My beloved L is Australian. This Christmas she took me and the kids back to her homeland for a big family holiday. We had Christmas at her brother’s big house in northern NSW, and then spent a week in Queensland on the GC. We had a fantastic time with friends and family, enjoying swimming pools, BBQs, beaches, theme parks, and river rockpool jumping.

It was a great opportunity to try a bunch of unfamiliar Aussie wines. We had no inside knowledge on any of the wines we bought. L and I just liked the labels…

Ad Hoc Chardonnay

Ad Hoc Hen and Chickens Chardonnay Pemberton WA 2014 – 13% Average, some citrus, not as oaky as the staff claimed in the Bottle-o.

Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mataro

Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mataro SA 2013 – 14.5%. Soft ripe black plum stonefruit firm tannins refined. Heaps of extract. I have never tried a wine made from the Mataro grape.

Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz

Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz McLaren Vale 2012 – 14.5. Velvety and dense nose of spicy fruit and dark choc. Great structure, fruit weight, tannins and acid. Long. Choc. Very impressive wine. Would be fantastic from 2017+.

Butterball Chardonnay

Evans & Tate Butterball Chardonnay Margaret River WA 2015 – 13.5%. Fine tropical melon and nectarine, round soft and creamy with a subdued acid line.

Cassegrain Verdelho 2015

Cassegrain White Label Verdelho Central Ranges Hunter Valley NSW 2015 – 12.5%. Fragrant Light fruity and vibrant. Good acidity. Delicious

Grapevine Shiraz 2014

McWilliams On The Grapevine Shiraz NSW 2014 – 14%. Rhone-ish but bigger. Soft and full. Savoury on nose. Peppery spice. Licorice. Fat.

Ninth Island NV

Ninth Island Sparkling NV Tasmania – A blend of Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier. I’m guessing in a very Brut style. Crisp attack with vanilla creamy mid-palate citrus finish

Mad Fish Chardonnay 2015

Mad Fish Gold Turtle Chardonnay Margaret River 2015 – 13%. Light pears, somewhat bitter overall. Some may say elegant, I say thin. This was released too young.

Pepper Tree Chardonnay 2013

Pepper Tree Chardonnay Orange 2013 – 13%. No notes.

De Bortoli Shiraz 2014

De Bortoli Gumboot Shiraz Heathcote 2014 – 14.5% Round warm nose of dark fruit. Lean and stalky flavours and mouthfeel to begin with. Grippy tannins. Licorice. Bitter finish. I liked this more than the softer, fatter McWlliams, but it would have benefitted from the sweetness of riper fruit.

Penfolds Reserve Chardonnay 2014

Penfolds Reserve Chardonnay 2014 – 12% Adelaide austere refreshing light lemon citrus flavours. Lightly aromatic.


Champagne Bollinger at the revolving restaurant atop the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Delicious! Local sparkling doesn’t come close.

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