Immediate nose of beetroot juice poured over graphite shavings sets you up for quite a journey. The palate shares the same dense minerality and graphite texture as the nose with a quiet but growing presence of forest floor and frozen berries. On opening, this fruit thaws to release fresh summer pudding and cream served in a pencil case. Bonkers!
That the Riverland region of South Australia is now being re-imagined and reinterpreted is, in part, due to the efforts of one man.
As a viticulturist, Ashley Ratcliffe knew that not only were some of the best Riverland vineyards undervalued but that many were planted with the wrong varieties for the climate. Over the last few years, these vineyards have come on stream with varieties like Montepulciano, Touriga, Arinto, Fiano and Nero d’Avola to name but a few. Ashley's Ricca Terra range are vibrant, quirky, cleverly made wines that have deliciousness as their raison d’etre. More than that though, they are a beacon for the future sustainability of a previously much derided region and it is to Ashley’s credit that other serious producers are now taking fruit from here.
Rather than mass planting a new grape variety and then learning how it behaves as a vine and as a wine, Ricca Terra Farms’ approach has been to plant small plots of a new grape variety; then watch, wait and learn (firing bullets). When the right bullet is identified, the cannonball is loaded and fired……meaning the grape variety is introduced into Ricca Terra Farms’ grape variety portfolio and this is how Bullets Before Cannonballs came to fruition. A bit like creating a delicious meal, each vintage, the best performing varietals are chosen for the blend. Hand pruned and hand harvested.
Dark ink colour with some opaqueness. Scrummy dark nose of liquorice, plum, cola and black fruits, ending with a hint of smoke and tobacco.
Deep, dense red. Intense, brooding primary notes of dark plum fruit and dark chocolate which are lightly seasoned with vanillin oak.
A powerful and rich full bodied wine, with dark plum fruits coming to the forefront to fill the mouth and slowly give way to the texture of the wine which provides a fine dry tannin grip and balance.
The fruit for this wine was sourced from a cool climate vineyard (essentially the same climate as the Mornington Peninsula), allowing Crittenden to produce a wine of vibrant colour with lifted berry fruits and spice on the nose. On the palate you'll find mouth filling structure, juicy acidity and those most desirable of attributes: cherries, pepper and liquorice. This wine has it all in abundance.
Free draining soils and steep slopes results in our Chardonnay vineyard producing low yields of intensely concentrated fruit. The Cave Block saw a relatively calm growing season, with warm and dry conditions from early October to mid-May. Infrequent rain events during this time gave the vines a welcome drink. Flowering occurred during the mild spring producing an above average crop which was allowed to ripen fully through the warm summer and autumn.
The fruit was meticulously picked by hand, before whole bunch pressing to a mix of new and older French oak barriques. Winemaking included a parcel of wild fermentation, light lees contact and partial malolactic fermentation to naturally adjust acidity for balance and structure.
Initial savoury notes lift to reveal peach, nectarine, nougat and roasted cashews. Stonefruit on the palate is beautifully contained within the framework of natural acidity that has a saline edge due to the coastal location of the vineyard. Fine French oak and lees contact adds further texture and length that persists with lingering freshness typical of the Cave Block terroir.
This pinot noir is deep purple with hints of crimson. A rich and complex nose showing generous aromas of ripe dark cherry and red berry fruits dominating against a background layer of spice and savoury complexity. It has mouth-filling flavours of ripe raspberry and strawberry. The fruit flavours are balanced by a good concentration of fine, soft, silky tannins and enough acidity to give definition to the finish which is long and persistent with lingering ripe fruit. The wine is drinking well now and will develop more complex and savoury characters with some more time in the bottle. It could be cellared for another four to eight years.
The Hunter Valley gets all the attention when it comes to Australian Semillon but every now and again a little gem such as this crosses our path and reminds us that other Australian regions are also putting out truly world class Semillon. This is very definitely a case of blink or you'll miss it. Made in tiny quantities, it's already sold out in its native Australia so grab some while you can.
Flaxman's Semillon is dry grown and handpicked from a 1/2 acre (0.2 hectares for the metrically-minded) block planted in 1929. This wine is a wonderful example of how elegant and beautifully floral semillon can be. Drinking beautifully now, but will age beautifully also.
A muscular brooding expression of Barossa Shiraz. It’s flavour packed with kirsch, dark chocolate and liquorice. This wine has been matured in 40% new French oak hogsheads for 20 months to further enhance its inherent structure. Built for ageing not for speed, have another look at this sleeper in 10 to 15 years time.
A complex nose of cherry, violets earthy spice and a touch of chocolate opens to a wide textured palate of grainy tannins supporting cherry and savoury flavours and an explosion of spice, cloves and pepper.
Dense, crimson wine with enticing notes of dark cherry, raspberry, hint of spice and delicate notes of tobacco leaf. The ageing in old French oak barrels for 12 months delivers here a full-bodied and luscious beauty with fine grain tannins and a long finish.
Very poised and balanced, yet at the same time bursting with expressive fruit. The nose is full of green apple, nashi pear and spring blossom. The palate is focussed, tight and delivers all the fruit promised on the nose. A lovely textural component leads on to a long finish.
An example of the new wave of Australian Chardonnay, brimming with fresh pineapple and fig flavours and not a trace of heavy-handed oak in sight.
A rich and flavoursome Shiraz displaying all the hallmarks of the varietal: vibrant red fruits, dark plum and spice with underlying soft tannins.
A Rhône Valley style, with fully ripe Shiraz characters of blood plum and ripe black cherry fruit balanced with the exotic Viognier aromas of citrus blossom and rose petal. In Keith's own words ‘Viognier is like Chardonnay on steroids!’ and when married together with Shiraz these two varieties combine magically to produce a palate with richer aromatic charm, warm briar berry spice and a velvety medium-bodied balance. With a rich, ripe black-fruit softness on entry, and smooth roundness and chocolatey softness onto the finish. Adding to the mix is the finely integrated weave of supple oak, and a delicate floral hint of violets and rose-petal resulting in a beautifully complete blend.
Another black aromatic Malbec under this dark, starry label. Once again inspired by the Australian night, this is darkly appealing, chocolately Malbec with an abundance of crisp, minerally fruit.
A sensual yet exuberant wine the nose is of raspberry with dark cherry and the palate shows vibrant kirsch, with zesty minerality and a spicy lingering finish. Montepulciano is a rare varietal for Australia, but Matt Gant's ability as a winemaker shows the grape off to its full potential.
Not a sledgehammer style, this Barossa Shiraz is made for drinking! Soft, slurpy and textured it is balanced with good acidity, which refreshes the palate and makes you go back for a second / third glass.
Lemon straw in colour with green hues. The aromas are complex and funky. Lifted honeysuckle, lemon rind, apricot and peach aromasmix with hints of cashew and fresh pineapple. Rich and textured, the palate is luscious with layers of spice, citrus and apricot, showing the distinct varietal Viognier characters that persist through to the lovely fresh finish.
A delicious red made from premium parcels of wine. Generous, flavoursome and elegant with dark and red berry fruit flavours.
So good they named it thrice. Shiraz, Shiraz, Shiraz is a blend from three of Tscharke's estate vineyards. The sites are located on the Western Ridge of the Barossa Valley and the gentle, rugged terrain gives rise to unique growing aspects, together with the oldest soils in the Barossa.
Dense, inky red colour with a purple rim. The nose is layered, complex and seductive with great intensity and balance between ripe red to dark fruit and spicy undertones. The wine is upfront in its every aspect but elegantly put together so that the palate remains fresh and incredibly drinkable. The tannins are persistent and savoury, the finish long and rounded.
It’s hard not to drink it, but this Shiraz will reward those patient enough to cellar it for the next 5 years.
The colour is like dark, caramelised butter with aromas of Turkish delight, tobacco and espresso. The palate is balanced and complex with flavours iof rich raisin fruit, rose petal, dried fig and cumquat. The finish is long but not too sweet.
Brilliant gold, a refreshing bouquet of dried fruits, quince and a touch of honey, flavours of citrus fruits and honey combine to show a very fresh enticing palate.
Living up to their name, Wild and Wilder are delighted to present the rule-breaking Tabula Rasa. Each year, the slate is wiped clean and, with no preconceptions, every vintage is original. #V18R draws on fruit from historic vineyards across South Australia, Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro and Carignan, this delicious wine captures the very essence of one season in a playful format that just demands to be drunk. The 2018 edition is lip-smackingly crunchy with vibrant black cherry fruit and exotic spice on the finish.
The Architect is pale straw yellow with a slight green tinge. The nose is complex and alluring with honeyed fruit, vibrant citrus and a touch of toast.
It has a fresh palate with layers of stone fruit, savoury characteristics and creamy nuances. Bright citrus acidity gives the wine clarity and drive.
The Cigar; a name coined by Coonawarra Vignerons to describe the unique cigar-shaped strip of rich red terra rossa soil. Home to some of Australia’s most famous vineyards, the secret of Coonawarra lies in the intimate bond between the terra rossa soil, limestone layers, pure artisan water and a long cool ripening season. Fortunate to be part of this iconic place, Yalumba salutes the region’s pioneers and those privileged to inherit its future.
A perfumed wine, displaying spice notes, lavender and violets, with fruit aromtics of warm strawberries, blackberries, and the quintessential note of sea-spray that the region is known for. Peppery, fresh and alive with youthful tannins, the moderate to long palate has intense red-purple cassis fruit.
The Conductor is a succulent and savoury merlot. On the nose there is ripe plum and red currant. The wines shows fleshy red berry fruits with notes of mushroom and dried herbs. It is medium bodied wine with fine savoury tannins which give the wine structure and length.
Light straw yellow with hues of green. Fresh apricots and honey dew on the nose with lifts of lime. The palate is bright and fresh with vivid acid and juicy fruits. The balance of fruit and acid give the wine depth with matched vibrancy. It is a wine to be served well chilled and enjoyed on any occasion.
The nose shows an array of perfumed characters such as violets, oregano & thyme, along with glacé cherry aromas. Sweet ripe cherry fruit dominates the front palate which then develops into a more savoury wine, showing earthiness, toasted spices and lovely dried herb characters.
A very deep, dense, red in colour. Aromas of red currants, perfumed cedar and complex, savoury, dried herbs. This Cabernet Shiraz blend shows precise aromatics and is classically rich through the middle palate with exotic florals, cranberry complexity and dark chocolate. A full-bodied wine complemented with a long, flowing, precise tannin profile. A wine that truly reflects the generosity and refinement of the 2016 vintage. Very stylish.
Our third release from Whitlands, and undoubtedly the best to date. Whitlands is a regional departure for us but unfortunately our Henty vineyard source Barratt’s vineyard was pulled out so that Rod and his wife could sell up and retire. A shame for us but a well-earned rest for them. Its replacement is much further afield, but shares the very cold climate character I think Riesling needs. I was told about an old Brown Brothers contract site next door to their Whitlands vineyard that had some pretty smart Riesling, so went to investigate. The Croucher Vineyard is set at close spacing on red volcanic soils, up at around 800m above sea level, and was planted in the mid-1980s. It seemed to have the right credentials. 2017 was a very cold, long season that enabled a full flavour spectrum to develop yet retained considerable acidity. The abundance of flavour and structure led me to ferment half of the wine in 1000lt oak foudre to soften the wine, without losing precision. Talc, ripe lime, orange blossom, tonic water, alpine herbs and pine needles are all there, and this year’s sugar sits at 9g/l. Intense, delicious, and will age admirably.
Sourced from elevated sites throughout the Barossa and Eden Valleys, The Struie reflects the cooler side of the region and showcases the subtle nuances that are gained from hillside viticulture.
The Struie is a wonderfully aromatic and deeply concentrated wine produced from the harmonious combination of both regions, delivering layers of dark chocolate characters and defining structure. Nuances of plum, blackberries, violets and hidden spice characters all further enhance the natural elegance and tension of the fruit quality. The Struie will certainly age tremendously well over the next decade.
The Unforgettable is a generous blend of 3 varieties, all of whom are long-term friends that know the benefits of teamwork. Working in cahoots, they produce a wine with succulent red berry fruit with hints of spice and chocolate. A clever, friendly wine that is indeed truly Unforgettable.
The Virgilius is Yalumba’s most distinguished Viognier – a wine that shows power with restraint. As Yalumba’s most premium and enchanting white wine, it is loved by wine lovers looking for something beyond the more conventional offering.
Lifted ginger spice is layered on the palate with mineral, sourdough-like texture, apricots and almond savouriness. It is complex while at the same time shows purity and restraint that will unwind slowly in the glass and take the imbiber on a sensory journey.