(2019) Kicking off an impressive set of wines for Alpha Estate, this rosé has a pale, Provençal colour and character, spices, small, firm red berries and a touch of watermelon. The wine is a bleed-off from the press, of grapes destined for the 'Hedgehog' cuvée. A nice salt and bright red fruit freshness, this is long and nicely tempered, elegant stuff.
(2019) 50/50 blend of Syrah and Xinomavro, this is aged in French oak from Alliers, in this vintage 50% new. Bold and ripe fruit character, also some floral notes from the younger vines. Small red berries, sweet pot-pourri spices. Good length and a nice bit of structure here.
(2018) 100% Aglianico, this spends approximately 18 months in medium-toasted French oak, then nine more months in bottle before release. Creamy and fragrant, this is at once more open and rather softer than the single-vineyard Piano di Montevergine. Lovely graphite and bay leaf nuances over ripe black berries, touches of something more floral. In the mouth it is firm, but nowhere near the muscular extraction of the Piano di Montevergine, rather a more juicy and open fruitiness, edged by cherry-ish acidity, but then a twist of endive and liquorice shows the structure that lies within. This is long, taut, but fruity and spicy, and will have staying power too.
(2017) A small volume of Grand Vintage is held back for at least 10 years. A little bit of depth to the colour, fabulous nose with some exotic aromas among the developed, honeycomb and buttery brioche notes, a nice yeastiness. The palate has a lovely oyster shell, saline touch, but then it broadens significantly with a creamy depth of ripe fruit. Long, tight in the finish, drinking beautifully. At time of writing Justincases offers a six-pack for equivalent £49.95 per bottle.
(2017) Middle tier of the range, whole bunch fermented, partly with wild yeast, no malolcactic and 20% of new barrels. Creamy and a little restrained, a touch of almond and fat lemon and then lean and savoury onto the palate, but has lovely cream and sweet apple flesh fruitiness. Tight finish, long and poised. Note stockist and price at time of review is for a different vintage.
(2017) 75% whole bunches were used here and the nose is tight, ashy with a touch of herbal and lightly earthy character, in a nice cool climate Syrah style. Tight, juicy palate, lots of cherry flesh and skins, chunky tannins warmed by some more mellow oak, good acidity and tight and deliciously lip-smacking. Note price and stockist at time of review is for the 2014 vintage.
(2016) From some of the highest vineyards in the Hills, five separate vineyards in the Petaluma sub region. No lees stirring, 30% new oak only, 30% whole bunch-pressed. So cool and only gently creamy, a bit of the gunflint character coming through, a hint of toasty richness but the palate always just restraining its fat, lemony fruit, a hint of lusciousness, with its acidity.
(2016) From Tumburumba very close to Canberra and two vineyards, one at 300m and the other at 850m giving a diurnal shift, 40°C by day down to 12° even in summer. This sees 80% new oak and has a lovely smoky, flinty minerality, toast and a touch of lanolin and creamy apple. The palate is pristine, with beautifully fresh flavours the texture quite rich but great acidity and a vibrant finish.
(2016) A fairly standard take on Prosecco this, definitely feeling off-dry on the palate, but the easy-drinking pleasures of its icing sugar and lemon flavours make for perfect time sipping with some Chinese food.
(2012) The name Heiligenstein is derived from a medieval name, 'Hellenstein', meaning "hot as hell," with reference to the sunshine on the south-facing slopes. Beautifully clear, limpid nose of fragrant apple skins and blossom, a touch of lime and a delicate spiciness. On the palate this has such a juicy, freshly-squeezed lemon and lime clarity, and although it is tight and lean, there's lovely ripeness too. Long and elegantly framed by a mineral and citrus acidity, this is delicious, grown-up stuff.