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The Wine Companion Summer Reviews

 

Michael Hall Chardonnay 2011

The Finesse of Fine Modern Chardonnay

Michael-Hall-Chardonnay-2011
Drink: 2013-2018
Score: 94/100

After spending much of this week in Coonawarra (and drinking largely Cabernet, with the odd Shiraz or blend for good measure) this was a lovely palate refresher. A wine sorbet, if you like, in the best possible fashion. Grand wine for the vintage too. This particular wine was sourced from the Garden Block, located in the beautiful Piccadilly Valley, with a little fruit included from the cool and steep ‘Hill Block’ (3km up the road) blended in for good measure.

Speaking of the Adelaide Hills, if I was forced to pick any South Australian wine region to make wine, Piccadilly makes a strong case – it’s beautiful, amazingly close to Adelaide and an exciting place to grow grapes (particularly Chardonnay). As ever with Michael’s whites, this 2011 Michael Hall Chardonnay is precisely made: it’s whole bunch press
ed and fermented wild in barrel, with 40% of the wine going through malo and all of it spending 11 months on gross lees in (10% new) barriques.
There’s an unquestioned finesse on the palate too – a cool, sexy classiness with peach juice and cream, solids enriched palate weight, further weighted by banana cream oak/yeast richness. It’s a very fine richness though, like carefully whipped cream – a real delicacy to the finish too, with no shortage of fine acidity. Fresh, very cool and just on the right side of ripe, this is a model of carefully made, refreshing Chardonnay. It’s perhaps a little lean and grapefruity for such ‘work’, but the wine ultimately drinks very well.

logo (Piccadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills SA)12.8%, Screwcap, $40www.michaelhallwines.com

 


Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Rymill’s Finest Rymill ‘The Surveyor’

Cabernet-Sauvignon-2010
Drink: 2013-2028
Score: 94/100

Sourced from Rymill’s oldest Cabernet Sauvignon plantings, with an average age of 35 years, the decision to release this wine was spurred on by the quality of the 2010 wines in barrel.

According to winemaker Sandrine the wine “took some time to come to life. It is ‘a curious blend of audacity and trust, confidence but not cockiness.”

Undoubtedly an impressive looking Cabernet, this has some of the most super sexy and expensive-looking packaging around, complete with black wax top. It looks the part too,
a deep ruby red colour that goes all the way to the rim. Yet it’s actually an elegant wine given its super premium leanings, perfumed and not especially sweet fruited, though still crammed full of dusty Rymill tannins. Sufficiently plush and lifted up with sweet oak, it’s perhaps a little bitter and immature

to finish but the structure is certainly there, long and with some force to finish, everything framed with very nice tannins. Smart wine from start to finish.

rymill 14%, Cork, $80Source: Tastingwww.rymill.com.au 

Head Red Shiraz 2012

Bargain Barossa

Drink: 2013-2019  Score: 93/100
Drink: 2013-2019
Score: 93/100

Produced by fellow good-looking bald man Alex Head, this is among the best $20 Shiraz I’ve had in yonks. It’s a barrel cull from Alex’s single vineyard Blonde and Brunette Shiraz wines and, if this is the wine that John West rejects, then gee the 2012 single vineyard wines are going to be good…

What I like most about this wine is that it is irrevocably Barossan – new school Barossan perhaps, but the good, respectful new school. Colour wise it is deep purple/red, the nose all chocolate covered purple, blue and black berries with a thickness and weight to nose and palate that immediately marks this as more like $30 wine than $22. This has that lovely interplay of intense purple berry fruit and rich oak (like the best Barossans) yet is still mid-weight, has actual tannins and no shortage of mouth- filling richness before finishing dry.

Considering that this can be had for sub $20 out there in retail land, I just can’t recommend this enough. Has the power and grace of a much more expensive wine, at a very low price.

head Barossa, SA
14%, Screwcap, $22.50www.headwines.com.au 

 


Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2013

Classic Australian White

JB
Drink: 2013-2023+
94/100

Produced by fellow good-looking bald man Alex Head, this is among the best $20 Shiraz I’ve had in yonks. It’s a barrel cull from Alex’s single vineyard Blonde and Brunette Shiraz wines and, if this is the wine that John West rejects, then gee the 2012 single vineyard wines are going to be good…

What I like most about this wine is that it is irrevocably Barossan – new school Barossan perhaps, but the good, respectful new school. Colour wise it is deep purple/red, the nose all chocolate covered purple, blue and black berries with a thickness and weight to nose and palate that immediately marks this as more like $30 wine than $22. This has that lovely interplay of intense purple berry fruit and rich oak (like the best Barossans) yet is still mid-weight, has actual tannins and no shortage of mouth- filling richness before finishing dry.

Considering that this can be had for sub $20 out there in retail land, I just can’t recommend this enough. Has the power and grace of a much more expensive wine, at a very low price.

 

jb (Clare Valley, SA)12.4%, Screwcap, $26www.jimbarry.com

 

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These Reviews are written by Andrew Graham, to see his intro article, click here