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, 2016£20.95
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.”
Cantina il Passo, “Alberi in Piano”, Aglianico del Vulture DOC, 2013£29.50
The origin of the family-run farm dates back to the end of the 19th century, which was also known as “Contrada Alberi in Piano”, with many hectares of land near Rapolla, a small village in the province of Potenza, located in Lucania at the slopes of Vulture.
The Aglianico of Vulture has very remote origins, and people thinks it has been brought by the Greeks in the south of Italy between the VII and the VI century B.C. One of the historical and literary evidences of the history of this wine variety is the one left by Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Latin poet who was born in Venosa, who exalted the beauty of his land (Basilicata) and of its wine.
Intense ruby red with violet hues.
Ripe red fruit, note of tobacco, cocoa and vanilla.
This is a big wine and we recommend decanting. It's received 18 months in French oak barrels and a further 6 months in the bottle. Bramble fruit with sweet spices present tannin that has soften with age.
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 2017£13.75
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 2017 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, London Calling, Cabernet Malbec 2017£15.95
This is Claymore's first release of their Cabernet Malbec blend under the London Calling label. Some may remember its predecessor, when it was 100% Merlot, well make way for this bolder beauty.
It hits the mark with plump dark fruits, violets, leafy notes and liquorice.
We just love this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. The Cabernet brings structure with big tannins and classic varietal aspects of blackcurrant, cassis, liquorice and herbal notes. While the Malbec provides juicy plump plum and a mid-palate richness that entwines and harnesses the structure given by Cabernet.
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.
Fox Creek ‘Red Baron’ Shiraz, 2016£14.50
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.
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 Vixen Shiraz (sparkling red)£17.95
A powerful wine rich & soft in texture. The silky palate oozes sweet mixed berry conserve, ‘rum and raisin’, white chocolate & spicy vanillin oak finished with a balanced explosion of spice, crisp acid and soft elegant tannin length.
With regards to food matching, we'd drink this and only this with our turkey on Christmas Day.
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!)
Il N.5 di Poggio L’Apparita, DOC Maremma Toscano Rosso, 2014£14.45
Micro-production of this vintage of just 1100 bottles.
International Wine Challenge's tasting note:
“Juicy fruit, lots of herbal edges. Nicely rustic with fine tannins.”
Le Argille Cabernet di Cabernet 2014£32.00
Cement dipped bottle, wax cap and leather label: we had never seen a bottle like it until we found this truly remarkable Le Argille Cabernet Di Cabernet. Originating from Treviso, Italy, in vineyards surrounded by the river Sile, this strong, serious and unique wine is aged in concrete barrels for two years. This method allows the the winemakers to produce an immaculate wine free from oak interference, so that the flavour comes entirely from the grapes themselves. Its uniqueness is fully preserved along with its warm, refined, and mature taste.
Appearance and Nose
If you can lift the bottle (it really is heavy!), on the pour you'll release an intense ruby red liquid with garnet highlights. Stick your nose in and you are greeted by a warm, complex, enveloping aroma, with perfume of mature berries especially blueberry, blackberry and wild strawberries. Then a second wave hits you with hints of plum, black cherries and vanilla. But wait.. it still hasn't finished, now we're getting light nuances of tobacco, dark chocolate and green pepper.
It is everything it promises with a warm, elegant, mature, complex and important mouthfeel that reveals soft berries, glorious spicing and just gorgeous supple tannins. The long ageing in cement has preserved all the exquisite particular flavours of the grapes that crescendos to a spectacular mouth warming long finish that demands you take another sip.
Well the good news is it is incredibly versatile and food friendly. It's excellent with strong meats like game and venison and will pair up wonderfully with meaty stews and hard cheeses.
Maxwell ‘Silver Hammer’ Shiraz, 2015£13.95
The Maxwell Silver Hammer Shiraz delivers all the hallmarks that make the combination of this variety and the McLaren Vale region so famous – a juicy palate with an abundance of sweet black fruits, ripe plum, mocha and sweet spice with just a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Add to this some subtle creamy oak and long, silky tannins – the result is a wonderfully generous mouthfeel with excellent depth of flavour.
The inspiration for the name is from “Maxwell's Silver Hammer” a song by the Beatles, sung by Paul McCartney on their album Abbey Road.