Simple palates, Seriously

South Australia
Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale,  Coonawarra

Amon Ra 2005 by Ben Glaetzer, Barossa Valley
$78 from Cloudwine, this is a revisit after tasting it not long after bottling at PWS last year. At that time, I felt this was better than the 2004 due to a shift from 100% American oaked to some use of new French oak. The wine has apparently settled down, and is more balanced in terms of aromatics and flavours. While previously you'd have to search past wafts of alcohol, I got no hint of the 14.5% that's held within. Instead, it's crème de cassis, mingled with hints of dark, ripe raspberry and smell of freshly chopped soft wood on a cold morning (a most appealing nose bringing me back to my logging days no doubt!). Silky and elegant, it's got a long way to go due to some residual tannins, but is current vibrant and accessible. Fresh and fruity, there's no overbearing heat. Instead, it's sufficient to make you smile and enjoy. A+ effort! 98/100. Tasted 11/06/2007.
Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Coonawarra Deep ruby colour, oaky nose, pencil shavings, abit of greenishness (1/100th the level of Greenock creek's cab sauv), light on the mouth, notes of dark fruit, highly tannic across the palate, abit 'hot' but not spice. majority of the aftertaste falls off rather quickly. 87/100. Tasted 22nd March 2007.
Balnaves The Tally 2004, Coonawarra Having tried the 05 not too long ago, the 04 was no let up. Basically most 2004 Coonawarra will be good, but this is right up amongst the best of the lot! Lovely aromatic nose that's tucked away, impressive balance of fruit and tannins. 94/100. Tasted at offline in July 2007.
Balnaves The Tally 2005, Coonawarra  $80-95, straight Cabernet Sauvignon. Typical cab with a herbish nose, big and balanced. 90/100. Tasted 7th July 2007.
Cirillo 1850's Grenache 2004, Barossa Valley $40-50, old vines of course, as the name would imply. I haven't heard or read anything about this vineyard before. A quick search on Google reads a 400 case production, located in Light Pass, Barossa Valley and weighs in at 16.4% alcohol. Light red colour with a tinge of earth. Perfumed nose of sautéed raspberries. Well-rounded flavours with a good finish. I can fully appreciate the Old Vines in this one, and it would seem underpriced for Australia's oldest Grenache vines. I wonder how the high alcohol % fit into this homely rustic wine making style. I think it holds more potential than it's showing. 90-91/100. Tasted 11/08/07.
Clancy Fuller 'The Scribblers' Grenache Shiraz 2002 $15/$120 case. 60% Grenache and 40$ shiraz, both from the Clancy vineyards at Jacob's Creek. Matured in seasoned French oak hogsheads for 18 months, sits in bottle for further 18 months before release. A nice, dark red colour. Floral notes from the Grenache are a great compliment to the bolder shiraz. Flavours of red fruit and savoury plum, good structure and tannins. Good aftertaste. 91-92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.


2002 Clancy Fuller Silesian Shiraz
($36 from Cloudwine) Made by Chris Ringland. Dark plum coloured, but not reaching the opulent level yet. Very different from the typical aussie shiraz as it lacks the WOW! factor. It's much tamer, with a nose of cherry, and hints of mint. Very fresh at when first opened. Well-balanced, it's got a chew factor, but it doesn't leave too much of an impression. Maybe abit too much alcohol for this structure. 5 hours later, nothing obvious on the nose, I suspect it's shutting down as it's only oak-y notes coming through. Maybe abit of cherry-menthol in the background. White pepper on the pallet, with the tannins coming out now. After taste not impressionable at all. For me, it's not worth the $36, more of a $20 bottle. 6/10

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: $25, $180/case. Named as a tribute to the Silesian settlers who planted the original vines in the 1840s. Mainly a shiraz, just a touch of cab. The shiraz is 60% Clancy, 40% Fuller. 14% cabernet from Krondorf. Matured in new French oak for 18 months and sits in bottle before release. A good dark colour, great structure with flavours of black cherry and plum. Good finish. 92/100. (Note the price difference)

Clancy Fuller 'Silesian' Shiraz 2006 This is a 100% shiraz for the 2006, with the cabernet fruit sold to Rockford. Good fruit flavours but still a bit too young to be approached now. Loads of gripping tannins. 92-93/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Clancy Fuller 'Three Hogsheads' Shiraz 2002 $35, $180/ 6 bottle case. Depending on vintage, three hogsheads (roughly 1.5 tonnes of fruit) are put aside from the 120yo vines of the Fuller vineyard at Bethany. Total production is about 120 dozen. Matured in new French oak barrels (barriques if yields are even less than usual). This is not a big typical shiraz. It's elegant but complex. Loads of flavours just inundate your senses. There is light blackberry, dark cherry, hint of dark chocolate, touch of fresh minty eucalypt even. Smooth drink with a very satisfying aftertaste. This is one for the cellar 12-15 years. 95/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Clancy Fuller Two Little Dickie Birds Rose 2006 Two Little Dickie Birds Sitting on a Wall, One named Peter, The other named Paul, Fly away Peter, Fly away Paul, Come Back Peter, Come Back Paul. Makes perfect sense doesn't it?

A 50-50 blend of Grenache and Mataro from the Clancy vineyard. Made in the style of the Rhone roses, so whole bunch presses and minimal skin contact. Colour is pale salmon pink, light fruity nose of unripe white peach. Light sweetness, good well balanced flavours and acidity. Only $15 or $120/case, this is perfect for a warm summer's day. 89-90/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Clancy Fuller Two Little Dickie Birds Rose 2007 Barely bottled for a week for this tasting event. Similar colour to the 2006, but what a world of difference on the nose! Beautiful sweet fruity flavours of mallee honey and fresh apple. Great finish, just perfect. 93-95/100. Also $15,$120/case, I'd strongly advice anyone to buy cases of this for the upcoming summer! Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache Blewitt Springs Vineyard 1997 $60-70. Dirty, earthy red colour. A very warm, almost Italianish nose of black olives and herbs. Surely this is a food wine. Good fruity flavours balanced with youthful tannins. Would pair nicely with fresh mint salad topped with loads of rosemary, cherry tomato and old olive oil. 90/100. Tasted 11/08/07.
Clarendon Hills Old Vines Grenache Kangarilla Vineyard 1998 $60-70. The colour on this was more vibrant than the 97. Nose of beef stock, backed by fresh, red fruit flavours. Good finish. Good with steak served with rich sauce. 90/100. Tasted 11/08/07.
Colonial Estate Exile 2006 From a single block of land within Nuriootpa once eyed by Dave Powell. Shiraz with a splash of Grenache and Mataro. Dark ruby colour with a blackish crimson sheen. Gentle floral notes of purple flower, wafts of prune, red currants, stewed black fruit and sweet leather. A silky, full-bodied wine plum flavours with a dab of espresso at the end. A complex wine one you absolutely need to sit with for hours and ponder over. Let it evolve for 5+ years, then enjoy until 2025. 97-98/100. Tasted March 07.
Colonial Estate John Speke 2006 GSM from a single vineyard of 60-100 year old vines in a 34/36/30 proportion. Green harvested, bunches at fruit set pruned to 1.5ton at mid verignon until a final 1.0ton/acre. The mataro is so well handled in this.  Hardly any funk on the nose, yet it holds up the structure so well. Initial aromatics of the grenache are uplifting, clean and crisp. The denser shiraz fruit offers black vibrant fruit flavours and the earthy organics of the mataro base all combine to give a very nice, elegant blend. Satin feel, rich broad spicy flavours. Primary fruit profile from the shiraz, dark berry, tough of bitter chocolate. Broad, expanded profile but focussed in the palate. Touch of youthful powdery tannins at the end accompanying a long finish that's clean. Good now, drink over 7+ years. 95-96/100. Tasted March 07.
Colonial Estate Mungo Park Shiraz 2005 $80. This was decanted overnight, and I tasted this blind. I picked it as a new world shiraz but not typically Australia, let alone Barossan! Lovely perfumed nose with hints of flint. While this is stylistically old world, upon tasting, this is definitely an aussie shiraz, you can't get away from the flavour profile. Soft, structure, a medium bodied drink that is complex with dark red berry and plum fruit, the French oak tannins have integrated so subtlety that they are like a backup chorus to the boisterous fruit flavours. 93-94/100. Tasted April 2008.
Creed Bism 2003 $80. This single shiraz barrel offering yielded 350 bottles of which approx. 70 remain. There is no 2004 release but there will be a 2005 which is still in barrel at the current time. Fruit for this was racked, then gently pressed to retain truest fruit essence while avoiding the big tannins. After 21 months on lees, it was then racked off then refined, the final result being an opulent and seductive drink loaded with deep, brooding and dense purple fruit in an indian summer. The rich flavours of bruised fruit mask a youthful zing and while the tannins remain prominent in this one, they will no doubt ease off with careful aging. Start to drink in 5 years, will last 10-15 easily. 96-97/100.

Creed Wines is a venture of Mark Creed and Daniel Eggleton, school-board PTA champion and self-taught winemaker. I find their approach and philosophy towards winemaking show full respect to the grape vines and are hence duly rewarded by wines which revel in rich fruity flavours but while having that added touch of finesse. If you haven't heard of them, do yourself a favour and head right down to your local boutique wine store or order direct.
Creed Bism 2005 Tasted from barrel
There is no 2004 release of the Bism. Black red with hardly a rim's edge to this one. Complex aromatic profile with dark, black fruit, fleshy plum, crushed granite powder and a hint of acacia flower. Silky, youthful tannins lend a hand in this drink loaded with vibrant fruit flavours. Wow. That's all I'll say about its super elegant finish. So young, this will last 15+ years easily. 98/100.
Creed GSM 2007 ~$24 when it gets to retail. A blend of 58% grenache, 25% shiraz and 17% mataro. This had just been blended but already showing signs of potential. Lovely light wafts of perfumed dark red berry aromatics, touch of mid-dark chocolate. Rich plum flavours backed by just the right level of tannins, this youthful wine is well-structured and very pleasing. 91-92/100.

Tasted at winery: This spent 5 weeks on skins and is currently sitting on 15.8% alc. Inky, black purple in colour, this is loaded with rich, dark fleshy fruit flavours and will no doubt turn into a big, complex drink in due course. 93/100.
Creed Marque 2006, Barossa Valley Rich aromas of carpeted, velvety plum fruit with sweet oaky spice. This full-bodied drink is well-balanced and full of fruit flavours which hide a corner of vanillin oak. 93/100.
Creed The Pretty Miss 2004, Barossa Valley $20, blend of shiraz, cab franc and viognier, Barossa valley. Nice nose of summer white flowers, good fruity mouth, the cab franc adds an extra complexity that is welcome. According to the notes, parcels were individually fermented and oaked before blending several months prior to bottling. 89/100. Tasted July 2007
Creed Riesling 2008, Barossa Valley These vines were grafts off 100-year old vines. The 2008 is a much cleaner offering in my opinion than the 2007 release. A lovely golden honeyed nose stacked with sweet fruit followed by fresh grapefruit flavours. Firm acidity adds to the persistent, crisp finish. My style of riesling. 92/100.

Tasted at winery: Straight from the tank, still needs to be clarified but exuding all the right, rich and exciting lemon, citrus aromatics. Powerful fruit load right from the get go, then lovely minerality towards the end. 92-93/100.

Creed 'Freakazoid' Rosé 2008, Barossa Valley An experimental blend of juices from grenache, shiraz, mourvèdre, merlot and riesling. The juice spent 2 hours on skins, treated like white wine by being kept cold at 16°C. This will be bottled in Sept, kept in bottle for 4 months then released for the summer season. Rich, full-bodied rosé ripe with plump black cherry flavours ala the Portuguese and Spanish styles. Get a case of this ASAP. 91/100.

Tasted at winery: Straight from the tank as well, down to 1.0g residual sugar and still needs to be fined. More details about this wine can be found in the previous entry. Great, ripe fruit colour, full-bodied ripe with fantastic plump fruit flavours but relieving you with a dry finish. A must have for summer. 91/100.
Creed Harding Hill Shiraz 2008, Cockatoo Valley Tasted from barrel
A dry grown block, tar black purple in colour with a glorious nose of violets and black fruit. This has a robust structure, firm tannins and grippy acid which embrace a core of intense fruit flavours. Daniel reckons this might be good enough to be blended into a future Bism. 94/100.
Creed EV (Eden Valley) Shiraz 2008 Tasted from barrel
The fruit for this dried out in 4 days so it spent extra time on skins (2.5 weeks) to allow maximal extraction. Black ruby in colour, lovely mulberry aromatics with sweet, cold black tea. Vibrant fruit flavours with firm youthful tannins and grippy acidity. 93+/100.
Creed CW (Creed Wines) Shiraz 2008 Tasted from barrel
The fruit for this comes from vines off the surrounding loamy soils of back of the hill upon which the winery sits. Big and bold, this is rich with fleshly black fruit and expressive tannins. 92/100.
Creed CW (Creed Wines) Shiraz 2007 Tasted from barrel
The nose on this exudes sweet black fruit with a touch of spice and savouriness. Fleshy tannins back up vibrant dark red berry flavours with some spice at the end. Great salivating finish. 93-94/100.
Creed Cabernet Franc 2008 Tasted from barrel
Dark ruby colour, lovely aromatics of green peppercorns, dark fruit and Pokka black peach tea. This is a bright and young personality, with firm sappy tannins leading to a great, long finish. 93+/100.
Creed Cabernet Franc 2007 Tasted from barrel
Lovely cigar box aromas with heaps of dark fruit. Structurally elegant and in-balance with softer tannins. 93/100.
Creed Merlot 2007 Tasted from barrel
Black ruby in colour with some bricking along the rim. Light aromatics, getting the characteristic dark fruit smells coming through. Fantastic in structure, ripe tannins and this would no doubt be a perfect backbone for a blend. Soft, silky finish with light fruit flavours. 93-94/100.
Creed CF + M Blend 2007 After tasting the 07 Merlot, I could help but ask for a top up of 07 Cabernet Franc, approximately 1 part CF to 4 parts M, just to create a pseudo-Right Bank blend. And you know what? This absolutely hit the spot! Sure, it's not as complex as a traditional Saint-Émilion, but it sure as hell comes pretty close for a profile that's bursting with exciting dark fruit flavours, is supple and fleshy. The tobacco aroma comes through and while the tannins are youthful and prominent, this has tremendous upside. 95/100. *I'll talk myself up by giving me abit of credit for this blend*
Creed Shiraz Viognier 2005, Barossa Valley $24, 3% viognier, open fermented, basket pressed, matured in mix of old and new french oak. Sweet confectionary smell mixed with hint of leather. Aromatic, but yet very subtle. Quite flavoursome, but tannins are a touch too much for my liking. Worth keeping over 5-7 years just to see how it develops (no qualms for this price!) 89/100. Tasted July 2007
Creed Two Brothers 2005 A shiraz viognier blend. Uplifting nose of fresh crushed small red berries with a touch of smoke comes at you in gentle wafts. Dense, raspberry and blackcurrant fruit form the core of this well-structured wine with balanced tannins. 92/100.
Creed Two Brothers 2006 The 2006 Two Brothers release is 100% shiraz after Daniel deemed the shiraz fruit having enough aromatics to sustain without the need for viognier. Tar-like, black ruby colour, this has a generous, yet focussed nose, doesn't leave you looking around. Dark fruit, peppercorn, a floral nose with a hint of savouriness. A dense, soupy concoction of dark plum flavours with fresh tannins. Lovely. 91/100.

Tasted at winery: Fresh, dark plum fruit aromas laden with flavours of sweet, fleshy black fruit with a reasonable level of spice. The initial wave of tannins easily give way to the rich, intense fruit flavours. This is a great drink, think Matrix slick - black, brooding and powerful. 94-95/100.
Creed Two Brothers 2007 Darker than the 2006, this is pitch black with a heavy fruit laden nose. The focus is leaner, and I'm getting a touch of greenishness? Soft tannins and grainy chocolate feel to this one, but there's still the rich plum flavours. I think this should be given abit more time to resolve itself, probably re-try in 2-3 years. 91/100.
Creed Two Brothers 2008 Blacker than black! When I first had a look at this, I thought: can this really be an '08? It's showing up so beautifully! A heady seduction of dark plum / berry aromas that follow through into an equally opulent and luscious fruit profile. The tannins are still obvious but this is forgiven since the wine is a mere baby and they will settle in time. The persistent aftertaste has an amazing length, this will easily go for 10+ years. 93-94/100.

Epsilon Coalsack Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley
Fruit for this creation of Jaysen Collins & Dan Standish was sourced from the Southern family vineyard who have their roots firmly in Barossa history. Aged in old French barrels, it presents as a pure embodiment of the fruit and straight-forward wine making style. Notes of wild strawberry and white summer flower, the 15.0% alcohol is completely masked by the aromatic nature, almost akin to a Grenache style. Light-medium bodied wine has clear raspberry flavours with subtle tannins mingled in-between the simple chewiness. For $22-4, a very nice drink! 92/100. Tasted 29/04/07.
Epsilon Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley $19, made by the Massena guys, very interesting nose, almost of faint rose petals? Not bad with a dry firm tannic finish. Again, for this price, just get a couple of bottles and take your time with them. 88-89/100. Tasted July 2007
First Drop The Big Blind 2006, Adelaide Hills $18. A blend of Nebbiolo and Barbera. Earthy brick brown-red colour. At first whiff, yup, this doesn't contain any typical Barossa or Australian varietals. Roast beef juices with caramelised onion, very organic, savoury, might even be good with seared tuna steaks, hint of fres crushed peppercorns. Typical dry lean tannins of Nebbiolo, intense dark fruit flavours. Soft finish. Good with meaty, tomato based pasta. 90/100. Tasted March 2009.
Fools Bay 'Dirty Bliss' Grenache Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley
~$20, Produced by Hentschke Pty Ltd under the Hentley Farm label. On my first whiff, ah yes, this is definitely more Grenache than shiraz, confirmed from the bottle label 80% Grenache, 20% shiraz. An earthy-red colour, this has a sweet, perfumed soapy nose, with fresh red and dark berries, overlayed with over-ripe strawberries. Smooth, light-medium bodied drink, sweetish with some spiciness from the shiraz. Little to no hint oakiness, it's a very easy drink. A touch too sweet for my liking, but I can see what the maker is trying to achieve by retaining the primary characters of the fruit. Good with food, I'm visualising a spicy Thai chicken vermicelli salad. 87-88/100. Tasted 28th Jan 2008.
Fools Bay 'Dusty's Desire' Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley
~$20, Produced by Hentschke Pty Ltd under the Hentley Farm label. This has a nice, dense purple colour. Matched by a noseful of ripe plum, purple violets, anise and a light lift of menthol. But also getting a good waft of alcohol as part of the 15.0%. The back palate is well-structured and firm, but the front half packs a meek punch and was quite disappointing. The finish is good, and the aftertaste lingers for awhile. 89/100. Tasted 28th Jan 2008.
Fox Creek 'Duet' Cabernet Merlot 2005, McLaren Vale Prominent cabernet characteristics softened by the merlot and forward presence of tannins from the merlot. Good finish. 90-91/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Fox Creek 'JSM' Shiraz Cabernet Franc 2004, McLaren Vale 75% shiraz, 15 cab franc and the rest cab sauv. Soft nose of vanillin oak and dark red berries. Medium-bodied with flavours of red currants and raspberries. Good aftertaste and well rounded. 90/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Fox Creek 'Red Baron' Shiraz 2006, McLaren Vale $17, a great quaffer offering excellent value for money. Forward nose of plums, spice and oaky notes. Slightly dryish style, lot of red berry flavours, plums and spice. The tannins are soft, good aftertaste. 90-91/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Fox Creek 'Short Row' Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale Clean, primary fruit. Needs time to settle down this one.. primary characteristics suggest that this is open to tweaking? Plummy flavours, spicy with tannins showing through into a dryish finish. Will be worth checking up in 1-2 years. 90/100.  Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Fox Creek Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, McLaren Vale Typical green, herbish nose of CS. Dry on the mouth, tannins need to soften with age before revisiting this in about 5 years. Soft finish though. 87/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Fox Creek Reserve Merlot 2005, McLaren Vale Only 400 cases of this, made from the first 18 blocks of vines. Muted yet present nose. Rich dark plum flavours, velvety tannins are front and centre which present as firm and a chewy finish in the aftertaste. 90/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.

Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2000, McLaren Vale
A lot of sediment in the bottle. Dark raspberry concentrate colour, nose of vanillin oak and spice with abit of alcohol burn. Velvety texture, lean structure with tannins concentrated tot hemiddle back of the palate. Bit of spicey tinge on tip of tongue. Aftertaste lacking somewhat, hollow taste of the end. Lacks character. 88/100

Next day, there's nothing noteworthy left.


Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004, McLaren Vale
Subtle eucalypt nose with fruity undertones that transform into dense sweet bread. Silky feel with fine tannic structure; tannins will mellow with further aging. Meduim-bodied and warm, has a good lengthed, spicy (black pepper?) aftertaste which resides on the back palate. Should be drinking optimally in about 3 years. 92-94/100
Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale Soft perfumed nose of vanillin oak and plum. Rounded in the mouth. Plum flavours and tannins are in balance, finishing of softly. 90-91/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Fox Creek 'Vixen' Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet NV, McLaren Vale Medium-full bodied sparkling with lots of fruity flavours hiding behind the dark colour of the drink. Good cleanser. 88/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Glaymond Asif Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Marananga, Barossa Valley Tar-like black colour, this epitomises the fruit of the night. Dark fruit aromas leading you straight into a core of black berry flavours wrapped around a big skeleton of silky smooth tannins. No worries about the fruit losing out to the young tannins, they pack their own two bags of punch! Wow, this has got to be able to last for years.. 95/100.
Glaymond Distance Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley Listed as 'late-harvested' as this comes in at a whooping 15.8% alc. Dark to mid maroon colour, nose of maraschino cherry, blueberry, burnt earth, touch of mint, pepper and forest fruit. A good initial attack with well-balanced tannins. No notable over surge of astringency. Well-formed texture across mid-back palate. Aftertaste lacking a little for a wine of this power but lasted 15-20sec. 93-94/100.
Glaymond Distance Shiraz 2006, Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley Matured in new French oak, this inky offering exudes aromas of dark fruit, pepper and touch of vanillin. Rich, vibrant, dark red berry flavours follow, this is pure essence of the grape! The tannins are youthful, very forward at the moment but will settle down with time. Salivating-ly enticing. 94/100.
Glaymond Distinction Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley Glaymond Distinction Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley
~$95. The top selection of Damien Tscharke's lineup of gob-smacking fruit-driven wines which remains my #1 recommendation if you're looking for wines that will punch you silly. The 2004 is a step-down from the amazing 2005 release but is nonetheless a head-turner. This wine has a shiny, black purple hue and exudes blueberry and violet aromas accompanied by a hint of bacon, liquorice and pepper. Equally enticing is the sense of the finesse and restrained strength within. I think that this is still coming together at present, give it 3-4 years then drink over the next 15+ years. 94-95/100.
Glaymond El Abuelo Grenache 2006, Seppeltsfield, Barossa Valley Formerly known as the Gerhard, a tribute to Damien's grandfather and these grenache vines planted back in the 60's (1964 from memory). This fantastically deep purple coloured wine weighs in at 15.5% alc and has a lovely, soft perfumed core of dark fruit hidden under a velvet cloud of aromas. Rich, intense dark fruit over-riding the red berry layers. Nice tannin structure, primarily from the 1 month maceration period. Leave for another 2-3 years, should last for just under 10 years. 93/100.

Glaymond Landrace 2004, Barossa Valley
($34-6) 60% shiraz with 40% Mataro. A whopping 16.5% alcohol. Winemaker Damien Tscharke gives us a wondrous beast brooding in the bottle, following up the successful 03 release which garnered accolades from RP (rated 96). The bottle was popped and left to stand for 2.5 hours before tasting, and an opulent scent of fruit filled the room in no time especially on a slightly warmer spring day. Big plum and blackberry notes with refreshing spice, coupled with strong hints of earthy undergrowth contributed by the Mataro, all coming together as a seductive perfume. On the palate, rich thick chocolate with ringing spices lingering on the tip of the tongue with a sweet liqueur streak. Very well-balanced oak, and alcohol and tannins are in harmony. Sexy wine which brought an immediate smile to me. After 6 hours in the glass, the initial waft reminded me of fine Cuban cigars. 1/4 bottle kept into the fridge and still drinking fine the next day. Initially released at $38, price has dropped to $32. Big value for money. 8.5/10

Glaymond Landrace Shiraz Mataro 2006 A soft nose of oak spice and dried Chinese spiced plum. Dark berry flavours with a hint of cedar wood. Graduated tannins that are at a balanced level to prop up the robust, fruity structure of this wine. 93/100.

Greenock Creek Creek Block 2004, Barossa Valley Need I really say anything? This is good stuff.. just try it.

2004 Greenock Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley

2004 Greenock Creek Apricot Block, Barossa Valley

Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red 2006, Padthaway
A blend of 53% shiraz, 37% cabernet sauvignon and 10% merlot from the Padthaway region made by Chris Ringland. Black red colour, burnt nose with sweet minty and dark berry. Palate is vibrant, with flavours of fleshy raspberry. Aftertaste is ok with soft tannins. Good finish. 88/100.
Hobbs White Frontignac 2006 $39, 90 doz. Pale gold colour, rich intense aromas of honeyed apple. Flavours of dried apricot, apple and pear. Finish is light and pleasing. 92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Hobbs Semillon 2006 $39, 240 doz. Pale gold in colour. Wow! This is richer than the fronti. Aromas of ripe stone fruit with wafts of passionfruit. Loads of sweet jammy flavours, coupled with a long aftertaste that lingers, yet it's not flat, finishes clean and fresh. 94/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Hobbs Shiraz 2005 $130, ~200 doz made. Fruit from 100yo vines, aged for 27 months in new French oak hogsheads. Subtle brooding nose of spice and dark fruit. Great intense flavours of black fruit. Chewy oaky tannins. Allow 5 years of ageing before opening. 94-96/100.  Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Hobbs 'Gregor' Shiraz 2005 $130, ~230 doz made. Made in the Amarone style, grapes from 20yo vines are dry racked to intensify the flavours before pressing. Juice is then aged for 24 months in new French oak. Fantastic black red colour, great nose of purple flowers, swirl of ripe black berries, white summer flowers. Great balanced flavours with the tannin level reflecting its youth. This will be so good in years. 96-97/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Hobbs Shiraz Viognier 2005 $110, ~130 doz produced. 4% viognier co-fermented, aged for 24 months in new French oak. Dark red in colour, a great nose of warm red berries, spice, touch of pepper. Great fruit is kept within the drink, Viognier also adds the element of subtle exoticness. Great aftertaste. Double-decant suggested if drinking within the next 5 years. Put this aside and drink in 10 years. 94-95/100.  Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Hobbs Viognier 2006 $39, 170 doz. Pale gold in colour. Rich intense flavours of honeysuckle and ripe peach! Wow.. this is great stuff. The flavours on the palate, the linger aftertaste and the clean finish. Fantastic! I'd load up on this one. 95-96/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
John Duval Entity Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley
$39, 14.5%, 17 months in french oak barrels. John Duval has been making waves with his self-named line of wines, with the Entity being quite a favourite with fans of this ex-Grange winemaker. I'm not sure if it's the carryover of styles, but I thought this was exuding slightly too much oaky notes at the present time. There was a lot of fruit bottled within, but I was disappointed with the lack of secondary flavours and characteristics. This is a good wine, but somewhat one-dimensional. 88/100
Kalleske Clarry's Barossa White 2006 $14. A 50-50 blend of semillon and chenin blanc. A terrific white. Lovely nose offered by the lightness of the chenin blanc with the robustness from the semillon. Good firm structure, not wobbly at all. Great balance and well-weighted and just enough acidity. 90/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Kalleske Clarry's Grenache/Shiraz 2006 $18-20. I hesitated when Troy offered the Clarry's and I mentioned how I felt previous vintages of the Clarry's were a little too light for my liking. Then I noticed the colour. Wow! What a huge upgrade in terms of depth! This is a blend of old and new vines, in thirds of 60yo, 40yo and 5-10yo. Dense opaque purple colour, lovely aromatics contributed by the Kalleske grenache that I've come to love. The shiraz adds to the firmness of this wine, with fine tannins at the end. Incredible QPR, stock up! 91-92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Kalleske Lorraine Semillon (Late Harvest) 2006 $10. Picked at 14Be and ultimately with 70g residual, this semi-dry sweet dessert white offers extreme value for money because it's clean and fresh, yet elegantly luscious. 89-90/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Kalleske Greenock Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley
$39 from Cloudwine, a winning whooper of 15.5% having stewed through 18 months of American and French oak hogsheads. Dark inky, purple colour. Note of sweet blackberry liqueur, crème de cassis and slight funk of meat, almost like fridge cold pork. Intense concentration of pure juice. Smooth and silky, slight touch of tannins on the tongue; ready to be drunk right now but would surely benefit from extended cellaring. One picky flaw I feel about this is that it doesn't last too long in the glass, even with the higher alcohol content, so my take on this is that it doesn't have a strong structure to back up the oomph flavours.  93/100.

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: $38. The 2006 will be released in October. Vibrant ruby colour, nose of fresh red berries and white flowers. Great blend of flavours supported by soft tannins. Excellent aftertaste and finish. 94/100.
Kalleske JMK Shiraz VP 2005 $23. Juice from Greenock shiraz is run off and 15yo brandy is added. Great nutty nose (almond?). Dry, firm and crisp aftertaste. 93/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Kalleske Johann Georg Old Vine Barossa Valley Shiraz 2003, Barossa Valley
The 2003 Johann Georg shiraz is made from vines planted in 1875, hence low yielding vines result in an extremely limited production (100 cases for 2003). Standing at 15.5%, similar to the 04 grenache, I never even thought of the alcohol levels in the glass, as I was mesmerised by the lush aromatics wafting out of my glass and I couldn't wait to get stuck into the drink. Notes of fresh white flowers, roast beef sauce and creme de cassis all melded into a deep inky purple joocey stew. A touch of tannins linger with the mellow warm aftertaste on the upper palate that goes for a good 30+ seconds. A most elegant wine that is unique for the Barossa valley, and does very well in distinguishing itself as an atypical top-notch SA shiraz. This beauty will do well for 10+ years, can't wait to have the 2 more bottles I have! 98/100. Tasted 11th March 2007.
Kalleske Johann Georg Old Vine Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley $100. Dense purple colour with an intense summer nose of white acacia flowers. Great plum flavours and excellent aftertaste and finish. 97/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Kalleske Old Vine Grenache 2004, Barossa Valley
The Kalleske 2004 Old Vine Grenache has all the aromatic qualities one normally associates with a pleasant casual-drinking wine. Troy Kalleske makes this beauty from a single vineyard planted in 1935 by open fermentation, a gentle basket press followed by 2 years in seasoned oak. I was surprised to see the label reading 15.5% alc/vol, because at no time during the 1 hour that it took for this bottle to empty out did I get the heaty feel of any excessive alcohol on the mouth (*cough* greenock creek). Incredible nose of rich raspberry, sweet cherries (not black!) and spice.  Medium-bodied drink, great balance of acidity in the mouth with a reasonable-lengthed after-taste. Will do well over the next 5 years. 92-94/100. Tasted 11th March 2007.

Kalleske Old Vine Grenache 2005, Barossa Valley
~$50, limited to 2 bottles per mail order. Once again, the Kalleske guys haven't failed to impress. Handpicked fruit from a single vineyard planted down in 1935 was open fermented and gently basket-pressed followed by 2 years in seasoned oak hogsheads, giving a complex and graciously aromatic 15.5% drink. My first sniff took me back to the beautiful 2003 Johann Georg. Dark dense purple colour, sweet nose of hot white blossoms with intense dark red fruit with a dash of white pepper. An intense fruity flavour that's clean, well structured with a long aftertaste. Confidently have the other bottle in 5 years and anticipate the smile. 94/100. Tasted July 2007.

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: $45. I don't know, might have been just me but I wasn't captivated like I was with this one.

Kay Bros Amery Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, McLaren Vale
$20. Black cherry coloured with a shimmery hue. Lovely nose of blackberry, mint and eucalypt is backed up on the flavour profile with notes of mulberry, blackcurrant and cassis that are in balance with a fairly low level of acidity but propped up with a good, firm tannic structure. This is good to go right now, but imagine what it'll be like in 10 years! 91-92/100. A steal at this price. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.

Kay Bros Amery 'The Cuthbert' Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, McLaren Vale

$35. Limited to 3 bottles when purchased with 3 other bottles. The first release of this commemorative wine that celebrates winemaker Colin Kay's father, Cuthbert Kay whose father and uncle established the Kay Bros Amery vineyard. Extended post fermentation maceration with 24 months in new Hungarian oak barrels. Blackish ruby in colour, this 15% alc drink offers a bouquet of blackberry, eucalypt and tobacco that paired with a full-throttled flavour profile of blackberry and cassis that is in balanced with the dry finishing tannins. This is elegant, yet bold and stands out with its own unique personality, very much like a Jane Austen character. Very different from the equivalent 2005 Coonawarra or Margaret River vintages but certainly capable of holding itself up. Drink in 3-4 years just to allow it to settle down and should keep for more 10-15. 94-95/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.

Kay Bros Amery Late Harvest Frontignac 2004, McLaren Vale
$15. Handpicked on 8th March 2004, this 11% alc drink has a pale straw colour, green tinge, very pleasing uplifting nose of sweet flower, melon and passionfruit. Tropical flavours on the palate of honeydew, ripe melon and passionfruit, but is not overly sweet. The long finish is clean and crisp. 89-90/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.
Kay Bros Amery Grenache 2006, McLaren Vale
$15. Only ~13tonnes of fruit went into this production. Grapes were treated with open ferment and a basket pressing before maturating in American oak for 1 year, resulting in a 15.5% alc, bright earthy ruby drink that exudes a sullen organic nose of raspberries. This drink is very different from the barossan grenaches as it's not big on the nose or forward on the palate. It's soft, medium-bodied, very rustic style which you'd have matching a nice herby but simple pasta dish. Good berry flavours, soft tannins and a good finish. Drinkable now, but should be good for the next 3-4 years. 89/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.
Kay Bros Amery Merlot 2005, McLaren Vale
$20. Grapes were treated with an open ferment and basket pressing before maturing for 18 months in American oak. A nice dark black cherry colour that's supported by aromas of plum, quince with a hint of mint. Medium-bodied drink that's got lots of primary fruit flavours, plum and dark cherry to go along with the chewy, dry tannins. Good length and well balanced. 88-89/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.

Kay Bros Amery Moscato 2007, McLaren Vale
$17. Another first release, lightly coloured with a nose of typical muscat grape, white flower and honeysuckle. Only 7%alc, but flavours are nice and sweet with a slight fizz but not to the extent of the Italian-style. Bottled under stainless steel champagne crown seals. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.

Kay Bros Riesling 2007, Eden Valley
$20. Hand-picked grapes from 60 year old dry-grown vines produce a light, lime green coloured wine of 12%alc with citrus-y nose with a touch of minerality. Fresh palate of lime and green apple flavours which linger for a good length of time before finishing up cleanly. 89-90/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.

Kay Bros Amery Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale
$20. Dark ruby in colour. A prominent nose loaded with black cherry and blackberry with hints of savouriness. Fulfilling flavours of plums, blackberries and spice with a touch of truffle. Well-rounded profile that's not big in anyway, excellently balanced with tannin levels just right. Should last a decade too. 92/100. Another steal. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.
Kay Bros Amery Block 6 Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale
$55. Handpicked grapes from the 4-acre Block 6 vineyard in the 113th vintage of this benchmark McLaren Vale shiraz were of excellent quality and winemaker Colin Kay has made a near perfect beauty. Open ferments following by basket press and matured in 80% new American oak and 20% new Eastern European oak for 28 months for a final product tipping at 16%alc under stelvin. The inky, blackish purple colour gives a hint of the intensity of the nose which is primarily blackberry with dark chocolate undertones. There's also a hint of cinnamon and cool eucalypt. Rich and fulfilling flavours sweep the mouth, this has pure fruit essence, sweet spices, dark berry flavours come at you layer upon layer without let up. The tannins have been worked in very well to give an elegant backbone to this drink, staving away from previously chewy types. This is seamless, what a great drink! Should drink well in 3-4 years, and cellar for 15-20 years. 99/100.
Kay Bros Amery Hillside Shiraz 2003, McLaren Vale
The Kay Bros Hillside is the second tier shiraz to the Block 6. The 2003 exudes notes of toasty american oak. Slightly on the stronger side of medium bodied, with 15% alcohol, it has a good structure with no nasty tannins and is a chewy drink. 92/100. Tasted 05/04/07
Kay Bros Hillside Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale
$35. The 9th release of this mini-Block 6 shows of the success of replanting of the Eastern hillside of the Amery property with cuttings from the Block 6 vines. Grapes are open fermented and basket pressed before maturing in American and Bulgarian oak casks for 28 months. Coming in at 15.5%alc, this dark purple juice has a great nose of mulberries, touch of chocolate, star anise and a hint of vanilla. Rich flavours of mulberry, cedar oak and darkish chocolate complemented by the soft, ripe, chewy tannins. A long and satisfying aftertaste. Will develop nicely over the next 7-8 years. 93/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.
Kay Bros Amery Viognier 2007
$20. The first release of this wine comes from a tiny 0.7 hectare parcel of 6 year old vines that yielded 4.6 tonnes of hand-picked fruit which were basket-pressed. Light yellowish-green tinge, rich nose of pear, stone fruit and citrus. Flavours back up with pears, stone fruit, citrus and sweet melon that are crisp with light acidity. However, given all that was going on, I was disappointed that the finish ended a little early. 89/100. Tasted 20th Sept 2007.
Karra Yerta Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 $30. If you didn't have this stocked by now, you're out of luck - it's sold out. 14 months in American and French oak. Shiny dark cherry skin colour, this has a floral nose with some jammy characteristics. Well-rounded wine with salivating blackberry flavours backed by a good balance of tannins, but perhaps a touch of alcohol heat. 91/100. Tasted May 2008
Karra Yerta Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 $35. Even more appealing than the 2004 version, this spent an extended time in oak - 28 months in American and French oak. Made with the assistance of Peter Schell of Spinifex (another one of my favourites), this is black-purple in colour and exudes aromas of crushed dark berries and a hint of freshly motared cocao beans. A smooth and elegant drink, mid-weight, well-balanced tannins, dark fruit flavours sit on the palate so lightly and has a fleshy feel. Drink over the next 7 years. 93/100. Tasted May 2008
Karra Yerta Bullfrog Flat Shiraz 2005, Eden Valley $30. Only 64 dozen produced. This spent 24 months in French oak, and is dense, black ruby in colour with a hint of copper on the rim. A seductive nose of dark, fleshy fruit with hints of hot stone, soft spice and chocolate wafer. This has distinct characteristics of a cool climate shiraz, it's medium-bodied, matched perfectly with the right fruit weight and has a residual flavour of dried sour plum. I feel that the tannins are still resolving, so a revisit in 3-4 years will be necessary. This would go perfectly well with ash-baked chicken served with a side of fresh, icy-cold crisp salad. 93+/100. Tasted May 2008
Karra Yerta Riesling 2005, Eden Valley $20. 150 cases produced, made by Tim Smith from fruit off 75-80 year old vines. This has a pleasant line colour with soft floral notes supported by a sweeter, fruity core. 11.8% alc. Will be interesting to see how this turns out in maybe 5 years? 90/100. Tasted May 2008.
Karra Yerta Riesling 2006, Eden Valley $20. 100 cases made by Simon Adams, coming in at 13.0%. Fruit from 75-80 year old, dry-grown vines. Quite different from the 2005 vintage, the 06 has a more astute, leaner nose with a touch of kero. Flavours of lemon/lime, hint of bruised mint even, medium-weighted minerality and crisp acidity. Great with Tom Yum flavours. 91/100. Tasted May 2008.
Karra Yerta Riesling 2007, Eden Valley $25. 128 cases made by Peter Gajewski. Building on a good 2006 Riesling, the 2007 has similar lemon/lime characteristics with a touch of honeydew on the nose. Again, lots of nice acidic, citrus flavours coming through. It was an education tasting through the 05, 06 and 07 in a single sitting. 90/100. Tasted May 2008.
Landhaus The Saint 2006, Barossa Valley $15. Fruit sourced from 70 year old vines from Greenock, Stockwell, Ebenezer and Bethany sub-regions. Aged in American and French oak. Dark ruby colour. I'm not getting much on the nose and the medium-bodied weight only yields a bit of fruit, finishing rather light. Did not rate on the day. Tasted 26th Sept 2007.
Landhaus The Sinner 2006, Barossa Valley $15. A blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Mataro and 20% shiraz from 60 to 85 year old vines which hasn't seen the daylight of oak. Light, clear ruby colour gives a hint of the tight nose with stingy offering of red fruit, followed by a leaness on the mouth. Clean, fresh fruity flavours with a mildly tingling finish. 90/100. Tasted 26th Sept 2007.
Leabrook Estate 2005 Cabernet Franc, Adelaide Hills
$25. Black, blood red colour. Velvet nose of savoury cigar box, herbs and liquorice on a core of dark fruit but a hint of raw greenishness. Rich, dense medium-bodied drink, high level of soft dry tannins. Soothing finish. 91/100.
Longhop La Quattro 2008, Adelaide Plains $17. An interesting blend of four varieties - 28% Chenin Blanc, 28% Riesling, 22% Semillon and 22% Sauvignon Blanc from not-so-young vines (50+ years old) is a project by Domenic Torzi and Tim Freeland. Straw coloured with an enticing nose which grabs you with notes of citrus, pear and grass. Softer on the palate, fresh acidity works well on the minerally backbone of lemon/fridge cold-fruit flavours with a dry finish. 88-89/100. Tasted June 2008.
Longhop 2007 Old Vine Grenache, Adelaide Plains $20. Fruit from 50+ year old vines off a single vineyard was handpicked for 25% whole bunch open ferment before basket press then 13months in seasoned American and French oak hogsheads and barriques. Lovely ruby colour, light aromas of raspberry and earthy Rainier cherry. Fleshy tannins with soft, sweet fruity profile gives this a supple finish. Have this with a fresh Chicken Caesar salad with a good topping of Reggiano. Drink over next 4-5 years. 88/100. Tasted June 2008.
Majella Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Coonawarra Colour of blood plum juice. Nose of sweet herbs and greens. Full of plum flavours and cinnamon. The tannins are still young and quite upfront. Nice finish. 91/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Majella Malleea 2004, Coonawarra Lovely nose of lilacs and yellow flowers. Elegant, medium-bodied wine. Sweet touch, light subtle plum flavours mixed with red currants and blackberries. Soft touch of tannins, satisfying aftertaste. 93+/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Majella Melody Rose 2007, Coonawarra A blend of 92% shiraz, 8 % cab sauv. Deep reddish colour with nose of sweet rose. Full of flavour, this is no skinny rose and leaves you with a tingling aftertaste. 90/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Majella Musician 2006, Coonawarra Oh! So young, with chalky tannins overwhelming my mouth. Medium-bodied, spicy plum flavours but fades off. 89/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Majella Shiraz 2006, Coonawarra Bruce Gregory reckons this is their best shiraz yet. Vibrant, swirly red currant notes with youthful tannins. Lovely red fruit flavours, and I'm sure but, watermelon? Good finish. 88-89/100. Tasted 23rd August 2007.
Marius Shiraz 2000, McLaren Vale The inaugural single vineyard release from Marius Wines. Cropped at under 3ton/acre, this was aged in 60% new and 40% 1-year old French oak barrels. Comes in at 14.1% alc, still a youthful wine with a dark red colour and aromas of vibrant red fruit/plum and a touch of pepper and spice. The tannins have resolved very nicely leaving a core of fresh fruity flavours. 91/100.

Roger Pike is certainly making headways and raising eye-brows with only a mere 4.5 acreage of vines. Personally, I'm a fan of the single vineyard approach and by doing so, Roger has been able to capture an essence of McLaren Vale shiraz that few consumers have had the pleasure of being exposed to. Given the low production volume, I'd highly recommend anyone to get onto the Marius Wines mailing list since the wines sell out very quickly. While not as big and bold as their Barossa kindred, McLaren Vale shiraz in the proper hands provide profound enjoyment and is definitely worth the time to appreciate.
Marius Shiraz 2002, McLaren Vale A low-yielding and difficult vintage for McLaren Vale, yields from this single vineyard was just above 2ton/acre for this vintage. Aged for 19 months in 50/50 French and American new and 2nd year barrels. 14.5% alc, the colour was nice, but on the day I was left rather disappointed with this one. Funky, steely edge and to me, the fruit was lacking. This was certainly unexpected given the overall consistency in quality across Roger's wines. Perhaps the wine is in a lull period. I don't know. NR
Marius Shiraz 2003, McLaren Vale Another difficult year with late rains. Again, aged for 19months but proportions slightly tweaked from the 2002 release. 40/60 French and American oak and 40/60 new and 2nd year barrels. 15.0% alc, this has lovely plum, blueberry and sweet oak vanillin smells coupled with well-balanced dense, fruit flavours. The adjustment in oak treatment has allowed the quality of the fruit to pair up very nicely with the light, yet robust tannins. An excellent structured wine with a persistent aftertaste. Keep some aside for the long haul. 92-93/100.
Marius Sympatico 2004, McLaren Vale $25. A single vineyard wine, the fruit is hand-picked, basket pressed then left in French and American hogsheads until malolactic ferment is complete, aged for 21months. 14.5% alc. A focussed perfumed nose of vibrant red fruit. Medium-bodied, clean flavours of blackberry, ripening cherry and a touch of liquorice. Soft, grainy tannins that are off-dry lead into a pleasant finish. 90/100.
Marius Sympatico 2005, McLaren Vale This has meaty, dark fruit aromas with hint of vanillin oak. The flavours are concentrated on the tongue, with dense plum, blackberry(?) fruit but surprisingly dropped off rather quick. I think this wine would have benefitted from a bigger backbone of tannins. Almost a food wine, again, rich flavours but they fall away. 89-90/100.
Marius Sympatico 2006, McLaren Vale $27.50. Floral, vibrant red fruit on the nose. Good weight of fleshy, dark red fruit with well-integrated tannins lead to a spicy, gratifying finish. 90/100.
Marius Symposium 2005, McLaren Vale $30. An interesting blend of 50/50 shiraz/mourvèdre aged for 18months in American and French hogsheads. 14.5% alc, almost black in colour, the characteristic savouriness of the mataro comes across quite distinctly, but also intermingled with dark fruit, spicy nature so typical of shiraz. Maybe a hint of chocolate as well. The tannins start off at a high level but fall off very well to allow the plummy, joocey flavours to pop around again. 89/100. 
Marius Symposium 2006, McLaren Vale $33. Maintains the equal blend of shiraz/mourvèdre, 14months in French/American hogsheads. 14.7% alc, this is much more spicy than the 2005, a purple stew armed with earthy soft fruit, spice and rock mineral. Soft flavours of organic plum, black fruit, sweet sullen spice rounded off very nicely by firm, ripe tannins. 89/100.
Marius Symphony 2004, McLaren Vale $35. Aged for 21months in new and 2nd year French oak. 14.5% alc, lovely bouquet of heady dark fruit and a touch of spice. Rich earthy flavours, blackberry, star-anise like flavours and hints of chocolate and coffee seeds. Tannins are powerful but fade off so well to allow a second wave of fruit to shine through. This is will keep well, drink in 5-7 years. 92/100.
Marius Symphony 2005, McLaren Vale $37. 24months in French 1st/2nd year barrels. 15.0% alc, black ruby colour, this exudes aromas of dark fruit, spice and a touch of pepper. Perhaps not as expansive as the 2004, but certainly deeper, plummy fruit core. Persistent tannins don't drop off as smoothly as the 2004, but this is likely to resolve with age. Hold now to drink in 3-5 years. 91/100.

Mollydooker Carnival of Love 2005, McLaren Vale
I personally do not feel that the CoL is deserving of RP99; it's too dense, and the secondary characteristics are struggling to come across. Given that Sparky Marquis made this to be drunk straight away, it's too imbalanced currently, and too difficult to determine whether it has the potential to age; personally I think not. I think it's more of a 92-94/100 wine. You either love it, or hate it.

It's almost 4 days since I've opened it, and unbelievably, not all the alcohol has blown off; I mean, my eyes are literally being blown out of their sockets with each raise of the glass! Because of the excess alcohol, the nose is still overwhelming, but I'm starting to pick up some subtle perfumed notes, while it is a mouthful of sweet plummy fruit cake, some tingle on the tip of the tongue and towards the back, with a great length for an aftertaste. I stand corrected as to it's potential to age. I think this will go heaps down the road. I'm still not getting the strong secondary characteristics that I like in the top-notch frenchies, but I guess that's not typical for an aussie fruit bomb, so in it's own right, this IS one of the best big aussie wines that I've had. Do I like the style? Not exactly. Is this good wine? Quite definately so!


Mollydooker Enchanted Path 2005, McLaren Vale
$67-80. The Enchanted Path was slightly less sweet and fruity than the CoL, but tasting both side by side was a torture and I couldn't do more than a glass each. Into the fridge they went, and they're still good 2 days later. 94-95/100.

Mollydooker The Boxer 2005, McLaren Vale
$25, this needed a serious 3 hours of decantation. Almost undrinkable straight from the bottle due to the overt sweetness and overwhelming fumes of alcohol. Darker colour than Two Left Feet, with a thinner rim. Greenish nose with residual alcohol still present. Tannins are still quite obvious, leaving a slight dryness in the mouth. Not as spicy as the Two Left Feet, with flavours concentrated on the back-mid pallet. Chewy, average lengthed after-taste. Thought of bbq'd chicken as an accompaniment. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite grasp how these wines would be able to last in the mid-long term. Because I didn't quite like them on first impressions, I'm going to refrain from giving them any score or the likes until I give them another go.

Mollydooker Two Left Feet 2005, McLaren Vale
$25, this needed a serious 3 hours of decantation. Almost undrinkable straight from the bottle due to the overt sweetness and overwhelming fumes of alcohol. On the second day, alcohol had blown off, intense blackish-purple colour. The first wafts on the nose reminded me of concentrated cologne and black plum, so there was residual alcohol hidden behind after all. Chewy savoury in the mouth, with a spicy finish on the back pallet. Very good length.

Mollydooker Blue Eye Boy Shiraz 2006
$50, Named after the Marquis' son, Luke, shiraz is sourced from Padthaway, Langhorne Creek and McLaren Vale. Did not taste on the first day. Day 2: Ouch! All this alcohol is really starting to get on my nerves and putting me off! It's burns your nose and engulfs the mouth, masking almost all the flavours. I then let the wine sit in the glass for 30mins, blew into the glass to expel the residual alcohol and managed to get a whiff of toastiness, raspberry liquorice and a tail of rice broth. But that's simply too much work for a drink of this price. 82-84/100.

Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz 2006
$25, grapes sourced from McLaren Vale, Langhorne Creek and Padthaway. Blackish purple in colour, this packs 16.0% alcohol which is masked by an exotic and rich aroma of dark black fruit. Smooth into the mouth, it's got a very dense flavour of sweet spice and plummy fruitcake. The downside is that the aftertaste is very blunt, disappearing rather quickly. Again, there was no overt heat from the alcohol, and overall the 2005 was more impressionable. Incidentally, because it's such a brute, I found it better to drink from a broad-rimmed glass like the Reidel Cab/Merlot glasses.
Day 2: Tame light nose of violets and blackberries, but the alcohol is starting to stand out front and centre. Hints of liquorice amongst the plum flavours and maybe a touch of rose syrup right at the end of it all. The aftertaste is still disappointing, lacking the oomph that I was so looking forward to. Stick to the 2005, but I do have one bottle put aside for the distant future as I think this should keep very well and would be a very interesting project to revisit in 7-8 years time. 89/100.

Mollydooker Maitre D Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
$25, a mix from Padthaway and Langhorne Creek. Savoury nose with wafts of harsh and unfriendly alcohol. A strong liquorice flavour doesn't cover up the strong alcohol heat that lingers. Nothing much here. (Notes scribbled '75-80')
Day 2: Wow! Bursting with lush aromas of violets and plum. What a great transformation from the day before! Silky smooth into the mouth, good spicy plum flavours with the aftertaste lingering on the back palate. However, still a slight touch of heat on the finish. 88/100.

Mollydooker Scooter Merlot 2006
$25, grapes from Padthaway and McLaren Vale. Straight off, this purplish-red drink which bags 15.5% alcohol is very unfriendly, nothing on the nose but harsh alcohol vapours. Another fruity broth, but dominated by alcohol heat. The good thing? This isn't heat-affected cask wine. (At this point, I had scribbled '80?' into my notes)
Day 2: Wow?! What a massive difference 24 hours has made. Clean lovely nose of blueberries and dark cherries. The alcohol has managed to dissipate. Silky smooth into the mouth, there is a sharp bite on the front with plummy flavours, finished with an oaky touch. Elegant with a weighty finish. 87-88/100.

Mollydooker Two Left Feet 2006
$25. A 16.0% blend of shiraz(68%), Merlot(17%) and Cabernet Sauvignon(15%) from McLaren Vale, Padthaway and Langhorne Creek. Did not taste on the first day. Day 2: Such a dark drink, with notes of vanillin oak and a touch of dark berries. Quite big in flavour, but again it doesn't seem to have it's own personality and is quite uniform with the rest of the wines. There is still a big issue of alcohol heat which refuses to blow away. 86-88/100.
Mt Billy 'Antiquity' Shiraz 2004

$43. 110yo vines that are dry grown are handpicked for this Barossa flagship. Matured for 27 months in 20% new French oak. "The most structured 'Antiquity' to date." Black earthy purple colour. Nose is a bit inhibited now yet still exudes notes of violets, black plum and beef stock. Velvety palate of black plum and black olives are in brilliant balance with the fine tannins. To be enjoyed in 3-4 years. 93-94/100. Tasted 15th Sept 2007.

Mt Billy 'Harmony' Shiraz Mataro Grenache 2004 $23. This southern Rhone inspired blend comprises of 50% shiraz, 25% mataro from 70yo vines and 25% grenache from 80yo vines. All vines were dry grown from the Gomersal region of sandy limestone soil. Matured in seasoned French oak of varying age for 26 months. This is a lovely food wine. 14.5%alc. Savoury meaty nose (smoked bacon?), yet its smooth and elegant. Fantastic finish and aftertaste. 92-93/100. Tasted 15th Sept 2007.

Noon Reserve Cabernet 2005, McLaren Vale
Bought from auction. Grapes sourced from Langhorne Creek, this is a 17% blockbuster that comes as an explosion of pure fruity flavours which entice you to go back to the bottle again and again.  Deep, brooding inky purple colour with a fantastic nose of black fleshy plum, granite, liquorice and blackcurrant liquor.  Seamlessly rich with amazing purity of fruit framed on a backbone of firm tannins. This will no doubt keep for 15+ years, but why wait till then when it can be enjoyed now? 97/100. Tasted 27th Feb 2008.
Noon Eclipse 2007, McLaren Vale Bought from auction. Ruby black, with earthy brown reddish edges. This needs at least an hour to open up in the decanter. Heady aromatics overflow the glass, blackcurrant and blueberry core with liquorice, touch of sweet clove and tanned leather. Rich dark fruit flavours come in wave after wave. A hint of grippy tannins initially but these fade off, overpowered by the warmth of the fruit. Great length of aftertaste, almost a full minutes. This will keep for 10-12 years easy. 94+/100. Tasted March 2009.
O'Leary Walker Watervale Riesling 2007, SA $19. From 45-year old vines, this exudes a canola gold colour with lean notes of butter sautéed lemon slices. Astute tight structure with flavours of lime and lemon, this one is suited for Asian cuisine. Drink over 3 years. 88/100. Tasted Feb 2008.
Oliver's Taranga Vine-dried Cabernet 2006, McLaren Vale $28, 4400 cases produced. 25% vine-dried for this Amarone-styled wine, giving a rich menthol-ed nose paired with an intensely flavoured drink with balanced tannins levels and a good finish. 91/100. Tasted 16th Sept 2007.
Oliver's Taranga Corrina's Blend 2005, McLaren Vale $28. Blend of 55% shiraz and 45 cabernet. Floral nose with a hint of herb obviously from the cabernet, accompanied by fruity flavours on the mid-palate from the shiraz held together by chewy tannins. 91/100.
Oliver's Taranga Grenache 2006, McLaren Vale $28, 3080 cases produced. A bit dryish but sufficient fruity flavours which definitely makes this a food wine. 88/100.
Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz 2004, McLaren Vale $45. Fruit from the oldest parcel of land planted in 1948 are specially selected for this release. Aged in new French oak for 30months and another year in the bottle before release. Drinkable right now, but this spicy, fruit-driven wine will benefit from 3-4 years of cellaring and will last for at least 10-12 years. 92/100.
Oliver's Taranga Sauvignon Blanc 2007, McLaren Vale $18, 1430 dozen produced from the Adelaide Hills. Did not take notes.
Oliver's Taranga Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale $28. Nice deep colour with notes of savoury spice, liquorice and dark chocolate. Not as powerful or as fruity as some of the other 2005 offerings but good in its own right with abundant flavours of spice and dark fruit. 90-91/100.
Oliver's Taranga Tempranillo 2006, McLaren Vale $28, 1120 cases produced. Another food wine here with good fruit load and spice. 89/100.
Oliver's Taranga Viognier 2007, McLaren Vale $18, 1856 dozen produced. Did not take notes.
Patrick T 'The Caves' Riesling 2004, Coonawarra Riesling from the Wrattonbully region harvested at 12Be, matured in stainless steel for a year. Marigold gold/yellow colour. Great nose of lime and mango. Fleshy palate has weight but is not too fat. Well-lengthed aftertaste which lingers after the mineraly finish. 91/100.
Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling 2007, SA

$12. Fresh straw-golden yellow, fruity aromas of lime and unripe, white stone fruit. A light weight, good clean fruity flavours with a firm finish. Nice with an ice-cold prawn salad with basil leaves. Drink over next 3 years. 88/100. Tasted Feb 2008.

Peter Lehmann Mentor Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley 100% Barossa Cabernet, intense black-purple with blackcurrant fragrance, violets and sweet spiced oak. Generous flavour profile that isn't energy sapping to appreciate and chalk dusty tannins to finish. A good, honest wine. 91/100.
Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling 2007, SA $19. Pale sunflower gold colour. Notes of cold rock and sweet orange blossom.  Straight forward, fruit-centric wine with flavours of guava and strong slate minerals. Palate is tight, but maybe acidity a touch too high? Drink over the next 5 years. 89/100. Tasted Feb 2008.
 Pindarie 'Bar Rossa', Barossa Valley

2007: This is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 25% Sangiovese and 5% Shiraz. Sensation of hot mineral earth, toasted plum skins and rich blackberry notes. A slight hint of reduction. An even, balanced wine with mouth coating tannins, rich dark berry fruit with a touch of anise. A long, even finish to this youthful wine. Drink 5-7 years. 91-92/100. Tasted October 2009.

2008: This wine would go perfectly with a Mediterranean salad loaded with black olives and fetta cubes to go along with warm lamb chops. A medium-bodied wine made from co-fermentation of the Tempranillo and Sangiovese followed by blending in of the Shiraz at the end. Notes of ripe berry fruit with a soft waft of pepper, there is rich plum juice and fleshy red berry juice. The tannins are soft and velvety, and the finish is pleasing and persistent. 91/100. Tasted November 2009.


Poonawatta Estate 2006 'The Eden' Riesling, Eden Valley
$22, #2623/3900. Cropped at under 3 tonne/acre, 12.0%alc, pale golden yellow colour with clean, crisp aromas of white peach, flint stone and a hint of kerosene. Lime flavours and sweet stone fruit are firmly held together with a decent acidity, but maybe just a touch too primary and sweet. 88-89/100.  Tasted Feb 2008.
Poonawatta Estate 2006 Monties Block Shiraz, Eden Valley
$28. A small production of 10 French barriques totalling 2900 bottles. Fruit sources from the 1880 plot or the Cuttings plot, both of which are a small 2 acres each. It would be worth the time to source for the 1880 and The Cuttings bottlings to compare these three siblings against each other. A somewhat high 15% alc, black ruby colour, this easy drinking, medium-bodied wine has notes of blackcurrant liquorice, holds up with fleshy tannins, greenish finish and a touch of alcoholic heat. 88/100. Tasted July 2008.
Petaluma Cabernet Sauvignon 1990, Coonawarra
Bought from PWS for AUD$90. Big, ripe nose typical of a Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon although this had 40% merlot. Greenish nose, earthy ripe berry fruit and plum. Palate is fresh, well-balanced and of a firm structure. Still young for a 1990, well-cellared. But there's something about this that doesn't excite me too much, and I don't expect it to improve much more so start drinking up. 91/100. Tasted 24th Dec 2007.
Petaluma Cabernet Sauvignon 1991, Coonawarra
Bought from PWS for AUD$90. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon as merlot didn't fare too well in this hot vintage. Straight-forward nose of savoury berry fruit. Palate is well-balanced, no major flaws. Finish is muted. On it's way down, drink up. 89/100. Tasted 18th Jan 2008.
R Wines (Chris Ringland) Strong Arms Shiraz 2008, SA R Wines Strong Arms Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley
~$15. Made by the famed Chris Ringland, the Strong Arms shiraz offers top-notch value for money if you need the spare change. Sweet blackberry dominates the aroma profile with a softer cedar-like edge to round it up. Lush, straight-forward blackberry fruit sweeps the palate. Drink over the next 3-5 years. 89/100.
Radford Dale Eden Valley Riesling 2005, Eden Valley
$18-22.  Clear and peary pink colour, great nose of white stone fruit and flowers. White peach flavours. Crisp, fresh and a dry, mineraly aftertaste.91-92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Radford Dale is a newcomer to the Artisans group, with property in the Eden Valley and run by Gill and Ben Radford. Already receiving rave reviews having been given 5 stars and listed as one of the top ten newest wineries by James Halliday in his 2007 wine companion, as well as praises from Max Allen and Huon Hooke. Their primary focus is Eden Riesling, but also offer a shiraz and there are plans for expanding into the grenache, as well as experimenting with different wine making styles.

Radford Dale Eden Valley Riesling 2006, Eden Valley
More yellowish in colour than the 2005. Richer and a more intense aromatic profile too. Flavours of pear and stone fruit. Finishing with crisp minerality. 92-94/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Radford Dale is a newcomer to the Artisans group, with property in the Eden Valley and run by Gill and Ben Radford. Already receiving rave reviews having been given 5 stars and listed as one of the top ten newest wineries by James Halliday in his 2007 wine companion, as well as praises from Max Allen and Huon Hooke. Their primary focus is Eden Riesling, but also offer a shiraz and there are plans for expanding into the grenache, as well as experimenting with different wine making styles.

Radford Dale Shiraz 2005, Eden Valley
$33-35. Nice deep colour. Nose of mulberry, white acacia flower. Complex flavours mingling with loads of primary plum flavours. Intense and dense. For this price, excellent value for money! 97/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Radford Dale is a newcomer to the Artisans group, with property in the Eden Valley and run by Gill and Ben Radford. Already receiving rave reviews having been given 5 stars and listed as one of the top ten newest wineries by James Halliday in his 2007 wine companion, as well as praises from Max Allen and Huon Hooke. Their primary focus is Eden Riesling, but also offer a shiraz and there are plans for expanding into the grenache, as well as experimenting with different wine making styles.

Rockford Hoffman SVS Shiraz 2000 A special vineyard selection made by Chris Ringland and Chris O'Callaghan. 14.0%alc, black ruby colour with heady aromas of ripe raspberry and dark currants. Still a very young wine with rich, intense currant flavours. The fruit retains in the mid palate, then fades off end the tannins come through on the finish. Thoroughly enjoyable. 93/100. Tasted March 2009.
  Rymill MC2 2004, Coonawarra
$22, A blend of 45% merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. This spent 20 months in new and older French barriques. A nice dark red colour, soft nose of meaty juices, red berry and aniseed. Dry tannins, this lacks personality, very boring and certainly not worth the price tag. 85/100. Tasted July 2008.

Schubert Estate Goose-yard Block 2004, Barossa Valley
A touch under the usual alcohol level at 14.0%, who cares really?! Seductive acacia /white summer flower with blackberry and hint of new leather. Clean flowing with light tannins lingering. Good drink. 92/100.

Schulz Benjamin Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley
Made by Dave Powell (Torbreck) from grapes of the Schulz family vineyard which apparently supplied some of his previous RunRig fruit. 14% a/c, about $24, screwcap. Upon opening, the vivacious fruity smells poured out of the bottle, enhanced probably by the slightly warmer evening air. I decanted for about 4 hours before drinking. The dense fruity nose remained, but was somewhat masked by what I felt was unsettled alcohol (again, the warmer evening weather might have contributed to this). I got a hint of butterscotch at one point in time too. Medium-bodied, this was very much a Rhone-styled wine, doesn't smash into your pallet like alot of other aussie Shiraz of the same price range. Flavour is concentrated to the front of the mouth, no excessive acidity to the back. Finish of about 10+ seconds. Good wine for the price. 91-92/100.
Schwarz Wine Co Dust Kicker 2006, Barossa Valley $25. The new blend, 300-500 dozen produced. Consists of stuff I tried earlier this year, Schilling Rd Cab Sauv blended into Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. Floral nose, fantastically multilayered. Rich vibrant flavours of red fruit and berries. Very well-balanced. 94-95/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Schwarz Wine Co Nitschke Block Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley $32. Handpicked from ~40yo dry-grown vines. Extended maceration and 20 years in seasoned French oak. Dark red, purplish colour. Great nose of brandied plum, cherry and touch of dark chocolate. Great flavour profile of plum and dark berries with ripe supple tannins. 92-94/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Schwarz Wine Co Nitschke Block Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley
Incredible nose of raspberry, white chocolate and hint of tobacco. Young tannins present but blend very well with the great plum flavours lingering on towards the finish. 93-94/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Schwarz Wine Company Thiele Road Grenache 2005, Barossa Valley
In my recent account of meeting Jason Schwarz, I mentioned that one of his best offerings was the 2006 Thiele Road grenache grown and maintained by his dad. 2005 was just as good as year for grenache, and so it was no surprise that this 15.0% drink was just a bouquet of berries and sweet small flowers in a glass. Light on the palate with no amount of offensive alcohol or acidity whatsoever, this went extremely well with roasted duck breast (I did the wine and duck injustice by overcooking the fillets somewhat), chicken liver terrine and foie gras. $32, worth every cent and definitely one to revisit over the next few years. 93-4/100.

Re-tasted 19th Sept 2007: $26. Hand-picked old vines, 50% destemmed before press. Extended maceration of 8-12 days and 20 months maturation in old French oak. Dark ruby colour. Fresh nose of India summer white flowers, brooding and sullen spices. Great level of intense fruitiness of plum, with ripe tannins and soft acidity. 92-93/100.

Schwarz Wine Co Thiele Rd Grenache 2006
Deeper undertones on the nose with no let up. Intense flavours! 93-94/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Six Gates Majnun Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley
Deep, murky purple colour. Soft nose of a hot summer's day, dark ripe berries with hints of anise and crushed granite. But there's a touch of alcohol that jarrs the nose. Quite smooth going into the mouth, with clear plum flavours on the mid palate. I think flavour-wise, it's a relative lightweight, and I feel that this could be bigger and bolder. A big wine does not mean a brute and can still retain elements of elegance. There is room to pack in more tannins, to give it a more robust structure. Up to this point, it's a good drink and it was in the aftertaste that left me disappointed as it was weak and left me with an empty feel. 86/100.

Six Gates Majnun Shiraz 2006
$23, 1000 cases produced. The 2006 release is a great improvement over the inaugural 2004. Fruit sourced from Patch 4 of the Six Gates vineyard underwent open ferment followed by 26 months in oak. A deep, black ruby colour, good dark spice and plum aromas with a touch of menthol. A balanced fruit load with the fruit and peppery flavours smoothening out very well, backed by robust toasty tannins. This should develop nicely over the next 3-5 years, and will be interesting to follow-up. 91/100. Tasted Oct 08.

Slipstream Shiraz Grenache 2005, McLaren Vale
The Slipstream is the project of a trio of winemakers, including Ben Riggs (Tatiarra) and Stephen Pannell (S.C. Pannell). It's 72% shiraz/28% grenache. Lush, aromatic nose of raspberries and liquorice. It's elegant, with a heady silky texture, combined with velvety tannins. However, this medium-bodied wine does lack a substantial aftertaste on the back palate and I feel it's abit hollow. There's a lingering sensation on the tip of the tongue with a white pepper finish. Length of aftertaste is reasonable and leaves a warm sensation. 90/100
Smallfry 2007 Barossa Valley Grenache

$28, 50 cases made, 16.0% alc. This dark ruby coloured medium-bodied wine is fruit-forward with light, red fruit aromatics and ripening raspberry flavours. Good wine for the up-coming BBQ season. 88/100. Tasted July 2009.

Smallfry 2007 Barossa Valley GSM

$28, 150 cases produced, 15.0% alc. Black cherry compote but a touch of alcohol on the nose. Linear, ripe dark fruit with a hint of savouriness and bitterness. The sensation of sweet spice comes through but the fruit doesn't stand out enough for me. 88/100. Tasted July 2009.

Smallfry 2009 Barossa Valley Riesling

$18, 110 cases produced, 11.0% alc. A style that's closer to my heart. You can taste the residual sugars in this simple yet pleasing wine. This is sweeter than the Eden Valley Riesling and to me, is slightly more complex with the lime, citrus buds and a touch of rose. 88/100. Tasted July 2009.

Smallfry 2008 Barossa Valley Semillon

$18, 175 cases produced, 11.5% alc. This is a good early-summer drink. It's fresh, focussed and offers a lot without the need for thought. Notes of fresh lanolin with sweet fruit built on firm acidity. There is a hint of the 25% new oak treatment but the malolactic acid fades out fast. Drink over the next 2 years. 88-89/100. Tasted July 2009.

Smallfry 2007 Barossa Valley Shiraz $28, 90 cases produced, 14.5% alc. Amazing black colour, this is a robust wine with notes of fresh, soft christmas fruit cake with a touch of blackberries and plum skins. Rich dark fruit flavours with silky tannins that are propped with a spicy zing at the end. There is potential for this one to be enjoyed over the next 5-10 years. 93/100. Tasted July 2009.  
Smallfry 2007 Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $28, 113 cases produced, 14.0% alc. Red currents stomped into black berries with a touch of oak spice. A simple wine that is true expression of the vine, this wine is young and fleshy but the tannins, as unassuming as they are, need a little bit more time to get fully integrated. Keep 2-3 years, drink 5-7. 90/100. Tasted July 2009. 
Smallfry 2007 Eden Valley Red Blend $28, 80 cases produced, 14.5% alc. A blend of 40% Cab Sauv, 30% Cab Franc, 20% Merlot and Petit Verdot 10%. A lovely Bordelais composition but with a heavier feel. Soft tannins envelope the small dark berries with the Cab Franc and Merlot both offering the weight and spice elements. The finish is a touch short for me, but a pleasing wine no doubt. Drink 2-3 years. 88-89/100.  Tasted July 2009. 
Smallfry 2008 Eden Valley Riesling $18, 200 cases produced, 11.5% alc. A riesling that is young, fruit forward. Sweet lime juice is how I'd describe this, yet it's not soft and not simple like the low cost kabinetts. It's certainly richer and the flavour profile is broader with talcy minerality on the mid-palate. Yet, I'd like to see abit more firmness and acidity in this. Drink 2-3 years and if you're the daring sort, maybe 5 even? 88/100. Tasted July 2009. 
Smallfry 2009 Eden Valley Rosé $18, 120 cases produced, 11.8% alc. A blend of 80% cabernet and 20% grenache. The Cabernet saw 18 hours of cold skin contact before full yeast ferment which was combined with wild yeast fermented old vine Grenache. A good colour on this easy, food-appropriate (think sizzled pork & cumin/fennel seed sausages) drink. The primary fruit characteristics are easily picked up with aromatics from the grenache and blackcurrant flavours from the CS. One for Spring Carnival's pre-lunch nibbles. 87/100. Tasted July 2009. 
Smallfry 2008 Late Harvest Riesling $15, 50 cases made, 12.5% alc. From cordon cut vines, Sweet spice and stewed pear on the nose with a hint of uncooked flour/bread. This is closer to the muscat de venise style but appears slightly flat to me as I would have liked to have seen more acidity in this. A decent light dessert wine nonetheless. 88/100. Tasted July 2009. 
Smallfry 2009 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc $15. I was surprised with the availability and existence of Barossan Sauvignon Blanc. Wayne shared that this blend was a request of a Queensland distributor. Early picking of the SB fruit brought out the soft greenish notes that added a zing to weightiness imparted by the Semillon. Overall, this has fresh grassy and rich lemon flavours that gives a slight impression of a Fume. Drink within 2 years. 88/100. Tasted July 2009. 
Smallfry 2009 Tempranillo Garnacha Joven $20, 110 cases produced, 13.5% alc. Slightly reductive, interesting layered aromatic profile with burnt earth, medium-heavy fruit but with a floral hint. An easy drink with well-integrated tannins, the finish is slightly short. Unoaked and true expression of the land in the fruit. Comparable to the philosophy behind Tobreck's Juveniles and Teusner's Joshua. 87/100. Tasted July 2009. 
Spinifex Esprit 2004

700 dozen cases. Grenache 36% Shiraz 34% Mourvèdre 20% Cinsault 10%. Light, waspy and fragrant with characteristics of cinsault coming across. Slight spice and dried herbal tones. Given the age of the wine, I was pleasantly surprised at how drinkable it was, perhaps a tad over-oaked at this point, but the balance of tannin and alcohol was certainly not overwhelming. Medium feel on the pallet, with good length to the aftertaste. I would keep this for another year to allow further development. 6.5/10

Spinifex Esprit 2005
Red blend, primarily grenache. Similar colour to the Papillon but with a richer nose of red currants and mulberries. Flavours of spicy sweet fruit which are overall more intense than the Papillon. Once again, this well-structured drink holds the soft tannins in balance with the fruit. 92/100. Tasted 28 Aug 07.

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: Full throttle version of the Papillon. Blend of five - 40% grenache, 34% shiraz, 12% cinsault, 8% mataro and 6% Carignan, matured for 22 months in French oak. Nice shiny dark red. The aroma profile on this is fantastic, rich in plum, cherry, touch of summer leaf. Flavours of spiced plum stew mingled with fine tannins. Approachable now, but I think optimal drinking in 5-7 years. 92+/100.

Spinifex Esprit 2006 $25 - 30. Grenache 40%, Shiraz 34%, Mourvèdre 8%, Cinsault 12%, Carignan 6%. A step up from the Papillon in intensity, flavour and textural complexity. 22 months of oak maturation has created a feel-bodied wine with red cherry, touch of cassis, dried herbs and spice. Even, fine tannins provide good structure and support to the wine. A tight and focused finish. Drink until 2015. 92/100. Tasted April 2008.
Spinifex Indigene 2004

300 dozen cases. Mourvèdre 64% Shiraz 36%. Very well made wine, with hints of peachy/stone-fruit on the nose. On taste, it's extremely well-balanced with no hints of new oak. Decent length, with current flavours coming across after the initial swirl, giving way to a combination of slight plum-like white pepper. Accessible now, but I'm interested to see how this might evolve (no idea at the moment!) 7/10

Spinifex Indigene 2005
55% mataro and 45% shiraz. Dark ruby/crimson colour. Shy perfumed nose of red fruit, hint of vanillin oak and a dash of white pepper. This medium-bodied wine bring a rich flavour onto the palate and finishes with a wonderful aftertaste that pleasantly lingers on the tongue. 93/100. Tasted 28 Aug 07.

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: 55% Mataro with 45% shiraz. Excellent blend showcasing the savouriness of mataro with the strength of shiraz. Deep dark colour. Needs time in the cellar, still coming together. Great aromas of black cherry, plums, sweet spice and white flower. Full-bodied, flavours of black plum and bitter dark chocolate. The finish is backed with prominent tannins which should level out over 5-6 years, this looks to go beyond 10. 94-95/100.

Spinifex Indigene 2006 55% mataro and 45% shiraz. This is like the capable female head of the household, you get the feeling she's in charge of things but goes about it quietly. One whiff of this, mataro! A complex aromatic profile of soft stewed black cherry, pepper, hazelnut. Mid - full bodied drink with black plum, prunes, and a touch of bitter dark chocolate. This is dense but there is a fine edge to it all. Drink now until 2020. 94/100. $40-50. Tasted April 2008.
Spinifex Lola 2006 White blend of marsanne, semillon, vermentino and grenache gris, rich fruity nose with a touch of slight butteriness. Clean and fresh citrus flavours with no lazy edge to them in the style of an exotic, italian summer countryside. The aftertaste is robust, finishing quite heavily and lingers afterwards. 88/100. Tasted 28 Aug 07.

2006 Spinifex Papillon, Barossa Valley
 ($22) is an interesting blend of grenache, carignan and cinsault, and probably the first 2006 red to hit the market. This is THE red to have over summer, and certainly one to have slightly chilled with berry sorbet. Lovely floral nose, with a body suggestive of a slim-ish petit female (maybe slightly on the thin side). This is definitely one for the girls! 91-93/100.

Red blend of grenache 46%, cinsault 28% and carignan 26% produces a wine of ribena colour together with sweet, fresh aromas of ripening black currants. The tannins are soft, and hold up very nicely with the simple flavours of black and red currants. And the finish is satisfying too. 90-91/100.  Tasted 28 Aug 07.

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: A blend of 46% grenache, 28% cinsault, 26% carignan. Great fleshy, lifted nose of raspberry, plum and cherry with perfumed spice undertones. Medium-bodied with plum and dark cherry flavours, a hint of spice and good aftertaste. Drink over 3-4 years. 92/100.

Spinifex Rose 2006 Blend of grenache 56%, Cinsault 36%, mataro 6% and shiraz 6%. Dirty ferrous, light red colour matched appropriately with a light nose of red currants. Fruity flavours and a light finish. 87/100.  Tasted 28 Aug 07.

Spinifex 2005 Shiraz Viognier, Eden Valley
$45 from Cloudwine, I'll compare this to the Indigene when I get the chance to, since Cloudwine South Melbourne has sold out of both. Maybe Randall's still has stocks. Anyway.. I didn't buy this last year, but I had the many other wines that Peter Schell brings out under this label. 95% shiraz, 5% viognier. Notes of blueberry (muffin?), abit of cold, freshly crushed mint leaves, dark chocolate undertones. Very subtle gentle nose, none of the exotic overpowering sweetness or what I term 'bottled mistakes' that other similar blends have presented as. Light-medium bodied wine, fruity, fresh flavours. Maybe drinking this too soon.. should revisit in about 4 years. (89-90/100). Tasted 23rd May 2007.

Retasted 19th Sept 2007: 95% Eden Valley shiraz with 5% viognier. Nice dark red colour. Intense, carpeted perfume of dark berry aromas. Full-bodied, flowing with silky, subtle tannins that hide behind the bold forward flavours of black currant, plum and some smokiness. This will go 8 - 10 years. 94-95/100.

Spinifex 2005 Shiraz Viognier 95% shiraz, 5% viognier. Intense dark berry aromas with spice. Full-bodied, rich and intense flavours of blackcurrant, plum, cherry, hint of ground coffee. A balanced drink, well-structured with fine silky tannins. Drink until 2020. 95/100. Tasted April08.


Spinifex Tabor 2004, Barossa Valley 33 doz cases
Standish Shiraz 2003, Barossa Valley $95. 96 year old vines cropped at 0.5 ton/acre in a mixture of destemmed and whole bunch, matured for 32 months in old French oak. A soft, elegant nose, complex mixture of blueberry, cassis, white flower and graphite. An intense flavour profile, rich and pure, smooth with no heavy notes (14.5%alc) and a fantastic aftertaste that goes for more than a minute. I finished my scribble notes with 'Great!! Smile'. It's drinkable now, but I think this deserves 2-3 more years to settle further and allow all its components to fully amalgamate, after which 10-15 years, not a problem. 97-98/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Standish Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley Black, black ruby! Purple blossom, blackcurrant and a touch of black pepper. Rich intense plum, blackcurrants and dark berries. Youthful tannins will come together eventually. Keep for 5 years, drink 2012 - 2022. 94/100. Tasted at the winery in March 2009.
Standish 'Relic' Shiraz/Viognier 2004, Barossa Valley $95. Fruit for offering are from 97 year old vines, also cropped at 0.5ton/acre and matured for 20 months in old French oak. Co-fermented, 3% viognier. This black purple drink leaks sexiness and drips exotic intensity. Ripe and intense nose of hot summer white/purple flowers and dark/black fruit. Full-bodied, so balanced on the palate, an amazing finish. Again, my scribbles ended with 'So good'. 99-100/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Standish 'Relic' Shiraz/Viognier 2006, Barossa Valley This has 2.5% viognier in it. Tar black purple colour, sweet viognier lifts are evident, touch of sweet white pepper, black olive and dark red currants. Purple lilac flowers, blackcurrant fruit flavours. Grippy firm tannins still amalgamating. 93-94/100. Tasted at the winery in March 2009.
SC Pannell Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007 $23.50-28. Strangely coloured, very light in colour, more like tapwater with a yellowish tinge to it. Lovely clear nose of white stone fruit, light on the palate with a crisp acidic backbone. Flavoursome and good. 88/100. Tasted August 2007.
SC Pannell Grenache Rose 2007 $20-24. It's not very often that you see a rose from SA, let alone a grenache rose! This wine really stems from Stephen's self-professed love for grenache. Medium-reddish colour with almost a touch of deeper hue, this rose isn't just watered-down red wine. Packs a good fruity flavour and finishes with some weight on the palate. 87-88/100. Tasted August 2007.
SC Pannell Nebbiolo 2005, McLaren Vale $45-55. Dark ruby red colour, strong nose of cherries that's reminiscent of some of the great Piedmont wines. Medium-bodied wine with the tannins front and present, but they are soft and not overpoweringly dry and sappy on the mouth. This can be cellared for a long, long time; might be worth giving it go too! 90/100. Tasted August 2007.
SC Pannell Pronto 2006 $23.50-28. This bottle was not on tasting on the day. Notes read '95% grenache, remaining 5% of touriga and shiraz.' and unwooded too! I'd be very interested to get my hands on a bottle of this. Tasted August 2007.
SC Pannell Shiraz 2005, McLaren Vale $55-65. The 2005 shiraz is so restrained at the moment. Dark red/purple colour, it's a very open wine which presents itself in a straight, clear-cut manner with no hidden corners. The 2004 was so much more open but the 2005 has a better overall structure and might even hold up better than the 2004 over extended years of cellaring. 92/100. Tasted August 2007.
SC Pannell Shiraz Grenache 2005, McLaren Vale $45-55. Shiraz sourced from 45-year old vines and grenache from 80-year old vines, the wine is fermented in French oak resulting in a wonder drop that provides an education in the strength of old vine grenache. Lovely nose of blackberries and sweet spices, this well-constructed full-bodied drink boasts a seamless blending of the strength of shiraz with the elegance of old grenache juice. 94/100. Tasted August 2007.
Teusner Albert Shiraz 2005, Barossa Valley $45. Fruit from 45 - 90 year old vines from two separate vineyards in Ebenezer and Moppa were matured over 24 months in 30% new French oak to give a deep dark coloured wine with a subdued nose of black fruit and cassis. Elegant smooth drink, medium to full-bodied, well-rounded in the mouth with flavours of plum and blackberries. Good balanced finish. Give 2-3 years for it to settle down further, then take your time over the following 10 years. 91-92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Teusner Avatar GSM 2005, Barossa Valley $26. A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Shiraz and 10% Mataro matured in old French and American oak for 16 months. Deep serious nose of dirty spice and earthy, organic plum and berries. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy fruit profile in balance with the soft tannins. If you had this right after the Joshua without knowing the Joshua was unoaked, you would have thought this was simply stacked with tannins. An interesting comparison to have both side-by-side. Drink over 5 years. 91-92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

A notch up from the Joshua. Oak adds the extra dimension. Nose is more rounded, like a big velvet cushion to fall on. Quite a dense stock of fruit flavours but the finish is a little soft, falls off a little hollow for me. The back finish might have been aided with a touch more acidity. 91/100. Tasted April 2008.
Teusner Grenache 2005, Barossa Valley Only 1 barrel of this was made with fruit from the Moppa region, yielding 125 magnums available only through mailorder at $147 per. Lovely nose of beef stock lifted by floral notes. Great flavour with a soft finish. 91-92/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Teusner Joshua 2004, Barossa Valley
($25) blend of grenache, mataro and shiraz. Unoaked, represents a CdP style, though much more toned down. Whiff of meat with black olives. Well-balanced, refreshing spicey aftertaste. After O/N in the fridge, opened up slight with bigger meaty characteristics coupled with a smooth olive nose. Organised body and well-balanced aftertaste  with velvet finish of spice, and yellow-flesh plum with sweet bitterness. Decided to keep for another day, so O/N on the table. Tight structure, no longer meaty or olive nose. Fresh clear plum overtones. Fleshy smooth aftertaste concentrated on the upper pallet. Excellent value. 7/10
Teusner Joshua GMS 2006, Barossa Valley $21. An unwooded blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mataro and 10% Shiraz. Great colour and nose, aromas of black and red fruit with a touch of pepper and spice. Medium-bodied tasty drink with frank fruity flavours. Drink over next 3-4 years. 91-93/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Teusner Joshua GMS 2007 $24-28. Unoaked GSM. Ruby colour, soft sculpted nose of sweet fruit. Ripe, red fruit flavours, touch of youthful tannins. Good drink, the finish lingers nicely, does not fade off meekly. 90-91/100. Tasted April 2008.
Teusner The Riebke Ebenezer Road Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley $19. Fruit off 10 year old vines from the Ebenezer sub-region of the Barossa was aged for 12 months in old French and American hogsheads (shaved and unshaven). Dark in colour, rich mixture of ripe plum fruit, spice and chocolate. Rich palate, very much fruit driven. Easy drink with a great finish and well worth the price! Should drink well over the next 10 years. 92-93/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Young! Big on nose and flavours, good for a meaty meal. Simple drink with blackberry, jammy flavours, fresh and chewy structure. Great value. 89-90/100. Tasted April 2008.
Teusner Salsa Rose 2007, Barossa Valley $18. A blend of grenache, mataro and shiraz planted specifically to create this rose. Wild fermented in old hogsheads. Great intense aromatic and flavour profile with loads of good fruit. 89-90/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.

Torbreck Descendent 2004, Barossa Valley
I will not attempt to hide the fact that the 2004 Descendent is one of my all-time favourite wines after having spent an entire night and ensuing 4 days savouring and tasting the different flavours it seductively offers like a grape feeder during the time of Nero. It got a mere 98 from Robert Parker, but just to enforce my point, who cares?! When you fall in love with a wine, a subjective numeric scale  fails to capture the joy it brings to you. This 14.5% monster in a dress is made from cuttings off the Runrig vines, the viognier skins used for the Runrig, and matured in ex-Runrig barrels. The name now makes complete sense no? At $125 (cellar door), this is one of the few triple-digit wines that I'd gladly pay for. Maroon purple in colour, the room is guaranteed to be filled with a mix of blackberries and hot summer wild white flowers once you pull the cork. Full-bodied, rich and gob-smackingly appetising, all you need is to close your eyes and just drink it to understand! 98+/100

3rd Jan 2010: If my mum can pick this one out, then I reckon we’ve drunk way too much Torbreck over the years. This Shiraz Viognier blend is unassumptious by nature and is straight-forward enough to be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. Toying with perfection and never a let-down, this exudes notes of blackberries and acacia flower. Perfect example of a pure, simple wine that doesn’t try to overdo things. Full-bodied and intense in smell and taste, to be enjoyed for another 10 years. 97/100. Tasted Jan 2010.
Torzi Matthews 2007 Frost Dodger Riesling, Eden Valley $20. Light, sunflower gold, this is not shy at all, a broad open nose of lemon rind, touch of kero and rich tones of tropical fruit and grapefruit. A leaner flavour profile, this 12.0% alc, medium-bodied wine is held by fresh acidity with generous lemon flavours. 89/100. Tasted June 2008.
Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2003, Eden Valley Bottle was opened and stood to breathe for an hour before pouring. The wine started showing about an hour and a half later. The 2003 bottle #1730 had an aromatic nose, very much a Rhone-style, but taste-wise the earthy fruits didn't seem to pair up very well for me. Tannins were clearly present, but I think will settle down. The drink has a high level of astringency, and I think it's worth revisiting this in a couple of years.


Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2004, Eden Valley
($30 from Cloudwine), bottle #0946/???? . Poured a glass after opening, capped back the rest (stelvin), tasted after about an hour. Dark plum, but a sense that it was closed. Tannic, with hints of bitter chocolate and coffee grains, though neither were obvious. A second glass at 2 hours was opulent and contained sesame with aniseed undertones, which quite evolved into sweet cinnamon. Oak, oak, oak! Severely lacking in aftertaste.  Might be good accompanying a tomato based italian dish. Overnight in the fridge, legs are lost, still a closed structure but has lost any character. Still oaky on the nose, a little fruit on the pallet, sweetness even. But absolutely no aftertaste. Very disappointing, and not worth $30, more like $15. 5/10

**Domenic Torzi has offered to send me another bottle of the 04, AND an 03. He thinks I might had an off bottle**

Tasting notes of 03 & 04 Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz: Both bottles were opened and stood to breathe for an hour before pouring. The 04 started showing on the hour, and the 03 took a further 30mins. The 2004 bottle #1804 was markedly different from the previous bottle I had. Dark hunk of colour with a lovely sweet, spicy nose of clove and a mouthful of fruit. Very interesting combination here, excellent joocey drink. 7/10 for the 04

Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2005, Eden Valley $30. Bottled 6 weeks ago. Great nose of white acacia, summer flower. 30% new French oak. Very well-balanced, a touch of savouriness at the end of great plum flavours. 93+/100. Tasted 19th Sept 2007.
Torzi Matthews 2007 Schist Rock Shiraz, Eden Valley $18. The baby brother of the Frost Dodger, this is fruit that does not make it into the Frost Dodger yet gets the full treatment in ex-FD barrels. 15% whole bunch, open top fermented by wild yeasts, soft pumping over, basket pressed then into the barrels. Additional treatment through two-year old 75% French / 25% American hogshead barriques before being bottled unfiltered. Wow! This is more French than Domenic is Italian! And I mean that is the most complimentary way! Brilliant aromas of spice, plum and dark berries followed by an equally satisfying core of plum, spicy berry flavours and a touch of dark chocolate at the end. Long, flavoursome, satisfying. Great value! 89-90/100. Tasted June 2008.
Tscharke 'The Curse' Zinfandel 2004, Barossa Valley
$30 from Cloudwine, an incredible 16.1% alcohol, Damien's vision for the Tscharke line is to make wines with tradition European grape varieties grown in SA conditions and made in a Barossan-style. An  excellent piece crafted here, perhaps rivalling US Zin's in terms of QPR. Notes of cinnamon, raspberry and slight white pepper undertones. Fruity and spicy flavours combine with sweet cinnamon pastry. Light bodied wine which left me wondering where all the alcohol was due to the absence of the typical alcohol heat. Pleasant aftertaste. 89/100.

Retasted the next day:  Glorious aromas of white flowers (liliums?), almost like walking into a cold room at the nursery, coupled with savoury strawberries. The pepperiness has blown off. Still no sign of the high alcohol. More noticeable, velvety tannins have emerged. 91-93/100. Tasted 22nd May 2007. 
Tscharke 'Only Son' Tempranillo 2005, Barossa Valley
$22 from Cloudwine. At a mere 14.4% alcohol, notes of light soy sauce with fridge cooled, freshly washed dark cherries. Medium-bodied wine with a spicy finish and a good permeating aftertaste. 88-89/100. Tasted 22nd May 2007

Turkey Flat Shiraz 2004, Barossa Valley
The 2004 Turkey Flat Shiraz is a sweet new car in a bottle! Notes of sweet blackberries slip from the glass with a distinct smell of leather. Full-bodied, it has a robust character with silky tannins and a good-lengthed aftertaste. 94/100. Tasted 05/04/07
Two Hands A Day Late A Buck Short Fortified Muscat NV, Rutherglen/Barossa Valley $45. Notes of walnut and molasses that is quite attractive, but the intensity doesn't transfer onto the palate. There is a sense of some raw alcohol too and hence the aftertaste is rather out of whack. 87/100. Tasted August 2009.
NB. Two Hands offers a Rare muscat 'Fait Accompli' made from 20 year base material for $100.
Two Hands Angels Share Shiraz 2008, McLaren Vale $27. 14.9% alc. Matured in 20% new French oak, the alcohol doesn't attempt to hide. The tannins are young, raw and chewy. The ripe red berry flavours are abit swamped for me right now but this looks likely to last ~5 years. 91/100. Tasted August 2009.
Two Hands Ares Shiraz 2007, Barossa Valley/McLaren Vale $165. A much more complex wine than the entry and mid-level wines. This has a captivating aroma profile, and I found it odd to sense blue Baygon (confirmed by a second person), liquorice, blackberry, strong blueberry and preserved plum. Supple and generous vanillin from the oak. Rich flavours, intense fruit with youthful tannins that are raspy and dry. This wine needs some time to come together, 3-4 years and should sustain for drinking in 10-15 years. 93/100. Tasted August 2009.
Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz 2007, Barossa Valley

$60. 15.5% alc. Perfume of ripe blackberry and cherry. Youthful tannins which need to be more flowing as they are a distraction to the fruit. The cherry flavours kick back in towards the end for a smooth finish. 89/100. Tasted August 2009.

Two Hands Brave Faces Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2008, Barossa Valley

$27. 15.3% alc. A 60-20-20 blend respectively that on the nose, has the oak apparently covering up the fruit with the Grenache component not too obvious. Cherry, ripe red fruit with the robustness of the shiraz, a savoury touch from the mataro and even tannins but lacks character  and is a simplistic wine for me. 88+/100. Tasted August 2009.

Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato 2009, Barossa Valley

$18. Smokey, sweet white peach notes are found in this off-dry, sweet wine reminiscent of the spatlese style. A good aperitif that I'm likely to purchase a 6-pack for keeps. 90/100. Tasted August 2009.

Two Hands For Love or Money Cane Cut Semillon 2007, Barossa Valley $50. Smells like 'claypot tofu' with a hint of sherry sweetness. A viscous drink that reminds me a very ripe Spanish cantaloupe but lacks character for me. 86/100. Tasted August 2009.
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley $27. 14.8% alc. Matured in American oak which is where the toasty oak sweetness comes from. Supple red fruit with even tannins and a fine finish. Easy drinking but still quite a punch and while I'm happy to have a glass, I'm very sure I wouldn't drink a whole bottle on my own. 92/100. Tasted August 2009.
Two Hands Lily's Garden Shiraz 2007, McLaren Vale $60. 15.7% alc. Ripe, fleshy blood plum skins. More integrated than the previous two labels but the dryish tannins maintain their prominence. A straight and simple wine comprised of ripe, red berry flavours. 90/100. Tasted August 2009.
Two Hands The Lucky Country Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ~$12. I'll declare that I'm not a big fan of the Two Hands model, although I'll say I appreciate their terrior strategy of making wines. This bottling is the result of declassification of 15-20% of the 2002 and 2003 vintages. In 2004, this is a Cabernet/Shiraz blend from Langhorne Creek. Earthy dark garnet colour. Greenish nose with hint of dark chocolate. Well-rounded palate, plum flavours but there's some acidity which throws the balance off. A bit soft by Two Hands standard. Positive note, the aftertaste does go on for a good length. Good buy for this price. 90/100.
Two Hands Max's Garden Shiraz 2007, Heathcote $60. 14.9% alc. A typical Heathcote shiraz with dark red berries, stewed raspberry and a touch of the burnt earth characteristic. Rough, dry tannins with some alcoholic heat at the end. 88/100. Tasted August 2009.
Two Hands Sophie's Garden Shiraz 2007, Padthaway $60. 16.4% alc. A dense, intense wine with very intense dark red and black berries. Slightly astringent? A view shared by my French tasting partner. More fruit than tannins which is a plus. 88/100. Tasted August 2009.
Veronique 2006 Regions Shiraz, Barossa Valley $19. A wine made by Domenic Torzi for Peter Manning. The grapes were sourced from Greenock Creek, Angaston and Lyndoch, matured in French and American Oak. Nice, dense purple colour with a good core of black fruit. Fruit forward style, dark plum, touch of prune, uplift of cacao bean and carbon. This is a well-rounded drink with sweet tannins. The oaky characteristics become more prominent on the second day. Drink now or cellar for 3-4 years. Good with char-grilled chicken breast drizzled with a herby tomato sauce. 89/100. Tasted June 2008.
Veronique Old Vines 2007

A blend of 52% grenache, 28% mataro and 28% shiraz sourced from the Barossan regions of Greenock, Nurioopta and Angaston. A clear mid ruby-garnet colour with an intense nose of smoked meats, black olive, black raspberry, violets and fresh cherry oak. The high level of vibrant acids with well-rounded youthful tannins couple marry well with the intense flavours of ripe cherry, dark currants and fine ground black pepper, then flow into a long, warm finish. 91-92/100. Drink over next 5-7 years.

Wynn's Coonawarra Estate 'Black label' Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Coonawarra
$22 from Randall's. 14.5%, dark dense purple colour. Notes of cedar wood, raw tanned leather and a touch of mint. Silky smooth into the mouth, medium bodied with dark plum flavours with rich cigar-like characteristics. Light feel of soft tannins. Good structure and balance, passes the standard for this price. 89-90/100.

The views expressed on this page are exclusively my own, unless otherwise stated. Any offence caused is regretted, and will be retracted if, after discussion, is deemed reasonable.