“Martin Shaw & Michael Hill-Smith’s Pinot has had a constant evolution, the style evolving from a robust, dry reddish Pinot to now more medium bodied and with a fruit source of Lenswood, higher up in the hills. Works too, with this Shaw + Smith Pinot Noir 2018 anything but heavy. In fact it’s rounded, mouthfilling and silken. Serve it to me blind and you’d be forgiven calling it Grenache, though without the warmer clime glycerol and alcohol. It arguably has less pinosity, but maybe more drinkability than some releases. Affable. Charming, if just a little too raspberried without the savour to match. Still, I challenge you not to like it.”
“This is the best Tolpuddle Pinot Noir to date. Hat tip to the Shaw + Smith team, yet again. There’s so much blackberry fruit, the ripeness nailed (which has been a challenge in some vintages) with oak a passing flavour but nothing else. There’s a temptation with top-end Tassie Pinot to go long on extract and wood to make a statement. But this combines understated tannins with flesh, the palate backing in an almost Syrah-like black fruit character. It’s maybe a fraction inelegant, though the tradeoff is volume of flavour. Soothing. enjoyable wine – just what we could all use.”
Shaw + Smith - Australian Wine Review
M3 Chardonnay - 2018
“What I like about the M3 – and all the Shaw + Smith wines – is the sense of precision. A wine of cool professionalism, without sacrificing approachability. A welcome tip- toe balance between ripe-enough white peach fruit, sculpted by oak and subtle winemaking touches, and the support brace of acidity to bring everything together with sparkling freshness. What’s equally remarkable is that S + S achieved all this in a vintage that you’d not call easy. I’m even putting it out there that this ’18 vintage tops the (superb) ’17, in contrast to the prevailing vintage norms. The only quibble, hard to find, is whether it is too delicate, too lean. Still, masterfully crafted, precise modern Chardonnay with flavour AND acidity? I’m in. We’re in.”
"Richer vintage for the classic Shaw + Smith M3 style but it doesn’t lose shape. Lemon butter and apple juice meets toasty oak, the finish still shaped by grapefruit but it’s softer than in some years. More approachable early and very likeable, it’s a carefully made Hills Chardonnay from a warm year. You can be on my dinner table anytime M3."
"That late vintage – and judicious early picking – has delivered a cool and elegant red, with a lucid, red cherry palate that is only medium bodied, lightly herbal and nice and fragrant. Imperceptible oak and all fruit, it’s a very pretty wine. But is it just a bit too lean? Is that quest for elegance at the expensive of true palate weight? Classy wine at every turn regardless."
"Super fresh and vibrant nose with grapefruit, melon and cut grass. The juicy palate balances out slightly tropical citrus with very fresh acidity. Despite that firm acid this is perfectly ripe too. It’s not meant to be a complex wine, but the definition – without harshness – is spot on. Yes."
"Last year’s wine was exquisitely pure and finessed, this years version is bolder, with less whipped butter and more butterscotch. It’s probably a better wine too. Complexity is the key – a second glass gives a mandarin tang and the oak is cleverly understated, with a medium bodied, delicate, acid-shaped style that takes more from Chablis than Montrachet (sorry for the French benchmark cliche), Again, a perfectly formed cool climate Chardonnay of the top echelon (and so refreshing), if still a little on the lean side."
Tolpuddle Vineyard - Australian Wine Review
"Spends just 9 months in barrel. Otago-esque form here – there’s that boysenberry purple edge you see in Central Pinot too. Otago via Coal River Valley. Is it a latitude thing? Anyway, this is ripe and the acid is soft but there’s a quantum of flavour. A ripe year in context with plum juiciness and a ripple of whole bunch spice, the effect ripe and full and generous. Plush, generous and immediately attractive, but there’s spice and structure and tannins. 1er Cru quality again."
Tolpuddle Vineyard - Australian Wine Review
“Know what makes this exceptional Chardonnay great? Fantastic attention to detail. It starts with the written tasting notes accompanied my sample bottle. Two sheets of succinct words, printed on shiny, heavy stock, with no bullshit – just what is needed. And why not? You don’t need to ‘sell it’ when the wine is great, only facts. Indeed, this Chardonnay nails it. The Tolpuddle Vineyard was originally planted for sparkling grapes, and this vintage has a blanc de blancs like freshness, the flavours exquisitely precise. It’s a Chardonnay that perfectly cavorts with what is ‘enough’ ripeness, delivering something delicate, emphatically pure and ultra-lean, yet stopping short of the annoying anaemia that plagues many Australian Chardies. Superb wine. If anything, some will find the acidity here too much. Chablis is the analogue, but this has more white peach fruit compared to Chablis’ stoniness. And the more you look, the more you can see that this is not unripe – just perfectly formed. It’s a newborn in many ways (and will be even better in 6 months), but everything about it is exceptional. Great already and bound for stardom. Best drinking: 2017-2022. 18.7/20, 95/100+. 12.5%, $67. Would I buy it? In a heartbeat. Would out-finesse many Grand Cru Chablis that are double the price.”