Gartelmann Wilhelm Hunter Valley Shiraz 2015

This release from Gartelmann Wines is from the difficult 2015 vintage in the Hunter Valley. It has typical Hunter shiraz characters of spice, plum, pepper and cedar. The tannins are soft, the body is between medium and full and the acidity spikey. This is a sound wine suitable for drinking now. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.3%. Price: $28. Website: Source: Sample. Reviewed: October 2019.

Tyrell’s Wines Hunter Valley Semillon 2016

Tyrells are a benchmark producer of Hunter Valley semillon, and this wine is the “baby brother” of Tyrell’s more famous Vat 1 Hunter semillon.  In the glass, it has aromatics of lemon and bees wax.  The palate has a nip of acidity and good length.  The alcohol is only 11%.  A good release that can be approached now, but should age for a decade or more.  Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 11%. Price: $20.

Gartelmann Petit Verdot 2014 and Hunter Valley/Clare Valley Shiraz 2014

Here are reviews of a couple of new releases from Gartelmann wines.

Gartelmann Petit Verdot 2014, Mudgee
You don’t see too many petit verdots as a single varietal wine, although this wine also has some cabernet sauvignon in it. This is a fruity style, with aromas of strawberry jam and cedar. The palate is medium bodied with some fruit sweetness (the wine is of course dry), together with strawberry and earth overtones and some gentle tannic grip. For current drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.2%. Price: $30.

Gartelmann Diedrich Shiraz 2014, Hunter Valley and Clare Valley
A blend of Hunter Valley and Clare Valley shiraz, making it a multi-regional blend from regions that are certainly not close.  The blending decisions made however were good ones.  More intensely coloured than the petit verdot, it has intense aromas of spearmint, menthol, baking spices and plums, together with cedar. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, with sweet shiraz fruit, fresh acidity and firm tannins and an affinity to oak. Good length on the finish. This wine should improve with age and is a good warm climate expression of shiraz. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.7%. Price: $45.

Source: Samples.

Lake’s Folly Cabernets 2015

This is the new release cabernets from Lake’s Folly, a producer I’ve started following more closely.  Interestingly, the 2015 vintage is quite different in composition to the 2014.  The 2015 is a blend of 76% cabernet sauvignon, 16% petit verdot and 8% merlot.  That’s, relative to the 2014, 15% more cabernet sauvignon, 6% more petit verdot, 3% less merlot and no shiraz (down from 18%).  2015 is described as a wet growing season, whereas 2014 is regarded as an excellent vintage.  Interesting then that the later ripening varieties of cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot constitute more of the blend in the wetter year of 2015.  If you know why, please chime in.

What then of the wine?  It’s a good release, although it is more sweet fruited than I recall from previous vintages.  Perhaps showing rather than confounding its warm latitude in this vintage?  But don’t get me wrong, it’s a classy wine and I’m both happy to drink and cellar it.  It opens to bay leaf, sweet plum and tobacco aromatics.  The palate has long length, a mid weight body and sweet and balanced red fruit flavours.  The alcohol is only 12.5%.  (Region: Hunter Valley, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: June, 2017)

Read more:

Other vintages reviewed:

Vintage Rating Review
Very Good
Very Good
Very Good

A few good cabernets; Wantirna Estate 2012, Lake’s Folly Cabernets 2014 and Les Tourelles de Longueville 1996

Each of these cabernets are in a style that I enjoy drinking and it was a joy to taste them together.  Wantirna Estate’s “Amelia” cabernet sauvignon merlot is a very good release from this tiny but highly regarded estate in the Yarra Valley.  The 2012 is classic in expression, with medium bodied notes of blackcurrants and cedar.  It will benefit from a few years in bottle, but is quite approachable now.  Left bank Bordeaux like, this is a reminder of what Yarra Valley cabernet can be.  (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Yarra Valley, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: Feb, 2017)

Lake’s Folly is a wine, a cabernet from the Hunter Valley, that shouldn’t really even work.  Yet it is utterly delicious and Bordeaux like.  The 2014 vintage is a blend of 61% cabernet sauvignon, 18% shiraz, 11% merlot and 10% petit verdot.  It has more game and leather characters than the Wantirna Estate wine, as well as a little more structure through the palate.  But it retains a medium body and cabernet expression that defies climatic generalisations; both wines weigh in at a modest 12.5% and both could be quite honourably mistaken for Bordeaux.  Delicious drinking.  (Alc: 12.5%, Region: Hunter Valley, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2032, Tasted: Feb, 2017)

The final wine was a look in on the 1996 vintage of Les Tourelles de Longueville.  Last tasted in 2013, my notes from then largely still stand (see the link below).  An earlier bottle was horribly corked, but this wine continues to present enjoyment as a fully mature left bank wine.  (Alc: 13%, Region: Pauillac, Bordeaux, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now, Tasted: Feb, 2017)

Read more:

Other vintages reviewed:

Vintage Rating Review
Lake’s Folly 2009
Very Good
Lake’s Folly 2001
Very Good
Wantirna Estate 1994
Wantirna Estate 1992
Very Good to Outstanding
Les Tourelles de Longueville 2007
Very Good
Les Tourelles de Longueville 1996
Good to Very Good
Les Tourelles de Longueville 1990
Not rated; Corked

Gartelmann Benjamin Hunter Valley Semillon 2016

I don’t drink or cellar nearly enough Hunter Valley semillon.  This release from the 2016 vintage from Gartelmann is quite attractive.  Its nose is bright with lemon, minerals and a lemon rind character.  The palate is light to medium bodied, with good length and balance framed with high acidity.  I enjoyed this.  Rating: Good to Very Good

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Source: sample

Gartelmann Wilhem Hunter Valley Shiraz 2014

This is a pleasant medium bodied Hunter Valley shiraz from Gartelmann.  The 2014 Hunter Valley shiraz vintage is reported by James Halliday – someone who knows a thing or two about the Hunter Valley – as “what most rate as the best vintage in half a century” (you can read more here).  The wine in the glass has aromatics of pepper and peppercorn in a “syrah” style.  The palate is spicy, with fresh acidity and taut plum and tannin characters in a medium bodied style.  Rating: Good

Read more:

Source: sample

A vinous round up

Here is a vinous round up of wine notes that I, for one reason or another, have not been quick enough to type out individual posts on, but nonetheless ought to be commented upon.  There are some very good wines among these.  In re-reading them, it is a bit of vinous Noah’s Ark which, more or less, tracks my own obsession with good wine, no matter where it’s from.

As a brief aside, sometimes I wonder whether short lists such as these are the best way to communicate tasting notes, rather than individual posts per wine.  Feel free to chime in.  They do become harder to search though in this format.


Meerea Park Alexander Munro Semillon 2010, Hunter Valley
Pale intensity, lemon-green in colour.  Floral, lemon aromatics.  Bone dry, high acid with a light to medium body.  Lemon, yellow grapefruit and hints of toast and honey.  A delicious Hunter Valley semillon just starting to edge towards maturity.  I need more semillon in my cellar.  Rating: Very Good

Ten Minutes by Tractor Judd Chardonnay 2013, Mornington Peninsula
Benchmark territory here.  Nectarine, peach, cashew and clove aromatics.  Long length, fullish body, all in exquisite balance with a stone fruit overlay.  Delicious and first rate wine.  Rating: Very Good to Outstanding

Ten Minutes by Tractor McCutcheon Chardonnay 2013, Mornington Peninsula
More obvious in style than the Judd.  Still delicious though.  Butter, cashew, vanilla and green mango aromatics.  Palate with between medium and long length and terrifically balanced.  Rating: Very Good


Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2015, Clare Valley
Lemon-green in colour.  Steely, lemon and lime, very Clare Valley.  Dry, high acid palate.  Lovely riesling.  I’d buy this.  Rating: Good

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2013, Margaret River
A delicious wine, but evident winemaking oak influence.  Lemon in colour.  Quite aromatic expressions of nectarine, organs peel, cedar and smoke.  The palate is dry with prodigiously long length on the finish, coupled with cedar and stone fruit characters.  Rating: Very Good

Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Quite a developed wine, with hints only of lemon and cashew.  The palate is quite subtle too and almost a little neutral.  Subtle length and balance.  Seemed to be missing some spark.  Rating: Good

3 Tales Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough
Soundly made Marlborough sauvignon blanc.  Grass, gooseberry, grapefruit.  Pronounced intensity aromatics and high acid palate.  Exactly what you might expect from a Marlborough SB, a style that is what it is.  Rating: Good


Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago, New Zealand
This wine evolved and improved considerably in the glass.  Residual impression of “not convinced”.  Deeply coloured for pinot noir.  Aromatics of caramel, toffee (the first two unusual for pinot), dark cherry and autumn with time.  The palate reminds of cedar, cherry and plum with good length on the finish.  Complex.  Rating: Good

Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Coonawarra
This is a good wine.  Mint, eucalyptus, earth and dark olive aromatics.  Palate with considerable tannin and a full bodied expression of blackcurrant and dark olives.  One for the cellar.  Obvious mint  its only query.  Rating: Good to Very Good.

Chateau Plince Pomerol 2012, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Pleasant wine.  Not ambitiously priced for a Pomerol in Australia.  Cedar, typical merlot characters of plum and fruit cake.  Balanced palate.  Rating: Good

Angullong Crossing Reserve Shiraz 2013, Orange
A lovely wine.  Aromatics of clove,vanilla, plum and wood spice.  Balanced mid weight wine on the palate with good length.  Rating: Good

Marchesi di Barolo Cannubi 2010, Barolo, Italy
2010 is a great vintage in Barolo.  This wine is classic nebbiolo tar and roses although lacking the intensity and structure of some.  Rating: Good


Capella Prosecco NV, Conegliano Valdobbiadene, Italy
Here’s a good Prosecco.  Not all of them are, but this one is.  Apple skins, apple and apricot blossom. Palate somewhere between dry and off dry.  Creamy mousse and pleasant length.  Rating: Good

Torre Blanca Cava NV, Cava, Spain
Lemon and grapefruit aromatics.  Dry palate with a creamy mousse, and minerally after taste.  Fine, but not a style I search for.  Rating: Acceptable

Domaine Pichot Vouvray Brut 2011, Vouvray, France
Golden in colour.  Aromatics of grapefruit, biscuit, almonds and green mango.  Something ever so slightly socky.  Dry, high acid palate.  Delicate.  Rating: Good

Louis Roederer Vintage 2008, Champagne, France
Yeast, biscuit and strawberry aromatics.  High acid palate, racy, resolutely dry and lemon and yellow grapefruited expression.  Second bottle had more charm.  Rating: Good to Very Good

Dessert Wine

Chateau Coutet 2009, Sauternes-Barsac, France
Marmalade, orange peel, long length and pure expression of Sauternes.  Delicious.  Rating: Very Good

Note: some of these wines were samples.

Nightingale Wines Shiraz 2014

I don’t drink a lot of Hunter Valley shiraz, which is a pity because I am quite partial to it.  From what I have read, 2014 is an outstanding red vintage in the Hunter.  This shiraz from small producer Nightingale Wines is a sound one.  Plums and leather aromatics.  The palate is medium bodied with nice length and depth.  Very typical Hunter shiraz.

Rating: Good
Abv: 13.5%
Price: $20s
Vendors and website:
Tasted: 2016