A combination of travel and launching the new wine-pages website at the end of last year meant I did not work my through as many tasting samples as usual. This selection of six wines features three that are still available at time of writing, and three that are no longer available or have moved on to a new vintage. I’ve included notes on all six wines for information or for those who may have the wines in their cellar.
Blind Spot is a project between The Wine Society and Australian winemaker Mac Forbes. As the Society’s Australian wine buyer, Sarah Knowles, explains: “Mac Forbes is the Society’s ‘man down-under’. With his enviable contact list of growers right across Australia, Mac continues to perform miracles, seeking out tanks of wine, often from friends, that The Society can have at a snip of the price and sell to members under the Blind Spot label.”
Blind Spot has been a really good range over the past few years, past highlights for me have included a delightful Rutherglen Muscat tasted in 2014 which I scored 92/100 (no longer available) and whilst nothing in this inexpensive range of table wines quite matched that for its extraordinary value for money, these are terrific wines at everyday prices, and all of them well worth your consideration.
(2016) Though this 2014 no longer available, I note the 2015 has been 'rebranded' as Pinot Grigio rather than Pinot Gris, but don't know if that signals a change in style? There's a succulent pear aroma here, a touch of blossom and a crisp, full-textured but fairly straightforward palate of gluggable fruit. Not the stand-out of this range by any means.
(2016) Another that has sadly sold out, this is a classic Margaret River blend of Semillon and Sauvingnon Blanc, where the merest glimpse of elederflower pungency is swept up in fat citrus and more tropical fruit, before a palate that lets the Sauvignon freshness, guava and lychee richness show through, set against tight, dry, apple core acidity.
(2016) I don't know if this Yarra Chardonnay is sourced from the same producer as the excellent Pinot, but it's another jolly nice, refined and intelligent wine with crisp fruit and a sheen of oatmeal, before a palate that balances a juicy orange fruit character, clean, fresh apple acidity and good texture in the mouth.
(2016) Gundagai is a cooler-climate region of New South Wales. This lightly-oaked Shiraz is deep in colour but the aromas certainly have a white pepper and cherry lift and brightness. In the mouth this is agile, fairly lean and quite grippy, very unlike a big Barrossa Shiraz, with fleetness of foot and juicy acid balance.
(2016) Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (aka Mourvèdre) is the blend in a wine that's more earthy, spicy and plummy than the Shiraz from New South Wales, with a nicely savoury but fruity palate that retains juiciness and balance thanks to the ripe tannins and good acidity. This wine has moved on to the 2014 vintage at time of writing.
(2016) This is one that is sadly sold out, but hopefully you may have a bottle or two in your cellar. It's a really good, authentic Yarra Pinot with beauitfully refined and racy raspberry and cherry, as well as proper Pinot sappiness and beetroot earthiness. Delightfully ripe and seductive on the palate too, just warmed by oak but with a dry, balanced finish.
The 2015 pinot is pretty delicious too, and the 2014 GSM is even better than the 2013 (though we say so ourselves).
Fortunately managed to bag a case of the Pinot (on a special offer too at £8.25 a bottle!) before it sold out. Surely the best value Pinot in the UK at the offer price!
Mike – you did well, very well! At £8.00 I could not argue that wasn’t the deal of the decade 🙂