2013 Sorrenberg Vineyards Beechworth Gamay

Sorrenberg is a biodynamic, boutique 2.5 hectare vineyard and winery located outside Beechworth at the foothills of the Great Diving Range in north-east Victoria. Owned by Barry and Jan Morey, the vineyard dates from the mid-1980's with the first vintage of Gamay brought out in 1989.

Lauded as a benchmark Australian style, the Gamay produced at Sorrenberg is said to be more Burgundian in style than Beaujolais with a 10% Pinot Noir component adding complexity and a perfect edge.

The 2013 Gamay is a purple ruby hue in the glass, darker than I'd thought it would be. Black cherry, spice, leather and earthen aromas.

It's fruity upon entry then settles down to be savoury with notes of mushroom, soy and soil. A peppery, earthy and fleshy red fruit palate give it a warm, luscious mouthfeel. Medium-bodied with great balance between the fruit, its vibrant acid and supple tannins. Lingering savoury finish of dark chocolate adds to the overall deliciousness.

I hazard a guess that the Sorrenberg Gamay would match the very best grand 'crus' the Beaujolais region could offer or any other region for that matter.

A wine that is confident of its cult status. Complex, seductive and engaging.

Remarkable. Highly Recommended.

Source: Gift. ABV: 13.2%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $42.00 (Approx). Rating: 95 Points.

2011 Oak Works Pinotage

A problematic reputation has appeared to dog Pinotage over the years, its high yields, burnt rubber and acetone flavours making generally unremarkable wines. I didn't know what to believe but it helped like most things, having an open mind. It's South Africa's signature variety, a Pinot Noir and Cinsault marriage back in 1925 designed to enhance the flavours of Pinot Noir with the yields of Cinsault. In terms of red varieties planted there, it is second only to Cabernet Sauvignon. 

The variety is still in its early days in Australia with only a few wineries, amongst them Oak Works in the Riverland Region producing anything while New Zealand has had a far longer relationship with it. Fourteen months in oak has added complexity to this mid-weight 2009 red.  

It is dark ruby, an almost purple colour in the glass.There are moderately intense flowery forest floor, earth and briary aromatics going on with hints of banana peel and gamey bacon.  

Rolling seamlessly over the palate were spicy plum fruit, pepper and cherry sauce flavours. These were underpinned by bold, structured smokey meat flavours and subtle tannins. A dry, texturally smooth and polished palate. Medium heat peaks mid-palate leading to what is a lingering sweet spice finish. Carries the heat fairly well otherwise.

This is a well-structured wine with bold Shiraz-type flavours that I found intriguing. It came out punching on the second night's drinking, boosting the score to the magic ninety. Well worth a try if you want an alternative to Shiraz. Very Good.

Source: Sample. ABV: 13.5%. Closure: Cork. Price: $20.00. Rating: 90 Points.