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Wine Reviews

Château Baron de Pichon-Longueville Pauillac 1994

The 1994 vintage of the Pichon Baron is a mature claret that remains in its drinking window at 26 years of age. The 1994s are considered a more modest vintage for left bank Bordeaux, but the better producers produce better wines, as usual. In my experience, drinking modest Bordeaux vintages from good producers (from long tasting, Pichon Baron is unquestionably in this group) at the right time can be as enjoyable as drinking wine from the great vintages.

The 1994 Baron has tertiary and fully developed aromas of old cedar, earth and soy. On the palate, the tannins are very fine, but still firm and build with time in the glass. The length on the finish is gentle, persistent and long, and the balance exquisite. This is a graceful and mature Baron that is ready to drink. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5. Price: $100+. Website: https://www.pichonbaron.com/en/. Reviewed: June 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Rockford Rod & Spur Shiraz Cabernet 2017

The 2017 release of Rockford’s Rod & Spur shiraz cabernet has aromas of licorice and cassis. The palate is medium bodied and has fine, almost unnoticeable tannins. This is a very balanced wine and is approachable now. In fact, its principal attribute is balance – this is not a blockbuster Barossa style, and intentionally so. It is quite young, so may develop further. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.9. Price: $30s. Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au/. Reviewed: June 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Réserve de la Comtesse Pauillac 2016

This is a delightful Pauillac from Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande’s second label, the Réserve de la Comtesse.  It has an aroma of blackcurrant and refined, unobtrusive cedar.  The palate is medium bodied, with subtle length and a refined bearing.  Ready to drink now or over the next decade. Rating: Very Good.  Abv: 13.0.  Price:  $95. Website:  http://www.pichon-comtesse.com/. Reviewed: May 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Bowen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

This is the best new release Bowen cabernet sauvignon I have tasted in years. A deep purple in colour, it has aromas of blackcurrant and well integrated cedar. The palate is full bodied with pleasingly firm but ripe tannins and long length on the finish. Approachable now, but will be best with medium term ageing. An outstanding release. Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5. Price: $28. Website: http://www.bowenestate.com.au. Reviewed: April 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Château Potensac 2015

Potensac’s 2015 vintage is a very refined and balanced wine. It has gentle and well integrated blackcurrant and cedar aromas. The palate is medium bodied with fine grained firm tannins that build to a crescendo with time. This is an excellent release from this producer. It will suit ageing for at least a decade. Rating: Very Good. Abv: NA. Price: $60. Website: http://www.domaines-delon.com/en/potensac-chateau_potensac_vins.html. Reviewed: April 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Aylesbury Estate Waterfall Gully Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

From the Ferguson Valley in Western Australia, this cabernet sauvignon from Alyesbury Estate opens to aromas of pungent clove, eucalyptus and black fruits. The palate has very firm fine grained tannins, a medium body and integrated acidity. Ready to drink now and over the next few years. Rating: Good. Abv: NA. Price: $20. Website: https://www.aylesburyestate.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: March 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Aylesbury Estate The Pater Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

This wine is from Aylesbury Estate and the Ferguson Valley, north of the Margaret River. There is substantial new oak influence, with aromas of cedar and wood prominent. The palate is full bodied and has powdery (medium) tannins and a ripe fruit expression. This is a youthful wine that will benefit from short term cellaring (3-5 years). Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5. Price: $45. Website: www.aylesburyestate.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: February 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Rockford Rifle Range Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

The 2016 Rockford Rifle Range cabernet sauvignon is a good, if not outstanding, vintage of this wine. These are generally wines for long ageing, so it is early days yet. Tasted in March 2020, its aroma evidences new oak influence with its obvious cedar character. The palate is dry, medium bodied and has a leafy varietal cabernet sauvignon expression and fresh acidity, with the oak appearing better integrated. The tannins are medium, rather than firm and the intent is earthy and savoury. This Rifle Range vintage can be approached now and over the next decade. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.9. Price: $40+. Website: https://www.rockfordwines.com.au. Reviewed: March 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Balgownie Estate’s 2015 cabernet sauvignon from Bendigo is earthy, leafy and ready to drink. It has light tannins for this firm grape variety. Closer to a Médoc in style, but with riper fruit being from Bendigo, this wine provides enjoyable drinking now. Its modest structure means that this wine is best consumed over the next few years. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.6%. Price: $45. Website: https://www.balgownieestate.com.au. Reviewed: February 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Château Barreyres Haut-Médoc 2014

This is a sound cru bourgeois from Château Barreyres. It opens to quite an intense herbal aroma before settling to an earthy expression of red and black fruits. The palate is restrained and balanced with dry tannins. Approachable now, this wine will benefit from a further 2 or 3 years in the cellar. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Website: http://www.chateau-barreyres.com. Reviewed: January 2020.