(2022) A side project from a winemaker at Casella (Yellowtail and other brands), 60% Durif. Big, powerful aromatics, crammed with aromas that are jammy and fruity, high-toned and spicy. The sweet black fruit on the palate is plush, and there's a dollop of residual sugar too, adding to the smooth, crowd-pleasing creaminess and sweetness that this wine is all about. You'll love it or hate it.
(2022) The blend explains the name: even for the Murray River region (home to Andrew Peace wine) where everything is grown, blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo with Italian relative obscurity, Sagrantino, is indeed out of the ordinary. There's quite a mature feel to this 2020 already, mellow and autumnal berries and a touch of drying leaves on the nose, then a sweet, smooth, quite silky palate of ripe fruit. Not particularly long and the acid is a touch harsh, but interesting and decent value.
(2022) A basically alcohol-free sparkling wine made mostly from ripe Chardonnay grapes, with the alcohol removed by the 'spinning cone' process. The bubbles are modest and dissipate fairly quickly. The aromas are quite classically Chardonnay, with a slightly buttery citrus character. In the mouth lots of apple flavour, grapey, with some sweetness but a drier citrus finish. A refreshing drink for those avoiding alcohol.
(2020) The label states this is "certified 21 years old", though there's a good chance some of the components in the blend are even older. It's a fabulous fortified wine, mellowed by those two decades plus in barrels, but with a cut and orange zest brightness that is rarely found in similar European styles. There is a depth of cappucino, chocolate and rum-soaked raisins on the nose and palate, and a little volatile lift. That heart-warming fruitcake richness, sweetness and walnutty sheen of age is all there on the palate in a striking and delicious wine. Fabulous stuff, price for a 50cl bottle. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2015) Partner to the Verdelho also reviewed, this pours a medium to pale, earthy red and has autumnal, rhubarby aromas that are authentically Pinot. In the mouth it is light and spicy, though perhaps a little thin, a little lacking in fruit weight and texture. A reasonable rendition of Pinot, but not a great one. 83/00,
(2010) 13.5%, South-East Australia, Screwcap. Pleasantly buttery and creamy nose, a touch of nutty Cox's pippin fruit. The palate has a touch of sweetness, but flavour drops away quickly into a slightly watery finish.
(2010) 14.0%, Screwcap. Smoky, spicy nose, with a slightly too developed character, but some black fruit is in there. On the palate this has soft fruit and more spice, and offers quite a decent mouthful of wine at the price, with a bit of length too. Don't hang around to drink it though.
(2009) This Champagne method fizz from South Eastern Australia is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a dash of Shiraz for colour. It scooped a bronze at this year's International Wine Challenge, which given it was the least expensive wine in its category was quite a coup. It has a peach down and strawberry softness on the nose, with a lively, creamy mousse onto the palate, where a touch of residual sugar flatters the soft, creamy, strawberry and red cherry notes of the fruit. The acidity is balanced into a gentle, easy drinking finish.
(2008) For me, easily the best of the small range I sampled, and one I could recommend for the barbie or parties this summer. It is a moderately large wine with 13.5% alcohol (though it may well have started life with more - Australia's larger producers are increasingly lowering alcohol during winemaking using a variety of high-tech methods), that has a deep crimson colour and buoyant, bright nose of crunchy red and black berries with a little floral lift. On the palate there is noticeable sweetness here, giving a rather jammy, confected character, with plenty of blackcurrant and cherry jam flavour. Some spice and a little bit of liquoricy grip adds some tension, and there is just about enough acidity to stop this being cloying.
(2008) Yellow Tail's Merlot pours a moderately deep crimson colour with spiced plum compote fruit that has an edge of kirsch-like, jammy brightness. On the palate the sweetness in this wine is much more apparent than in a the Shiraz, for example, and a certain lack of mid-palate depth or weight means the wine finishes quite lean and short.