Sunday, November 29, 2009


I just want to start this piece by relaying a couple of impressions I've heard on the Adelaide Hilton from passing tourists over the years. The Hilton, of course, is the location of Adelaide's most iconic restaurant The Grange, where our most famous chef Cheong Liew works.

1.- From German backpackers:- "We've travelled around the world and never seen a Hilton Hotel as ugly as the one in Adelaide." (pictured right)

2.- From a country visitor to her young daughters:- "Look kids the Hilton, just like Paris Hilton."

Around a month ago Cheong Liew announced he'd be leaving The Grange, to which the Hilton responded they'd be closing the restaurant altogether in mid-December.

A lot of people around Adelaide like to believe Cheong's reason lies somewhere behind the critical review his restaurant received by a certain John Lethlean earlier in the year, a fact I'm sure both parties deny. Anyway, I now feel a certain bond with Mr Lethlean after his recent piece on Adelaide's Ristorante Auge, a fine dining venue I've long thought to be highly over rated by the South Australian Restaurant and Catering Association.

To begin the evening the four of us were seated in The Grange's casual lounge, where, after a quick glance over the wine list it was decided nothing would be more appropriate as an aperitif than four glasses of Chandon's Non-Vintage Brut (especially considering we had a $260 a head dinner in front of us). Much to my surprise the waiter returned with a bottle of Chandon's 2005 ZD Blanc de Blancs (reviewed recent post) and started to pour the wine unannounced. I mentioned to my guests it was a different wine, to which the waiter agreed, but a superior one. This unforced upscaling was a pleasant start to the night, particularly as I believe the ZD Blanc de Blancs to be among the top handful of Aussie aperitifs.

So what does Adelaide's leading chef serve at an eight course, $260 a head dinner? The answer is as follows.

1. Bopiah
- 2009 Paracombe Sauvignon Blanc

Bopiah is a Malaysian (hope I'm right) seafood spring roll. Rather than being coated in deep fried pastry, it's covered in something more resembling a pancake, made with purposeful airholes/netting and garnished with heavily fried garlic chards. The result was a wonderful combination of soft texture from the pancake and crunchy fried garlic. Inside was a delicious Asian style soy/garlic/ginger sauce with just a hint of spice/chilli. Of the seafood lobster was the most obvious. The Paracombe Sauvignon Blanc, usually one of my favourites from the Adelaide Hills, was delicious, containing the inherently fruity banana and tropical fruit notes I've come to love from the maker. It's even better than the 2008 and made a superb accompaniment to the dish, with soft acidity gently dragging out and weaving through a persistent heat. I'll be hunting down a bottle for a future review soon. Great dish.

2. The Four Dances of the Sea:- Soused snook, calamari squid ink noodle, octopus aioli, spiced prawn
- 2008 Maximus Viognier

A Cheong signature dish, and a fantastic, beautifully arranged one at that. Each dish gradually gained in intensity and power, enthralling the palate more with each movement. Although I consumed it in one bite, the calamari layered with squid ink noodles (garnished with fish eggs from memory) were a real highlight, with magnificent depth of complex flavour and texture. I thought a McLaren Vale Viognier might've been a tricky match for this dish, but boy was I wrong! The 2008 Maximus is a full, juicy and bell-clear viognier with its restrained, pungent varietal fruits providing a mere undercarriage to a palate driven by mineral characters. Great stuff all round.

3. Bouillabaisse custard in saffron fish consomme, fried pacific oyster, beetroot ocean trout
- 2005 Rockford Local Growers Semillon

Served in a small tea cup, the fish consomme initially presented an over powering aniseed/star anise flavour, but when blended with the bouillabaisse custard (which sat in a thin layer at the bottom of the cup), the whole package evened itself out beautifully, revealing very gentle, understated characters. Especially sensuous was the texture. The raw ocean trout had been soaked in beetroot juices until it became a vivid crimson/fuscia/pink colour, creating a real visual treat. It was topped off with lightly battered (from memory) and fried pacific oyster meat. A friend of mine stated she found it a little too fishy, but I still enjoyed it. I reviewed the semillon back in April (90pts), but it seems it's developed an extra degree of honeyed, buttery undertones since then, which I don't think matched the dish perfectly for me. Better pick for the consomme than the trout though.

4. Salt Baked Maggi Beer Chicken, slow cooked abalone
- 2006 Voyager Estate Chardonnay

A classic 'east meets west' dish with a very asian style abalone paired with a much more traditional cut of chicken. The chicken was brilliantly soft, fluffy and juicy, but the abalone was inherently salty. Texturally the abalone was a treat, kind of sitting somewhere between good octopus meat and shitake mushroom, but it didn't present a lot of seafood flavour, as its rich, Asian style dressing stole the show somewhat. In fact, the whole dish seemed a little rich for the Voyager 2006 Chardonnay, which also showed a touch of candied fruit. The 2007 would've been preferable (for wine lovers) or even a pinot noir for the food.

5. Mamak Style Lobster, coconut fish, basil spatzle, flathead mousse
- 2005 Greenock Creek 'Cornerstone' Grenache

For me this was my least favourite dish. It was a good dish, and I note the development in intensity from the previous offerings, but it didn't quite work for me. You're basically looking at a Malaysian curry style lobster tail sitting on top of basil infused Greek pasta. Admittedly it's a very ambitious, unique creation, typifying Cheong's east meets west mantra, but it just didn't fall into place for me. Neither did the Greenock Creek, which despite weighing in at 16% alcohol wasn't too alcoholic, but I did find it very ripe, sweetly fruited yet developing and currant like. The natural acidity of the Barossa grenache worked well with the curry's heat though, drawing out further yet pleasant intensity, in what was a bit of a surprise for me.

6. Roasted suckling pig, salted cod with almond, sage and pineapple
- 2002 R.B.J. Theologicum

A fine dish after the previous one did kind of let most people on the table down. The pig meat was awesome; soft, supple and framed with delectable crackling - crispy and salty - a fine play on texture. The salted cod filling too was good, but there didn't seem to be much there. I wasn't too sure about another Barossan southern Rhone, this one seemed rather developed and perhaps a tad tiring, with rather dry barnyard and savoury currant fruit/earth characters marked by still fairly strong acids. For interest the RBJ Theologicum was a bit of cult local Barossa wine (now discontinued) which was established by Chris Ringland, Rolf Binder and Russell Johnstone.

7. Cheese - Delice de Cre'mier, Tomme de Chevre, Come de Reserve, Epoisses
- 2004 Longview Vineyard Block 11 Cabernet Sauvignon

I'm not much of a cheese expert, but I know this collection of cheese was quite exceptional. The Come de Reserve especially, which was a very nutty flavoured hard cheese, was delicious. It also possessed an astringency which made it literally scream out for red wine, which is where the 2004 Longview Block 11 came into play magnificently. I'm not normally a big fan of Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon and the Block 11 is certainly at the upper end of the pricing scale for the style (around $70 I think). It seemed to me to either be developing fast or hitting an awkward stage - it was very savoury, a bit blocky, dusty, leafy and leathery, but it didn't quite come together well. All the same it was a superb hard cheese wine.

8. Imperial Rice and Sago Square, anglaise sauce with Cinnamon ice cream and fruit compote
- 2007 De Bortoli Noble One Semillon

The rice and sago square didn't quite work for me, but I'm not sure if it's really my kind of thing. The cinnamon ice cream however, was fantastic - light and gently spicy, but I don't know why it was green? This was also my first encounter with the 2007 Noble One. I liked it, but not as much as the '06. It just seemed to lack the length, penetrating flavour and refreshing acids of its predecessor. Having said that it was the ninth 100ml pour of a wine I'd had that night....

To finish off we enjoyed a pour of the Morris Old Premium Muscat, taking the total bill to a bit over $290 per person (with $29 worth of water!). The Old Premium Muscat is an incredibly thick, heavy, concentrated and intense muscat in the classical Old Premium style, with a strong accent of sultana/currant/raisin flavour. Personally I think it lacks a bit of the vitality and character of its tokay sibling, but I'm more of a tokay man myself. The tokay was unavailable unfortunately.


In summary, I can't fault the experience at The Grange. The setting, atmosphere and service were all very good, especially the service. Cheong even comes out towards the end of the night to talk to diners at their own table. Although ambitious and unique (by my standards) the food was of a high standard, but it just might've been a bit much for me, both stylistically and price wise. I walked away thinking maybe my palate isn't yet ready for such extravagant, expensive culinary delights, which made my wallet happy. Because indeed, my main grievance with The Grange is cost, or value for money. It didn't surprise me at all when the waiter told us they'd been very quiet for some time, until Cheong announced his resignation. Hey, this is Adelaide folks!

I give it 9/10


 - Clare Valley, SA
 - $47-$63
 - Cork
 - 14.0%alc

The red centrepiece of Australian fizz master Ed Carr's collection is the Leasingham Clasic Clare Sparkling Shiraz. After outstanding releases from the 1996 (94pts), 1997 (93pts) and 1998 (95pts) vintages, no wine was made until 2002. With such fine selection processes in place and Ed Carr at the helm, it's little wonder I consider it Australia's best vintage dated sparkling red.

Drawing its fruit from the acclaimed Schobers and Provis vineyards, the 2002 Classic Clare is richly fruited with vivid, heady scents of liqueur cassis, redcurrant, blueberry and smoky game meats sitting alongside notes of vanilla/chocolate oak and cinnamon. Absurdly rich and palate staining, it's sinister and dark yet intensely vibrant, with a concentrated, liqueur-like expression of small berry fruit, chocolate and menthol flavours extending towards a persistent sweet/sourness offset by lingering dryness. There's a very firm whack of astringent tannins for what's nearly an 8 year old wine, suggesting it hasn't even reached the halfway point of its development.

ü A rather extravagant, hedonistic sparkling red which is deceptively young, brash and intense. It's just begging for another 10 years to encourage further depth, integration and savoury complexity (I must concur it was a fairly stained cork though). Drink to 2020.
93 points

Sunday, November 22, 2009


 - Yarra Valley, VIC
 - $26-$34
 - Screwcap
 - 12.0%alc

I wouldn't normally recommend two and a half year old Australian sauvignon blanc to anyone, with the main exception being some of our better wooded styles. De Bortoli's 2007 Sauvignon is certainly one I would recommend, which clearly states the complex developed characters attainable through short term cellaring for wooded sauvignon blanc.

Very toasty/nutty on the nose, with pronounced straw, lemon and mineral aromas backed by a suggestion of brine, its compelling fragrance leads into a smooth, rich and savoury palate of restrained fruit character. Finishing with penetrative length and zesty acids, it leaves lasting impressions of briney/salty/seaweed and smoky notes in an almost Islay Malt-like fashion. Complexity and idiosyncrasy define its unique flavour; whether it's derived more through winemaker, bottle age or perhaps other influences I'm unsure, but it's complemented by enough texture, length and acidity to genuinely enthrall the palate.

üA highly original sauvignon blanc unique to the Australian scene. I strongly recommend this to brave, adventurous drinkers, but consume within 12 months (just to be on the safe side). Drink to 2010.
93 points

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It's been a while since I put anything food related (or anything other than wine reviews) on this site, so here's a brief overview of a simple seafood platter I put together for Beck's recent birthday. It's very easy to make, requiring very little preparation or professional technique. It's just a shame about the cost price!

Wines for the day were two of Beck's favourites; the Non-Vintage Jansz and Bridgewater Mill's 2004 Chardonnay. I would've preferred the Jansz Rose with a Heggies or Freycinet Riesling but hey, it wasn't my birthday!

1a. Oysters Natural
(Already consumed in picture) Served with lime and pepper.

1b. Oysters Natural
Served with a slither of avocado, minced tomato, lime, cracked pepper and fresh coriander.

1c. Oysters Cooked
Cooked with sweet chilli sauce, grated mozzarella and spring onion.

1d. Oysters Kilpatrick
Cooked with bacon and worcestershire sauce.

2a. Salmon Steak
Cubed salmon steak, lightly seared on two sides and complemented by salt and pepper with soy dipping sauce.

2b. Smoked Salmon
Served on fresh baguette bread with cream cheese.

3. Australian Banana Prawns
Marinated in garlic, butter, salt, pepper and chives, then pan-fried.

4. Blue Swimmer Crab Meat Vol au Vents
Crab meat vol au vents with chilli basil rose sauce, garnished with lemon/lime and chives, then lightly baked

So there you have it; a light seafood platter so simple to prepare even I can do it! I just wish it wasn't so darn expensive!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


 - Southern Victoria/Tasmania
 - $29-$43
 - Crown Seal
 - 12.5%alc

One of Chandon's most interesting wines is the ZD Blanc de Blancs. FYI, blanc de blancs refers to a wine made entirely from chardonnay grapes, while ZD refers to zero dosage. Zero dosage means the wine was made without the addition of a sweetener or liqueur (dosage), which results in a very dry style of sparkling wine.

Typical of Chandon, the 2005 ZD Blanc de Blancs is a visual delight; revealing plentiful, extremely fine and racy bead topped off by a foamy head. Lively notes of lemon, nectarine, grapefruit and soft bread with underlying quirky (oyster-shell?) complexities announce the aroma, leading into a very crisp, astoundingly dry and shapely palate with an austere, steely finish. There's wonderful purity and tightness to its white fruit/lemon flavour, which is accentuated by slightly sour citric acids and a dry, defining effervescence which wipes out everything in sight, leaving a lasting impression of adults-only refreshment.

üRounding out a great year for Chandon's vintage sparkling whites, the 2005 ZD Blanc de Blancs is a seriously dry sparkling wine of splendid balance and focus. Drink to 2012.
94 points

Sunday, November 15, 2009


(Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot)
 - Eden Valley/Barossa Valley, SA
 - $30-$53
 - Screwcap
 - 14.5%alc

Henschke is a historically significant, family owned producer with an enviable reputation and a very loyal following. For my tastes their most consistent recent performers have been the Louis Semillon, Julius Riesling, Mount Edelstone Shiraz and the Keyneton Estate Euphonium.

The 2006 Keyneton Estate opens to glorious scents of pepper, cassis, plums and spicy cedar/vanilla oak with a controlled whiff of eucalyptus. Smooth and plush on entry, a fine extract of grainy, grippy tannins coat its medium-full bodied dark plum, blackberry, cedar and herb flavours, finishing with intensifying leafy/dusty tones cleverly imparted by its cabernet franc component. Its approachable, quite frankly delicious palate contains the complementary balance of varietals which has blessed all recent Euphoniums.

üThis is what I call a clever Aussie blend; it eloquently displays shiraz flavour, cabernet sauvignon structure, merlot plushness and cabernet franc lasting impression. It's narrowly the best Keyneton Estate since 2002 (95pts). Drink to 2021.
93 points


 - Lower Hunter Valley, NSW
 - $20-$33
 - Screwcap
 - 11.0%alc

Tyrrell's produce Australia's most prized collection of semillon. Their range begins with the very affordable Old Winery and Lost Block labels, peaks at the top with the mighty Vat 1, and also incorporates a range of superb single vineyard selections. The introduction of screwcaps across the entire range is only going to improve the standing of these already proud Australian wines.

A distinctly young looking clear/pale straw colour, the 2004 Stevens presents an even perfume representative of both youthful freshness and clean development. Its bright lemon/lime citrus and straw aromas are backed by a flinty edge, with just a hint of honeyed sweetness showing through. Mineral accented and very refreshing, the squeaky palate delivers its lemon and melon flavours with precision and clarity, finishing tight and dry with toasty undertones, pungent rubbery qualities and chalky grapefruit-like acids.

üHaving developed evenly and relatively slowly across the last 5 years, this $25 semillon should be a great buy for your cellar. Thanks to its screwcap I can say that with confidence. Drink to 2018.
93 points

Saturday, November 14, 2009


 - South Australia
 - $6-$14
 - Screwcap
 - 14.5%alc

Yalumba is Australia's leading practitioner of viognier. I've often found their entry level Y-Series Viognier a little too tart and flabby for my tastes, but the 2008 obviously impressed the tasting panel of the Adelaide Review Hot 100 (chaired by a certain A. Jefford), who included it in the top half of their 100 selections.

Opening to an attractively varietal nose devoid of overt pungency, its peach fuzz and apricot pastry aromas also reveal notes of tangerine and spirit. Its smooth and creamy palate enters with fullness and surprising sophistication, announcing apricot, orange citrus and mineral flavours with just a trace of phenolic acids evident at the finish.

ü For a $7 white this is incredibly luscious in both flavour and texture, but I think it should be drunk young to retain necessary freshness. Oh yeah, the new label works well for me too. Value plus. Drink to 2010.
88 points

Friday, November 13, 2009


 - South Australia
 - $4-$12
 - Screwcap
 - 11.5%alc

Riverland based Angove may be best known for an extremely popular, sweetish-pink rose (Nine Vines), but I also find their Long Row wines offer pretty sound drinking for under $10.

This lightly scented sauvignon blanc reveals thin aromas of tinned pineapples, gooseberry and citrus, with a fairly uncomplicated yet rather juicy, generous palate. It's not hugely varietal or defined but it does show genuine texture and balance to its granny smith apple flavour, accompanied by a brisk, refreshing finish punctuated by lemony/citric acids.

ü The 2009 Long Row is a pretty darn good, cleanly balanced generic white for $5 really. Keep your expectations low and this simple savvy might really surprise you. Drink to 2010.
86 points

Thursday, November 12, 2009


 - Yarra Valley, VIC
 - $14-$22
 - Screwcap
 - 13.5%alc

To complement their 2008 Windy Peak Pinot Noir (88pts), which stands virtually unopposed as Australia's best $10 pinot, De Bortoli also released a delicious Gulf Station Pinot Noir from 2008, which might just be Australia's best $20 pinot.

Laden with perfumed aromas of cherries, forest fruits and cinnamon, its fruit forward and sweet vanilla oak scented nose precedes a genuinely varietal palate framed by sour edged acidity. Its supple cherry and sour plum flavours develop into a lightly spiced finish, accompanied by undertones of clove-like oak residing beneath a soft wave of prickly tannin.

üGive this an hour in the decanter and you'll have one of the best $15 pinots you could fathom. Let's just say I can't wait for the release of De Bortoli's premier 2008 pinots. Drink to 2012.
90 points

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


 - Tamar Valley, TAS
 - $25
 - Screwcap (Stelvin-Lux)
 - 11.9%alc

If you're visiting McLaren Vale in search of some memorable white wine, I'd strongly recommend calling in to Samuel's Gorge, whose current releases of riesling and gewurztraminer are arguably the region's best. However, the great irony is that both wines originate from Tasmania!

The first vintage of Justin McNamee's Relbia Riesling opens to lightly floral aromas of musky grapefruits and lavender, working harmoniously throughout its very clean, restrained fruit profile. Spotlessly pristine, its crystal-clear palate presents an utterly convincing expression of mineral accented pure fruit flavour, which extends along a chalky undercarriage towards a long, taut, savoury and briney finish bound by slick, racy acids. It's a total package for Tasmanian riesling enthusiasts of extremely addictive proportions.

üA very complete, seamlessly balanced Tasmanian riesling of exquisite clarity and freshness. Drink to 2019.
94 points


 - Barossa Valley, SA
 - $10-$18
 - Screwcap
 - 13.5%alc

Soft, fruit forward, lightly oaked (if at all) and lighter-bodied red wines made for immediate consumption and consumer enjoyment are gaining prominence in Australia. This trend makes perfect sense in places like the Barossa and McLaren Vale, where their abundant sunshine and plentiful plantings of the grenache grape suit the easy drinking, summer red style to a tee.

Brightly scented with stewed plums, blueberries and raspberries, St Hallett's 2008 Gameskeeper's blend also reveals a sweet influence of chocolate and coconut. As anticipated it's a lighter, softer style of Barossa red, with a finish drawn out more by its marked acidity as opposed to penetrating length of fruit or structure. There remains a vivid base of ultra-ripe, sweet/sour edged regional fruits, so it should sit well with those who seek its style.

O This is a pleasingly balanced little quaffer which successfully achieves its goals. It suits outdoor dining, with, as the bottle suggests, game, duck, smoked meats and hare. Drink to 2010.
86 points

Sunday, November 8, 2009


 - Barossa Valley, SA
 - $6-$16
 - Screwcap
 - 11.0%alc

Not content with just being 'champion of the Barossa', Peter (or perhaps Margaret) Lehmann should now also be known as the 'champion of Barossa semillon'. With greater belief and enthusiasm for the style than anyone else, the current team at Peter Lehmann has raised the awareness of quality Barossa semillon to a new level.

A superb little entry point semillon, Peter Lehmann's 2008 displays an airy fragrance of spicy citrus, melon, nuts and gentle honeysuckle. It's more generous than recent vintages in both mouthfeel and character, as its smooth, round palate presents clean yet slightly pungent melon and citrus flavours with a drier, more savoury finish marked by soft acids and a note of tobacco.

üAnother success story for Peter Lehmann's project semillon. The 2008 is the most interesting wine I've had under this label for years. Drink to 2014.
90 points

Thursday, November 5, 2009


 - Canberra District
 - $24-$32
 - Screwcap
 - 12.5%alc

Victoria's Henty district, WA's Great Southern and Tasmania all pose serious threats to dethroning South Australia's Clare and Eden Valleys as Australian riesling benchmarks. Additionally, with committed winemakers like Ken Helm at Helm and Clonakilla's Tim Kirk, it's inevitable that Canberra will soon join the charge.

Clonakilla's 2009 Riesling opens to a faintly floral, musky perfume of orange blossom, white pear and lime with a steely aspect. Holding terrific line and shape, its well proportioned but elegant palate announces wonderful textural complexity and concentration, revealing clean, juicy flavours of apple and citrus with a refreshingly racy cut of crystalline acids. The wine evolves into a very appealling, balanced, rather taut and savoury finish underscored by notes of slate and wet stone. 

üComplex and mineral accented; varietal yet savoury, this handsomely measures up to Australia's best. It's full of compelling charm. The more I drink the more I like. Drink to 2019.
94 points

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


 - Clare Valley, SA
 - $11-$20
 - Screwcap
 - 14.5%alc

I'm always on the lookout for readily available, cheap and cheerful wines which pick up meaningful accolades. One such wine is Taylors Shiraz 2008; a top 10 finalist in the Adelaide Review's Hot 100 of 2009/10.

Enlivened by notes of menthol and eucalypt, it shows rather supressed fruit aromas of dark plums and berries joined by American oak and spice. The palate however, is well textured at this price, presenting a juicy, almost thick expression of generous dark fruit and sweet oak flavours. It finishes with a drying astringency, revealing traces of ultra-ripe fruit and alcoholic warmth.

O To me this exemplifies Taylors Shiraz, it's well made and honest but won't exactly set the world on fire. Drink to 2013.
88 points

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


 - Derwent River Valley/Coal River Valley/East Coast Tasmania, TAS
 - $33-$43
 - Screwcap
 - 13.5%alc

Following their sensational 2008 release, I'm now a complete convert to Bay of Fires Pinot Noir. Thanks to the benefits of Tasmania's cool climate, multiple vineyard resources and the winemaking talents of Fran Austin, I hold every belief that this already brilliant (and very affordable) wine's best days are yet to come.

Vibrant and youthful, this cleanly scented pinot noir reveals notes of cinnamon stick and white pepper sitting harmoniously alongside a melange of evenly fruited cherry, raspberry, cassis and plum aromas, with just a hint of herbal undergrowth evident. The smooth, silky and sensual palate enters with true pinot seduction, before announcing lively cherry, raspberry and cedar/vanilla oak flavours, which merge seamlessly into a more savoury, tight, drying finish marked by penetrative length of fruit, dusty pinot tannins and clever spice notes. Quite frankly its silken texture, youthful flavour, structure and fine length are balanced on a knife's edge; resulting in a most exceptional young Tasmanian pinot noir at this price. 

üThis is a noticeable step up in every category from the delicious 2007 wine (94pts). It's a superlative young Tasmanian pinot noir which should improve immensely over the next 3-5 years. Stimulating stuff; buy some while you can. Drink to 2015.
95 points

Sunday, November 1, 2009


- Adelaide Hills, SA
- $35-$53
- Screwcap
- 14.0%alc

Under the esteemed guidance of Brian Croser, Petaluma practically invented the concept of top quality Adelaide Hills chardonnay. Early Petaluma Chardonnays came from regions as diverse as Cowra, Coonawarra and Clare, but since the late 80's its home has been the cool, high altitude Piccadilly Valley sub-region. It's since become one of Australia's most consistent, brilliant and undervalued chardonnays.

Showing a fair amount of restraint to its gently understated fruit base, the 2007 Petaluma proclaims an immediate whiff of toasty vanilla oak covering grapefruit, nectarine and lemon citrus aromas. Decidedly round, luscious and creamy, it contains an almost bitter cut of grapefruit-like acids over buttery undertones, with a rich, chewy finish that does show some complex cashew/herbal elements, but just lacks true punch and harmony to the end.

O The 2007 isn't the refined, elegant or complex chardonnay one would normally expect from Petaluma, however, its generously flavoured, worked nuances are supported by enough acid and textural interest to provide short term appeal. For the first time in years I think this isn't superb value for money. Drink to 2012.
90 points