2017 ‘The Florita’ Riesling – 97 POINTS
Superlative Clare! Grapefruit pulp, lemon zest, jasmine, bath salts and Thai herb notes stream across a bow of limestone-derived minerality and palate-whetting acidity. This is long, penetrative across a multitude of layers and yet, despite the razor-sharp definition, relaxed. There is nothing hard or abrasive about this. It flows long with alacrity in its step! This will reward patience in the cellar.
2015‘The Armagh’ Shiraz – 95 POINTS
Strong barrel ferment aromas lead off, scenting this fully flared wine with deli meats and smoked backstop aromas. Then the fruit: blue and black allusions all. Anise, clove, cardamom and vanilla-cased oak. Lots. Yet while it confers a guideline to the riot of fruit and warmth, it is nestled within the ensemble rather than smothering it. The tannin management: creamy and luxuriant, yet authoritative, is this wine’s focal point.
2015 ‘The McRae Wood’ Shiraz – 94 POINTS
The inaugural vintage was ’92, serving this cuvee up as the younger sibling of the Armagh. Alas, time has seen to it that it has found its own very different skin. Less barrel ferment influence. Less smokiness. Molten raspberry bonbon, iodine, licorice and briar. Good energy. Impressive length. Some reductive chains, needs time to unravel.
2017 ‘Assyrtiko’ – 94 POINTS
Little or no colour development, likewise no loss of freshness, lemon zest obvious.
2017 ‘Single Vineyard McKay’s’ Riesling – 93POINTS
A special Watervale parcel, picked a little later than is de rigeur. The result is an intensely flavoured wine, mid-weighted and bristling with tangerine, quince, orchard fruits and a whiff of exotica. Cleansing acidity, a bit perky, doused with tonic and Meyer lemon to spurt it long, dry and lush.
2016 ‘Single Vineyard Coonawarra’ Cabernet Sauvignon – 93 POINTS
Jim Barry transformed the Penola cricket pitch to a vineyard of cabernet, in ’97. This is the result, released in stellar years only. Confident in a mid-weighted gaze of red to blackcurrant notes and terracotta warmth, with earthen tannins strident across its midriff. Stiff upper lipped, but warm of fruit, this is at once firmly astringent and generous. Bay leaf and a waft of menthol service a herbal underbelly.
James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion 2019 www.winecompanion.com.au