Very pale in colour, this rosé from Wills Domain in the Margaret River is a blend of 85% shiraz and 15% sauvignon blanc. In the glass, it has a fruity aroma of ripe red strawberries. The palate has a soft body but firm acidity. Ready to drink now. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.6%. Price: NA. Website: http://willsdomain.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: September 2019.
d’Arenberg’s “The Broken Fishplate” is a well made sauvignon blanc from the Adelaide Hills. It has bright aromas of lemon, grass and pear. The palate has fresh acidity and a nice balance. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price:$20. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.
Thousand Candles was launched in the Yarra Valley with a lot of hype, an on trend ethos of site expression, a stellar price ($100) and some gushing reviews. I think some of those reviewers might be a bit embarrassed now. 2011 was the first vintage of Thousand Candles and it’s an unorthodox blend of 92% syrah, 6% pinot noir and 2% sauvignon blanc. 2011 is a poor red vintage in the Yarra Valley, so this must be factored in. In the glass, the wine has quite an unusual aroma that reminds of mushroom (not things like mushrooms, actual mushrooms), earth, red berries, leather, damp rosemary, grass and tinned peas. The contribution of the sauvignon blanc and the whole bunch fermentation is undeniable, though ultimately, I found these characters more grating than enjoyable, as the tinned pea and the damp whole bunch aromas simply overwhelmed. The palate is better. It’s delicate, with medium length and a nice silky balance to it, but seems to lack intensity of fruit expression and is unexpectedly light and simple, a victim of the vintage. It certainly appears to have reached its drinking window. Indeed, I wouldn’t keep this wine much longer. Overall, this is a disappointing wine, that promises much and delivers more smoke than fire. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: not recorded. Price: $100+. Website: www.thousandcandles.com.au.
This is a complex rendition of sauvignon Blanc from Ten Minutes by Tractor in the Mornington Pensinsula. It has a nutty and gooseberry like aroma. The palate is firmly acidic, with a yellow grapefruit like linearity. Ready to drink now, this wine can be approached over the next couple of years. Rating: Good. Abv: 12%. Price: $28. Source: Sample.
This is a very pleasant sauvignon blanc from Domaine Mollet-Maudry in Sancerre in the Loire Valley. A yellow gold in colour, it opens to aromas of grass, herbs and minerals. The palate has high acidity, a medium to full body and is racy, but not austere in bearing. This wine is ready to drink now, but can be drunk over the next couple of years. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $20s.
This wine has a bit of everything in it. Oaked chardonnay, oaked sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer and petit manseng. I can imagine the blending sessions were a lot of fun, or challenging or both. From New England in northern New South Wales, the Topper’s Mountain capsule has Italian style paper wrapping which makes the initial pour a little impractical as the sticker seeks, with some determination, to attach itself to the glass. The wine itself, though, is a good one. The gewurtz makes the dominant impression on the nose, with its distinctive siren song of lychees. The palate is relatively round and approachable and also gewurtz influenced, but there is a steely backbone too from the higher acid varieties in the blend, namely the sauvignon blanc and petit manseng. A well put together blend that is approachable now. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $30. Source: Sample.
I wasn’t entirely convinced by this sauvignon blanc from François Chidaine in Touraine. It opens to a typically sauvignon blanc tropical aroma, but overlaid with a green streak. The palate is medium bodied with a bitter edge. Neither Sancerre, nor NZ in styling, it presented as an amalgam of the two. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: N/A. Price: $20s.
There aren’t many producing a fumé blanc style sauvignon blanc in Australia and I think this wine’s a bit of a success. From early picked sauvignon blanc in Coonawarra, it has seen some time on French oak. It is neither unduly green, nor unduly woody, achieving a good balance in the glass. The aromatics remind of lemon with a touch of cedar. There are more green peppers, than classic SB gooseberries. The palate is medium-full bodied and has quite good length and a dry finish, with a well judged residual sugar contribution. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
I recently tasted through Yalumba’s new 2017 vintage of “Y Series” whites. All the wines are $15 and all five wines from different single varieties. As a group, these wines evidence the new modern Australian style – lower alcohol, more medium than full bodied and no discernible oak influence. The sauvignon blanc for example weighs in at only 11.5%. The search for restraint in warmer climates can lead to a loss of varietal character, but the viognier and riesling shone through as good examples. The chardonnay and pinot grigio were more neutral and dry whitish. Overall, this is a well made set with an evenness to the wines and provides sound drinking at a modest price.
Yalumba Y Series Sauvignon Blanc South Australia 2017
Mid range aromatics of florals, gooseberry and grass with air. Dry, some raspy sauvignon blanc acidity and fresh style. Rating: Good. Abv: 11.5%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Riesling Barossa 2017Attractive aromatics of stone and florals, with a slight savoury roundness. A floral, dry, medium bodied palate with not quite fully linear acidity and nice length. Rating: Good. Abv: 12%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Chardonnay South Australia 2017Muted aromatics of pear and quince. No discernible oak. Medium bodied, dry and mid range acidity. A little neutral and dry white in expression. Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Viognier South Australia 2017Richly aromatic, all talc, ginger and apricots. The palate is towards full bodied, dry with a phenolic impression and good length. Recommended. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $15.
Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio South Australia 2017Muted aromatics of stone. Nectarine and stone characters on the palate with a between medium to full bodied impression. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $15.
This wine has restrained aromas of lemon and stones. Dry on the palate, there’s some well handled oak, green apple characters, balance, medium length and some acid zing. A bargain at $15. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.4%. Price: $15. Source: Sample.
This wine presents with very restrained aromas of stone and meal, and cedar characters suggesting mostly older oak has been used. The palate is dry and restrained in its expressions of lemon and stone, and medium length and also has some acid zing. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 13.0%. Price: $22. Source: Sample.
Restrained in impression, this wine opens to aromas of green apple and subtle oak use. Between medium and full bodied on the palate, with good length and a very balanced expression of a cooler climate style chardonnay. Another bargain, this time at $19. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $19. Source: Sample.
This is a more aromatic wine than the previous three, with its expression of apricot and dried fruits. No oak on the palate, it is full bodied with a mealy, textured expression and is well made if singular. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.9%. Price: $20. Source: Sample.
Pale in colour with a slight pink hue. Typical pinot gris. A medium intensity aromas of pears on the nose. The palate is between medium and full bodied with no oak influence and a stoney, minerally expression of citrus fruits and pear and an acid zing on the tail. A good example of cool climate pinot grigio. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.0%. Price: $20. Source: Sample.