Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fresh, Fascinating Wines from Australia's Bird in Hand

Credit: Bird in Hand. Adelaide Hills, Australia. 
We’re off to the Australia for this week, focusing on Bird in Hand wines. Hailing from the Adelaide Hills appellation, where their vineyards receive cooling influences from the Gulf of St. Vincent and the nearby Mount Lofty Range mountains, the wines are packed with fresh acidity in addition to gorgeous fruit. 

Founded in 1997 on what used to be a dairy farm, Bird in Hand wines are definitely worth checking out if you’ve long ago soured on heavy, low-acid, candied Australian wines.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Bird in Hand Pinot Noir Sparkling - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills
SRP: $25
A very pale copper color. Brisk and floral on the nose with white cherries, wild strawberries, red apple peel, baby’s breath, some sea salt. A vibrant and lip-smacking wine with vibrant tingly bubbles, but a whole lot of fruit: strawberry, juicy McIntosh apple, apricot and wild raspberries. Juicy but so vibrant, almost dry, with a complex mix of baby’s breath, lilies, sea salt, oyster shell, chalky mineral tones. An, intriguing and delicious Pinot Noir sparkler. (90 points)

2016 Bird in Hand Two in the Bush - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills
SRP: $16
Pale straw color. Aromas of peaches, lime, kumquat, drizzled with seawater, chalk dust and spicy tomato leaf. Medium-bodied with zesty acidity and pure green apple and lime fruit mixed with some richer papaya and guava nectar. There’s a great combination of sea salt, chalk dust and minerals that pervade the wine, and I get complex elements of floral perfume and spiced tea. Complex and gorgeous but you’ll also want a second glass because it’s so damn fresh and fun to sip. A blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Serious wine at a not-so-serious price. (90 points)

2015 Bird in Hand Chardonnay - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills
SRP: $25
Light gold color. Smells of limes, tangerines, white peaches with some almond, sea breeze and white floral tea notes. On the palate this shows precise acidity and plump texture on a medium-bodied frame. Lime drizzled on tangerines, peaches and yellow pears, the fruit is mixes with honey, almond, chamomile tea and chalk dusty. Fresh, vibrant, rich flavors of very nice balance. Indigenous yeast fermented and aged in 20% new French oak. (89 points)

2015 Bird in Hand Chardonnay Nest Egg - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills
SRP: $65
Light gold color. Aromas of kiwi, lime, apricot and bruised yellow apple, along with a combination of salty/chalk notes with richer buttered toast and nougat. On the palate this has a plush, lees-stirred kind of texture but precise acidity, which keeps it fresh and together. Lime, papaya, apricot, it mixes well with sea salt, lemon verbena and some almond and buttery notes. Delicious yet complex, rich yet vibrant. French oak fermentation, lees stirring, maloactic fermentation, so it’s a bold style, but it’s balanced well with vibrant acidity and delicious fruit and non-fruit complexity. (92 points)

2015 Bird in Hand Shiraz - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills
SRP: $30
Dark purple color. Smells like tart black cherries, gushing blueberries, black olives, charred earth and cracked black pepper. Full-bodied (14.5%), this is fleshy and dark with moderate tannic grip, no rough edges, and surprisingly fresh acidity. Plum, black cherries and boysenberry, juicy and dark with smoky tar, black pepper, black olive, charcoal. Vanilla and coffee are woven in well. Bold but elegant and wonderfully well-balanced, solid now but will improve for at least a few years. Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak. (90 points)

2013 Bird in Hand Shiraz Nest Egg - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Hills
SRP: $85
Rich purple color. Gorgeous nose of currants, tart blueberries, blackberry jam, but not just fruit – lots of complex elements of graphite, anise, charcoal, black pepper, vanilla. Full-bodied with structured but rounded tannins and surprisingly vibrant acidity, which is one of my favorite aspects of this wine. Tart black cherry, blueberry and black currant mix well with anise, charcoal, violets, scorched earth and black pepper. Such freshness to balance out the bold fruit, and this has a lot of complex non-fruit elements going for it. Wow. Aged 18 months in French oak, this will improve for at least five or seven years. (93 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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