Last Wednesday I sipped my way around the annual Australia Wine Tasting at The Mansion House on Dawson Street. 30 out of 65 Australian wine regions were represented - a wide range in terms of climatic influence and style. The spotlight fell in the middle of the room on The Women in Wine Focus Table, an impressive exhibit from some of the female winemakers leading the way. A number practice organic and biodynamic viticulture, a rapidly growing and very necessity trend.

One such winemaker is Stephanie Toole from Mount Horrock’s Winery. The ‘Watervale’ McLaren Vale Riesling 2017 is pleasant and understated, demonstrating the elegance Australian Riesling can achieve. I noted slight oxidation on the nose although this didn’t reappear on the palate. This is by no means a flaw in the wine, in fact, Toole, well on top of the current trends, employs minimal intervention (no acidification, no fining) and her vineyard is certified organic. This can often cause wine to display a soft aroma of vinegar. To taste, this was bone dry with each layer of flavour accentuating this further- lemon pith, sour grapefruit, bitter almond and a final layer of crushed stones. This is light but masculine and would pair well with oysters or clams. Prominent acidity will support long ageing. One to crack open in the warmer months!

Toole’s ‘Alexander’ Shiraz was just as graceful with dense cooked black fruit (blackcurrant, black cherries) coming through in abundance along with a hint of star anise. The is one of those wines with the kind of complexity in both flavour and texture that extends the tasting experience, with full and generous tannins carrying sweet spice and black pepper into a long, memorable finish… Drink with grilled or charred beef and vegetables like aubergine and mushrooms.

Another star for me was Vanya Cullen who resides in Wilyabrup, Margaret River, where she runs her vineyards and winery at a picturesque site distinguished by steep cliffs. Cullen took over the position as chief winemaker and managing director of the estate in 1999. Her vineyards are certified both organic and biodynamic: an approach which prioritises sustainable soil fertility (no additions of yeasts or acids) and works in accordance with the rhythms of nature. Taste the wines and you’ll agree the care and effort is well worth it!

Cullen’s ‘Red Moon Mangan Vineyard’ Malbec and Petit Verdot 2017 appeared bright in the glass with that familiar magenta rim from the Malbec. The nose is delicate, developing notes of red cherries. Bold tannins and plenty of freshness makes this a real contender for ageing and time will help the flavours mellow. We currently stock the 2016 Mangan Vineyard (Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot) which James Halliday awarded a smacking 96 points! “A 78/15/7% blend, matured in French oak (34% new) for 7 months. Bright crimson-purple hue; a super-fragrant bouquet, followed by an immaculately balanced and structured palate full of juicy red fruits. Terrific value, drink any time over the next 20 years.”

We stock a range of wines by both Cullen and Toole. Please enquire within The Corkscrew for any of the wines mentioned.

Riesling Vineyard (organic, biodynamic) at Mount Horrock's