97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Grey Sands challenged themselves to produce a Tassie, Bordeaux right-bank, which is both admirable and delicious. The nose reveals dried spice box, fresh pencil shavings, blue and blackberry compote, violets and rosehip. The floral element unfolds with time, which is beautiful. The palate is chock-full of sweet black and blue fruits – they are ripe and insatiable juicy. Grip from the tannins arrives, providing some chew and frames the fruit fabulously. I detect anise and a little, sweet Asian spice. This one is really built for the cellar, but can be approached earlier if you decant for 4-6 hours. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”
95 Points - James Halliday "Poise and power in equal measure. Balanced flavours of white stone fruit sprinkled with lemon zest, ginger and oak spices. Finely tuned across the palate with texture from the lees influence, but still strikingly fine from its acidity."
Gary Walsh (The Wine Front) "A very good Chardonnay out of Butcher’s this year. As fit as a butcher’s dog, you might say. Smooth, composed, light in flavour, cool and savoury, white fruit and citrus flecked with exotic spice and aniseed, quartz-y texture, a little lemon rind in the long fresh finish. Texture is a highlight. So very elegant and adult. So nice."
The 2018 vintage had a slightly warmer than average year, this led to the richness that Butcher’s Hill is known for, however there were no heat spikes through the ripening period that allowed slow and even fruit development. The resulting wine is reminiscent of Grand Cru Chablis with a great deal of energy, tension and vitality. Partial malolactic fermentation (around 50%) allows the wine to combine and create complexity throughout the palate and the use of larger oak barrels (one third new) allows the penetration of ripe stone fruit and floral notes through the grapefruit acidity lingering with a long flinty finish.
Gary Walsh (The Wine Front) "Butcher’s Hill is the vineyard that has some limestone over sandstone, as opposed to Cooinda with the sandy loam over sandstone. Sandy Loam would be a nice name for someone, I think. Sweet dark raspberry and black cherry, exotic spices, subtle earthiness, dried roses. Medium-bodied, rich and silky tannin, a little sap and tang, but a core of plump red fruit with a distinct minerally thing going on, and a finish that’s bright and long, with some dried herb and peel seasoning. More perky, less deep this season, but shows the site to good effect."
The 2018 vintage was slightly warmer than the long-term average leading to rich and complex fruit coming from the Butcher’s Hill Vines. A layered nose of red plum, ripe cherry, black raspberry, charred wood, cedar spice and light smokey finish. A burst of freshness across the palate with wild raspberry and baking spice showing through, leading onto a light earthy note and fresh cracked pepper. An excellent tannin structure and balanced acid gives a long and rewarding finish.
Gary Walsh (The Wine Front) "Australia’s leading authority on Chardonnay north of 2065, Prof. John Humphrey, has been applying firm but fair pressure on me to get these wines reviewed. Let’s see if I get it right. Matchstick, ginger biscuits, lime and white peach, kiss of vanilla oak, and white flowers. It’s cool, refined, distinctly pure and minerally, not a huge amount of flavour, though what’s there is very appealing. Fine flinty texture, oatmeal and slightly toasty savoury things on a long lemon water-coloured finish. Beautiful thing. Diaphanous. High appeal on the glass to glass measure, but also delight in refinement and style."
95 Points - Jams Halliday "What a glorious wine enticing immediately starting with its heady aromas. Florals, humus, raspberries, cherries, bitter orange and no shortage of spices. It has a energy across the palate with a cooling menthol character and fine tannins. It seems at first delicate but it has plenty of definition."
Gary Walsh (The Wine Front) "Always interesting to taste Cooinda alongside Butcher’s Hill. Cherry, red fruits, spice, smoke, and herbal perfume. Medium bodied, strawberry with a tangy orange flavour, light but firm sandy tannin, sap and peel, lively acid profile, and bitter orange trailing on the long finish. Nervy kind of wine with quite a bit of energy."