Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Vinoque Gamay Noir 2011

Fruit comes off a vineyard planted in 1998, sadly the Roundstone winery succumbed to fire in the awful 2009 bush fires, the vineyard survived and the fruit was sold to De Bortoli for their new Vinoque range.

There'll be much love for the variety here this year. Lovely moist, meaty aroma. There's a hint of earthy mushroom in the mix too. Support further from softer red and black fruits, roast tomato too.

It's soft and juicy, as is often Gamay's way, yet there's a delightful peppery acidic streak that runs through the wine, bringing up some notes of charcuterie.

The finish shows that acidic line, some drying character, roast meats and a modicum of tannin.  91 - Very Good   

Tasted on: Monday 21st January, a Fruit Day 
Source: Retail, Stewart's Wine Co
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.debortoli.com.au/our-wines/our-brands/vinoque/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

d'Arenberg Fortified Shiraz 2006

Plum liqueur, floral hints , a touch of licorice, black fruit, dark chocolate and a touch of spice. A wine of depth, of interest. Of rich, velvety texture, a crushed velour feel in the mouth.

Smooth basically, incredibly so. Violets, spice - star anise - with sweet fruit accents. Black fruit runs through the finish. The finish, whilst fine, is not fleeting. 91 - Very Good

Tasted on: Sunday 27th January,  a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 17.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Brash Higgins SM/R Semillon Riesling 2012

A field blend of the two varieties, that is, both are picked together and fermented at the same time. Shows a pea and green bean character, backed up with some lemon and herbal freshness along with a briny, sea breeze character. 

You can take yourself away to McLaren Vale with this wine, enjoying its pleasures, imagining yourself overlooking the Gulf of St Vincent. Simple pleasures can be derived, perhaps just sitting in the car park adjacent the Star of Greece, looking over Port Willunga Beach.

Light on entry, shows neither the razor sharp or lazer like acid of its constituent parts. Instead, it possesses a rather delightful waxy texture and feel. 

It provides the core of the drinking experience and backs it up with a little key lime and fruit salad. Not the greatest of length, but the freshness and texture define it. 91 – Good

Tasted on: Sunday 4th January, a Root Day
Source: Retail, Grand Central Cellars
Price: $37
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://brashhiggins.com

[This post was edited at 17:50 on 25th January 2013 to correct a geographical error in relation to the beach you would be looking at if in the car park adjacent to the Star of Greece]

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Lofty Valley 2011 Pinot Noir

Black cherry and a hint of strawberry.  Has an aromatic darkness to it - a little damp earth and compost - with a sprinkle of spice.

Entry shows a smooth wine, clean - a little simple.  Struck me as much a dry red in many respects.

Good length, acid derived length, latent fruit character pulled through, drying tannin to conclude (a positive).  88 - Good  

Tasted on: Sunday 20th January, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://loftyvalleywines.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Sunday, 20 January 2013

d'Arenberg Sticks and Stones 2009


Dark, brooding and heady. Tasted over three days, it improved over time - if you intend on drinking young, do yourself a favour and please give it a good decant.

Speaks of a mix of dark berries imbued with a herbal edge, and floral notes of violet. There's a graphite/ mineral streak running through the wine, a master of ceremonies presenting the fine and drying mouth tannin. 

Such a wine I suggest needs food, and with its Iberian based constituent parts would consider that peninsula a good guide.

It's leathery, meaty - a hint of spice and sticks and stones. Finished fine and dry. Liked it more as time went on.  90 - Good 

Tasted on: Friday 18th January, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Friday, 18 January 2013

Natural Selection Theory Live Red 2012

© Brisbane Times
Defies conventional review in many respects.  It's fresh, primary, of fermenting fruit. Youthful, exuberant, a vibrant red and black mix.

Slight pastille, undissolved CO2 on entry, it serves to freshen and enliven the palate - gives a peppery feel dancing about the tongue.

Bit of rub, of rustic tannin, short on length. It's not intended to be complex. It serves a purpose, to chill down, to consume and not to keep. 

How to score such a wine? For, to do so kind of misses its point. Well, add a number a hyphen and some words: 87 - Average  


Tasted on: Friday 18th January, a Leaf Day
Source: Retail, Craft Red Hill
Price: $18
Alcohol:
Closure: Pop-top
Website: http://www.naturalselectiontheory.com/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Between 5 Bells White Blend 2011

Striking, innovative, impressive.  Superlatives equally applied to the inventive packaging, but try as you may you cannot drink a label.  It's what's inside that counts, and you wouldn't be disappointed here.

A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Pinot Meunier in almost equal components. 

It’s the Chardonnay that shows on the nose, with stonefruit and toasty characters being ably supported with a little Riesling derived lime brulee. 

Entry shows a wine of substance and texture – slippery with a lush velvet feel.  There’s body and depth too, with spicy nuances adding extra interest. 

It’s one for the acid-hounds, the wine clearly identifying itself as a product of a cool and damp vintage.  In no way does this detract from its joy, but forewarned is forearmed.  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Monday 7th January, a Flower Day 
Source: Gift
Price: $29.50
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure: Screwcap


Citadine Red Hill Chardonnay 2011

I'd previously written about the wines of Citadine and winemaker Kirby Siemering with a review of the Gruyere Syrah.

This follow up release from the label sees a new region, variety and explored. Similar adoption of in-vogue winemaking techniques deployed: wild yeast, old oak, time on lees and stirring.

Good aromatic approach, slight flinty character backed up by hints of sourdough crust, nutty creamy, mealy and suggestions of stone-fruit.

Doesn't deliver on the palate for me. Hints of citrus and mineral, but really it's a shadow of its aromatic profile. Clean, but lacking in palate depth. Some minerally tinged length to conclude, a slight quartzy tingle. Would like to see how this might fair in a less challenging year. 87 - Average

Tasted on: Wednesday 16th January, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $tba
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.citadine.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Waywood Quattro Fluzi Rosé 2012

Generous red berry, hint of boiled sweet/ lolly, strawberries, rose and furtive floral hint - Good quaffing Rosé characteristics.

Cherry, earth and spice with good texture to boot.  When tasted I wasn't sure what grape varieties constituted its make up, guessing there was Sangiovese present - but also thinking some Cabernet might be in the mix too (given winemaker Andrew's portfolio).

Finishes savoury and dry with a suggestion of tannin.  Rather drinkable.  89 - Good 

Tasted on: Sunday 13th January, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.waywoodwines.com/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Grosset Springvale Riesling 2012

Bath salts, kaffir lime, hints of mandarin and blossom - hallmark lemon zing and ting. It had me thinking of Thai cuisine, fresh aromatics - at you.  So fresh.

Generous, open, sharp - acid early on, steely mineral and hints of key lime pie. These flavours race through the palate, carrying a line. Now, unlike previous releases there was more width, more ballgown than pencil-line skirt if i can dabble (likely erroneously) in a ladies fashion analogy.  The line is true, yet also vibrant with a hitherto not normally seen width.

Hints of tropical fruit towards the finish, guava-esque.  Excellent length, a touch soapy at its conclusion.  Fresh, more-ish and likely to give pleasure in the cellar for up to 10 years.  94 - Excellent  

Tasted on: Monday 14th January, a Flower Day
Source: Gift
Price: $37-40 RRP
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap (of course!)
Website: http://www.grosset.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Monday, 14 January 2013

Quealy Friulano 2011

Friulano is a variety native to the Gironde region of South-West France. There it's known as Sauvignonasse, but it's never been widely cultivated.  Instead, transported across France to Italy's North-East, Friuli in fact, as Tokai, in the early 19th century it appears to have fared considerably better.  It took on the name Friulano after a move by the Hungarians to protect their Tokaji wines.  Confused?  I just recommend drinking some.

Lovely golden-straw colour. Hints of flax, florals and stonefruit. Wonderful texture, layered complexity, with a mineral feel early on, backed up with almond meal and cereal.

Has a sense of weight in the mouth, the layering provides that element. Further, hints of grass and pea are backed up with excellent acids. 

Good phenolics too, a little drying grip toward the wine’s finish. Texture – that word again – to conclude, and good length. 90 Good 

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st January, a Leaf Day
Source: Retail, Craft Wine Store
Price: $27
Alcohol:12.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.quealy.com.au/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Climbing Pinot Gris 2012

The Climbing range within the Cumulus Estate portfolio reflects the higher elevation of the vines that provide the source material, coming from vineyards planted at greater than 600m.

Fragant intro, tree fruit by way of musky pear, and honeyed florals.  Hints at some spice too. So far, so good.  

The wine is fairly well worked, it's made well with winery techniques as barrel fermentation for a small portion (5%), retention of a small amount of residual sugar for a parcel and retention on lees and stirring for texture.

The latter is noticeable, textural and fuller. Acid is lively, a little excitable, settles a little after time. Good conclusion of flavour on the finish, a good length. Well worked example.  89 - Good

Tasted on: Friday 11th January, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $24
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cumuluswines.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Friday, 11 January 2013

Chapel Hill Verdelho 2011

The good lady preferred this to the '12, effectively proclaiming it like water and thus proposing its suitability as a front deck wine, a wine most appropriate for easy consumption to accompany lengthy games of Canasta.

Fairly neutral, certainly less aromatic than the 2012, a hint of green banana, a cheesy/ creamy note, but yes demonstrating greater neutrality than a collection of Norwegians, Swiss and Swedes.

Clean and neutral palate too.  Inoffensive, did nothing wrong, nor did it particularly enthrall.  Moderate finish.  85 - Average



Tasted on: Friday 11th January
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Chapel Hill Verdelho 2012

Verdelho has enjoyed mixed fortunes in Australia, with a history here dating back to the early 19th century. However, in more recent times its popularity has surged, with crush figures of around 14,000 tonnes in 2010.

Tasted alongside the 2011, this version shows melon (canteloupe and honeydew) with some pineapple cube lollies thrown in. It's a variety generally renowned for its fruit-salad-esque aromatics.

Initially lively and assertive on the palate, sharp nigh-prickly acid adding a bit of interest. Pretty inoffensive.  87 - Average

Tasted on: Friday 11th January, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Alkoomi Frankland River Riesling 2008

Some 360KM South-East of Perth, the Frankland River region is pretty cool in Australian terms, an average January temperature of just under 20 degrees makes it perfect for Riesling.

This example, approaching 5 years of age, shows aromas of preserved lemon, soapy-fresh character, waxy-honey and sherbet.

On the palate, bitter lemon, rind and perth.  It's started its long journey toward complexity, gone are the pure flourishes of youth, still fairly coiled, a generous acidic line providing a map for that development.  The finish shows mineral quality, with hints of spice and toast.  It's an elegant finish, building gradually before gently falling away.  91 - Good  

Tasted on: Wednesday 9th January, a Leaf Day
Source: Gift
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://alkoomiwines.com.au/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cook's Lot Late Harvest 2010

Marmalade, candied fruit and apricot here. A fair mouthful of wine - luscious and unctuous. Lovely weight in the mouth from all that sugar and concentration thereof.

Honeyed - hints of tinned fruit - marmalad and tropical fruit on the finish. Paired fantastically with a little Rhone soft double-cream cheese. Encroyable!  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Sunday 30th December, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 8.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Vinteloper Adelo 2010

~ Adelo - derived from the Latin root, meaning obscure.

Obscure in name. Obscure in composition. Familiar in taste. Temporary in existence for its damn tasty, and sadly sold out long ago.

Pinosity to the fore. Initially it was all about fruit profile: black cherry and wild strawberry supported by dark chocolate notes.  Then...more savoury characters came through, hedgerow and brambly character.

Effortless entry, but you are soon set upon by spice, an underlying rub of fine tannin, and a savoury, beefy-esque chacracter. A good line of acid carries the wine, and again i refer to the savoury character, that is pulled through.  

Suggestions of tomato leaf on the finish too. Rather unique in that it was at turns easy-going and yet complex. Not the say the two are exclusive qualities in and of themselves, it's just rare to see them together. And we are all the more blessed when they are.  93 - Very Good

Tasted on: Sunday 30th December, a Leaf Day
Source: Winery Purchase
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.vinteloper.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Monday, 7 January 2013

Yarran Chardonnay 2012

Toasty oak, hints of butterscotch, grilled peach and toasted almond.  Pretty smart for $12.  Toasty character dominates the palate, melon in support - good texture, if a little sense of greenness comes through. 

A minor quibble is it falls a little short - a very minor quibble given the character that precedes it on the palate, plus the fact you get pretty smart drinking for the price.  87 - Average

Source: Sample
Price: $12
Alcohol:12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yarranwines.com.au/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Domaine du Crampilh Madiran 2006

Oak/ vanillin and hints of violet, a little dried herb, new leather, polish and bordered with a little licorice. Madiran is a small appellation in France's South-West - butting up toward the Pyrenees mountain range.

Sounds a rather stunning place, if a little wild, somewhat contrasting with the smooth and glass-like intro this wine provides. Plenty of tapenade and herb on the palate. Brown spices and black licorice - but, some sweeter accents too, rose and black fruits.

Tannats grainy tannin are still present, albeit tamed a little by time and the technique of micro-oxidation. Serve with, and this wine is most deserving of, a rather hearty and meaty dish. 89 - Good  

Tasted on: Saturday 29th December, a Flower Day
Source:Retail, The Wine Emporium
Price: $29
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Cork
Importer's Website: http://www.discovervin.com.au/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Thursday, 3 January 2013

d'Arenberg The Noble Mud Pie 2010

Lovely toffee colour, hints of bronze. Intense apricot with candied fruit.  Sweet nectar with hints of pickled ginger.  Full on -on entry, it's a fair mouth full of wine - luscious you'd say; honeyed with treacly stonefruit.

Finishes with a hint of tropical fruit sweetness - hints of mango nectar.  It's a real sweetie, as such you'd need to pair it up with something as sweet.  Boxing Day and pav round these 'ere parts.  92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Wednesday 26th December, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $22 (375ml bottle)
Alcohol: 8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.darenberg.com.au

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Mad Men of Riesling 'Devolution' 2012

My photo doesn't do the gorgeous onion skin-meets-bronzing-ball-application colour of the wine. Considered an 'orange' or extended skin contact wine, additional time on 'skins' imparts this lovely hue to the wine.

Gentle hints of citrus with bruised apple character, hints of stonefruit and pear. I thought I spotted some gentle spritz on entry, but I'd say it's more of an assertive mineral, nigh metallic, quality. Great texture from that extra time on skins, a lovely width across the palate.  

Feels lively, vibrant, with plenty of nervous energy in the mouth. Slight cidery aspect to the wine - a positive - damn interesting, different.

Deliciously dry, phenolics very evident, generous length too. Length, not in Rieslings rapier like manner, it's there - present, rather than focal.  91 - Very Good

Tasted on: Wednesday 2nd January, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Crown Seal
Website: http://www.xabregas.com.au/

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Domaine de la Garreliere Gamay Sans Tra-La-La 2011

Gamay is going to be big. Take it from me, I have my finger on the pulse and a commercial palate. Whilst I may be (a little more than) half joking, when well made it can have this joyful exuberance, whilst at the same time posessing a little depth for thought.

Located near Richeliu, south of Tours and fairly close to Chinon, the vines of Domaine de la Garreliere are Biodynamically farmed. South-East facing aspect atop limestone and clay. Yields at 40l/hectare are much lower compared to the regional norm of around 60l/ha - a good qualitative indicator. 

Sour cherry and brambly notes. In the mouth, it's tart - a compote of black fruit with a hint of sourness. Rises in a peak of spice, black pepper and mace hints, with an earthen depth. Completed with a fantastic line of acid.

Lively and fun - could quite easily smash a fair bit of this down. Not a particularly lengthy wine, but i considered that of little issue given its temporal nature. 89 Good



Tasted on: Friday 28th December, a Flower Day
Source: Living Wines
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.garreliere.com

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

2012: The Vinsomniac in Review

2012: 206 blog posts covering some 60 countries/ regions/ appellations, and 43 stated grape varieties.

It's been a great year in that respect, diverse, with the full gamut of highs and lows, the peaks and troughs. There have been times when I would just like a damned drink, and to not have to worry about the thought of the matter.  Oh well...

January 2012 saw the birth of thevinsomniac.com. Prior to that it had been known as thewinewankers.com.  A rationalisation of media used, combined with a more positive outlook prompted the change. 

Some significant highlights for me in 2012 follow.

People
I've had the opportunity in the year to meet some fantastic inividuals - and some complete wankers - I've no need to highlight who sits in either camp, they'll know who they are!

Jibes aside, people make this past-time what it is. To those individuals who have provided samples, comment, discussion and engaged in any way - Salut! 

Scoring
I set out at the start of the year to score wines. The rationale behind doing so can be read here. It's a contentious subject, the distillation of a wine in to a 2-3 digit rating. For some, there will always be that temptation to 'drink by the numbers'.

Some wine professionals maintain a stance whereby they don't score wines, and yet those same individuals, as part of their role on the wine circuit, have to do so there. I respect their decision, but still smirk at the irony. As ever read a review rather than just a number where it's published.

I did note with interest that two other writers that I hold in regards chose to start attaching a score to their own reviews in the year. I don't think doing so detracted in any way from the quality of their output

Biodynamics
I set out at the start of 2012 trying to gain a little more insight into Biodynamic practices.  Not for any other reason that curiosity and an open mind.

This was only really possible through the Bio Garden iPhone Application where I was able to see whether a particular day was a 'fruit' or 'Flower" day etc. For each wine review I now add the day a wine was tasted on, along with whether it was a Fruit/ Flower/ Leaf/ Root day. As I say, this is purely a personal thing and something done for my own interest.        

Challenges for 2013
My biggest challenge for the year ahead will be to only use one space after a full stop (period to my American readers ;). Years of automatically double-tapping the spacebar will have to be undone...it won't happen overnight.

Blogging is a rather lonely art. Tapping away behind a keyboard at the end of a night, looking to do a wine justice through some attempt at the written word. If you're here, reading this, do say hello.

Happy New Year all. 

Follow me: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac