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. 

Friday, 2 November 2012

Tscharke 'The Master' Montepulciano 2011

Montepulciano the grape, not to be confused with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano, a Tuscan wine made from Sangiovese.

Black cherry, rose/ florals, violets - an attractive aromatic proposition.  Shows a deftness in the mouth, spicy - pepper, licorice - with a herbal twist.  Some graphite too, complex, yet paradoxically a delight in its simple structure.

Good savoury, ripe tannin concludes matters - lovely balance.  90 - Good

Tasted on: Tuesday 30th October, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $ 39
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tscharke.com.au/

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Yalumba Y Series 2011 Reds

Y Series Shiraz Viognier 2011
Viognier self-evident, adds attraction sitting afront cherry and berry aromatics.  Juicy on the palate, hints of pepper and apricot tinged blue and black fruits.  

Spice coursing through the palate and finishes with hint of bark/ mulch on the finish.  Found this quite pleasant, juicy and rather drinkable.  88 - Good

Tasted on: Friday 26th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $14.95
Alcohol:13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: yalumba.com

Y Series Shiraz 2011
Found this a little more challenging.  Woody, mulchy nose with some spice sitting afront blue and black fruit mix.  On the palate it had a woody feel, some spice by way of clove and star anise.  

Medium bodied with flecks of pepper.  A little astringent on the back end, moderate length with a rasp of tannin.  86/87 - Average

Tasted on: Friday 26th October, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $14.95
Alcohol:13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: yalumba.com


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Matison Wines Riesling 2011

I don't tend to see that much Riesling from Orange, but when I do I am generally impressed.  Notwithstanding the grape's perennial role as the underdog, beloved of Sommeliers and those in the trade, yet seemingly a struggle to shift off shelves, I think Riesling could be the regions stand-out white variety - certainly a more worthy grape than the Sauvignon Blanc the region chose to adopt.

So, to this example from a bottle-stroker (Gourmet Wine Somm of the year 2008 Simon Curkovic, ex- Catalina Rose Bay) turned grape-treader, and an avid consumer of Burgundy.

Pure, fresh, beautifully intoxicating.  Carries the unmistakeable Riesling freshness: fresh cut apple, lime, lemon sorbet, blossom.  A complex mix of aromas, unmistakeably Riesling.

In the mouth, the acid pops up at the front, early on - yet spreading rapidly filling the cavity.  Intense pithy lemon, textural - hints of mineral and waxy apple; and my goodness what length - the Rizza's rapier length cutting a swathe through the palate,  delivering its citrus intensity to a gentle fading conclusion.  This wine delivered for days, an admirable effort.  91/ 92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Thursday 25th October, a Flower Day.
Source: Gift
Price: $ 25
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.matisonestate.com.au/

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