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Friday 31 December 2010

Cabernet Merlot by Brad 2008

Perception can be a dangerous thing.  I have this image of "Brad" (based purely on his twitter stream) as a cool, surf riding dude who, whilst often falling foul of his partner Becky, manages to knock out some top notch well packaged wines in his spare time.  When he is not seeing off Great White Sharks at the local beach that is.

I really like wines like this.  Very good easy drinking.  The nose speaks to me more of the Merlot side of things: plummy, mulberry, jammy Merlot notes with a hint of tobacco.  The palate a medium bodied mix of blackcurrant and chocolate.  

It's a perfect segue to a slightly dusty finish; cedar, spice and fine dry tannins that speak of the Cabernet part of the deal.  Not excessively lengthy, but good get-around-a-table drinking.

Source: Gift
Price: $18ish
Closure: Screwcap

Karra Yerta Eden Valley Riesling 2006

A wine tasting fail.

Before I explain myself, I must say that this is nigh the perfect Australian Riesling: a greenish hue to a core of gold.

Now, I opened this one night and just shared a glass with the good lady, taking some new Riedels she had gifted me for a spin.  I didn't take any notes, thinking I would revisit the following day.

However, on revisiting the following lunch time, I found that it had lost a little of its edge on the palate.  Thus this note is a combination of memory and the notes I took on day 2.

The aroma is typical varietal lime. delicate apple blossom juxtaposed against a harder crunchy edge.  Entry, as I remember it, showed more of that steely crunch and some granny smith apple.  The finish was a good lengthy acid.  The aroma stayed with the wine over the two days, the palate showing a little more apple and a little citrus edge.  It was really the finish and back palate that had lost it for me.  

I'm disappointed, really with myself, as this was a brilliant wine the first night.  In retrospect, that is what matters I imagine - the fact that I had shared a god wine with a loved one.

One for now I would say rather than lengthy cellaring.

Source: Cellar Door at Collective Barossa
Price: $25
Closure: Screwcap

Thursday 30 December 2010

David Franz Old Redemption x.o.

I love wine stories.  David Franz Lehmann is one of the sons of Barossan legend Peter Lehmann.  David has had a rather interesting career; graphic designer being one of them and this shows in the beautiful packaging that all his wines are renowned for.  The beauty doesn't stop on the outside of the bottle.

This is the perfect Christmas wine for me in so far as I don't actually like Christmas Pudding - this a brilliant liquid substitute.  Much paler than I was expecting - but then I suppose you would say it was tawny. 

The immediate aroma is of raisins and candided fruit; the palate caramel, cinnamon and Christmas Pudding itself.  It has a treacly silken mouthfeel.  Top stuff.

Price: $37.99
Closure: Diam

Teusner Avatar 2005

I opened this for my wife the day after Boxing Day, she was looking for something "good" and knowing her fondness for Barossan beauties, I pulled this number out.

This was a perfect example of how a good decant can help a slightly older wine shake off its cobwebs and really show itself off to its true strengths.

Initially it was earthen aromas with a background of sweet Barossan fruit, the palate a mix of stewed red fruits on the palate.  The finish was spicy, more specifically a quatre-epice mix; it was spice that lingered.

Once it had opened up though the palate changed,  the spice settling down for some vanilla and coconutty oak coming through; the finish altogether much more gentle.

Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $40
Closure: Cork

Dutschke Gods Hill Road Four Vineyards 2005 Shiraz

Suffice to say I'd never really known what "funkiness" was in wines, or more specifically what a writer was referring to when it was referenced in a tasting note.

On Christmas Day my wife and I cracked a Witches Falls 2006 Syrah (see previous post) and the immediate aroma was of sulphur.  The following day, Boxing Day, I opened this wine and experienced the same thing.  Through further research I found a useful website which offered some background on understanding how the "funky" aroma can present itself.  Useful reading indeed for me as a wine student.

Once I'd decanted this wine and given it a good 20-30 minutes, it settled down.  Vanilla on immediate entry followed by some warmth/ spice.  In the mouth, smooth and plummy; the finish all spice and fruit coming through.

Source: Retail, Purple Palate
Price: $?
Closure: Screwcap

Sunday 26 December 2010

Christmas Day Wines Round-Up

Being a 1 grand Pom (10 pounds adjusted for inflation and about the cost of a flight these days), I find it hard to discard the need to have a full on roast dinner for Christmas.

That said, eating in our household is all about over-catering and focussing on Boxing Day where we eat Boxing Day Pie - a pie made from left over Christmas dinner ingredients.  Not to be missed.

Here's a round-up of the wine consumed round our way.

Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
In my limited experience of tasting, I love Coonawarra Cabernet - I really feel I can taste the lovely Terra Rossa soil.  This is no exception.  A lovely heady aroma of beautiful brambly red fruits and quality oak - that wonderful cedary cigar box aroma.  On the palate the oak gives a fine spice on the fore palate that expresses itself as a drying finish with fine tannins.  More black fruits on the follow through.  A winemakers' wine, could easily live for another 5-10 years.

Peter Lehmann The Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz 2001 (Disgorged 2008)
Plummy richness on the nose, the quality of the fruit shining through already.  On the palate, chocolate - with a generous mix of fruit coming through again.  The finish is yeasty, not quite the 'biscuity' finish of a good champagne.  Again, more plummy notes, earthen on the extreme length.

Witches Falls 2006 Granite Belt Syrah
Immediate aroma is highly reductive, sulphur and a tad of cordite (I love the smell of cordite in the morning!).  It settled down after about 20-30 minutes to present a coffee-ish note.  On the palate, plummy spice on a medium body.  The finish shows more of that spice to the end.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Ashton Hills Vineyard 2008 Pinot Noir Estate

I had the privilege of participating in what I termed a "Cultural Exchange" with Chris Plummer of the Australian Wine Journal.  Chris had commented on one of my previous posts, for a rather unmemorable wine, that he had been yearning to try some Queensland for a while now.  My end of the deal a Robert Channon Verdelho, in return I receive this.  Chris wins.

First up, I tasted this far too young, but like a small child, when you are gifted something so exciting, you want to open it.  Initially it was very closed wine and only really opened up after an hour or two in the decanter, but it really settled down on Day 2.

Aromas of dark cherry and some meats lead to a gentle spice on the palate.  Over time, as the wine opened up, it also presented earthy, meaty, savoury notes that had me earning for some charcuterie.  Initially, the finish presented some Kalamata Olive, but this soon made way for more of that gentle spice - possibly a sign from some good quality oak treatment.

This is, without doubt, a well crafted wine.  A premier example of Australian Pinot - this example even winning "Best Pinot Noir' at the Australian Cool Climate Wine Show.  I'm certain drinking now didn't do it justice.  This is #aplus booze, and winemaker Stephen George a master craftsman.

Source: Gift
Price: $40
Closure: Screwcap

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Rabbit Ranch 2008 Pinot Noir

I believe this wine has the dubious honour of being the first non-Australian wine posted up on the site.  I'm not waging my own one-man "All for One Wine" campaign, it is more a reflection on my budget and the fact that in the main buy my own wines.

Typical Central Otago darker style Pinot Noir, think plum coloured as opposed to the raspberry tinged hues of Pinot Noir.  But there the similarity ends for me.  It is actually lighter in style than colour would depict, very much drink now.  Typical red cherry and a smidge of spice on entry, very gentle, fruit driven.  No real length to speak of, minimal tannin.  Very much a drinker and works well with food.

Price: $34.99 RRP, $20 on special.
Closure: Screwcap

Sunday 12 December 2010

Teusner Salsa Rosé 2009

"Spicy, seductive and alluring..." leads the intro on the back of the bottle.  I probably need not write any more of this offering from Teusner in the Barossa Valley.

Teusner are a winery that have really engaged social media, to the point where their daily weather briefing is eagerly anticipated by fellow members of the Barossa Valley wine community and punters alike.  From a personal perspective, I feel such a sense of attachment to the Teusner that I would eagerly seek out any new release of theirs.  It helps that the guys are consistently on the money with their releases from within an impressive portfolio.

This Rosé is predominantly crafted from Mataro and Grenache, two staples of the Teusner stable.  The aroma is a perfect lead in: soft and delicate.  In the mouth, there's a hint of creaminess that morphs into a touch of spice toward the back palate.  Its an interesting balance, there's some sweetness but you wouldn't say it is sweet.  It is the finish that wins; savoury, spicy - it will be excellent with food and it is most likely to accompany a touch of Avocado salsa tonight, its flavours dancing their way across my palate.

Source: Sample
Price: $18
Closure: Screwcap

Logan Hannah Rosé 2010

Another wine received for the Rosé Revolution.

Made from Shiraz (60%), Cabernet Franc (20%) and Pinot Noir (20%), the Hannah offers delicate aromas of Strawberry and Raspberry.  Having been perusing some cook books, prior to tasting, in preparation for some Christmas drinks my wife and I are hosting, I was minded that the colour of the wine is very similar to baked rhubarb, of which there is a touch on the palate.

Cranberry adds some savoury dryness in the mouth, and a touch of orange zest fills out the palate with some additional depth.  This leads to a citrus finish and a beautiful tart dryness.

You have to salute winemaker Peter Logan's taste in women for "Hannah" was made specifically for his wedding day.  A fantastic Rosé from a vintage that was challenging for the viticulturist.

Source: Sample
Price: $22
Closure: Screwcap

Domaine Lucci 2010 Wildman Pinot Noir

Domaine Lucci and Anton van Klopper seem to have a profound affect on me.  I'd never heard of either until about early November 2010, then in one of those strange moments of synchronicity, I came across Mr Klopper, or the fruits of his labours about four times in as many days.

I have the Qwoff Boys to thank for at least two of these introductions. Firstly by way of his introduction in Max Allen's "The Future Makers" and then also by virtue of their Road to Vino Episode "Lunch With Lucy".  Watching this video of Andre and Justin tasting with Anton a) made me sickingly jealous and b) made me have to sit down and stop what I was doing otherwise I would risk fainting.  This was one of those head-spinny moments where I was just enthralled at the approach, or some may say lack of, to winemaking this guy had.  I was simply in a daze.  I had to get me some of those wines!

Around the same time, the Winefront, reviewed two wines from the stable.  If I wasn't hooked before, I was now.

This is only the second wine that I have tried from the hands of Anton van Klopper.  Jumping to conclusions quickly, I consider that these are very challenging wines, in the sense that they have challenged me as a consumer.  The first of their wines I tried was a Pinot Gris.  It was red.  The individual who allowed me to sample this wine asked of me what my thoughts were when I was thinking of Pinot Gris.  Red most certainly was not one of them.  Challenging I say.

This wine is clearly a Pinot Noir.  It smells of varietal cherries and raspberries.  But take a look at it, and its not your typical light, shiny, nigh transparent, red Pinot Noir.  There's almost a brown tinge to it.  Not the brickish tinge of an aged Pinot, this is something altogether more earthen.  Then I start to think, its a 2010 - is this how young Pinot's are?  I have no other frame of reference.  I'll have to take it as I see it.

In the mouth, it's warm, some earthiness, tight - again not at all like Pinot's I have tasted before - which admittedly is pretty much exclusively new world.

The finish has spice in the roof of the mouth and this leads through to the back palate; this wine had me hooked.  It is good shit, if I may be as vulgar as to say.

Although the bottle was finished, I carried on drinking it mentally.  The slight earthiness, the raspberry and cherry could have me thinking it was a Grenache.  No, its definitely Pinot Noir.  Even now I am thinking about it.

Whichever way you approach it, this is seriously good booze.  If you want a Pinot Noir to drink, yes this ticks all the right boxes.  If you want a Pinot Noir that will engage you, maybe make you think, look at what's in the glass repeatedly, then this is your man.

Source: Retail
Price: $35
Closure: Diam with Wax Seal
Retailer: Spiros Toowong

Thursday 9 December 2010

KT & The Falcon 2009 Peglidis Watervale Riesling

I really like single vineyard wines, I just feel they have a bit more of a story to tell with the ability to point to a block of vines and a patch and say "this is from where I came".  To that end its a shame when a winery doesn't back up that story with having an up to date website.

The aroma provides hallmark Watervale Riesling fruit: varietal apple and citrus, particularly the familiar lime.  However it is on the palate that the wine shines. Spritz on entry and tongue tingling acidity.  As you allow the wine to float around the mouth there's some familiar slatey minerality.  

This is hard to describe, but do try it and I'm sure you'll understand where I am trying to come from.  Toward the finish, a touch more spritz, good acid and a reappearance of some of the quality fruit shining through.  All up, a very smart dry Riesling.

Source: Retail
Price: $30-$35
Closure: Screwcap
Retailer: Spiros Toowong

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Vinteloper Wines 2010 McLaren Vale Rosé

I've had the good fortune to meet winemaker David Bowley and to try a number of wines from his portfolio.  I have disclose that I am a fan of his work. 

What most impresses me is David's passion in letting the fruit shine through in his wines.  As David states on his website: "all wines are made with minimal intervention and primitive techniques to allow texture & unique expression".

A good barometer for any wine's quality in my household is my wife.  Whilst I'm the one who tries to analyse a wine and makes attempts to express how I find it, my wife pays a wine the ultimate compliment in emptying her glass quickly and refilling it.  She paid this wine that compliment.

This wine is made form 96% Shiraz with 2% of Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Grenache added.  Other technical specs are 7-10 g/L residual sugar, with pH at 3.25 and a total acidity (TA) of 6.6.  A fairly balanced, not overtly sweet wine.

The wine itself offers an gentle aromas of berry fruit: strawberry and cranberry for me.  However it is on the palate that the wine shone through.  On entry, some immediate savoury notes with a slight creamy mouthfeel.  I felt the wine was fullest at the fore of the palate; more of that cranberry dryness present.  There was some length, with a dry finish and a gentle touch of what I would consider spice - possibly white pepper.

Overall a good balanced wine.  Not sweet, nor excessively dry.  A good wine in harmony with itself.

Closure: Screwcap
Price: $21 per bottle from website

Tuesday 7 December 2010

2010 Swinging Bridge Rosé

Swinging Bridge Vineyard was first planted in 1995, with initial plantings of Shiraz and Chardonnay. Located to the South of Canonwindra (which I've learned is pronounced Canoundra) in the Central Ranges of NSW. This wine came to me via David Cumming at Define Wine.

Whilst the Rosé Wine Revolution was about the pale dry style, the colour of a number of Rosés caused a fair bit of debate, with some fairly forthright views held as to whether colour actually mattered. For me, I think not. A wine's colour would not necessarily lead me to a purchase decision or otherwise. That said, the Rosé Wine Revolution was intended to champion the paler style, but it would appear that a number of 'brighter' styles were up for consideration.

To this wine, a Rosé more on the reddish spectrum, appearing vibrant in the glass. Its nose offers definite hints of strawberry - but then I am sure that most Rosés have a hint of strawberry on the nose.

This particular wine is made, predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon, with a touch of Merlot. This contributes to a good crisp finish on the palate. The thing I am most surprised about is that on second tasting, this wine wasn't as sweet as I first remembered. It is the second tasting from which I am drawing these notes.

I think this goes to show how environmental factors can alter the properties of a wine quite significantly.  Admittedly when I first tried it, I was a little under the weather. It was tried alongside a number of other wines and accompanied with some home made pizzas - quite possibly the ingredients on the pizzas accentuating some sweetness on the palate.

So, in summary, the wine offers a good gentle aroma which, in the mouth, manifests itself as a gentle crisp Rosé with some length there. It doesn't dominate the palate and would lend itself as a great accompaniment to a light summer meal or the great Aussie BBQ.

Source: Sample
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $18

Sparrow & Vine 2010 Eden Valley Grenache Rosé

The Grenache for this Rosé is from Noel Doecke's vineyard in Gawler Park Road, not too far from Angaston I am informed.  It's made by Wayne Ahrens, the proprietor of Smallfry Wines, and is made to specification for Brendan Hilferty who many may know on Twitter as @thewinepoint.  Whilst that is Brendan's day job and the one that pays the bills, this Rosé is the first release from a side-project of Brendan's.  Sparrow & Vine are also on twitter: @sparrowandvine.

The fruit for this wine was picked specifically for Rosé in late February at 11 baume.  The intent was to produce a lower alcohol style but the wild yeast got a little excited and took it too around 13% alcohol.  In addition to the Grenache, there is a little Alicante Bouchet present which lends a brighter colour to the wine.

I really enjoyed this wine on the night.  Raspberries, cranberry and a touch of raspberry on the nose = the Grenache fruit showing through there for me.  In the mouth, textural with quite  broad sensation.  What I mean is it fills the mouth a little more than other wines I have tasted.  There's more cranberry and raspberry on the palate that morphs into a gentle finish.  Its not incredibly lengthy, breadth rather than depth in this one.

I like it.  A great food wine.  Dry, textural, slight savoury notes.  An impressive debut.

Source: Sample
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $20

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Cirillo 1850 Old Vine 2010 Grenache Rosé

A good friend of mine, he masquerades as TwoGlassTaste on Twitter, stocks some of Cirillo's wine via his own website He was generous to bring this around as part of the RoseRev festivities (or the Toowong Revolutionary Planning Council as I started to think of it).

The first thing about this wine: a beautiful bright fuschia pink. Its a dark wine, I've seen lighter coloured Pinot Noir. Its colour pleases me, nay invites me to drink.

The aroma shows cranberry; touches of raspberry and cherry. These aromas manifest themselves into the palate, however it is the wine's dryness that has me. Its deliciously dry and this gives the wine some length too and renders a little tannin. Incredible finish. In short, if this isn't already clear, I like it.

Source: Sample
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $20 (approx.)

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate Grown Pinot Noir Rosé 2010

Feeling a touch under the weather in the lead up to the Rosé revolution left me a little unsure as to how my palate was going to hold up to a significant tasting - more importantly, could I do the wines justice?

Rosé to me just speaks of Summer. The perfect accompaniment to many of the dishes we associate with the same season: Oysters, Salmon. The latter a perfect segue into the colour of this wine, a delightful pure salmon pink.

On the nose fresh and vibrant with a touch of summer Strawberry coming through. In the mouth, its a light wine - not overly dominating with fruit, there is a gentle hint. Rather it is the finish that makes this wine. It has a gentle persistence that effectively fills the back palate and holds for some time. It concludes with a gentle bitterness, that morphs into a touch of spice.

Source: Sample
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $25