Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Montalto Estate 2010 Chardonay and Pinot Noir

I was impressed with the level of detail that accompanied these samples from Montalto Estate: a Press Release that at least attempted to convey a quality driven story - shying away from the normal trumpets and fanfair often associated with such - and a full colour brochure that highlighted vineyard sites, plantings and clonal selections

Winemaker Simon Black states: "our winemaking philosophy centres around quality.  Everything we do is about achieving a premium end product...I'm looking for wines that are an expression of vineyard site...where the grapes come from".  It's good to then see the winery back this up further with a release of 5 single vineyard wines (not reviewed here), two Chardonnay and three Pinot Noirs.

Montalto Estate Chardonnay 2010
Creamy cashew, citrus, grapefruit, and barrel ferment character.  Complex and nutty, good fruit character wrapped  around a core of mineral and acid. 

Still showing a bit of oak, unobtrusively.  Loved the twists of Citrus that coursed through the final 3rd.  Quite brilliant.   93 - Very Good

Tasted on: Sunday 14th October, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $ 39
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

Montalto Estate Pinot Noir 2010
Fully destemmed, soaked for several days, 3 weeks on skins and 100% wild ferment.  Resultant wine shows a darker expression of Pinot: plum, sour and black cherry with softer background red fruit elements. 

Spice and a little herbal edge - marjoram, oregano - complete the aromatic picture.  Elegance and finesse, sqaurely medium bodied, a lighter expression in the mouth. 

Would have preferred a little more depth myself.  89 - Good


Tasted on: Saturday 27th October, a Leaf Day

Source: Sample
Price: $ 48
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Woods Crampton Mataro Rosé 2012

The first thing you notice is the colour: an almost deep, vibrant red.  And it's more like a light red in some respects.  Approach with your nose and you're greeted with spicy, wooden, earthen and savoury aromas - it betrays its Mataro roots.  It's ably supported by underlying berry compote, adding fruit to the savoury.

In the mouth, dry with a savoury tang.  There are hints of dried fruit - dried citrus - and it's beautifully refreshing, refreshing with with excellent driven citrus acids.

Concludes with good flow across the black with generous length.  90/ 91 - Good/ Very Good

Tasted on: Thursday 25th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $19
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://fourthwavewine.com.au/

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Sunday, 28 October 2012

K1 by the Hardys Arneis 2011


Arneis hails from Italy's Piedmont (literally 'foot of the mountain' region), abutting the Alps in the North-West of the country.  As a variety it was almost in danger of dying out in the post-war period, until rescued by producer Vietti in the 1970s.

White peach, subtle apricot, hints of almond.  Elegantly fragrant is how it is best described - hints of spring meadow with the associated freshness of an Alpine stream.  Citrus tinged on the palate, more than that, it has a lemon freshness imbued with a little sea air.  Good phenolics add to the package, adding a little shape, flow and feel.  90 - Good  

Tasted on: Thursday 4th October, a Root Day

Source:Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol:12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: k1.com.au

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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Hahndorf Hill Grüner Veltliner 2012


The numbers: the third vintage of Gruner Veltliner, for Adelaide Hills pioneer of the variety, Hahndorf Hill. The second that I have had the pleasure of tasting, and currently one of only four produced in Australia (along with Lark Hill, K1by the Hardys and Stoney Rise).

Apple, tart pear, celery and some rooty form by way of parsnip.  Hints of citrus softening up the aromatics.  Lovely zesty tones on the palate, supported by mineral and acid.  Flecks of white pepper dotted about spice things up, presenting roasted root veggie notes too.  Drinks better on day 2 for my liking, showing well into day 3  - indicative of some cellarability.  

The wine finishes with good peppery length and mineral nuances dancing around the tongue.  Great example, showing further promise for the variety in the region and further cementing the claims of Larry Jacobs and Marc Dobson as skilled craftsmen of the variety.  93 - Very Good 

Tasted on: Monday 1st October, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au/

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Friday, 26 October 2012

Yelland & Papps 'Vin de Soif' 2011

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Vin de Soif literally means a 'thirst quenching wine', and this example from Barossan producer Yelland & Papps is appropriately named.  Not complex, nor is it intended to be.  It shows soft, juicy, bubblegum character on the palate, with hints of fruit sweetness.  Squarely medium bodied, juice laden and ultimately dry. 

Aromatically it contrasts with the palate, with woody hints, clove spice, briar and hedgerow.  Thoroughly smashable - if one can say such a thing these days without incurring the wrath of the health-police.  89 - Good 

Tasted on: Sunday 30th September, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $19.95
Alcohol:14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://yellandandpapps.com/

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Foster é Rocco Rosé 2011

Rosé in Australia is undergoing a real renaissance. There are those producers who seek to  retain a little residual sugar in their wines, or at least retention of fruit sweetness, and there are those practitioners who look for texture, line and length. Adam Foster and Lincoln 'Rocco' Riley are in the latter camp.

Strawberry, delicate citrus, florals, raspberry and spicy nuances greet you.  Smooth entry, textural - the delicacy of a feather, yet with sufficient weight to carry flavour. Hints of minerality, some tartness - with cranberry making an appearance. Good acidity with lovely line and length. Excellent, driving length, drying, moreish.  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Saturday 29th September, a Flower day
Source: Gift
Price: $ 27
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure:  Screwcap
Website: http://fostererocco.com.au

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2012

One of two Viognier tasted on the day, and this demonstrated the greater aromatic range - again without the shrillness that can be seen in some Viognier.

Full on apricot, hints of candy-like stonefruit and ginger present too.  Fuller mouthfeel, unctuous, fresh - good acid, phenolics and more ginger spice notes that cling to the mouth.  Good length and staying power.  Another that punches above its weight in the Y series range.  89 - Good

Tasted on: 14th October, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $14.95 SRP
Alcohol:14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.yalumba.com

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Terra Felix Viognier 2009

Apricot, grilled peach and lime brulee - not excessive aromatically, a point that stands in its stead.  Clean, little on the front palate.  Stone fruit builds on the mid, cranking the intensity up a little, leaving good apricot and peach toward towards the back.

Good varietal character, length and lingering finish a plus.  Lacks a little texture for my liking.  88 - Good
 
Tasted: 14th October, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $17.50 SRP
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.terrafelix.com.au/

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Voyager Estate Project 95 Chardonnay 2009

This wine is produced solely from a clone of Charonnay known as clone 95.  The  predominant clone used in Margaret River is the gin-gin, or Mendoza, clone - which i've seen cited as lacking in the back palate.  The gin-gin clone provides the majority input into Voyager's Estate Chardonnay, supported by clone 95.

In the technical wine world, clones are almost at the pinnacle of geekery.  'Clones' are identified for certain properties or characters they exhibit, and in the case of Clone 95, one of a number of clones collectively referred to as the 'Bernard' clones, is widely regarded as having superior sugar content, producing full, rich and balanced wines. The alternate view is there are those who believe, above all, that, regardless of clone, terroir is the fundamental contributor to fruit character...but that's a discussion for another day.

100 dozen made in total.  Opening of citrus, meal and cashew - but not overly creamy.  Oak here unobtrusive - deliberately so to allow clonal (and fruit) character to shine.  Toasty hints present themselves also.

Rather delicate in the mouth, likened to fine bone china, balanced and elegant yet not to the point of being skinny.  Like a super-model: lean, fantastically structured, pure.  Acidity is fantastic, generating exquisite length and structure.  A remarkably long lived wine.  A joy to drink over 2-3 days.  94/ 95 - Outstanding

Tasted on: 14-15th October (Root Day)
Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $ 49.90
Alcohol: 12.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.voyagerestate.com.au/

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Monday, 15 October 2012

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2005

Bottle image - Castagna Genesis Syrah 2005
Borrowed from winehouse.com.au
If there was any wine that made me realise that wine scribes are not infallible, it was this.  A distinctively average score form an individual lauded by many as the premier writer in Australia.  I'll say no more, save to say I don't agree with his assessment.

I've never seen a wine shift as much as this either over the 3 days of drinking - well, shift around and still retain a fantastic sense of drinkability.

I last looked at one around early 2010, my over-riding memory of that wine was of violets, violets and crushed black and red fruits.  Now, on day one it was more about savoury charm.  Of sandalwood, dried herbs, roasted meat.  Intoxicating.  Spice and pepper abound, fronting up against concentrated black fruits.  Day 2 saw the small percentage of Viognier more noticeable and day 3 it showed more of tomato, sweet sugo.

It's a fine wine, a wine of balance, poise.  It's well integrated, showing more wild herb character on the palate.  Incredibly smooth, there's a wave of refreshing fruit: of blueberry and blackcurrant, carrying flavour, awash through the mouth, freshening the palate before some incredibly fine tannin.  I'm glad there's three more whence this came.  96 - Outstanding

Tasted on: 13th (Fruit) and 14-15th (Root) October
Source: Retail, Cloudwine
Price: $65 in a 6 pack, normally around $90-95
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Diam
Website: http://www.castagna.com.au/

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Yalumba Y Series Pinot Grigio 2012

The question I find myself asking of this range, is not why, but rather how Yalumba can turn out wines of this quality at the price often seen on the retailers shelves.

Winemaking inputs here are those often seen at wines twice the price.  Selective hand-picking, oxidative handling, wild yeast ferments etc.

Pear, poached pear, apple blossom, golden hints of flaxseed and florals.  The palate shows lovely crisp and crunchy pear, lemon accented.  An excellent to crisp acid, clean through the mid-section.

Finishes well with phenolic grip, generous length that belies the price.  90 - Good
 
Tasted on: 10th October, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $14.95 SRP
Alcohol:12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yalumba.com

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La Linea Norteño Tempranillo 2009

Essentially a barrel selection.  In making their 2009 Tempranillo, the La Linea team noticed some marked differences in four barriques made from fruit picked off a northern (Norteño is Spanish for North) vineyard at Kersbrook. 

Needed a little time to open up and express itself.  Initially woody and spicy, shifting toward highly complex perfume of florals, rose, cola, star anise and blueberries.

Medium bodied, actually quite light in the mouth.  Juicy and spice coated, with a captivating central core of flavour.  Day 2 saw the wine retain the tartness and central core, yet there was also a slight 'cold tea', bitter astringency.  

Consistently showed a good 'coat' of textured tannin and persistence of flavour.  Darker fruits  on the finish than seen elsewhere in the wine.  Preference here was for the wine on Day 1 - happy with this given my love:hate relationship with Australian Tempranillo91/ 92 - Very Good
 
Tasted on: 10th (Leaf Day) and 11th October (Fruit Day) 
Source: Retail, Cru Cellars
Price: $33
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.lalinea.com.au/

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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Pertaringa Scarecrow Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Aromatics that are the calling card of the variety.  Has a softness, a delicacy on approach; underlying tropicals with passionfruit, lychee, gooseberry - lemon citrus topping things off.

I like to see Sauvignon Blanc with an interest factor, here it comes by virtue of the common technique of lees stirring to build character and here provide a layered, textural quality. 

Gives the added benefit of supporting the fruit and adding mineral zing.  It's fresh, lively and vibrant  - demonstrating a good persistence of flavour on the finish, wrapping things up with some enhanced mouthfeel on the finish.  90 - Good

Tasted on: Tuesday 9th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $ 18
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

Website: http://www.pertaringa.com.au/

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Rusden Full Circle Mataro 2009

Lovely back label story, albeit tinged with sadness where Christian Canute (assumed) talks of growing up during the vine pull, seeing stacks of 80 year old Mataro piled up to burn.  How we suffer from those dark days, and from an oft-repeated failure to appreciate that which should be.

Oh Mataro, let me count the ways I love thee.  Cracked pepper over plum and black cherry.  Generously tinged with Moroccan spice.

Lightness on entry, almost in defiance of the variety.  Good fruit definition, in fact it is quite 'fruitsome' and also, here on the palate, complemented by generous hints of spice.  Enjoyable in that respect, but a little singular in its positive attributes.

Good length, a delight to drink and showing a little savoury twist on conclusion.  90 - Good

Tasted on: Tuesday 9th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $ 45
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: www.rusdenwines.com.au

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Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Oxford Landing Estates Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Pungent aromatics, heavy tropicals and gooseberry tones clearly mark it out as sauvignon Blanc. 

Simple, clean, but showing balance. There's varietal character here - chalky, citrus, lychee notes, hints of green apple.

Tropical hints remain on the finish.  Not complex, but if you're seeking complexity at $9 then I'd question why you're reading a wine blog.   
85 - Average




Tasted on: 9th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $8.99
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.oxfordlanding.com/

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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Taylors Pinot Noir Chardonnay Brut Cuvée NV

A first for Taylors (I never know whether to add an apostrophe or not, they don't, but to me it seems kind of wrong) in their 40+ year history, a traditional method aka bottle fermented fizzer, produced under both screwcap and cork/ cage.

Chalky lemon, brioche, a bread and butter pudding note here.  Lemon zest and stone fruit on entry - quite a hard/ mineral character to contend with, rounded out by a litle toasty complexity.

Mineral hints on the finish, good lingering quality. Lacks a little finesse, but drinks well. An aperitif style.  88 - Good

Tasted on: 9th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $18.95
Alcohol:12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.taylorswines.com.au/

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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Terra Felix La Vie En Rose 2011

A 100% Mataro Rosé made from both the skin contact and saignee methods, with each portion being brought together for the final wine.

Good red/ black fruit aromatics with cherry, rose, blackberry supported by some herbal tinges.   Palate shows more of the same, a bit of fruit sweetness add a touch of palate weight - it did spend 3 months on lees for a little texture, a touch more wouldn't go amiss in my opinion.  It's fresh and juicy, good citrus hints - acid pops up a little toward the back end before a truncated finish.  

All up, juicy and easy going.  Well priced given where it is at.  88/ 89 - Good

Tasted on: 7th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $17.50 (Approx)
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.terrafelix.com.au/

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

K1 by the Hardys Grüner Veltliner 2012

Tasted this second release from K1 alongside the 2012 Hahndorf Hill.  For me this showed the more intense aromatics.  Hints of Hill's Sav Blanc character were present - topical hints - alongside varietal character by virtue of apple, tart pear, citrus and notes of white pepper.

The wine seemed tighter, coiled, stony - more mineral present on the palate; acid was featured but took more of a back step than that it was tasted alongside.  The finish showed zest with white peppery length.  Good length, it wasn't a wine in a hurry.

An interesting wine, one I'd subsequently seen a variance in reviews for.  As ever, be your own man, make up your own mind.  I did.  90/ 91 - Good/ Very Good

Tasted: 1st October, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.k1.com.au

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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

d'Arenberg Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2009

Chester Osborn is a Grenache nut.  A love for, and understanding of, the variety is strong in the man, and evident in this wine.

Earthen and leathery notes, distinctly savoury marked with tapenade and elements of prune.  Savoury - a word I kept coming back to - and here with this wine a significant point of difference from the many sweet, overly-confected examples you see.

Assertive acid that sweeps forward in a singular movement, delivering complex waves of flavour.  Good drying tannin, facilitating excellent spice-tinged length.  93 - Very Good

Source: Prize
Price: $ 30
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://darenberg.com.au

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Yelland & Papps Delight Rosé 2012

A mix of Grenache (71%) for aromatics, spice and all round gluggability; Mataro (29%) for depth and body.  Simply fruited, light-on aromatics with strawberry, cranberry and hints of bubblegum fruit character.

Clean entry, more hints of strawberry filling out the palate.  Boiled lolly character, essentially dry but fruit sweetness enlivens the palate along with some citrus juiciness.  Easy drinking, one for chilling and supping around the pool. 

Misses the mark for me with a lack of texture - one thing the revolution has given me a feel for.  88 - Good


Source: Sample
Price: $ 19.95
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://yellandandpapps.com

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Monday, 1 October 2012

Preston Peak Sagrantino 2008


Preston Peak’s Cellar Door is a leisurely 90-minute drive from Brisbane.  On the outskirts of Toowoomba, it sits majestically atop the Great Dividing Range, with fantastic views looking back East across the plain.
The fruit for this wine is sourced from estate plantings at their Devil’s Elbow vineyard on the Granite Belt.  Rustic aromatics: earthen and woody, with a furtive plummy depth trying to bring itself out.
In the mouth it’s immediately savoury, the tannin that is a signature of the variety is noticeable, here intertwined with hints of woody spice and dark cherry fruit character.  Falls away a little to leave acid and good drying tannin.  88 - Good
Postscript
The above note is as it apears in Gram Magazine, where the review first appeared.  After tasting over 2 days I placed the wine back on the shelf, two days later I just happened to give myself another pour and noted that the wine had opened a little further.  Subsequently I would actually score this closer to 90/91 (should you concern yourself with such matters).
 
Source: Cellar Door
Price: $32
Alcohol:14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.prestonpeak.com/

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