(2020) A lovely take on a broadly Alsace-style Pinot Gris from the higher altitude vineyards of Orange, not that far from Sydney. There's a spiced pear compote character on the nose, ina full-coloured white wine, a touch of mineral saltiness too, all very appealing. In the mouth there is good texture despite the lowly 12.5% alcohol, a surge of pithy, dry and saline acidity, and the baked pear and lighter peach and lime fruitiness balances nicely, a touch of oak adds a gentle spice.
(2020) Apparently a blend of Shiraz and Pinot Noir is not that unsusual in certain cooler Australian regions like here in the Hunter Valley, or in Tasmania and regions of Victoria, but I'm racking my brains trying to remember if I've ever come across one before. With only 12.5% abv it is a much more delicate and refined beast than you might imagine, elegantly framed by bright acidity and brisk tannins, the sheer juiciness of the fruit is a delight, masses of edgy cherry and bittersweet blueberry with tartness and freshness to keep it agile and super-crisp, yet abundantly fruity too. Really enjoyable and well-balanced, spiciness and juiciness are the key words as well as that dark fruit character.
(2018) This eight-year-old Muscat from the Riverina region is a classic style, sweet, dark and sumptuous fruit is harvested very ripe, a little brandy added to fortify it, as in Port wine, before its long, long ageing in barrel. It is flooded with coffee, walnut and sweet, plump raisin aromas, but that lifted floral note of the Muscat is in there too. Thick and luxurious on the palate, there's loads of sweetness here, like sticky-toffee pudding in a glass, but underpinned by that sumptuous chocolate and coffee into a long finish, very nicely balance by a cherry-fresh acidity. Price for 37.5cl half bottle. Watch the video for more information.
(2017) A really fresh and original take on Viognier from the high-altitude vineyards of Orange, not far from Sydney. This is a variety that can tend towards being overblown, with too much fat, ripeness and alcohol, but harvested here at just 11.5% it's like a turbo-charged Vinho Verde. A slight spritz added to that impression, but that may just be the extreme youth of this 2017 wine, as often a touch of C°2 shows through in newly bottled aromatic whites. Beyond that, lemon sherbet and a touch of juicy yellow apricot skins onto the palate that bursts with vivacious flavour, a touch of sweetness off-setting a big lemony core of acid. Rather delicious and the low alcohol making it so easy to drink - or pair with aromatic Oriental food perhaps?
(2016) An 'icon' wine that lives up to its reputation, this was one of the wines of the trip from the 200 or so I tasted in late 2016. 5% Viognier is co-fermented with the Shiraz, giving a touch of peachiness and floral character, pretty at first, then some almost rhubarb and chestnut notes. The palate is medium bodied and so freshly juicy, lots of taut acid and tannin, but it has a certain grace, gently wrapped in its fragrance and cool mineral and sweet vanilla finish.
(2016) From very high altitude again, at 900 metres, 30% was whole bunch pressed. Beautifully fragrant nose, such delicate ripe cherry and redcurrant, but smokiness, briar, sweet damp earth and roasted chestnut. The palate is fresh and perfectly taut, with a fresh orange acid crunch.A delightful Pinot.
(2016) Lovely grapefruit and orange skin fragrance to this unusual wine, made by fermenting the grapes with their pink skins, to end up with a lovely but definitely rosé coulour. Touches of lychee and exotic perfume, the palate juicy and surprisingly delicate given the skin contact, delicious hint of creaminess before the acidity and nip of tannins adds savour.
(2016) Fermented in barrel using indigenous yeasts, this then spent a further 11 months in French oa, only 15% new. Very nice lift and juicy elegance, some of the gingery and ripe pear aromatic of the Viognier, the oak delicate. Full, but decisively crisp and lean on the palate, very juicy, the clarity is admirable.
(2016) From vineyard at 900 metres, Philip Shaw having traveled the world making wine and know what he was looking for - almost settling in Tasmania, almost in Victoria, but Orange was where they settled. Made from estate fruit, it is tight and reserved on the nose, then a rich texture though the palate profile, it is intense and taut, a hint of sweet fruit but loads of acid crunch. The oak has such a delicate character, a lanolin and buttery touch, and concentration married to finesse.
(2016) Ian Riggs is the winemaker of this terrific Semillon, described to me as "The best of the best," and bearing his initials - 'Ian Leslie Riggs'. Made in all stainless steel, pressed off the skins immediately it's a super selection of wines given extended bottle ageing. Taut minerals, wax and beeswax, the lemon rind hint of fatness. The palate has a vibrant, intense, bright and sherbet character. Great shimmering length.