An Australian Wine Blog

Thursday, 30 May 2013

David Franz 1979 AD VP

"Shakedown 1979, cool kids never have the time"
~ Smashing Pumpkins, 1979

The tag 'legend' is all too often bandied around these days. The actions of Peter Lehmann on hearing that, then employer, Saltram would not honour "my word is my bond" contracts to fruit growers are now the stuff of legend, nigh folklore and cemented than man's reputation into the fabric of the Barossa. Legend.

What many may not know, is that on leaving Saltram, Lehmann the elder snuck a bit of 'Port' he made from a combination of Barossa Shiraz and Langorne Creek Cabernet into his leaving package. It was kindly re-released for him by son David, under his own label. Too kind.

Complex: gorgeous nutty complexity, dark toffee in the mix, molasses and a touch of aniseed. There's layers of history on the palate. Oh the stories this wine could tell. The palate is enhanced with an aniseed/ fennel note that is carried by a spirited edge.

The final third just has staying power, treacly notes course through the finish. Tough to judge, yet it's balanced has good length and, for a thirty-four year old, the passage of time has been kind. History cannot be bought. Here it sets you back $35. 94 - Excellent

Tasted on: Sunday 19th May, a Fruit Day
Source: Winery Purchase
Price: $35
Alcohol:17.4%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.david-franz.com

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Cape Mentelle Shiraz 2006

Sees 18 months in a mix of French and American oak, unsure of the age mix, some whole berry use too. From an awkward vintage*, and at now 7 years of age is showing itself in a savoury guise: hints of old leather, a touch of beef stew.

Medium bodied, black pepper flecked about the place, still showing a little bright acid. Tannin is fine, sandy and drying. Length is moderate with a hint of licorice, pepper - with a length of old wood. Tannin seems to morph here to become a little chalky, especially with a little time in glass. Drink now if you have some. 89 - Good 

Tasted on: Friday 17th May, a Leaf Day
Source: Cellar
Price: $35-38
Alcohol: ?
Closure:Screwcap
Website: http://www.capementelle.com.au

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[This post was edited at 23:00 on 30/05/2013. See the comments and also this link]

Tscharke Barossa Grounds Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Barossan Cabernet doesn't get as much exposure as its, rather more well known, friend Shiraz. When Barossa Cabernet is good, it sings.

This example from Damien Tscharke falls into that camp. Seeing an extended maceration post-ferment, some 60 days, along with 50% new oak - Nevers French barriques - it somewhat straddles where the Barossa is and is going.

Has the requisite aromatic indicators of leaf, tobacco, and hints of coffee - good Cabernet qualities. Further, there's a touch of menthol and an underlying citrus note - not something i'd normally see in Barossan Cabernet.

On the palate it's earthen, damp - a little moist cherry/ kirsch - yet showing poise and balance, stands up well for a big lad. What works with this wine, for me, is its inherent varietal character, with approachability and poise. Good length to see you home with drying and a little twiggy tannin. If you want to see what Barossan Cabernet can be, sign up here. 92 - Very Good

Tasted on: Wednesday 8th May, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $32
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tscharke.com.au/home/

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

d'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2009

Black fruit, hint of tapenade, touch of licorice - in short a dark brooding, sullen wine.

Smooth on entry, a little short; pastille like fruit presence, but somewhat lacking in firmness and fullness. Feels a little dried out, heat makes itself known.

Finishes with drying and mouth-coating tannin and concludes with moderate length. I think on this occasion it doesn't wear its icon status sash too comfortably. 89 - Good
 
Tasted on: Wednesday 8th May, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $70
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Monday, 27 May 2013

Mike Press Shiraz 2009

2013 marks Mike Press' 50th year in the wine game. This 2009 was released around 3 years ago, long since sold out. A warmer year was 2009, but that actually helped Mike up on a cool site in them thar Adelaide Hills.

I didn't realise that I'd actually written this up before, here, and it's good to see an evolution in addition to consistent themes remaining.

Opens with a mix of sweet oak, a little movement to Maltiness, fruit by way of a little Damson and Blackberry, sweet spice in the fray.

Medium bodied, there's oak sensibly present, a little sour acidic note nicely pitched against the fruit and oak. Has the feel of freshening and enlivening the palate, pulling you in for more. Incredibly more-ish wine.

Tannin is ultra-fine; silky, velvety and slippery - yet with a delightful savoury edge. Hints of charred meat touch on the finish. So easy to drink and right now giving glimpses as to where it is heading. Still, hold for 2-3 years. 92 - Very Good 

Tasted on: Friday 24th May
Source: Cellar
Price: $12.50
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.mikepresswines.com.au/

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

Ballycroft Small Berry 'French' Shiraz 2010

Ballycroft is a winery based in Greenock in the Barossa's North-west. Owned and run by Joseph and Susan Evans, Ballycroft is Gaelic for village farm.

Picked on Valentine's day in 2010, the harvest yielded a tad over 1300KG from 1 acre planted in 1999. Vines are hitting good a good age.

The wine opens a little vanilla accented - the wine spent 28 months in a shaved out French oak Barrique, hence the name - with dense black fruits, rich and chocolatey. It proudly wears its sub-regional hat. Over time, it opens further, becoming more expressive - a recommendation to cellar here.

The palate is full, silken and velvety, layers of chocolate with a hint of toasty oak in cascading waves. There's moderate length, good persistence of flavour - if lacking in a little intensity. If you have some of this in the cellar, it does drink well now - but the recommendation is to hold off for at least another 3 to enjoy at its best. 90 - Good

Tasted on: Monday 6th May, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $TBC
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Yelland & Papps Second Take Grenache 2012

The third wine in the Yelland & Papps Second Take range (after the Roussanne and Shiraz). Sees a fair use of whole bunch, 20% and a slightly extended period on skins of 14 days. Oak use is 17% new French and 83% 1-2 year old American.

Pristine fruit shines through here, red fruits primarily, but they do not have a monopoly. It's fresh, florals add an extra dimension and just when you think it's all soft, pretty fruit there's a licorice twist with a touch of peppered steak. Beautiful Grenache.

Spice on entry gives way to fruit; there's a good acidic framework, gives the wine a drive and velvety wash. Tannin is ultra-fine adding to that. Final word is from morello cherry meeting raspberry coulis on a generous length. A stayer. 92 - Very Good 

Tasted on: Saturday 4th May, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com

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Tyrrell's Belford Chardonnay 2009

The story goes that in the 80's Murray Tyrrell persuaded the vineyard owner to pull out some Shiraz in the Belford vineyard, a variety that didn't fair so well in the sandy soils in a wet year. The trade-off was some plantings of Chardonnay from the renowned HVD vineyard. 

So, 420 dozen made, sees no malolactic fermentation and a fair bit of new oak, mainly barriques. Opens with a hint of cashew, toasty and biscuity oak is fairly prominent too. 

Fairly loose and open palate structure, toasty oak supports here and a bit of lively acid still shows. Oak presence is not obtrusive, and there's a balance between the oak, acid and fruit. Finishes toasty with melon and stonefruit, fairly classy - good quality components - nicely straddles a line between the Chardonnay of our past and the modern Australian way. 91 - Very Good

Tasted on: Saturday 18th May, a Leaf Day
Source: Gift
Price: $34 RRP
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tyrrells.com.au/

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Telmo Rodriguez Tinto Joven A1 Muvedre 2010

Opens beefy and meaty, a hint of sun baked earth and old leather. So far, so good.

Tastes tart, excessively so. Not good. Bottle meet sink, sink meet bottle. End of. Life's too short to drink this. Poor

Tasted on: Saturday 4th May, a Flower Day
Source: Retail, XO Cellars
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.telmorodriguez.com/

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Yalumba Y Series Merlot 2011

The Yalumba Y series range represent extraordinary value. It's fair to say the reds from 2011 struggled a little. Still, I found this example to speak of its variety.  

Opens with hints of plum, fruitcake and a touch of herb and tar. The palate lacks somewhat with spiky acidity an issue. There are hints of coffee and mocha, tannin a little stalky.

I was happily consuming this with a midweek dish of fresh pasta with a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce, the acid and tannin working well with the sauce. 85 - Average  

Tasted on: Wednesday 1st May, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $14.95
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://yalumba.com

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d'Arenberg Ironstone Pressings 2009

The name stems from the sedimentary rock containing iron, freshly cleaved it is grey in appearance, but oxidises with exposure, giving it a red-brown colour. You can see it in use as a building material at d'Arenberg.

Opens with a dense concoction of red and black fruit jam; the weight of fruit is a significant presence, pressing down - dense, dark and chocolately.

The palate shows a sweet mass of fruit co-mingled with some sensible oak; tannin is a little chewy and rubbery, a core component of the wine's structure. Segues nicely to a little warmth and black pepper; blueberry hints are noticeable too. A concentrated wine, generous, layered and long. 92 - Very Good 

Tasted on: Saturday 27th April, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $70
Alcohol:14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au

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Monday, 13 May 2013

Glenayr Riesling 2009

From a vineyard planted in 1975, the second oldest in the Coal River area. The Glenayr site contains a nice link for students of trade unions, collective bargaining, (and of course transportation), for the building that now serves as the administration office was the former home of George Loveless, the leader of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. It's not all tasting notes and shoehorning in obscure fruits here.

Honeyed, signs of a little toasty complexity developing; background hint of preserved lemon. Palate structure is open and embracing, abounds with a little bath salts, citrus and fleshy tropical fruit. Balance and restraint here.

The finish is quite modest, staying and persistent, yet the flavour profile on the finish is not as marked as displayed on the palate. 90 - Good 

Tasted on: Saturday 27th April, a Flower Day
Source: Gift
Price: $20
Alcohol: 11.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.glenayrwines.com.au

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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Alkoomi Frankland River Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Tasted alongside it's 'Icon' stablemate that Blackbutt, and in many ways, as a drink, I preferred the more forward nature of this wine.

Cassis dominant, black fruit supporting; slight dusty character present here too, cedar and hints of coffee-oak. A little tarry with hints of dark chocolate in the mix too.

More of the same on the palate, cassis here with a slight hint of eucalypt and choc-mint character. Tannin is a little more obvious, a little coarser, touch more intrusive. Still, very drinkable now. 90 - Good

Tasted on: Sunday 14th April, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://alkoomiwines.com.au

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Alkoomi Blackbutt 2008

Subtle perfume initially - a little dusty, violets and a smokey edge - faint.

Constituent varieties are writ large on the palate: creme de cassis, a little pastille; tannin is minimal, yet present, a drying chalky tannin. 

Wine shows a little iron/ ferrous note too. Smooth, powerful through the finish. Lovely balance of those two qualities. Subtle length, yet persistent. 92 - Very Good  

Tasted on: Sunday 14th April, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $49
Alcohol: 14.1%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Vinteloper Adelo 2012

I first tasted the Adelo with its debut release in 2010, and this 2012 sees the wine as a blend of Touriga Nacional (65%), Shiraz (25%), Pinot Noir (6%) and a little of the Grenache (4%) that didn't make the cut for the Urban Winery Project release.

Over an hour or so, the evolution of this wine was quite marked. Initially, yielding little - tight and composed - then, think parma violets crushed with a sprinkle of blue fruits. So welcoming, generous, giving. Quite seductive.

The palate is somewhat fleshy, again quite generous. The Shiraz showing itself alongside its somewhat more natural counterpart Grenache. Generously spice-tinged, a little warmth - not alcohol - and savoury charm.

A little spice and tobacco on the finish, the finish a little moderate compared to that which went before it. 91 - Very Good   

Tasted on: Monday 22nd April, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.vinteloper.com.au/

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