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October 28, 2018 16 min read


Yes, Giant Steps Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2017 is going down as bargain of the Year.  You see, Pinot Noirs like this usually retail for $50+ a bottle,not $29.99.

But this wine is no fluke as for three years running, Wine and Spirit Magazine have named them as one of the Top 100 wineries in the world and in 2016 Steve Flamsteed was named Gourmet Traveller Wine's Winemaker of the Year.  It's a winery in remarkable form and when you have one of the best vintages ever in Yarra Valley, you know this was going to be special.

Best Pinot Noir - Royal Sydney Wine Show 2018
Gold medal - Royal Sydney Wine Show 2018
Top 100 Wineries in the World - Wine & Spirits Magazine US
97 points & "Best of the Best” James Halliday

"Wild yeast open-fermented with 20% whole bunches, matured for 7 months in French oak (10% new), gravity bottled. Very good colour; the intensity of the aromas and flavours unfolding with the first sip stop you in your tracks. The whole bunch component is evident, but not dominant, simply one of many factors in shaping the flavour and texture of this lovely wine." - James Halliday (Halliday Wine Companion)

Halliday says "the first sip stop you in your tracks" and Andrew Graham wrote " Not hard to see the appeal here. A picture-perfect, mid-weight Yarra Valley Pinot."   We'll say it again, this is the pinot noir bargain of the Year.  Don't miss it. 

Giant Steps Yarra Valley Pinot Noir is $29.99 - click here to buy online

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Standish Wine Co. ‘The Standish’ 2016

“99 points.  Inky in color, loaded with plum, blueberry and raspberry fruit. Full-bodied, creamy-textured and rich, it's intense, concentrated and long beyond belief, picking up hints of licorice along the way. Nearly embryonic, it will need at least a couple of years to show more than the primary fruit.”  Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Greenock Shiraz, and a very good one at that.  Inky black thing this is, almost impenetrable. Grilled meat, lavender, blueberry and blackberry, dark spices and vanilla. Full bodied, thick with sheets of dense, compact tannin, almost a slaty feel here, well-bedded acidity, and for all the thunder, there’s something of a petrichor perfume going on in the mouth, along with scrub herbs. The finish rolls on and on, and is slick with tannin, and fresh ‘minerally’ acidity.  Enriched by glorious tannin, fragrance and spice of Shiraz, and regional earthiness: it’s a fantastic expression of the Barossa. 96+ Points.  Gary Walsh. The Winefront.


Watershed Awakening Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Trophy Best Wine of Show - 2017 Wine Show of WA 
Trophy Best Red Wine of Show -2017 Wine Show of WA 
Trophy Best Cabernet Sauvignon - 2017 Wine Show of WA
Trophy Best and Most Distinctive Regional Character - 2017 Wine Show of WA
Trophy Best Red Wine in Show - 2017 Royal Hobart Wine Show
Trophy Best Cabernet Sauvignon -2017 Royal Hobart Wine Show
Trophy Best Cabernet Sauvignon – 2017 Perth Royal Wine Show
Trophy Best Cabernet Sauvignon - Trophy – 2016 Perth Royal Wine Show
Top Gold Medal – Rutherglen Wine Show 2017
Gold Medal – Rutherglen Wine Show 2016
Gold Medal – Cowra Wine Show 2017
Gold Medal – Cowra Wine Show 2016
Gold Medal – 2017 Royal Adelaide Wine Show
Gold Medal – 2017 Mundus Vini International Wine Show
Gold Medal – Royal Hobart International Wine Show 2016
Gold Medal – Wine Show of Western Australia 2016
Gold Medal – Royal Melbourne Wine Awards 2016

Specially selected parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon have been blended to produce this wine for the Awakening range. The wine displays complex aromas of blackcurrant, liquorice and choc mint, with hints of mocha.

On the palate, the dense velvety texture is complemented by cigar box, black olive notes followed by fine silky tannins from 18 months maturation in French oak barriques.

Saint André de Figuière 2017
Outstanding Provence Rose at a great Price!

The warmer temperatures are coming so time to stock up on the big thing, French Rose.  This Saint Andre was our most popular last year with customers making loads of return purchases.

I did some research on this rose and discovered the reason for this good wine, the winemakers  are outstanding.  They cut their teeth in Chablis, founding one of region's best wineries before moving to Provence to take over Saint Andre.  Indeed they prove that Provence rosés deserve the same place at the table as fine white wines.

Pale salmon pink in color. Nose has notes of white flowers that then develop into white peach skin. The palate expresses the velvety texture of citrus peel and the zestiness of an essential oil. Not mandarin, not lemon, not orange, more like kumquat. There's something astringent, green, tight and fresh.

Castelli The Sum Riesling 2017
95 points Halliday  - $15.90 - Fantastic Value

"95 Points. Has a little more colour than some, but no cause for concern. This is a high quality riesling, with a floral/blossom bouquet, and a collage of lime and lemon fruit on the palate. The X-factor derives from its tactile qualities that come through clearly on the back-palate and lingering aftertaste, the intensity of the flavours running all the way through to the finish. Drink by: 2030 Date tasted: 11/Sep/2017 Price: $19.00 Alcohol: 12.1%" - James Halliday,

Halliday talks about having an X-Factor, what I'll say is that this wine is worth more than its asking price.  You could pay $25 and wouldn't blink an eye.  Prepare for Summer and buy a dozen. It won't disappoint.

Shottesbrooke Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

"95 Points. While not particularly deep, the hue is youthful, and the fragrant eucalypt nuances that accompany the fresh cassis of the palate are regional (and shared with Coonawarra). The finely spun tannins are a feature of a medium-bodied cabernet made to be drunk whenever the idea pleases you. Screwcap. 14.5% alc. To 2030" Drink By: 2030. Closure: Screwcap" - James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2019.
Hoddles Creek Estate 1er Chardonnay 2017
"it’s a treat to drink. A beautiful, beautiful wine"  Campbell Mattinson

"There’s a lot to admire with Hoddles Creek Estate and the decision to employ no new oak on the grapes destined for this 1er release is one of them.

This is swish. Straw-yellow in colour, stone fruit riddled, shy on the nose but textural and alive on the palate. A gentle creaminess, spice notes, slate even, honeysuckle and toast. Extremely pure. Flowing robes of flavour. Grapefruit-like bite to the aftertaste, as a distinct positive. It’s still gathering itself but already it’s a treat to drink. A beautiful, beautiful wine.  Rated : 95 Points". Campbell Mattinson.
Fallen Giants Block 3 Grampians Shiraz 2016
98 Points "This achieves even greater depth, power and length"  James Halliday

"A wine with hidden strengths. Well worth cellaring." Huon Hooke

"Fascinating: the analysis and the vinification of this wine are identical to those of its lesser-priced sibling, both wines picked on the same day and made in exactly the same way. Of course there has to be differences, and this wine came from vines solely at 220m, 100 dozen made of this wine, the other from vines between 180-220m with 1400 dozen. This achieves even greater depth, power and length.  Rating: 98 Points."  James Halliday Wine Companion 2019

"Deep red colour with a good purple tint, the bouquet elusive and shy, but seems clean and fresh. A note of tar or graphite later. The palate is gritty and tannic, but also rich and concentrated in flavour, with some mineral, ferrous qualities. There's a lovely core of fruit sweetness and the finish roills on and on for ages. Peppery aftertaste. A wine with hidden strengths. Well worth cellaring." Huon Hooke
Turkey Flat Barossa Shiraz 2016

"98 points - " as underpriced as it is a beautifully crafted wine "  James Halliday

From vines dating back to 1847, hand-picked, open-fermented with 10% whole bunches, matured in French oak (40% new) for 18 months. The price of this classic estate-grown wine has been increased, but not by much, leaving this as underpriced as it is a beautifully crafted wine with a history all of its own. It has power and presence, and above all a purity of taste and structure. The black fruits have waves and crosscurrents of flavour and texture, the finish long and balanced."  98 points - James Halliday
Duke's Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling 2018

The 2017 was named WINE OF THE YEAR by James Halliday.   Now you can buy the Duke's Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling 2018. 

The 2017 was rated 99 points, the highest ever rating for a riesling.  To give you an idea of how much you'd normally need to pay for a 99 point wine, perhaps look at the recent 99 pointers: Penfolds Grange, Cullen Vanya, Henschke Hill of Grace, Best's Thomson Family Shiraz. You won't get change from $175 if you purchase any of those.

Another little interesting fact to note is that this is no one-hit wonder, the previous vintage was Halliday's equal highest rated riesling and on average, it's basically rated the same as Grosset Polish Hill over the last decade, but you need to spend 50% extra to buy the Grosset Polish Hill Riesling. What I'm trying to get at, pound for pound, this is the most highly rated, best value riesling in Australia and it's now only available at Cloudwine. We have limited stocks, so buy while you can, you won't be disappointed.  Anyhow, try this new 2018 before it sells out, and believe me, it will sell out quickly.
S.C. Pannell Basso Garnache 2017
Queensland Wine Show:
"This is Pannell's take on a modern Grenache, which is sourced from McLaren Vale. It's designed as an early release and has no filtration at bottling. It's a beautifully seductive expression of Grenache, with perfumes on the nose and succulent medium-bodied fruit right on the palate. So, so good for current drinking. 93 points."  Ray Jordan, The West Australian Feb 2018

"Here, grenache (garnacha) from McLaren Vale, nouveau styled but with a bit more under the hood. Rich-ish scents of warm berries, faint mocha powder, liquorice, fennel, pepper. Come hither and generous in a way. Soft in the palate, slurpy textured, dark fruit, faint herb, touch of cola, gently sweet then a smudge of chompy tannin followed by licks of pomegranate-esque acidity. It’s got plenty tucked into its medium weight frame and yet the skol factor is very high. You could pause over this in a big glass, or knock a chill into it and drink from a tumbler. One of those totally moreish wines."  Mike Bennie.  The Wine Front
Yarraloch Stephanie's Dream Pinot Noir 2013
"I sat, at the desk, at work, enthralled. This is a wine." Campbell Mattinson

"An outstanding wine in all respects"  James Halliday

80% whole bunch. An outstanding wine in all respects. Ripped with herbs, awash with wood smoke, plush with fruit and undergrowth and strung with tannin. Everything is firm, purposeful, dripping with character. There's a velvety aspect to the texture, for good measure. This is what it's all about.Halliday Wine Companion 2016

"It's smoky. It's herbal. It's strewn with leaves and spices, like a wine windswept, like a savoury storm. It's cherried at heart, of course, sour-cherried, almost cranberried, with streaks of bitterness and spots of stalk, all strung out, all pulling on the wine, all building tension, like points of drama, like it's plotting to mesmerise you. It succeeded. I sat, at the desk, at work, enthralled. This is a wine."Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, 2015

Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Riesling 2018 

"It’s always a good wine, but I feel 2018 is extra-good." 
 Gary Walsh

"It’s always a good wine, but I feel 2018 is extra-good. This sizzles, but it also has texture and complexity, not least given it’s such a young wine. White flowers and fresh squeezed lime, spice, a touch of savoury complexity, flint and crushed stones, pure acidity and coursing length, a lovely quinine-like bite in the aftertaste. It’s so pure, but has an extra dimension of interest, and early drinkability. Fantastic. A toss up between 95 and 96 points. Rated: 95 Points Tasted: Aug18 Alcohol: 12.5% Price: $25 Closure: Screwcap Drink: 2018 - 2038" - Gary Walsh, The Wine Front.
Teusner Avatar Grenache Mataro Shiraz 2015

"a complete, compelling wine - GMS at its best....Glorious" 96 Points. Jane Faulkner

No doubt about, this is a benchmark example of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz.  And when you consider the vine age of the Grenache and Mataro vines are nudging 100 years old, Avatar is probably one of the best value GMS blends not only in Australia, but internationally.  You will never find a French blend like this with 100 year old vines for sub $30.  The 2014 was great, the 2015 vintage is sensational. 

"96 Points. The trio of great Barossa reds (grenache 55%, mataro 25% and shiraz 25%) come together to spend 18 months in seasoned oak before unfurling into a complete, compelling wine - GMS at its best. Light on its feet, with svelte tannins, plenty of substance and depth, though with buoyant flavours of cherries and raspberries, pips and spice, prosciutto and pepper. Glorious. Screwcap. 14.5% alc. To 2028. $45"  Jane Faulkner, Halliday Wine Companion 2019.


Flametree Margaret River Chardonnay 2016

"It's delicious and fascinating without being overpowering" Huon Hooke

"This is a chardonnay you just want to drink and drink."  Campbell Mattinson

"95 Points. Not Flametree's top Chardonnay, but there wouldn't be many complaints if it was. Lightly toasted almond aromas of complexity and charm; the palate is delicate and refined, tautly composed and intense. It's delicious and fascinating without being overpowering. $29"  Huon Hooke, Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine

"Margaret River chardonnay, taking complexity in its stride. That sling of grapefruit, pepped up with stonefruit, fennel and citrus. It’s a killer combination. There’s oak here, and a whisper of reduction, but both are so well played that you barely notice them; they’re like edible wrappers to the real-deal fruit. This is a chardonnay you just want to drink and drink. Not overly intense but it doesn’t need to be. Rated: 91 Points Tasted: May17 Alcohol: 13% Price: $27 Closure: Screwcap Drink: 2017 - 2021"  Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front


Barringwood Classic Cuvee Sparkling 2014

"A strutting sparkling wine, flamboyant and unafraid."  
The gears shift to a stronger pinot role (42%), parlaying with chardonnay (44%) and the rest, meunier. Fuelled, too, by a whooping 36 months on lees (top NV Champagne's go-to) and a sensibly assertive 4g/l of dosage. This is exceptional. The mlf (66%) only adds to the bolshie, truffled richness. Buttered toast, marzipan and a choir of orchard fruits barrel along the salacious mineral seams. Acidity is juicy. A strutting sparkling wine, flamboyant and unafraid.Ned GoodwinHalliday Wine Companion 2019.


Chain of Ponds the Cachet 2013

"A very special wine. 98 Points"
James Halliday

Deep, healthy colour, still with crimson on the rim. The particularly complex vinification was conceived and implemented without a hitch. 47% cabernet sauvignon, 43% shiraz and 10% merlot from three different vineyards with different canopy management and site aspects, different soils, the varieties handled separately and fermented with different procedures. Oak choice and use varied significantly, the sumptuous, black-fruited blend finalised after 20+ months maturation in barrel, then matured for a further 30 months in bottle prior to release. A very special wine. Halliday Rating 98/100. Price when Tasted. $100.00. Drink By 2033.  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2019. 

John Duval Entity Shiraz 2016
“60% Barossa Valley, 40% Eden Valley grapes, open-fermented with submerged cap, matured for 15 months in new (33%) and used French hogsheads. Deeply coloured; this is at once full-bodied and elegant, not a common marriage with young red wines with decades in front of them. The flavours are all black: blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry, earth and licorice. The old vines have also provided ripe tannins, the whole theme resonated with oak a la Grange.” – 97 Points & Special Value.  James Halliday, Halliday Wine Companion 2019. 
Eden Hall Block 4 Shiraz 2015

Rated Equal #1 Barossa Shiraz
Gourmet Traveller Wine assembled Barossa's 61 best Shiraz and organised Australia's big wine scribes, Mike Bennie, Huon Hooke, Nick Stock, Peter Bourne & Toni Paterson to find out which was best.  Included were the big names of Barossa, Amon-Ra, Kalleske, Standish, Yalumba and more.  The wine that stood out was Eden Hall Block 4 Shiraz 2015.

So for my thinking, if you're after an incredibly well priced, high rating Shiraz that holds its own against some of the more highly fancied offerings from Barossa, then this Eden Hall Block 4 Shiraz is for you.  We've knocked the price down this week too and at $35 a bottle, you won't find this cheaper anywhere in Australia.  

2015 Eden Hall Block 4 (A$40) appealed to me with its beautifully aromatic, fresh nose of blue and red fruits. The palate continues in style, with classic Eden Valley elegance, fine tannins and supple balance. Caillard loved it, too. “Fresh red cherry, raspberry, blackberry and liquorice aromas with a touch of aniseed and sage,” he said. “Ripe and expressive wine with redcurrant and blackberry fruits. Fine loose-knit slinky tannins and underlying savoury oak. Attractive fruit density, richness and mineral length.”  Gourmet Traveller Wine
Oakridge Over The Shoulder Rosé 2017

"Rose doesn't come better than this."  James Halliday

"It’s bloody beautiful! Need you know more?"  Gary Walsh

"The innovative blend of 75% pinot noir, 16% pinot meunier and 9% pinot gris has proved to be a brilliant success thanks to the attention to detail in the vinification. Wild strawberry flavours are on intimate terms with the spicy, tangy acidity. Rose doesn't come better than this."  James Halliday (Halliday Wine Companion)

The three Pinots united here – Noir, Meunier and Gris. All for one, and one for all! It’s bloody beautiful! Need you know more? Touch of smoke and wildness, redcurrant and pears, savoury and dry, fine acidity and a little brick dust to the texture, a little fairy dust in the winemaking, perhaps, and an almost earthy but fresh finish of fine length.  The flavour lingers in your mouth. Well sophisticated. And cheap! Rated : 94 Points.   Gary Walsh, The Winefront.

Naked Run The First Clare Valley Riesling 2017

"Flat out delicious. Clare Valley Riesling fanciers should be all over this."  Gary Walsh
An excellent reserved style of riesling, which should age superbly” 
95 Points & 5 Stars Huon Hooke

This is Steve Baraglia’s bit on the side, from his vineyard in Sevenhill. He makes wines at Pikes by day.  Juiciness, but some softness here too, with a pure feel and that freshly squeezed citrus really makes the mouth water. It has length, and a touch of perfume to close. Flat out delicious. Clare Valley Riesling fanciers should be all over this.Rated : 95 Points. Drink : 2018 - 2028+.  Gary Walsh.  The Wine Front.

“Very light colour, with dusty mineral, dried herb and subtle lemon aromas, the palate crisp and lean, lively and dry, refreshing and light. A wine of real refinement albeit on the leaner side. But it has length. An excellent reserved style of riesling, which should age superbly” 95 Points & 5 Stars Huon Hooke

Naked Run The First Clare Valley Riesling 2017 is $19.99 - click here to buy online

Little Giant Barossa Shiraz 2017

"When people ask me What’s A Good Shiraz?
This is now my recommendation."  

92 Points & Top Value Campbell Mattinson

“Barossa Shiraz. The brand is Little Giant, the website address is Little Giants. I deal in the small things. This is a new brand, by the looks, by Fourth Wave Wines. Wine style-wise it tries to out-Torbreck Torbreck. It comes in a short, fat, stump of a bottle. It has a wombat on the label aka a short, fat, stump of an animal. Conversation starter. Interesting. And we’re away.

Barossa Shiraz. Hard to go wrong, and you certainly won’t here. This is an amazingly good buying/drinking option. So dark, so supple, so polished. Boom, as the wannabe cool kids say. Violet, clove, plum and sweet spice. The bounce of boysenberry. Sweet fruit galore. It’s not overly dark in colour terms but it tastes like ink, if that makes sense. It feels good in the mouth but it also feels ready to explode. When people ask me What’s A Good Shiraz? This is now my recommendation.“  92 Points & Top Value Campbell Mattinson




You read the headline correctly, we have a Spanish Tempranillo at $24 a bottle but delivered in a 6-pack timber box!  Perfect for your cellar or for a gift.  The Wine is Capa Tempranillo 2016 and the timber box is pictured to the right.  Such timber boxes are usually reserved for wines above $144 a bottle, not $144 for 6 of them. But look past the packaging and you'll taste a terrific tempranilllo, chock full of flavours of bramble fruits, blueberries and black cherries with toasted oak.  This is medium bodied wine, with ripe tannins and a long finish.  What I'm trying to say is, this is a very easy wine to drink, worth every bit of $24, the timber box is a bonus!

Capa Tempranillo 2016 6-Pack (in a timber box) is $144 - click here to buy online

Rated 99 Points & Best Italian Red Wine

"Among the best Montepulciano D’Abruzzo ever, a champion of analytical and sensory quality simply unattainable and dazzling."

Amaranta Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2014pixel.gif

"The depth of its impenetrable purple-bluish are visually staggering...The extract is maximally concentrated, and its majestic, dense, tannic apex is balanced by the softness, the vivid gustatory acidity and the pulpy native grape, able to compose a flavour of perfect roundness and souplesse. The aroma and taste integrity is absolutely shining, as well as the gloriously juicy and archetypically considerable raw material. Certainly, among the best Montepulciano D’Abruzzo ever, a champion of analytical and sensory quality simply unattainable and dazzling". Rating: 99 Points & Best Italian Red Wine; Luca Maroni; Annuario Dei Migliori Vini Italiani (Best Italian Wines Annual 2016)
WAS $24.75 NOW $16.95!

Beach Road Fiano 2015
The Equal Highest-rated ever Australian Fiano by James Halliday!

Fiano's capacity for a generous viscosity, plying the gums with textural intrigue, along with natural acid retention, even in a warm climate, is on full display. This is not to say that the acidity is shrill. Far from it. White flowers and a potpourri of herbs, driven by a whiff of pungent fennel, drive the aromatic spectrum. Bitter almond and apricot ensue. A jangle of solidly mineral melded to juicy acidity keep the wine purring along.  95 points.  James Halliday
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