Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dec 12 2016

Penfolds Grange 2012 and Penfolds St Henri 2013 – Make the list of the 20 most “extraordinary”red wines in Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate

Posted on December 12, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Lists of top wines published by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate always grab headlines. The 2012 Penfolds Grange was featured on The Wine Advocate’s top 20 most “extraordinary” red wines, a list created from wines tasted in the bumper October issue that covered top drops from the USA, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia and Greece. It shared company with the 2013 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz.

Reviewer Lisa Perrotti-Brown said that the “2012 Grange and the 2013 St. Henri are right up there with the very best vintages of these wines ever made.”

Given the accolades almost all vintages of the St Henri regularly receive from top Australian and international wine reviewers, I’m impressed that you can continue to find the current vintage for less than $100. (We have the 2012 vintage listed on the Cellarit Wine Market for $89.99). Perrotti-Brown agrees, making the following observation: “St. Henri is where the smart money is these days. The 2013 is right up there in terms of quality with the gorgeous 2010. No, it’s not cheap, but I do believe it thus far remains fairly priced at a fraction of the cost of Grange. An extraordinary wine in its own right, the St. Henri 2012 should reward the patient and cellar for many, many years.”

Of course, each release of Penfolds Grange tests new price points, but given the average price of the Chateau Latour 2012, also on the list, was $2,888 a bottle, you have to keep the price tag for Australia’s most famous wine in perspective!

Here’s Perrotti-Brown’s stunning 99 point review of the 2012 vintage:

The 2012 Grange comes from just two sub-regions of South Australia this year: Barossa Valley (the majority) and McLaren Vale. This makes a lot of sense since 2012 was a cracking year in both of these areas, producing a number of extraordinary wines. As usual, this Grange contains a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, just 2%. Very deep purple-black in color, it opens on the nose with complex earthy/meaty/savory notes,.. [Read More]

Nov 11 2015

Masterclass: Billy Button and Mayford Wines – Putting the Alpine Valleys Region on the Map

Posted on November 11, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Two very talented winemakers, Jo Marsh of Billy Button and Eleana Anderson of Mayford, are neighbours and good friends in the beautiful Alpine Valleys wine region, an area that covers the foothills of the Victorian alps and borders with King Valley to the west and Beechworth to the north. Last week the pair shared the stage at a very interesting masterclass at Different Drop in Pyrmont.

We were welcomed with a glass of the 2015 Billy Button ‘The Torment’.. [Read More]

Apr 04 2015

The Dynamic Wineries of Santorini

Posted on April 04, 2015 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Ironically the dire state of Greek economy has actually helped spur a renaissance in Greek’s most prestigious wine region – the picturesque Cycladic island of Santorini, about 250 km southeast of Athens.

Markos Kafouros, president of Santo Wines, a wine cooperative of about 1,000 active small growers, told the Wine Spectator’s Kim Marcus that “Because of the economic crisis, a lot of young people are cultivating grapes.” (Greek Revival: A modernizing wine industry lights the way in this ancient land by Kim Marcus,.. [Read More]

Aug 08 2014

Tasmanian Sparkling: The Art of Creating a Signature Style

Posted on August 08, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Tasmania Unbottled Sparkling Masterclass with Huon Hooke

This week I had the good fortune to attend the Tasmania Unbottled Masterclass on sparkling wine. Moderated by wine critic Huon Hooke, the session provided some wonderful insights into how Tasmania’s leading winemakers create their signature sparkling styles.

Non Vintage is really Multi Vintage

Jansz’s head winemaker Natalie Fryar opened her remarks by stating that the term “non vintage” (NV) is a bit of a misnomer… [Read More]

May 05 2014

4 Wines Elevated to Exceptional Category in Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine VI

Posted on May 05, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Every five years wine auction house Langton’s updates its Classification of Australian Wine. To be considered, a wine must have 10 vintages behind it so that its track record and reputation, both of which are measured through market presence, consistency, volume of demand and price realisations, can be properly assessed.

The 6th and most recent classification, announced this month, includes 139 wines. Only 34 wines were included in the inaugural classification of 1990, so the impressive number of wines on the current list can be read as a testament to the growing maturity and prestige of the Australian wine market… [Read More]

Feb 02 2014

Best’s Great Western Dolcetto – Australia’s next Italian varietal star?

Posted on February 02, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Today more and more Australian wineries are producing Italian red varieties. Consumers now have the opportunity to buy very good Australian examples of sangiovese and nebbiolo, for example, and often the best compare favourably with even the finest Italian Chiantis, Barolos and Barbarecos.

Dolcetto has been slower to capture the wine lover’s imagination in Australia and in its north-western Italian home of Piemonte. Commonly referred to in Italy as a workhorse grape because it produces easy-drinking reds, in the mountainous slopes of Piemonte dolcetto ripens much earlier than the more fickle nebbiolo and barbera… [Read More]

Nov 11 2011

A Few Interesting Facts about French Champagne

Posted on November 11, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

With the festive season fast approaching, many of us are thinking about stocking up on French Champagne. And why not? The soaring Australian dollar has made Champagne a lot more affordable, and the selection of fine Champagnes available in Australia has never been better.

Champagne is synonymous with celebration and sparkling wine is undoubtedly the most famous style of wine in the world. So popular, in fact, that less than one in 12 bottles of sparkling wine sold each year is actually a bottle of French Champagne!.. [Read More]

Jul 07 2011

Buy Wine Ideas: Aged Australian Riesling – Beautiful Expressions of Terroir

Posted on July 07, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

As the Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman notes “Australia makes a unique style of Riesling that shows off the lovely stone fruit character of the grape, often weaving in floral, citrus and mineral flavors, hanging them all on a dry frame.” (Tasting Highlights: Australian Riesling by Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator, 23 February 2005)

Australia’s reputation as a great producer of dry riesling was forged in the 1980s and 90s with the emergence of wonderful rieslings from the Clare and Eden Valley, produced by top names including Grosset,.. [Read More]

Mar 03 2011

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Master Class

Posted on March 03, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Last Friday NZ Wine Online hosted a Sauvignon Blanc Master Class at the Royal Automobile Club in Sydney. I always enjoy evenings when the winemakers are on hand to discuss the wine, so I listened with great interest to winemakers John Hancock from Trinity Hill of the North Island’s Hawkes Bay region and Glenn Thomas from Tupari Wines, which is situated in the Awatere Valley in Marlborough in the north of the South Island.

Of the nine wines we tasted that evening most were from the Marlborough region… [Read More]

Feb 02 2011

Yalumba The Signature: Celebrating Tradition, Culture & The Best of Vintage

Posted on February 02, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In a sense, Yalumba’s The Signature, a cabernet sauvignon/shiraz blend first released in 1962,  reads like a history of the winery. Each vintage is named in honour of an employee or person who has made a significant contribution to culture and traditions of the company.

The Signature itself holds a very special place not only in the history of Yalumba but in the winemaking history of Australia.  As the winery notes, “In a market largely obsessed with single-varietal wines, Yalumba has remained steadfast in its commitment to that most Australian of wine styles,.. [Read More]