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Monday 29 April 2013

Pepperilly Purple Patch GMS 2010

Loved the generosity of this wine. Bright and vibrant on entry, but to call it 'fruity' may lead some to think it simple. There's a fullness of flavour to it, excellent flow, tannins are well integrated and form a neat 1-2 with the fleshy and generous palate.

Aromatically it offers savoury nuances, hints of pan juices with earth and ironstone elements backed up with a little licorice. This is very good drinking, made all the more compelling at its price point. Don't see too much Mataro out West, or indeed the Southern Rhone influenced blend. 91 - Very Good 

Tasted on: Thursday 25th April, a Root Day transitioning to Flower
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sunday 28 April 2013

Vinteloper Urban Winery Project Grenache 2012

360 bottles produced, hand bottled and hand labelled, with the label drawn - by hand of course - by winemaker David Bowley's partner. 

The Back Story
David Bowley is a pretty innovative winemaker, straddling that line between artist and scientist. His Urban Winery Project, in many respects part art installation alongside temporary working winery, brought the wine-making process to the people, enabling them to participate in the wine making process, and to enjoy the fruits of its labours. 
This Grenache - as the name implies - is one product out of that installation's 2012 guise. It is a 100% Grenache from McLaren Vale.

From David, With Love
It's a story of love, of doing 'things', largely. the old fashioned way: machine harvested - probably one of two concessions to modernity - then unloaded one bucket at a time to the fermenters. Trod by foot, sorted and de-stemmed by hand too - a labour of love.
The other concession was the use of a commercial yeast - BP725 for the nerds - a decision taken as David was unsure of the ability of the indigenous yeasts present and at the UWP to ferment to dryness. 

Eight days on skins, pressed off using a manual basket press - seeking gentle extraction -  to a holding tank before being racked to oak: 2yr French hogshead, 2yr American Oak hogshead and a 5yo French Oak Barrique.  

It was allowed to rest and mature for 10 months, before racking off with a minimal addition of sulphur. Of the three separate parcels, only the French Oak hogshead was retained for this wine - the remainder forming part of David's 2012 Adelo blend.

The Wine Itself
A lovely perfume, shows an unforced purity of fruit, of red and black fruits, a subtle brambly mix of mix berries with a little earth over time and latent brown licorice.

Exhibits an almost glacial like purity on the palate, clean with a blackberry and red fruit profile. More than a one-trick pony, it presents a savoury edge, showing the inherent character of Grenache with brown spices and pepper.

Enjoy it for its natural expression, its balance; it doesn't suffer from the overdone nature seen with some Grenache, its finish is one of generosity and persistence with a cheeky wink of spice at its conclusion. 93 - Very Good

Tasted on:25th April, a Root day (transitioning to Flower) and on 27th April, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $Not Publicly Available
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Thursday 25 April 2013

Terra Felix E'vette's Block Mourvèdre 2008

I reviewed the 2006 version of this about a year or so ago, and whilst this is the better wine, that earlier version punches heavier in the QPR stakes. Unsure as to the price of this, $49.50 is stated on the website - if true that's a fair hike from the $15 of the 2006.

To the wine in question: generous polished plum brandy/ kirsch aromatics, a touch of licorice. This all flows through to the palate, it's smooth and the technique of micro-oxygenation has rendered it very approachable, if at the expense of Mataro's trademark depth.  

There's a bit of citrus freshness and zippy acidity about and this contribute to a moderate length with persistence of brambly/ blackcurrant flavour. 89 - Good

Tasted on: Monday 22nd April, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $?
Closure: Screwcap

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Wednesday 24 April 2013

Yelland & Papps Second Take Roussanne 2012

"So, is that a grape variety then?" enquired the Father-in-Law, who I was holidaying with. Upon having that question satisfactorily answered, he declared: "it's alright that, very easy to drink". My work here is done.

Wild yeast fermented, lees stirred; in barrel for 10 months - 100% French Oak, all old. Basically: fantastic palate texture and length.

Hints of bruised apple, a soapy character, enticingly perfumed and not a little unlike a good cider in many respects.

Textural, full - fairly lush and rich. Solids character - the dead yeast cells and the like - the matter that is stirred adds that dimension. Good acidic profile too. Length is gorgeous.

Incidentally, I tasted this four days after having first opened it, that aromatics were still there, and whilst the palate had lost some of its vibrancy, the length was still there - textural, chalky and with a little spicy phenolic hit. A fantastic wine. 94 - Excellent  

Tasted on: Saturday 20th April, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

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Monday 15 April 2013

Curly Flat Chardonnay 2008

There are some wines you come across where you think: "I could happily drink that", and then there are wines where your first thought is often along the lines: "[insert expletive] why don't I have more of this in my cellar, where can i get more?". Yes, this is in the latter camp.

At five years, the wine has taken on a lime tinged golden aura. It glows in the glass, and offers lime brulée, a flinty periphery and a modicum of stonefruit. It's not about any of those individual parts, but instead the balance between the three, and the complexity harmonious complexity contributes to.

The palate shows a little tartness early on, it's finely poised though, with stonefruit and melon making way for a mineral lined edge. Texture is apparent, full in the mouth, more than just a line and length merchant. 

The finish is effortless, so unforced. I want more. 95 - Excellent

Tasted on: Sunday 7th April, a Flower Day
Source: Cellar
Price: $
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure: Screwcap

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Sunday 14 April 2013

O'Leary Walker Claire Reserve Shiraz 2008

Oak. Dark black fruit at its core - cassis - concentrated, an inviting perfume; and beyond the darkness, light with floral notes.

The palate is dark too, showing spice that builds, that creeps, the concentration mentioned earlier - a black hole of a wine. It's at turns unctuous, with dark chocolate and a little bitter grounds, and fine with grainy tannins.

The wine concludes with dark bitter chocolate notes, there's fruit present too, and it shines through. Length is generous, my only quibble is a wee spike of heat at its conclusion. 93 - Very Good

Tasted on: Saturday 6th April, a Root Day
Source: Tasting
Price: $90
Alcohol:14% or 15.1% (Don't ask)
Closure: Screwcap

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Bent Road Winery Marsanne 2010

Gently honeyed, more about white florals. A little almond, a hint of citrus. Comes across as quite a gentle wine, whispering, not shouting.

Flavours flow through to the palate, there's a little texture - a slight waxy touch - my preference would have been to feel more.

Back palate shows some delicate citrus, acid flares a little, gives an extra leg-up to the wine. Slight creaminess flows on, a little more texture noted. 87/88 - Average/Good

Tasted on: Saturday 6th April, a Fruit Day
Source: Maple St Co-Op, Maleny
Price: $19
Alcohol: 10.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Alkoomi Frankland River Wandoo Semillon 2006

Preserved lemons over underlying tropical hints - green banana, a little papaya - citrus dominant, like licking sherbet off of a piece of slate.

Palate profile no as congruent with the intense aromatics, acid still present and settling nicely. 

A little honey becomes apparent once you allow it to settle in the glass, the wine then speaking more of its terroir with further slate present.

Moderate finish, feels a little truncated in the mouth, yet it does present a lasting flavour profile. 89 - Good

Tasted on: Friday 5th April, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap

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Boireann Estate Shiraz 2009

Bottle image: Boireann Estate Shiraz 2009Boireann unarguably represent the top-tier of the Granite Belt wine region. Located at the Northern, cooler, end of the Granite Belt; the Estate is strewn with large boulders of Granite, the igneous rock that gives the region its name.

Boireann can be a marginal site, frosts and hail often impact one or more varieties grown, and winemaker Peter Stark is reluctant to bring in fruit from elsewhere.

This Shiraz from 2009 - a year when frost was an issue, yes frost in Queensland - shows delightful savoury character, hints of plum and spicy fruitcake. 

Squarely medium bodied, elegant - finesse on entry gradually makes with for a good spine of fine tannin - interwoven with spice.

Still retains a freshness to it, the inherent acid flowing well, indicating life ahead - reckon another 5-10 years. Stark in the past has understated the aging potential of his wines, I sincerely doubt many customers cellar theirs long enough to challenge him. 93 - Very Good  

Tasted on: Tuesday 2nd April, A Fruit Day
Source: Cellar Door
Price: $45
Alcohol: 13.2%
Closure: Screwcap

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Running With Bulls Barossa Tempranillo 2011

The Barossan partner to the Wrattonbully version, this a 2011 and the latter a 2012 example.

Black and blue fruits, spice: mace and a little black pepper; cola-ish with a hint of black cherry. Slightly mulchy, some hints of green peppercorns in there too.

Spice on the palate, touch of muscavodo tinged woody character. Easy to drink, not a challenge - not a problem here - just a little thin and truncated. 87 - Average

Tasted on: Friday 22nd March, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap

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Thursday 11 April 2013

Shaw + Smith: Serious Sauvignon

"Sauvignon Blanc makes up a large amount of what you sell" opened Michael Hill-Smith MW at - what is becoming a hotly anticipated date on the wine nerds calendar - the Shaw + Smith Workshop series, and in this case the subject at hand "Serious Sauvignon". Setting forth the challenge, Hill-Smith continued: "it is your responsibility to find the best examples, not just at a price point, or based on a label". 

The irony of some part of that statement - mixed with a message about how this maligned variety suffers from being judged by the mass produced, low value bulk examples - caused me to smirk at the presence of a couple of attendees from a big box wine company.

David Le Mire was on hand to talk through some history of the variety. An old variety, first noted in 1534 as 'fiers' from the latin 'ferus' or wild, and indeed it is said that 'Sauvignon' itself comes from the French Sauvage, or wild. Genetically, it is an offspring of Savagin, a sibling to both Chenin Blanc and Trousseau. It itself begat Cabernet Sauvignon during a steamy vineyard liaison with Cabernet Franc - and you then understand the leafy linkage between the two.

Site and Soil
Courtesty of
Hill-Smith reinforced how important soil was, for "if soil as not important, Sancerre and Marlborough examples would taste the same". A vigorous bugger is Sauvignon Blanc, treat it mean and keep it keen and it produces examples with less methoxypyrazines (compounds that impart herbaceous aromas and flavours), more fertile soils and the opposite holds true.

Le Mire added: "Bordeaux, and in Australia Margaret River, are about as warm as you'd want to go with the variety". A touch prone to the rot and mildew is our thin skinned friend. This adds an extra dimension to how it needs to be handled in the vineyard, airflow is needed as is the need for some protection from the sun.

The Wines
Pascal Jolivert Sancerre 2011 $40
Opens with grassy notes, nettle and softer citrus. Slightly fuller palate weight - seeing some malo - less cutting, some mineral and acid. Good 'prickly' finish, of medium length. 90 - Good

Didier Dagenau Pouilly-Fume 'Silex' 2010 $240
Subtle intro, a little chalky, less overt, touch of fresh herb - restraint. Palate at odds with this: fuller, dense, concentrated - good acid here. Magnificent length of flavour, suggestions of aging potential. 94 - Excellent

Domaine Smith Haut Lafite Pessac-Leognan Blanc 2010 $210
Barrel work here evident, more open style - warmer comparitively than the previous two - with good fresh lemon character. A classic white Bordeaux state the MWs and significantly, the stylistic influence on those examples in Australia employing the use of barrel fermentation and oak seasoning. 92 - Very Good 

Cloudy Bay 2012 $30
"No mistaking the variety here". Too right. Pungent is a word that leaps forth here. That and overt. Gooseberry, herb and some underlying hints of tropicals. Prickly acid, grassy and yet subtly textured. Length is short-medium, beyond the slap-in-the-face aromatics and face-rub texture you might not be caring. As Hill-Smith quipped: " (it's a) style so inter-changeable, there's little loyalty except at the top end, price based decision making". That said, I can likely see why it likely shifts by the carton. As much a status symbol as its stable-mate, the 'Louis' handbag. Not for me though Mrs. 89 - Good 

Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2011 $37
Barrel ferment evident here, but more than just about techniques. Florals and a little citrus, but it is texture that wins out for me. Battonage aids in that, acid and minerality still present, some underlying fruit character. Length is moderate, with mouthfeel and texture. Quite happy here. 93 - Very Good

Borrowed from TWTW
Bay of Fires 2012 $32
From the man who has unwittingly done more for the Republican movement in Australia - purely by allowing the monarchists to show themselves up for the daft sods they are - than most others, Mr Peter Dredge.          

Apparent delicacy here, not overt. A little grassiness, some underlying tropicals. Good acid framework. Restrained, good mineral character - yes I would drink this rather happily. 92 - Very Good

Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2012 $25
More pronounced (than the previous wine), sharper acidity, citrus driven. The winerym over the course of this wine's life have established a picking window of about 3 days, deliberatley picking riper. Finishes well with a zesty, pithy citrus of medium intensity. 90 - Good

Lusatia Park 2010 $35
Dirty Epic. Lees, funk and oak secondary characters. Charry with a saline quality to the wine - loved the complexity in this beast. Not for the faint hearted. 93 - Very Good 

Livio Felluga 2011 $35
It smells Italian; perfumed, light and pretty - a hint of almond. Clean, yet fresh and lively - not so varietal comparatively. Possibly why I enjoyed it. Short-medium length, clean and fruity. Simple crowd pleaser. 88 - Good

De Martino Nuevo Mundo 2011 $18
I had to check that I hadn't poured water into my glass. Not Rated

With Thanks
Informative. Educational. Much heart-felt thanks to Shaw+Smith for the continued undertaking of this activity. Aiding in the education of those such as I. Much respect.

Tasted on: 11th April, a Leaf Day
Source: Workshop
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Sunday 7 April 2013

Ridgemill Estate Rosé 2012

Array of red berry aromatics, a hint of citrus thrown in too, assertive note once the soft berry fades away. 

Strawberries dominate the palate, aby supported by a little over-ripe golden delicious apple.

Some spice and a little phenolic tug in the mix too. Length is OK, finishes dry and savoury with a modicum of spice. 
87 - Average

Tasted on: Friday 30th November, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap

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Monday 1 April 2013

Boireann Barbera 2006

Sadly, hail damage in 2012 has restricted output of Boireann's Barbera to a mere 10 dozen for that vintage - showing what a cruel mistress the weather can be, and how marginal growing conditions can be even in a good vintage. So it's to the cellar I turn for a 7 year old example.

Shows savoury charm with juicy tomato, a touch of herb and lavender florals. Slight violet lift with a woody, slightly stalky undercurrant.

Juicy, still a fair throw of acid - in the form of a short burst and then a generous tail. Tomato juice driven sharpness, lacks a little shape here, more about that juiciness. Good acid driven length, faintest rasp of drying tannin. Feels like its on its journey south, heading into the Autumn of its life. 89 - Good   

Tasted on:Saturday 9th March, a Root Day
Source: Cellar
Price: $?
Alcohol: ?
Closure: DIAM

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