(2021) Very different here, a more classical and structured style from vineyards close to False Bay and 20-year-old bush vines. From cooler south-facing slopes. There's a whiff of seaside iodine, some spice and meatiness and solid plum and berry fruit. Around 50% whole bunches in this wine. Very sweet, ripe fruit strikes the palate immediately, then a savoury, slightly salty biltong character, chewy but not overbearing tannins and keen, tangy acidity.
(2021) All barrel-fermented in new French oak barriques with lees stirring, followed by 11 months in barrel, 100% new Bordelais barriques. From the original 1970s plantings, the fruit absorbs the oak easily, retaining a floral edge to the perfume, cool but dense white fruit, and then a nutty, very lightly smoky barrel note comes through. In the mouth there is real substance here, a real grip with some skin-contact notes, but driving acidity of minerals and lemon pith, a lovely tension in this wine, the oak again just lying quietly beneath, and the tingle and tang of souring lemon acidity along with fresh fruit pushing the finish.
(2021) There's also 3% Malbec in the blend here, fermented in both open and closed fermenters with 20% whole bunches. The wine was run to new, one, and two-year-old barrels and after six months the various components were blended and matured in barrels for a further twelve months. Bold crimson/violet in colour. Very pure, gently lifted aromatics, cool blue-black fruit, the violet and crushed black berries and almost pot-pourri fragrance is deliciously inviting. The palate follows through precisely, staying dense and compact in terms of its sweet black fruit, medium-bodied and a racing, very refined axis of acid and taut tannin, but its a generous, smooth and ultimately very satisfying Shiraz.
(2020) Unlike the more austere examples of the Clare Valley in South Australia, this Western Australian wine has a gentler acid profile and the merest, softening nuance of sweetness too. It opens aromatically with lime, blossom and minerals, a touch of beeswax polish, but that little nod towards generosity sings on the palate, loads of freshness and there is absolutely no shortage of driving acidity, but the whole picture is balanced, tempered and approachable.
(2020) Made by Yalumba since the early 1990s, and one of the most popular wines among the Yalumba staff. There are vine components here from plantings that span the 1890s through to the 1970s, the average age of vines for the wine has been calculated as 75 years old. A hugely juicy, again leafy and earthy style, that basil or curry-leaf component is there again, and that fairly striking tart raspberry juiciness with an axis of red fruit and acid. Tannins are a little smoother than the GSM, but it still grips the finish giving that savoury appeal.
(2020) Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre is the trio of Rhône grapes on which Barossa’s reputation was partly founded. This wine was first made in 2010, and the 2016 is led by 55% Grenache (a similar blend having previously been led by Mourvèdre ). A nice, quite transparent ruby colour, there’s loads of juicy, summery fruit and spice on the nose, a little slick of vanilla smoothing things out. In the mouth there is grip here, a bit of basil and leafiness as well as a savoury fruit character, quite a creamy texture. Keen acidity and a rustic, savoury bite of tannin gives great gastronomic possibilities. This sees a mix of barrels for ageing, from barriques to large oak vats, but overall only around 15% of oak is new.
(2020) Aged in American oak barrriques, but long seasoned, "which gives less of the mocha character," according to Damien. Gamy, wild berries, some deep, deep blackcurrant and a nice floral lift too. So juicy, fresh, grippy and dry, fine but sandy tannins, endive and liquorice oak, the texture juicy but with a bit of grip. Price and stockist are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2020) Elston is a single vineyard, and this is 100% barrel fermented, with 100% malolactic fermentation. Creamy, oatmeal and a touch of vanilla, but the lemon and gentle peach flavours, grapefruit and mandarin orange acid is assertive but generous into a long finish. Substantial and yet elegant. Available from quoted stockist at time of review, by the six-bottle case.
(2019) What a great example of how Margaret River is helping to redefine Austalian Chardonnay. Whole-bunch pressed, fermented in French oak with natural yeasts, and matured in a combination of small and large French oak barrels for nine months. It opens with a whiff of flint and gunpowder over ripe peach and pear, just a touch of creamy oak too. In the mouth it is sweet-fruited and intense, but there is great clarity and drive here too, the acid nicely judged and a taut precision to the finish. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2019) Brolio means ‘Clos’ in the local dialect, this is a single vineyard IGT Veronese wine. Same blend as Toar, and a small production. More ripeness and richness compared to the Toar, with 30% dried Corvina and 24 months in 600 litre casks giving both meatiness and openness, the initial hit of sweet plum and cherry fruit giving way to lovey acidity and firm tannic structure.