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Tuesday 25 January 2011

Mike Press Wines Dinner

A distinguished 42 year career working for some of Australia's biggest names (Penfolds, Seppelts, Krondorf), Chief Winemaker for Mildara Blass, Jimmy Watson winner...some pretty impressive stuff, thus an opportunity to taste Mike's range of wines including verticals of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wasn't to be turned down.

Thoughts of retiring to the Adelaide Hills on 85 acres, 30 of which Mike and Judy planted in 1998 with Shiraz (10), Cabernet (10), Merlot (5) and Pinot Noir (5) plus a further 30 (20 Merlot and Chardonnay 10) the following year, the intent was to grow premium grapes and on-sell to South Australian wineries.

A downturn in grape prices led to the decision to make the wine themselves, with a conscious decision to price to what they had expected to receive for the grapes plus a small margin.  That decision, plus a sales strategy of selling direct and through selected retailers only, has led to a growing number of fans.  This blog is one of them.  It was the profile-raising work of Tyson Stelzer and Matthew Jukes, and their influential, and now sorely missed missed (for it is now longer published) annual publication Taste, that brought MP Wines to my attention.

I didn't take any notes of own on the night, preferring to enjoy the wines.  Instead when Mike and Tyson introduced the Shiraz and Cabernet flights I took the time to record some of their words.

2005 Shiraz: 2-3 years left in it, 100% American Oak and become a bit refined in its old age.
2006 Shiraz: A different wine, Mike wasn't sure why.  Developing into a lovely elegant European styled Shiraz.  Will go a long way.
2007 Shiraz: Fuller than previous years, lovely sweet wood - uses American Oak and lots of it.
2008 Shiraz: a hot year (15.5% on the label), out of a miserable year this was salvaged, will last the least of the Shiraz.
2009 Shiraz: Developing now and showing glimpses of how it will become.  Elegant, beautiful tannins, a wine with much potential.  Look at it in 5 years time.

Mike fielded some questions from the floor, one of which was on the extensive use of American Oak, Mike's response received a warm response: "American Oak suits Shiraz, I'm a product of Shiraz and Penfolds"

My notes on the Cabernets are less detailed than the Shiraz.  Being the 2nd flight of the night, I cannot think why that may be...

Tyson was of the firm opinion that the "Cabernet is the star variety here" and emphasised that Mike's wines are from his own fruit off a single vineyard.  On the 2009 Cabernet it was offered that "to really appreciate what this wine's about, cellar it, look at in 5-10 years time.  Treat it like a serious, expensive wine". 

That the Cabernet is available direct for $167 per dozen, delivered, makes this a tempting proposition.  A few retailers still have the Shiraz available for around $150 a case plus delivery.  Do it, you know you want to.

Price: $80
Closure: About midnight.


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