An Australian Wine Blog

Monday, 19 December 2011

Taylor's Estate Shiraz 2009

Second of two Taylor's (for some reason they shun the possessive form of the family name) wines tasted.  Thought this much better quality and at $10 less than the Jaraman Cabernet.

Initially opened a touch reductive before revealing an array of black fruited goodness: cassis, blackberry and black cherry.  Thick, rich and full bodied - but not sickly sweet.  Some fruit sweetness is present but with a follow through of more savoury elements - tobacco and leather - providing added interest.

Finish is decent with some good length, defined by this rather pleasant mix of blackcurrant and leather, an element of licorice thrown in too.  Structure and balance at $20 - seek it out at a good local independent store and you'll likely pick it up a little cheaper too.

Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

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Taylor's Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

From Coonawarra and Clare Valley fruit comes this perfumed and well proportioned Cabernet.  Showing good aromatics of mint, chocolate, with typical dusty, leafy typical Cabernet aroma.  

Full bodied on entry, exhibiting plum, and further chocolate.  The movement towards the finish not entirely seamless, some awkward acid jutting out ahead of some chalky tannin before a decent finish of moderate length. 

Source: Sample
Price: $29.95
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Henschke Julius Riesling 2011

Another very good wine from what is meant to be a rather crap vintage.  Shows the perils of lumping all regions and producers together on this island continent.

Floral aromatics abound, supported by a hint of pear, talcum and hallmark Eden Valley lime citrus.  Quite tight on the palate, generous acid carrying lime through to the finish with  rapier-like thrust.  Nice touch of weight on the palate too, but it's the length, persistence and drive that define the finish.

Source: Sample
Price: $33
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Yalumba Single Site Habermann Vineyard Grenache 2005

Kevin Glastonbury oversees the production of some of my favourite wines out of Yalumba's rather significant portfolio, including this cracker from the Single Vineyard series.  He seems a cracking bloke too - kindly guiding this individual at the Brisbane RNA earlier this year when I was a tad lost.

Hand picked and then crushed to 8 tonne open fermenters. Initially wild  yeast fermented before some cultured yeasts applied to sustain fermentation.  Fruit off of a single site, planted in 1972, in the Bethany sub-region, grown on deep dark clay.

At 6 years of age the wine is still showing some significant fruit presence: raspberries and redcurrants, intermingling with some chocolate and sweet perfumed oak.

Lovely texture in the middle, creamy oak feel - and it is this that really the wine's lasting memory: a loving, voluptuous embrace.  A wee spike of heat before earthen spice shows itself providing a finish of moderate length, integrated tannin.

Source: Retail, The Wine Emporium
Price: $55
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: www.yalumba.com

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Saturday, 10 December 2011

Agricola Querciabella Chianti Classico 2007

Length and complexity abound in this wine.  The finish shows this pulsing wave of savoury charm, encircling the mouth, throbbing - beckoning you in for more.  Silky tannins complete the picture of dark cherries, some barbecue meat and new leather.

Woody nutty palate, silken smooth medium body.  Excellent balance. My only criticism is a little spike of heat that rears its head, but it quickly pops back below the parapet.  Beautiful.

First made in 1974, this is the wines 34th release.  The estate has been certified biodynamic since 2000.  Blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet (as permitted under the 1984 DOCG regulations).  One hundred percent French oak.  The Sangiovese sees only 10% new, the remainder is 1-2 year old.  The Cabernet sees 80% new.

Source: Retail
Price: $39.99
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Cork

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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Yelland & Papps Divine Mataro 2009

Yelland & Papps is Michael and Susan Papps (née Yelland), and was established in 2005.  Sourcing fruit from largely old vine material in the Greenock sub-region.  Resultant wines exhibit the characteristics of the locale, rich and full bodied.

This Mataro comes from 57 gnarly, hand picked bush vines planted around the 1880's, in its beloved loam over clay.   Only one hundred bottles made, thus this wine represents 1% of the entire production.  Open fermented on skins for 14 days before gentle basket pressing, 24 months maturation in old French oak, before bottling unfiltered.  Much love.

On visual impact alone the wine delights.  I referred to it - and the wine itself - as the Prince of Darkness meets George Clooney in his finest Armani suit.  It has the dark concentration and underlying brooding darkness of good Mataro, yet it's smooth, refined and a pleasure to be in the company of.  Seductive black cherry and plum aromatics, the old oak supporting the wine and assisting in the concentration of flavour.  The body is silken, smooth with chocolate and mocha.  There is an intensity, and a depth to the wine more than equivalent to the punt on the bottle.

Over two days the wine barely budged, in anything it became more focussed with greater shape being noted, channelling the wine, effortlessly flowing across the tongue towards the finish.

Tannin is extremely fine, there's hallmark spice, and it would be remiss to fail to mention the lack of heat that I have seen in other examples of Mataro recently.  Beautiful balance and all up this is simply an exquisite example of the style.  Exceptional.

Source: Sample 
Price: $102
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Screwcap

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Monday, 5 December 2011

Gumpara Old Vine Semillon 2010

The Mader family, along with many others, fled religious persecution in their native Germany and settled in the Barossa in the mid-19th century. Roll forward six generations to Mark Mader who founded Gumpara in 1999, making his first wine in 2000 - a Shiraz- before expanding into Semillon through a block planted some 90 years ago.  

From the Light Pass sub-region of the Barossa comes this wine of diversity and delicacy.  No oak used here, allowing the old vine fruit to really sing. And boy does it show it's impressive range, singing of summer: variously lemon cream, freshly shelled broad beans, hints of apple.  It shows all of these elements, seemingly in turn.

It has quite a grassy/ hay feel to it, but all up it is fine tuned, with crunchy, balanced acid rounding the wine out and providing some moderate length. 

Source: Tasting
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Murray Street Vineyards Viognier Marsanne 2010

A 60/40 blend respectively, the wine is a representation of its constituent parts.  Aromatically of Viognier: apricot, peach and a touch of honeysuckle.  It's pretty and very approachable.

The palate, in contrast, shows quite a 'nutty' entry - the Marsanne presenting itself - with weight, texture, phenolic characters and a mineral edge.  This segues to a slight citrus tinged, gently acidic finish.

Refreshing and approachable, to the uninitiated the contrast between the two components may be a little confronting.  Check out Wine Buzz Team tasting the wine at Murray Street's Cellar Door here (about 4m20s in).

Source: Good Food & Wine Show
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rusty Mutt Shiraz 2006

By day, 'Rusty Mutt' is a 20 year career employee, now Senior Winemaker, for an eponymous named Jimmy Watson winning, cricket loving winemaker/ winery.  

5 years back, the Rusty Mutt label was born with this release. On the nose an immediate whiff of sweet scented oak framing up some good fruit provides an indication of what lies within.  Entry shows a wine that's more medium than full bodied, clean and silken - it's rather easy to drink.  

On the finish there's some firm tannin that delivers a little lick of liquorice at it's conclusion.  Well made, good quality.  

My only criticism would be that it is a little simple, but for a well balanced wine of easy drinkability it works.

Source: Sample
Price: $140 per 6 pack
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://rustymutt.com.au/

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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hewitson Old Garden Mourvèdre 2002

"Making this wine is not a challenge,
it's a humbling experience"
- Dean Hewitson, CEO & Winemaker, Hewitson Wines 

Made from eight rows of Mourvèdre, reputed to be oldest of the variety in the world, approaching 160 years now.  Dry grown, all original - no replants.  From the Rowland Flat sub-region of the Barossa Valley, situated in the perfect soil for Mataro: deep sand over Limestone.  It's quite amazing to comprehend that this wine is a living link to the origins of settlement of the Barossa Valley and its wine industry.  It seems that it's only now that old vine material is starting to be truly appreciated.  The Barossa Valley has an old vine charter, these vines fall into the top tier of Ancestor Vines.

2002 was the first year that Hewitson placed the wine into 100% new French oak.  Now approaching ten years of age, this wine is hitting it's straps.  Herb, tobacco and leather abound initially.  Given some time, some perfume shows itself.  The palate is earthen, there's more tobacco and leather.  More than this, the wine shows incredible depth.  Yes it's a touch raisiny, but it's rustic charm more than compensates for this.

The spice starts to build early on in the mid-palate, continues, providing a focal length through the middle.  Tannin is dry and chalky.  There's a fair burst of heat present, initially distracting, it soon fades into the background.  Over the course of the evening the wine softens a little, yielding some coffe-ish notes - Camp Coffee Essence.  The overwhelming memory is of that length.  Quite a remarkable wine, both in the context of a single variety wine and also given its historical significance.

Source: Retail, Cru Bar
Price: $75 ($45 on release)
Alcohol: 16%
Closure: Cork

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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Nepenthe Pinot Gris 2011

There's a bit of care that goes into the making of this wine: hand picked, whole bunch pressed, and even some use of one to two year old oak to provide additional complexity.

Ticks the right aromatic aromatic boxes with varietal pear, blossom and florals. But for me, that's where it seemed to end.  Nice fuller textured palate as befits the style and aforementioned winemaking techniques.  Thereafter clean and rather straightforward.

Crisp and clean in the finish.  Drink, don't ponder.

Source: Sample
Price: $19.99
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.nepenthe.com.au/

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Monday, 21 November 2011

Barossa Muster 'M' Mataro 2007

The winery weren't initially sure what to call the wine, opting for 'M' as its name and consequently using each of Mataro, Monastrell and Mourvèdre on the label.

Damp earth, kirsch, a hint of cassis.  Smooth, rounded, plump pillow feel in the mouth; fruit in the body set against the inherent richness of the Mataro.  Beyond the plush mouthfeel, some hazelnutty chocolate.  Lacks a little breadth and depth on the palate  - but this can be overlooked given its inherent drinkability.  

Finish shows spice, there's a touch of heat - '07 was a scorcher - but it soon dissipates, this sun lover able to handle it.  Spice resumes normal duties, rounding out in the mouth.  Not a linear length per se, but certainly persistent of finish.  Fine tannin seeing you home.

Source: Retail, Cru Bar
Price: $27
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Tempus Two Copper Series Sauvignon Blanc 2011

I'm not a huge Savvy fan, but there are a few producers doing interesting things with the variety like Mitchell Harris, Nepenthe and now Tempus Two.

Eschewing standard tank fermentation, they've opted to go 100% French Oak fermentation to create this Savvy with a full, textured, creamy palate, the latter achieved with regular stirring of lees.  Aromatics are in the tropical fruit spectrum, guava and peeled lychee; a hint of mineral present too.

The finish carries the tropical fruit with a decent line of minerality.  Touch of acid on the end but overall, for me, it finishes a touch sweet. Still an interesting wine and an alternative to the bog standard savalanche that only now is showing some signs of abating on retailers shelves.

Source: Sample
Price: $19.99
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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BK Wines Cult Syrah 2010

I've written up some notes from previous tastings of BK wines here and here, including this wine. 

This wine is BK's nod to Crozes-Hermitage, an homage to Crozes-Hermitage if you wish.  Hand harvested, de-stemmed but whole berry.  Pumped over once a day to deliver a wine of darkness with a purple rimmed edge.  

Black fruits: plum, blackcurrant and a touch of liquorice present themselves with a backdrop of smoky bacon fat.  Medium bodied, the fruit flows through to the palate with more of that smoky note coming through.  

Excellent depth, combining fruit and pervasive spice.  Excellent harmony and a wine that's a product of both place, with the deep rich black quartz soils adding to the wine; the 20% new oak (French and Hungarian) allowing the fruit to shine, the latter adding some natural spice to the equation.

Source: Retail, Spiros Paddington
Price: $27
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Diam
Website: http://bkwines.com.au/

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Deisen Shiraz 2004

On day 1 it was all about plush, rich chocolate against blueberry and raspberry goodness. Oak was considerate, framing the chocolate and berry.  Roll forward a day and the oak presents itself somewhat more obviously.

The palate: smooth, silk scarf smooth on entry.  The mid-palate shows lush, richness which gives way to some cinnamon.  Fair whack of heat coming through.  

Looked a bit disjointed on day 2. Drink now.

Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $40 approx.
Alcohol: 15.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.deisen.com.au/ (sadly hacked at the time of writing)


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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hoddles Creek Estate 1er Pinot Blanc 2010

Winemaker Franco d'Anna is on record as stating that this wine needs a year in bottle to show its true colours.  I wish the economics of running a business could be ignored, enabling it to be released with that time under its belt. It is really quite remarkable.

Aromatically it shows as something akin to a Pinot Gris/ Chardonnay hybrid.  In fact Pinot Blanc is a mutation of Gris, but in this guise it shows hints of pear, gentle blossom, peach and melon.  There the similarity ends.

Racy, spicy and mineral laden in the mouth - initially leaving a slight waxy feel.  I had this open over a number of days; forty-eight hours after opening it had improved further.  After that time it showed an explosion of mineral intensity that just continued...on and on.  It is a wine of persistence and charm, carrying a line of mineral laden pear and apple with a clip of citrus, although over time the fruit does subside.

I would love to know how this would develop.  Given its showing over 48 hours you would consider there is significant life in it.  Quite remarkable indeed.

Source: Retail, Spiros Paddington
Price: $32
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap

Monday, 7 November 2011

Thorn-Clarke William Randell Shiraz 2008

Pumped over for colour, extraction and tannin.  And it shows.  This is Barossan Shiraz as many know it.  It's all about black fruits, liquorice and some intense oak complementing some chocolate.  The oak, 100% new, French.  

This gives it a fine grainy tannin at its conclusion.  In the mouth it's rich, full bodied.  The oak is there in the mouth, but it is all in balance, it supports the blackcurrant fruit and overall gives an impression of intensity and considerable depth.

It's quite closed, you'd have to consider this a fairly age-worthy cellar inhabitant, some 10-20 years the winery suggests.  You'd like to see it open up a little and express itself.  Nonetheless rather impressive.  So much so that I didn't feel the need to consider the 15.5% alcohol.

Source: Tasting
Price: $60
Alcohol: 15.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.thornclarke.com.au/

Thorn-Clarke Morello Nebbiolo 2008

Interesting wine this.  Tasted at the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show, initially it was all about black and red fruits with some good cherry thrown in (and reflecting the Morello name).

Roll forward a day, stick it into a Riedel Vinnum Syrah glass and it's more about a complex mix of savoury, nigh earthen notes - a touch of gravox/ vegemite with some dried herb.  

There's fruit in abundance too, with the sour cherry shining through.  Medium bodied, light (lighter than I'd expected) in colour, the tannins not shying away on the finish.

Good balance, a Barossan take on an Italian classic, really enjoyable.

Source: Tasting
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.thornclarke.com.au/

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Piper's Brook Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2008

My first  Gewürz posted up here.  Good balance of fruit, acid and a touch of mineral - aided by the cool climate of Tasmania  - that makes the isle so suited to varieties like Gewürztraminer.  Mostly sourced from a planted in 1974 with the balance being from Tamar Valley fruit.

Aromatically it speaks of rose water, musk stick, turkish delight and some lychee - the softer, rounded tropical fruit spectrum.  Crystaline, pure in the mouth - an element of rose presents itself on entry, and it concludes with some phenolics there to add an extra edge to the mineral and weight of the unctuous palate.

There's a little raspy ginger spice, building the wine back up from the taut, flat, pure body. The finish: dry, with some gentle acids and minerally quartz to conclude.  Superb (in my limited experience).

Source: Retail
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Friday, 4 November 2011

Taylors St Andrews Single Vineyard Riesling 2007

Possibly the biggest compliment you can pay to a wine is to drink it and to then want to order more and then drink that too.  Suffice to say, this is an impressive wine.

It has some history behind it coming, off of the historic St Andrews vineyard. At four years it is showing some development with kero and toasty notes amidst some softer citrus elements.

It's quite soft on the nose and it is on the palate where the wine shows its true colours.  There's a touch of weight and depth to the wine in the mouth, entry shows a hint of lime and a tropical note.  There too is a minerally steeliness that segues to a good burst of tart citrus, forming a spine of acid.

The finish shows more tart citrus, pulled through by the acid.  This defines the finish, carrying a wine of impressive length. 

Source: Sample
Price: $40 RRP
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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[this post was edited at 13:59 on 04/11/11 - the Price was increased from $36.95 to $40]

Thursday, 3 November 2011

BK Wines: Still Hand Made

Back in July I had the pleasure of tasting through BK's range of wines.  I quoted a paragraph from UK scribe Jamie Goode, the final sentence of which was "I just want them to get the credit they deserve". Even the most talented , whatever their profession, need a helping hand sometimes and some top ratings for the 2010 Cult Syrah (96) and 2010 One Ball Chardonnay (94) from James Halliday had the wines flying off of the shelves, for Mr Halliday is a rather popular critic in certain circles.  It's great to see.

My own thoughts on BK's wines won't have quite the same effect, nonetheless it was a privilege to taste through them again. 

Three Course Lunch
First up three wines with some sexy new packaging, designed by a chap in the UK who's more accustomed to working with record labels.  The inspiration for these is based on the Sun Studios label of Johnny Cash, Elvis et al fame.  BK commented he sees them as a three course lunch - light and low enough in alcohol not to induce coma, the 2011 Pinot Grigio 11.5% $23 true to the style with pear, green apple and white flowers on the nose and good crunchy acids; the 2011 Lenswood Rosé 12.8% $23 is a true revolutionary: dry, savoury, textural, balanced and eminently drinkable; finally the 2011 Syrah Nouveau 2011 is BK's homage to the Booj, seeing no wood - its all about fruit.  A winner - a more detailed note can be found here. 

Pinot Gris
The 2010 Rosetta Pinot Gris 13.5% $30 is from the same fruit as the Grigio, just picked 2-3 weeks later.  Different vintage of course, but a side-by-side comparison is an excellent way of understanding the difference vis-a-vis Grigio and Gris.  Nine months of battonage develops complexity and palate weight, aromatically its about pears and the finish shows minerals, with a decent length.  Longer than a Kardashian marriage anyway. 

Chardonnay
The 2010 One Ball Chardonnay 14% $30 is from a site in the Kenton Valley, planted to the Dijon clone with an average age of 10 years, it goes through 100% malo and sees 50% new oak.  Nine months batonnage adds additional complexity to the creaminess derived from the MLF.  The 2010 Swaby Chardonnay 14% $40 (ex Ma Fleur) is from a site in the Picadilly Valley, approximately 30 year old vines and sees 50% new oak - the fruit off of the older vines able to sock up the oak better. Nutty. almond and some good young acid with minerally, toasty finish. 

The Syrah
The 2010 Cult Syrah 14% $30 is from a site in Lobethal with deep, rich soils.  It's BK's nod to Crozes-Hermitage with it fruit forward nature, spice and pepper on the palate, with some acid and bite.  The 2010 Neyle Syrah 14% $40 (ex John Bernard) comes from a site out at Mount Torrens, the soils there are rockier, stressing the vines and their resultant fruit is concentrated, consequently the wine is more savoury, there's some background cassis there, but it's quite closed: black, earthen...it needs time, one for savouring to explore the inherent depth.  

Finally, 2009 Mazi Whole Bunch Syrah 14% $85 is from Blewitt Springs, more McLaren Vale way.  Named after the Keys' dog, a German Short Haired Pointer who was $2,500 worse off after an altercation with a member of the Macropodidae family - the naming of this this wine thus an attempt to make the beast contribute something back toward that bill.  It sees 100% new oak, all one barrel of it, 20 cases is the result.  It's black, inky and concentrated.  The oak, whilst there, does not dominate - offset by the whole bunch no doubt.  The palate shows black cola and intense ripe, rich fruit with pepper through the back end.  Marvellous.

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Monday, 31 October 2011

Nepenthe Tempranillo 2010

Great aromatics that contrast between bright, perky, perty blueberry and raspberry, with roasted coffee and woody notes.  It's pleasingly aromatic and inviting.

Entry shows some good bright acid with a re-emergence of the fruity notes mentioned.  Medium bodied and rather slurpable, from entry through to the finish - which is moderately lengthy - showing balance and soft tannin for immediate pleasure.

Off of vines planted in 1998, the first Tempranillo vines in the Hills.  I hadn't had much luck with an earlier foray into the variety.  This wine is the exception to those, deserving of the honours emblazoned across its front.

Source: Sample
Price: $19.99
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Tempus Two Cabernet Merlot 2010

Distinctive packaging, approachability, showcasing regional and varietal strengths are some of Tempus Two's brand values.

This wine is from the 'varietal' series and offers good aromatics from both grape varieties: some good cigar box from the Cabernet and berry fruit goodness from the Merlot - think plums, blueberries here.  

It's soft, rounded and fairly supply.  Good easy drinking style.  A little short on the finish - but at $15 this can be forgiven.  There's some tannin for interest, and a further glimpse of the fruit characteristics seen throughout.  

Offers easy going drinkability - great introduction to this classic blend.

Source: Sample
Price: $14.99
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

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Friday, 28 October 2011

Dutschke St Jakobi 2009

I was given the opportunity to try this wine by the guys at Barossa HQ, a fantastic online wine room - and similar in concept to the Adelaide Hills Wine Room - where you can engage in live wine and food tastings.  It's all about the conversation and getting individuals engaged with the region.

A single vineyard wine and at $35 represents excellent value.  Fruit comes from a 6 acre, 32 row block planted in 1975 by Wayne Dutschke's "Uncle Ken".  In 2009, it was picked on two separate occasions to enable a cross-spectrum of Shiraz flavours to be obtained and then racked into a range of new and old French and American oak.  

Lyndoch is at the Southern, flatter end of the Barossa Valley.  Elevation is roughly around the 180m mark.  Ripening typically occurs earlier here, and the resulting wines tend to be ripe and lush without being overtly big.

That said, this '09 St Jakobi shows aromas that are typically present of wines from fruit off of the block.  It's fairly black and tarry, showing savoury and intoxicating aromatics.  The wood is present, invitingly so.  It's spicy on the palate, showing dark and rich Christmas pudding fruits.  

Spice carries through the finish and shows the typical hallmark St Jakobi characters of smoky and spicy plum.  Excellent drinking now, or pop some away for a few years and be further rewarded.

Source: Sample
Price: $35 RRP
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Screwcap

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BK Wines Nouveau Syrah 2011

I'm going to attempt to get two notes up today.  Two wines made by producers I really respect, two wines from different vintages, two single vineyard wines from sites about 30 KMs apart, two wines that are the anti-thesis of each other.  And two wines that I really enjoyed for two very different reasons.

This is the first.  A wine not planned, a consequence of the troublesome 2011 vintage in parts of Australia.  A wine from an individual confident in his own abilities and not afraid to push himself and challenge the perceptions of Australian wines and winemaking.

The fruit is from Gumeracha.  100% whole berry, it spends 20 days on skins and is warmed through malo.  Sees no wood at all and is sent straight to bottle.  Aromatically smells like a primary ferment.  It's all juicy berry aromatics, bubble gum - it's BK's ode to Booj.  It reminded me a little of Dutschke's Cab Mac, but more on that producer in the next post.

In the mouth, there's more of the same.  It's soft, rounded and fruity - slightly under-ripe raspberry; you get the picture.  The finish sees a little spice, some white pepper.  It's damn enjoyable, a back deck kind of wine.  You could even chill it down some, and at this alcohol is a great lunchtime quaffer.  That's not a pejorative statement.

Source: Tasting
Price: $23
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: bkwines.com.au

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Majella Riesling 2009


From a region renowned for its Cabernet comes this pale, pretty, delicate Riesling of breadth and mineral-laden depth.

Florals on the nose, some apple blossom aromatics and a faint whiff on some kero.  Entry shows some stony zing! The minerality radiating, providing textural breadth; the finish delicacy again, yet persistently so.  The minerality continues (did I mention the minerality?), showing a quartzy touch that tantalises the tongue and roof of the mouth. There's length, refreshing, fulfilling balanced length.  Bring on the Rizza say I. 

Very happy given that I asked for the Rosé when I originally place the order and this was sent instead.  Good price given the enjoyment factor.  Why is Riesling so undervalued?

Source: Winery
Price: $16-17
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.majellawines.com.au


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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Taylor's Jaraman Shiraz 2009

I used to drink a fair bit of Taylor's in the UK - somewhat unknowingly as it was under the Wakefield brand.  Taylor's is one of Australia's First Families of Wine, and its Jaraman label represents those wines made with a cross-regional composition.  This being 80% Clare and 20% McLaren Vale fruit.  

Black and brooding, the wine spends a fair bit of time in oak - 12 months, all American, 10% new, 80% 1-3 years old (can only assume the remaining 10% is 3+ years).  

The oak is evident on the nose, along with some coffee-mocha and plum.  Entry shows a wine that's medium-full bodied, certainly not thick and syrupy like some you encounter.  Further fruit encountered on the palate: cherry, red berries and a touch of cassis.

The finish is decent too, some residual oak and vanilla an initial entrée to further red fruit; a touch of warmth at the back of the throat a little noticeable - a product of its vintage - but not distracting.  All up fair persistence of flavour - a continuance of some tannic presence.  An all round easy drinker.  

You'll certainly find this wine cheaper than its RRP and its often a feature on many by the glass wine lists.  You could do much worse than overlook this.

Source: Sample
Price: $30 RRP
Alcohol: 14.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.taylors.com.au

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Two Sisters Pinot Noir 2006

Opened this for the Rugby World Cup Final - it was the only Kiwi wine in the house - and it proved rather an apt  metaphor for the All Blacks that night.

Whilst, ultimately, the wine delivered, it lacked the finesse and fluidity of some of its peers. Solid, sturdy - but not particularly inspiring.  As I say, a bit like the All Blacks in that final.

Jooby, juicy aromas on the nose.  Fairly big and extracted.  Medium bodied, lacks depth.  The finish showing warmth and spice.  Don't get me wrong, it was perfectly drinkable - and do just that, drink rather than pontificate and muse. 

Source: Retail, Champion Liquor
Price: $30 RRP
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Pattes Loup Chablis 2009

This is how I expect French organic growers and wine-producers to look.  Especially ones that oversee a label called Pattes Loup (Wolf's Paw).

It was on the basis of this gentleman's photo that I wanted to buy the wine - that it was talked up by the retailer added to the requirement to buy.

Farmed organically, hand picked and fermented in stainless steel and 700 litre concrete eggs.  It is this that gives the wine the incredible texture and richness on the palate.  On approach the wine offers a hint of cashew nuttiness, a suggestion of rich buttery pastry, but it's on the palate where it abounds with citrus.  In the mouth it feels dense and loaded, it is not over-bearing. 

The 2nd phase palate loads up on acid - in a soaring movement - electrifying and enlivening the mouth.  The finish shows some clean mineral layers leaving the mouth with a fantastic record of what had come before.

If you have the opportunity to try this wine, do so.  In fact - get your credit card and place an order with Eurocentric Wines.  Those in the know reckon that Thomas Pico's reputation is on a deservedly upward trajectory and future wine prices are likely to follow suit.

Source: Retail, The Wine Emporium
Price: $39.95 RRP
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Cork, wax sealed
Winery: http://www.pattes-loup.com/

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Thursday, 20 October 2011

Semillon Tasting

A tasting group I am involved with - Swirl, Sniff, Spit - organised a Semillon tasting that sought to demonstrate the diversity of styles that can be found with the Semillon grape. Brief tasting notes that follow represent the range of wines shown on the night. 

Bracket 1 - Sparkling
Bimbadgen, Hunter Valley, NV
Ripe, citrus fresh, easy going ability to drink now.  Good aromatics, with some tang.  A quaffer - get it down you.

St Agouant, 1999 'Blanc des Blancs'
Over ten years on lees gives the wine smooth and creamy texture and mouthfeel, Balanced with good acid structure and fine aroma. 

Bracket 2 - Young Semillon
Murray Street Vineyards Semillon 2010
Excellent value for $20.  Showing some developmental attributes, but this was all about fresh citrus and lemon curd on the night.  Wanted a plate of calamari to accompany this. Suspect it has some life ahead of it too.

Scarborough Wine Green Label
Good value too.  Made more in a 'savvy' style, exhibiting youthful and fresh attributes. Herbaceous, grassy and a hint of lime.  Crisp 'n' crunchy too. 

Bracket 3 - South Burnet, QLD
Barambah First Grid 2008
Offered to Swirl, Sniff, Spit on the understanding that it was in the 'hole' and needed some further developmental time to show its best.  A slight slatey note with some pickle characters and asparagus.  

Clovely Estate Left Field Semillon 2006
Showing lovely toasty and age characters as befits the age.  Good length and honeyed notes.  Top drawer and a perfect segue to Bracket 4. 

Bracket 4 - Aged Semillon
Meerea Park Alexander Munro 2005
Layered, complex.  Still showing citrus toward the back end and a creaminess through the middle.  Plenty in reserve: you think the wine is done when it kicks into 2nd gear.  Had me in raptures on the night.  Table wine of the night for me.

Peter Lehmann Margaret 2005
More bling than a rude boy rap artist this wine.  Classic Barossa warmer climate profile. Still showing some texture and fruit in its profile.  Classy and elegant. 

Bracket 5 - Off-Dry and Barrel Ferment
Thomas Wines 6 Degrees Semillon
Enticingly aromatic and shows its good dose of extra sugar in an approachable way.  Nice shape approaching its conclusion.  Reminiscent of crushed 'love hearts' for those familiar with those sweets/ lollies.

Juniper Estate Semillon 2008
Barrel fermentation provides interesting aromatics and a touch of funk from some indigenous yeasts.  Toasty, a touch of herb.  The palate comes across a bit flinty, with a hint of mineral.  More than one comment on the night that there were some similarities to Chardonnay. 

Bracket 6 - Stickie & Sweeties
Punt Road Venda 2010 Botrytis Semillon
Honeyed aromas, delicate citrus and mandarin.  Lovely unctuous texture in the mouth. Where's the cheese?

De Bortoli Black Noble
Basically Noble One from a Solera.  A barrique of Noble One is held back each year and added into the Solera.  Started out in 1979, average age of 18 years.  Since 2003 has been 100% Semillon (prior to that some PX was included).  Caramelised toffee, raisins, coffee, chocolate.  Need I say more?  I don't do Xmas pud - this will be my liquid substitute this year.

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