An Australian Wine Blog

This Wine Blog

This Australian wine blog was formerly known as

I'm a wine drinker, and this blog is about wine, not just Australian wine.

If you wish to contact me, please do so here.
All content of this Australian Wine Blog © Stuart Robinson - The Vinsomniac. Powered by Blogger.

Thursday 31 May 2012

Zette Cahors 2005

Zette is a secondary label of the rather well known Domaine de Lagrézette, owned by luxury goods label Cartier, with wine production overseen by the Rolls-Royce driving Michel Rolland.

This wine is made in a slightly more modern style, entirely tank fermented, but still exhibiting good Cahors character.  Cahors is situated South and East of Bordeaux, on the Garonne river, appellation rules state a minimum of 70% Malbec in the wines.

Wild herb and hints of wild flower around a core of dark damson and spice tinged fruit.  The palate shows a wine of medium weight, concentration with a core of juicy berry and sour cherry fruit.  Good raspy, firm tannin.  Of moderate length, good tannic framework providing the structure.  90 - Good

Source: Vinomofo
Price: $15
Closure: Cork

Hollick 2008 'Icon' Release Dinner

Hollick: established 1982, Jimmy Watson winning Coonawarra stalwart, at the crossroads that many family owned businesses face, as founder Ian Hollick looks to enjoy the fruits of his labours, and daughter's Mel and Kate - both already working in the business for 6 years -  take on increasingly responsibility.

The new release 2008 icon wines, set against their counterparts from 1999, a perfect showcase for the quality the winery strives to maintain, and providing glimpses to their inherent longevity.

What follows is my personal overview from the major wines that wine.  No scores applied given they were enjoyed in context.

Neilson's Block Merlot
The 2008 release is the first since 2001.  Approximately 200 cases made, all estate fruit.  The Neilson Block is named Australian poet John Shaw Neilson, whose home exists at the entrance to the Hollick cellar door..

1999: Requisite leaf and plum, but so much more than that.  

Extremely fine tannin, well integrated, generous structured length.

2008: Dark and rich, expensive French oak mingling with glossy cherry fruit.  Generous, smooth, pastille-like black fruit.  

Fine, polished tannin, plush - exquisite length.  Undoubtedly up there as one of Australia's finest Merlots.

Wilgha Shiraz
Planted in 1975, the Wilgha represents the best fruit selected from the vineyard and further selection based assessment in the winery.

1999: Integrated, delicate, yet at turns rich and spicy.  Pepper - searing, building spice, yet with an inherent freshness of fruit that pops its little head up.  Complex.

2008: Generous plush plum fruit, oak sensitive. Black fruited equation, allow yourself time for the puzzle to reveal itself.  

Deft, balance, at turns showing tarry notes; concluded by generous spice and pepper.

Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon
The icon of the icons.  What Coonawarra, and Hollick, are known for.  

1999: Integrated, twiggy, bay - regional thumbprint with sensitive eucalypt note.  

Rich palate, hints of mocha.  Dark fruited core, rather serious, suggestive of such life still ahead of it.

2008: Richness at you from the off, black dense fruit - rather an intense fellow.  Needs time, it has much ahead of it.  

Dense black fruited length wrapped around generous grainy tannin.  Exquisite.

2008 Chateaux Lynch-Bages
To provide an indication of where the Hollick family are looking to pitch the Ravensworth, the 2008 Lynch-Bages was included too: tight aromatics, some lifted florals/ violets; light/ deft on entry - before puckering, drying tannin greets you.  Floral and textured.  Another baby. 
Worthwhile comparative tasting.  I'd like to express my sincere thanks to Mel Hollick and also to red+white, Hollick's national distributor, of whom I was a guest at this release dinner.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Attollo 'The Black Wine' Malbec 2007

Julian Scott is the Winery Manager for Flametree Wines, also making his own wines under the Attollo label.  This is Julian's first wine from 2007.

Malbec is one of the permitted varieties of Bordeaux, is a marginal variety at best there nowadays, is the key variety in Cahors and has really made a name for itself in Argentina.  Increasingly being found in Australia, where in dry and warm climates it gives dark, damsony perfumed wines.

This example shows one such qualitative indicator, the lovely lifted violet accent.  Supplemented by notes of cherry and blackberry; further enhanced by leafy, leathery, fresh turned sod notes.  Entry shows a wine that is smooth, there's the freshening presence of a good core of fruit, followed by cedary wood.  Tannin, ripe emery board tannin, pleasingly raspy, with a curious savoury-sweet mix providing a generous finish.  Impressive wine, a wine of detail.  Oh and the name? Attollo is a Latin term meaning: "to lift up, excite".  Does it for me.  93 - Very Good    

Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: This sample: Screwcap, 125 6 packs under cork available too.
Website: n/a, but you can eMail Julian here

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Waywood Wines Pinot Grigio 2011

Opened this alongside the Te Aro Pinot Grigio, an interesting comparison regardless of differences in vintage and region.

Lovely clarity to the wine, a faint golden tinge to it.  Pronounced apple and pear - good aroma - a hint of blossom, some citrus providing further allure.

Weightier on the palate, the extra degree of alcohol showing itself, a broader profile - some might say it's straying toward Gris territory.

A hint of spice of the finish, acid a little angular, works with the spicier elements to provide a little extra dimension.  88/ 89 - Good

Source: Sample
Price: $130/ 6 pack or $110/ 6 to members
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

Monday 28 May 2012

Wild Soul Shiraz 2008

I kept coming back to this wine over 5 days, it barely seemed to budge, indicative of a pretty good life ahead. 

Opened a touched bretty, not distractingly so - on the contrary, the stable-like aroma was rather complementary to fresh sod and leafy character.  Fruit was present by way of plum and mulberry.

Light, juicy in the mouth - really good acid structure, needed to provide a leg-up to the fruit in the mouth - and extra nudge if you like.  And it was this juiciness that I kept coming back to, lovely fresh, juicy wine.  It provided vitality to the wine and worked with fine grain tannin to provide a moderate to good length.

I really liked winemaker Andy Boullier's approach: just simply trying to make the best wine possible with the fruit vintage provides - all off his tiny 1.3ha block.  Organically farmed, following biodynamic principles, no interest in certification.  Minimal input, inoculated ferments until a time he's happy to go 'wild', minimal sulphur (although would a little more knock out the Brett?), and priced according to the vintage conditions.  89 - Good

Source: Cellar Door
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.4%
Closure: Cork

Saturday 26 May 2012

Te Aro Estate 'Minnie & Elsa' Pinot Grigio 2012

My first 2012 wine written up on the site.  Te Aro - or 'Happy Home' - is located at the Southern end of the Barossa, in Williamstown.  Starting out as growers in 1919, 3-4 generations later- 2001 - sees them take on a new guise as producer.

Crystalline pure in colour, fresh like a mountain stream.  Aromatically crisp also, pear and crunchy apple with salad like crispness further enhancing it.

Clean entry - yes crisp sprung to mind again, it's good Grigio - there's a hint of tropical fruit in the mix here, guava-esque.  Adds to the refreshment, inoffensive.  Good pitched acidity and a gentle waxy feel on the finish concludes matters.  This is good Pinot Grigio. 88 - Good   

Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Friday 25 May 2012

Taylor's Winter Red Releases

Reviews of the Taylor's Winter Reds releases across the Estate range and the cross-regional Jaraman range.

Taylor's Estate Pinot Noir 2011: Screwcap, $18.95, 14%
Fruit sourced from South Australia and Western Australia.  Hints of cherry with aromatics otherwise somewhat muted.  Palate fairly clean, hints of red fruit.  But it's all suggestion, not substance.  Touch of group/ tannin.  85 - Average

Taylor's Estate Merlot 2010: Screwcap, $18.95, 14.5%
Clare Valley fruit.  A hint of plum, little else to entice.  More to offer on the palate, bit of tannic grip: some leafy, fruit elements present here.  Modicum of spice carried by loose tannin.  86 - Average

Taylor's Jaraman Shiraz 2010: Screwcap, $29.95, 14.5%
The Taylor's Jaraman range showcases cross-regional blending, in this case a mix of Clare and McLaren Vale.  Not one for the terroirists - though regional input is present.  Sweet cherry, blackcurrant and polished oak.  Smooth, sweet fruited mix with a punch of liquorice toward the back end, augmented by some fine-grained tannin.  88 - Good

Taylor's Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: Screwcap, $29.95, 14.5%
Mix of Clare and Coonawarra Cabernets.  The latter evident with a hint of Eucalypt.  Leafy Cabernet notes, clean plate with cherry cola and cassis.  Grainy tannin, faint hint of cedar and bay.  Moderate length, carrying some flavour through.  88/89 - Good

Thursday 24 May 2012

Donny Goodmac Shiraz Viognier 2008

June 8th 2012 sees the Donny Goodmac crew return for a riotous lunch at the Hotel Orient's 'Swill' dining room.  The Vinsomniac has a pair of tickets to give away for it, check here for more.

To the wine, 3% Viognier - provides lifted perfume in the glass - and still seen and heard at 4 years of age.  Set against a background of red and black fruits.  Added into the hedonistic mix is a whiff of perfumed - expensive - oak.

Smooth, pure - glass like on entry - with a swirling dark fruited mix.  Tannin is minimal, spice merges into the equation, swirling with the fruit - suggestive of a maelstrom of activity in the mouth.  Pretty effortless drinking, significant length, the aforementioned mix of fruit and spice seem to propel, nay urge, the other on.  92 - Very Good

Source: Retail, Purple Palate
Price: $35
Closure: Screwcap

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Woods Crampton Mataro 2010

I've always been impressed by the imports in the Fourth Wave portfolio.  This is the first domestic wine I have seen from them and it is quite simply a stunning debut.

Candied orange peel and small berry juiciness bound up with some furtive black plum, dark cherry and a hint of stalky/ woody elements.  At turns dark and brooding; yet also light and fresh.  Light and dark, night and day.

Entry shows further complexity, medium weight, smooth and seamless on entry - then it shifts gear: delivering cherry, layered complexity and a modicum of spice.

Persistence par excellence, I was in raptures at this point, a complex mix of fruit and spice - yet achieved with balance and poise.  Oh and that length, quite simply outstanding.  Did i mention it is $25 per bottle?   94 - Outstanding

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

Follow me:

Esperanza Monastrell 2010

Esperanza is a Wirra Wirra Cellar Door exclusive brand.  Over the years the winery has produced wines under the 'Sparrow's Lodge' label, typically one-off releases, a bit of a playground for the winemaking team.  They generally tend to be well received, so they've opted to create a permanent brand themed around Iberian varietals (you can get the full story here in the Bell Ringer) to satisfy.

So, to this first release and true to intent it's badged as a Monastrell.  On the nose it offers more in the meaty, charcuterie sense; typical fruit is not entirely out of the picture with kirsch accented fruit, black cherry, hanging around the back like a naughty schoolchild.  Typical dark plummy depths, spice tinged - a great introduction to the wine within.

Entry shows a wine of substance, fine-grained tannin with a Moroccan spice tinged finish concluding matters.  Good balance, length: good - personally like more in my Monastrell/ Mourvédre/ Mataro.  Yet it's a wine that grows on you, it rewards further with a little time in glass - go the albondigas.  90/ 91 - Good/ Very Good 

Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

Pertaringa Tannat 2009

From a single vineyard in McLaren Vale comes this Tannat from the impressively diverse portfolio of the Geoff Hardy owned Pertaringa.  

Tannat hails originally from France's South-West corner, tucked up against the Pyrenees mountain range that separates France and Spain.  Less known there now, it has also made a home for itself in Uruguay - with examples like this showing well in Australia.

Dark fruited with sweet accents; hints of dusty, leafy notes - rustic you'd say.  More akin to a Southern French Malbec, more overt than a Cabernet (which it is sometimes blended with to tame some of it's wilder notes).

Smooth and light on entry, plush almost, before trade mark tannins kick-in with a mix of earth and savoury spice for good measure.  Great length, driving, carrying flavour - consider as an accompaniment to richly flavoured dishes - or just a good simple steak to work with the tannin.  The only grape variety I know of that is a palindrome - and this example is as good front-to-back as it is back-to-front.  92 - Very Good
Price: $30
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap

Thursday 17 May 2012

Ridgemill Estate "The Spaniard" Tempranillo 2009

Berry fresh by way of dark and sour cherry, a hint of plum and the addition of a herby/ bouquet garni element.  Light on entry, with more fruit elements coming through - lending juicy feel to proceedings.  

The juiciness is a good counterpoint to a slight stalky bitter edge and good gravelly, fine tannin.  Little acid to speak of - as befits the variety.  Matters do come a conclusion somewhat abruptly, there's a sudden rush of flavour before a finish of moderate length.  A good Tempranillo.  Enjoy.  88 - Good

Source: Swap
Price: $30
Closure: Screwcap

Monday 14 May 2012

Karra Yerta Bullfrog Flat Eden Valley Shiraz 2008

From quite possibly Australia's most idyllic sounding wine region comes this small production - only 32 dozen produced -  wine, and there's plenty to tempt even the most resolute individual here.

Inviting aromatics, fresh and lifted: orange peel, berry fruit and just a touch of background oak detected.  It's freshness is really appealing.

Smooth, flow with hints of chocolate and a touch of mint.  Fine tannin with a touch of twiggyness as it leans into the final proceedings.  Good length - much to tempt a man indeed.  92 - Very Good

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

Saturday 12 May 2012

Bremerton Old Adam Shiraz 2009

Opens to a touch of stewed plum over rich, dark, coffee-ish oak.  A hint of dark chocolate in the mix too, it's rich and concentrated.  It's a similar scenario in the mouth where it shows itself as smooth, thick and rich with a luscious mouthfeel.

Tannin is fine grained; tarry elements with camp coffee essence, layered - somewhat multi-faceted against these recurrent themes.

Long, plenty to mull over, with a christmas cake full of spicy rich fruit carrying you home.  Pretty much a big is best wine, yet all in balance.  92/ 93 - Very Good

Source: Sample
Price: $50
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Cork

Friday 11 May 2012

Hahndorf Hill "The Blueblood" Blaufränkisch 2010

Synesthesia is an interesting study area.  I'm not suggesting I know anything about the subject, it's just that, with this wine a common theme for me was the smell 'blue'.  Can something smell of a colour?

It really is a delightful perfume.  Wild flowers, violets and bluebells - and more than once I was thinking of an English summer meadow; a cornucopia of fruits in the red and blue spectrum.  Further, a background hint of coffee - a consistent element from the 2009 version of this wine, augmented by some dried apricot.

Supple in the mouth, a mix of the aforementioned fruit; acid along the 'rails' and toward the back of the mouth, many a hint to the supposed shared lineage with Gamay.  It's a complex little number, yet tannin seems a little pared back this time, although the length is quite exquisite, bound up with a great acid line.  94 - Outstanding

Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap

Thursday 10 May 2012

Cape Barren Native Goose GSM 2010

Part of the joy of trying to assess a wine critically is seeing how it changes over time.  Whilst this is fundamentally at odds with the way the vast majority of wine is consumed, it does afford a glimpse as to how a wine may develop over time, a potential gauge as to cellarability. 

This wine posed a an interesting conundrum: initially very bright aromatics, the profile coming from the Grenache: strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and black cherry - over time the lighter elements taking a back seat to the darker fruit coming to the fore.

Initially juicy and fruit-laden in the mouth, a soft textural feel, hints of cinnamon rounding things out.  But again with time this profile changed, feeling fuller, more glycerol - showing its alcohol a little more - with the acid settling, allowing the acid to step forward; the whole proceedings augmented by the perfume of red fruit flowing - filling the roof of the mouth.  The finish, long, gentle gliding length - i noted that it felt like a "slower version of the Star Wars opening intro".  91 - Very Good

Source: Sample
Price: $20-22
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Screwcap

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz 2010

With a nod to the heritage of the Wilson sisters' Grandfather, 'Selkirk' is the Scottish town that is the Wilson family ancestral home.   

On initial opening, this wine was more about the American oak it had spent 18 months in - new and older oak.  Settling down, good Shiraz berry aromatics, with a hint of lolly like sweetness.

Smooth, quite deft one would say, with tannic creep - building, grainy tannin - building this picture in the mouth.  

Hints of savoury spice in the mix too.  Balance, good to moderate length and a conclusion of more spice and black pepper.  90/91 - Good/ Very Good

Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Bimbadgen Estate Shiraz 2010

Bimbadgen Estate is a rather striking winery, with a Campanile that wouldn't look out of place in Tuscany.  This Shiraz offers leathery and earthen notes with supporting fruit of cherry and plum.  You've got to appreciate a Shiraz weighing in at a modest 13.5%, and this medium bodied example is pleasingly smooth on entry into the mouth.

Chalky tannin there provides further interest, there's little structure to speak of, but the pleasure derived from consumption is heightened through the presence of coconut and some resurgent fruit.  Moderate length, sweet coconut dominant on the finish, a good wine - easy going.  89 - Good

Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Chapel Hill Mourvèdre 2009

This was the first varietal Mourvédre released by Chapel Hill.  Whereas the 2010 (click link for that note) was bright, radiant and had an amazing perfume, this 2009 to me is more typical: darker, concentrated, a deep seated aromatic profile - go looking and you'll be rewarded with concentrated blackberry and black cherry.

Smooth, thick, rich layers of flavour greet you on the palate - there's beautiful flow, a consistent theme from 2010 - and hints of sweet spice, Moroccan spice, and liquorice.  Length is exquisite.  94 - Outstanding

Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap