(2020) Always a value for money favourite, the recipe for this entry-level Viognier in the Yalumba portfolio still involves 100% wild yeast fermentation, three months of lees ageing, but not oak. Very aromatic and pure, it has a  lovely soft downy peach and floral character, fresh but soft and summery. In the mouth there's just a hint of that nice phenolic grip, a tang of citrussy, orangy acidity and a fresh but easy-drinking finish. A lot of wine for the money really.
(2020) Yalumba released their first organic Viognier in 2006, and 14 years on this lovely wine comes from organic vineyards to the north of Adelaide, and is made with minimal intervention. There's certainly a more gastronomic, savoury and saline character here compared to the Y Series. Juicy and well-fruited, with a lovely sense of purity and the merest touch of RS just broadening the feel of the dry finish.
(2020) The first tasting notes I can find for previous vintages of this wine is for the 1999 vintage, which had 14.5% alcohol and almost 6g/l of residual sugar. I scored that wine 85/100, and noted it being "fat and, for me, overpowering (with) hot alcohol." Oh how things have changed - this wild yeast-fermented 2017 has 13.5% alcohol and just 1g/l of sugar, and is all the better for it. There's masses of peachiness and apricot fruitiness, but a lovely bittering edge too, something like grapefruit or lemon pith, or orangy angostura bitters to add an edge. Louisa also thinks this wine will cellar well.
(2020) Yalumba was the first producer of Viognier in Australia that really impressed me many years ago with a wine called 'Virgilius'. That wine will now set you back more than £30 per bottle, so I'm delighted to find this excellent example from the same region (The Eden Valley), made by the same winemaker, Louisa Rose, made with some barrel fermentation and wild yeasts, giving a similar character to its big brother. Aromas of lychee and jasmine dominate over peach and apricot, then the palate is powerful and broad, lots of grip and fruit weight and texture, a bite of graperfuit or marmalade orange bittersweet acidity into a long, intense finish. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2020) Ben Schild started his family farm in the Barossa Valley in 1952, and the current generation in charge of this family estate dedicate this wine to his memory. Coming from one dedicated parcel of the Angus Brae single vineyard, it spends 18 months in a blend of American, French and Hungarian oak barrels, and Schild estimate a 10-year drinking window for the wine. It's a big-scaled, unapolagetically Barossa style, packed with fruit and spice, the nose, a deep pool of mulberry and blackcurant, touched by coffee and woodsmoke. Great fruit sweetness as it strikes the palate, a luscious, full-flavoured wine, a little balsamic note and meat-stock richness, but then the spice and the freshness of the acidity kicks in, very creamy and fine tannins, and a long, tapering finish.
(2020) Matured for 18 months in a combination of French and American oak hogsheads, fruit comes from selected parcels of Schild's Barossa vineyards. Deep crimson in colour, plum and cherry aromas also suggest something mineral and meaty in the background. The palate has a nicely savoury, steely edge thanks to the tannins and bright, juicy acidity, so the fully ripe and sweet fruit stays fresh, a spicy tobacco touch adding another dimension to the finish.
(2020) Schild's GMS southern Rhône blend marches to quite a different beat from the two Shiraz wines tasted, given only very light oak treatment, and all about juiciness and prettiness of fruit. Significantly lighter in colour too, the aromas are buoyant with cherry, red plum, even a hint of strawberry. A little spice adds to the bouquet. In the mouth the sweet fruit is allowed free expression, smooth but relatively gentle tannins, a creamy acidity and just a polish of oak add to the long, very drinkable character of the wine.
(2019) A new release from Our Fathers, a label created by British MW Giles Cooke, with all profits going to a small number of charities that have a very personal connection to Giles and his family. The 'big brother' Our Fathers Shiraz is a cracking wine, made from a 125-year-old vineyard in the Barossa Valley, but it sells for £30 per bottle. At just £14, that same Shiraz fruit is blended with juicy Grenache to make a slightly more easy-going but delicious wine, packed with ripe plum fruit, hints of tobacco spice and chocolate, and that nutty character from the Grenache. It's silky and creamy in the mouth and the sweet fruit is so well balanced by the svelte tannins and juicy acid. Available only from the ourfathers web site, by the six-bottle case. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) long-gully-semillonIt's a common misconception that Australia is a country with a very young wine industry and, therefore, only very young vines. In fact, vines have been established for almost 200 years, and with Phyloxerra never reaching many vineyards regions it also boasts some of the oldest, still productive, vineyards in the world. The label here declares 'Ancient Vine', and that's no marketing BS: this Semillon vineyard in the Barossa Valley is an astonishing 130 years old. Made by David Franz (son of the legendary Peter Lehmann), it is unoaked, but spent 10 months on the lees in tank to build flavour and texture.


Pale lemon in colour, it opens with notes of lemon jelly and pollen, the bee theme continuing with a touch of beeswax, something a litle creamy too. On the palate it burst with vivacious flavour. There's a surge of lemon - fat and sweet rather than tart and thin - plenty more peach and citrussy, orangey flavours too, and the rich, slightly chewy texture adds to the intrigue. The natural concentration of these old vines is apparent, the intensity never letting up into a long finish, that flits with sweetness, but indeed finishes dry, licked by salt and lemons. This 2015 is listed at Harvey Nichols at time of review though not on their web site, but the 2017 has slightly wider distribution.

(2019) Don't even ask about the unusual name of this wine, but instead concentrate on a very good example of a wine in the 'orange wine' idiom, that is not too extreme and will serve both as a more gentle introduction to the style, and simply as a very nice wine. It's a blend of 66% Semillon and 34% Viognier, fermented with skin contact and aged 18 months in old barrels. The colour is an astonishing, luminous buttercup yellow, and the careful winemaking is evident: picking the Semillon a little late to avoid its sometimes herbaceous character, and the Viognier a little early to minimise it's tendency to become a little heavy and alcoholic - this has only 12.7% abv. Don't come looking for upfront fruitiness however: this has notes akin to Fino sherry on the nose, nuttiness and light kaolin, the palate dry, earthy and savoury, a bit of lemon curd and plenty of yeasty funk adding to the intrigue. A food wine for sure, watch the video for more information.