Wine Reviews

What The Experts Are Saying

2020 SC Pannell 'Old McDonald Vineyard' Grenache - McLaren Vale

"Aromas of ripe raspberry, damson plum compote, candlewax and polished exotic wood, red lipstick, dark chocolate, Turkish delight and violets. The palate is a flavour explosion of cherry, cranberry, spice and rose petals. The tannins are like a skeleton holding the flavour together before sneaking back to the front of the palate and starting all over again. Reminiscent of young Nebbiolo." - Stephen Pannell

"A rich blueberry fruit nose with violet, dark nectarine and some exotic tamarillo and papaya too. Pungent and distinctive. The palate has a fleshy core of plush fruit with commanding tannins that have so much power and energy but are delivered with grace. The flavours are blood orange, pink grapefruit, goji and red currant and are concentrated to the very end. Refreshing and packed with interest. Drink over the next decade. Screw cap."

98 points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

"A more successful vintage across the elevated sands of Blewitt Springs than Clarendon. Delicious wine. Kirsch, thyme, dried rosemary, lavender, mint and florals, tiptoeing along a balance beam of fibrous tannins and saline freshness. Nothing drying. A squeaky pucker to the finish. Aussie sweet fruit, to be sure. But tamed. Long, flowing, and sandy of aura. Bravo!"

95 points

Ned Goodwin MW - Halliday Wine Companion

2021 Dr. Edge 'Tasmania' Chardonnay

"Tamar Valley & Derwent Valley grapes. Older oak. No North, South, or East in 2021. So I guess this is North & South. This is kind of how Chablis should be, given a whole lot of it these days is too ripe and gluggy.
Saline, white peach, honeyed almond and green apple, a little umami something, maybe some preserved lemon. Tight, brisk, but has flavour, a lot of flint through a glossy texture, wheatgerm and brine, sour apple tang, intense and long. Lip-smacking and energetic, yet already complex. Wonderful wine."

96 points

Gary Walsh – The Wine Front

2021 Dr. Edge 'Tasmania' Pinot Noir

"Derwent Valley (60%) Tamar Valley (30%) & East Coast (10%). Has a bit of whole bunch, and some carbonic maceration. I’m not quite sure on carbonic in Pinot, though it does make the wines kind of pretty, kind of like dogs and their owners here, maybe.
Floral and spicy, quite pretty, also a bit meaty, with bright red fruit and almond. Light to medium-bodied, frisky and fresh, clear and precise, raspberry, cranberry flavour and crunch to acidity, fine but firm graphite tannin, and a tight and vibrant finish of excellent length. If you’re into a more delicate/delicious style of Pinot Noir, then this should suit you very nicely. I like it."

95 points

Gary Walsh – The Wine Front

2021 Aphelion Wine Co. Single Vineyard ‘Brini’ Grenache - McLaren Vale

"From a parcel planted in the 1940’s, fermented as whole clusters and aged in a single, larger-format cask. This is a shade darker in the glass than the Trenerry and has rounder and richer qualities. The nose is exuberant with pomegranate, blood orange, red berry and spice, as well as some sappy elements. There’s a subtly exotic edge to the fruit here and a deeper, richer style of perfume. The palate has such a suave, smooth and velvety mouth-feel with darker berries delivered in a smoothly rendered brand of tannin. Quite seductively plush. Drink or hold."

97 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

"Blewitt Springs.

Plenty of exotic spice and pepper, blueberry and fresh blackberry, orange zest, liquorice root. Very stony feel, firm and spicy, all pumice stone and tense feel, raspberry and dried flowers, with a sweet citrus aftertaste lending something of an amaro edge. There’s a little warmth here, but the structure envelopes it neatly. Top shelf. Intriguing."

95+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

2021 Aphelion Wine Co. Single Vineyard ‘Wait’ Grenache - McLaren Vale

"From a parcel of dry-grown bush vines planted in the 1940s, fermented as whole clusters and aged in a single, larger-format cask. Very fragrant aromatics with sweet spices and almost flinty, dry-stony elements to the nose, together with wild raspberries, ripe red plums and sappy elements. Dried-rose and orange-zest notes, too. The palate has a very succulent feel with great length and tautness and a firmer, more intensely structured feel. More orange peel and blood orange here with red berries, too. Crunchy, almost peppery edge at the finish. Serious and delicious grenache here. Good now, but even better in a year or two."

97 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

"Blewitt Springs. Anyone who has young kids might have noticed that they say ‘No, wait’, quite a lot. It’s a curious thing, that and the increasing use of American words and pronunciation. My children say ‘Z’ as zee, not zed. Apparently Zed is Dead. It’s all so awful.

Raspberry, rosy perfume, a little spice and dried herb. It has a cranberry crunch to acidity, savoury and a little earthy, firm emery tannin, plenty of depth, and a long gravelly finish. Lovely, but very serious! Excellent."

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

2021 Aphelion Wine Co. Single Vineyard 'Trenerry’ Grenache - McLaren Vale

"From the Onkaparinga Hills, a parcel of dry-grown bush vines, fermented as whole clusters and aged in a single, larger-format cask. This parcel was planted in the early 1970s and it has a sappy feel (whole clusters) and bright, very pure raspberries and some leafy elements on offer, as well as blueberries. The palate has quite smooth and ripe tannins, holds a fresh edge (low pH) and delivers a similar combination of red and blue fruits as seen on the nose. A little, chewy stone pop at the finish. Nuanced and elegant. Good now, but even better in a year or two."

95 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

"Onkaparinga. A wonderful word.

Plum and cherry, ripe and spicy, an earthy coal-like character. It’s firm and almost liqueur-like in intensity, with firm dusty tannin, and a dry plum and dried flower finish. Very good, but not quite as good as the other two single vineyard wines. Kind of sticky in its firmness."

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

2021 Jim Barry Wines 'The Florita' Riesling

"Tasted alongside the Florita Cellar Release (2015) and the Wolta Wolta (2019), and never was there a more achingly beautiful trio of wines. This ranks slightly higher than the Cellar Release due to its startling clarity, and scintillating, persuasive power. It will live forever and a day, and I bet at Cellar Release time in 2027, when we see this wine again, you will be thanking your lucky stars you stocked up now, in 2022. Astounding."

97 Points

Erin Larkin - Halliday Wine Companion

2020 The Standish Wine Company - 'The Schubert Theorem'

"Roennfeldt Road, Marananga. Famous. I’ve been chatting with my mate, Erin Larkin, about these wines. Fair to say, she’s a big fan.

Oooh. A lovely choc-hazelnut bar kind of thing happening here, blueberry and blackberry, spicy too, which is kind of unusual for Roenfeldt, and maybe a character of the vintage. Lots of tannin, kind of gummy and firm, a tea-like flavour and perfume too, Really quite sticky in feel, but ample fruit flavour, lots of mouth-perfume, again the blueberry richness, and iron grip of tannin to close on a long and fresh finish. Here’s a wine of potency and power, that will need many years to roll out. Exotic spice punctuates the finish. Wow. This is intense and firm."

96+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

2020 The Standish Wine Company - 'The Standish'

"To my way of thinking, there’s not many better producers in the Barossa than Standish. The acidity feels right, and the quality of tannin is something quite different to the mainstream. Not sure how they do it, but surely there’s a little pixie dust in the mix here? This is 100% Greenock Shiraz, from the Laycock vineyard. I live in a street with ‘cock’ included in the name, so I feel an affinity, as such.

A little vanilla and floral perfume, blueberry, boysenberry, a little earth and spice. Blue fruit, spice, shows a little creamy vanilla oak, supple but dense tannin, freshness, and a sweet tea like perfume on a long finish. Maybe some raspberry. Excellent, somewhat more approachable in style, and obvious, than the other wines from Standish in 2020, but charming and lovely all the same. More than a bit yummy."

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

2021 Aphelion Wine Co. ‘Rapture’ Grenache - McLaren Vale

"The top expression of grenache from Aphelion, this is a combination of Wait and Brini vineyards, both containing bush vines planted in the 1940s. This is a complex wine already, with a nose that’s so enticingly complex and detailed. It has bracken, sappy elements, berry pastry, spiced notes, raspberry, red plum and candied orange peel. The palate has a very plush, complete and seamless feel. This is so commanding, yet so deliciously appealing at once. Impressive poise, with long tannins that drive and frame the red and dark-berry fruit-soaked finish. Matured in a single, neutral demi-muid. Drink or hold."

98 Points

Nick Stock - JamesSuckling.com

"Sourced from 2 lauded sites in Blewittt Springs, one owned by the Brini and the other, by the Wait families (see the single-vineyard explorations). A confluence of whole bunches, destemmed fruit and a long, intuitive ferment before circa 10 months in large French oak (700L). Pithy and firm, yet exotic, free flowing and generous, stained with blood orange, mescal, white pepper, pink grapefruit and fecund strawberry. Very long. Well amidst the pantheon of regional greats."

96 Points

Ned Goodwin - Halliday Wine Companion

Grosset ‘Springvale’ Riesling 2021

"A piercing wine that has such intense and focused lime fruit, as well as sweetly fragrant floral notes. Spellbinding intensity to the nose here. The palate sings with clarity and bright, vivid acidity drives pure lime-juice flavors long and fresh. Full of energy and a real powerhouse. Drink or hold. Screw cap."

97 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

Murdoch Hill Artisan Series Phaeton Pinot Noir 2021

"This is an alluringly fragrant, complex and spicy pinot that offers such intense red cherries, raspberries, strawberries and red plums, framed in light, bunchy tones. Some white pepper and freshly picked herbs, too. Young and vibrant palate that has finely detailed tannins and a succulent, energetic feel in the mouth. Bright, small red fruit lights the finish. Very drinkable already. Screw cap."

97 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

2021 The Wanderer Upper Yarra Valley Chardonnay

"I love the purity of this wine. And it’s only going to get better.

Pear and green apple, lactose and honeysuckle, white peach and cedar, perhaps even some shells. It feels elegant and effortless as it shoots through to a long finish. Pop this in a cool dark place for a couple of years and it’ll do better than money in the bank."

93+ Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

2019 The Wanderer Upper Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

"This is a terrifically attractive Pinot Noir. In brand-new-release terms I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen such an inherently complex, and settled, release under this label. It’s expressive of undergrowth and strawberry, ripe red cherry, orange oil, sweet spice and more; not quite Unami but certainly savoury. It’s set with acid-riven tannin, which suggests that it will age beautifully over the medium term or longer, but it’s already on song for drinking."

95 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

2021 The Wanderer Yarra Valley "White Label" Pinot Noir

"In the context that this is always made in the light-but-insistent style, this particular release is something of a powerhouse. It’s a powerhouse of structure, spice and intent, rather than in weight or intensity of fruit. It smells friendly enough, all berried and floral, but the palate is wild with herbs, twigs, tannin, acid, cranberry and red cherry flavour. It feels and tastes serious in a dry, tannic, savoury way, and it has nutty, smoky length aplenty. You have to like the style. of course, but if you do this is pretty damn beautiful, with the charm to go with it."

94+ Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

2021 Gentle Folk Village Pinot Noir - Adelaide Hills

"Four vineyards contribute to this wine.

Serious pinot noir, structured, architectural, flowing, yes but tannin and acidity are the stars. Dark cherry scents and flavours, a bit of undergrowth and graphite minerality in play. Fragrant and firm, a vin de garde kind of wine that speaks of a maturing, considered winemaker and a desire to produce wines of significance. Oh, and it tastes great. Real great. Give it a decant for an hour or two, if drinking in the next few years."

95 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

2021 Patrick Sullivan Baw Baw Shire Chardonnay - Gippsland

"Twenty year old vines of I10v1 clone chardonnay, one that usually produces fuller flavoured chardonnay, but here grown on a south facing site.

Crackles along with freshness and energy, lemon-lime, green apple, oatmeal and light, saline characters. Beautiful texture, supple and yet clean and crisp at the same time. Has this mouth-watering freshness and yet quiet richness, and structure is a word to be thrown into the mix here. Seriously good, and importantly, outrageously delicious."

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

2021 Gentle Folk Village Shiraz - Adelaide Hills

"It’s funny, for me at least, though not actually funny, you just say that as a convention, but anyway, I was tasting the wine and I thought ‘geez this reminds me of Murdoch Hill shiraz’ and then lo and behold a third of the wine is from there (the other third Ngeringa, the other third something called Turnbull vineyard). It has this texture and sweet-meatiness that reminds me of that Murdoch Hill shiraz vibe. Anyways, perhaps more of interest is the rise and rise of seriousness from Gentle Folk wines – the metier is premium wine, fine wine paradigm, even through the prism of natural wine, heralding a maturity in Australia’s avant garde scene with a small collection of others. Nice.

Peppered game meat, sour cherry, slurpy texture with a fuzzy hum of sandy tannins keeping shape. Lots (and lots!) of perfume, floral, meaty, sweet berried. Delightful. Almost a floral lift in palate and perfume too. Magnificent feel with each sip, enveloping the palate, hugging the tongue, finishing soft but with a tug and fine chew of tannins. Very good."

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2018

"This wine is the benchmark of the latent power, grace and inherent balance of the 2018 vintage in Margaret River. Texturally similar to the classically sophisticated 2014 vintage, but with far greater density and weight. Here, the savoury tannins are countersunk into the fruit already: shapely, firm, chewy, malleable – everywhere and nowhere at once. Waves of blood plum, cassis, blackberry, pomegranate, juniper, raspberries, saltbush, bay leaf and salted red licorice crash against the rocks, as kelp, nori, iodine, red gravel and brine ride the smaller sets out the back. Sensational. Astounding. A wine for the ages."

99 Points

Erin Larkin - Wine Companion 

"A great edition of the top Cabernet blend from Vasse Felix, this has a lot of power and depth. The aromas run from red to blue and dark berries with a leafy edge and attractive, fresh florals. The palate has a core of blue-toned fruit flavor that drives so deep, with a helix-like interplay of acidity and tannin. Impressive. Drink over the next decade or more."

98 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

"Highly perfumed, blueberry, boysenberry and raspberry, baking spices, maybe a little pimento and choc-mint slice. It’s medium-bodied, fresh and lively, fragrant and succulent in fruit flavour, with a subtle bay leaf character, tannin is ripe and gravelly, and the finish is very long and firm. It’s powerful, yet graceful too, showing the excellent 2018 vintage to great effect. It’ll be a beautiful thing given time to unfurl."

96 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Te Mata Estate Coleraine 2020

"Not released as yet, but sneaky sneaky.

Unbelievably good. Young, but the potential is overwhelmingly potent. Floral, nutty, intense small-berried fruit, cedar, anise and sweet herb. Tight, medium-bodied, so concentrated, but light too, ultra-mineral, fresh, all the gravel and tense cabernet feel, but with perfume unlocked: so flagrant and fragrant. The length is superb. I’m taken aback by the beauty and essence-like nature of this wine. My precious. Easily one of the best wines I’ve tasted in the last decade." 

98+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Domenica Wines Beechworth Nebbiolo 2019

"I might be going out on a limb here, but I’d say Domenica make the best Nebbiolo in Australia. It has the firm signature of the grape variety, not straying into ‘bold dry red’ like some.

Beautifully made. Tannin, acidity, flavour all in balance, and no sign of noisome oak sullying this most noble of red grape varieties. It has rose and almond, red cherry and strawberry, a flicker of mint/menthol, a little spice and black tea. Medium-bodied, sure-footed gently rusty tannin, and a long nutty savoury finish. It’s outstanding. Classic style and so good to drink."

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Winefront

Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2021

"Bannockburn has never really been out of form but I get the feeling that winemaker Matt Holmes and team have the ship about where they want it to be, now.

This is a beauty. Fragrant and attractive from the outset but then expansive on the palate as well. Earth, twigs, root vegetables and cherries with woodsy spice notes rippling throughout. Tension and flow, texture and tannin. There’s a smoky meatiness to the aftertaste, mixed in with decaying red roses, and it’s most attractive way for the wine to sail out. Drink it now, drink it later; it will deliver."

94+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

"Batches of pinot noir from different blocks, wild fermented with 20% whole bunches. Matured 10 months in French hogsheads (25% new). A wine of real gravitas and presence, the '21 reflects a most impressive year. Abundant, enticing aromas in pristine red fruits, maritime herbs, humus and dusty beets. The palate fairly bristles in fruit freshness and energy, the tannins pricking the tastebuds and laying the foundation for a long life. Oak? Yes, it's evident in the texture and the binding but totally integrated."

95 Points

Jeni Port - Halliday Wine Companion

Bannockburn Chardonnay 2021

"Grown on a range of vineyards across the Bannockburn holdings, from 1976 plantings through to the most recent (2016). 20% new oak, with 70% of the final wine going through malo.Bannockburn Chardonnay is never short of flavour and so to this release, though the fresh zing of the finish brings a more modern twist, arguably. Pear, grapefruit, peach, cracked wheat and cedar flavours come strong and convincing, aided by citrus and fennel notes, the latter especially notable on the finish. The flavour of tinned pear here is as strong as it is delicious, it must be noted. This is an excellent release; it’s good for drinking now but it has many years up its sleeve." 

94 Points

Gary Walsh -The Wine Front

"Whole-bunch pressed, fermented wild in French hogsheads and puncheons (20% new), 10 months on lees, partial mlf. True to the Bannockburn style which offers both power and finesse. The former is set in structure and solid in body. The latter is all about a world of marvellous fruit and oak flavours: mandarin skin, nectarine, white peach, buttered toast, almond bread, quince paste. It's dense, lifted by a citrusy acidity that is just so cleansing, so right."

95 Points

Jeni Port - Halliday Wine Companion

Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2019

"I seem to have missed the 2017 Massolino wines, but that's what happens when you can't get over to Italy. Anyway, had a glass of this last week after lunch at the outstanding Star of Greece, thus maintaining the great South Australian tradition of drinking full-bodied reds with lunch in summer. Cherry, liquorice, fragrant too, offering juicy red fruit, gentle tannin grip, lovely freshness set in a medium-bodied, but tightly structured frame. There's a little blood orange and aniseed in the mix too. Very nice. Yum."

93 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Domenica Wines Beechworth Chardonnay 2021

"A discreet style of Chardonnay here, with everything set to sotto voce. I minor amount of matchstick, ripe grapefruit and white peach, a little nutty, a light application of spicy ginger oak. Subtle chalky texture, a little spice and citrus, but again somewhat nutty and saline, with a zesty finish of good length. All very nice."

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front 

2021 Hughes & Hughes Pinot Noir - Tasmania

"Sourced from a range of Tasmanian vineyard sites. 8% whole bunch, natural yeast, held on skins for 16-21 days.

So authentically pinot. This is a beautiful wine to drink. Crushed red roses, undergrowth, sweet-sour cherry, clove and concentrated strawberry flavours have this wine singing. Fine0grained, slightly smoky tannin slips both easily and convincingly through the finish. Everything is harmonious here."

93 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

2021 Hughes & Hughes Chardonnay - Tasmania

"It’s a flinty, citrussy, leaner style but it has excellent carry and an all-round elegant feel. It works. White peach and white flowers are the main flavour-drivers, along with citrus, and all the way through to the long aftertaste it feels both convincing and harmonious. There’s nothing to hesitate over here."

93 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Billy Button Barbera 2019

Wine from the Alpine Valleys. Think olive groves and freshly turned earth, the only way to describe the aromas really. Barbera is all about red fruit and acid but this mouthful of joy has some earthy tones, hints of spicy tannins and a warm herbal note.

Very easy drinking, lighter in style and great with food.

"Matured 8 months in Flexcubes. A little ripper of a wine, full of life. You can feel the energy. Lifted perfume in sour cherry, blackberry, licorice and lavender. Masses of fruit flavour fills the mouth with a good, firm cut of acidity bringing home a clean finish. Impressive and approachable, as always."

95 Points

Jeni Port - Halliday Wine Companion

"Jo Marsh’s (aka Billy Button) wines are always so fresh, so well balanced.

This is juicy with red- and black-cherry fruit flavours though fragrant herbs play key roles as do twiggy, more savoury characters. We get the juice, we get the fruit, we get the herbs and associated spices. It’s beautifully balanced in the best of ways; it’s both generous and exuberant but it’s also controlled. It drinks, as a result, like a charm."

92 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Clonakilla Canberra District Riesling 2021

"As pure as a spring day and smelling of a citrus orchard in bloom. A heady mix of lime and lemon sprinkled with ginger powder are just teasers, as this is complex and beguiling. The palate is long and defined by acidity as much as the power of the fruit. It has texture, succulence and a slickness rendering it assured and impressive."

96 Points

Jane Faulkner - Halliday Wine Companion

"One of Australia’s finest rieslings; a benchmark riesling for me.

Loads of floral perfume, preserved lemon, pretty talc scents, a bit of warm river pebble, lime juice. Delicate in the palate, more lime juice here, tart and with great energy, crispness, cool herbal notes, some chalky pucker and endless mouth-watering length. Tightly wound but slightly juicy, if you get the drift. Beautiful expression, high toned saline mineral acidity, refreshing now to the max, will last a generation."

96 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

"A seriously good, young dry riesling with a striking mineral edge to the nose of fresh lime juice, wet stones and gentle herbal notes. The palate has real intensity and depth with a vivid citrus and white-peach fruit drive. Snaps dry and the flavors hold pure and long. Drink or hold. Screw cap."

96 Points

Nick Stock - JamesSuckling.com

Garagiste Le Stagiaire Chardonnay 2021

"This has to be the best value chardonnay from the peninsula matched to quality but also, this vintage has delivered the finest to date. It’s superbly balanced with pristine fruit, the right amount of flinty sulphides, savouriness, texture and definition. There’s some tension on the palate, a purity to the acidity and excellent length. What a wine."

96 Points

Jane Faulkner - Halliday Wine Companion

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2020

In warmer vintages (like 2020) the Heytesbury chardonnay has extension and flex on release, they billow with flavour and pleasure, and the oak seems to be enveloped by it early on. So goes the story here: like the 2018 (on release) this is a scintillating show of powerful fruit, mineral/juicy acidity and layers of crushed rocks, petrichore. nori, summer fig and salted yellow peaches. A superstar wine - it's closed now though: patience, or a decant is recommended. Drink by 2037.

97 Points

Erin Larkin - Wine Companion

Made from a selection of the most unique and striking plots available to Vasse Felix. To say this is a powerful wine is an understatement. Power and complexity are the takeaways from this wine, there is an explosion of fruit flavours and wonderful textural complexity stemming from the time on lees and solids. Length of flavour combined with a mineral backbone makes for exquisite drinking.

"Glorious. So much scent, so pure through the palate, complex in general and then deliciously long. High class chardonnay for high class chardonnay lovers. Flint, grapefruit, apple and vanilla characters come topped with hay, fennel and custard powder. It’s a powerhouse wine but it’s also refreshing refined; there’s great purity through the palate and yet it still feels more than a little bit fancy."

95 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Yarra Yering Dry Red No 1 2019

Wine of the Year - Halliday Wine Companion 2022

Gold Medal - Royal Sydney Wine Show 2021

67% Cabernet Sauvignon 15% Merlot 12% Malbec 6% Petit Verdot

"67/15/12/6% cabernet sauvignon/merlot/malbec/petit verdot. The first plantings at YY into block No 1 were these cabernet and malbec vines, hence the name. Some merlot was interplanted with the cabernet and subsequent plantings in 1990 from a newly acquired neighbouring site. Petit verdot is only grown on the hillside of the new territories.

All hand harvested and sorted, only the very best berries go into this wine. Cabernet berries sorted individually before crushed. Merlot, malbec and petit verdot are whole-berry ferments. All fermented in half-tonne fermenters, hand plunged twice daily. Some of the cabernet spends more time on skins.

Components are kept separate in French oak 40% new, 15 months all up then blended just before bottling.

This is mesmerising. Do take time to bask in its fragrance – all floral and spicy with some aniseed and fresh herbs. Enjoy the poised fruit flavours of blackberries, mulberries and a hint of blueberries coated in spicy oak and tethered to the body of the wine. Pulsing acidity and beautiful tannin structure shape this and offer a promise of more to come in time. Wow – what a wine."

98 Points

Jane Faulkner - Wine Companion

Yarra Yering Dry Red No 2 2019

96% Shiraz, 3 % Merlot and 1% Viognier

"Shiraz, mataro, viognier. Hand picked, sorted and then destemmed directly to the Yarra Yering half-tone open-fermenters. As much whole-berry ferment as possible to encourage perfume. A portion of fermenters had frozen viognier skins added to the bottom.

Aged 15 months in French oak barriques 30% new before blending. It's easy to be bowled over by this wine's beauty, from its bright colour to its heady fragrance of violets, Middle Eastern spices, fresh currants and blue fruits.

Then magic happens. It is superfine, graced with perfectly formed silky tannins. The oak is seamlessly integrated, then flavours builds across the barely medium-bodied palate. While there's a lightness of touch, it's layered and complex. A complete wine full of style, elegance and substance."

98 Points

Jane Faulker - Wine Companion

Cullen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2021

"Cullen does modest alcohol, flavour, and hazelnut chew so well. No overt acidity, so calm and thick without heaviness. In short, wines that *feel* right.

Blackberry, boysenberry, hazelnut, a violet perfume, with earthiness below. Medium-bodied, thick and nutty with a praline richness, melting smudgy tannin offering grip and excellent texture, earth and gravel, almond paste, fresh acidity with an amaro dried herb edge, and a perfumed finish offering loads of lush tannin, slate, and red berry acidity. Feels like a wine made in the vineyard, which is as it should be. Bloody beautiful."

94+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Cullen Grace Madeline 2019

67% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Semillon. The back label says 100% new oak, the website says 55% new oak, either way, it has oak.

Lime, passionfruit, guava, nettles, fennel, and plenty of clove spice and smoky oak. Juicy, green mango and lime, a bold burst of flavour, with a firm chalky texture, pulls more tangy, with pink grapefruit and sweet spiced oak, and a very long finish. Intense now, and very good, though it feels very much a wine for considered cellaring.

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Cullen ‘Diana Madeline’ Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2020

“Has the usual estate blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec (92/4/3/1%), the grapes hand picked on fruit days between early February and early March, the components matured in French oak (50% new) for 13 months. The perfumed bouquet has already soaked up the new oak, the purity of the fruit in a cassis-redcurrant-blueberry spectrum. The small berries of a quasi-drought summer might have imposed awkward tannins, but the medium-bodied palate is so perfectly balanced it has a drinking span of 30 years and counting.”

98 Points

James Halliday - Wine Companion

"Great detail in that the wine comes from nine picks across fruit and flower days of the biodynamic calendar, spread across a month-ish lunar cycle. The Cullen way.

Another beautiful, soulful release, this one a bit darker, a bit bolder, a mesh of tannins over train tracks and tension, but a wine of significant pedigree and wow factor nonetheless. Dark chocolate and graphite aromas with salted plum, black olive, bay leaf and oyster shell. Flavours ripple with authority in that weave of tannin, dark choc again, panforte perhaps more apt, dark cherry, saline minerality, more bayleaf and cinnamon spice. Succulent in the finish, mouth-watering and very fresh. Compelling stuff."

96 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

McHenry Hohnen 'Laterite Hills' Chardonnay 2020

"Hand-picked fruit from 4 southern Margaret River vineyards: Hazel's, Calgardup, Burnside and Chapman, whole-bunch pressed, wild ferment in French oak (25% new). Barrels left unsulphured over winter, a portion undergoing mlf. Matured for 10 months in barrel. Wowsers. This is super-serious. Unbelievable value for money: scintillating citrus acid line, concentrated, mouth-staining fruit and complex layers of crushed nuts, creamy tannins ... all wrapped into a long and reverberating tail of flavour. $42: speechless."

96 Points

Erin Larkin - Halliday Wine Companion

Ministry of Clouds Kintsugi 2018

"85/10/5% grenache/mataro/shiraz; 40% whole bunches, the balance whole berries. Submerged for 3 weeks (not plunged or pumped over) and fermented wild. Matured on fine lees for 18 months in mix of inert tanks and used oak. A deliciously spicy and lively bouquet, and a medium-bodied palate travelling along the same pathway to a long and juicy finish. To be gulped, not sipped, thanks to its modest alcohol."

97 Points

James Halliday - Halliday Wine Companion

Spinifex Bête Noir 2019

From 70yo shiraz vines, whole-berries and bunches, wild-yeast fermented in wooden vats, up to 20 days on skins, thence French oak maturation. It's elegant yet powerful, ripe blackberry, licorice and a touch of plum. However long you wait, it will be there waiting for you. Bargain.

96 Points

James Halliday - Halliday Wine Companion

Garagiste Le Stagiaire Chardonnay 2021

"This has to be the best value chardonnay from the peninsula matched to quality but also, this vintage has delivered the finest to date. It’s superbly balanced with pristine fruit, the right amount of flinty sulphides, savouriness, texture and definition. There’s some tension on the palate, a purity to the acidity and excellent length. What a wine."

96 Points

Jane Faulkner - Halliday Wine Companion

Clonakilla Canberra District Riesling 2021

"As pure as a spring day and smelling of a citrus orchard in bloom. A heady mix of lime and lemon sprinkled with ginger powder are just teasers, as this is complex and beguiling. The palate is long and defined by acidity as much as the power of the fruit. It has texture, succulence and a slickness rendering it assured and impressive."

96 Points

Jane Faulkner - Halliday Wine Companion

Collector Wines Tiger Tiger Chardonnay 2021

"Tumbarumba chardonnay grown at between 610 and 750m metres above sea level.

Standout chardonnay. Piercing, long and complex. Grapefruit and florals, matchsticks and nectarine. There’s a keen flintiness here, a real drive, an impression that everything has been done sans compromise. There’s definitely a good deal of sulphide-funk here but the wine carries it with such authority."

95+ Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

"Trophy - Best Chardonnay of Show"

Canberra and Region Wine Show 2022, 21 Jan 2022

Brash Higgins RSM - riesling/semillon 2020

"It took me a while to get my head around these bedfellows, planted – serendipitously as it turns out – alongside each other. I can only conclude that this wine is venerable. Stunning, even. Perhaps I was falling into the dull trap of seeking varietal personality when, in fact, this is all about place and a courageous textural interplay, from grainy truffled lees traits, to candied quince, rooibos and lemon-peel skinsy chutney, a staining degree of briny salinity and Blewitt Springs sandiness. The breadth of well-positioned oak, too. This drinks and feels like a top expression from the Loire, with an ersatz manzanilla-meets-maritime veil. Formidably long, moreish and extremely impressive. Wow!"

97 Points

Ned Godwin MW - Halliday Wine Companion

Brash Higgins NDV - nero d’avola amphora 2020

"Fermented spontaneously in 200L beeswax-lined clay amphorae, where this rich wine remained across an extended maceration period, 6 months in all. Dark, spiced cherry scents meld with bitters, bergamot, anise, clove, sassafras and cardamom. The tannins, a gristly bristle, corral the teeming fruit and confer a welcome savouriness. This is a serious nero d'Avola of impact, immaculate detail and a textural precision that unravels with each sip. Far from the pulpy, vapid expressions that too often define the domestic norm. Excellent wine, here. The mandala of moreish tannins, its opus."

96 Points

Ned Godwin MW - Halliday Wine Companion

Giant Steps Yarra Valley Rosé 2021

"100% pinot noir, hand picked specifically for this rosé, wild-yeast fermented. Vibrantly fresh aromas and flavours; rose petals, violets and delicate spices on the bouquet, wild strawberries and raspberries on the mouth-watering palate. Great wine, not just great rosé. And it will repay cellaring."

97 Points

James Halliday - Halliday Wine Companion

Scout Wines Omihi Pinot Noir 2020 - Waipara

"The grapes come from Black Estate. 25 days on skins. Old oak. 30% whole bunch. Only addition is a little bit of sulphur. The wines came in a Murdoch Hill box, so I was surprised to find Scout inside. Be prepared, as they say.

Spice, sweet clod earth, dark cherry and dried herbs, even a little violet perfume. It’s fleshy and pleasingly tannic, with a sort of silty Turkish coffee texture, a savoury but plump fruit flavour profile, a little blood orange and dried flower perfume on a pretty long finish. A lot of character, and a ‘natty’ sort of feel too. Perhaps not here for a long time, though certainly here for a good time. Really like this."

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2019

Cherries, flowers and sweet spices on the nose. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity. Round and creamy with a caressing texture and a fruity edge. Long finish. Fresh and very fine. Elegant is the word. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.

94 points

Nick Stock, Top 100 Wines of New Zealand 2021 - jamessuckling.com

"Burnt cottage is what happened to many English people, who held property in North Wales, back in the day. I remember that well, and also the day I missed an IRA bomb going off in Warrington town centre by about 5 minutes, back in the 90s. No joke. Exciting times!

Invariably one of the nuttiest, and nattiest feeling wines from Central Otago, and no change here. Cherry pie, almond paste, spice and aniseed, with a fresh thyme, rosemary and rose perfume. It’s fleshy, silty and nutty, a scorched hazelnut and chocolate flavour, soft acidity and fine silty tannin. The finish is all wheaty, spicy and plump with dried raspberry and cherry. Delightful. So at ease with itself."

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Prophets Rock Cuvee Aux Antipodes Pinot Noir 2019

"A fragrant nose of dark cherries, blueberries, dried flowers and spices. Crushed stones and tea leaves, too. Medium-bodied with tightly knit tannins and bright acidity. So pure, mineral and focused with a very fine texture."

96 Points

jamesuckling.com

Billy Button The Honest Fiano 2021

"In all the years of Winefront – 20 years old this year – we’ve never had a fiano rate higher than 94/100, and only a select (very) few have reached that high mark.

This fiano from the Alpine Valleys is in brilliant form. It just goes Bang. It tastes of apple, citrus, wax and fragrant herbs mostly though there’s some nashi pear in there too. It has both excellent texture and intensity of flavour, and it sails confidently and emphatically through the finish. It really made me sit up and take note, and it’s not often that I say that with this variety. Due respect."

94 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Crawford River Wines 'Reserve' Riesling 2015

"What a coup that one of the country’s best Riesling producers gifts us a wine with this kind of bottle age, mainlining a wine in its prime of drinking. And it is. And as ever, the real deal.

Concentration and power with grace and freshness. You see the maturity in elements of honeycomb and brown lime notes, a bit of peanut brittle and hazelnut in the mix, but green lime, green apple and green mango are persuasive, and the texture has this incredible chalky edge that brings forth max drinkability and a great reset of the palate after each sip. It’s a wine with its plumage on show, a fine, excellent and complex thing in the glass. Outstanding release – and more to go."

96 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Crawford River Wines Sauvignon Blanc | Semillon 'Beta' 2018

"Sauvignon blanc and semillon, wild fermented, in oak and bottled unfined. Geez, this is a wine on the rise and rise.

Textural feast! A chewy, chalky (terracotta?!) number with tropical fruits, green melon, cashew and minty herbs in the mix. Potent and yet refreshing, a wine that feels very serious, structural and yet a mellow, nougat/mallow like smoothness under it all. Depth and richness with lift. Feels very fancy, delicious to drink and one to savour or pause on. Love it."

94+ Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Bubb + Pooley Pinot Noir 2021

Coal River Valley. A wine made by lovely genuine people, which is neither here nor there when it comes to what’s in the glass, though it is nice to drink stuff that’s made by good people.

Dark cherry, violet and dried rose, cinnamon, this earthy almost wasabi spiciness too. It’s tight, but delivers dark cherry and dark raspberry in abundance, with a very specific and fetching slate/stony character, pure and cool in acidity, with a long ‘mineral’ finish. It delivers flavour, but there’s no excess here. Beautifully made. Classic Pinot Noir.

95+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Bubb + Pooley Riesling 2021

From the Pressing Matters vineyard. Aged in steel and oak.

Pretty florals, like chamomile maybe, lemon zest, spiced apples. It’s juicy, and savoury with it, nuts and dried apple, a grapefruit tang and sourness, but glossy too, perfume, mint and apple on a long and chalky finish. Texture, power, fragrance. A bolder expression of Riesling, with some quinine-like bitterness to close. Excellent.

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Bubb + Pooley Syrah 2021

I’ve come around to Tasmanian Shiraz these days. You tend to get this ultra-clean ‘mineral’ acidity, kind of like Ardèche Syrah, which transmits flavour so well, with a cool purple thing happening. But don’t mind me. This is from the Milton vineyard, on the East Coast of Tasmania.

Boysenberry, blackcurrant, raspberry, lots of cracked black pepper, wheatgrass and herb, just a dash of spicy oak. Medium-bodied, so fresh and spicy, juicy pomegranate crunch to acidity, fine graphite tannin, cool and clear, with a long spicy and nutty finish. So much energy and character. Wonderful.

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Mallaluka Zibbibo/Chardonnay/Riesling (Riverland/Hilltops/ACT) 2021

Has that squeaky, skinsy thing going on, dominated by zibibbo floral and tropical fruity, greasy texture, quite cloying and lots of nectar and sickly floral notes to taste, albeit many will find this overtness lovely and exotic, depends where you stand. I find zibibbo delivers too much muscle in most wines, and here goes long again. That being said, if you want a carnival ride white with lots of chewy, skinsy vibes, here you go.

89 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Mallaluka Cabernet Franc (Canberra District) 2021

Cabernet franc making an appearance from Canberra District, all done carbonic. Boing!

Has that pretty franc scent of soft, red berries, leafy herbs, white pepper, game meat. Supple texture, very juicy, crisp edged and with a splash of blood orange tang to finish. A whip clean with silty tannins lingers. Lovely stuff. Such a pleasure to drink, has enough body and flavour but also this refreshing nature. Very well done. Super, super delicious drinking.

93 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Mallaluka Sangiovese (Gundagai/Canberra District) 2021

A bit of an ace in the hole, is Mallaluka and sangiovese. This one comes from the road to Gundagai and the road to Parliament House. A portion of this is from the estate vineyard, which grows good sangio.

Light, fresh, savoury expression. Red cherries, cola, turned earth and old leather, some clove and smoky paprika too. Grippy in the palate, flavours reflect the scents well, there’s a bit more woody, dusty spice in the mix, malt and cola come strong with hazelnut to finish. Tannins beautiful and firming to a nice, index finger-middle finger-thumb, three way pinch. Feels very Italianate.

93 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Sami-Odi ‘Little Wine #11’ (Syrah) NV

"The vintage characteristics are distinct from the troublesome, complex 2020 harvest with its heat, fire and the like, 2021 a near perfect year for growing grapes and a small, balanced harvest – these some of the major influences in this release. The blending components go back to the start of all remaining resources (to 2015 in this instance), but a second blend occurred after letting the wine settle, and more 2021 went in. In the end, we get 2021 (46%), 2020 (18%), 2019 (16%), 2018 (2%), 2017 (9%), 2016 (5%) & 2015 (4%). Huzzah!

Dark fruited, inky and soft, maraschino and booze-soaked currants, fresh though, tannins high, a sense of concentration and depth. Gravelly grip comes through, some hazy paprika smoke notes in perfume and palate too. Fresh finish, more sweet currant and red liquorice notes, fennel, mushroom and this interesting weak brandy character. It’s beautiful, highly perfumed and hearty at once. A more intense, deeper release of this wine, but the sum of parts makes for very lovely stuff, indeed."

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Sami-Odi ‘Hoffmann Dallwitz’ Syrah 2020

"Concentration, power, grace. That comes to mind immediately. Feels like it slides but the tannin profile builds in a quiet and assertive way, seamlessly in its weave of dried floral things and char finishes things off. Perfume is all pot pourri, dried cranberry, black olive, old spice cupboard and smoky paprika. Flavours similar, tannin chewy, grippy, well done. Grunty in a way, complex as all get out. An assertive expression, bolder than some years in its intensity and drive, but not without the hallmarks of great Sami Odi wines."

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Sami-Odi ‘Our Hill’ (Syrah) 2020

"From the vines first planted in 2017 on the hillside behind the winery at Angaston. Cuttings came from all over in the Barossa Valley, ‘the sites are so important to me, I originally said I didn’t want to use this information as marketing but the sites are so significant they need attention, or at least form part of my conversations’. Hence the snippers went into the Angus’ from Hutton Vale site, Chris Ringland’s 1910 vineyard, the two old blocks at the Hoffman’s farm, the ultra old Langmeil Freedom vineyard in Tanunda was borrowed from, and, from Greenock, the Kalleske’s Johann Georg 1875 vineyard and just over the fence the old Helbig’s property, that is now under the care of Elderton (the Rockford SVS Helbig got made from here), were sourced from for cuttings. Phew.

Anyways, that’s what went in the ground after a nurture at the Yalumba nursery. “To go and take cuttings in these vineyards… this was such an amazing thing – you can’t go walking in the Freedom vineyard with a pair of snips in hand without a sniper rifle coming out for you”. There’s around 3000 vines (in .35ha) in the ground and some of the vines happen to not be shiraz, hence doradillo, grenache, mataro appear in the ground, which isn’t a big part of the narrative but is a point of interest. The wine is essentially bottled as a cleanskin, sold in lots of three in a box with the essential labels slapped on top. Spends 20 days on skins from one pick. The wine spent its whole life on the farm, right through to bottling.

The wines feel silky and light, drawn tight on a web of fine, gossamer tannins, a savoury, graphite-like and appealing smudge closes things. Ultra fragrant; a huge, fresh fruit and savoury spice and mineral charged scent. Medium weight but with this sense of freshness and lift, purity and fine detail. White pepper, rose hip tea, dark cherry, truffle and dried game meat. Exotic. Beautiful. Stunning wine. Time is helpful here – tasted across two bottles, one popped and poured, one decanted 6-or-so hours – the latter striking for how relaxed and seamless it was. Wonderful how young vines seem to create this ethereal, pure, vibrant magic."

96 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Timo Mayer Mayer Pinot Noir 2021

“Beautiful weather, a farmer’s dream for growing grapes, everything stayed green through summer, looks like Malaga in Spain on the hill now, fuck, but 2021 was lots of healthy grapes”, says Timo Mayer, “happy days”. This is not the 100% whole bunch one, this is the destemmed one (well, 30% whole bunch).

Beautiful perfume, red cherry, cranberry, pretty rose petal characters, some sweet spice, a lift of something faintly minty. Yes. Succulent and supple, red fruited flavours, a crispness, cool, blood orange acidity in the sluice of red cherry and faint herbal and white pepper notes. Whoowee. A fine wine this.

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Timo Mayer Mayer Nebbiolo 2021

Whole bunch nebbiolo, from De Bortoli’s rose clone selection at the top of the vineyard on shale soils over rock.

Attractive wine this. Aromatic, pale in colour, savoury, strong ribbons of tannin, herbal notes amongst dried, red berry and sour cherry characters. It’s a fresh feeling red alongside all this, and succulent. And those tannins shape the wine beautifully and long. Pinosity, but with that web of fine grip. Yeah.

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Timo Mayer Mayer Syrah 2021

Whole bunch syrah from the farm. Syrah vines planted in 1999.

Very fragrant, white pepper, mezcal, game meat, anise and raspberry. Succulent, feather weight but with plenty of character, even a palate staining tannnin and fruit juice mix that makes for some sexy pleasure. Svelte, sultry, lighter weight syrah expression with plenty of spice and savoury flavour. Wonderful wine.

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Timo Mayer Mayer Sangiovese 2021

This has 100% whole bunch and was picked after Easter ‘an additional four days of sunshine in every glass’ quips Timo Mayer, commenting on his pre Easter and post Easter picks.

Sangio scents of red berries, cherry, bloody game meat, white pepper, dried, mixed Italian herbs. Juicy in the palate, riper red berry fruit characters but again the herbs, spice, gamey-savouriness, and amongst all that a weave of graphite-tinged, lacy tannin. Finishes dry, spicy, savoury, after that pleasurable juicy start. Yummo.

94 Points

Mike Bennie -The Wine Front

Timo Mayer Mayer Gamay 2021

All whole bunch, all day long. Once was Roundstone Vineyard (now in Rising), now with Dixons Creek (de Bortoli) vineyard.

Mellow, gentle expression, quite a bit of ripe, red berry fruit on offer, a touch of hazlenut spread, some game meat, some general minerally character. Lively to taste but spreads itself beautifully and silky across the palate, so relaxed, kind of formless but this wrap of pleasure. Very copacetic.

91 Points

Mike Bennie -The Wine Front

Timo Mayer Mayer Merlot 2021

Merlot via the 100% whole bunch highway.

Supple, soft, juicy and lush in a way, dark, plummy fruit, some choc-mint elements, lots of blueberry and some sweet spice that follows on in both scents and flavours. Powdery tannins lend some grip, but just a little. Feels very fresh, huge drinkability, very easy and delicious drinking.

92 Points

Mike Bennie -The Wine Front

Stefano Lubiana Collina Chardonnay - Derwent Valley - 2019

"The wine bottle is so heavy at its base that it actually pours kind of funny, out of balance in a way. You really have to heave it, kind of. Wield it at the glass. Collina at the top end of Stefano Lubiana chardonnay tree. Biodynamic certified.

Hey hey, this is a beauty. Has this kind of understatement but distinct sense of complexity. Beautiful; salted nut scents and flavours with gentle citrus, green apple, flinty-stony notes. A sense of concentration but gentleness, softness, mellifluous flow and lingers strongly with spice and minerally flickers. Mellow and gorgeous, such ease of drinking. No missing the quality."

95 Points

Mike Bennie -The Wine Front

Stefano Lubiana Estate Chardonnay - Derwent Valley - 2019

"Well, this chardonnay is automatic, it’s systematic, it’s hydromatic, it’s biodynamic, why it’s Stefano Lubiana.

Texture is the first imprint. So pleasant, supple, fresh, gently creamy and wholly fresh and bright. Aromas are rich and appealing, stone fruit, citrus, marshmallow and cashew with cinnamon spice dusted on. Excellent carriage of flavour too, riper fruit characters, a little washy though with more creamy, nougat oak and sweet spice seasoning to taste. Finishes fresh and with a light, chalky pucker. Pure class."

94 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Stefano Lubiana ‘Primavera’ Chardonnay - Derwent Valley - 2021

"Typically a very good times chardonnay done in a traditional fashion. Shirts all tucked in. Certified biodynamic.

Ticks all the boxes for quality chardy. Stone fruits fragrant, saline mineral character energetic, toasty-gentle oak seasoning lending a hand. A juiciness, a light creaminess, a bright starburst of pulpy grapefruity acidity to follow. Tip top, wonderful drinking. Excellent."

93 Points

Mike Bennie - The Wine Front

Pewsey Vale Riesling Eden Valley 2021

#1 of 100 Wines

James Suckling's Top Value Wines of 2021 ($35 or less)

"It was Australia’s Eden Valley, though, that gave us our No. 1 value wine for the second year in a row with another one of its great-quality Rieslings: the Pewsey Vale Riesling Eden Valley 2021. We found this wine to be so fresh and exhilarating, with intense and balanced flavors of lemon and stone fruit. Besides being delicious, the best thing about it is that it’s priced at an average of $16 (AUD 25) and is available just about everywhere! Australian Riesling is one of the best deals in the market today, and this Pewsey Vale is leading the charge in terms of price, quantity and quality."

A very fresh, piercing nose of sliced lemon with plenty of sweet perfume, too. The palate is similarly intense and vibrant with white stone-fruit and lemon flavors, delivered in an impressively intense and balanced mode. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

96 Points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

Terre à Terre Cabernet Sauvignon Wrattonbully Crayeres Vienyard Reserve 2016

Mid brick-red in the glass, the first impression is of ripeness and there’s plenty of regional leaf, bracken and mint on offer, along with redcurrant, red plum and some subtle fresh leather. The palate is elegant, supple and medium-bodied and carries bright red berries and plums in ripe, smoothly rendered style. Drink over the next five years.

93 Points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

Nocturne SV Chardonnay 'Tassel Park Vineyard' 2020

"Bit of sulphur, cashew, spice, lime and apple. Juicy but tight, a sour pineapple, not exactly a rich style, but does have flavour. A little gloss, some flinty grip, with good length and tang to close. Modern style. Better in another year or two I’d say."

93 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Yeringberg ‘Yeringberg' Cabernet Blend - Yarra Valley - 2019

Impressively fresh floral aromas here, then a spread of red berries, blueberries and blackberries. Very pure and primary. The palate is elegantly stated and shows a restrained touch, with red-berry and red-plum flavours sitting vibrant and juicy amid smoothly honed, long and ripe tannins. Polished and discreetly powerful. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

96 points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

Charming, mulchy and autumnal with tobacco, violet and mixed small berry fruit. It’s medium-bodied, red and black fruits, fresh, with gentle chewy paperbark tannin, a little tang and bright feel, red fruits and white flower perfume on a brisk finish of fine length. Charming. Classic under-stated Yarra Cabernet. More to come.

94+ Points

Gary Walsh - - The Wine Front

Yeringberg Chardonnay - Yarra Valley - 2019

"Stonefruit, biscuit, nuts, honey, grapefruit. Intense and firm acidity through bold flavour of stonefruit and grilled nuts, perhaps some aniseed, tang and zest of citrus, and a long perfumed finish of excellent length. Yum. Minimal artifice and loads of flavour. Excellent."

"Stonefruit, biscuit, nuts, honey, grapefruit. Intense and firm acidity through bold flavour of stonefruit and grilled nuts, perhaps some aniseed, tang and zest of citrus, and a long perfumed finish of excellent length. Yum. Minimal artifice and loads of flavour. Excellent."

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Yeringberg Viognier - Yarra Valley - 2019

"Hits all the Viognier markers. Jasmine, ginger, fresh apricot, lime and lemon. It’s bright, packed with varietal flavour, yet keeps itself trim and lively, succulence and perfume, heady spice and fine powdery texture, with a lychee and ginger laden finish of excellent length. All just so. Top shelf."

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front 

Giant Steps Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2021

Hand-picked from the usual assortment of Giant Steps vineyards across the Yarra Valley.

Red fruit, spice, a little pepper, something of a blood orange/Campari character too. It’s slightly sappy, red cherry and spiced strawberry, again that blood orange flavour and some savoury ‘autumnal’ character. Tannin has light emery grip, and the finish is juicy/sweet/sour and slightly bitter, offering solid length. Good drink. Better again with a little more time in bottle.

93 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Giant Steps Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2021

"A blend of Sexton, Tarraford, Applejack, Primavera and Wombat Creek vineyards. 15% new oak (puncheons). About 10% malo. In other news, Mel Chester (ex Seppelt, Sutton Grange) is the incoming winemaker at Giant Steps, while Steve Flamsteed involves himself in special ops for GS, among other things.

Flavour, crunch, gloss, and all up a Chardonnay of fine balance and appeal. White peach, almond, a little fennel and lime, fine acidity, flinty texture, a cool cucumber thing happening, and clean, with a well-defined finish of excellent length. Very good in 2021."

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Yeringberg Shiraz - Yarra Valley - 2019

An elegant, fresh red-fruited style that has aromas of red plums, raspberries and redcurrants, as well as some leafy, dried-woody tones. The palate has tautness, crisp fine tannin and fresh, crunchy red-plum flavour.

Drink or hold. Screw cap.

94 Points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

It’s well powered and framed, it’s sealed under screw cap, and it’s from a farm noted for the longevity of the wine it produces, among other things, and yet still the back label calmly notes that “it willmature gracefully in the cellar for 5 or 6 years or more”. That’s a fair understatement I would have thought.

Red berried fruit flavours edge gently into darker tones, gum leaf and floral aspects add lift, cedarwood oak – still in the process of fully integrating – adds seasoning, and dry, fine tannin, slightly woody tannin runs through the (sustained) finish.

Everything is in good order here, and it will age well. Indeed it’s best left alone for a few years to start showing at its best.

93+ Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Pooley Wines Margaret Pooley Tribute Riesling 2021

From the oldest plantings at Cooinda Vale, and 50% sees 18 hours skin contact in press.
'Named after our co-founder Margaret Pooley, this elegant Riesling is a great testament to the wine variety Margaret loved most. Aromas of apple blossom, jasmine and delicate citrus. A richer mouth texture with green apple acidity and a saline finish. Great balance and length of flavour. Will cellar for 15 years plus or just enjoy its freshness now.' Anna Pooley, winemaker.
Drink to 2050

"A commanding wine from the get-go with intense aromas and a wine that immediately gives a concentrated impression. There’s entrancing fragrance with intense lemon, lime, nectarine, wet stone and pastry. The palate is so pure, long and unwavering and holds a long line of fresh flavor with a fierce and lively drive of acidity that runs deep and delivers pure citrus and white-fleshed stone-fruit flavors. So dry. Wrenchingly powerful. Drink or hold. Screw cap."

98 Points

jamessuckling.com

Torzi Matthews Francesca Grillo Collina Calcarea Syrah 2021

"What a wonderful and individual wine this is, you could be in the Eden Valley, or Ardèche, or the Northern Rhône, but what you have here is a superb wine of distinction, with the quirky closure of a crownseal, made by the gentle hand of a man who makes it as a tribute to his dear Mum.

So purple. So vital. Grilled meat, spicy, blueberry and fresh blackberry, violet perfume. Medium-bodied, savoury, meaty and spicy, but pure of intense black fruit – blackcurrant, raspberry,  sage, succulent, yet tight. So fresh, hazelnut and fine-grained silty tannin, a graphite feel to it, maybe even some liquorice and Averna-like richness. Finish is long, clean and focussed. Yes. Special wine. Outstanding."

95+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

By Farr Pinot Noir ‘Farrside’ 2019

It’s not the brightest of pinot noirs – more of a positive than a negative – but it’s earthen, beetroot heart and dry, spicy finish are both impressive. It has the Farr family farm written all over it. A certain tang, a certain stew, enough high class oak and a confident push through the finish.

93 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Pyramid Valley North Canterbury Chardonnay 2019

"Jasmine and ginger, apple and nectarine. It’s saline, distinctly umami and nutty, roast chicken, with pickled ginger, apple cider and pink grapefruit flavours, a gustatory lactic tang, chalky feel and a savoury/floral finish of excellent length, with a slightly sour pucker to close. Delightful. Love it." 

94 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

"Slightly dull straw color with aromas of golden apples, pears, grapefruit zest, spices, flint and hay. Medium-to full-bodied with bright acidity and a taut, phenolic texture. Full of flavor, freshness and wild energy. Drink now or hold. Screw cap."

93 Points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

Pyramid Valley North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2019

"No shortage of personality with these wines from Pyramid Valley, and they seem true to the original ethos of the winery. All the spice here, and I’m thinking nutmeg, allspice, maybe even garam masala, along with blood plum and raspberry. with an earthy character too. It’s fleshy and spicy, some roast beetroot earthiness with plum and cherry, a sappy feel too, dried rose and tamarind tang, and a slightly muddy, dried herb and orange peel finish of solid length. Heaps of character. I’d drink it now, and enjoy it for its unfettered and wild personality. Great drinking."

93 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Raspberries, cherries and baking spices on the nose. It’s medium-bodied with vivid acidity. Crunchy and juicy with a succulent finish. Quite chewy tannins. Lots of earthy and spicy undertones with some graphite and slate undertones. A little austere at the end, suggesting that two or three years of bottle age will help. Drink after 2023. Screw cap.

94 Points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

Pyramid Valley Central Otago Pinot Noir 2019

"A perfumed nose with aromas of redcurrants, sour cherries, sweet spices, cedar and violets. It’s medium-bodied with sleek tannins and bright acidity. Balanced, juicy and fleshy with a silky texture. Layered and precise with a long finish. Intense. Drink or hold. Screw cap."

94 Points

Nick Stock - jamessuckling.com

"Curiously, perhaps, I’d place Martinborough, Marlborough and Canterbury above Central Otago in my NZ Pinot Noir pecking order. Anyway, this comes from the Lowburn region of CO.

Juicy, natural feeling Central Otago Pinot here. Poached strawberry, thyme, spice and a kiss of vanilla oak. It’s squishy and subtly sappy, brown spices and more of that wild herb perfume, a clay and earthy feel, a little tamarind tang on a finish of moderate length and powdery grip. Good wine, with no shortage of interest and texture."

91 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Fetherston Estate Chardonnay 2020

Typical Upper Yarra in that it has a keen acid line and an associated long finish. It brings flavour with it, green apple and green pineapple with hay, honeysuckle, lemon and meal, all delivered with a silky aspect to the mouthfeel. I was immediately impressed with this wine and am confident that it has a fine future, though it is determinedly fine-boned and lean. Give this another year or two in bottle and we’ll have something lovely on our hands.

93+ Points

Campbell Mattison - The Wine Front

Fetherston Estate Pinot Noir 2020

"Strange to say, but this puts me in mind of some Pinot Noir from days of yore. Like Diamond Valley Close Planted, or something like that. I know, I’m getting on a bit when I say things like that, though I reckon CM would also see the similarity, not least because he’s much older than me. And possibly wiser. And also probably loves this style of Pinot Noir.

Spicy, minty, strawberry and autumnal. It’s fresh, crisp and kind of sappy, but in a good way. A bit of tang, some orange zest flavour too, a cool feathering of emery tannin, and a juicy red fruited finish of fine length. Really nice wine. Should age well."

93+ Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Fetherston Estate Shiraz 2018

"My eyesight isn’t the greatest, to say the least, but even in bright light I couldn’t say 100% for sure what the alcohol reading is on this wine. I’d hate to be trying to read it in a dim-light bar.

The wine itself is immaculate. Full-bodied but polished, fruit-driven but complex, juicy and accessible but with the structure to age. Boysenberry, mint, deep plum, subtle herbs, smoky bacon, game and forest notes get the job done, and confidently so. Very good now. Will improve."

93+ Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Pewsey Vale Vineyard Riesling 1961 Block 2019

Lime,lavender, a bit of toast and plenty of mineral. Powerful. Flavoursome. Tight but ripe acid. Powdery feel. So much juicy lime. Intense and long. Excellent. Yum factor is high.

95 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

Place Of Changing Winds Heathcote Syrah 2019 - Second Bottling

We’ve already reviewed this wine – here – but this is a special second bottling, which spent extra time in oak, a full 30 months all told. It was matured in (large) 1000 lt and 2000 lt oak so the extra time wasn’t in search of extra oak flavour; if anything, the opposite.

The bottle I tried seemed quite reserved on the nose, even allowed a good amount of time to breathe, but the palate is quite something. The push through the finish here is elite. I mentioned the descriptor ‘sultana’ in my original review but I don’t see any of that now; it seems darker and more savoury, with dry licorice notes running through red/black cherry, along with smoked tobacco, along with sweet and woodsy spice aplenty. But really this wine is all about the finish, which is dynamite. It’s peacock’s tail territory. Dry, structural, plenty going on, a touch of the regal. I’m up a point, score-wise, and I’m tempted to be up by more. It’s a fabulous wine.

95 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

Stoney Rise Chardonnay 2021

Well, the Holyman Chardonnay is what you might call a ‘classic wine’, but this offering is a bit more outré. No bad thing. Diversity of style and all that.

Saline, a slight flor-like top note of oxidative richness, ripe lemon and green apple, with a slight parmesan character. It’s fresh in acidity, savoury and mealy, fine chalky texture, and quite savoury. There’s a twist of lemon zest and green olive, a brine-like flavour, a bit nutty and spicy, with a powdery finish of tang and excellent energy. Quite different from your ordinary Australian Chardonnay, though no bad thing. Very adult wine, at a pretty modest price point.

92 Points

Gary Walsh - The Wine Front

A. Rodda Cuvée de Chez 2018

This blend of Bordelais grapes is one of the most stylishly understated modern reds being made in Victoria right now. It has such charming aromas of red, blue and purple berries, gentle earth and bracken, as well as super-subtle oak spice and cedar. The palate is so smoothly curated and the velvety tannins carry fresh, pillowy blueberry, blackcurrant and red-berry flavors aloft. Great wine. Drink or hold. Screw cap.

96 Points

Nick Stock - James Suckling

By Farr Shiraz 2019

The 2018 release was shiraz with a bit of nebbiolo (style) about it; this 2019 is shiraz with a Burgundy leaning. It is just so thoroughly and gorgeously complex. Undergrowth, sweet herb/mescal, stem and roasted spice characters romp through cherry-plum, woodsmoke and violet. It’s a cracking red wine, high in fragrance, charm, character and distinction; it’s impeccably well balanced, not to mention controlled, but it’s also a wine with the wind in its hair, free and flowing. The length of the palate here is outstanding, it really is. Fabulous wine.

96 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front

By Farr Pinot Noir ‘RP’ (Robyn Pamela) 2019

This wine announced itself in the most authoritative of ways in the midst of a masked, double-blind line-up. You have to love it when a top-tier wine is just that, a top-tier wine.

This is immensely impressive. Pure and even-handed but powerful, especially through the finish. Seamless in its flavour profile too, in that it’s difficult to pull out individual flavours. Who needs descriptors anyway. It’s a wine of silk and herbs, earth and grain. Orchards and creek beds. And wood; cedarwood. That’s the feel. The quality is ripping.

96 Points

Campbell Mattinson - The Wine Front