An Australian Wine Blog

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Stoney Rise Grüner Veltliner 2012

Stoney Rise had the first commercial plantings of Grüner Veltliner in Australia, and whilst Lark Hill were first to market with their own release in 2009, the Stoney Grüner holds a special position viz the history of the variety in this country.

Opens musky with tropical hints - think lychee with some green banana - there's white pepper and a parsnip/ rooty note. Extra points for a hint of mineral - wet river pebbles.

Slightly fleshy palate, white pepper showing too. Textural, the wine is wild fermented on lees and stirred once a week to build just that. Clean and pure too - nigh crystalline.

Length is excellent, acid driven and of generous proportions.  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Wednesday 26th December, a Root Day
Source: Winery Purchase
Price: $33 p/b (delivered)
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.stoneyrise.com/

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Schloss Schönborn Feinherb Riesling 2010

An off-dry Riesling, the term Feinherb has been permitted on wine labels in Germany since 2000 as an acceptable alternative to Halbtrocken. Halbtrocken wines are permitted to have 10-18 g/l residual sugar (subject to total acid - but that's a discussion for elsewhere).

I purposely sought this style out to work with a Thai dish, the additional sugar working well with the spice of the cuisine. Aromatically showing honeysuckle, orange blossom, lemon sherbet all intermingled with some over-ripe pear. Tropical edged - all up it smells a little sweeter too.

The palate is open, loose and very generous; citrus driven with hints of honeydew melon. Shows its swetness well - and the thing to point out here is that it is not overtly sweet, it just isn't totally dry compared to the more familiar Australian styles.

Fine finish, good quality - gentle persistent length, lingering honey notes.  90 - Good
  
Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $23
Alcohol: 9%
Closure: Screwcap
Importers Website: http://purefinewines.com.au/

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d'Arenberg Galvo Garage 2008

A nod to the garagistes of Bordeaux, with a 'Bordeaux' blend made in that most Australian of man-caves: the galvo shed.

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Merlot (13%), Cabernet Franc (9%) and Petit Verdot (6%), predominantly from McLaren Vale, with some supporting fruit from the Adelaide Hills.

Aromatic cues are there to the blend: leafy, cassis, cedar and hints of tapenade. Alluring, inviting - not aggressive or overt - with a feint hint of eucalypt.

Shows an acidic brightness early on, savoury and tarry. Feels a little hollow - dried out from the hot year - but with tapenade and earthen character present on the palate. Medium-firm tannin with moderate length. 

Pulls together a little better over 2-3 days, indicative of some cellaring potential, certainly requires a good decant.  89+ - Good  



Tasted on: Saturday 22nd December, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Friday, 28 December 2012

Atze's Corner The Renegade Mataro Grenache Graciano 2009

Atzes Corner The Renegade Mataro Grenache Graciano 2009
Earthen notes greet you, offering up some black cherry too - an appropriate welcome to this Mataro dominant blend.  

The palate shows licorice, szechuan spice - but really only gives mere glimpses as to what it could be without ever fully convincing.  The palate is rich and lush up front, yet seems to skip a beat before the finish.

Good length, the Graciano here no doubt giving the 'grace' to the wine as likely intended.  90 - Good 

Tasted on: Fridat 21st December, a Leaf Day
Source: Prize
Price: $22
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.atzescornerwines.com.au/

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Sunday, 23 December 2012

Mitchell Harris MGS 2011

I've enjoyed a fair few of the reds that have come out of that vintage.  Stylistically, there's more often than not a definite nod toward the Cotes du Rhone.  This cannot be seen as a universal statement, fruit ripeness still had to be there, along with the guiding hand of a winemaker who knew what to do with same.

Here the aromatic profile shows soft, squishy red fruits - pastille-esque if you will - with background spice of pepper and clove.  Of note was a sweeter element, demerara coated old barrel if you will.

Medium-full bodied, spicey with a hint of fruit on the palate.  Tannin is moderate - aiding a little length - and a little drying, however it is the acid structure here that provides the defining feature, again aiding length.

Simply structured - not a bad wine - lacking the complexity to age anything beyond the immediate short term.  Such a wine I found highly quaffable.  89 - Good    

Source: Sample
Price: $27
Alcohol:13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mitchellharris.com.au/

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Friday, 21 December 2012

Ballycroft Small Berrys Shiraz 2009

Rich, oak, choc and plum - reminded me a little of Plum Brandy - and that's a good thing.  Ably assisted by an assortment of black fruits, rich choc and christmas pudding, with a layered quality to the aromatics.

Early onset of peppery spice, smooth and full bodied.  Nicely weighted and dense, shows choc-mint-cum-spice too - quality.  The spice is an ever present aspect of the wine, tingling, teasing and testing the lips.  Good balance, staying power, persistence of flavour.  Immensely drinkable.   91 - Very Good

Tasted on: Monday 17th December, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $?
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com/ (requires flash - ahah...)

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Cook's Lot Lot #689 Sauvignion Blanc 2012

Herb, nettle and citrus waft out of the glass here, supported by a little oak character.  And there you start to see the difference between this and this and those that went before it.

Shows texture on the palate - for winemaker Duncan Cook has opted to employ techniques such as battonage, stirring of the wine on its lees, and partial barrel fermentation, to add this extra dimension to the wine.

Technique alone does not make the wine, and cooler conditions of 2012 has resulted in cooler character showing itself.  Good length, lingering length and lasting flavour.  Citrus and herbaceous not conclude matters.  90 - Good

Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au

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Yalumba Y Series Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Second of 4 SB's opened up and tasted.  Less overt than the first - good integrity of the variety: gooseberry and grass, subdued topicals, hints of lemon sherbet in the background.

Tropicals and citrus through the palate, slightly harsher acidic note presenting itself.  Finishing with citrus and sherbet character.  Offers consistent quality through the wine, yet compared to other wines in the range not a standout.  86 - Average
 
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yalumba.com

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Taylors Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Strong aromatics: nettle, grass, hints of tropical fruit by way of guava and lychee.  Drying in the mouth - phenolics and feel - with little else discernible.

Hard green apple character toward the finish.  Not particularly enjoyable for this individual.  84 - Poor 

Source: Sample
Price: $19
Alcohol:13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.taylorswines.com.au/

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Monday, 17 December 2012

Mitchell Harris Sauvignon Blanc Fumé 2012

Opened a swag of Sauvignon Blanc, and this was by far the best of the bunch - quite possibly as it is so far removed from what the general representation of the variety is.

Key lime with waxy hints, toasty and smoky on the palate.  It's lie in a combination of restraint compared to some of the overt examples tasted, and the texture imparted through oak barrel maturation.

Holds a generous acidic line that builds in the mouth and flares a little, adding extra width.  Just adored its textural feel and staying power.  93 - Very Good
   



Tasted on: Sunday 16th December, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mitchellharris.com.au

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Terres Dorées Moulin a Vent 2010

Moulin a Vent is one of Beaujolais's ten named crus, and Terres Dorées is the Estate of Jean-Paul Brun, a winemaker focussed on more traditional methods of wine production, against the prevailing use of cultured yeasts and chaptalization.

Wines from the cru are generally regarded as those that are expected to be the longest lived, the most concentrated - somewhat atypical of most Beaujolais the wine fancier may be familiar with.

Initially juice and fresh, berry fruit aromatics (cherry, and blueberry) with florals, hints of wood - sandalwood - and spice.  Think a used cinnamon stick, not the sweetness of the cinnamon, the woody latent spice instead.  Secondary deeper characters, meaty and savoury, make themselves known with time.

Light on entry - ethereal, at risk of incurring the wrath of the twitterati - a little earthen, berry fruit and yet savoury depth.  There's black fruit present, leafy character and pleasing drying mouthfeel.  Tannin is drying, leafy, providing generous length.  91 - Very Good

Tasted on: Thursday 13th December, a Leaf Day
Source: http://www.livingwines.com.au/
Price: $37
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Cork

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2010

Blacker than black, a layered texture, progressive feel and movement on the palate.  Initially showed - to me - choc and hazelnut, a hint of chicory, latterly a good core of black and red fruits coming through.

The palate, in addition to that vin de mille-feuilles quality, showed black fruited depth, an almost tarry like quality.  Backed up by regional salted-choc character, it kept the depth over time.  Finished with good drying tannin, a lingering mouthfeel.  Memorable.  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Monday 10th December, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au

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Tscharke Only Son Tempranillo 2011

Dark and brooding, hints of molasses and coffee, black fruits, cola and spicy old wood.  Good entry into the mouth, showing depth and a dark fruited core.  Smooth with licorice, sarsparilla, a little hint of bitterness and tart towards the back end.

Falls a little short at its conclusion, but delivers a lasting hit of flavour.  Medium length, tannin firms up - all up very enjoyable.  90 - Good  

Tasted on: Monday 10th December, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tscharke.com.au

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Dandelion Vineyards Legacy of the Barossa Pedro Ximenez


Fabulous wine, on approach there’s almond biscotti, candied peel along with hints of toffee and caramel.  Fresh on the palate, honeyed with intensity from citrus rind. 
Hints of orange liqueur, nutty and unctuous, a quality of both age – it is from a Solera with an average age of 30 years – and alcohol.  Finishes with hazelnut complexity, some liqueur warmth, treacly feel and tantalising length.  93 - Very Good
Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $24
Alcohol:19%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.dandelionvineyards.com.au

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Sunday, 9 December 2012

d’Arenberg DADD Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier NV


d’Arenberg’s first sparkling wine, released to coincide with their centenary celebrations and so named to honour the Osborn family pioneers who established the winery all those years ago.   
Shows bready, leesy characters, with hints of lemon crème pastry in the mix too. 
Lively palate with florals and nuts.  Zip and mineral character, bright acidity but all up a smooth aperitif-style sparkling wine with moderate length and finish.  90 – Good


Tasted on: Tuesday 4th December, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol:11.9%
Closure: Cork
Website: www.darenberg.com

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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Yalumba The Scribbler 2010

There's something inherently comforting about a "Great Aussie Red", and this example from Yalumba shows its Cabernet (57%) dominant composition with plum, mulberry and spice on approach.  

Good Cabernet structure on its medium bodied frame, charry oak and Shiraz generosity.  Initially a little raw, twiggy tannin resolves a little over time and that line of spice is the gift that keeps on giving.  Would love to see how it mellows - at the price a likely candidate to bob a few away for some time in solitary.  91 - Very Good

Tasted on: Sunday 2nd December, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $22.95
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yalumba.com

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Chapel Hill Parson's Nose Shiraz 2011

Parson's Nose always reminds me of growing up on London's District Line and the station Parson's Green.  There you go, an insight into my youth.

Dry leaf matter, hints of wood and spice over black-fruited goodness, add a smattering of regional chocolate into the mix and now we're talking.

Chocolate through the palate, smooth and black fruited with a hint of licorice.  Dusty tannins, good persistence of flavour- if not the most refined.  Who's quibbling for $16? 88 - Good

Tasted on: Saturday 1st December, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol:14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/

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Monday, 3 December 2012

Clos Clare Watervale Riesling 2012

The Barry boys, Tom and Sam, have excellent familial heritage when it comes to making regarded Clare Valley Riesling.  They've set up shop in the corner of the renowned Florita Vineyard, and there they've crafted this stellar Riesling that I've gone long on as a birth-year wine for a child.

Citrus/ lemon, kaffir lime and bath salts out of the block.  The palate is generous and open with honeysuckle hints, a touch of tropical fruit is on show by way of guava and mango.  

Exquisitely structured, effortless to drink and a pleasure to behold, offers seemingly perpetual length.  Nicely pitched acid rounds the wine out.  93+ - Very Good 

Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $24 (CD Price)
Alcohol:12.6%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://closclare.com.au

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Mitchell Harris Rosé 2012

Opened this up as one of a trio of Rosé and gave the remains of the open bottles to some friends.  This was the one they opted to drink, on the basis that it was the bottle that was least full.  Good taste those two.

Strawberry and cherry, with a creamy dried herb (rosemary and oregano if you're interested) character.  A touch of custard apple and floral hints complete the picture.

Generous quality to the palate, smooth yet with a distinct mouthfeel.  The quality here is apparent, it's not over-done and has this inherent balance to to it.  Savoury, dry and effortless.  Lovely blend of Sangiovese (65%) and Pinot Noir (35%) 91 - Very Good 

Tasted on: Friday 30th November, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol:12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mitchellharris.com.au

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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Yalumba 2012 Y Series Sangiovese Rosé

Not the palest, not the most textural, nor savoury - it's dry and, for this author, a pleasure to drink.  That's what counts right?  You'll find it on shelves for anywhere between a tenner and its $15 RRP.

Good red fruit aromatics: cherry and strawberry in the main, cranberry in support.  Hints of boiled sweet (Strawberries and creams).  Smooth, lacks a little flavour in the middle but partly makes up for that with some spice.

Drying, a little astringent with further hints of spice. Drinks well, chill it down and enjoy as you wish.  88 - Good

Tasted on: Friday 30th November, a Root Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $14.95
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yalumba.com

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Friday, 30 November 2012

Citadine Gruyere Syrah 2010

I'm sure many have developed a fondness for the good stuff after a stint at that renowned seat of learning Cambridge University, but I am unsure as to how many have entered the wine industry after sequencing yeast genomes.

Kirby Simering fits this pattern, and cites winemakers such as Gary Mills of Jamsheed and the Churches formerly of Warramate, as key influences, winemakers in the 'traditional' mould.

This 2010 Syrah was sourced from 10 year old vines off of the Warramate Vineyard, since acquired by the group that owns leading Barossan winery Kaesler.

Seeing 50% whole bunch, Kirby stating he saw good levels of ripeness in the stems, delivering tanning from the grape - not the oak.  Opens with stalky and funky notes - a nose gardeners would no doubt be familiar with.  Yet, it was testament to the quality of the fruit that it showed a generous heart of black fruits, and continued to do so over the three days I had it open.

Fine and generous through the middle, the onset of spice - szechuan spice - early, and persistent as it travels through the palate.  It spreads, creeps, keeps moving up slowly...a movement of acid edging things further.

Tannin is fine, length generous.  Savoury with hints of beefy complexity, utimately demonstrating finesse and power; grace and charm.  92 - Very Good


Tasted on: Thursday 22nd November, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $34
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.citadine.com.au/

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Reviews: Low and Zero Sulphur Wines

The subject of Sulphur in wine is an interesting one. Some consumers seek wine with minimal, or no, Sulphur additions for health reasons. Sulphur exists naturally and is present to some degree in all wines. Some producers seek to minimise the amount of additional Sulphur added – it’s a preservative for the wine – from a philosophical view point. Whatever your stance, here are a few wines that sit in the low/ no Sulphur camp.


Shobbrok Mourvedre 2010
If you’re looking for this in the shelf, seek those wines with a black wax seal which had zero sulphur additions. This wine shows a slight medicinal note with earthen, brambly plum character. Purple fruits and spicy tinges round it out. Juicy and easy-going with a good line of flavour. One of those dangerously drinkable wines. 89 – Good | $35, Cork, 14.5%

Battle of Bosworth Puritan Shiraz 2012
Zero additional sulphur here. It’s all about freshness and purity of fruit flavour. Lovely grapey aromatics with a supporting mix of black and red fruits. Soft and juicy, a generous black fruited mass – but I saw its appeal in its easy going nature rather than a dictionary of flavour profiles. There’s a hint of blackcurrant pastille on the finish; youth and style deny all but the faintest line of tannin. 90 – Good | $20, Screwcap, 14%

Salo Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2011
A little Sulphur is added during the pressing stage and at bottling. An exquisite wine showing lemon curd, pastry and sourdough crust on approach. A zesty body, fresh citrus flavours abound, but it is the textural feel in the mouth that wins out here. Precision, piercing focus – a demonstrative wine in the mouth with a little ‘grip’ providing further substance to the line and length of finish. 94 – Excellent | $45, Screwcap, 13%

Domaine Lucci Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2011
A still wine, and despite the presence of Pinot Noir, is a translucent off-gold colour, the colour coming from winemaking techniques to control the extraction from the grape skins. Aromatically it shows a light honeyed note with florals. Hints of baked goods, raw cashews and flaked almond – the Pinot provides the faintest hint of baked strawberry. Green apples in the mouth with a puckering sharpness of acid, feels a little green and fresh. 87 - Average | $30, Diam, 12.8%

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Monday, 19 November 2012

Mandalay Road Shiraz 2009

Forty-eight hours later and I am still a little clueless.  Each time I go back to the wine I see something else.  For that reason alone, it's thoroughly enchanting.  It's in balance, drinks well - very well - if a little schizophrenic in appearance.

Initially savoury, leafy with plummy depth.  Aniseed and fennel accompanying a lovely spice coursing through the middle - deliciously juicy to boot.  

Then, plum and florals: violets and rose; the middle section saw the spice (more star anise and clove) a recurrent theme with choc-mint character filling it out.  Consistently pleasurable, even if it did seem to blow hot and cold like a fickle temptress.  A dificult to rate 90/91+ - Good/ Very Good for what it's worth.

Tasted on: Saturday 17th November, a Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol:14.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mandalay.mysouthwest.com.au/

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Sunday, 18 November 2012

A.Retief Gundagai Shiraz 2009

Aromatically alluring from the off.  Pepper, florals, choc-mint - complexity, further  enhanced by peppery Hunter Stew, all interwoven with fruit character.

Smooth and fluid, a generous medium bodied version of the variety.  Blackcurrant and spice with black pepper adding an edge - marking it out, or rather, preventing it just being about the fruit character.  Familiar and welcoming - a crowd favourite most likely.  

Light fluffy tannin completes the picture, it's well structured - easy to understand and work with.  90 - Good  

Tasted on: Saturday 17th November, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.aretief.com.au/

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Meerea Park XYZ Shiraz 2010

XYZ is a sub-brand of Hunter winemakers par excellence Meerea Park.  The brand is intended to represent a more modern take on the Hunter style.

10% of the Shiraz portion was left as whole bunches, the wine also saw inclusion of 4% Viognier co-fermented.  Spends 18 months in big-format oak (500 litre Puncheons), of which 20% was new.  So basically big format oak, minimal new - intend being to moderate influence of oak.

Smells earthen, meaty and gamey.  Hints of rose, red fruits with the added aromatic elevation of the Viognier providing Violets and Blueberries.

Saw sharp acid early on in the palate, subsiding to give way to black fruits and a modicum of sweetness.  Squarely medium bodied, soft tannins and moderate length.  88 - Good



Tasted on: Saturday 17th November, a Fruit Day
Source: Gift
Price: $16.95
Alcohol:13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.meereapark.com.au

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Friday, 16 November 2012

Taylors Estate Clare Valley Riesling 2012

Fresh. lemon and lime sorbet.  Not much to shout about aromatically but things liven up where it counts.  A richer palate, fuller, zesty with pithy lemon. 

Full - again that word - rather than racy and linear like many a Riesling.  Citrus moves toward the finish, a hint of orange oil.  Good length, a good wine.  89 - Good

Tasted on: Monday 12th November, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $19
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.taylorswines.com.au

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cook's Lot Mudgee Riesling 2010

Aromatically showing some signs of development with toasty, petrol hints - background citrus and light tropicals add to the picture.

On the palate there's honeysuckle and zesty, lively, zippy acid - together with good mineral resolve it adds an extra dimension to the lime and tart citrus before finishing nicely crisp and dry.  89 - Good

Tasted on: Monday 12th November, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website:http://www.cookslot.com.au

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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Yarran Pinot Grigio 2012

The fresh crunch of green apple, hints of florals, a little hint of banana lollies and gentle tropical fruits serve as the aromatic introduction.

There's a touch of palate weight here, mineral and (perceived) fruit sweetness.  A little cloying, hints of texture and feel.  Offers good drinking at the price point.  86 - Average

Tasted on: Monday 12th November, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $12
Alcohol:12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yarranwines.com.au

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Monday, 12 November 2012

Best's Bin 0 Shiraz 2000

It had sat in the fridge for a while, each time I looked in there it whispered a gentle reminder for us to get together.  A birthday - mine - seemed an appropriate occasion to open it, to entrust in the cork gods, and hopefully revel in its beauty.

I decanted it, placed the glass on the table adjoining the sofa.  From some two feet away the good lady could smell the wine, its aromatic calling card at play.  I didn't need any further excuse.

Hints of bright fruit wafted their way out - a surprise for a 13 year old wine.  Fresh and vibrant, marzipan with cherry and baked plum.  The palate showed more maturity: leathery and earthen, peppery and showing excellent refreshing acid structure.  A pleasure to savour, a delight to drink.  The acid lay the foundation for exquisite length.

Tannins crept and built up carefully, a stealthy approach.  Lingering peppery feel added to the experience, seemingly efortless, certainly alluring.  A pleasure to drink.  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Sunday 11th November, a Root Day
Source: Retail, Nicks.com.au
Price: $ 70
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.bestswines.com/
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Chapel Hill Bush Vine Grenache 2010

Sometimes it's easier to describe something by virtue of what it isn't, than what it is.  Too often Grenache in Australia can be a confected, sweet mass of raspberry jam.  This isn't like those Grenache.

Savoury and sweet edges.  Black and red fruits, some baked plum.  Old oak, spicy and earthen.  As Grenache should be.  Exhibits a depth, a brooding menace, coffee-edged with fine-grained, textured tannin.  The faint hint of warmth that reveal its 15%, a mere bump on an otherwise excellent road.  93 - Very Good

Tasted on: Thursday 8th April, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wente Vineyards Small Lot Sonata 2007

The Livermore Valley AVA is located South East of San Francisco, approximately 30 miles drive.   Quite an historical region, boasting a grape growing heritage back to 1760, Wente is one of the oldest wineries in the region, dated to the 1880s.

The blend of Cabernet (56%) and Shiraz (44%) shows rich aromas of plum, cassis with sweet oak in support.  On the palate it's tarry with smoky character present.  Old wood and fine grained - gravelly - tannin providing the body.  Alcohol shows with a little warmth toward the back palate.  Concludes with good, gentle persistence.  89 - Good

Tasted on: 7th November, a Leaf Day
Source: Gift
Price: $35 US
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.wentevineyards.com

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Monday, 5 November 2012

Yarran Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012

A new label to me, operating from out of NSW's Riverina region.  The Brewer family have been growers for over 30 years, when son Sam undertook a winemaking degree at CSU the decision was taken to make some wine under their own label.

Sam has gained significant experience across the region, in addition to the Yarra, King and Sonoma (US) valleys.   He joined the family company as full-time winemaker in 2009.

Wine shows good tropicals on the nose: passionfruit, guava - and backed up be fresh citrus.  There's hints of fresh stonefruit in there too - all up an attractive summery proposition.

More of the same carries through the palate, mineral and acid present too with green topical notes.  Shows good acidity from the Semillon along with sharp bite in the form of green apple.  Clean and refreshing - good Summer option.  89 - Good 
 


Tasted on: Sunday 4th November, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $12
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yarranwines.com.au

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Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sam Coverdale: Polperro & Even Keel Wines

"So where does the Polperro name come from?" I asked winemaker Sam Coverdale.  I secretly hoped he'd reference the Cornish town of the same name, a fantastically idyllic old fishing village, perched on a hillside,  fisherman's houses tightly packed in next to each other, the streets atmospheric...alluding to their history, of tales of smuggling; "It's from the town in Cornwall" responded Sam, "my wife's Father had a Practice there...", I smiled within.

I had the pleasure of lunch with Sam, getting to taste his wines, and hopefully getting to understand a little about what makes the man tick, what part of his personality is imprinted upon the wines.  A Buderim boy, loves his surf does Sam, a bit of a nomadic winemaker - the influence of his career path as much about what he wants to do as it is about not replicating the decisions forced upon him as part of a winemaking team at a large corporate.

A portfolio that shows clear structure: Polperro wines are strictly single vineyard wines from the Mornington Peninsula, a fundamental belief in allowing site expression; Even Keel a multi-region portfolio whereby wines are made with varieties coming from regions where Sam feels they are a true representation of their kind.

2011 Polperro Pinot Gris, 13.6%, $38, 150 Dozen 
From vines approaching 20 years of age, predating the current vogue for production of Gris/ Grigio.  This firmly in the former camp.  Ticks aromatic boxes with requisite spiced pear.  Spicy palate character, lush and textural with a radiating feel through the palate.  Barrel ferment character evident, presents an excellent line - all about spice and depth.

2010 Polperro Mill Hill Chardonnay, 12.9%, $48, 150 Dozen
Aromatics a little compact initially, no indication as to the fine, yet assertive palate.  Peach, grapefruit and 'nutty' flavours mingle and deliver an exquisite wine of focus, length, precision and intensity.  A wine that invites you in, assaults the senses and leaves you dazzled, before reeling you back in for the next wave.  

2010 Even Keel Chardonnay, 12.8%, $29, 400 Dozen          
A wine that "parts its legs quicker" quipped Sam.  Certainly more expressive than the Polperro Mill Hill Chardonnay.   Shows good fruit character on the nose, barrel ferment character evident.  Texture and weight present - a great line too.  

2010 Polperro Mill Hill Pinot Noir, 13.7%, $48, 150 Dozen
From a single vineyard at270m, the same vineyard as the Chardonnay bearing the same site market.  A 'pretty' Pinot showing red fruits, sweet accents here too.  Good palate presence, a little narrow and singular in focus but excellent length carrying the wine.

2010 Polperro Landaviddy Lane Pinot Noir, 13.8%, $48, 150 Dozen
From a site 170m above sea level, getting the afternoon sun and manifesting itself in the wine.  A darker expression than the 'pretty' Mill Hill.  Elements of dry leaf matter, evocative of Autumn and shuffling through large piles of fallen leaves as a child.  Fuller, more mouth-filling with spice and black depth.  Seek comfort in this wine.  
  
Stockists: http://www.evenkeelwines.com.au/

The wines can also be found on the wine lists at such establishments as Restaurant Rapide, Malt and off-premise at The Wine Emporium and Stewart's.

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Footnote: The Vinsomniac was Sam's guest at lunch.  Of 6 wines tasted, I wrote about 5 of them.  The 6th was an Even Keel Shiraz that in the context of the wines above I chose not to review.