(2016) This is a Marks & Spencer exclusive, made by Torbreck with input from M&S's winemaker Belinda Kleinig. At time of review the 2014 vintage is about to change over to this 2015 in stores and online. It's a really very good white RhÃ´ne blend, with all the creamy polish, succulence and weight of these varieties, plenty of pear, apricot and nuttiness in the background, but the full and substantial weight of the palate tempered by very good acidity, a leesy bite of richness and a lingering finish.
(2015) From one of the top regions for the new-look, cooler climate-style Chardonnay in Australia, this is fermented in new, large 'hogshead' barrels with wild yeasts and spends eight months in oak. The nose has the mealiness and typically quite 'muddied' but complex aromatics of wild yeast ferment, nuts, spices, earth, before a palate showing sweet and ripe apple and melon, with a lemon rind kick of acidity and certainly some grip: alcohol is a modest 13% but this has a hint of astringency that just touches the back of the throat. An interesting and quite complex wine, though not finishing as pure and delicate as it might.
(2013) Fermented in French oak barrels, this has lovely nuttiness, a big bowl of almonds and hazelnut, with plenty of juicy apple and hints of toast, but it is direct and appealing. The palate has an alert juiciness; there's nothing cloying or overdone here, the squirting lemon juiciness of the acidity and cool apple crunch of the fruit are lovely, just a little spice and modest vanilla in the finish.
(2012) Eighty Acres is a range of wines from Wakefield, all of which are certified 'carbon neutral'. This Chardonnay and Viognier blend is typical of the Wakefield style with its modest use of oak allowing fragrant, floral Viognier notes of apricot and downy peach skins to come through on the nose, whilst the dry apple bite of the fruit and acidity on the palate is just supported by a whisper of creaminess. It does not have the longest of finishes, but it is an intelligent, dry and barely oaked style that will find fans.
(2012) The grape that made the Clare famous in the UK, not just on quality, but as the first wine region in the world to unilaterally switch to screwcap for all Riesling wines back in the '90s. This is a typically bone-dry example, which exhibits masses of lime and lemon fruit on the nose, as well as a hint of that beeswaxy mineral note. On the palate it really is dry, and has a mountain stream clarity. It perhaps lacks a little of the weight and intensity I'd like to see to elevate it to gold standard, but there's no denying the invigorating and delicious grapefruity zest of this wine.