2022 Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 13%
    Yarra Valley Victoria, RRP $35

    It’s so hard to find respectable, and affordable Pinot Noir. Keynotes include scintillating aromatics, and a silky, sensual texture, supported by structural attributes – acidity, tannin etc. It need not be just a light ish dry red or a confected strawberry quaffer.

    Coldstream Hills (under James Halliday) began in the 1980s, with talented winemakers throughout (currently Andrew Fleming). Experience truly makes a difference, with many decisions impacting final quality. Secrets include vine age, right clones, right sites, right yield, care, and magic, compelling the utmost skill and efforts from winemakers. Pricing mysteries follow.

    This young wine has a bright colour, wafts of cherries – red and dark, strawberry, roses, plus a spice banquet. It’s medium-weight, vibrant and savoury with red fruits dominant, and sustained, flowing flavours. Oak is properly restrained so the end result is altogether delightful.

    Duck calls. Quail with lentils was my match, but damn near any chicken, duck, or pork dish – roasted or pan-fried will succeed – or even try tofu. This wine deserves a shake, a decant and a big glass. Under $30 retail often, so just revel. Perhaps put some aside for a few years, then invite me over. 


    Seville Hill Estate 2014 Yarra Valley Barbera
    ABV 13.5% RRP $40

    A six pack of this wine arrived at my doorstep last week and, as I write this, I’ve only one bottle left on the rack; with a little help from the wife and in-laws, of course. I can’t get enough of it and really wish I’d ordered more. Barbera is a grape indigenous to Italy and often thought of as the fresher, friendlier and less serious cousin of a Nebbiolo. It’s not considered ‘age-worthy’ yet here I sit, sipping it with nine years of age, and the freshness and primary fruit notes are quite amazing and all in check. Its development is more noticeable through its incredibly smooth, supple and generous texture yet after a good couple of glasses, the fruit note does display that moreish ‘stewed’ characteristic. The complexity of this wine more than justifies its price tag. Some notes I’ve picked up along way are (in no particular order…) blackcurrant and cassis, cherry cola, sweet mint, chocolate bullets, cacao, nutmeg, earthy spices and, although I couldn’t find the specifics on the wines oak treatment, beautifully integrated lashings of vanilla bean that hum along in the background. I’ve been far less satisfied with significantly more expensive and prestigious wines before and it’ll be right up there as one of the best wines I’ve enjoyed for the entire year. Their website has plenty of products available and a generous 40% off larger orders.

    Pair with: Gourmet bangers n’ mash with baby peas, caramelised onion and red wine jus. 

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