What a time to be Eisenstone Wines! Hailing from the Barossa Valley, Eisenstone has seen a very successful couple of months, and we don’t foresee that stopping anytime soon.
The 2019 vintages saw great success with consistent, raving reviews, followed by a huge, clean-sweep win at the Decanter World Wine Awards, leaving big shoes for the 2020 vintages to fill.
The 2020 vintages are not backing down at the challenge and are well and truly prepared for the task, and Huon Hooke of The Real Review seems to agree. Huon recently awarded the 2020 Eisenstone Hoffmann Vineyard Ebenezer Shiraz SV902 a rare 99 points, making it the number one 2020 vintage of Barossa Shiraz.
2020 Eisentstone Hoffmann Vineyard Ebenezer Shiraz SV902
99 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Very deep dark and bright purple-red colour with a mesmeric bouquet of lifted red and blue fruits, dark chocolate and vanilla, dried herbs and a flash of ironstone. At the heart of the wine is a generous dollop of sweet blackberry fruit and the tannins though ample are well balanced by the flavour. An amazing wine: great character, already tremendously detailed and promising to develop into a great wine of super-special complexity and distinction.
93 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): Made from 80 year old vines on the Hoffman Vineyard this is the most complete of all the Eisenstone wines from 2020. It starts with an impressive and powerful core of fruit – blackberry, chocolate and licorice aromas delivered with panache and confidence well matched to fine-grained oak. It then holds a compact shape, all tightly wound and reserved, with a rich bed of fine but firm tannins supporting a long, strong and unevolved finish. This has plenty in the tank and demands cellaring to show its best.
2020 Eisenstone McDonald Vineyard Marananaga Shiraz SV904
97 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dark and very bright purple-red colour, with a lovely detailed aroma of chocolate and herbs, both fresh and dried; floral nuances and red fruits, hints of spices and the palate is very full-bodied and generous with lashings of supple tannins, all in harmony with the great depth of fruit. A complex wine already: it will be great to see it a few years down the track.
92 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): This wine is made from a vineyard selection taken from the famed Roennfeldt Road known for its particularly decadent and dense style of Barossan Shiraz. And it delivers with luscious fruit pastille, blueberry and licorice wrapped up beautifully in a gentle blanket of French oak, 50% of which is new. A rich vein of drying tannins provide strong support to the fruit and a sustained finish with a little softness suggesting this is a strong proposition over the medium rather than longer term.
2020 Eisenstone Ebenezer Shiraz SR802
96 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep dark red-purple colour with a sweet blackberry aroma, traces of dark-chocolate and vanilla, the palate concentrated and fleshy, deep and plush with a big core of fruit sweetness and then alcohol warmth and lashings of supple tannins to conclude. Chocolate again lingers. Superb wine.
91 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): Made with fruit from the famed Hoffman Vineyard and aged in 50% new Burgundian Oak for 18 months, this is quite a luscious Barossan expression which is what you’d expect from Ebenezer although in a slightly softer and earlier drinking frame than expected. There are beautifully vibrant fruits of the forest, red cherry, dark cherry, and fruit pastille aromas with fine oak very well integrated, which is a hallmark of the Eisenstone style. It’s then powerful and supple, which makes for a seductive package, with juicy acidity and fine tannins in good support of red earth, dried spices and chocolatey flavours before finishing long and silky. Get ready to be seduced.
2020 Eisenstone Marananga Shiraz SR804
95 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dense colour with blackberry and smoky char-oak aromas, a touch of tar and ironstone, the palate full-bodied and rich, deep, dense and concentrated, the tannins supple and fleshy-smooth. Delicious wine.
2020 Eisenstone Koonunga SR807
94 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dark colour with a savoury bouquet of dried herbs and dried grass, forest-floor and earthy terrestrial notes, the palate very drying and tannic, the tannins slightly outgunning the fruit at this juncture. Very dark chocolate rules. A serious wine that cries out for a slab of hard, aged cheese.
92 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): Now we are getting serious as we dive deep near the Barossa’s northern boundary and it is great to see Koonunga celebrated as a source of high quality Barossan fruit. A deep colour is followed by impressive fruit drive and density as this wine ripples with blackberry, mulberry and baked earth aromas with a nice touch of dried spices. The palate is then beautifully composed, with power and surprising finesse. There is also a strong inner heart and strength that will see it sing for at least a decade.
2020 Eisenstone Gomersal Shiraz SR808
93 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Deep, dense red-purple with black-ish tinges, the bouquet sweetly spicy, fresh-tilled earth and a trace of tar, the palate elegantly formed and soft tannined, a lighter wine by the maker’s standards, but still full-bodied and has a touch of richness. It already drinks very well.
90 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): From the western edge of the Barossa at Gomersal comes this delicious 2020 Shiraz that impresses with lashings of dark chocolatey aromas topped with mulberry and blackberry plus touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. Again quite seductive and well rounded, it is bursting with blackberry and blueberry flavours before softening out to an ample, fleshy finish. A great crowd pleaser to enjoy over the medium term.
NV Nino Franco ‘Rustico’ Prosecco
91 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A light yellow with a fleck of green in colour with a nose of ripe green apple and pear with some faint mealy notes. There is an enjoyable jasmine like spice that works amongst brown pear and rockmelon. Faint lees induced complexity builds on the mid palate with a touch of white pepper giving another dimension to the fruit. The finish has a savoury thread to driving apple and pear.
91 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): It is fantastic to see this level of Prosecco available in Australia when many of the wines sold locally are lower down the quality scale. It’s so expressive and detailed with layers of fine floral, melon and citrus fruits with the barest savoury edge to remind you of its Italian origins. Great energy, freshness and vitality follows as its creamy texture is beautifully integrated with lacy acidity before a finish with good length. Benchmark Prosecco.
94 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A medium red in colour, fresh herbs, blackberry and a touch of leather and graphite have great presence on the nose. The palate is elegant and builds from a baseline of understated but glossy blue and black fruits; oak gives a gentle spice and tannins are beautifully integrated in terms of the texture and flow. There is such purity to the fruit with blackberry and blueberry to finish with just enough cool graphite and tobacco influence to provide great complexity.
91 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): This wine is a perfect illustration of how most Italian wines are better with food opening up to show hidden depth with the right dishes. It has cool climate Cabernet written all over it thanks to layers of gravel and cedar aromas which sit over a solid bed of blackberry fruits. It’s quite reserved but also not shy. More mid-weight than full, attractive black berry flavours are brooding, dense and currently wrapped up in a sheet of al-dente tannins which support a good finish. It just needs a little time to show its best, or a healthy serve of braised lamb shanks.
2021 Anselmi Capitel Foscarino
94 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A blend of Garganega and Chardonnay creates a compelling wine that sees jasmine like spice amongst fresh melon and paw paw on the nose. A rich and ripe palate with honeyed melon and apricot has a creaminess of texture and continues to be interjected with jasmine like spice. The finish sees a touch of honeyed white peach with very good length.
90 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): Anselmi is one of the leading voices in Soave, and also an innovator as illustrated here where the classic local grape variety Gargenega meets Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in quite a ripe expression for this label. There is stacks of fruit with honeysuckle and melon aromas plus a gentle layer of fresh passionfruit which come together to provide an exotic package. There is then enticing freshness and acid bite, before morphing into a mouthfilling package with savoury, nutty complexity to finish. A fascinating alternative to Italian Grigio.
94 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A nose of baked passionfruit, lemon curd and understated guava; There is a lovely elegance to the palate with lemon curd having the faintest lemon grass influence. There is a subtle build of texture that gives contrast between attractive fruit characters and a more saline and savoury line of citrus acidity. A wine that stands alone, or a match with such a broad range of foods given it is delicate yet structural.
92 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): If you did not already know it, Anselmi’s Capital Croce has for a long time been a leading wine from Soave. From a single highly esteemed Cru, it offers up a beautiful array of aromas with good intensity for what can be a shy grape variety. There are focused peach stone, rockmelon and faintly waxy aromas that draw you in before a juicy but textural palate with a nice touch of grip which supports a nutty, long finish. Enjoy with seafood and lots of it.
92 points- Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A veritable tropic fruit salad of aromatics on the nose that are beautifully pure and floral, the palate sees a continuation of the tropical fruits on the nose and focuses on passionfruit, guava and fresh melon. The purity of fruit is admirable as it is unstoppable from start to finish; acidity gives freshness and a textural grip. The finish has just enough savoury influence to keep you looking for another sip.
92 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): An aromatic nose of white peach with dry honey and almonds. The palate has excellent weight with stone fruits taking on some spiced and savoury influence from oak and a richness from time on lees. The faint honey note continues and is supported by worked fig before the wine finishes with an enjoyable contrast between white peach and flinty citrus notes. Drinking well now, and even better in a couple of years.
95 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A punchy nose that lacks nothing in concentration with boysenberry meeting piercing passionfruit and background guava. There is great texture that is built around what could be fresh passionfruit in terms of the sweet meets tart on the palate. The fullness of fruit and striking lines of acidity present a captivating wine.
92 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): A lovely take on the classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that is immediately impressive thanks to its combination of power and subtlety. There is an intense line of primary fruits including guava, honeydew melon and dried herbs with oak providing richness and volume. There is then a delicious tension between bright, citrus flavours and more savoury oak and natural ferments which help to draw out a lengthy finish. A classy version of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with some ageing potential.
94 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A light to golden yellow in colour, the nose has a nutmeg note to apricot and raw honey. The palate has generous apricot fruit that melds with meyer lemon; texturally there is a gentle savoury pull that becomes grapefruit like on the mid palate, but is amply supported by both citrus and stone fruits. The textural grip is what defines the wines and gives a dry, almost saline note that keeps you going back for another sip. Some very clever winemaking going on here.
91 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): The Arneis grape variety, which hales from northern Italy, can be hard to get right. Often the new world examples are bright and fresh, and not much else. But this organic version from Marlborough ticks all the boxes. It carries that delicious Marlborough purity with a distinctly savoury Italian edge. There is good complexity to start thanks to grassy, pithy and gently earthy aromas before a punchy, juicy palate bursting with vibrant acidity and pithy fruits before a subtle nutty finish thanks to a little time in oak. Excellent length tops off a tasty package.
94 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A youthful red to purple in terms of colour, the nose has black cherry and plum fruit with some violets and graphite in the fold. The palate is medium bodied with a continuation of black cherry, tannins take on a black tea like character with just enough fruit derived spice to give a veneer of richness on the mid palate. There is great balance to finish with fruit, acid and oak all meshing well. An incredibly young wine in the context of how well this should age. Hold a year or two before opening your first!
93 points – Ken Gargett ( Wine Pilot): Another impressive Great Southern Pinot Noir, from a single vineyard in Denmark, this one was fermented on skins in small one-tonne batches, plunged twice a day. Maturation was for almost a year in new and second fill French oak, left on its yeast lees. The reason for this is to increase both the texture and the complexity. Unfined and unfiltered it is pale crimson in colour carrying aromas of forest floor, woodsmoke, leather, dried herbs, spices and attractive berry notes. In other words, lots of the things we love about good Pinot. There is good length here and fine, yet chewy tannins providing impressive balance and a lingering finish. This will continue to impress over the next six to eight years. I like this a lot.
91 points – Angus Hughson (Wine Pilot): This fun and playful Pinot Noir offers up fantastic value for money as it delivers impressive detail, finesse and complexity. It opens up with fragrant red liquorice, Szechuan pepper and wild raspberry aromas that makes for an instantly engaging package. It’s then bright and juicy, with fresh acidity and gently silky tannins providing backbone to a spicy, earthy flavour profile which then leads to a fine and long finish. It will drink well for a little while yet but why wait when it is so delicious right now.
92 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): A single vineyard Chardy from the Pemberton/Great Southern region of Western Australia, this is an impressive wine, even if quite young at this stage. Its was made from ‘free run’ juice which was fermented in new and second use French oak 500-litre puncheons with maturation for 9 months. Sunlit gold in colour, there is a tight and refined nose with gentle notes of stonefruits and hints of almonds, cumquats and orange rinds. The oak, with its vanillin touches, is there but it is melding well. Seamless in style, this is nicely balanced and will be even better as the oak integrates a little more. With good focus and length, this will provide fine drinking over the next five to six years and the score will surely rise.
93 points – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): Morello cherries, raspberry bush (the bramble, the sweet fruit, the lot), finely crushed black pepper and bright acidity. This is a lovely, structural wine – another impressive release. The chalky tannins are a highlight.
94 points – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): There is a character here that is not present in the Tunney or Porongurup riesling – like toasted saffron or turmeric, cashew. The fruit strays to the sugar snap pea end of the spectrum. It’s a lovely, textural and layered wine with faceted fruit and spice characters.
93 points – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): Soft florals rise up through the aromatics; wisteria, jasmine, honeysuckle, citrus blossom, green apples and crushed quartz. Very pretty, very fine and very long.
92 points – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): Licorice, aniseed and fennel flower lace the aromatics, in the mouth the redcurrants, cherry cola and cherries come to the fore. Pert and largely uncomplicated, but also engaging in its expression: this is a classy wine, fabulous value.
92 points – Erin Larkin (Halliday Wine Companion): This is showing its age on the nose, but in the mouth it translates as minerality: it is an Alka-Seltzer character which is most appealing. Jasmine tea, snow peas, cloudy apple, cleansing… It is quite a surprise. Wet rocks and shale, graphite and beach sand… These are odd characters to write down, but they come from the wine, not from thin air. There‘s a lot going on. I like it.
90 points – James Halliday (Halliday Wine Companion): Produced from 5 estate-grown clones. The price and slightly watery though bright hue dampened my expectations, but hey, there‘s far more to the wine, with the all-important varietal expression nailed to the mast. Red and black cherry-accented fruit may lack sophistication and complexity, but the odds are stacked in favour of 3–5 years revealing more and more.
93 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Chianti Riserva is, of course, a step up on the standard Chiantis and this shows just that lift in quality. Dark garnet in colour, this is more muscular and yet more reserved, at this early stage. There is coiled power here, just waiting to be released over time. Flavours weave through tomato bush, chocolate, warm earth, red berries and coffee grinds. A powerful style, yes, but fine tannins and lots of them with good concentration and length. A great example of the style and, as good as this is now, it will be even better in six to eight years.
92 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A medium red in colour, the nose has dark cherry and green herbs that are laced with tobacco and cocoa. There is an earthen and savoury thread from start to finish with tannins that take on bitter dark chocolate and leather. The wine has good integration of fruit and oak, with the potential to reward medium term cellaring. The finish has a touch of tomato leaf to plum and red currant.
92 points – Huon Hooke (The Real Review): Medium-full ruby with a touch of development in the rim and also on the nose, where it has savoury underbrush, sour-cherry, dried-plum and dried-blood nuances. The palate is lean and elegant with soft but drying tannins and a ferrous kind of minerality. Certainly it’s typically Italian, and more specifically Tuscan in style: a savoury non-fruity food wine and very good.
92 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): The classic wine from Tuscany, the famous Chianti, and DOCG no less. Sangiovese dominant obviously, this one also has 5% Ciliegiolo and 5% Canaiolo, and the grapes undergo a lengthy maceration. The colour here is deep maroon. The nose gives an immediate and appealing character of bright cherries and floral notes, notably rose petals. Good spicy touches as well, and fresh with an undertow of vibrant acidity. Seamless, delicious and well crafted, there is excellent length and it is cracking value, drinking well above its price. Love this, especially the freshness. Drink over the next three to five years though have no concerns if it spends longer in the cellar.
91 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A very good example of Prosecco that has an elegance and general drinkability that will be sure to please many. The nose gives green apple and pear with some floral cut white flowers; the palate is pristine in its rendition of pear and apple fruit with a touch of musk. Good length to finish with great purity.
90 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Prosecco has been the flavour of the sparkling world for a number of years now and the wines have increased in quality during that time although they were already great value. This is made with fruit grown in the Veneto region in Italy, which is definitely worth a visit, especially in white asparagus season. The maker, Peppe Randazzo, is originally from Sicily, but has also worked in Tuscany, New Zealand and California, making this a truly international wine. This sparkler has a soft biscuity nose with a minerally undertow. Hints of stonefruit and straw, citrus and florals, this is mouthfilling with oodles of flavour, decent length and a lingering finish. Good example of an extra dry Prosecco, one which would be open to pairing with a wide array of dishes (including those amazing white asparagus).
2019 I Giusti e Zanza Nemorino IGT Organic Rosso
93 points – Jeni Port (Wine Pilot): Hailing from Tuscany comes a smart, organically-farmed syrah with a splash of sangiovese (although just how big a splash isn’t recorded on the label). Recently, Tuscan wine laws were relaxed to allow a minimum share of 60% sangiovese (down from 70%) in any blend. Whatever the actual blend here, it works. Ripeness is the key (13.5% abv) which brings forth an easy harmony on the palate highlighting sweet earthy black fruits, black cherry, bramble, sage with a light savouriness to close. Generous, rounded and long lasting, it’s sometimes hard to see where sangiovese ends and syrah begins. Or vice versa. Both work so well together.
93 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): The wine starts a touch reductive but with some air opens up to give rustic dark berry fruits that are etched with bracken and cocoa. The palate is medium bodied with a grainy, undergrowth laden baseline of tannin, fruit sits between black cherry and plum with a touch of cured meat and pepper. Fruit and savoury impact work hand in hand to finish.
92 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Who doesn’t love a good SuperTuscan? I’ll confess that this one was new to me so I was very keen to see how it stood up, especially as it offers good value in the category. An organic wine, this is a blend dominated by Syrah (apparently around 60%) with some Merlot and Sangiovese and even a dollop of Alicante, we are told. The wine is aged for six to eight months in a range of oak casks, medium toast, of 300 to 500 litres in size. Blood red in colour, the nose has an appealing rusticity with dry herbs and cherries prominent before good length, bright acidity and fine tannins on a soft finish with hints of leather and brambles. There is some complexity here but also room for further improvement over the next six to eight years.
4.5 stars – John Lewis (Newcastle Herald): The European heatwave probably means very little red wine is being consumed in Italy, but that doesn’t apply in wintry Australia. Thanks to importer Single Vineyard Sellars, here are two vivacious Italian reds available from Vintage Cellars stores and website. This 80% shiraz, 10% merlot and 10% sangiovese blend is part of a wine range named after Nemorino, the tenor love triangle character in Donizetti’s comic opera The Elixir of Love. From organic vineyards in the central Italian Lucca area of Tuscany, it has 13.5% alcohol, bright crimson hues and berry pastille scents. The front palate features juicy, ripe black cherry flavour, the middle palate cranberry, briar, peppermint and vanillin oak and the finish has ferric tannins. It would go well with veal stroganoff and will cellar for five years. Giusti and Zanza was founded by Paolo Giusti and Fabio Zanza in 1995 on a long-established winegrowing land and is now run by Italian viticulturist-winemaker Stefano Chioccioli.
2020 Feudo Arancio Nero d’Avola
91 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A medium red in terms of colour with bright black cherry and plum that is ripe and earthen. The wine is medium to full bodied with a lovely flow of acidity and juicy primary fruit well offset by more structural and savoury tannins. The finish has gentle spice and weave of baking herbs to pure black cherry fruit. Great value import.
90 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Another cracking local Italian variety. This Sicilian winery never fails to impress, delivering flavour and value. Nero d’Avola is the leading red grape from Sicily and likely to continue to make inroads around the world thanks to climate change – it quite likes a bit of heat. Magenta in colour, we have florals, strawberries, raspberries, warm earth notes, dark berries, blackcurrants and leather. A real mix of ripe, lifted favours which appeal. Bright acidity then carries the wine to a lingering finish with slightly furry tannins. Attractive drinking now and for the next three to five years. Think about pairing it with mature cheeses.
90 points – Jeni Port (Wine Pilot): As Australian winemakers and drinkers are discovering, nero d’Avola is one versatile red grape variety. It’s something the Sicilians have long known, since nero d’Avola is one of its home-grown heroes. Expect to see more Sicilians like this champion all-rounder at an approachable price flying our way. The grape has a natural aptitude to please. Red cherry, black plum, with just a hint of sweet plum sauce, combine with anise and spice to fill the palate with flavour. Considering the price point, this is quite a feat, fulfilling the grape’s reputation on its home soil for producing a bold, sweet fruit intensity. It is offset with a light earthy, leathery savouriness – not too much but enough to act as a counter to the fruit and provide some brisk tannin support. Excellent drinking right now.
2020 Mt Bera ‘Amphitheatre’ Zweigelt
90 points – Aaron Brasher (The Real Review): Bright, fresh and lively in the glass. Red fruit aromas, sap, spice, cedar and white pepper. Crunchy and red fruit driven on the palate, a lick of blueberry, spice and creamy oak round the wine out nicely. Real freshness and drinkability
2019 Mt Bera ‘Amphitheatre’ Shiraz Blaufrankisch
90 points – Gabrielle Poy (The Real Review): This delightful blend of shiraz and blaufränkisch leads with spiced black cherries and a blackberry compote. The two varieties work well together in this medium-bodied style. A parent grape of both gamay and zweigelt, blaufränkisch calls Austria home. There’s not a lot planted in Australia, but there’s a lot to like in this wine. Its spicy nature and chewy bitter chocolate tannins earn this a spot at the dinner table.
2013 Mt Bera Boundless Horizons Merlot
92 points – Aaron Brasher (The Real Review): Showing some age, brick red in colour. Aromas of stewed plum, vanilla, earth, cedar, spice and menthol, some real complexity happening here. Plump and full flavoured, plenty of dark fruits, spice, cedary oak and grippy, drying tannins. Long and layered, ageing nicely.
92 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): From the Puglian region, most of us are more familiar with this grape under the name of Zinfandel. Zin comes in a great many guises – simply buying a bottle because of the name on the label might just be a way of inviting disappointment into your life, but a good one is a thoroughly enjoyable wine. The problem is that they vary from light rose to whopping blockbusters and everything in between. This one is dark garnet in colour and quite richly flavoured. We have herbs, dark berries, leather, dark cherries and roast meat notes. The cherries soon start to dominate through the palate and on to the finish. There are bright and fresh flavours, an attractive savouriness with fine tannins plus persistence and fine acidity. I like this. It has a good ten years ahead of it and is a fine example of a good Primitivo/Zin.
4.5 stars – John Lewis (Newcastle Herald): From the Salento Region on the “heel of the boot of Italy”, this multi-faceted red comes from a grape variety carrying multiple names. It’s best known as zinfandel in Australia and California and is believed to have originated under the name plavac veliki in the Dalmatia area of Croatia and it is also dubbed tribidrag. Called primitivo in Italy and other European wine areas, this one comes from the Mottura family wine company founded in 1927. It’s been run by four generations of the family and has a 4000-tonne capacity winery and 250 hectares of vines up to 60 years old in the province of Lecce in southern Italy. The wine registers 13% alcohol, shines purple-tinged crimson in the glass and has potpourri scents. The front palate delivers vibrant blackcurrant flavour and the middle palate has Maraschino cherry, spice, herb and savoury oak elements. The finish brings forth chalky tannins and it will go well with roast pork loin with prune stuffing and cellar for seven years.
93 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): We are starting to see some serious local interest in this southern Italian classic red variety, but it is always good to enjoy the real thing. The name translates as black and bitter as the grape is famous for its intense and deep, dark colour, and this one is no exception. It offers bright flavours, vibrancy, with notes of coffee grinds, warm earth, chocolate and more. Then big, bold flavours of tobacco leaf, spices and liquorice. With excellent length, this is a wine with an attractive focus and good intensity which carries the journey thanks to fine tannins which also provide a seamless and supple texture. Richly flavoured, if you love your big reds, this is for you and brilliant for a gourmet barbecue with a good ten to twelve years of good drinking ahead.
90 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A light to medium red in colour, with a nose that is dominated by sweetly spiced vanillin and coconut oak; oak gives a veneer of velvety richness alongside ripe plum and cherry. Tannins are fine and acidity is well handled to give flow and structure. The finish is shrouded by the wood, but when it is quality oak like this you won’t get too many complaints.
95 points – Kim Brebach (Best Wines Under $20): A classy Pinot made by a tiny boutique in Pemberton in the Great southern of WA. Wines from around here tend to show a lot of finesse, and this one is true to form. It’s picture-perfect Pinot with all the classic nuances of dark cherries and forest floor in a matt frame. Nothing sticks out and yells: look at me! Gorgeous wine, perfect pitch. Drink now and for a couple of years.
92 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Pemberton Pinot Noir might not enjoy the same heroic status as some of the other top Aussie regions but it is slowly, and surely, building a reputation for excellent wines, worthy of attention and usually offering good value. This example, from a single vineyard in the region, spent nine months in French oak, 25% new and the remainder one and two year old barrels. Deep crimson in colour, it opens with a most appealing earthy, fungal, truffly nose. The flavours move to red and dark berries, cassis, mulberries and coffee grinds. It finishes with silky tannins, more abundant than they might first appear, with focus and a lingering finish which maintains the intensity throughout. A ripe and complex Pinot Noir which will drink very nicely over the next six years.
91 points – Ken Gargett (Wine Pilot): Rosé from Provence in the south of France is one of the world’s most popular wines and, when done well, it is so easy to see why. It is not just the images it creates, the way it transports you around the world, but also the joy in each glass. An organic wine, this blend is 80% Grenache and 20% Cinsault. An attractive gentle neon pink, the nose is redolent with fresh strawberries, spices, red berries and florals plus a touch of citrus in the mix and cherries on the finish. Good focus throughout with decent length, there is a bright, clean and cleansing finish. Drink now, though it will suffer no harm if it does spend a year or two in the cellar.
90 points – Patrick Eckel (Wine Reviewer): A light pink with copper hues in the glass, the nose has crunchy red cherry and cranberry that is laced with citrus. The palate is dry and has good texture with well defined red fruits enjoying a slight savoury influence. Acidity is balanced but driving with just enough red fruited richness to give fullness to the mid palate. Good length with a twist of green herbs to finish.