Wine review – Sassafras wines from NSW high country

Sassafras Tumbarumba–Canberra District Chardonnay Savagnin Ancestral 2017$30 Paul Starr’s sparkling white combines chardonnay from Tumbarumba with savagnin grown at Murrumbateman in the Canberra district. Both sites lie on the western side of the Great Dividing Range in southern New South Wales. Tumbarumba is slightly cooler than Murrumbateman and has produced very high quality wine from […]

Wine review – Clonakilla wines for release 1 May 2018

Clonakilla Canberra District Syrah 2016 $120 Clonakilla Syrah comes from T&L block, the warmest site on the Kirk family’s Murrumbateman vineyard. From its earliest vintages the block, planted in 1999, ripened early than its neighbours and produced a distinctive, comparatively robust shiraz, albeit within the medium-bodied Canberra District spectrum. On first opening the 2016 showed […]

Memories of a Christian Pol Roger visit and tasting Champagne Bruno Paillard

When I began wine retailing in 1976 Australians already drank impressive volumes of Champagne. Indeed for a time we were the only country buying more vintage than non-vintage product. Australia now imports around eight million bottles a year, though the mix favours non-vintage Champagne, a change driven partly by direct retailer imports and aggressive discounting […]

Tasting an Aussie blue-chip: Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay 2004–2017

Tyrrell’s turns 160 this year. Marking the anniversary, Bruce Tyrrell, his son Chris, winemaker Andrew Spinaze and vineyard manager Andrew Pengilly held a tasting of Vat 47 Chardonnays, vintages 2004 to 2017. The 14-vintage sequence revealed Vat 47’s continuing style evolution and the profound impact of the screw cap – ‘Perhaps the greatest step forward…[it] […]

Canberra 2018 – another trouble-free vintage

Mount Majura vigneron Frank van de Loo welcomes another trouble-free Canberra vintage. Located about 100km inland with vineyard altitudes between about 550 metres and 860 metres, the volume of the district’s harvest varies widely across any given decade. Frost, wind, hail, and sustained cold weather have all at times reduced the region’s harvest and at times wine quality. […]