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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Teusner The Dog Strangler 2010

This is my first experience of the Dog Strangler - for those unaware "Estrangle Chien" is a French synonym for what we in Australia commonly refer to as Mataro - for, being a stubborn principled sort, I refuse to shop in certain national multiples, preferring to frequent local and independently owned stores

I've been on the record before as having a disdain for fashionable flights of fancy.  However, it seems that Mataro is getting its time in the retail spotlight - I've even seen it referred to as "The Next Big Thing".  Mataro has a long association with Australia but has traditionally been blended away into GSM blends (and variations thereof).

I'm happy to see more straight varietal Mataro come onto retail shelves, but i wouldn't like to see the trend continue at the expense of - as I see it - varietally correct Mataro.

This example, from various blocks around the Barossa exhibits a touch of prune, leather and damp earth.  It comes across as a fairly made wine compared to some other examples of Mataro I have tasted.  In the mouth, it's fairly concentrated - exhibiting depth of flavour; some all-spice contributes to an overall warmth in the mouth.

The spice radiates on leading to a fair length of finish.  Overall it is emminently drinkable - as Teusner wines tend to be - that said, my preference was for the wine on day one.  Don't demur, if you get the opportunity buy some up, drink some and bob a couple away for a couple of years.

Source: Retail, Champion Liquor
Price: $28 RRP
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Tuesday 23 August 2011

Spinifex Rose 2010

A blend of Mataro, Cinsault, Grenache and Shiraz (45/25/23/7%) and a glorious pale pink.  There are certain things that you eat or drink that have the ability to transport you.  This, despite hailing from the Barossa takes me to a hillside villa in Provence, overlooking a field of lavender gently snaking in the breeze.

Its aromas of rose and even a touch of the ubiquitous boiled sweet lead you into a mid-weight palate, where some spice makes way for a dry and savoury finish.

Dangerously chuggable, though one has to advocate responsible consumption lest you start dreaming too much about that Provencale hillside villa.

Source: Gift
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

La Pleiade Heathcote Shiraz 2007

The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is that most obvious to the naked eye in the sky.  You might also notice it as the logo of Japanese vehicle manufacturer Subaru.

In this case it is a collaborative winemaking effort between Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill and M.Chapoutier of the Rhone.  The partnership has two labels Agly Brothers of Rousillon and this, La Pleiade of Heathcote - one of only 500 dozen produced.

The wine smells dark, earthen, a touch of leather and prune.  It's inky, dense and quite concentrated.  But for all that, it is a wine of incredible balance and structure.  Yes, tannins are quite assertive and contribute to an overall sense of concentration.

It kind of leaves one feeling that they have worked for the wine, yet without feeling violated or overwhelmed.

Source: Retail
Price: $70 RRP 
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Cork

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heathcote la pleiade, la pleiade heathcote 2007, la pleiade wine

Ballandean Estate Family Reserve Chardonnay 2008

Barrel fermented for 12 months, evident on the nose.  Further, stonefruit and a hint of grapefruit.  The plate shows some nutty/ nougat notes, a touch of mineral; malo is evident with the hallmark smooth creaminess.

Some acid was quite evident on first opening, but it seemed to settle into a groove. Whilst the finish came up a little short, some toasty oak character did hang a little providing interest and memory.  All up balanced if a little truncated.

Source: Sample (Chardonnay Day Tasting)
Price: $22 RRP
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Screwcap

De Bortoli Estate Grown Yarra Valley Syrah 2008

Clear funk; old barrel ferment and some whole bunch aroma present themselves initially, with some berry fruit and cherry skulking in the background like some naughty children.

The palate: complex.  Some bitter, chewy, savoury twigginess through the middle.  A nuttiness providing a little extra to chew on, and over.  The finish shows spice, even some clove, and more of that nutty character that sees you through to conclusion.

Another excellent effort from the De Bortoli stable.  There's a fair few of their wines up here now.  I don't think the Syrah/ Shiraz name even needs a mention.

Source: Retail
Price: $32
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Joh Jos Prüm Riesling Kabinett 2008

The wines of Joh Jos Prüm (or JJ Prüm as they are often referred) are renowned for having a bit of sulphurous stink action going on.  Not so this beauty, a pretty little thing offering up floral aromas: apple blossom and honeysuckle.

Entry shows an initially quite intense wine, but this quickly fades away to exhibit some minerality and nigh-tropical fruit.  Delicate in the mouth, it almost feels weightless - a house characteristic I am led to believe.

Through the finish, little acid.  Lacks intensity, lingers a little but is quite moderate.  2008 is seen as an excellent vintage, less ripe than other years, allowing expressions on terroir.  Aside from some slight minerality and low-key acid I didn't see too much.  Would hazard more visible in the single site wines than this entry level wine.

Source: Retail, Hailsham Cellars
Price: 16.49GBP ($26.50 AUD at time of writing) 
Alcohol: 8.5%
Closure: Cork

Monday 8 August 2011

Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2004

Beautiful green tinged, golden straw colour. Faint lime cordial aroma with lifted floral aromatics.

Entry shows little in the way of either development or any primary characteristics; yet the finish still shows a good punch of acid and some steely minerality as one expects from a wine of this pedigree.

The acid trailing a memorable finish. Would suggest minimum of 5 years ahead of this still.

Source: Friend's cellar
Price: $65 (secondary market) 
Alcohol: ?
Closure: Screwcap

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Saturday 6 August 2011

Domaine Patrick Javillier Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2006

Wow! I think that's what I tweeted when I shared this wine with friends on my recent European trip.

One other purchase made when in the UK was a copy of Jasper Morris MW's 'Inside Burgundy'.  A weighty tome, it imparts Jasper's 30 odd years of accumulated knowledge on Burgundy, and approaching 8 years as buyer for leading merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd.  Don't approach this book expecting parker-esque scores, this book is about the producers, people, their holdings and approach to wine-making.

On the Javilliers, and this wine harvested off of a mere 0.6Ha, Morris comments: "due south facing in Les Pougets, and thus needs to be harvested early to avoid becoming over-ripe". 

The wine spends time on lees, a long elevage seen as essential to develop in bottle.  This Corton-Charlemagne spending two years in barrel, fermented and matured entirely in one year old wood.  Then taken out of wood to spend further time in tank on fine lees.

The wine itself: quite subdued citrus on opening, some lovely hazel-nuttiness detected too. As often the case with Old World wines, the magic is on the palate.  A touch of apple and even a hint of apricot.  

In the mouth, it is mineral laden, voluminous with a glorious filling expression leading to some lovely acidity.  It's powerful and has this lovely concentration leaving a lasting memory through gentle, yet sustained, persistence.

Source: Retail, Hailsham Cellars
Price: 76.95 GBP
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Cork (of course)

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Wednesday 3 August 2011

UK Wines - Part 2

Second round up of some wines shared/ tasted on a recent trip to the UK.  The wines I bought personally definitely showed an Old World leaning, just reflecting what I have been tasting recently and that I am able to buy good old world wines for much cheaper than I can in Australia.

Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon 2003 10.5% £26.95
Delicate aromas of lemon and lightly buttered toast present themselves, giving way to a palate exhibiting some spritz and minerality. Good structure, acid carrying a line through to a persistent conclusion.

William Fevre 2007 1er Cru Les Vaillons Chablis  % £17.95
Delicate florals, segue into intense mineral laden palate. Fine, filling and driving finish. Chablisienne to it's minerally core, that I can get this in the UK for around $30 both pleases and saddens.

Guigal Gigondas 2006 14% £12.96
Good aroma: Raspberry and dried herbs. Savoury body, rich and complex.  Generously spicy finish.

Blason des Papes 2009 14% £13.19
Much more fruit in this Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre and Cinsault blend than with the Gigondas. Good redcurrant aroma leading through to a medium bodied palate.  Less spice on the finish. Pleasurable drinker.

Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner 2010 % £8.06
delicate light florals on the nose, entry shows a mineral laden palate sweeping through to an acidic finish. Dry.

Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru 2007 13% £19.95
Berry aromatics, red and black, leading to a sour cherry palate.  Elegant, filling of mouth; well structured the finish trails off leaving a memorable impression.

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