2015 Tolpuddle Chardonnay – Tasmania $68

Martin Shaw and Michael Hill Smith (of Adelaide Hills Shaw + Smith fame) went to Tasmania on the pinot noir trail, purchasing the 23 year old Tolpuddle vineyard in the Coal River Valley. Their Tolpuddle pinots are well on track but the vineyard yielded a fringe benefit, some of Tasmania’s most sought after chardonnay fruit, historically destined for Yattarna, Eileen Hardy and other high- end chardonnays.  The 2015 is a wondrous chardonnay, at once agile and adroit, the next deep and complex. White stonefruit, fresh apple and almond meal aromas lead to a tightly woven palate with a laser-like acidity that carries the finish on and on. Fabulous now, even better in 5 years.

GT WINE Magazine October/November 2017

2014 Weingut Ziereisen Blauer Spatburgunder Tschuppen –Baden, Germany $50

Hanspeter Ziereisen is unashamedly inspired by his French neighbours borrowing pinot noir for Burgundy and syrah from the Rhone to complement his local chasselas vines. The Efringen-Kirchen area has a similar climate and limestone-based terrain to Burgundy though the Ziereisen pinots are distinctively Germanic with plenty of structure, power and tannin. Ziereisen bottles three pinots with his Tschuppen the most open, its siblings Schulen and Rhini showing ascending levels of density and volume. Tschuppen is all about dark berry fruit – plum, cherry and blueberries too with some earthy tannins. The palate is well structured and precise with abundant, uber-fine tannins leading the finish.

GT WINE Magazine October/November 2017

2016 Groiss Grüner Veltliner – Weinviertel DAC, Austria $30

Ingrid Groiss grew up in Breitenwaida, a small village just north of Vienna on the southern edge of Weinviertel, Austria’s largest winegrowing region. Her father made the wines for the family heuriger until Ingrid returned from her wine studies at the University of Vienna, assuming the winemaking role in 2010. Purity and precision are her hallmarks with this entry level gruner veltliner all that and more. Distinctive aromas of apple blossom, lemongrass and verbena with a crisp, spritely palate of white nectarine, granny Smith apples and honeydew melon.  A slinky texture and tight, quartz-like acidity defines the finish. Perfect with kingfish sashimi.

GT WINE Magazine October/November 2017

2012 Freeman Secco – Hilltops, NSW $40

Wine scientist Brian Freeman left Charles Sturt University in 1999 to plant Australia’s first rondinella and corvina vines. Secco was created in 2002, an unique red inspired by the complex and long-lived Amarone of Italy’s Veneto region. Freeman’s winemaking daughter Xanthe has refined the style of Secco in recent years with the 2012 the best yet. It’s dense in colour and flavour with perfumes of dried sour cherries and ripe Damson plums lifted by a potpourri of dried herbs. Dark berry fruits fill the mouth which is coated with abundant fine, positive tannins. The finish has the depth and length to reward a decade in a cool cellar.

GT WINE Magazine October/November 2017

2015 Purple Hands Aglianico – Barossa Valley, SA $30

Purple Hands is the brainchild of Craig Stansborough and Mark Slade, starting with just a tonne of shiraz in 2006. Their brand name signifies their ‘hands on’ approach to winemaking. The key Purple Hands vineyard was planted with 8 hectares of shiraz by Craig Stansborough in 2000 –a hectare each of aglianico and montepulciano added in 2012. These young vines show much promise with the aglianico displaying archetypal smells of fresh raspberry, red liquorice and fading rose petals. The palate is tight and sinewy with a pleasing interplay between its bright acidity and savoury tannins. Look out for the Purple Hands Montepulciano, too – it’s equally on song.

GT WINE Magazine October/November 2017

2015 Strawhouse White – Orange, NSW $20

Former actor, Justin Byrne has played a pivotal role in the Orange Wine Region for over 20 years – as marketing manager for Canobolas Smith, a similar position for the CSU Winery and president of ORVA, the local winegrowers association. Meanwhile Byrne and his wife Meg Simpson have been quietly developing their own vineyard beside their eco-friendly straw bale home, hence the name of their brand – the 3 little pigs label an idiosyncratic touch.  Byrne’s 2015 Strawhouse White (90% semillon, the balance sauvignon blanc) is bright and breezy with snowpea and wild herb aromas. However, there’s an underlying textural complexity from the barrel fermentation that adds depth and integrity to the finale.

GT WINE Magazine October/November 2017