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I made the comment in a recent review of a Gundog Estate wine that Matt Burton doesn't make bad wine. It's almost as though he's produced this just to prove what we already know. This is a cracker! Fist pumping, big smiles, large pours and all that jazz...

This is the second release of this label but the first time I've had the chance to have a looksy. From the Hilltops region in NSW, Nebbiolo fruit was pressed off skins after 12 hours and matured in old oak with solids for four months.

If you can't get enthused about this wine, well, you can finish that sentence...

Raspberries, dried rose petals, strawberries and expected cherry. It's juicy and generous with lashings of spice and red earth rolled throughout. The tight acid keeps everything in check to ensure neat lines are followed. It's one of those wines I'd rather drink than write about. Shoulder the person beside you to get a glass first.

Drink now to three years.

93/100

Region: Hilltops
RRP: $40
Source: Sample

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If you are yet to dip your toe into the delicious waters of Saperavi, this would be a smart place to start. A variety gaining some good traction in Australia, this is a beauty.



A captivating aromatic profile to say the least - there's so much going on. Think cola, licorice all sorts, rosella and cedar. Deliciously smooth and supple, game, choc raspberry brownie, cocoa and earth add layers of interest in the mouth. Fine baking spices are sprinkled atop the fruit. Tannins are firmish and you get a sense they are being held tight ready to slowly unfurl in years to come. There's plenty of stories and good times ahead of large glasses of this. Superb drinking!

Best drinking 2020 to a decade plus.

93/100

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $45
Source: Sample

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A fab Laughing Magpie release!



Some dark and brooding fruit plus mocha and dark chocolate. Not one to take half measures, there's some power here and the beauty is in the generosity. Super smooth, there's a lip-smacking flow.  Dried herbs, touches of olive and char raise their head late. The well-balanced palate finishes with dusty and green tea like tannins. Great stuff!

Drink now to ten years.

93/100

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $29
Source: Sample

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Big framed Merlot. Very much an 'old' style, that is, straight up and down with not too much variance. A bit like the old line and length Glenn McGrath used to bowl - reliable stuff.

It's a good drink but interest factor isn't really challenged. All the usual varietal characteristics raise their hand with the finish being dense and drying. A wine that would need food by its side - a roast or steak I'm thinking.

Drink now to eight years,

90/100

Region: Mudgee
RRP: $38
Source: Sample

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Shiraz Mataro is a rare blend but one I'd like to see more of. I even made one back in 2014, affectionately known as Shitaro, but that's another story. Here's a wine you could settle in with very easily.

Such an interesting wine, although the overt oak loses some favour when casting a critical eye. Look past that and it's a hive of activity. Aromas of cola, sarsaparilla, spice cupboard, cedar and mocha. Earthy with dark fruits, dark berries and a char to taste, there's lots of fruitcake goodness about it. Generous, full-bodied and seated very much so on the mid and back palate, baking spices and flashes of pepper linger on a long a moreish finish. A day on and it looked better again.

Drink now to a decade+

92/100

Region: Barossa
RRP: $65
Source: Sample

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The Sands of Time label is a nod to the ancient deep sands which have a significant impact on the McLaren Vale region. The flagship Shiraz, the fruit is selected from the best of five vineyard blocks.

Coming from the Home Block which was grafted to Tahbilk Shiraz clone in 2008, the wine spent 20 months in oak.

Cloves, chocolate and touches of fennel conspire with dark berry and plum fruit. It's quite a relaxed wine to taste - it's not angling for a particular personae, just one which merely feels happy in its own skin. That chocolatey goodness sits at the core with some earthiness late. All up, it's a solid Shiraz.

Drink now to ten years.

91/100

Region: McLaren Vale
RRP: $30
Source: Sample

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If you have a mixed crowd around a table and seek a wine sure to please, head in this direction. It's such an easy drinking Sangiovese to suit a range of foods too.

Juicy and beautifully fragrant, all the varietal boxes are ticked. Red berries and cherry fruit, a smattering of pepper and spice with dried herb hanging on long. Lots of happiness lies within this well priced Sangiovese.

Drink now to three years.

91/100

Region: King Valley
RRP: $21.50
Source: Sample

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A generous and rounded Marsanne coming at you from the Yarra Valley.

Apricot kernel, honeycomb, yellow flowers, melted butter, almond meal and lemon zest roll out an interesting and intriguing welcome mat. The fruit fills the mouth well although the acid protrudes a fraction more than I'd prefer. Fine ginger like spice rides a long finish. A glass would go best with a creamy pasta dish or chicken.

Drink well now but I'd love to revisit this in five to six years.

89/100

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $27
Source: Sample

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Tempranillo has really found a neat groove in the rocky outcrops of the Granite Belt. It's a variety that seems to continue to thrive and improve and is made consistently well throughout the region. This is a top example.

Tense and sapping, dark plum and some purple fruit jostle for attention early. Some char and charcuterie roll along with a late rush of pepper and earthiness. Firm tannins to finish, though it softened with more time in the glass. A fabulous food wine.

Drink now to six years.

93/100

Region: Granite Belt
RRP: $40
Source: Sample

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TarraWarra have two rows of each variety blended precisely to deliver a fabulous drink with texture and savoury appeal.

Peachy and apricot fruit plus honeysuckle are balanced beautifully with good weight and acidity. A wine leaning itself more to creamy, chicken or pasta type dishes, there's a good vibe about its delivery. Ginger spices sit pretty on a long and moreish finish - another beauty from TarraWarra.

Drink now to five years.

92/100

Region: Yarra Valley
RRP: $30
Source: Sample

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