WineLix

Ray Jordan’s weekly reviews

Saturday Magazine 15th April 2017

As far as Barossa reds go, the wines of Elderton are about as pure an expression of this region as you can get. Over the years, I have been tasting these wines, I would have to say that they have never disappointed in their ability to deliver powerful honest Barossa character. The latest releases are excellent – you would expect no less. At the top is the classic Command Single Vineyard from the outstanding 2013 vintage, but for something a little different but still Barossa, the Western Ridge grenache carignan captures this excellent vineyard at Greenock on the Western Ridge of the Valley. Okay, these are certainly not cheap give-away wines, but neither they should be. Low-yielding old vineyards command a premium. Each of these wines will benefit from at least five years in the cellar.

Elderton Western Ridge grenache carignon 2015 ($60)

This vineyard is located at Greenock within the greater Barossa Valley. Combines the deep intensity of the Barossa with a high degree of elegance and style. Grainy tannins and fine grained oak with a sort of gravelly loamy fruit character. More in the high-end aromatic with a delightful fragrance. A very pretty wine where the use of all old French puncheons over 15 months has not overplayed the oak contribution, Excellent.

Score: 95/100 Best drinking: Now to 2025 Alc: 14.5%

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Elderton Ode to Lorraine 2014 ($60)

A blend of cabernet shiraz and merlot from a range of different aged vines at Nuriootpa in the Barossa valley. Aromas strike with a spicy loamy character with just a little crushed herbs influence. The palate is full bodied but with a high elegance of grainy tannins and smooth intense fruit concentration. It's generous and long in the mouth and will easily cellar for another 10 years.

Score: 94/100 Best drinking: Now to 2027 Alc: 14%

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Elderton Neil Ashmead Grand Tourer shiraz 2015 ($60)

There is always something distinctive about this wine that honours the founder of Elderton. Lifter crushed herbs and menthol seems to be a distinctive vineyard character. Quite a deal of oak comes from the 15 months in French puncheons. Savoury and slightly meaty with a hint of aromatic anise. A wine for cellaring.

Score: 93/100 Best drinking: Now to 2029 Alc: 14.6%

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Elderton Ashmead Single Vineyard cabernet sauvignon 2014 ($120)

Excellent year for Barossa cabernet is reflected in this wine which shows terrific varietal cabernet character. Comes off vines that are now more than 70 years old in the heart of the Barossa. Rich dark chocolate and black currant fruit with a decent hit of fine grainy oak. The tannins are quite silky contributing to a beautiful smoothly textured palate. Remarkably supple and generous with excellent cellaring potential.

Score: 96/100 Best drinking: Now to 2032 Alc: 14.6%

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Elderton Command Single Vineyard shiraz 2013 ($130)

This classic and supreme example of Barossa shiraz comes off vines that are now more than 120 years old. Hugelyconcentrated and dense yet with a remarkable lift and elegance through the palate. Chock full of blackberry and licorice with a mocha-like influence. Retains a spiciness with the palate extending with easy through to a very long finish. Consistently one of the best statements of classic Barossa.

Score: 97/100 Best drinking: Now to 2022 Alc: 14.8%

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Saturday Magazine 25th March 2017

IN many ways, the Great Southern has lived in the shadow of Margaret River as a wine region. Although it started a year or so before Margaret River it seems it Hs always played catchup. Yet, when you look at the range and quality of the wines it’s hard to understand why. The Great Southern is one of the biggest wine regions in the world, with the many different soils, topography and micro climates providing a rich mix of viticultural alternatives. Its cabernets and shiraz generally have a softness and generosity without the fir assertiveness of Margaret River, providing an lovely alternative. Its Rieslings are among Australia’s best and the pinot s especially from the emerging Porongurups point to great potential for this variety. There are lots of great wine events at Taste Great Southern. Check out http://www.tastegreatsouthern.com.au/

Poacher's Ridge marsanne 2016 ($24)

Young marsanne can be quite beautiful. But if hold on to it for a few years something wonderful happens. I have tasted older examples of this marsanne and they are stunning. So here's the obvious instruction: but it now for a little sipping but make sure you hold on to a little more for another five or so years. The light lemony characters and light stone fruit becomes rich and deeply complex.

Score: 91/100 Best drinking: Now to 2027 Alc: 13%

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Ferngrove The Stirlings cabernet sauvignon shiraz 2012 ($70)

Thoroughly engaging wine made from cabernet and shiraz, two varieties that really sing together. Loads of sweet ripe fruit with a little licorice, dark plum and spiciness. The palate is supple and quite fleshy though with stacks of fine tannin and French support. Will be worth putting away for a while.

Score: 93/100 Best drinking: Now to 2027 Alc: 14%

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Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge shiraz 2014 ($40)

These now mature vines are turning out exceptional fruit from this single vineyard. This is another shiraz that captures the essence of the region. It’s more medium bodied with a mix of gravelly subtle dusty earth characters complementing the sweet seductive fruit. There's a subtle ironstone character that emerges. IT's a wine with a distinct vineyard character.

Score: 96/100 Best drinking: Now to 2027 Alc: 14.1%

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Plantagenet York chardonnay 2015 ($35)

Mighty good chardonnay. The nose is most attractive. Spices and stone fruit with a melony citrus influence. The palate is controlled with excellent definition and focus. Mealy with spices and brioche characters. Textured with a sustained finish.

Score: 92/100 Best drinking: Now to 2022 Alc: 14%

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Howard Park Porongurupriesling 2016 ($34)

This area within the Great Southern is making some of the finest - structurally finest too - rieslings in WA. The talcy bath salts acidity and light spicy characters create such a focusedprecise feel in the mouth. The flavourbuilds through its tense middle palate to a long finish. Retains a delicate minerality on the finish.

Score: 92/100 Best drinking: Now to 2025 Alc: 11.5%

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Saturday Magazine 11th March 2017

I can’t begin to count the times when poking around in my cellar for a decent white wine for dinner, that I find myself reach for a chardonnay. Sure occasionally one of the new varieties might be the wine of choice or a perennial personal favourite Riesling, but most of the tine it will be chardonnay. And very often it will be a West Australian chardonnay, which is hardly surprising given how god these wines are. This week four beauties with two from Margaret River, one from the Porongurups and the other Pemberton. These are great chardonnay regions, with each imparting a distinctive regional character on the variety. The four wines chosen this week show these subtle differences perfectly.

Moss Wood Wilyabrup chardonnay 2015 ($65)

Lots happening in one of the best chardonnays from Moss Wood. There's a light creamy nougat aroma with a touch of brioche and lightly roasted cashew. The palate has a fine minerality with an expert combination of oak and fruit. Well weighted and very long in the mouth. Love the precision here.

Score: 97/100 Best drinking: Now to 2025 Alc: 13.5%

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Marchand & Burch Porongurup and Mount Barker chardonnay 2016 ($73)

Outstanding example of the quality of chardonnays coming from this area within the Great Southern. Lemony with hint of lightly roasted cashew. Some nectarine and orange rind with a creamy richness balanced by a crisp minerally acid.Such power and such finesse in a quality expression of the region and the variety.

Score: 96/100 Best drinking: Now to 2025 Alc: 13%

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Robert Bowen Margaret River chardonnay 2015 ($60)

This comes from the Burnside vineyard which is synonymous with wines of silky texture and power. This wonderful expression captures it perfectly. It’s 50 per cent new oak with regular stirring of the lees for a short time before being left on lees for another six months. There is richness and concentration which stamps this vineyard. A little cutting grapefruit and edgy mineral makes it so good. Very long in the mouth. Such a good wine.

Score: 97/100 Best drinking: Now to 2029 Alc: 13.5%

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Pemberley chardonnay 2016 ($30)

Gets a similar regime to the Robert Bowen chardonnay except that there is less new oak at about 20 per cent. Half the wine comes from the Block H vineyard. It's a lighter and quite elegant wine with a lemon essence character on the nose. Nice light stone fruit and lanolin characterwith a trace of meal and oatmeal nuance. Delivers a fair amount of wine for $30. Rich and textured.

Score: 93/100 Best drinking: Now to 2021 Alc: 13%

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Saturday Magazine 25th February 2017

When he died in 2008, Oxford scholar turned winemaker Dr Bailey Carrodus left behind an extraordinary legacy. An iconic small vineyard called Yarra Yering which he established in 1969 and a catalogue of wines that in many ways reflected the fierce individuality and singlemindedness of the man who created them. The vineyard, which has expanded from the original planting through surrounding acquisition, contains a mix of Bordeaux, Rhone and Portuguese varieties that have been used to craft distinctive wines that are some of Australia’s most highly sought after. With the vineyard now in the hands of investors with a passion for the Yarra Valley, young winemaker Sarah Crowe has been tasked with continuing the Carrudos legacy and judging by a recent tasting she is doing it in style – the Carrodus style. The wines display impeccable balance and poise with a real sense of place that is the result of careful winemaking that lets the vineyard express itself without excessive winery intervention. The second tier Warramate label is an excellent value for money line that also taps into some quality fruit from this region.

Warramate chardonnay 2014 ($28)

A low yielding year produced favours of great concentration. This strong fruit-driven as a result of mostly stainless steel fermentation but it does go through malolactic fermentation. Balanced neatly between the fruit and crisp acid with a subtle nougat flavour. Short term excellent drinking.

Score: 91/100 Best drinking: Now to 2021 Alc: 12.5%

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Warramate shiraz 2015 ($28)

Comes off some of the early 1970 plantings and later 2000 plantings. Has a savoury earthy character on the nose with firm tannins threading the medium bodied fruit. Like the firm tight structure supporting the lingering fruit. This is an excellent wine of great poise and presence and a bargain at this price.

Score: 94/100 Best drinking: Now to 2025 Alc: 13%

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Yarra Yering Underhill 2014 ($92)

This is a 100 per cent single vineyard shiraz from a vineyard planted in 1973. It was actually purchased by Bailey Carrodus after a neighbour planted it. Distinct soy sauce character with intense tomato concentrate. Sweet succulent middle with a dry savoury edge. Seamless and concentrated with a very long finish. Super wine.

Score: 96/100 Best drinking: Now to 2032 Alc: 13%

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Yarra Yering Dry Red Wine No. 2 2014 ($92)

This famous wine is a blend of mainly shiraz and small amounts of viognier, marsanne and mataro. It is a classically Rhone Valley inspired wine. Interesting making technique. The viognier is picked and then frozen until the shiraz is ready before being blended. It's a smooth and totally seamless wine with that distinctive soy sauce character. Such poise and balance with a completely integrated palate that extends to a very long finish. Will keep for years.

Score: 97/100 Best drinking: Now to 2042 Alc: 13%

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Yarra Yering Dry Red Wine No 1 2014 ($92)

This is another of the famous wines of Yarra Yering. It's cabernet sauvignon dominant with merlot malbec and petit verdot completing the Bordeaux blend Dry and minerally with fine chalky tannins. Perfectly integrated and balanced its captures the classic Yarra Yering style. There is so much detail in this wine that you just keep finding more to like with every sip.

Score: 98/100 Best drinking: Now to 2047 Alc: 13.5%

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Sunday Times Magazine 23rd April 2017

Bleasdale Second Innings malbec 2015 ($20)

Bleasdale have made something of a specialty with malbec, which is not a bad thing as it's making quite a comeback. This is medium bodied with a beautiful floral perfume on the nose. The palate has grainy chalky tannins supporting soft fleshy fruit. It has structure and poise and at this price is sensational value.

Score: 92/100

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Bay of Fires pinot noir 2015 ($45)

A wine of exceptional quality. Aromas of sour cherry, cinnamon and floral violet. Has a slight rose petal nuance. The palate is so smooth and textured with fine tannins and subtle oak integration. Silky smooth to a very long finish. So poised and expressive.

Score: 96/100

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Passel Estate chardonnay 2015 ($30)

A new name from Margaret River making an immediate impact. A lighter style of chardonnay showing edgy grapefruit with some nice oatmeal notes adding a richness. Has just a hint of roasted cashew and a slightly creamy nougat character. A wine that is best in the short term. A finer style.

Score: 91/100

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Sunday Times Magazine 16th April 2017

Giesen sauvignon blanc 2016 ($17)

Every bit of this says Marlborough sauvignon blanc. It is classic with its citrus and gooseberry aromas to its crunchy vibrant palate. Reliable and consistently at a terrific price. IT pays to shop around too. If savvy is your go then this one hits the mark.

Score: 89/100

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Bay of Fires chardonnay 2015 ($45)

Those guys across Bass Strait are making some mighty fine chardonnays these days. This is a most appealing slightly buttery style but still one with a precise minerally thread. Slightly flinty with a little struck match character. More powerful and intense than the 2014 with excellent texture. Gets 30 per cent new oak with wild fermentation and lees influence. Impressive wine.

Score: 95/100

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Tim Adams The Fergus 2014 ($24)

Adams gives this wine a little Spanish flair with that excellent tempranillo that he works with the grenache and malbec sourced from dry grown Clare valley vineyards. It has a neat combination of dry savoury tempranillo with some delicious fruity notes of malbec and the floral lift of grenache. Seamlessly structured with fine tannins and a nice mix of French and American oak. Excellent value for this quality.

Score: 93/100

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Sunday Times Magazine 9th April 2017

Hesketh Regional Selection shiraz 2015 ($18)

These guys are making some terrific value for money wines and this one is right on the money. Ripe and fruity Barossa shiraz. You get plenty of wine here with tonnes of plummy fruit working with a small amount of blackberry juice. The palate is plush with supple tannins and a silky oak component. Yummy little current drinking wine for a great price.

Score: 90/100

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Balnaves of Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon 2013 ($40)

One of the best in Coonawarra. Such a good vintage; such a good wine. Deeply intense and opulent fruit threaded with fine grained French oak and firm though superfine tannins. Perfumed African violets on the nose with deep blackcurrant and cedar on the palate. Will handle extended cellaring. Great price for a wine of this outstanding quality.

Score: 96/100

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Hewitson Miss Harry Hariet's Blend 2014 ($26)

A rather elegant predominantly grenache shiraz mourvedre blend with some additional carignan and cinsault from the Barossa Valley. Spicy gravelly characters on the nose and palate with a floral lift. Balanced medium weight palate with a focused long finish. A stylish expression of this famous Barossa blend.

Score: 90/100

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Sunday Times Magazine 2nd April 2017

West Cape Howe chardonnay 2016 ($17)

Sometimes you just need a simple fruit driven wine that doesn’t test the brain too much. This one might do the trick. It’ a lightly oaked chardie showing some nice clean melon lines with a citrus tang balancing some light stone fruit. This is a no brainer current drinking wine.

Score: 87/100

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Moss Wood Amy's 2015 ($38)

If you've only ever dreamed of tasting a Moss Wood wine then this is a reasonably priced version that might get you into it. A blend of cabernet merlot malbec and petit verdot that just might be the best yet under this sub brand. Generous and supple yet with a firmish fine thread of tannin and chocolatey oak creating a superb palate. Terrific wine for drinking anytime over the next six or so years.

Score: 92/100

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Lenton Brae No Way Rose 2016 ($18)

This is largely merlot with about 20 per cent shiraz. IT's bone dry and with a savoury crispness on the palate. Clean and flavoursome with a long lightly fruity finish. Cherry and floral notes with a slightly rose petal lift. Nice current drinking wine. Modern style worth a look.

Score: 89/100

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Sunday Times Magazine 26th March 2017

Wickhams Road Gippsland chardonnay 2016 ($18)

A punchy partner to the Yarra Valley chardonnay put out by these guys. Love the melony stone fruit and citrus tang with the creamy underlay. Has a lightly savoury edge on the finish which is appealing. Excellent wine with a lip smacking finish. Great price for a wine of this quality. Check out La Vigna.

Score: 91/100

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Arlewood Estate chardonnay 2015 ($35)

This cooler area of Margaret River at Karridale produces some excellent chardonnay, which in this case has been cleverly crafted into a mighty good wine by Stuart Pym. Minerally and spicy citrus notes on the nose and a crunchy vibrant palate. Has a white peach character with a little pear and oak meal richness. Nice wine.

Score: 93/100

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Manoro primitivo 2015 ($20)

Comes from Puglia in southern Italy – the boot - where it seems to have found its rightful home. It's a variety which we probably know better as zinfandel. It's all done in stainless steel so there is no oak influence. Dark colors with intense spices and vanillin characters on the nose. It's soft and fruit with spicy plum on a generous soft palate. Nice current drinking wine.

Score: 89/100 Cellar: 3 years

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Sunday Times Magazine 19th March 2017

Forester Estate semillion sauvignon blanc 2016 ($20)

This is always made as a fresh young thing ideal for current drinking. Passionfruit with light herbaceousness and a hint of citrus tang. Some nicely textural characters with a clean crisp light finish. Perfect in the summer.

Score: 90/100

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Juniper Estate chardonnay 2015 ($37.50)

Juniper chardies just keep getting better. This is a beauty. Crunchy vibrant and so precise through the palate. This is quality chardonnay. Mealy grapefruit aromas with a little vanilla pod. The palate is complete and deep with a fine lingering thread of acidity sustaining it perfectly. Excellent wine.

Score: 93/100

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Taylor Made malbec 2015 ($28)

A new range from Taylors just getting into the stores now. Beautifully rich and succulent malbec from the Clare valley, a region well suited to this variety. Rich dark fruit with an opulent dense palate. Ripe tannins and a sappy plum flavour with darkchocolate and vanillin oak influences. Malbec is often underrated and this shows why it shouldn’t be.

Score: 91/100

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Fresh Cellarnotes 20th April 2017

Xanadu DJL cabernet sauvignon 2014 ($24)

I am seeing some truly exceptional wines from the 2014 vintage down at Margs and this value for money wine captures a lot of the quality of that vintage. A medium bodied cabernet with a fine angular mouth feel. The grainy and slightly chalky tannins work neatly withe fine grained oak. Black olive and leafy blackcurrant fruit with a hint of dark chocolate edginess. Make sure you either decant or left it breath to bring out the best. Classy value for money cabernet.

Score: 91/100

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Fresh Cellarnotes 13th April 2017

Giesen pinot gris 2016($17)

One of New Zealand’s very big producers. It’s savvy is huge but this excellent pinot gris shows what it can do with this variety. This is sourced from a few different regions and vineyards. Has a highly-textured palate but the spicy pear and apple characters with the dollop of creaminess are balanced by a clean crisp acid. Tat precision gives focus and provides such good palate expression. Restrained yet flavoursome and supremely balanced. Ideal with shellfish.

Score: 90/100

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Fresh Cellarnotes 6th April 2017

Torbreck Woodcutters roussane marsanne viognier 2016 ($19.50)

If you’re looking for a bit of richness in your whites, then prhsp this comb will do the trick. It’s made from three Rhone varieties, each offering distinctive complementing characters to the finished wine. This is a lovelywine showing great texture and richness with a light lemon zip. The roussanne is stainless steel fermented and the marsanne and viognier are fermented in barrel. The roussanne dominance gives it a granite like firmness with the others providing the texture. Great with rich food.

Score: 93/100

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Fresh Cellarnotes 30th March 2017

Brown Brothers 1889 sauvignon blanc 2016 ($18.80)

The Tassie experience has been a real bonus for Brown Brothers as they pushed boundaries beyond their original home in Victoria. This is a really vibrant and punchy sauvignon blanc from Tassie. Abundant gooseberry and tropical guava characters on the nose with the faintest herbaceousness dusting over the sweet fruit. Fine acid and a long crunchy finish. Says, ‘drink me now’.

Score: 92/100

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Fresh Cellarnotes 23rd March 2017

Forester Estate cabernet merlot 2014 ($20)

This is such a scrumptious delicious drink. It's largely the cabernet merlot blend but a few other varieties have been tossed into to bring further palate completeness and complexity to the table. Smooth and supple with a mix of chocolate and red berry merged into dark blackcurrant fruits. Sustained palate. Ideal for drinking over the next five years.

Score: 91/100

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Fresh Cellarnotes 16th March 2017

West Cape Howe Hannah's Hill cabernet malbec 2015 ($22)

Love this combination. It's from Mount Barker and Frankland River. Soft and so generous with stacks of black currant and even a hint of black cherry. Lifted aromatics with a soft flavoursome palate. A dab of creamy oak works neatly with the tannins.

Score: 92/100

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Howard Park Mount Barker riesling 2016 ($33)

This is a slightly fuller and more powerful Riesling than the Porongurup version of this variety. Lovely citrus and pear flavors with a fine aid once again a feature of wines from this area. A little regional spice for good measure. Lovely friendly acid promotes a most appealing palate which finishes dry.

Score: 92/100

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Wignalls chardonnay 2016 ($18)

This is a bright as a button unoaked chardonnay. I quite like the fact it doesn’t use the word unoaked on the front label. Rather it is simple a chardonnay of a particular style. And I like it a lot. Obviously, there is a fruit purity with crunchy melon and creamy stone fruit with a trace of citrus tang.

Score: 91/100

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3 drops shiraz 2014 ($25)

There is a plushness and density in this shiraz that I haven’t seen before with 3 Drops. It is an immensely appealing wine brimming with savoury and slightly earthy loamy shiraz characters. The palate is smoothly textured with a fine balance of fruit and oak. Lip smacking finish. Impressive.

Score: 92/100

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Zarephath riesling 2016 ($30)

The cool climes of the Porongurups are so good for this lighter style of Riesling. It has such a wonderful purity and pristine quality about. it. Spicy with a lemon zest and light lime character. It's finely balanced with a lingering precise palate. Bone dry and very long.

Score: 92/100

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