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Sunday 29 January 2012

Domaine Du Gros Nore Bandol 2007

Appellation rules for Bandol specify a minimum 50% Mourvédre and a maximum of 80%.  This example opts for the full 80%, the balance completed by Grenache (12%), Cinsault (5%) and Carignan 3%).  Unfiltered and unfined, from Mourvédre's beloved Clay soils, looking towards the see.

The Domaine consists of approximately 30 hectares on the outskirts of the Provencal hilltop village of La Cadiére d'Azur.  The Domaine produced its first wines in 1997, making this a 10th anniversary release.  Average vine age is 30 years old, prior to their own production fruit was sold off.  The Domaine's name comes from the current proprietor's Father Honore - shortened to Nore - and means "fat Nore".  Nice.   

From the late-ripening 2007 vintage - excellent for Mourvédre across the South, remarkable for Bandol.  Immediate sensory assault with pruny, spicy, red fruits - kirsch and cassis -  on the nose.  Further inspection reveals some black olive.  The wine, unctuous with glycerol depth - gorgeous interplay of acid, liquorice and peppery spice.  The acid carries a good length; morphing into a lovely savoury, earthen backbone.  92 - Very Good

Source: Retail, Vaucluse Cellars
Price: $60
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Cork

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Wednesday 25 January 2012

Head Wines The Contrarian Syrah 2010

"Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free"
Of course this is the opening line of this fine nation's national anthem, but equally it could be the call of the new wave of Barossan winemakers.  Predominantly young, but also free to make the wines they wish, in the manner they wish, from varietals they wish; free from the conventions of appelation, but by and large  inspired and influenced from time spent working under them.

Hand picked, 100% whole bunch, pigeage (foot stomping), wild yeast fermented, unfiltered and unfined - off of a single vineyard.  A wine requiring a bit of attention in the shed, the winemaker Alex Head unsure as to whether it will be made again.

Stalky, sappy notes lurk on opening - the 100% whole bunch.  Give it a good decant and this subsides somewhat, there's still a little sappiness in there, but they take a back seat to a perfume of rosemary and fruit in the form of plum and cassis. 

Rich, concentrated, touch of tar and chocolate - without even knowing I had a suspicion it was from Greenock.  Spice: cinnamon and some nutmeg round out the palate, carrying though to the grippy, mouth-coating tannin.  Natural linear progression to a fine length, full and generous.  Felt like it had just started to hit its straps after a day: 93/94 - Very Good/ Outstanding

Source: Retail, Vaucluse Cellars
Price: $35
Closure: Screwcap

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Tuesday 24 January 2012

A.Retief The Alias Mataro 2010

Extensive experience in the industry has Alex Retief: trainee winemaker at CSU, winemaker with the Hunter's Andrew Margan, stints in Bordeaux with Chateau Lagarde, vintage with Cheval Blanc; sales rep for Peter Lehmann in Sydney before starting his own boutique distribution company. Put it all together and you get A.Retief wines.

A Mataro from the Hilltops region.  Some funk sits afront some bacon fat and meaty aromatics.  Ironically it struck me as somewhat Northern Rhoneish - ironic for Mataro cannot ripen there.  

But this wine is at turns black fruited; inky, savoury with some regional pepper in there too.  Incredibly smooth entry, the palate bound up with some Dutch licorice, black strap molasses and spice.  Complex, yet balanced - rich and full. 

Barely any tannin to speak of, that present provides a structure, a vehicle for the wine.  It has an impressive memory, a fine lingering finish.  Only 375 dozen made, Sydney-siders can get a fix at Fix St James; loving the name too: a nod to Mataro's many synonyms, many of which feature on the label.  Thoroughly enchanting: 94 - Outstanding

Source: Sample
Price: $40
Closure: Screwcap

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[This post was edited at 19:38 12/02/2012.  The score of 94 should be 'Outstanding' and not 'Excellent' as by my scoring scale, this was duly changed.]