australia, it's a homage to the famous wine of St Emilion. Made in all French oak, 30% new. From cooler sites in Mclaren Vale and a selection of the best vineyards. Big cassis fruit, a lovely dustiness and sense of plushness, but elegant in the finish and accurate.
(2017) High vineyards, planted on clay, dry grown. Sweet vanilla and a hint of menthol, the palate becoming very juicy, a natural feeling acidity and a lovely crispness to the acids. Savoury on the finish.
(2017) Made in open fermenters and aged in French oak. A nice spiciness and Morello cherry, with a lovely smoky and pencil shaving quality, taut black fruit coming through. Lovely ripeness and creamy, juicy black fruit into an elegant and quite lifted perfume on the finish.
(2017) d'Arenberg is the largest biodynamic grower in Australia. From a nearly extinct clone, a parent of the Reynella clone. Very low yields. Foot-trodden. Very fragrant with a touch of leafiness and really tight, fresh black fruit, lovely tobacco and a deeper cocoa and mulberry plushness. Great balance, plenty of tannin but tight and fine into a long finish. Note price and stockist quoted at time of review are for the 2011 vintage.
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