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Berton Vineyards 2016 Heathcote Shiraz. This limited shiraz shows a vibrant pink hue around the rim with a deep inky black colour, the hallmark of this wine. Myriad fruit and other flavours on the nose range from chocolate, raspberry and vanilla to earthy, black peppery spice. The palate is showing ripe sweet flavours such as blueberry and raspberry combined with mocha notes. The wine is nicely textured on the palate and offers depth and complexity. The tannins on the finish are firm and dry with lingering fruit and acidity and both are nicely balanced. A steal of a wine for the paltry price. (rrp $20)
Hastwell and Lightfoot were established in McLaren Vale in 1989. Their 2018 Fiano is something new and novel. Fiano is a grape variety that has its origins in Campania, Italy. It is gaining popularity in many different wine regions around the country as the Australian consumer looks for something different in wine styles other than Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Straw lemon in colour with a green tilt around the rim, the nose offers you apricot and peach with mineral overtones. The fruit on the nose comes cascading down onto the palate and lingers before leaving your palate cleansed and refreshed. Lively acidity on the finish with plenty to talk about. (rrp $25)
Jip Jip Rocks 2017 Chardonnay. This wine comes from the Langhorne Creek region of South Australia. Bright lemon in colour with a green straw hue, the fruit on the nose is showing peach, green apple and apricots. While the oak is minimal on the palate, the wine has a certain textural mouth feel with lashings of citrus and mouth-watering acidity that more than waxes the gums. The finish is dry and intense with lingering fruit aplenty. (rrp $21)
Its stable mate the 2017 Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz is a bright purple crimson hue around the rim combining and a purple colour brings this wine to life. The palate is dry; the oak, which is minimal, is nicely balanced with the tannins and acidity allowing the blackberry and red cherry fruit to shine. And shine it does. (rrp $21)
In the Great Southern region of Western Australian at Porongurup, sits Castle Rock winery, established in 1983. Their Castle Rock 2018 Skywalk Riesling is a vibrant straw lemon in colour with a lively green hue around the rim. The aromatics on the nose will knock you over while the fruit on the palate is intense lemon/lime flavours. The acidity, while dry, is out there, the fruit on the palate is very expressive with cleansing acidity and lots of fruit. The wine has one trophy and three gold medals which tells you something. (rrp $20)
Gartelmann was established in the Hunter Valley in 1999. Taking grapes and making wines from the best regions of NSW has paid off for Gartelmann.The Gartelmann Stephanie 2018 Pinot Gris (Orange) has youth on its side with a green straw colour. The nose displays perfumed white pear and pineapple while the palate is awash with the same fruit flavours combined with mineral and citrus notes. The acidity is very appealing in the mouth and the wine finishes dry with lots of fruit dominating the finish. (rrp $27)
Also from Gartelmann comes their 2018 Jessica Verdelho from the Hunter Valley vineyards. This grape variety has pedigree, being one of the first to be planted in this region in the 1820s although Portugal and, in particular, Madeira is where this variety originates. Bright lemon in colour with a distinct green hue, a bowl of fruit salad would be a great descriptor of the nose and the palate, with apricots, citrus and other tropical fruits coming to the fore. The finish is dry with a touch of fruit ripeness and balanced acidity. (rrp $22)
Orange-based Angullong Wines was established in the region in 1997. Here I offer you two of their wines, the 2018 Angullong Sauvignon Blanc and 2018 Angullong Pinot Grigio. The sauvignon blanc is straw in colour with a vibrant green rim. The fruit on the nose is gooseberry, grapefruit and decidedly citrus. The palate is fresh and fruity with natural acidity and lashings of citrus, melon and grapefruit flavours. The wine is long in the mouth with dry, natural acidity shining through.
Angullong’s Pinot Grigio is lemon-straw in colour with a green tinge around the rim. The fragrant pineapple and citrus notes draw you in. The fruit on the palate shows green apple, pineapple and lemon/lime combined with natural acidity in abundance. I’ve been tasting these wines, in one way or another, for years and they appear to get better and better as the vines age and the winemaking techniques are fine tuned. For $20 (rrp) per bottle you have the best of both varieties in what the Orange region has to offer.
Finally, the Robert Stein 2018 Farm Series Semillon/Riesling and Gewürztraminer (in that order). Green straw in colour, the aromatics and fruit stand out on the nose which is in overdrive. Citrus, grapefruit, clove, lychee and much more send your head into a spin. The fruit on the palate is just as complex with so much going on. The wine displays a nice textural component that grabs you and makes you sit up and take note. The fruity style of wine offers balanced acidity and is slightly off-dry with mouth-feel plus. (rrp $18)
Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE