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Thursday 29 March 2012

Yelland & Papps Divine Shiraz 2009

Of the Yelland & Papps 'Divine' releases (there's also a Grenache and a Mataro) this is clearly the 'Jock' of the bunch.  Primus inter pares perhaps, but it's the 'biggest' of the bunch, the most straightforward, the leader of the pack - if not the most complex. The wine clearly states its case as a top-tier wine.

On opening it's like someone has taken some oak staves - some new, some old; some French, some American - and sprinkled liberally with dark brown muscovado sugar, a touch of vanilla and Jamaica spice.  In fact it somewhat reminded me of Jamaica Ginger cake I used to eat as a wee one. 

Given time this somewhat dissipates, allowing the fruit to shine through.  Yet still there's chocolate covered raisins,  christmas cake spice and hints of plum.  In the mouth, entry shows a rich, concentrated, unctuous wine with blackcurrant and blackberry, spice and black pepper.  This aspect of the wine doesn't fade with time - it's somewhat like peering into the abyss with this deep mass of black fruit and liquorice.  It's a black hole you don't return from.  A lavish Shiraz with length, depth and persistence. 92 - Very Good

Source: Sample
Price: $75
Closure: Screwcap

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Nepenthe Shiraz 2010

Back up the truck folks..... for this is damn good drinking.  Price quoted is a suggested retail price.  You'll likely be able to get this a little cheaper with some savvy shopping.

Cracking conditions in 2010, rainfall when needed then some good diurnal variation for great ripening.  It shows.

Real red and black fruited smorgasbord ably supported - not dominated - by oak.  The palate showing a hint of sweeter fruit, it's light-on - medium bodied really - with good background spice and grainy, nail-file tannin.  A nice soft and slow extraction.

Good briary blackcurrant and cherry finish.  Just really enjoyed it.  The beauty is it looked even better as time wore on, even after three days it was singing. 93 - Very Good

Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Sunday 25 March 2012

Murray Street Vineyard Black Label Shiraz 2010

The fruit for this wine is picked from a number of sites across the Barossa Valley to create a wine that reflects the different composites found across this much loved region - a good honest 'Barossa' Shiraz.

Blackcurrant and plum to the fore with a hint of the oak the wine spends 18 months in, a combination of old and new, French and American.  Peppery and smooth in the mouth, the pepper presenting itself straight away, building and building in the mouth.

Give this wine a little time, it improves if you do so.  The pepper settles a little, it's still present but takes a back seat to allow some of the fruit and oak to further shine.  90+ - Good

Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Yangarra Mourvèdre 2010

Yangarra red wines have this inherent drinkability about them.  That may seem a daft things to say about wine, but what I really mean is: to me they're the wine equivalent of Pringles.  Once I have a glass I cannot stop.  They're not big juice 'n' fruit bombs either.

This 2010 Mourvèdre comes from a 2 acre block planted in 1998 - so still relatively young - I first tasted the 2009 and was in raptures over that.  Aromas of black cherry and chestnut waft out the glass, then, a secondary background aromatic element, a citrus freshness that I have started to see in some McLaren Vale reds.

The palate is smooth, silken, wow - there's the charm that has me reaching for another glass.  There's tannin too, mild grainy tannin that provides enough of a counterpoint to the smoothness before it.  Dangerously drinkable indeed.  92 - Very Good

Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Friday 23 March 2012

Bremerton Mourvédre 2007 and 2008

A fantastic opportunity arose in which I was able to consider two Mourvèdre from consecutive vintages produced by Bremerton Wines of Langhorne Creek.

2007 was the first time the winery had produced a Mourvèdre and I was privileged to speak with winemaker Rebecca Wilson - who kindly took some time out from the demands of vintage to speak with me - advising that the fruit comes from one of only two blocks of Mourvèdre she knows of in the region.

2007 Vintage Snapshot
A dry, mild season with low disease pressures.  Reds typically showed smaller canopies and lower yields, up to 60% down in some vineyards, resulting in smaller bunches and berry size.  Early start to vintage, many starting 3 weeks earlier on average.  Most red varieties ripened slowly across the district (Source:

2008 Vintage Snapshot
First half of vintage was excellent.  Mild and dry through February, good for grape development with natural high acidity. The second half of vintage less than optimal.  Fruit dehydration and sugar levels never before seen.  Challenge was to harvest quickly.  Even the sun loving Mourvédre may have suffered. (Source: Winebiz)

2007 Bremerton Mourvédre
Varietal aromatic character with black cherry, plum and a hint of leather and earth.  Palate shows red and black fruits, somewhat twiggy, nay stalky with chalky tannins.

Some good acid initially, liquorice and Szechuan spice tail with length and persistence.  A good benchmark wine.  As it warmed a small spike of heat showed itself.

On day 2 it lost some of that vitality and character that was appealing earlier.  I'd have to consider it as one for drinking now.  89 - Good. 

Source: Sample
Production: 274 dozen
Price: $24 Mailing List and Cellar Door only
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap

2008 Bremerton Mourvédre
Coffee and chocolatey oak, ripe and dark, but less fruit presence than the '07 - regional rather than varietal.  In the mouth a much thicker, denser wine; slight glycerol feel - the warmer vintage showing through for this sun lover, though the final stated alcohol was lower.

The red, black fruit mix was present in the mouth along with some caramel and molasses.  The chalky tannin still present here along with the length and persistence.  Acid framework more noticeable on day 2, if anything the wine improved over this time - and in the mouth still thick, rich and comely - eminently drinkable.  Would suggest this vintage over the two has life in it yet. 91 - Very Good.

Source: Sample
Production: 360 dozen
Price: $24 Mailing List and Cellar Door only
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Langhorne Creek wine, Langhorne Creek Mourvedre, Langhorne Creek Mataro, #ProjectMataro,  

Saturday 17 March 2012

Murray Street Vineyards Black Label Viognier

Murray Street Vineyards winemaker Andrew Seppelt shows a deft hand with the traditional varieties from the Rhone.  Viognier can be a bit of a tricky customer: "hard to grow, perplexing to make" and not something that necessarily shines in warm regions like the Barossa.

But here Murray Street have crafted a wine that's true to variety, there's apricot -  without it being to shrill - vanilla, honeysuckle and notes of almond.

In the mouth the wine shows good balance, textural feel and nutty complexion - the wine spends 6 months in old French Oak to help achieve this - there's some rich mouthfeel, texture but not overt viscosity.  All backed up with a good acid framework. Paired rather nicely with butter chicken. 89 - Good
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

Murray Street Vineyards, Murray Street Black, Murray Street Greenock, Black Label, Northern Rhone Wines, Rhone White, Rhone White Wines, Andrew Seppelt Winemaker, Vanessa Seppelt, Barossa Valley White Wines, Barossa Wine, Barossa White Wine

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Maxime Graillot Equinoxe Crozes-Hermitage 2010

A joy to drink and drink you must - one for now, not the cellar.  Proof that good Northern Rhone can be had at a reasonable price.  Needs a good decant first - just to air it out shake off a little reductive note.

On the nose a delightful mix of briary fruits and white pepper; a savoury and smoky mix too.  Smooth and medium bodied - a mere 13% stated alcohol - with that mix of fruit coming to the fore.  Seems effortless to drink.

The finish: a spicy, peppery and fruit driven cocktail flowing to a moderate length.  Enjoy.  90 - Good

Source: Retail, The Wine Emporium
Price: $36
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2009

McLaren Vale Shiraz: pure and simply.  Chocolate, blueberry and raspberry, there's oak - but it's deftly handled rather than dominating - some depth to the aromatic profile too.  For some reason, it also transported me to holidays in Portugal as a teenager, with slight hints of almond and orange oil.

Entry shows a wine incredibly smooth, somehow belying the depth of aroma.  Medium bodied, balanced, i did feel the palate somewhat truncated between entry and the finish. Minor quibble.

A smooth finish, fine grained, chalky tannin.  Good structure, I think it will only improve over 5-8 years. Good - 90+

Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Sunday 11 March 2012

Tempus Two Copper Series Moscato 2011

"It's a celebration,
clap, clap, bravo,
Lobster and Shrimp,
and a glass of Moscato"
~ Trey Songz (apparently)

I read this interesting piece about rappers and hip-hop ruining Moscato.  And there was me thinking it was all Cristal...

Musk, rose water and lychee on the nose; sweet burst of tropical fruit on the palate - some green apple too.  Lively and refreshing in the mouth.  You can see how Moscato has appeal - and at 8% offers a lighter option on the alcohol front.  

The finish here is reasonable, crisp - a little mineral.  86 - Average

Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 8%
Closure: Crown Seal

O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River 2011

Riesling - so undervalued.  This classic Clare Riesling from the Polish Hill River sub-district can be found for around $18; it's mightily fine now, yet will easily reward the patient drinker over 10-20 years.

Honeysuckle, lime aromatics, a nod toward the tropical fruit spectrum with some guava, and citrus in the form of lemon, and orange peel.  In the mouth it offers a tart, concentrated, mineral body with a backbone of acid that provides focus and intensity. 

Delivering a short burst - a mini-explosion of flavour - before its fine line and length deliver chalky minerality through the finish.  93 - Very Good 

Source: Sample
Price: $22

Saturday 10 March 2012

Martin Códax Albariño 2010

Apparently Albariño is sometimes thought of as “The Wine of the Sea”, in part due to its affinity with seafood, and also due to the moderating affect the Atlantic Ocean has on the vineyards.

Four months on lees gives this wine the palate weight and textural feel.  An excellent match for food, it's aromatically of delicate peach, white flowers, feint Citrus and a honeyed note.

The finish: phenolic, persistence, the nuttiness carried through to the wines conclusion; focus, clean and direct. I could drink a lot of this. 90 - Good

Source: BTG, Era Bistro
Price: $11
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

Friday 9 March 2012

Greenstone Monastrell 2008

Andrew Graham, of OZ Wine Review fame, commented that Greenstone's use of the 'Spanish' name for the grape variety may be to do with clonal selection. 
This example, tasted by the glass, shows real deep seated plum, chocolate, damson/ mulberry; cornucopia of red fruits. Some spice shows on the nice. Garnet/ ruby in colour, but rather light - not as dense as other examples.

Smooth, medium bodied - almost Pinot-esque in weight, a varietal defying palate weight. Excellent flow, a framework of acid carries the wine; balanced with line and length. Spice laden, herb-tinged, slightly plummy, earthen conclusion.   91 - Very Good

Price: $14 By the Glass, $32-35 retail (per bottle)
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

Friday 2 March 2012

Chapel Hill Foundation Chardonnay 2011

Changing a successful formula can represent a big risk for a brand, on one hand it  says: we're not resting on our laurels;  and yet on the other potentially risks alienating a legion of loyal customers.

Personally I don't have the history with this particular wine to comment, but wanted to provide a frame of reference for this 2011 incarnation of Chapel Hill's Chardonnay. First conceived in 1990, somewhat against the prevailing trend, as an unwooded Chardonnay, the decision was taken to commence the introduction of oak as of this vintage.  A portion of the wine, around 14% was fermented in a mix of 3-5 year old French oak.

Fruit is 82% McLaren Vale and 18% Adelaide Hills; free-run juice and gentle pressing fractions; no fining agents or copper added.   

Green banana, white peach and mineral with a definite citrus mien.  The barrel work shows itself in the form of a weighty, textural mouth-feel.  Some nougat/ nutty oak, a glimpse of mineral, acid framework evident.  Somewhat mouth-filling, this defines the finish; the complexity weaved in through the work applied.  My only gripe is the finish is a little coarse - but it seems rather churlish to pick holes in a wine that drinks this well at $16.  88 - Good

Source: Sample
Price: $16
Closure: Screwcap