Monday, February 10, 2020

Taylors Estate Label 2018 Shiraz

I reckon that anytime you can pick this up under $15 it's a bargain. That goes for the rest of this impressive range.

This is a very fine everyday drinking shiraz that ticks all the boxes. We enjoyed quite a few bottles of its outstanding 2017 vintage predecessor but at this stage of its evolution this falls just a little short. It's also overshadowed by the currently available cabernet in the range. As well as the big brother Jaraman 2018 at $20.

4/5 is arguably a harsh score so I look forward to revisiting it in a few months time

VINTAGE: 2018 
REGION: Clare Valley, South Australia
A/V: 14.5%
PRICE: $13.20
FROM: Dan Murphy

Sunday, February 9, 2020

WOW! Taylors 2016 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon

I live for those moments when I taste a wine and the only rational response is WOW! Sometimes they are quite pricey but the quality still means they represent value. You can't afford to drink them often and save the few bottles you have for special occasions.

At a mere $20 this wine is a WOW! Dangerously drinkable and ridiculously affordable. OK it's not its regular price but I reckon anything under $40 would make it a bargain. It's one of those reds I just want to hold in my mouth and roll around the tongue. There's plenty of acid for a four year old red, lashings of cassis fruit and layers of complex flavours. The French oak is a little overt but that will calm down over time.

One of my new life's ambitions is to taste this in 10 years time.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Cabernet Sauvignon
REGION:  A South Australian blend from the Clare Valley and Coonawarra
A/V: 14.5%
PRICE: $20 on a Members special
FROM: Dan Murphy
RATING: 5/5 from me [should be higher]

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Buy one get one free at Liquorland

Mildara Limestone Coast 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon

Mildara Limestone Coast 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz

Both are $12 a bottle on short term promotion, both 14.5% a/v and both a highly recommended 5/5 rating from me at this price

The retailer claims these are normally $24 a bottle. They're not quite worth that but at $12 we thought they were very worthy of whacking a dozen of each in the cellar. Which is what we did.

Not surprisingly both are cabernet dominant with plenty of blackberry fruit on a firm mid weight palate. 

Highly recommended at this price


Stonyfell started off as an Adelaide winery in 1859. Through numerous ownership changes it seemed to have been inexorably linked to the Barossa winery Saltram Those days have changed with Saltram being part of the Treasury Wine Estates empire and Stonyfell looking like it's owned by Woolworths. [The hint here is that all the website listed stockists are Woolworths retailers]

Sometime in its history Stonyfell wines started being made from Langhorne Creek fruit and tasting this I'm delighted this tradition remains. 

Rich and voluptuous this is a serious red wine and obviously Woolies want to clear some stock by offering it on a "Buy one, get one free" deal. 

GRAPE VARIETIES: Blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon
REGION: Langhorne Creek , South Australia
A/V: 14.5%
PRICE: $8.50 on a buy one get one free promotion
FROM: Dan Murphy
RATING: 5/5 at $8.50

Tough Times in the Oz Wine Industry No.1

This is an email I received from the Chief Winemaker at the Hunter Valley's iconic Mount Pleasant winery. It has a cellar door that's in my TOP 5 to visit. Spectacular wines at very reasonable prices . 
Living so close we've visited the Hunter three times over the last few months showing visiting family and friends around. So we've experienced the smoke and witnessed the struggling vines.
On top of all that the parent company McWilliams recently went into receivership. 

"As most of you would be very aware, Australia has been gripped by the worst bushfires in living memory. Many parts of Australia have suffered, with people losing their homes, their livelihoods and worse still, the loss of life. This is an absolute tragedy for all of those affected, and one which we offer our sincerest sympathies and condolences. Here in the Hunter, we were surrounded by bushfire, initially from the fires near Taree, and then closer to home with the Brokenback ranges ablaze with close to 1,000,000 hectares burnt out. With these fires smoke blanketed much of the region for nearly 3 months. Only recently have we begun to see clear skies and some much needed rain.

The smoke that covered the region has not been great. Constant exposure over a period can result in the vines absorbing these compounds, which bind to the sugar molecules which are released upon fermentation. We have sent many samples off for testing with Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), Vintessential Laboratories and we had installed measurement devices in our Lovedale vineyard courtesy of LaTrobe University. We have also been conducting micro ferments in our lab, taking representative samples of many of our blocks and fermenting them to see if we could detect taint in the fruit before picking.

With all the knowledge we have gathered through laboratory and sensory analysis of our Estate, Rosehill and Lovedale Vineyards, coupled with the third-party test results we have recieved,  the difficult decision to not pick any grapes for Vintage 2020 has been made.

This painstaking choice was not made lightly. If we were to pick these grapes and make wine from them, we could not guarantee the wine to be of the highest quality and of the standards we set ourselves. We have nearly a century of history at Mount Pleasant and vines almost 140 years old, and with this comes the responsibility to ensure that we uphold the highest integrity when making wine for you. We will not compromise on quality or take any unnecessary risks when it comes to this.

Grape tests have been carried out across the whole of the Hunter Valley. While we are unsure how other producers have been affected, there are likely scenarios where there are clean grapes in other pockets of the region. We hopeful that other vineyards have been more fortunate and not have seen the levels of exposure our vineyards have. 

We look forward to seeing you in the future and trust our relationships will only strengthen with this over the coming years. Please do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions."

- Adrian Sparks, Chief Winemaker

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Deleted Labels mean Huge Savings

Yalumba’s “The Scribbler” label was introduced some years ago as an entry level version of “Signature”, one of their flagships. Even so, junior had worked itself up to a well deserved $20 retail price before the decision was taken to delete the label.
Aldi was given the opportunity to clear it and it’s on their shelves at $11.99 – if it hasn’t sold out already. [I scored the final seven at our local]. My advice is to grab whatever you can.

YALUMBA “The Scribbler” 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz $11.99 at Aldi
This is a Barossa blend of 62% Cabernet and 38% Shiraz in perfect balance. Alcohol is a sensible 14%. It’s not surprisingly cabernet flavour dominant with lovely cassis fruit character shining through with shiraz firming up the palate structure. The wine is on the fuller side of medium bodied with an easy five year cellaring life.

GRAPE VARIETIES: Blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Shiraz
REGION: Barossa Valley, South Australia
A/V: 14%
PRICE: $11.99
FROM: Aldi
RATING: 5/5 from me