6 Wines For The Season Ahead

Step into the new season with a sense of fun and vigour—aided by Robb Report’s specially curated half-dozen wine case.

By Nick Ryan 01/10/2021

As the warmer weather inches closer, and lockdown’s look to lift, it’s cause for celebration. So, step into the new season with a sense of fun and vigour—aided by Robb Report’s specially curated half-dozen wine case.

Bollinger ‘R.D.’ 2007, Champagne, $440

All great champagne producers, from the Grandest of Marques to the humblest of artisan growers, understand the defining interaction of their wine with the dead yeast cells it sheds after secondary fermentation in the bottle. This autolytic embrace, taking place over years in the cellar before disgorgement, is what takes champagne flavours into bakery realms, delivering labyrinthine levels of toasty nuance while retaining remarkable freshness and vitality. Bollinger are undisputed masters of this art and their R.D. (Recently Disgorged) program, where wines are left for extended periods and disgorged immediately before a limited release, are emphatic arguments in favour of patient process. Expect wild honey, buttered brioche, candied lemon pith and spice, invigorating freshness and imposing length.

Kenny Wine ‘Polish Hill River’ Riesling 2021, Clare Valley, $35

Adrian Kenny is one of those people perfectly tuned to the frequency on which riesling transmits its whims and wishes.

His day job focuses on producing some of Clare’s best rieslings for one of its most celebrated producers and here, in his new side hustle, he shapes fragrant fruit from a single site in Polish Hill and delivers a scintillating wine that walks a tightrope between citrus-drenched classicism and jasmine-scented exoticism.

The wine hums with electric energy and displays the clarity and precision you can only get in a wine made by someone who truly understands great riesling and how it’s his job not to mess with it.

Koerner ‘Pigato’ Vermentino 2021, Clare Valley, $35

Damon and Jono Koerner grew up on the family vineyard in the Clare Valley but it took the kind of wanderlust that strikes young men whose oats are both wild and in need of sowing for them to discover the best way to interpret their roots. Inspired by working Southern European vintages, the brothers Koerner honed a winemaking style that carefully considers texture and tactility using varieties that respond well to that approach. In this case, it’s vermentino exploring the interaction of juice and skins through extended maceration. The wine is a portrait painted with pith, a gently grippy ride through fields of lemon thyme and lemonade fruit, tapered with tea-like tannins. Genuinely exciting.

Sinapius ‘EsmÈ’ Gamay 2021, Pipers Brook, Tasmania, $40

Linda Morice knew she had to keep going, she just wasn’t sure how. When her husband and winemaking partner Vaughn Dell died suddenly with the 2020 wines partly finished, Linda was presented with a winemaking challenge few could imagine. With a bit of help from neighbours and friends, she’s pulled off a remarkable feat. This gorgeous gamay, named after one of the couple’s two daughters, is beautifully bright and clear, a glass full of liquid rubies. It’s polished and pert, with a feather-light footfall—a wine that bounces across the palate, coiled energy released every time it hits the mouth. Ebullience in abundance.

Vignerons SchmÖlzer & Brown Nebbiolo, Beechworth, Victoria, $45

Jeremy Schmölzer and Tessa Brown apply a dedication only the masochistic possess to making wine in some of Victoria’s coolest sites around Beechworth and the King and Alpine Valleys. Their wines are paeans to beautiful obsession, made in tiny quantities and utterly beguiling. None more so than this lacy nebbiolo, built on a fine lattice frame, with whispering reminders of faded roses, dry cherries, blood oranges and chinotto. It’s a wine made by gentle hands, the variety’s normally forthright fragrance, acidity and tannin deliciously demure, as if you’re encountering it through a calming curtain of gauze. Decant it. Spend time with it. Watch it unfurl.

Yalumba ‘The Caley’ Cabernet Shiraz, Coonawarra/Barossa, $365

This is wine beautifully old fashioned and utterly contemporary all at once. It harks back to the days when elegantly structured dry red blends were affectionately called “clarets”. Now in its fifth vintage, but with six generations of winemaking history behind it, this pitch-perfect blend of Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon and Barossa shiraz has quickly established itself as one of the country’s finest reds. It opens with cassis and violets, rubbed rosemary and cedar on the nose and fills the mouth with dark cherry, plum and Dutch licorice characters, while supple shiraz flows into the space provided by an open-knit cabernet frame. An instant classic.

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