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Wednesday 24 November 2010

McWilliam's Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005

The Mount Pleasant "Lizzy" typically offers excellent drinking for a wine that has been winery aged for four years. However "Lizzy" has caused much discussion amongst wine folk of late, for McWilliam's has released an Elizabeth branded wine as a young 'un - a 2010 Elizabeth.

Further, for many of the pro reviewers, it appeared that this wine, the 2005, had skipped a release cycle and hasn't been highly visible on retailers' shelves nor been sent for review. Thus, when I spied it in the fridge of a local retailer, I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

Typical golden hue with a green edge, as expected for a Semillon with a little age. Aromas of lemon - compared to the predominant lime on the 2006, toast and a slight waxiness. It appeared a lot fresher than the 2006, despite that additional year in bottle.

On the palate, there was plenty of varietal citrus, but that was about it. Some acidity to the back palate; more of the toasty notes were present and the acidity present did build to a pleasant finish.

Source: Retail (Spiros, Paddington)
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $18 retail (can normally be found around $13 in 1st/ Dan's)

Monday 22 November 2010

Call Out The Instigators: The Rosé Revolution

The Rose Revolution is nearly here!  On Tuesday 30th November wine lovers across the world will unite physically and virtually to share in the revolution aimed at increasing awarenes of pale, dry textural Rosé wine.

To help you get involved, the website has a graphical representation of where events are happening.  Do yourself a favour, get yourself along to an event at your local wine bar and bottle shop. Viva La Revolution

Sunday 21 November 2010

2009 Moppity Vineyards Estate Shiraz

It was this wine that first brought Moppity Wines to my attention.  An excellent review on the Winefront had me yearning to find some.  Jason Brown, proprietor and winemaker, was gracious enough to point me in the direction of some stockists in the Brisbane area.

However, it was the 2008 Lock & Key Shiraz that first passed my lips, and in a quest to find some of the 2009 - on a recommendation from Jason - of that same wine, I chanced upon the Estate version at McGuire's Cellar in Paddington, Brisbane.

I love a good bottle shop.  I often remark that a good bottle shop is like a library. Full of gems you're possibly aware of - classics - and new releases from the latest rising stars.  A place where you could spend hours browsing, not to mention mentally buying and tasting - for although I may have A+ tastes, a young family to look after leaves me with a Z- budget.

As ever I digress.  I tasted the wine over two days, decanting it as I typically do.  Initially I was picking up what I thought were aromas of roasted meats, more appropriately the juices that you'd get from a roasting tin.  However given time, an altogether more delicate fragrance revealed itself - the result of some co-fermented Viognier.

On the palate, the initial thought was of pepper.  Indeed I was thinking of a dish from Jamie Oliver's Italy, which is a Pepper Stew.  The wine felt incredibly silken, yet gentle tannins were present, dissolving into a pleasant peppery warmth.  This is an incredibly well constructed wine - but I do caution that it either needs a good decant, or if you can cellar and truly appreciate its charms.  I may have a Z- budget, but this wine satisfies my A+ tastes without breaking the bank.

Source: Retail
Cost: $23
Closure: Screwcap
Winery Website:

Thursday 18 November 2010

Zema Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

If there were such a thing as a BYOFaves... family tree, then there would be a direct link between this blog and Zema Estate. In a previous post I wrote of some shared great times and of some great wines that were introduced to me as a result of a Wine Without BS dinner held in South Australia. Present at that dinner was none other than Zema Estate winemaker Greg Clayfield.

At the recent Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show, I had the pleasure of bumping into, self-titled, Zema spruiker Karen Ronning who kindly took me through the range of Zema wines on offer, gifting me a bottle of this wine.

I'm a fan. The wine's aroma opens to a blend of beautiful red fruit, cedar, a slight dusty mark and a pleasant hit of mint as a final note. On entry, there's a touch of spice that opens up around the palate, morphing into a gentle spicy oak; the mid-palate expands to deliver typical Cabernet varietal notes of mocha, cedar and spice.

The finish shows a touch of warmth, not to the point of distraction. Rather, it complements some fine to moderate tannins that suggest that some cellaring time would benefit.

It was a winner in our household and there surely can be no greater compliment than an empty bottle at the end of an evening.

Source: Gift/ Sample
Cost: $25-28
Closure: Screwcap
Winery Website:

Tuesday 16 November 2010

De Bortoli Windy Peak Yarra Valley Dry Rosé 2010

Revolutions start for a variety of reasons: ideology, challenging the orthodox view, seizing a moment when a groundswell of opinion carries an idea forward. It could be said that the Rosé Wine Revolution is about all three of those; or it could just be about promoting a great style of wine that hasn't been too prominent in Australia.

The Rosé Wine Revolution is being championed by one of Australia's First Families of Wine, De Bortoli. It is therefore fitting that my own revolution starts off with a Dry Rosé from their Windy Peak range.

This wine represents the sum of its constituent parts. Visually it is an off-pink, veering towards a touch of peach. Its aroma is taken from the Pinto Noir it is, in part made from, offering a hint of strawberry. I'm often reminded of boiled sweets I used to get as a youngster called "Strawberries and Cream", and there is a touch of that confectionery strawberry here.

In the mouth, the wine speaks of its Grenache and a touch of fruit from the Sangiovese. Savoury notes are at the fore, leading into a dry slightly bitter finish, but not an unpleasant one.

A great kick-off for the Revolution! You too can get involved, invite some friends over, share some Rosé - remembering its the pale, dry style that's being promoted. If you're active on the social networking site Twitter, share your experiences, using the hashtag #roserev - but most importantly, enjoy it.

Source: Gift
Cost: $13 (approx.)
Closure: Screwcap

Friday 12 November 2010

Sirromet Seven Scenes Finito Rosso NV

Purchased on a visit to Sirromet's Mount Countain Cellar Door and Winery with in-laws. Whatever your views on Queensland's wine industry, Sirromet's CD is a worthy tourist destination. The grounds are well kept, the CD a pleasant environment and Lurleen's restaurant is an excellent dining proposition.

The wine is a tawny brown colour wine with a fairly bitter hint of black strap molasses on the nose. It wasn't great, slightly chilled it offers treacle on the palate.

According to the winery, it is "a rich and soft wine, is a rare combination from six vintages. The wine displays hints of oak as it is aged in oak for a year with the addition of fresh spirit on re-blending".

Well there you go. Sorry If I don't appear particularly enthused, it's because I wasn't. Questioning myself as to why I bought it.

Source: Cellar Door
Closure: Screwcap
Price: About $20 (375ml)

Thursday 11 November 2010

Tamburlaine Hunter Valley 2007 Member's Reserve Verdelho

In researching the winery, I was surprised to learn that they are Australia's largest producer of organic wines. I had to revisit to see if this was a recent accreditation, but no there on the bottle, discreetly, was the word organic. It leads you to think that organic production is more a philosophy than a sales gimmick.

The wine's aroma speaks of stone fruits, a touch of lychee and typical varietal fruit salad. The second glass revealed the Grapefruit - casually lounging around in the background.

On the palate there was a touch of vanilla - and why wouldn't there be - grape. However it was the wine's finish that really made the wine: a pleasant acidity that gently dissolves through to the back palate.

A great Verdelho that paired well with a Spinach and Yellow Spit Pea curry.

Source: Gift
Retail: $29 (CD price for current release)

Wednesday 10 November 2010



If anyone is out there, reading/ following...I'd be grateful if you have feedback.
* If you're familiar with the wines mentioned, do they convey how you found the wines?
* If you're not familiar with the wines, do you get a 'feel' for them?

Wine is probably one of the most subjective 'things' out there, but also one that generates much opinion, comment and debate.

I would be most grateful if anyone has any feedback. Constructive feedback can only make me a better wine student.


Monday 8 November 2010

Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2006

Many consider Semillon to be the Hunter Valley's signature variety. I'm not going to argue with this viewpoint, there are many far more informed than I, and I'm certainly starting to enjoy what the region has to offer as I take myself on this vinous journey.

Mount Pleasant's Elizabeth Semillon is traditionally released as a four year old wine - as is the case here. However, starting in 2010 it appears that McWilliam's - the owner of Mount Pleasant - is going to start releasing Elizabeth with a dual-release strategy. At the recent Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show, a helpful McWilliam's employee advised that the 2010 Elizabeth recently released is not intended to substitute the traditional 4 year old. In addition, he advised the young release contains approximately 10% Sauvignon Blanc.

So to this wine, and before I attempt to convey how I saw it, I must say it went well with my wife and some lazy Sunday fish and chips. The aroma is almost Riesling like, a little touch of lime cordial that I didn't really catch in the palate. The fore-palate itself had tantalising glimpses of acidity that morphed into typical varietal tart lemon notes.

The most interesting aspect for me was the finish: the acidity started to get taken through the back palate - it stayed with me for a short while, then simply fell away. If the flavours had held for longer it would have been an altogether more memorable wine.

I had a second glass a day later, whilst I caught that initial lime on the nose, the other characteristics referred to above were missing.

Source: Retail
Price: about $13

Thursday 4 November 2010

Moppity Vineyards Lock and Key Shiraz Shiraz 2008

The 'stain' of having convict ancestry was something not many folks spoke of in the early and mid parts of the last century.  Not so for Moppity owner Jason Brown who embraces his 2nd fleet convict lineage, paying tribute to humble beginnings with his Lock and Key range.

The range features single vineyard wines,  from mature, low-yielding vines and represents extraordinary value.  It is also the the range routinely credited as providing a financial lifeline for the Brown's when, like many winemakers, they faced some financial struggles.

To the wine.  Initial pepper as the wine enters the palate; lingering with gentle spice.  Rounded with generous red fruits present too.  For me it presents itself as typical of the region.  It's a great wine that holds you, the spice - while it lingers - is gentle.  Certainly not a confronting style, it is very enjoyable.  Can be drunk now, but will reward with further time in bottle.     

Source: Retail
Price: $14.99 RRP