Bondar Wines, ‘Violet Hour’ Shiraz, 2014£20.95
What’s in the name:
“This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affectations grow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at ant moment we may see the unicorn.” – Bernard DeVoto, “The Hour”.
How about the wine:
Hand-picked fruit from 65+ year old vines planted on Andre Bondar’s Rayner Vineyard in McLaren Vale. This wine pays homage to the Bondar style with fragrance and a lightness of touch. He used a proportion of whole bunches, which helps to create that lightness, and adds dimensions of flavour and a silky mouth feel. Aged in mostly older French oak, Violet Hour should improve nicely over the next five years or so and will suit lighter meat dishes and pasta beautifully.
Bondar Wines, Adelaide Hills, Chardonnay, 2014£21.95
Sourced from a single-vineyard at 400m above sea level in the cool Echunga area, this wine was hand-picked and pressed straight to barrel, where it underwent a natural fermentation. Matured in four barrels (one new, three older French oak) for about nine months. Very similar to the 2014 with a slightly purer fruit profile. We recommend you open it and let it breathe, sit back and watch it settle into its own skin and sing. It’s a wine that will age beautifully over the next few years.
90 dozen bottles made.
Read Mike Bennie’s review from MBM Magazine (94 points):
“Bondar are out of the blocks and racing. Great release of a lean and fine expression of Chardonnay here. It smells of wet slate, oyster shell, faint nuttiness then the pure, ripe stone fruit expression chimes in. Slinky yet crisp fringed in texture, the wine remains crisp and tight through its needle thrust line. Get involved.”
Claymore ‘Nirvana’ Reserve Shiraz, 2012£27.95
This is the icon of legendary Claymore wines portfolio. You will never view a Shiraz in the same way.
This is a wine of elegance, finely structured and delicately balanced. Big juicy fruits are balanced by savoury, spicy elements in the mouth. Lusciously rich plums, blackberries and liquorice are wrapped in gently charry oak brought into line with crisp acidity. We only have a little left of this excellent 2010 vintage which we reserve for our private customers.
Claymore, ‘God is a DJ’ Riesling 2016£13.95
The great philosopher of our time, Pink, once told the world: “If God is a DJ, life is a dancefloor, love is the rhythm, you are the music.” Sure, Faithless sang it first, but Pink also told us to “get this party started” and this Claymore wine is about to do just that.
This is a single vineyard offering. The 2016 juice is a fragrant, zesty little number. Concentrated with purity and poise, it displays those classic Riesling characteristics of lemon and lime, as well as juicy nectarines, resulting in a delicate white that’ll get any party started.
Claymore, ‘Skinny Love’ Viognier, 2016£12.50
Do not just reserve this wine for summertime. The fact that it is so damn drinkable, refreshing, delicate; hell it is practically “syn free”.
An early harvest wine that shows pretty floral notes of Jasmin and white peach.
Minimal intervention with this wine ensures that the mouthfeel of this wine is soft, balanced, integrated and appealing. Stone fruit and honeydew melon on the finish are complemented by natural acid and retained natural sugars. An extremely pretty, delicate and approachable wine. Hints of apricot flesh on the finish indicate the variety used for this wine.
Dowie Doole Cane Cut Viognier, 2010 (half bottle)£16.45
When presented with the beautiful bottle of Dowie Doole’s Cane Cut it is like looking at a bottle of melted gold.
“Cane Cut” refers to the method of pruning. The canes were severed (detached from the vine) to allow the grapes to hang on the vine and dehydrate for 8 days prior to picking. During this time the sugar content greatly increases. The aim is to minimise the bunches on the vine whilst maximising the bunches on the cane.
Very pale gold in colour.
Fresh, lifted nose redolent of ripe apricots, figs and quinces which leads to the elegant, sensuous palate.
While the palate is rich, it is never cloying, with noticeable streak of acidity running through to the clean, crisp finish. A delicious, lighter style “sticky.” Serve with game terrines, fruit salads, or soft creamy cheeses.
Down The Rabbit Hole Friends & Lovers Rosé£14.95
‘Friends & Lovers’ Rosé fills your mouth with bright berry and apricot flavours and has a refreshingly dry finish. These Sangiovese grapes know how to please. On a warm sunny day, with your favourite people around you, this wine brings joy and bliss.
Pale crimson with a salmon hue.
Field strawberries and fresh apricot with a hint of rose petal.
The palate is dry and vibrant, packed with fresh strawberries, raspberries and apricot. Cranberry lingers with a crisp and refreshing finish.
Down The Rabbit Hole Shiraz, 2015£16.95
Down the Rabbit Hole Shiraz fills your mouth with rich red berry flavours and peppery undertones which are augmented by the maturation in small French oak. The wine is juicy, soft and velvety with a long smooth finish.
The Shiraz is a real standout variety from this vintage, exhibiting an abundance of vibrant red fruits and spice, with exceptional colour, richness and balance.
The Shiraz was harvested in stages commencing on the 17th February. The blend comprises of 7 batches harvested over a period of 3 weeks. The grapes were crushed gently and then transferred to 10 tonne open top fermenters. Each parcel was pressed and racked into oak hogs heads (300L barrels) – a mixture of new and seasoned, French and American – to complete primary and malolactic fermentation. The wine is matured in oak for 12 months before final blending took place.
Deep red/purple with crimson hues
Dark red berries, nutmeg, white pepper, subtle oak and complex barrel ferment characters showing through.
Mouth-filling, elegant, flavoursome, red berries, integrated oak, but above all; soft and velvety. Palate lingers well after the wine has been swallowed.
Down The Rabbit Hole Tempranillo, 2015£16.95
Juicy black cherries with liquorice and spice followed by earthy cocoa notes are held together with silky tannins which provided a lengthy finish. This wine keeps you coming back for more
The fruit for Down The Rabbit Hole Tempranillo is grown in South Willunga, McLaren Vale. Warm Summer days are cooled by evening sea breezes from St Vincent’s Gulf, which lies a close proximity to the West. The soil is rich loam over clay with patches of underlying limestone, giving the wine a rich and fullness of pallet. The Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale is well suited to growing this Spanish variety.
WINEMAKING NOTES, WALTER CLAPPIS
The 2016 Vintage was warm and dry throughout Summer producing intense colour and flavour. After spending 8 days on skins, the wine was pressed into seasoned oak to mature for 12 months.
Dark cherry red with plum hues
Vibrant cherries and blueberries, plus liquorice & spice
Dark cherries and licorice follow through onto the palate, while smooth cocoa tannins provide a lengthy finish
Fattoria Montecchio, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2011£14.95
We know this wine will age and improve for another 6 years but we were impressed with the integrated tannins which will please some customers who are a little less patient!
In the glass the hue is deep ruby red which will move to garnet the older it gets. The nose is ripe red fruit with vanilla and spice. On the palate the fruits are ripe and bold with a pleasantly intense finish.
“Lovely anise and morello cherry fruit. Ripe on the nose with balanced spiced fruit, cherry fleshy textures balanced finish.” International Wine Challenge Tasting Note, 2015.
Serve with grilled meat and Italian tapas cold cuts.
Five Geese “Indian File” Grenache, 2014£18.95
Sue and Jonathon Trott’s Single Vineyard “Indian File” Grenache is from 80-year old dry-grown vines. The style is enriched and complexed by whole bunch fermentation.
On the nose you get raspberries, fruit pastilles, cherry and floral notes with background spice and pepper.
To the palate there is fruit sweetness and a soft savoury tannin finish. Herbs and spices linger on the palate
This is a complex, savoury style similar to a cool-climate Pinot Noir. Perhaps James Irvine was right many years ago when he called McLaren Vale Grenache the Pinot d ‘Fleurieu!
The wine has seen 9 months in French oak.
Five Geese Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009£58.45
The stunning beauty of Sue Trott’s Five Geese estate can be appreciated from this short video.
A deep, ruby red colour in the glass.
Ripe berry and mocha coffee oak aromas and a delicate whiff of mint.
Sweet red and black fruits enhanced by the gentle use of Vanillian French oak. Soft cocoa and fine velvety tannins deliver a lingering, moreish finish.
Plucked from the vine in a dry, but not excessively hot vintage, carefully tended by Mike Farmilo and his team, the wine was put through a complex barrelling with new French, and used American oak barriques for a period of 20 months. The result is a wine with excellent cellaring potential, rewarding the patient Cabernet enthusiast.
James Halliday extract, ““the impact of the distinctly cooler Blewitt Springs area is immediately obvious, with fine spicy notes running through the black cherry and chocolate fruit”.
Five Geese, “The Pippali”, Old Vine Shiraz 2012£18.95
Appearance: Attractive deep red-black colour.
Nose: Complex, spicy; typical of Blewitt Springs characters, even slightly black pepper.
Palate: More savoury palate with plenty of spice up front, and nice fruit sweetness in the middle. Soft tannin on the finish. Flavoursome and robust; definitely a food wine!
Cellaring: Drinking well now, but has the capacity to develop and soften with further time in the bottle. A very reliable wine from an exceptional vintage in McLaren Vale.
Snippet from James Halliday’s review, August 2016:
“…Quality written all over it. Value almost goes without saying. Blackberry, earth, saltbush and smoky oak. Excellent integration of the various components. Tannin comes in a block but the fruit is up to the task.”
Five Geese, Sue’s Paddock Reserve Grenache, 2012£34.95
This wine is named on the bottle from “Sue’s Paddock” and this is because it is from her very much cherished 80 plus year Grenache gnarly vines. Sue Trott has only produced 200 cases of her limited Grenache Reserve.
By way of tasting notes there’s ripe strawberry and raspberry flavours with the warmth of the dry grown Grenache showing long and fine tannins with a
lingering finish. There is a savoury dry character that is not aggressive
in any way with hints of spice.
Tasting note from James Halliday 2014: “Light crimson-purple; from 80-year-old bush vines, it has a scented, floral bouquet of red flowers and fruits, the elegant medium-bodied palate precisely delineated with red berry, fine spice and silky tannin. 200 dozen made by Mike Farmilo.”
Fox Creek ‘Red Baron’ Shiraz, 2013£14.45
Fox Creek’s eye-catching Red Baron’ Shiraz is a very easy drinking and made in a young, fresh and fruity style so it is approachable and ready to crack open.
Plum and black cherry aromas jump out of the glass supported by blueberry muffin characters with a hint of cinnamon spice.
Rich front palate of plums and black cherries lead into the coffee and cream mid palate which is complemented by hints of roasted nuts and dark chocolate (you’ll know this wine is from McLaren Vale). The youthful tannins complete the vibrant experience with an injection of subtle structural oak on the finish.
AWARDS (just a few!)
Double Gold Medal, China Wine & Spirits Awards 2014
Gold Medal, AWC Vienna 2014
Gold Medal, Spiegelau International Wine Competition (New Zealand) 2014
Gold Medal, International Wine Guide (Spain) 2014
Gold Medal, China Wine & Spirits Awards Best Value 2014
Silver Medal, Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition 2014
Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition 2014
Bronze Medal, McLaren Vale Wine Show 2014
Bronze Medal, Japan Wine Challenge 2014
Commendation, Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2014
4 Stars, World’s Greatest Shiraz Challenge Tasting Winestate Magazine
September / October 2014
Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2013£43.95
We didn’t think the 2012 could have been bettered but then comes along the current vintage 2013.
This has been Fox Creek’s most celebrated wine, first made in 1994. The Reserve has an extraordinary range of flavours with blackberry, blackcurrant, liquorice and dark chocolate. The wine has a rich sweet fruit mid palate and the finish is long. While approachable when young, it is best cellared and drinks best to 2028.
Intense, deep burgundy.
Red cherry and plum fruit flavours layered with cinnamon and nutmeg, dark chocolate and liquorice with hints of rhubarb and buttered toast.
The full flavoured palate with plums, black cherries, rhubarb and strawberries, with liquorice and milk chocolate filling out the mid palate. The wine finishes with great balance and elegance, and is characterised by rich dark chocolate, roast nut, vibrant acidity and firm structural grape tannins. These tannins give the wine excellent length and will become richer and soften as the wine ages, and will reward those who can cellar this release. We also recommend decanting this wine up to two hours before savouring.
Sourced from premium selected McLaren Vale vineyards blocks with a range of soil types contributing structural and flavour complexity. Soils include Bay of Biscay, grey loam, and red gravels. Harvest took place when the individual vineyard fruit flavours, grape tannins and acids all reached maturity. 2013 was a warm and compact vintage with mild nights and to warm days during the ripening period. This meant the fruit flavours were rich and intense and the tannins were big and firm. The Shiraz harvest began mid February and finished in mid March, with most of the components for this wine came in late February and early March. Fermentation on skins was for 8 – 10 days, with all wine completing fermentation in barrel for added texture and to advance the integration of oak and grape tannins. During maturation the wine from each vineyard batch was targeted with appropriate oak styles to maximise its potential and produce the most complex and complete wine bases possible prior to blending. Our oak barrels are sourced from coopers in France, USA and Australia and are seasoned for 3 years. Maturation was for 21 months in both new and one year old oak barrels. Barrel by barrel selection took place during all stages of fermentation and barrel maturation to ensure only the best Shiraz barrels were selected for the final blend. Final blend proportions were determined purely by quality, balance and style.
Excellent Classification, Langtons Classification of Wine VI
Best of Show Australia Red; ProWein, Mundus Vini Spring, Germany 2015
Double Gold Medal, China Wine and Spirits Awards 2015
Great Gold Medal, Catavinum World Wine & Spirits Competition, Spain 2015
Great Gold Medal, Mundus Vini Spring, Germany 2015
Gold Medal, Mundus Vini Summer 2015
Gold Medal, AWC Vienna 2015
Gold Medal, Les Citadelles Du Vin France 2015
Gold Medal, Selections Mondiales des Vins, Canada 2015
Gold Medal, Berlin Wine Trophy, Germany 2015
Gold Medal, DWM Asia Wine Trophy 2015
Gold Medal, DWM Portugal Wine Trophy 2015
Gold Medal, Berlin Wine Trophy 2016
Silver Medal, International Wine Challenge – Tranche 1 2016
Silver Medal, Syrah du Monde, France 2015
Silver Medal, International Wine Challenge : Tranche 2, England 2015
Silver Medal, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Belgium 2015
96 points ‘Outstanding’ : James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2016 Edition
Fox Creek, “Three Blocks Cabernet”, 2014£21.95
Deep cherry red.
Fresh leafy lifted cinnamon and cigarbox, overlaying red berry fruits, dark chocolate, roast chestnuts and black cardamon.
Fleshy blackcurrant, black cherry and mulberry flavours lead into a blueberry muffin and milk chocolate mid palate. The crunchy, savoury and linear grape tannins integrate with elegant oak tannins to give the wine fantastic length, finesse and balance.
As the name implies, ‘Three Blocks‘ is sourced from three very different premium McLaren Vale vineyards each featuring different soil types;
One vineyard has well drained sandy loam soils over silica sand and clay formation, the second, grey sand over North Maslin sandstone and the third featuring black Biscay clay over Pirramimma sandstone.
The grapes were harvested in the cool of the night between March 12 – 28 when fruit flavours, grape tannins and acids all reached maturity and balance. Fermentation on skins was for 8 – 10 days with all of the wine completing barrel fermentation. Considered maturation of each vineyard batch in oak specifically matched to these Cabernet vineyards from a range of French coopers. The batches were shifted between different oak types to impart layers of flavour and enhance the structure during the wine’s 18 month maturation in new to four year old oak barrels. The final blend used different percentages of each of the vineyard parcels to achieve the layers of flavour and tannin profile we desired when initially creating the blend.
This will reward the patient drinker who has the willpower to cellar this wine up until 2025.
Blue Gold Medal, Sydney International Wine Comp 2017
Gold Medal, AWC Vienna International Wine Challenge 2016
Silver Medal, International Wine + Spirit Competition 2016
96 points James Halliday (high!)
Hugh Hamilton, Floozie, Sangiovese Rosé 2016£13.95
We like our rosé fresh and lively – which is why it’s based on Sangiovese … famed for its crisp acidity and bright aromas and flavours. Floozie will not doubt make for a happier human race – or at least a few select members who partake of this wine!