Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir and Hunter Valley Wines


Last night we opened the last of the reserve Pinot Noir I bought at Coldstream Hills (Yarra Valley, Victoria) last December.

It was decidedly a brilliant drink; a very nice tasting wine – slightly more complex than the non-reserve (which was tasted repeatedly in earlier months this year, usually at restaurants in the city).


We used Riedel Bordeaux glasses and shared the bottle in the company of our new neighbours.  We followed up with a 2002 Capercaillie (Lovedale, Hunter Valley region, NSW) ‘Ceilidh’ Shiraz (in Riedel Shiraz glasses) which was a perfect compliment to the slightly lighter Pinot taste.

We’d been keeping the Capercaillie since 2005 and was the last of a half case. To finish the evening, we opened a new bottle of Tatler’s (Lovedale, Hunter Valley, NSW) 2006 ‘The Sticky’ Semillon Botrytis and compared it to another Hunter Valley producer – ‘Emma’s Cottage’ who produced their own Botrytis dessert wine called ‘Perfect’.

The Tatler wins by a small margin (owning to the intricate balance of fruits in their dessert wine). Another top night!

A Visit to Clonakilla


On Saturday we visited Clonakilla out in Murrumbateman just outside of Canberra (outside the Australian National Territory).

Clonakilla has been successfully operating for a few decades now (I believe they began back in the late 70s) and have perfected arguably one of the best Shiraz/Viogner blends in the region.

We tasted the 2006 vintage and were not disappointed. It is rather hard to tell how it will age, but I’m willing to bet two bottles that it will improve and the Shiraz will mature into a well balanced and complex Shiraz. The viogner adds an interesting twist to what would be a very competitive Shiraz vintage.

Luckily (and I think for the first time?) Clonakilla have also bottled straight Syrah (which is normally blended) so we will be able to appreciate a side-by-side comparison some years down the track.

They have also started experimenting with a Bordeaux style blend, the ‘2006 Ballinderry’ which sits well on the palate (a very good ‘easy’ drinking wine) which is on par with similarly priced Bordeaux labels from France.

The Bordeaux is of a less distinguished taste (as Cabernet Sauvignon & blends tend to be when compared next to Shiraz/Syrah).

I also rate the Hilltops Shiraz which was very tidy and reasonable given the quality. If weight and carry on restrictions were not as much of an issue, I’m sure I would have purchased about four of these.

All in all, we went away with 2x Bordeaux (@ $35ea), 2x Shiraz Viogner and 1x Syrah (both at @75ea). Welcome additions to the collection. For the record, I’m a big fan of the wines and of the pricing. Recommended.

Wine Reviews and Tasting