Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Jul 27, 2016
Vino Fino

From the Tastings: Yalumba with Jane Ferrari

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Our favourite wine presenter. Every year we wonder what stories Jane will bring. This year Jane lamented that she didn't have much new to tell us.... and then she was away. Jane's knowledge of Yalumba and the Barossa is intertwined with her wit and observations on the the world and her travels. Like all good story tellers, she observes those things in life that most of us miss.
Jane was thrown a curve ball just before the tasting when the line up of wines had to be changed at the last minute - some wines had been air freighted to us and with Jane's extensive wine knowledge, she knew these would not be up to being tasted, so they were withdrawn. Jane didn't miss a beat and saw this as an opportunity to include wines from the wider Yalumba portfolio. As it transpired, this was a bonus in not only the wines we tasted, but also for Jane to include stories from outside the Yalumba label.

Always entertaining, we look forward to Jane's return next year! 


 Vino Fino


Our favourite wine presenter. Every year we wonder what stories Jane will bring. This year Jane lamented that she didn't have much new to tell us.... and then she was away. Jane's knowledge of Yalumba and the Barossa is intertwined with her wit and observations on the the world and her travels. Like all good story tellers, she observes those things in life that most of us miss.
Jane was thrown a curve ball just before the tasting when the line up of wines had to be changed at the last minute - some wines had been air freighted to us and with Jane's extensive wine knowledge, she knew these would not be up to being tasted, so they were withdrawn. Jane didn't miss a beat and saw this as an opportunity to include wines from the wider Yalumba portfolio. As it transpired, this was a bonus in not only the wines we tasted, but also for Jane to include stories from outside the Yalumba label.

Always entertaining, we look forward to Jane's return next year! 


 Vino Fino



Jansz NV             
From Tasmania, Jansz are part of the Yalumba stable. An almost equal blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, aged on lees for 2 years before disgorging. This current release is tasting excellently. A pale lemony colour, this is reflected in the taste which is like fresh lemon infused brioche.  
Retail $27.99 Special $23.99

Pewsey Vale Riesling 2015           
From the single site Pewsey Vale vineyard in the hills of the Eden Valley that continues to be the source of some of Australia's best Rieslings. This tastes of ripe fruits - almost tropical. It is virtually bone dry, yet with only 12% alcohol so it tastes almost delicate, with white flowers  and ripe, almost tropical fruits. Juicy yet with soft acids. As a young wine this seems much less aggressive and toasty marmalade than earlier releases.
Retail $25.99 Special $22.99

Yalumba Eden Valley Rousanne 2014        

Like Viognier, this is also a Rhô​ne white wine variety. Often blended with another Rhone variety, Marsanne. Here Yalumba have it at as a single vairety. Although typically low in acidity, Yalumba add richness to the palate by extended battonage (lees stirring in the barrel) to give an extra sense of weight. This is peach fleshy, with a panacotta creamy silkiness and savoury almond meal. The flavours are like dessert, but the taste is dry. Perfect with Asian inspired dishes (it will handle chilli really well) or mushroom risotto.
Retail $25.99 Special $22.99

The Virgilius Viognier 2014          
Yalumba are credited as being the savours of this Northern Rhone white variety. Planting their first vines in 1980 when there were just 32ha of it planted in the whole world, Yalumba have since championed the variety  and it is now recognised around the world as a serious variety. Yalumba's 35+ years of experience is now really starting to bear. The lessons have been learnt and applied and this 2014 is really the culmination of that. All the bold Viognier flavours - apricot, honeysuckle - have been held in check and the textural elements expanded whilst still being trim and very elegant. An excellent wine and probably the best Virgilius produced.

Retail $55.99 Special $44.99

Old Bush Vine Grenache 2014    
The old bush vines of Barossan Grenache are a treasure. This is produced from 30-100+ year old vines from around the Barossa and whilst Grenache dosen't offer the same colour saturation as Shiraz, the flavour factor is high. In the glass the colour is an almost transparent ruby/pink. Obviously fruity, this offers red fruits, some spice and understated tannins and acidity whilst avoiding the cherry/cola flavours of many Australian Grenache. Flavours and drinkability are the heroes here. 

Retail $23.99 Special $19.99

Running With The Bulls Tempranillo 2014             
Also part of the 
Yalumba stable, this is a Barossan take on the wine variety of Spain's Rioja. Quite dark and deep in colour, this is juicy, plump, vibrant with red berry, nutmeg spice, a hint of meat - 'En boca es complejo y carnoso'.  The oak is subtle and it is quite a joy to drink.  
Retail $28.99 Special $22.99

The Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2013    
The 'baby' Signature, sharing the same bloodline, pedigree and winemaking expertise and showcasing the unique Barossa Cabernet Shiraz blend. This shows the strength and power of the 2013 vintage. Dark in colour, there is a sense of power in this wine even before you taste it. The Cabernet (59%) is quite apparent with cassis, blackcurrant and mint, then the roundness of the Shiraz fills the palate. This is quite a chunky and concentrated wine and although obviously youthful it gives a lot of drinking pleasure for the price. 

Retail $24.99 Special $20.99

Paradox Shiraz 2013       
A relatively recent addition to Yalumba's portfolio (the first vintage we stocked was 2010),  this new 2013 is as Jane described.. 'a monster on a chain'. The fruit is sourced mainly from the old vine Ebenezner vineyard in the Moppa sub-region of the Northern Barossa, naturally fermented in large open top fermenters before aging in large 500l French oak puncheons. This is a dense purple/crimson red colour. Aromas show black fruits, anise, black-forest chocolate. A big tasting wine that fills the palate, yet the tannins remain fine.
Retail $34.99 Special $26.99

The Octavius Shiraz 2012 
The new 2012 is the most finessed and elegant Octavius I've tasted. Gone is the big oaky style of the past. This is very fine wine indeed. All the Barossa flavour descriptors can be used here - black fruits, mocha, spice, fruit cake, chocolate, leather... The palate is dense yet elegant with fine dusty tannins and a silky, round, mouth coating texture. Obviously an excellent vintage and a wine for the ages.              
Retail $109.99 Special $89.99

Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 
From the famed Menzies vineyard in the Coonawarra. Ripe cassis and blackcurrant are the flavours of the day, with a hint of mint and spice.  Although aged for 22 months in French oak (28% new) the oak is very well integrated into the wine providing more feel than taste. Judging by the orders this wine was extremely popular! 
Retail $32.99 Special $24.99

Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Jul 20, 2016
Vino Fino

From the tastings: Rippon

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Rippon with Nick Mills.

Rippon is all about the 'Sense of place'. With a family history on the land (originally Wanaka Station), streching back over 100 years and the vineyard over 30, there is a very special connection of the Mills family to Rippon. Nick is the second generation of the family to be involved with the vineyard after Rolfe and Lois planted the first experimental vines in the 1970s. Of those 30+ varieties, five were deemed suitable and formed the basis of the vineyard with the first vintage in 1985. The vineyard is planted from those original vines, still on own root stock (not grafted), re-propogated as necessary. As the years pass, these vines are becoming adapted to the Rippons unique environment. Along with natural winemaking, this holistic, bio-dynamic approach allows the 'farm voice' to be heard in the wines. This is often talked about by wine makers, but the wines Nick presented tonight really showed this uniqueness.   

Vino Fino


Rippon with Nick Mills.

Rippon is all about the 'Sense of place'. With a family history on the land (originally Wanaka Station), streching back over 100 years and the vineyard over 30, there is a very special connection of the Mills family to Rippon. Nick is the second generation of the family to be involved with the vineyard after Rolfe and Lois planted the first experimental vines in the 1970s. Of those 30+ varieties, five were deemed suitable and formed the basis of the vineyard with the first vintage in 1985. The vineyard is planted from those original vines, still on own root stock (not grafted), re-propogated as necessary. As the years pass, these vines are becoming adapted to the Rippons unique environment. Along with natural winemaking, this holistic, bio-dynamic approach allows the 'farm voice' to be heard in the wines. This is often talked about by wine makers, but the wines Nick presented tonight really showed this uniqueness.   

Vino Fino



Rippon Sauvignon Blanc 2015
A warmer ferment reduces the thiols (tropical fruit characters) and this is more about texture along with a pure mineral streak that comes from the schist soils.. dry, mineral, flinty, with hints of herb and citrus. A very satisfying style.​
Retail $29.99 Special $24.99

Rippon “Rippon” Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2012
This comes from all the Pinot Noir sites on the vineyard, hence the notation "Rippon". Nick describes it as the orchestra. There are lifted aromas of berry, floral spice and on the palate it is fine and finessed, but there is also plenty of structure to give it power., before finishing with an explosion of flavour. Very impressive  
Retail $63.99 Special $56.99​

Rippon “Emma’s Block” Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2012
There are two distinct sites on the vineyard, that make the single site "soloist" Pinot Noirs. This is from the tiny Emma's block which quite close to the lake on clay loess soils. Being closer to the water it is also a bit more temperate.The wine reflects this with a malable, supple, quite dense texture, whilst the flavours are quite similar to the Rippon. 
Retail $98.99 Special $89.99

Rippon “Tinker’s Field” Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2012
The Tinkers Field was planted 1986 -89 on schist rocky soils. which give precision and drive and as Nick describes "compression" - very obvious on this wine. Nick had an interesting analogy about vine age, where he describes young vines as like a child drawing with a crayon - the result is vital, vibrant but lacks detail. As the vines age they offer more prescision, accurancy, being able to describe who they are and from.
Retail $114.99 Special $105.99​

Rippon “Rippon” Mature Vine Pinot Noir 2006
As a very special treat Nick bought along a jereboam of the 2006 "Rippon". This was a real 'wow!' wine. Still quite fleshy and fruity, with a fine undercurrent of savoury flavours. There is a core of completness. I was fortunate enough to be able to take some of the left-over wine home and tried it 2 days later - it was even better. This is a wine that has the power and depth to age for quite some time yet and an indicator for the longevity of the 2012 wines.    
N/A

Rippon “Rippon” Mature Vine Riesling 2013
Mainly from the Tinkers Field vineyard from the oldest vines planted 1987 - 1991. These old vines have well and truly attached themselves to the schisty soils and the dry mineral characters come right through into the wine​ The grapes are foot crushed and left on skins for a couple of days then whole cluster pressed and then racked off, including all the suspended matter. The juice is fermented in tanks on their side to give plenty of yeast cell contact with a natural, warm ferment. The wine stayed on the lees for 3 months where it autoyises the solid matter. This is not a pristine, crisp Riesling, but rather one with layers of textural elements.
. Zesty; acidulous; lemon cream; An excellent dry Riesling.  
Retail $37.99 Special $30.99​

Rippon “Rippon” Mature Vine Riesling 2010
Served from Magnums. 2010 was a warmer year than 2012, and this is slightly sweeter at 12 gms rs. The tropical fruit flavours expand through the palate. It is soft, unctuous and utterly delicious.
N/A

Rippon Gewürztraminer 2013
Like the Riesling, this has less emphasis on vibrant fruitiness than texture, although there is no mistaking the spicy aromatic Gewurztraminer fruit. The palate has shape and form that fills the palate and a gentle dryness.  
Retail $37.99 Special $30.99​


Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Jul 13, 2016
Vino Fino

From The Tastings.. d'Arenberg

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With Toby Porter winemaker 

The famous Red Stripe label wines certainly made their mark this week. We have a lot of great tastings at Vino Fino, but this d’Arenberg was exceptional for both the quality and value of the wines. As evidenced by the amount of sales afterward, the wines were very much enjoyed.  

The current releases are some of the best value wines we've tasted in a while and Toby's informative yet 'laid-back' presentation was appreciated. 

Established in 1912 by Joesph Osborn with the proceeds of the racing horse "Footbolt", it was his grandson Francis (known as d'Arry) who took over in 1957 and established the d'Arenberg label with the release of the 'Burgundy', now known as d'Arry's Original. In 1984 d'Arry's son Chester took over as head wine maker and a new chapter emerged, with some of the most innovative and crazily named wines around. The wine making and vineyards however are very traditional. There is minimal intervention in the vineyard and horses are being increasingly used to minimise impact. The winery is very 'hands on' - all small batch fermentation, all foot pressed before going into basket presses... very old fashioned, but designed to make the wines as naturally as possible. This extends across all the wines, from the Stump Jumps to the top end wines. 

Across the ranges, these were wines that impressed for quality and value - in fact, t
he current releases are some of the best value wines we've tasted in a while



 

With Toby Porter winemaker 

The famous Red Stripe label wines certainly made their mark this week. We have a lot of great tastings at Vino Fino, but this d’Arenberg was exceptional for both the quality and value of the wines. As evidenced by the amount of sales afterward, the wines were very much enjoyed.  

The current releases are some of the best value wines we've tasted in a while and Toby's informative yet 'laid-back' presentation was appreciated. 

Established in 1912 by Joesph Osborn with the proceeds of the racing horse "Footbolt", it was his grandson Francis (known as d'Arry) who took over in 1957 and established the d'Arenberg label with the release of the 'Burgundy', now known as d'Arry's Original. In 1984 d'Arry's son Chester took over as head wine maker and a new chapter emerged, with some of the most innovative and crazily named wines around. The wine making and vineyards however are very traditional. There is minimal intervention in the vineyard and horses are being increasingly used to minimise impact. The winery is very 'hands on' - all small batch fermentation, all foot pressed before going into basket presses... very old fashioned, but designed to make the wines as naturally as possible. This extends across all the wines, from the Stump Jumps to the top end wines. 

Across the ranges, these were wines that impressed for quality and value - in fact, t
he current releases are some of the best value wines we've tasted in a while



 


Vino Fino

Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2014
Viognier (74%) Marsanne (26%) This is a Rhone inspired blend that is very good. Fresh floral aromas with slight musk, apricot, and white peach flavours. The palate has a nice rounded feel, finishing clean and fresh. I can personally vouch for it being a great ‘fish n chips’ match. Retail $22.99        Special $15.99
 
Custodian Grenache 2013
D’Arenberg have around a 1/3 of the total of the gnarly old Grenache vines in the McLaren Vale, hence the name “Custodian” of these treasures. Dense and darkly coloured, this shows sweet black fruits with black jube and jellybean flavours. The palate is quite plush, countered with dusty, chewy tannins adding an earthy mineral note avoiding the sweet fruited nature of the variety.  
Retail $26.99       Special $16.99
 
d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2012
50% Shiraz 50% Grenache. Originally named “d’Arry’s Burgundy”, this is a McLaren Vale icon that continues to offer great drinking, cellar ability and outstanding value – this is cheaper than we sold it for 15 years ago! And the quality is probably even better. Another dense and dark wine (all of the reds are inky dark), this has the plushness of the Grenache with the spiciness of Shiraz. Quite voluminous on the palate with enough tannins to give a firm savoury finish. This 2013 is as good as I can ever recall this label and at a price lower than we sold it for 15 years ago!  
Retail $26.99       Special $16.99

Footbolt Shiraz 2012
Every d’Arenberg label has a story. This is named after the successful racehorse Joesph Osborn sold to purchase the d’Arenberg property in 1912. Classic McLaren Vale – this has dark fruits, spice, graphite, chocolate. A generous palate with the oak seamlessy intertwined into the wine.  
Retail $26.99       Special $16.99
 
Lovegrass Shiraz 2012
With its ‘hippy look’ label, this always causes comment, but Lovegrass is actually a ‘weed that grows in the vineyards and its sticky flowers affectionately attach themselves to vineyard workers' socks’ hence – Lovegrass. The wine is a Shiraz (85%) with other Varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo and a splash of Pinot Noir! An even darker colour again. Quite moody with olive, chocolate, meaty notes and an aromatic lift as well.
Retail $26.99       Special $19.99
 
Wild Pixie Shiraz 2011
Once a wine journalist described Chester Osborne as a 'wild pixie' for concocting crazy blends. Chester took this on board and named this Shiraz Roussanne, the Wild Pixie. 6% of the Rhone white varietal Roussanne is added to the blend along with skins for co-fermenatation with the Shiraz. The Roussanne seems to add a herbal note to the dark red berry fruit along with spice and black liquorice.
McLaren Vale, Shiraz (96%) Roussanne (4%) 90 Points Lisa Perrotti-Brown Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 2015 Deep garnet/purple, the 2011 The Wild Pixie has a nose of red currants, red and black cherries, crushed blackberries and pepper with a hint of vanilla. Medium to full-bodied with good concentration, the palate has exuberant red and black berry flavours, a solid frame of grainy tannins and a long finish.  
Retail $33.99       Special $23.99
 
Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2011
2011 was a cooler but quite dry year in the McLaren Vale and at 10%, the portion of Viogner is higher than usual in this blend. There is quite an aromatic lift to the wine, but because of the cooler year, it avoids the overt ‘apricot’ that can occur when there is too much Voigner. The cooler year also gives some pepper/spice notes. Quite a juicy style.
Retail $34.99       Special $28.99
 
Dead Arm Shiraz 2012    
Not quite black in colour (though you can’t see through it), this has density yet with quite an amount of elegance. The palate is mouth coating with plush deliciousness. Black fruits, liquorice, fennel, baking spices, tar, mocha, smoke… yes it’s all here with melt in the mouth tannins. This would have to be the contender for the value buy in the store. This compares to any $100.00+ Australian Shiraz.  
Retail $65.99       Special $49.99
 
High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
A very stylish Cabernet Sauvignon nose, with black olive, ripe, raisined blackcurrant, bay leaf, a hint of mint. Very stylish and very Cabernet. This holds up well considering it was tasted after the impressive Dead Arm. There is a lot Cabernet for your money here. 
Retail $26.99   Special $16.99
 
Galvo Garage Cabernet 2010
A classic Bordeaux blend - Cabernet Sauvignon (68%) Merlot (19%) Petit Verdot (9%) Cabernet Franc (4%). Although the oldest of all the wines we tried, this shows no sign of age still being dark and intensely coloured. Much more complex, earthy and deep than the High Trellis. Old baking spices, black cherry, leather, pencil shavings. Very good and tied with the Dead Arm as the 'wine of the night'.
“Garage wines ‘garagiste' is a term used to describe wines that are produced in the back sheds of Bordeaux winemakers, who make small batch wines of the highest quality. Our galvanized, corrugated 'garage' was built in 1927 and still houses the traditional equipment used in the handcrafting of this wine”.
Retail $34.99       Special $27.99


Prices valid until end of July or while stocks last
Some of the wines are low in stock, but we will take back orders for when the next container lands.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016
Jul 06, 2016
Vino Fino

From the tastings: John Forrest

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John's annual visit to Vino Fino. This year he showed us some of the new Collection wines along with current release Estate wines. With vineyards in Central Otago, Waitaki Valley, Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, John has access to some very good fruit. When vintage conditions allow, he produces a small volume of the 'best of the best' to form the Collection wines. The estate wines provide excellent value and the quality of these always exceeds the price quotient. John also holds back these (Estate and Collection) wines for release to allow the wines to integrate and blossom before release. As always John has some interesting views on the wines and styles. As befitting someone with a science doctorate, Dr John has a considered approach to winemaking (none of this let's throw it together and see what happens approach here). The lineup tonight was very good. 

John's annual visit to Vino Fino. This year he showed us some of the new Collection wines along with current release Estate wines. With vineyards in Central Otago, Waitaki Valley, Marlborough and Hawkes Bay, John has access to some very good fruit. When vintage conditions allow, he produces a small volume of the 'best of the best' to form the Collection wines. The estate wines provide excellent value and the quality of these always exceeds the price quotient. John also holds back these (Estate and Collection) wines for release to allow the wines to integrate and blossom before release. As always John has some interesting views on the wines and styles. As befitting someone with a science doctorate, Dr John has a considered approach to winemaking (none of this let's throw it together and see what happens approach here). The lineup tonight was very good. 


Vino Fino

Forrest Sauvignon Blanc 2014    
Forrest’s Sauvignon Blanc is made to taste at its best at 2-3 years age. John much prefers his Sauvignon Blancs to show the herbal, minerality that naturally comes from the gravelly greywacke stones of the heart of the Wairau. This 2014 has subtle herb elements - lemon thyme, sage, elderflower, with an interesting hint of salinity on the finish. Drinking well now and over the next year or so.
Retail $22.99      Special $16.99
 
Forrest Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – not yet released
2015 was a much smaller vintage than 2014 giving the wines more intensity and weight and some riper fruit flavours - pineapple and citrus (mandarin?). Very good.
 
John Forrest Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2013     
Something a bit special here. From a small 0.2 ha site on the stony soils near Renwick and only made in exceptional vintages (the previous one was 2009) The yields are tiny and about half the level of the estate.  About 1/3 of the wine is wild fermented in older oak with all being given extended lees contact. The winemaking adds layers of texture and as Johns explained, peels back overt fruitiness with smoky flintiness, savouriness and yumminess. This is the kind of Sauvignon easily crosses into the ‘complex Sancerre’ style whilst retaining the unique Marlborough qualities.   
Retail $39.99      Special $28.99
 
Forrest Chardonnay 2012           
At four years old, this wine has reached its happy place delivering ripe citrus and stonefruits with a seamless creamy mouth feel. All the Chardonnay markers are there – fruits, creamy nougat, oatmeal and a hint of spicy, smoky oak.  Outstanding value.
Retail $24.99      Special $18.99
 
John Forrest Collection Wairau Chardonnay 2011            
The Collection Chardonnay fruit comes from the same vineyards as the Estate but treated totally different in the winery. Hand harvested, gentle pressing, various ferments, more new oak… This is quite a full bodied Chardonnay with ripe grapefruit, mealy biscuit flavours filling the palate and lasting long. Very good.
Retail $52.99      Special $38.99
 
Forrest Riesling 2013     
Classic NZ style being off dry (11 gms rs) and 12.5% alcohol. 70% of the fruit comes from the Wairau giving the mineral tension between the sweet fruits and the crisp acidity drying the finish. John describes Riesling as a complex grape in itself and it is all about getting the balance in the wine. Lime, mandarin, lemon blossom flavours flow through the palate.  
Retail $21.99      Special $16.99
 
John Forrest Collection Southern Valleys Riesling 2012   
There is more than a nod to the traditional German style - the fruit comes from the Brancott which gives denser fruit qualities. A little skin contact with no sulphur and then lees stirred and aged in old oak for 2 years this is more like a Chardonnay in texture. John has brought his 25+ years experience with Riesling to bear with this exemplary wine. “A Riesling nerd’s Riesling”  Stunning.
Retail $40.99      Special $29.99
 
Forrest Pinot Noir 2012
A moderately intense, dark cherry colour. Flavours and aromas of dark raspberry and plum, a touch of liquorice. John actually described the flavours as being like ‘silverbeet water’ - probably not the most romantic description but I could see where he was coming from, so long as you like silverbeet! It is mellow, lightly svelte and quite open on the palate with more earthy, forest floor notes. Very enjoyable.
Retail $40.99      Special $22.99
 
John Forrest Collection Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2012     
From the Tatty Bogler vineyard. This is dark, plummy, with hints of liquorice, thyme and spice. A touch of savoury with slightly grainy tannins finishing long. Much more fragrant and structured than the estate.   
Retail $59.99   Special $49.99
 
John Forrest Collection Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2013          
Not officially part of the tasting, curiosity got the better of us. The first release of the Collection Cabernet since 2007 vintage. The wait was worth it. A big, intense Cabernet with cassis and cedarwood notes. Beautiful tannin structure that almost melt in the mouth. This is a baby of a wine. An exemplar of NZ Cabernet Sauvignon  
Retail $75.99      Special $65.99
 
John Forrest Collection Late Harvest Riesling 2012         
A true late harvest style, with little or no botrytis evident. Clean and pure, the grapes were quite shriveled when they were picked in late May and through June. Although 110 gms rs, this has a linear streak of acidity to balance that.    
Retail $54.99      Special $42.99
 
Forrest Botrytis Riesling 2012 375ml      
Much richer and sweeter than the late harvest. Typical honey, apricot, beeswax, marmalade with some squeezed lemon to keep it fresh. 170gms rs and 9.5% alcohol. John has produced some stunning sweet Rieslings over the years. This is another one.
Retail $29.99      Special $25.99