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Penfolds kalimna

Cellar Favorite: 1986 Penfolds Shiraz Kalimna Bin 28

Australia, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Mar 2023

Back a few years ago, I was tasting a lot of Penfolds and was fortunate enough to participate in a few epic verticals of this iconic Australian producer. Sadly, commitments towards Bordeaux and Burgundy mean I taste bottles less frequently; however, I was reminded of their unerring longevity at a recent BYO at the Harwood Arms to celebrate my birthday.

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Cellar Favorite: 1923 Seppeltsfield Para Vintage Tawny

Australia, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Angus Hughson, Feb 2023

In 1878, Oscar Benno Seppelt started a long tradition for Seppeltsfield Para Tawny Ports when he put down his first fortified barrel destined for a century in the cellar before release. It is rare and one-of-a-kind, which explains the astronomical pricing, making it the most expensive wine in the country by volume.

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The Many Faces of McLaren Vale

Australia, featured

Angus Hughson, Feb 2023

For over 130 years, the idyllic seaside region of McLaren Vale has been a cornerstone for South Australia, particularly for powerful Shiraz. This report covers McLaren Vale’s recent evolution, defined by wines of increasing subtlety and finesse, seen across Shiraz, and the region’s emerging status as a hotspot for exceptional Grenache.

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Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 1994-2021

Australia, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Angus Hughson, Nov 2022

Rules are made to be broken. In the rich landscape of Australian Shiraz, Clonakilla was the original maverick, pioneering cool climate Shiraz Viognier blends in an unlikely new wine region. Serendipitous plantings of Viognier and travels to Domaine Guigal lit a spark that has grown into an unexpected, runaway success that has helped to redefine Australian Shiraz. This vertical tasting of the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier celebrated the winery’s 50th birthday and showcased a wine with unique finesse and longevity.

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The Power and the Passion: Wynns John Riddoch 1982-2019

Australia, Verticals & Retrospectives, featured

Angus Hughson, Sep 2022

The roots for Wynns Coonawarra Estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon John Riddoch were planted over a century ago in the 1890s. Today the wine is a modern Australian classic as illustrated by this full vertical tasting stretching back to the 1982 vintage. Fine, detailed and well structured, these long-lived Cabernet Sauvignons show more than just a passing resemblance to the best wines from the Left Bank and have their own, distinctive Coonawarra style.

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The Not So Wild West: Margaret River in the Groove

Australia, featured

Angus Hughson, Sep 2022

It is hard to believe that in a little over fifty years Margaret River has risen from a home of counterculture to be one of Australia’s most sophisticated wine regions. A tasting of new releases again showed that, pound for pound, there are few premium wine zones that can match the sheer value from this incredibly remote corner of the world.

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South Australia, Victoria and a Bit Beyond

Australia, featured

Josh Raynolds, Sep 2022

The sheer diversity of wine styles in greater South Australia is nothing short of mind-bending. Name it, they make it. That makes generalizing about this vast swath of territory a fool’s errand. The attitude toward Australian wines seems to finally be shifting to what is and has been happening here, albeit slowly. Still, far too many wine lovers view Australia’s massive and far-flung vinous culture as simply about big, full-throttle reds, all day long. Stereotypes do tend to die hard.

Penfolds lineup

Penfolds Collection 2022

Australia, featured

Angus Hughson, Jul 2022

The annual release of the Penfolds collection is unusual in that it does not have a single vintage focus and spans a number of years thanks to the different aging requirements for the wines. This year’s key releases range from 2018 to 2021, each vintage with their own impactful conditions. The bookends are both marvelous, yet very different vintages. The only-recently bottled 2022 Riesling provides a first look at this generally milder vintage.

Wynns hermitage 1981

Cellar Favorite: 1981 Wynns Coonawarra Estate Hermitage

Australia, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Jun 2022

I always loved the good old days when Australian winemakers “borrowed” the names of classic French wine regions to brand their cuvées. Cheeky? An homage? Theft? Well, the EU bureaucrats soon put a stop to all those Chablis and Hermitages made “Down Under”, but that doesn’t imply that some of them were not genuinely worthy of such noble appellations or even surpassed them.

Tyrrells vat 1

Cellar Favorite: 2008 Tyrrell's Wines Semillon Vat 1 Hunter Valley

Australia, cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites

Neal Martin, Mar 2022

These days, as I am focusing on fewer regions, I taste less widely than when I started out. However, I feel it is important to take my palate out on “away days” and taste something different. I have always loved Sémillon from the Hunter Valley.