2011 Steels Creek Estate Colombard

Traditionally grown for distilling into Cognac and Armagnac, Colombard is the love child of that old philandering grape Gouais Blanc and Chenin Blanc and believed to have originated in the Charente region in south-west France. This white variety has never had the mantle of greatness attached to it although its expansion in California has risen recently and the French are now producing reasonable varietal releases from it.

Australia's Murray Darling and Riverina regions use the variety predominantly in the production of blended 'cardboard handbag' wines. Primo Estate's La Biondina is the atypical exception to that trend. There are other examples where its high acid levels help in warmer climates. Steels Creek Estate in the cool Yarra Valley and situated in a picturesque woody nook has grown Colombard since 1981 and is unique in the region amongst the largely mainstream varieties there.

It is interesting how owner and winemaker Simon Peirce tells the story about how he got the Colombard in the first place. The winery was supposed to get Riesling from the nursery in Gol Gol but was sent Colombard vines mistakenly instead, he recalls. Years of persistence and struggle with the vigour of the vines, reducing bud numbers and fruit thinning to enable satisfactory ripening has according to Peirce, helped produce a decent wine with a loyal following. 

It's a white to pale gold colour with an utterly intriguing bouquet of leaf, seaweed, rubber glove and citrus notes. 
Palate is dry, minerally, light-bodied and texturally smooth. There's tropical fruit notes, guava in particular and a subtle citrus kick at the tail end. Crisp and refreshing but I had to mark the quick exit the Colombard took at the finish. A little more fuller and longer and this really would be a ripper wine. 

Source: Winery Purchase. ABV: 11.0%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $20.00. Rating: 88 Points.

2013 Ceravolo Estate Cortese D'Ashton

Awarded a Gold Medal for Best White Wine and Best White Italian Wine at the 2013 Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show and a Bronze Medal at the 2013 Australian Small Winemakers Show, the grapes for the Ceravolo Estate Cortese are the only ones planted in South Australia and one of only two plantings of this rare Piedmont variety in Australia.

Planted in 2010 the Cortese grows at 500 metres in the cool Adelaide Hills. The grapes from a single, low-yielding estate vineyard are fermented in stainless steel. The wine has already had some rave reviews overseas, particularly at the VinItaly Exhibition last year where according to winemaker Joe Ceravolo the Piedmontese could not believe what they were tasting, the prominent white flower aromatics of the variety so similar to their own acclaimed Cortese di Gavi DOCG

This is a clear straw yellow coloured wine. Offers lifted aromas of a grassy field, lily of the valley perfume, green apple and yellow plum.

Moderate acidity and light to medium body. Lime, beeswax and honeydew palate, some minerality and fine tannins. Slightly tart edges but smooth in the main. Has that dry Italian steely savouriness that will make it ideal with food. Elegant and impressive.

Source: Sample. ABV: 11.5%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $22.00. Rating: 91 Points.

2014 Ceravolo Estate Sangiovese Rosé

Made from the first-run juice of the Ceravolo Estate's award-winning Adelaide Plains Sangiovese, this rosé delivers on all varietal fronts.

Clear dark pink, fuchsia colour in the glass. 

The nose is all strawberry, subtle sour black cherry and some orange peel complemented by cinnamon and rose petal nuances. 

The palate initially attacked with medium sweet berry fruits reminiscent of raspberry lollies before settling to be dry and crisp. Not cloying in any way. The mid-palate offered vibrant pomegranate, cranberry and cinnamon flavours refreshed by a nice line of acid.

Creamy smooth texture and light bodied. Dry to medium sweet summer berry flavours overall with soft tannins lead to an elongated finish. A bright, well made wine that is lovely to drink. 

Source: Sample. ABV: 13.5%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $18.00. Rating: 89 Points.