www.paulippolito.com.au- WINE REVIEWS-paulippolito.com.au
26 September 2020
Gartelmann Wilhelm Shiraz 2017
A Hunter Valley boutique red thats shows off lots of the region's qualities when it comes to making very good Shiraz.
Inky purple in colour, it reflects well its youthfulness still.
The aromas resonate lovely ripe blackberries, spicy plums and black cherries. Out comes an inherent earthiness as well as some liquorice notes. The nose does it for me. Add to this good oak treatment, there and noticeable, keeping the alcohol in check as are some fine grainy tannins that demonstrate the potential here for short to medium term development with age.
Delcious smooth yet with a medium dry finish, there is a bit for everyone here in this decent versatile red. Plenty of reasons to drink some in these last few cooler days of Spring still.
Try this with roasted meats such as beef or pork belly.
About $28. Alc 14.1%. Drink to 2027 91/100 - Excellent.
25 September 2020
Whispering Brook Semillon 2019
A very decent single vineyard Hunter Semillon offering that has all the hallmarks of a classic varietal written all over it.
Lemony yellow in colour. Uplifted lemons, limes and grapefruit flood the senses. Lush ripe yet fresh, lively and zesty.
Real Semillon from beginning to end here. I like the fact it is not pretending to be anything other than traditional Hunter Semillon. If you are not on team Semillon yet, you could do a lot worse than start here.
Yes it drinks well now full of citrus flavours and a good hit of lineal acidity, but the real reward of this wine will come with time as it ages and develops a lovely lemon honey smoothness on the palate, showing off how really good Semillon can be. A bottle or two for the cellar is called for.
Try this with spaghetti carbonara.
Drink to 2029. Alc 10.5%. About . 92/100 - Excellent.
20 September 2020
4 Pines Brewing Company Pale Ale
This has been my go to beer for quite a while now. It delivers at lots of levels for me and is a versatile beer that lets you drink it easily solo and yet also pair it up with lots of different food.
A lovely orangy amberish colour. Fresh, real uplifted and fruity with citrus lemons, grapefruit and oranges really coming through. Has a fruit dimension and also savoury dimension to it, making it as I said before versatile drinking. Naturally brewed, full flavoured. Good dry and crisp in length and on the finish.
Try it with bbq chorizo sausages.
Alc 5.1%. About $20 for a six pack. Rated - Excellent.
19 September 2020
Tarrawarra Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2017
Very easy seamless effortable Chardonnay drinking here. The people at Tarrawarra are gifted with making good Chardonnay (and Pinot!) and this wine echoes how good the grapes and winemaking are.
The age has done wonders to the fruit, developed its citrus dominant nose with creamy and nutty nuances, balancing out any acidity very nicely. Peach melons and tropical fruits also emerge through but the ripe lush lemons are the stars here.
The oak is there, lees treatment adding character and depth but this all sits nicely under the fruit. A tight intricate and well structured Chardonnay that drinks ever so well on its own and with a versatile range of Asian cuisines.
Try this with Vietnamese chicken curry.
Alc 12.7%. About $30. Drink Now.92/100 - Excellent.
17 September 2020
Soumah Yarra Valley Single Vineyard Syrah 2019
Wow what a sensational wine. And it is so young. How much potential has this Shiraz got to develop into a very respectable red, is the magic question here? It is delivering the goods big-time already in my books.
Inky crimson purple, the purity of fruit just subsumes the senses. The aromas are classic smooth and seductive. Spicy fruit, cherries, blueberries, plums and black liquorice all come through in a slow unwinding manner. Love the nose. Have sat here smelling it for an inordinate time!
The oak treatment is there subtle letting the fruit shine and do its work. The ripe fresh fruit resonates on the palate long lingering and smooth, ever so fine yet there tannins. There is much more to come but it is luxuriant drinking now. Very much so. Delicious and moreish. It will improve incrementally with time in different dimensions and it has as I said the hallmarks of a very very decent red.
Try this with Wagyu beef steak.
About $40. Alc 14.5%. Drink to 2029 plus. 97/100 - Exceptional.
13 September 2020
Whispering Brook Touriga Nacional 2019
Whispering Brook is an excellent Hunter Valley winery gaining lots of attention for its quality wine. Susan Frazier and Adam Bell are its winemakers and established the winery in 2000. I say all of this as I think you should put these names squarely on your wine watch list as this is one cracking good red wine!
Touriga Nacional is one of Portugal's finest red grape varietals and is used extensively in making Port.
The folks at Whispering Brook have done a great job in developing this varietal here and given it the full treatment of hand picking, basket pressing to French oak and partial malo treatment.
It is still a youngster with its inky purple crimson colour in the glass. However the nose is just intoxicating, has its fruit focus well developed, is quite robust and yet also seduces with rich spicy plums, blackberries, cherries and an inherent earthiness to it all. The aromas just develop superbly in the glass making it a pleasure to savour.
On the palate you get those red and black fruits coming through in a sustained concentrated and prounounced manner. The Hunter earthiness is clearly there, good firm oak to support the fruit with a long haul in development and a good firm tannin structure to boot. Delicious and smooth spicy ripe plums on the palate, give it time in the glass to develop so you can really appreciate what this red is all about and the potential it has for a long future.
Try this with oven roasted porchetta, wild greens and roast lemon potatoes
About $55. Alc 13.5%. Drink to 2029 plus. 95/100 - Superb.
9 September 2020
Angullong Merlot 2018
A rich ripe luxuriant Merlot from this boutique cool climate Orange region winery.
Very pleasurable drinking from begining to end. Deep brooding dark purple blackish. A youngster with time on its side. The youth and alcohol don't distract however.
The brooding spicy plums dominate the nose. Stunning vibrant and fresh, yes ripe, intense and uplifted but not over the top in any way. Balanced long smooth and seamless on the palate. Fruit check, oak check, acidity check, tannin structure check - the winemaker can take a bow.
Very moreish drinking here. Really good Merlot showing off what it can do. Giving it a few years may improve it but it really is drinking smashingly well now.
Oh and did I mention the word value anywhere here.
Try it with tagliatelle alla ragu.
About $22. 14.5%. 93/100 - Excellent.
5 September 2020
Gartelmann Wines Diedrich Shiraz 2016
Diedrich is named after Jorg Gartelmann's grandfather, who would be proud of this excellent Orange region in NSW Reserve Shiraz.
Starting with some remnants of purple inkiness on the hue, this four year old benchmark red from the Gartelmann stable of wine is a classy and elegantly structured wine.
I like the spice filled nose of blackberries, plums, cherries and currants all melded beautifully and smoothly. An inherent earthiness underpins the fruit. The tannin structure is fine and seamless, the oak treatment working its magic on the fruit. Despite the high alcohol (which doesn't detract), it delivers effortlessly on the palate with delicious cherries and plums dominating. It goes on and on in finish and length with the tannins saying more good is to come. Not a big bold red but a classy refined red that impresses now but as I said watch this space.
Try it with pappardelle con ragu.
About $50. Drink to 2026 plus. 15.2%. 94/100 - Excellent.
3 September 2020
Bird In Hand Two In The Bush Chardonnay 2019
Classic aromas off the nose citrus lemons, limes and grapefruit but also some varietal peach melon as well. A bit of everything coming off a tight but slowly yielding nose.
Fresh lively acidity supports the fruit well as does the judicious oak treatment, there but balanced in its impartment.
It drinks very nicely with its citrus and peach characters showcasing on the palate, a good crisp backbone to the fruit and a long lingering very nice aftertaste of Chardonnay flavours. Very well balanced as I said on the palate and not OTT in any of its dimensions.
This Adelaide Hills cool climate Chardonnay works a treat with a diverse range of cuisines.
Try it spaghetti and crabmeat or it will go just as well with a spanish tortilla.
About $25. 12.5%. Drink to 2024. 91/100 - Excellent.
27 August 2020
Coldstream Hills White Label Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2019
Don't mind this at all just quietly. Refined elegant and full of uplifting primary fruit aromas.
Youthful purple crimson, there is plenty of potential in this bright fresh Pinot Noir.
Raspberries, cherries and strawberries, some nice aniseed and liquorice, complex and intricately put together. Super silky fine tannins, seamless effortless oak treatment and integration, very well balanced indeed.
Drinkable, very drinkable indeed. Right now but also well into the next 3-4 years. A standalone Pinot as well as a versatile one with a range of cuisines.
Try it with lamb koftas and spicy tomato sauce.
About $35. 13.5%. Drink to 2024. 93/100 - Excellent.
23 August 2020
Soumah Viognier 2019
Absolutely bang on drinking.One of the best white wines I have tasted in a long time.
Pure refined elegant and well structured in aroma profile.
Classic white marble, apricots, peach and honeysuckle with an inherent minerality cutting through.
Pure class and yet full of substance and promise.
Pristine on the palate, developed apricots, peaches and pears and accompanying light honey. Just right accompanying acidity making it balanced delicious drinking.
More good things to come of this Yarra Valley Viognier with plenty of time in the bottle as well.
Bring me more are my final wine words on my tasting sheet! (please!)
Try this with Korean style fried chicken.
Drink to 2024. Alc 13%. 97/100 - Exceptional.
14 August 2020
Madfish Premium White Chardonnay 2018
For the price, it is value drinking plus. This Western Australian Chardonnayis bang on with its varietal and regional influences ticking the boxes neatly as you smell and taste it.
Classic peach melon with tropical fruit notes and good oak, there making its presence felt and supporting the overall fruit drivenness of this wine. The acidity is also there as well, supporting the fruit giving it a freshness and crispness. This Chardnnay is not pretending to be anything more than a very good white versatile in its ability to suit a variety of cuisines. Having said that it does its job very well indeed.
Quite full and robust on the palate, the fruit is the star here.
Try with buccatini and a rose' cream sauce.
About $18. Alc 13.0%. Drink Now. 90/100 - Very Good.
13 August 2020
Zonte's Footstep The Lake Doctor Shiraz 2018
Youthful ink staining purple, a young gun all the way from Langhorne Creek in South Australia. Brooding on the nose, you can smell the earthy and seductive fruit driven out of the glass even though it is a long way away from me. A sign of more good things to come.
Blueberries, blackcurrants, mulberries, juicy fruit, lashings of black liquorice, intense spicy and uplifted fruit. Intoxicating smooth alcohol - good alcohol - nothing sticking out, integrated oak, a well crafted and structured red wine. Smooth long fine pure fruit, fine tannins, quite elegant for such a young wine. I am bumping up the points for this wine as I drink it.
Good for drinking now this Winter but will improve over the next decade.
Try it with grilled rib eye and mushrooms.
About $27. Alc 14%. Drink to 2028. 94/100 - Excellent.
13 July 2020
Cape Mentelle "Brooks" Chardonnay 2017
Oh the Margaret River does Chardonnay ever so well and this is a fine example from the Cape Mentelle folk.
Pale greeny lemony yellow there is a youthfulness exuding from the glass.
Classic peach melon on the nose with hints of tropical pineapple, rich cashews and good supporting oak.
A substantial Chardonnay, (hint there is good oak as I said and 14% alcohol here) but it also has good lineal acidity and an excellent overall structure to boot. Fresh and crisp in palate delivery whilst also holding the fruit together nicely.
Seamless smooth rich and long in finish, you get that lovely mouthful of balanced well roundedness.
A lovely food wine - I would try it with coconut chicken curry.
Drink to 2022. Alc 14%. About $25. 93/100 - Excellent.
3 July 2020
Disaronno Originale Amaretto
It is the world's favourite Italian liqueur and has been made since 1525.
It is also my favourite Italian liqueur (and quite possible my world one as well). So already this Amaretto has a few very good things going for it.
This is not just an almond liqueur. It is much much more than that. The brooding glorious intoxicating seductive aromas off the glass (on the rocks, of course) just flood the senses. Fruit and nut filled aromas, almonds, oranges and apricots come through. It is deep and rich and full on but balanced. You get fruit, you get spicy fruit, nuttiness and spice but all in sync, the alcohol from the spirit side plays its part nicely as well. Everything is in place - the distilling was done just right. The cut of its structure makes sure the balance is right. You get the fruit sweetness with a good hit of dry spirit on the other side as I said and the rest is history as they say.
A perfect Winter aperitif and yes "mi piace tanto!"
About $50 - 700ml. Alc 20%. Drink It Now (and regularly!). 98/100 - Exceptional.
30 June 2020
Angullong Fossil Hill Tempranillo 2018
From the Orange region in NSW, this cool climate medium bodied Mediterranean style of red works well with a range of diverse cuisines and really sits well as a varietal here that is in tune with the Australian climate.
Fruit filled and focused, the deep purple ruby red colour in the glass shows off the bright fruit nicely. You get deep ripe fresh fruit off the nose. A medium dry red it also has an inherent savouriness that Sangiovese provides. You get raspberries, cherries, rhubarb, spice, red earth, some light cigarbox and black olives.
The acidity is low and tempered, the tannins soft silky and fine, the alcohol there but ok and the palate provides a medium finish of balanced harmonious soft easy drinking spicy red and black fruit again with a savoury edge.
Try it with tortellini bolognese.
About $28. Drink to 2023. Alc 14.5%. 88/100 - Very Good.
22 June 2020
Lark Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
Top shelf Canberra District Chardonnay. Pristine elegant and purity of fruit from beginning to end.
Loved this cool climate high altitude Chardonnay. My style of Chardonnay, sharp, focussed fruit delivered with precision, judicious winemaking and making its mark in a deliberate measured way.
Pale whitish yellow representing early days. Youthful and developing on the nose, you have crisp upfront white nectarine, honeydew melon and citrus lemons off a beautiful aroma set. Tight at first then unwinding gloriously in the glass. Good just right crisp acidity supporting the fruit as is the oak, married well, providing that mock creaminess side by side to the fruit.
Long and extended in finish, it is delicious drinking with classic peach melon and lemon and limes that go on and one.
Top class wine drinking with plenty in reserve for further development (but seriously it is drinking superbly just now!).
Try it with oven baked barramundi and some canneloni bean mash.
Alc 12.5%. Drink to 2023. About $45. 95/100 - Exceptional.
13 June 2020
Hollick Bond Road Chardonnay 2015
This Chardonnay from the Cooonawarra region has a bit of everything going for it. Classic varietal, regional influences, a good bit of maturity, value and above all it tastes really good!
The Hollick's are boutique winemakers who know their stuff and have been making good wine for a long long time. The grapes and winemaking hit the mark and it is one of those wineries that delivers the goods consistently so expectations are always met.
Gloriously lemon in the glass, it exudes Chardonnay from the first moment. Think classic peach melon, tropical fruits, white marble, butterscotch and cashews.
Long luxuriant, tangy with good solid long robust peach melon creamy flavours, it is moreish. It have such a good mouthfeel of fruit, well imparted barrel fermented French oak and accompanying soft melded acidity, that it is drinking perfectly right now. Food friendly or standalone, a top Chardonnay and respectably priced to boot.
Try it with stir fried seafood with crispy egg noodles.
Drink to 2022. Alc 13.5%. About $25. 93/100- Excellent.
12 June 2020
Patritti April Red Grenache Pedro Ximenez 2020
A couple of things caught my eye regarding this red blend, the early release 2020 wine vintage, the sourcing of old vine fruit stretching back to 1907, the origins of it from the Adelaide city region and the clever blending of red varietal Grenache and the white Pedro Ximenez.
Family owned and around since 1925, you can see the hand crafting influence in the grapes and winemaking here.
The glass resonates nicely with fresh ripe red and black fruit aromas, well balanced and showing off synchronicity of the grapes to winemaking in terms of fruit, alcohol, structure and drinkability.
It is a youthful energetic red on one hand but you can really feel the depth of the quality of the fruit on the other. Very clever as I said to blend the juicy fruit and spice filled Grenache with the Pedro.
Raspberries, blueberries and cherries, some light spice, thinking cinnamon really come through when tasted, as does the more substantial Pedro characters that are beautifully summarised as Christmas cake.
Well rounded and well delivered with a medium to long finish, here is a versatile easy to drink fresh uplifting yet real red wine that works a treat with a range of cuisines.
Try it with freshly made fettucine pasta, slow cooked plum tomato sauce and some prawns.
Alc 14%. Drink to 2026. About $24. 93/100 – Excellent.
7 June 2020
Henkell Trocken Dry-Sec Sparkling Wine
This German sparkling wine delivers bang for buck and quality at that.
Pale straw, it is brilliant very light yellow in the glass with tight fine beads forming.
The aromas are classic citrus, lemon curd, limes and fresh green apples. Soft acidity accompanying making it use friendly. On the dry side on the palate yet the fruit still comes through very well indeed. I like the way it does this showing off the fruit but not being too overpowering. It creates popular appeal through its impartment of flavours yet with restraint.
Great standalone sparkling wine but will work fine with the right lighter style cuisine.
Try it with Vietnamese fresh spring rolls.
Alc. 11.5%. About $15. Drink Now. 90/100 – Very Good.