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RECENT WINE REVIEWS BY KEN GARGETT

Redman Coonawarra ‘The Last Row’ Shiraz 2014

A lovely dusty glass of red that makes you feel as though you have a handful of that famed terra rosa soil in your glass. Some nice regional choc mint notes with warm earth tones. Good fruit here. A wine well structured and with balance. Does have a slightly austere note right on the finish. Cherry notes on the finish. Definitely one to chase.

Score: 90/100 Best drinking: 8 Years Alc: 14%

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Redman Coonawarra ‘The First Divide’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Initially comes across as quite tight, even a little closed. It is crying out for time and it would not be out of place to leave this in your cellar for 10 to 15 years. It is all black fruits with cloves, black olives, licorice and a hint of axle grease (a good thing). Good intensity here with length, balance and power that keeps on keeping on.

Score: 92/100 Best drinking: 15 years and more. Alc: 14.8%

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Redman Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013

A classic Bordeaux/Coonawarra blend, this is one of the more impressive Redman’s of recent years. Spice, cassis, black olives, blackberries, all to be found here. Good structure, a seamless style. Length and silky tannins to be found in this youthful and very attractive wine. Will age impeccably.

Score: 93/100 Best drinking: a decade. Alc: 13.6%

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Redman Coonawarra Shiraz 2013

Shiraz from the Redmans seems to impart a slight dusty, warm earth and clove character, which is thoroughly appealing. It moves on to black cherries, mushrooms, blackberries and much more. Plenty of grainy tannins. Good flavours here and reasonable length. Won’t age for the same length of time as the Cabernets, but will provide lovely drinking in the interim.

Score: 90/100 Best drinking: 4-6 years. Alc: 13.8%

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Redman Coonawarra ‘The Redman’ Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2006

While it is fabulous to see wineries holding back stock in order to release these aged wines, a crumbly cork did set the alarm bells ringing. Fortunately, it was no issue at all. A wine with alluring dry herbs, dark chocolate and truffle characters. Even a slight whiff of mint. Fine tannins, plenty of length and good acidity. If you do not have a cellar full of older wines, this is a nice way to experience one.

Score: 92/100 Best drinking: now for five years. Alc: 14%

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Redman Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Anyone wanting to experience how a wine might age over time, grab a case of this. Try one a year for the next decade or so – have no fears that it won’t age: it will sail past that and more – and watch the development. Then pick the stage at which you are most enjoying it. Black olives and cedary notes here and well backed by the acidity. Will get better and better.

Score: 92/100 Best drinking: a decade and more. Alc: 13.4%

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Rusden Barossa ‘Christine’s Vineyard’ Grenache 2015

Grenache has been a marvellous workhorse for the Aussie wine industry and in the last decade or two has also seen its time in the sun (something it very much enjoys) as a single varietal. They can be hit and miss. This one is not bad, but it does not make the greatest hits list. Florals and animal fur, red fruits and a pleasant red cherry finish. A little hollow on the mid-palate. Easy drinking.

Score: 88/100 Best drinking: now for three years. Alc: 14.9%

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Rusden Barossa ‘Chookshed’ Zinfandel 2015

If you like subtle and elegant, run for the hills. If waves of flavour, concentration and power is your thing, stock up! Easy to see a blokes’ long lunch knocking back a truckload of this with some great steaks. Opaque colour. Licorice and chocolate. Powerful and rich. Plenty of length. It is a little chunky, but it does not pretend to be anything else. Some will absolutely love this.

Score: 91/100 Best drinking: a decade. Alc: 15.4%

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Heartland ‘Director’s Cut’ Shiraz 2014

Cracking wine from Ben Glaetzer – of the Glaetzer clan that has made so many fabulous wines. From the Langhorne Creek region. Inky black and offering layers of blackberry and sweet dark chocolate. Ripe, youthful, though with a good future, and with plenty of tannins. All nicely balanced. Put simply, leave aside the notes and tech stuff, this is a delicious wine.

Score: 94/100 Best drinking: over the next eight years. Alc: 14.55%

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Twisted Gum Chardonnay 2014

Grenache has been a marvellous workhorse for the Aussie wine industry and in the last decade or two has also seen its time in the sun (something it very much enjoys) as a single varietal. They can be hit and miss. This one is not bad, but it does not make the greatest hits list. Florals and animal fur, red fruits and a pleasant red cherry finish. A little hollow on the mid-palate. Easy drinking.

Score: 88/100 Best drinking: now for three years. Alc: 13%

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Twisted Gum Verdelho/Semillon 2015

Not a blend one often encounters, but more than worth a look. Dry herbs and citrus notes, tending towards grapefruit. A minerally texture. A wine that does linger in a very pleasant way and one that should age nicely for a few years. This would be an ideal match with oysters.

Score: 89/100 Best drinking: now for five years. Alc: 13.5%

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Twisted Gum Pink Moscato 2017

I'm not even sure that this qualifies as a wine, at a miserly 6.5%, but it is a fun drink. A dazzling neon pink colour with aromas of Turkish delight and confectionary. Fizzy, foamy, very simple, but so easy to drink. Ideal for chilling on a summer’s day. Thoroughly refreshing and not nearly as sweet as I suspected it might be. Exactly the sort of thing one feels one should instinctively dislike, but it is simply too appealing.

Score: 88/100 Best drinking: now. Alc: 6.5%

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Twisted Gum Shiraz Cabernet 2014

The traditional Aussie blend with a Granite Belt slant. Spices, lots of black fruits, a minerally texture with a slightly grippy finish. Good acidity, though the wine is a touch drying on the finish. A focused style and one with the structure to ensure it will drink well for some years to come.

Score: 88/100 Best drinking: five to six years. Alc: 13%

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Twisted Gum Shiraz 2014

A mix of red and dark fruit, with some spice notes. Florals and a hint of Morello cherries. It is quite an expressive style and has excellent length. Nicely balanced. Has a future. For me, the Granite Belt reds usually tend to shadow the whites, with Shiraz usually the star. And so it is with the wines from Twisted Gum.

Score: 90/100 Best drinking: four to six years. Alc: 13.5%

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Twisted Gum Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Youthful purple hues. This is a little broader than some of the Twisted Gum wines. And softer. Offers a little of the varietal herbaceousness one so often sees in Cabernet. Has some cherry characters. Mid-length with very fine tannins. A pleasing attractive wine with a future. This, and any in the range, are a good introduction to the Granite Belt for anyone unfamiliar.

Score: 89/100 Best drinking: next half dozen years. Alc: 13%

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Xanadu ‘DJL’ Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

A terrific Cabernet from the West. Fine structure, though it started in a slightly restrained mode and benefited from a little warming-up (damn Brizzy winter). Lovely cherry notes and hints of dark chocolate. Noticeable tannins do give it some grip, and it does offer some persistence. Some now, some in the cellar.

Score: 91/100 Best drinking: 6 to 10 years. Alc: 14%

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Allegiance ‘Fortuity’ Orange Prosecco 2016

An attractive minerally prosecco with a little twist of citrus. Good fizz but not overwhelming. A soft clean finish, which lingers in a most agreeable way. And there is an unexpected but pleasant, slightly toasty note on the finish. An enjoyable prosecco and one which makes it easy to see why this is such a hot category at the moment.

Score: 89/100 Best drinking: for now. Alc: 10.5%

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Allegiance ‘Tamana’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

This is unmistakable as a full-flavoured Sauvignon Blanc – one of the most recognisable wine styles on the planet. Quite pungent. Some passionfruit, tropical notes and a little grassiness. Soft finish. It is a little short and drops away before one might wish, but should be quite the crowd-pleaser.

Score: 89/100 Best drinking: next half dozen years. Alc: 13%

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Leeuwin Estate ‘Art Series’ Margaret River Riesling 2016

A fresh and youthful style with a slightly brassy note. Lots of flavour on the palate; a Riesling that is a little broader than some but the more all-encompassing, riper flavours will appeal to many. Nice flick of acidity, mid length style. Has a few years ahead of it, but just as pleasant now.

Score: 90/100 Best drinking: 3 to 6 years. Alc: 12%

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McNicol Clare Valley Riesling 2009

Great to see wineries releasing aged wines, for those who do not have cellars full of them. Not only does such a program give clues to future development for their younger wines but, more importantly, they often provide terrific drinking. And so it is here. Still a slightly youthful, light gold hue, but exhibiting some attractive developing notes on the nose. Lemon butter on toast. Finely balanced, excellent length, good acidity and a wine with years to go. 2009 is a brilliant vintage in the Clare and this shows why.

Score: 95/100 Best drinking: a decade or more. Alc: 13.5%

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Mitchell ‘Watervale’ Riesling 2016

The region’s typical steely backbone is on show for all to see here. Fresh and tight and exhibiting early alluring Riesling characters on the nose. There is good acidity carrying the flavours – florals and citrus – through to a very long finish, which maintains its intensity. Clean, pristine Riesling. Long future ahead and nothing but good things to come.

Score: 92/100 Best drinking: 10 to 15 years. Alc: 13%

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Larry Cherubino ‘The Yard’ Riesling 2016

A steely, minerally, coiled Riesling from the Frankland River region in the West – outside the Clare/Eden Valleys, surely our leading district for this glorious grape. Spices, florals and notes of dry honeycomb. Nicely balanced with good acidity and length. A wine which will offer even more in years to come.

Score: 91/100 Best drinking: five to ten years. Alc: 11.8%

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McNicol Clare Valley Shiraz 2007

Another fine aged release. The nose immediately screams a serious wine of quality (and one that is totally delicious). Plums, cherries, black fruits, a little leather. Balanced, persistent and with good intensity. Very silky tannins. Has a very long future ahead of it. Loved it. The rest of the sample bottle did not go to waste. Chase this.

Score: 96/100 Best drinking: a decade or more. Alc: 13.5%

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RAY'S WINE GUIDE 2017