(2022) Caitlin Brown is the winemaker for this estate, which the Brown family took over in 2005, the estate having been established by David Wynn in the 1960s, a pioneer of the elevated High Eden region of the Barossa. At 550m above sea level, Mountadam is the highest estate in South Australia with harvest up to a month later than in the lower Eden and Barossa Valleys. What an absolutely delightful wine this is - especially at £10 a bottle - with its pummeled mulberry, sweet, sweet fleshy dark fruit, crack of fresh black pepper and fleeting highlights of violet. The palate has that same glorious sweet fruit abundance with some cocoa supporting, and seamless tannin and acid integration. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) So the pun is obvious and needs no explanation for wine-pages visitors, this blends old vine Shiraz with Viognier, mostly from McLaren Vale, the wine matured in French and American hogsheads for 12 months. Highly aromatic, lots of buoyant black fruit aromas and a little floral and pastille quality is very attractive. Big dry tannins, but lovely fruit here and a long finish.
(2021) Hollick is one of the great names of the Coonawarra region of South Australia, famed mostly for its distinctive 'terra rossa' soils and Cabernet Sauvignon in particular. This is a wine that underwent an almost miraculous transformation with a little air and a little time: on first pouring a tasting sample there was a dustiness and rawness on the nose, some cedar and a suggestion of eucalyptus, but it felt shy on fruit. However, I suggest decanting this wine for a good couple of hours before drinking, as returning to it next day the fruit was much more to the fore, plum and cassis, sweet fruit building on the mid-palate. After initial misgiving, the wine seemed to blossom and become more smooth and fleshy. In the end, a very pleasing bottle. Note the stockist quoted has this on offer at £9.99 at time of review. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Marching to a different beat here, a wine made in stainless steel that sees no oak. Certified organic, plantings range from 1987 to early 1990s, on free-draining stony loam soils and black clay. Very vibrant purple in colour, the youth of this is obvious and it will need a little time: at the moment it is slightly closed and a touch reduced, but with coaxing some bold black fruit does come through. There's a chalkiness to this in the finish, the tannins dry and the acidity quite keen, but the fruit on the mid-palate is indeed pure, black and sweetly ripe. Maybe just a touch of noticeable alcohol heat in the finish. Note that price and stockist quoted are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2021) A blend of fruit from the Taylor family's vineyards in the Clare Valley and from the Limestone Coast. There's a plummy character on the nose, a little wisp of something herby and lifted too. The full-on sweetness and chocolate density of the wine surprises as it hits the palate, a mocha coffee raft of black fruit flavours, super-ripe and mouth-filling. Plush is the word for this wine, with its creamy and generous tannins and acids, it's for immediate pleasure I'd say, as long as you like that uncompromisingly ripe and large-scaled style.
(2021) Ten months in a combination of American and French oak for this wine, which I'd certainly describe as classic Barossa Shiraz. That's to say it is bountiful and crammed with fruit, but it absolutely does not lack in freshness or vibrant personality. There's elegant, floral lift and raspberry brightness to sit against the creamy depth of vanilla-infused berries. In the mouth it has a racy acidity, firm, slick tannins and loads of almost mindlessly pleasurable chocolate-smoothed dark berries. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) This is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, aged 15 months French and American oak. There's something a little bit nutty on the nose here, tobacco-spicy and touch herbal that proceeds typical blackcurrant aromas of the Cabernet. On the palate a big, sweet surge of black fruit, really intense and concentrated, fruit skin bite, firm tannins and keen black plum acids in a powerhouse style, but retains excellent freshness too.
(2021) Portugal's great grape transported to South Australia, and this really emphasises floral, violet and old roses perfume of the Touriga Nacional, some buoyant red fruits and a little cinammon spice too. In the mouth substantial and creamy, lots of ripeness and juiciness, but a black fruit gloss and weight. My favourite wine of this small sample, with some substance without weight, and the balance of sweet and supple fruit, tannin and acid is excellent.
(2020) Mencia, the favourite grape of the Bierzo region in northwest Spain, is much rarer in Australia. Often associated with Italian varieties, here the Oliver family present an approachable red that is a really good expression of the variety. Like a turbo-charged Beaujolais in a way, it is crisp and juicy, packed with vivid cherry, red plum and a wisp of smoke and tobacco, there's abundant creaminess too, the palate supple and deep, but never losing that edge of energy and freshness. Unfortunately no UK stockists are listed for this limited release wine at time of review.
(2020) Part of English M.W. Giles Cooke's small not-for-profit wine range, where all proceeds go to support charities close to his heart, this is a blend of Shiraz and Grenache from Barossa and Langhorne Creek, that pours a deep crimson/violet colour with aromas soaring from the glass: all crushed raspberry and pomegranate, some spice and peppery notes too, and all very appealing. On the palate there's a glorious uncompromising sweetness of juicy, crunchy, ripe berries, some chocolaty tannin smoothly supporting and the acidity elegant and well-judged. A fabulous barbecue or winter casserole wine.