Jim McMahon

From judging in Bordeaux it was off to Strasbourg to the 2015 Les Grands Concours du Monde Strasbourg. It’s a great wine show that is very hi-tech compared to other wine shows at which I’ve been a judge. We sipped our way through some terrific wines consisting of about a dozen in each flight.

A French judge gave one wine 100 points and caused a stir with many fellow judges. In my 23 years of wine show judging, both nationally and internationally, I have never come across any judge who has given a wine full marks. The judge, Armand, argued his case eloquently but the rest of us were not convinced. All the judges did, however, give the wine gold.

There are about 90 producers in Australia cultivating rosé (others call it zinfandel). The 2014 Lowe Headstone Organic Primitivo Rosé is bright pink throughout, with slight copper tinges depending on the light and angle of the glass. The nose is a mixture of spicy fruits with no evident oak. The palate is light-bodied with minimal tannins and a mixture of red/black spicy fruits which shine. The finish is of ripe fruit, light-bodied with soft acidity. Perhaps a little on the expensive side for a rosé at $28 (rrp).

From the same stable comes the 2014 Lowe Tinja Chardonnay, straw yellow with a slight green tinge, the nose is showing apricots, white peach and green apple which follow through on to the palate. The wine is not assertive but pleasant enough to drink a couple or more glasses. The acid is, again, not assertive but somehow provided for a more generous mouth-feel on a soft, dry finish (rrp $22).

Aungullong Wines' barbera

Orange-based Angullong Wines has recently released its 2014 Fossil Hill Barbera. I like tasting non-mainstream grape varieties and I‘m sure you will enjoy this wine. Ruby-purple in colour with a bright pink hue, the nose offers attractive spicy, red cherry and raspberry with those same flavours cascading down onto the palate, giving the wine a fruity textural mouthfeel. This is a medium-bodied wine with acid, tannin and oak in balance (rrp $24).

There is plenty of citrus in the bouquet of the 2014 Calabria Cool Climate Eden Valley Riesling — with lemon and limes, the latter dominating together with hints of spice. The palate is fresh and vibrant with citrus and lychee but the citrus flavours dominate in the crisp acid, dry minerality on the finish (rrp $15).

The 2013 Windowrie Cabernet Merlot — is deep purple with a lovely bright crimson/pink rim. Its nose offers ripe cassis, cinnamon and red berry fruits. The palate is richly textured with a myriad of red/black fruit flavours, spice and oak all nicely interwoven. This medium-full boded wine has fruit aplenty with the merlot softening the tannins from the cabernet, giving the wine good balance between alcohol, acid, tannin, oak and fruit (rrp $18).

Also try the 2014 Calabria Cool Climate Tumbarumba Pinot Noir, a bright see-through cherry red in colour. The palate is soft and flavoursome, almost silky, with minimal tannins, hints of toasty French oak and red cherry and plummy fruits. The finish is dry and light-bodied (rrp $15). Two very well-priced wines with a drink-now option or a shelf life of three to four years.

A nifty little number is the 2014 Berton Vineyard Head over Heels Chardonnay, with a bright lemon colour giving way to an overripe nose of pineapple and peach. The palate is soft and generous with guava, melon and peach flavours. The acid is not assertive but combines with the fruit to give a generous mouthfeel. No oak is detected on the nose or palate, just an all-round good quality wine at an affordable price (rrp $11).

Hunter Valley semillons are recognised the world over by cognoscenti. The bouquet of the 2014 Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Semillon — has hints of lemon and green apple and the palate offers the same together with grapefruit notes. The palate offers further complexity. One to drink now with an antipasto plate or grilled white fish with lemon butter. If cellared well, will age for the next 5-10 years; I like my Hunter Valley Semillons with age and complexity (rrp $24).

Jim McMahon teaches hospitality at Sutherland TAFE.