Pre-Christmas special extended while stocks last
I love this whole concept. From the winemaking to the imagery. Here's the Osborn family explanation of this wine together with a video of Chester. Which is as highly recommended as the wine.
"2008 The Galvo Garage Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc Petit Verdot McLaren Vale (85%) Adelaide Hills (15%) Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Merlot (13%), Cabernet Franc (9%), Petit Verdot (6%)
The Story Behind The Name
Garagist’ is a French term used to describe producers in Bordeaux that make wine in their garage outside of the strict ‘Appellation Controlee’ system. d’Arenberg wines are all made in a small-batch processing, very hands-on way (or feet, as the reds are all foot-trod) as the garagists’ do. Our reds are all made in the old galvanised garage/shed/winery, hence ‘Galvo’.
The nose is lifted and very alluring, violets mingle with blackcurrant, mint and dark plums with a twist of aromatic spicy cedar.
The palate is full and spicy, classic cassis provides the core along with flowers, spice and complexing hints of cold meats. The tannins are long, textural and linear, providing structure and elegance. There’s a mineral freshness to this wine keeping it bright and lively, balancing the juiciness of the fruit, right through the persistent finish.
If cellared correctly this wine will drink well until 2018, as with all of our red wines, no filtering or fining was undertaken, so please decant prior to drinking." http://darenberg.com.au/wine/9/2008-The-Galvo-Garage-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Merlot-Cabernet-Franc-Petit-Verdot
Cellar Door $29 Our Price: $23 per bottle by the dozen
Pre-Christmas special extended while stocks last.
We have a Blog Label "Red wines with a difference" - it could have been created for this one!
This is a four variety mix of Tempranillo, Grenache, Tinta Cao and Souzao and I suspect most of you have never heard of, let alone tasted, the last two varieties.
Once again it's a master class in winemaker's blending skills to create a red that was good enough to win GOLD at the 2012 HOUSTON Livestock International Wine Show.
I kid you not, two obscure grape varieties and the best wine show name I've heard since Wolf Blass was winning gold in Ljubljana. This would be the wine to win any Options game.
Cellar Door $29 Our Price: $23 per bottle by the dozen SOLD OUT
This wine is as much a living legend as the man who created it. It's the definitive Shiraz Grenache blend, made from 19th century vines, that's a contemporary tribute to a past era.
Fruit is foot crushed, open fermented, neither fined or filtered and spends just 9 months in oak.
It's the Original, it's a classic and most definitely a benchmark. A steal at this price.
Cellar Door $18 Our Price: $14 per bottle by the dozen SOLD OUT
Pre-Christmas special extended while stocks last.
This is made from the first viognier vines planted in the Adelaide Hills in the mid 1990s. Grapes were handpicked and the soft press juice fermented and matured in small French oak for 9 months.
Cellar Door $20 Our Price: $15 per bottle by the dozen
Pre-Christmas special extended while stocks last. A McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills blend also fermented and matured in both American and French oak. No wonder so many winemakers have chardonnay as their favourite variety - there are just so many things you can do with the stuff.
Cellar Door $15 Our Price: $13 per bottle by the dozen
The grapes were grown at Donnybrook in the Geographe wine region of WA. The juice was then trucked across the Nullabor to the Hunter Valley where it was fermented and the wine was created.
I discovered this cracker on a recent zip through the Hunter, tasting 30 wines in less than 3 hours, that also unearthed the McWilliams 1877. What I particularly like about it is the extraordinary high level of fruit sweetness that they've been able to achieve at 14% a/v with a wine that's still in perfect balance. It gives me that rarity of a serious red with a level of sweetness that will appeal to the beginners
WEBSITE SUPER SPECIAL
My favourite white variety from one of my favourite winemakers. It's a wonderful combination which interestingly is Neil Paulett's favourite adjective when describing this wine. It's just been released and is perfect for this summer or long term cellaring.
Nick Holmes kicked off McLaren Vale's Shottesbrooke way back in 1984. He was one of the nice guys of the Australian wine industry who I really enjoyed catching up with during the Trade Show season each year.
They seem like distant memories now with Trade Shows not what they used to be and Nick more in the background nowadays. I've sold plenty of their wines in past years but the contact lapsed.
But now they're back under the care of Wayne the Bird who is very much of the old school and understands I do need to taste wines before I recommend them [you'd be surprised how many reps just don't get that] So eleven days ago Wayne brought in 7 open bottles for me to try. The two cheapies were perfectly pleasant but there are plenty of those around. It was the five Estate wines that wowed me and while we don't particularly need another Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz at the moment, they were too good ignore.
My favourite, just nudging the cabernet, is this. Produced from 30yo vines they were planted to provide a blending option with Cabernet but Nick realised that this Merlot excelled as a stand alone variety. A happy accident perhaps but this is the best Merlot I've tasted in years. A medium weight, complex, intriguing red in perfect balance. This will be one of our stars over the next few months, Our Price: $17 per bottle by the dozen
Every winery in Australia has its "flagship" red and many of these represent the finest wine buys out there. These are the wines made from the very best fruit and hand crafted by winemakers striving for perfection. In 99% of instances these wines are offered between $30 and $100. Good luck to Penfolds if they can command a wholesale price over $600 but I'm just not interested in that game.
A month ago I detoured through the Hunter on my way back to Sydney. I stopped and speed tasted at two wineries: Hope Estate and McWilliams. The Hope range has really improved in the last few years but I found this standout at McWilliams.
This is one of the finest reds I've tasted in my 30+ years of sipping, spitting or swallowing. It's the ultimate special occasion red at a price that doesn't make you compelled to leave it in the cellar for the REALLY special occasion that never happens.
McWilliams have pooled their resources to combine fruit from Coonawarra, McLaren Vale and the NSW Hilltops and then whacked it in French oak for 20 months. While there's a lot to be said about single vineyard purity I'll happily support this blending of 2 grapes from 3 regions if it creates a wine like this.
Congratulations to the winemakers responsible. While great fruit is the responsibility of the viticulturalist, some very talented winemaking put this together.
This is a Private Label Brand from Australia's largest liquor wholesaler and as always we have to buy a case, try a bottle at our expense and then make a decision. It was pretty easy. These are well made, well presented wines that over deliver at the price point.
The two reds are medium bodied, 14.5% a/v, jampacked with fruit but DESPERATELY need time in the cellar. We road tested them over 4 days and they were drinking superbly by the final glass.
Both the cabernet sauvignon and shiraz are from the 2011 vintage
They've sold out but we've still got a few of this beauty.
Here's how Haselgroves described one of their gems
"Fresh blackberry and red currant with hints of mint and menthol. Savoury finish with a hint of slightly charred oak balance the velvety tannins and tight acidity with the primary fruit flavours. Enjoy now or cellar for up to ten years to enhance complexity."
This could be regarded as a collectors item. New management has flicked the Italian themes developed by their predecessor as a tribute to the Italian owners of Haselgroves and gone to Celtic symbolism. I wonder what will happen next?
This has been quite a success for the family for a number of vintages now with a Hunter Valley Wine show trophy back in the early 2000's. It's a seamless blend with the Cabernet Franc really supporting the Cabernet Sauvignon - and I'd argue way better than shiraz does when it's blended with cab sauv. Alcohol is a sensible 13% with the fruit from their vineyard at Denman in the upper Hunter Valley.
At 4 years old it's drinking superbly now with the promise of a few more years to come but at this price I suspect it will be quaffed much faster than that.
This is a stunning red. Gloriously developed, incredibly complex, medium bodied with that earthy funky character that polarises people. Don't go near it if you only like squeaky clean fruit bombs from the Barossa. But if you're an experimenter, always up for something different with quality, you'll love this Chilean classic
And the problem? The cork. It's the luck of the draw but some are quite crumbly. If you have an Ah So cork removal device which I last triumphantly used at Peter Sexton's 60th Birthday Bash you'll be fine, otherwise you may have to do a bit of straining. The upside is that the wine is offered at half its well deserved original price.
It's opulent without being over-extractive, beautifully balanced with lovely intense spicy fruit sufficiently supported by acid, wood and tannins to stop it being a simple fruit bomb.
Once again this variety, one fifth of the Bordeaux blend, proves its adaptability to the warm climes of Australia. I'm surprised there's not more of it grown here. Our Price: $11 per bottle by the dozen SOLD OUT
It may not be up to the Three Bridges standard [and if it was it would be a bit silly offering both] but there is none better at this price point.
It's a delicious medium bodied red that's the perfect introduction to one of our favourite red varieties.
FOUR VINTAGES IN 12 MONTHS!!! This time last year, and for the early part of 2013, we were selling the 2008
vintage. We missed the 2009 and then raced through the spectacular trophy laden 2010. Admittedly they didn't release a 2011 and the 2012 has arrived with just 3 bottles of 2010 [pictured] sitting on the shelf
Not so long ago Rutherglen seemed to have a monopoly on Durif production in Australia. But not anymore with this winning Top Gold at the 2013 Rutherglen Wine Show. This release has been one of the great success stories of the last decade. It's been a particular cellar door triumph for us as we've used it to encourage red drinkers to move out of their shiraz or cabernet comfort zone and experiment. Knowing that they were guaranteed to love the stuff. It's a beautifully balanced wine combining rich opulence with plenty of fruit spice.
Halliday rates it highly "Vivid purple hue ... dark and black fruits .... the palate is warm and generous on the one hand, yet firm and full of savoury interest on the other; very good warm-climate Durif."
The "warm climate" reference implies a surprise but I suspect this variety is suited to warmer climes and it's proof YET AGAIN of the quality that comes out of the Riverina. An outstanding red wine that I can't recommend highly enough and every bit as impressive as the 2010 which was widely regarded as the best. Our Price: $18 per bottle by the dozen
For me Pirramimma have always lead the way with McLaren Vale Petit Verdot [and Australian PV for that matter] but this is as impressive as their best. A stunningly seductive inky red jampacked with a myriad of complex fruit flavours. There's something new to relish with every sip as the wine evolves. A truly exciting red that I'm confident everyone would enjoy. Our Price: $18 per bottle by the dozen
Haselgroves, under new management, have flicked the Italian theme developed by Gordon Grant. Did you know that Haselgrove means "from near a grove of Hazel Trees"? Now there's a surprise.
I doing so they've moved on from The Adjectival Geographic Wine Naming Technique to what I can only describe as The Sydney UpMarket Restaurant Soon To Go Broke Strategy..
No "The". Just one word and you've got a name. Or maybe it should be described as the Madonna Method.
But they have retained and achieved truly hilarious Back Label Justification that you must have realised from me knowing about that grove of hazel trees. Thankfully they spare some space to really nail this outstanding addition to their and our range.
Two lines out of ten is all they needed to describe this pretty well. "Crisp white peach and grapefruit is softened by a creamy palate and smoky spicy oak."
I would add that this straddles the divide between the 100% malo over the top buttery style and the searingly crisp high acid wines which have the traditionalists asking whether this is actually chardonnay. A beautifully crafted and constructed stylish dry white priced well below its true value.
This is now the third vintage of a crisp dry fruit bomb that offers such an appealing alternative to sauvignon blanc. Pick a fruit and you'll be just about able to find everything but passionfruit and banana.
[If you want passionfruit stick to the savvys and you'll unfortunately detect banana in some overripe chardys]
This is an incredibly versatile white that would appeal to most and be suitable for all occasions
Alcohol is a sensible 12.5% and the wine has enough flavour and palate weight that you could whack a few ice cubes in the glass to reduce the alcohol kick.
Don't be fooled by the price, this a serious shiraz offering an extraordinary amount of complexity for under $10.
There's plenty of everything including 14% alcohol in a mid-weight red that's in perfect balance. Very highly recommended to enjoy now or for medium term cellaring.
How does Bob Berton do it at this price?
It has a midweight palate, very much fruit driven but with enough balancing acid, wood and tannins to encourage short term cellaring - if you can resist knocking it off straight away.
Alcohol is 13% and it's from that vast appellation of South Eastern Australia. I'm guessing that while most of the fruit is Riverina there may be a smattering of Coonawarra in the mix.
Sit around in the boardroom, tearoom or cellar door and get everyone present to think of all the geographic features they can. Write them on small pieces of paper and pop them into a hat. Then get another hat and repeat the process with as many random words as possible.
Draw a piece of paper out of each hat and, providing it's not been used before, whacko-the-diddlio you've got a name for a whole new range of your wines.
For the geographic second part of the name there are the usual suspects. Hill, ridge, creek and bay probably lead the way
There is only one catch.
When you choose the first word, someone must have the ability to explain the name with what I call "Back Label Justification". I've read some astonishing twaddle over the years ranging from butterflies to Dorothy Parker and gorillas. Doesn't matter what the wine tastes like, they have a compulsion to attribute their name selection to some vitally significant, recently created, aspect of their heritage.
The proliferation of whacky names has exploded in recent years with wineries producing BOB labels for Colesworths. As much as anyone Zar Brooks was a pioneer some years ago when the Osborns let him loose on their d'Arenberg labels. Suddenly we had the Laughing Magpie, Broken Fishplate, Wild Pixie, Daddy Longlegs and a serious number of etceteras.
There have now been so many.
A personal absurdist favourite was Victoria's Witchmount nude label release of Captain Jack and the wine we had fun with, Scarlett. What a bummer that was when we ran out!
I'm confident the trend will continue. Often the same wine will be on the market under a few different labels and this will keep graphic designers and copy writers gainfully employed. Meanwhile I yearn for the days of Lindemans Hunter River Shiraz. And in those pre-barcode days you probably didn't need a backlabel.
What are your favourite wine names? Past or present.
Four new 500ml German beers have been added to the OWL list: Franziskaner Natrutrub, Franziskaner Dunkel & Franziskaner Kristall as well as Spaten Munchen.
All are $69 for a case of 20 with any instore mixed dozen wine buy. Which compares more than favourably with Dan Woolworths price of $91.
There's some history here with the Franziskaner boxes proudly proclaiming "Brewed in Munich since 1397" and "In accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516."
Franziskaner Natrutrub: Unfiltered, pale cloudy wheat beer with tropical fruit hop flavours. Light and refreshing.
Franziskaner Dunkel: Dark full bodied yet surprisingly refreshingly aromatic.
The Calabria family just seem to be going from strength to strength. The 2012 picked up a gold medal at Royal Melbourne as well as Blue Gold and a place in the Top 100 at the Sydney International Wine Competition. The 2014 scored a Gold Medal at Royal Adelaide. This latest release is every bit as impressive and is what this variety should taste like: a dazzling crisp dry white with a delicious flavour profile. Impossible to recommend highly enough.
This is spot on crisp, clean and lean, dry, flavoursome Marlborough sauvignon blanc. At this price it doesn't come any better but why, oh why, do they come up with these names. And then waste an entire back label waffling on justifying the name? Biggest load of rubbish ever. Trees deserve more respect.
If I had more time I'd retype it here but I'll leave you to comment when you buy, sip and read.
While the Hunter Valley is justifiably famed for its semillon, it also regularly produces some damn fine chardonnays. Here's one that easily justifies a $25 price tag.
And sometimes the winemaker really nails it with their back label notes:
"VITICULTURE: Fruit was sourced from the old established Trevena Vineyard on Hermitage Road. WINEMAKING: Cold fermented in stainless steel, finished in high quality French oak, gaining complexity for a further six months. PALATE & BOUQUET: Stone fruit and fig aromas dominate, complemented by cashew nut from new French oak. Extended ageing on yeast lees adds a creamy/bready weight to the palate."
James Halliday rated 96 points:
"Gleaming, bright green-straw; made using Burgundian clones 76, 95, 96 and 277, plus the Mendoza clone, a distinguished assemblage that has duly produced a distinguished, finely drawn and structured wine of great length and intensity; will be long lived."
RRP is $40 and I reckon it's even a bargain at that price. Apparently Halliday also rated the previous two vintages the same. Fruit is from vines that have never been irrigated and small French oak has been used.
It's been our biggest selling chardonnay for a number of years and clearly the price has a bit to do with that but it's the quality that keeps everyone coming back.
In fact it's so much better than those wellknown brands that you see everywhere around the $10 to $12 mark.
Another one of our quality unlabelled finds that with its maker's label is available at twice the price. This is the new age style chardonnay that combines vibrant fruit, crisp acidity and oak without any hint of butter. It's got all the essential ingredients to hold its head high in any company.
This is a McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills blend that we grabbed a truckload of, sometime ago. So how's a 6 year old white holding up? Brilliantly!
The clue was always in the high acid level when we tasted it. There's only 12.5% alcohol yet plenty of fruit that has now integrated with the oak to create a superb bottle aged little gem. The wine will live for quite awhile yet and it's in much better condition than our supplies which are close to an end.
We don't usually quote "Recommended Retail" prices. They're often used to falsely exaggerate savings. If a wine's not worth the rrp than "HALF PRICE" is a pretty meaningless claim.
But this one is as good as it gets as far as bargains go.
For many winemakers chardonnay is their favourite variety. It's the grape that lets them experiment with all their tricks of the trade and really apply their signature to the finished wine. Well, this one has had the works and it has worked beautifully.
There's lashings of everything: rich, buttery fruit, quality wood and enough acid to hold it together over the next couple of years.
Why so cheap? I have absolutely no idea. We tasted the wine, were offered a price and grabbed the quantity on offer. I wish we had more.
A negociants label that I made a big mistake on. I should have bought less and charged twice the price at the cellar door. It's worth it. There's plenty of everything with acid, fruit and wood in the first stage of compromise with plenty of cellaring potential to look forward to.
The late American academic Rodney Whitaker wrote a number of novels under a variety of pen names. As Trevanian he wrote both the Eiger and Loo Sanctions to create Dr Jonathan Hemlock. Professor, criminal art collector, mountaineer, US government assassin and lover. Of women and Laphroaig Islay Single Malt Scotch. Which has now joined the OWL LIST at just $71 a bottle. It's arguably the most distinctive of all whiskies. There is no middle ground. You either love or hate depending on how you feel about distilled sea weed.
SOLD OUT *Buy a mixed or straight dozen bottles of wine in-store at our lowest discounted prices to access our full range of Outstanding Wine Lover specials:
I love Italian red wine. Dry, savoury, complex wines that are more dependent on fruit than alcohol or wood maturation. This has the full DOCG classification, it's Sangiovese from Tuscany and as good as it gets under $30. Every sip reveals a new layer of flavour. If you're a fan just grab some at this price and if you're an experimenter who wants to find out what it's all about just grab a few in a mixed dozen.
Another wonderful curio from Will Nairn - a blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc that's a mere 7 years young. Its half price offering is by no means a reflection of the wine, rather that they just want to clear the final small quantity. And I can never resist a bargain gem like this, no matter how left of centre it may be. It's in perfect condition with a little aged development and plenty of acid. Beautifully nailed on the label description: "Rich honeyed Chenin Blanc and herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc blended together to form one marvelous mouthful of flavour". This is a complex, intriguing wine for fans of mature whites.
The debut 2012 vintage won a trophy at the 2012 Citibank NSW wine awards for BEST YOUNG DRY WHITE and was one of the most drinkable white wines I'd ever tasted. Cellar door buyers loved it, racing out the door with plenty of repeat buyers.
The equally impressive 2013 has arrived and gone,
And we've now seamlessly morphed into the superb 2014 vintage.
I've been recommending it to anyone who says "I'm a bit over sauvignon blanc" or "I'm just looking for something different". It's fresh, crisp and lively with a fruit profile somewhere between riesling and sauvignon blanc and while it's a variety I've never sold before it deserves to be huge. It won't, but it should be the "NEXT BIG THING" after sauvignon blanc Our Price: $10 per bottle by the dozen
Montepulciano is the next most significant Italian red grape after the dominant Sangiovese. It's late ripening so plantings are in central and southern Italy which makes me surprised that more isn't grown in the warmer irrigated areas of Australia.
Especially after tasting this superb effort.
This is a rich robust red with layers of fruit complexity and an acceptable 14.5% a/v. If you're looking for something excitingly different, while still being a mainstream red, this is the one for you.
Kingston have come a long way since I last tasted them. Now distributed by the fine wine wholesaler that looks after d'Arenberg, they have very smart new packaging and offer even greater value for money.
We were offered a whole box full of samples, by an enthusiastic new sales rep, which I rejected with the request that she only submit the wines that she believed offered outstanding quality at their prices. The benefit of that is that it saves us time and tests how good she is.
She's VERY good.
It's a fair hike from their base in the Riverland but I'm glad someone made the trip. This is a full bodied, rich intense unmistakeable shiraz in perfect balance. Alcohol is a sensible 14% and if you paid $20 for it you wouldn't be disappointed by the quality on offer. At an absurd $11 this is impossible to recommend highly enough.
This is their flagship red and how could it be better described than their own tasting notes. "The heady aroma is both powerful and pretty with notes of fennel, purple flowers and blossom mingling with ripe, varietal purple fruits and black pepper. The oak is hardly evident which allows fruit and soil complexities to emerge with edges of rhubarb and red mulberry and savoury characters of dried herbs, game and spice. The palate opens with anise, black pepper, graphite and restrained dark cherries before it gives way to seductive mulberry, plum, licorice and spice. It has great power, depth and length with very vibrant, gritty fruit tannins providing immense structure. Notes of anise and spice linger for a long time after the last sip. The Dead Arm 2008 strikes a rare balance of power, complexity and finesse with impressive structure that will reward those with patience to cellar it. While enjoyable in youth, this wine will reach its full potential with bottle age up to at least 20 years. The considerable structure and depth will ensure that the fruit characters will develop over time revealing more complexity and providing immense interest.":
The OWL has landed on Dom Perignon 2003 at just $174 Is this the best price in OZ? We think so. Our OWL* Price: $174 per bottle SOLD OUT *Buy a mixed or straight dozen bottles of wine in-store at our lowest discounted prices to access our full range of Outstanding Wine Lover specials
Cobra is a great beer.
Clean and crisp and searingly dry. 4.8% a/v, perfect for hot climes and unmistakeably "The Inspiring Taste of India".
That's what it says on the box.
It's also a "Refreshingly Smooth Premium Beer". But wait there's more and it's a biggie. Cobra also claims to be the "THE WORLD'S MOST CELEBRATED BEER".
Got to laugh. And if you're not chuckling already I can tell you that the cases we have were brewed in Burton-on-Trent.
Our OWL* Price: $40 a box of twenty four 330ml bottles
*Buy a mixed or straight dozen bottles of wine in-store at our lowest discounted prices to access our full range of Outstanding Wine Lover specials