(2022) A pale and rather lovely Provence blend of Grenache,  Cinsault and Syrah, this is all fragrant, light berries, watercolour paint and a touch of watermelon. The palate is bone dry and wonderfully brisk and racy, the small, firm, red berry fruits running into rosy red apple and lemon acidity thatnisbdecisive without bein
(2022) Yalumba don't make many mistakes, and this inexpensive Provence-style pink made from Sangiovese proves that point. Quite delicate but pretty and pert red fruit with a sherbetty lift. The palate balances sweet fruit ripeness and a fresh, rippling acidity, leading to a balanced, dry finish. Very sippable.
(2022) Louise Rose's flagship Viognier was harvested over a two week period, presumably to balance acidity and the unctuous ripeness Viognier can achieve. That's done ever so successfully in this 13% abv wine, which spent 10 months in French oak. It is rich, the nose crammed with white flower and apricot notes, a creamy almond oak quality beneath. The palate has such lovely weight, textured and full, succulent with ripe, ripe fruit, orange acidity adding lovely tang and brightness. It's a wine that risks overloading the senses, but thankfully never does thanks to its precision and refinement.
(2022) 27-year-old vines on top soil over a bed of gravel, extending to clay. 94% is Cabernet Sauvignon, with 4% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. A small proportion was wild fermented and the wine stayed in barrel for fully 20 months, all new French Oak. The oldest wine in this small selection, showing minimal colour development. Lots and lots of graphite and cigar-box, a very firm and taut blackcurrant fruit, again those small herbaceous notes adding interest. In a similar vein to the Cape Mentelle, the sweet ripeness of fruit striking the palate is surprising, a mouth-filling succulence, but very classy and elegant support from tight, creamy oak tannins, keen and slightly saline acidity, and a long and very pure finish of spice, fruit and freshening acidity.
(2022) The blend includes Petit Verdot 8% and Malbec 2%, 20 - 40 years old grown on well-drained gravel loam soils. A small proportion saw carbonic maceration, and the wine was aged in French oak barriques (44% new) for 18 months. A year since I last tasted this, and the impression is much the same: lifted and fragrent, the olive/tapenade hint of the herbal adds a smoky savouriness to the sweet and solid black fruit. On the palate a tongue-coating raft of thick black fruit and creamy tannin, smokier barrel components combining with brighter cherry acid for a long, fruit and acid-driven finish.
(2022) Vines here were planted in 1978 amd 1995, 94% Cabernet and the balance Merlot, planted on free-draining gravel over clay. The wine was in French oak barrels for 17 months, 50% new. A year older than the Xanadu Black label also tasted, and visible softer and lighter on the rim. Lovely nose, a hint of briar and herbs over ripe and succulent black fruit. Tiny lift of menthol. Sweet and plush fruit on the palate, a thick blackcurrant ripeness, but the creamy and toasty oak underpinning is offset by firm, fine tannin and juicy acidity for a very satisfying and balanced wine.
(2022) From vines with an average age of 25 years grown on predominantly gravel soils. There's 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec in the blend and the wine spent 14 months in French oak, 40% new barrels. It's a rich, deep, cherry- and blackcurrant-scented wine, with a definite, firm herbal and cedary edge. In the mouth quite buoyant and ripe black and red fruits, a lean spine of acid and fine tannins, leaving it fresh and quite racy on the finish.
(2022) Another label from the seemingly ubiquitous Hill-Smith family, this is from Western Australia, far from their Eden Valley homeland. It's an ocean-influenced Margaret River wine, around half of the blend aged in oak. Bold crimson/purple in colour, the nose has gravel and spice over savoury cherry and plum, a little bit of olive or green pepper in there for sure. In the mouth plenty of plush, deep-set chocolaty fruit, very sweet and ripe with quite fine tannins add a little sandy grain on the finish, that slightly green aspect adding to the sense of freshness. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2022) Nero d'Avola is the signature red wine grape of the Italian island of Sicily, but it has been increasing in popularity world-wide, including in Australia. This is a lovely example from McPherson Wines' Italianate range, Bella Luna, which sees some oak but is very much fruit-forward. It bursts with blackberry and cherry juiciness and aromatics, touches of floral character too, before a flood of fruit on the palate. There is silkiness and depth, but always a nice bright fruit and acid profile along with modest tannins to make for an easy drinking, but classy mouthful of wine. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2022) There's 3% Malbec in the blend too, in a wine from a top vintage for Margaret River, with a long, rain-free autumn allowing for slow, full ripening. The Art Series comes from selected parcels of fruit, the wine spening fully 22 months in barrel before bottling. Dark, saturated and dense in both colour and aroma, there's loads of spice and cedar, and a core of pure blackcurrant. In the mouth the creaminess of the texture impresses first, with a supple flood of black fruit that is ripe, fleshy and sweet. Mocha coffee and dark, roasted spices add a lot of depth and drama, then the finish picks up much more of the grippy, but fine tannin and a rasp of refreshing plum-skin tart acidity. Long and very pure in the finish, with cellaring potential.