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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