(2023) A rare beast, a tawny Port blended from wines matured for five decades in oak casks, a collector’s edition released in very limited quantities. A dark tany/caramel in colour, the nose is resinous and deep, polished wood, meatiness of umami, plus clove and cinammon spices. In the mouth, extraordinary raisiny intensity, marmalade and mollases coating prune, and yet intense angelica brilliance too. Plenty of acidity against the chocolate richness of the finish.
(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.
(2022) This Shiraz was harvested in the last week of February, at the same time as 2019's Riesling. Fermentation included 20% whole bunches, and the wine was matured in second and third use barrels for a total of 18 months. Vivid crimson in colour, there's a fabulously peppery aromatic, with loads of violet too, and charming blueberry and plum depth of fruit. A really attractive cooler climate style. In the mouth there's abundant sweet black fruit, quite glossy and ripe, but with a cherry skin grip of more tart fruit that gives an edge. The cedary barrel component adds more grip, as does a firm tannin quality and plenty of acid grip. The finishing impression is of freshness in among the more succulent fruit characters.
(2022) From an excellent vintage, the Art Series Chardonnay is fermented in 100% new French oak barriques, with a percentage of whole bunches in the mix. The wine is blended after 11 months in barrel. Despite that significant oak treatment, this has a gentle mealiness and creamy almond quality rather than anything overtly toasty. It seems a tad more precise than the previous vintage. There is a little buttery Brazil nut beneath, but also a certain coolness to the fruit, a hint of tangerine to peach and ripe pear. In the mouth it is medium-bodied and has very good freshness, the acid sparky and streaked with lime, that cuts through more buttery and tropical fruit flavours. Again there's salinity, and that plus the zesty citrus gives this fine definition, with a bit of grip too.
(2022) In a mild year, the Riesling harvest began on February 22nd and was completed within a week. A selection of the best parcels was chosen for this bottling, which saw minimal time on lees after fermentation in steel. Delicately floral and fresh on the nose, there is lime and blossom, but a gentle character from the outset. In the mouth it is a wine of great running mountain stream clarity, all about lemon and sharp apple flavours, a fine salty edge to the acidity in a long finish that ripples with lemon juice zestiness.
(2021) Colour-wise, back to that slightly softer red like the 2012. Aromatically this is quite fruit and fragrance-driven, with cherry and blackcurrant, a hint of brighter raspberry and leafy/floral spices, the verdant touch of the Cabernet evident. In the mouth a real welterweight of fruit and substance, loads of fat textured fruit, but then dusty, fine tannins sweep through, tangy fruit-skin acidity and savoury dryness, and masses of spice into the finish. Available in-bond as a three-pack at time of review, approximate single bottle price quoted.
(2021) What a lovely wine this is from Villa Maria, from a vineyard planted in 1999, the nose is not shy of almond and oatmeal creamy oak, but the definite flinty character is well judged against grapefruit and more tropical, peachy fruit. On the palate racing acidity scythes a path through the buttery and nutty oak and the intense concentration of fruit. Glittering and concentrated stuff.
(2021) From Blewitt Springs, arguably the home of the new wave Grenache movement. From vines planted in 1952 in deep sandy soils, open-topped fermenters then aged in the lees in tank for 12 months. Very pure, very direct fruit, combining red and black fruits, a background of firm, leafy green herbs. Super-juicy on the palate, still with a good mouthfeel but great alacrity, keen fruit, elegant and edged by fine, sandy tannins and pert acidity. So drinkable.
(2021) From sandy soils with clay, vinified in open-topped fermenters with 20% whole bunches, it spend time maturing in large, old oak barrels. Soaring creamy aromatics here, real eucalyptus lift and floral notes, very distinctive with a sprinkle of pepper. In the mouth it has rich texture and quite a solid, concentrated feel, and yet the finish is bright and focused, good structural components and long.
(2020) Fruit for this wine comes from just 820 "gnarly, very old bush vines," planted in 1889. Winemaker Kevin Glastonbury says that despite now being more than 130 years old, the vines continue to produce small quantities of exceptional grapes. The vineyard has deep sandy soils with red clay layers and the vines draw moisture from the underlying clay. Wild yeast starts the fermentation process and the wine spends fully 41 days on the skins. There must be minimal extraction used however, as it has such a pale and transparent colour, and such a gentle nose, walnut and coffee cake, autumnal dry leaves and soft red berry fruit. It is very charming. In the mouth that cranberry and redcurrant fruit continues, but it is really quite delicate with lacey tannins and gently insistent acidity, giving this lots of elegance and prettiness, but with a freshness and little hint of biting austerity too. Lovely. Kevin describes it as 'still a baby', with the ability to age for several years. Price and stockist at time of review is for the previous vintage.