This is a very sound sauvignon blanc from Stellenbosch in South Africa. It is less clarion like than a Marlborough wine, but distinctively sauvignon blanc with its aroma of grass and green capsicum. The palate is full bodied, the acidity high and razor like and there is no oak. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: NA. Reviewed: August 2020.
Domaine de Bellene’s Côte de Nuits Villages from the 2018 vintage is a lovely wine. It opens to attractive and fragrant aromas of spice and blackcurrant, with an end note of smoke and cedar. It can only be Burgundy. The palate is medium bodied and more workmanlike with characters akin to red currants. This attractive wine is approachable now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Website: http://domainedebellene.com/. Reviewed: July 2020.
This is first rate Heathcote shiraz from shadowfax and the 2010 vintage. In the glass, the wine has an aroma of licorice, spice and plums. On the palate, its key features are its long length, medium tannins (more than usual for Heathcote) and full body. This wine has been delicious over all of its life, and remains so now at a decade of age. Rating: Very Good. Website: https://www.shadowfax.com.au/. Reviewed: July 2020.
Wild Duck Creek produces very ripe styles of Heathcote shiraz. Weighing in at 15.9abv, the 2018 vintage of the Springflat shiraz opens to aroma of ripe plums and spices. It is pure in expression and this is a wine that unequivocally celebrates fruit. The palate is full bodied with no edges and has low to medium soft tannins and long length on the finish. Drink now and over the next 5 to 7 years. Rating: Good to Very Good. Website: https://wildduckcreekestate.com.au. Reviewed: July 2020.
The Margaret River, best known for its cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and semillon-sauvignon blanc blends, probably in that order, also produces a ripe shiraz style that ages well. This wine, a 2007 shiraz from Leeuwin Estate (best known for its chardonnay) has an aroma of plums. The palate is rich, full bodied and spicey, with ripe and sweet fruit. This delicious wine is in its drinking prime. Rating: Very Good. Website: https://leeuwinestate.com.au. Reviewed: July 2020.
La Maison Trénel is part of the Chapoutier stable. From the Côte de Brouilly, this cru Beaujolais is particularly good. It has aromas of red fruits and a cedar like character despite its maturation in cement tanks. The palate is medium bodied with delicious and quite firm tannins. The finish is towards long. This wine provides compelling current drinking and is an excellent example of a Côte de Brouilly gamay. For a longer post on the wines of the region, see here. Rating: Very Good. Website: http://trenel.fr/. Reviewed: July 2020.
This is the current vintage release and early to have opened a Rockford Rifle Range. The wine, a cabernet sauvignon, presents in something of a jumbly fashion. The aroma points in different green directions, none with certainty. Weeds, clove, cedar and green capsicum each present their case. The palate offers medium tannins that are fine in texture. Importantly its finish is between medium and long, suggesting its future is a bright one. This Rifle Range is too early to approach and I would suggest a further 3-4 years in the cellar for it to show its true character. Rating: Good. Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au. Reviewed: July 2020.
Wendouree in the Clare Valley is legendary in local wine circles for their quixotic mailing list practices and very high quality wines. I sometimes wonder in which order. I opened a bottle of their shiraz malbec here from the 2015 vintage. It immediately identifies as a high quality wine. Its aromas remind of warm spices, red fruits, pepper and earth. “Crushed ants” came to mind, but I think spicey and peppery is better understood. The palate is medium bodied with a pleasing and layered complexity, medium to firm but finely textured tannins and sublimely handled oak. Chocolate characters occupy the background and the finish is towards long. This is an excellent Wendouree that seeks to express itself in multiple dimensions. It is not yet in its drinking window, and will reward medium to long term cellaring for a decade or more. Rating: Very Good. Website: None. Tasted: July 2020.
Sablet is one of the Côtes du Rhône Villages appellations in the southern Rhône Valley in France. This wine from Domaine de la Roubine is a blend of 70% grenache, 25% syrah and 5% cinsault. It has aromas of stalk, rosemary and a green bouquet garnis character. The palate is full bodied, with medium tannins and rich expression, together with high alcohol (15%) and no edges. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Website: http://domainelaroubine.com/en/ledomaine.html. Reviewed: June 2020.
South African wine producers appear to be having a hard time of it at the moment with heavy covid-19 restrictions, based on wine media and industry webinars made available by the Institute of Masters of Wine here. Chenin blanc is a South African white wine paradigm and this wine from Badenhorst in Swartland is a good example of it. It opens to aromas of damp honey, dew and green melon. The palate is dry and full bodied with trademark chenin blanc high acidity. This wine can be approached now or over the next 5 years or more. Rating: Good. Website: https://aabadenhorst.com/. Reviewed: June 2020.