2006 Sailors Falls Estate Pinot Gris

Nestled in the undulating hills near Daylesford north of Victoria's Macedon wine region, Sailors Falls Estate is a boutique family owned winery with an attractive bed and breakfast on the property.

The 1.2 acres under vines contain pinot gris, pinot noir and small amounts of gewurztraminer that are all dry grown according to contract winemaker Owen Latta at Eastern Peake Winery near Ballarat. The pinot gris itself has been produced at the Eastern Peake Winery since 2004.

Pinot gris and its Italian counterpart pinot grigio were rare grapes in Australia 15 years ago. Now however, both are no longer officially considered alternative grape varieties and are ineligible for the Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, such is their mainstream status.

This pale straw green cool climate wine exhibits pear and blossom aromatics. Honey, cinnamon and juicy pear enliven the dry lingering minerality and acidity of the palate.

It opened to reveal that it had not lost any of the honeyed, spicy, almost peppery characteristics that come with age in the bottle. A delicious white to take to your favourite Asian restaurant.

Pinot Gris tends to be consumed as a young wine and I was quietly surprised that this had cellared so well.

Source: Winery Purchase. Rating: 86+Points. Website: www.sailorsfallsestate.com.au

2008 Galafrey Muller Mount Barker Muller Thurgau

Muller Thurgau is a rare white grape on the Australian wine landscape, grown only in cooler regions such as Tasmania, the Snowy Mountains zone, Mudgee and Mount Barker in Western Australia's Great Southern Wine Region.

We all remember the German wine Liebfraumilch from our younger drinking years? You wouldn't want to or can't? Well, that was the Muller Thurgau grape in that watershed swill. Thank Bacchus and Dionysus things have changed for the better, that's all I've got to say!

The Muller Thurgau variety has been grown at the family-owned Galafrey Winery since its establishment in 1977, the oldest in the Mount Barker Region. Winemaker Kim Tyrer says that Mount Barker's cool climate made Muller Thurgau good to grow and popular owing to its uniqueness and approachability with food.

First bred by botanist Professor Hermann Muller from Thurgau, Switzerland in 1882, it was originally thought to be a cross between Riesling and the French table grape Silvaner. The grape was named after him in 1913. However, first botanical then only recent genetic analysis has discovered that it was a hybrid of Riesling and the obscure Madeleine Royale grape and not the original hybridised grapes. Also known as Rivaner, Muller Thurgau is believed to be the oldest successful new breed to be disseminated throughout the world.

The grape is widely grown throughout central and Eastern Europe but it was in Germany and England of all places, where the grape was responsible for kick-starting the redevelopment of each country's post war wine industry.

The Galafrey Muller is not a complex wine, made more for its quaffability than for anything else. It lacks the distinctive bouquet and acid associated with Riesling yet does have its own varietal character.

In the glass it is pale yellow in colour with musky, apple and nutmeg aromas predominating on the nose. Citrus and passionfruit notes on the palate with a mild acid backbone make this an easy dry medium bodied wine to drink with light fare.

A unique, enjoyable and somewhat nerdy variety to take as an alternative white wine to impress or confuse your friends !

Source: Retail Purchase. Rating: 86 Points. Website: www.galafreywines.com.au