(2021) Hollick is one of the great names of the Coonawarra region of South Australia, famed mostly for its distinctive 'terra rossa' soils and Cabernet Sauvignon in particular. This is a wine that underwent an almost miraculous transformation with a little air and a little time: on first pouring a tasting sample there was a dustiness and rawness on the nose, some cedar and a suggestion of eucalyptus, but it felt shy on fruit. However, I suggest decanting this wine for a good couple of hours before drinking, as returning to it next day the fruit was much more to the fore, plum and cassis, sweet fruit building on the mid-palate. After initial misgiving, the wine seemed to blossom and become more smooth and fleshy. In the end, a very pleasing bottle. Note the stockist quoted has this on offer at £9.99 at time of review. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Marching to a different beat here, a wine made in stainless steel that sees no oak. Certified organic, plantings range from 1987 to early 1990s, on free-draining stony loam soils and black clay. Very vibrant purple in colour, the youth of this is obvious and it will need a little time: at the moment it is slightly closed and a touch reduced, but with coaxing some bold black fruit does come through. There's a chalkiness to this in the finish, the tannins dry and the acidity quite keen, but the fruit on the mid-palate is indeed pure, black and sweetly ripe. Maybe just a touch of noticeable alcohol heat in the finish. Note that price and stockist quoted are for a previous vintage at time of review.
(2021) A biodynamic certified wine from sandy loam soils, with limestone and clay. Average age of vines here is 30 years and the wine matured for 16 months in French oak barriques, 15% new. A very dark and deeply-coloured wine, it's another vinous expression, all liquorice twsited around black plum and blue/black berries. A little creamy oak supports. In the mouth this is a big wine. Powerfully structured with thick tannins and just enough plum-skin acidity, the density and polish of the dark fruit floods the palate. This is concentrated and certainly a bit of a blockbuster. No UK retail stockists listed at time of review.
(2021) From various soils including clay, sandy loam, red-brown earth and sand over limestone, part of the blend includes fruit from 100-year-old vines. The wine spent 17 months in French oak barrels, 35% new, of varying sizes. Vinous, dark, fragrant, with blackberry and plum, a suggestion of real ripeness and sweetness on the nose. Refined oak aromas. The palate has lovely weight and plushness of texture, but an elegant mix of sandy tannin and pert, juicy acidity slices through a more opulent mid-palate, giving this lovely overall appeal.
(2021) Made using organic practices, this comes from terra rossa soils (ferrous loam) over clay over limestone and spent 16 months in older French oak barriques. Deeper and more dense than the Hunter's, with more of a black fruit character. As well as that sweet and plush black fruit, some exotic spice. On the palate, a much more tannic wine, with raised acidity too to give structure and backbone to the quite meaty, thick dark fruit.
(2021) A blend of fruit from the Taylor family's vineyards in the Clare Valley and from the Limestone Coast. There's a plummy character on the nose, a little wisp of something herby and lifted too. The full-on sweetness and chocolate density of the wine surprises as it hits the palate, a mocha coffee raft of black fruit flavours, super-ripe and mouth-filling. Plush is the word for this wine, with its creamy and generous tannins and acids, it's for immediate pleasure I'd say, as long as you like that uncompromisingly ripe and large-scaled style.
(2021) It's so easy to overlook the very familiar brands, on the basis that by their very nature they are consistent, so tasting vintage after vintage is a bit of a waste of time. Indeed I see from my database that the last vintage I reviewed of the Sauvignon Blanc from Oxford Landing was 2001. I don't recall it having only 10.5% alcohol, so without a doubt the recipe has changed in 20 years. It's a wine with very decent southern hemisphere Sauvignon characteristics, but is basically like quaffing lemonade: very light, passion fruit and tropical notes and a clean finish, but nothing by the way of texture or acidity to disrupt the quaffing picture. Though a very commercially 'constructed' commodity wine, it does a good job and with its low alcohol might just be a useful summer in the garden picnic or party standby. Watch the video for more information.
(2021) Barrossa-grown Tempranillo is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in oak for this red wine from the Hill-Smith family, who own Yalumba and Jansz among other brands. Though it weighs in with 14% alcohol, the colour is medium to pale, suggesting a lighter touch on the winemaking, and the nose has cherry cola aromas, a touch of wild strawberry and spice. In the mouth the fruit is super sweet, a creamy fruit coulis style, with barely perceptible tannins and ripe, generous acidity barely ruffling the flow. Easy-drinking with a captial Easy.
(2021) Ten months in a combination of American and French oak for this wine, which I'd certainly describe as classic Barossa Shiraz. That's to say it is bountiful and crammed with fruit, but it absolutely does not lack in freshness or vibrant personality. There's elegant, floral lift and raspberry brightness to sit against the creamy depth of vanilla-infused berries. In the mouth it has a racy acidity, firm, slick tannins and loads of almost mindlessly pleasurable chocolate-smoothed dark berries. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) This is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, aged 15 months French and American oak. There's something a little bit nutty on the nose here, tobacco-spicy and touch herbal that proceeds typical blackcurrant aromas of the Cabernet. On the palate a big, sweet surge of black fruit, really intense and concentrated, fruit skin bite, firm tannins and keen black plum acids in a powerhouse style, but retains excellent freshness too.