An Australian Wine Blog

Monday, 30 September 2013

Cirillo Estate 1850s Old Vine Grenache 2004


A wine produced from the oldest viable Grenache vines in the world - I do believe there are some older in Spain, but they're no longer viable. Youth is wasted on the young they say, but here relatively youthful winemaker Marco Cirillo has been appointed custodian of some much envied old vine resource.

I pulled this from my private cellar. A few years back I was presented with the opportunity to purchase a mini-vertical of the Old Vines Grenache, an opportunity I took but until now hadn't availed of.

At nine years this wine has firmly lost its sheen of youth, taking on the slightly dulled, brickish quality of advancing years. Leathery, baked earth, with flashes of the red fruits that would likely have formed the wine's primary character. A little minty, raspberry leaf quality provides a little high-hat to the wine's undoubted savoury quality.

The palate shows a wine of intensity, focussed; a dark, almost liquid earth character, combined with with a little camp essence, and rounding it off with a little residual sweetness. The wine still feels like it has much ahead of it, still retaining a freshness, and plenty of acidity still featuring to give confidence of another 5-8 years cellarability.

Greater than the sum of its parts, it brings it all together: intensity, coffeed hints with touches of sweetness and spice. Special. 94


Tasted on:
Source:
Price: $
Alcohol:
Closure:
Website:

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Chapel Hill Sangiovese 2012


Not a new release from McLaren Vale leading light, Chapel Hill. Rather, the Sangiovese has been moved from the Il Vescovo to the McLaren Vale range, possibility reflecting the varieties place in the regional fabric.

Needs a little air time to loosen and open up, give it a good decant for an hour or so to throw off the shackles. Then, true to its variety: cherry, a little dried herb and even some florals/ notes of violet in there.

Medium bodied with generous acidity, a little charry and meaty hint; some regional character too with a little mid-palate plumpness fluffing up the middle. Chewy tannin to finish - goes alright it does. 90


Tasted on: Saturday 28th September, a Flower Day
Source: Screwcap
Price: $25
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.chapelhillwine.com.au

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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne 2004


At nine years of age, this still has the spring of youth in its step. Made for the long haul, picked accordingly, and so I subsequently learned modelled on Hunter Semillon.

That aromatic freshness is there from the first ball: citrus, particularly lemon with hints of blossom, preserved lemons and wax. Delve a little deeper to reveal a little nutty, pithy, fibrous edge - fresh ginger, galangal perhaps.

Bracing acidity, fore and aft, flowing through the wine - Timothy Francis Leary would have fun with this. In my notes I wrote that it was almost Riesling-esque, a fair comment on reflection. It's not so much the honeyed, nutty Marsanne that you might be used to. But do understand this: it's an incredible wine, built for the long haul and quite remarkable to be offered to market at just shy of a decade old.

Finishing fine and long, you'd have to be a bit of an acid head to appreciate it now, but at nine years old it is a mere pup. 95 

Tasted on: Thursday 26th September, a Flower Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $46.95
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tahbilk.com.au/

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Tahbilk Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz 2008

Tahbilk wines carrying the Eric Stevens Purbrick are made to reflect the best of vintage, only being made when a particular parcel of fruit stands out.

Fairly big-ish feel on opening, though I'd suggest it's more medium bodied. Charry and a touch meaty on opening, though once the perfume kicks in, more elegant notes present: a touch of vanilla oak, mint and black fruit.

Yes, medium bodied. Feels pretty fresh still at five years old - plenty of black fruit offered up; tannin fine and persistent. Not really one for now, don't get me wrong, it drinks well but I feel it will be better in the long run. 92+

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd September, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $69.95
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tahbilk.com.au/

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Main & Cherry Shiraz 2011


A 2011 Shiraz from the broader 'Adelaide' zone, on the basis of fruit availability in a less than optimal vintage. Here winemaker Michael Sexton has crafted a dangerously drinkable Shiraz comprised of a majority of Adelaide Hills (82%) fruit with the balance supplemented from McLaren Vale.

Plummy rendition with flecks of pepper; black cherry, oak - even though it is all at least second use wood - hints of eucalypt. 

The palate is where the magic happens. A little juicebomb with plenty of black fruit on entry - leading to spice, predominantly pepper with touches of baking spice. Acid is good; noticeable, not dominating; refreshing, rather than teeth chattering. Savoury twists of licorice/ fennel  round out the palate profile, adding a little extra dimension after the fruit laden entry.

Tannin is fine, moderate - length comes in a short burst of flavour with gentle fade. A good wine. Enjoyable to drink. Very enjoyable. 90

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd September, a Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mainandcherry.com.au/

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William Hardy Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2012


Citrus, pithy grapefruit, lemon sherbet and hints of orange blossom. In the leaner style currently in vogue, it does lack a little definition on the palate. 

Acid and a hint of almond skin, well made, drinkable, but just lacks a little additional character to make it a more memorable proposition. 86

Tasted on: Sunday 22nd September, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $20.95
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://hardyswines.com

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Chapel Hill Sangiovese Rosé 2013

Pretty little red fruited number: sweet strawberry meets tart cranberry - a theme consistent throughout the wine. There's a hint of the familiar (to me at least) 'rhubarb and custard' boiled lolly of my youth.

More red fruit presents on the palate, a little coulis sitting in front of a creamy palate punctuated with a little spice and more of that tart cranberry acid. Drying with good savoury tannin, yet also serves up a hint of sweetness as a counterpoint. Drink, don't think. Serve chilled and enjoy. 89

Tasted on: Monday 23rd September, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: chapelhillwine.com.au

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Chapel Hill Il Vescovo White 2012

Take 3 grape varieties that originally hail from three different countries spanning across Southern Europe, add them to McLaren Vale, bring in a drop of Chapel Hill know-how and you get one fresh, fruity and floral little beauty that I'm sure you could quite happily do some damage to on a hot Summer's day.

Verdelho, Savagnin and Roussanne are the components here. Those florals waft out, augmented with tropical notes and a honeyed edge, and seemingly invite the nasal passage to somewhere else, somewhere likely overlooking the sea.

Peach notes, hints of lemon, wax - really good textural feel. Nutty hint present too, those textural nuances aid and abet the enjoyment factor. Finish is a little 'washy', but still good texture to see you home. 89

Tasted on: Monday 23rd September, a Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/

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Monday, 23 September 2013

COS Pithos Rosso 2010


COS (so named from of the initials of founders Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Pinuccia Strano) is a Sicilian winery located in Vittoria, in the South-East corner of that island. Vittoria is also the location of Sicily's only DOCG 'Cerasuaolo di Vittoria' (where rules state that a mix of Nero d'Avola and Frappato must be used, with a minimum content of 50% and 30% respectively).

Well known for their adoption of clay amphorae as the primary fermentation vessel. Amphorae are not a recent winemaking tool, they have been in use in Georgia for thousands of years. There has been marked increase in their use - Australia included - where winemakers use the technique and vessel to seek softer tannins. Rather than oak tannin being extracted during fermentation, tannin within the wine is derived from extended contact with grape skins and seeds. But, as with many techniques, their use does require considered application.

To the wine in question. Exhibits characters as one might see in an aged wine: leathery, of dried twigs and dried vegetal matter. Softens as it opens up, suggestions of cherry and higher notes, hints of florals.

The palate is juicy, succulent cherry again present. There's an acidic thread coursing through the wine. The wine's vibrancy and juiciness forms the dominant element of the wine, yet latterly savoury notes of dried herb and gentle spice make themselves known. Yet, it must be said, against such savoury form, the wine possesses a lightness in the mouth.

Fine drying tannin, a gentle savoury line pulling a tug of fennel with it and good length see the wine reach its conclusion. 91
~
I paired this wine with some 'Italian' sausages that had been simmered in Sicilian cherry tomato sauce, the fennel aligning to similar notes within, the acid and juiciness working in combination with the sauce. Happy days, memories. 

Tasted on: Saturday 14th September 
Source: Retail, Cru Bar & Cellars
Price: $65
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.cosvittoria.it/english/default.htm

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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2010


Voyager Estate's 2010 Chardonnay is due for release on/around October 1st 2013. It continues the evolution of the wine in which new oak is being pared back, here seeing 9 months in French oak of which 26% is new.

Opens with toasty,creamy notes of grilled peach; touches of meal with a citrus underlay. The palate is toasty, flinty, powerful - a concentrated expression sitting ahead of hallmark grapefruit/ citrus driven flavour and acidity. 

The palate presence is further augmented with a little mouthfeel and gingery spice. Excellent length and flow. Memorable. 93 

Tasted on: Sunday 15th September, a Root Day 
Source: Gift
Price: $45
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.voyagerestate.com.au/

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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Tahbilk Old Vines Cabernet Shiraz 2010


Old Vine it says, with an average vine age of 34 years, I guess that makes me above average.

To the wine: creamy fresh oak sits front and square of rich dense fruit. Has an almost freshly lacquered presentation to it. Minty and dark fruited.

Cassis abounds, fairly concentrated. Tannin is fine, mingling with a complex mix of toasty notes and nicely presented acid that punctuates the palate. Freshens things up, provides a nice liveliness to the wine. But I kept getting drawn back to the fruit, very good fruit quality here, with sensible oak in support. 92

Tasted on: Wednesday 11th September, a Leaf Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $46.95
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.tahbilk.com.au/

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William Hardy Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


William Hardy, or Bill as he's known, is a fifth generation Hardy family member and currently works in the role of brand ambassador. The great-great-grandson of founder Thomas Hardy, "the range was created to acknowledge the ongoing contribution of the Hardy family 

and, in particular, Bill Hardy, in the winery’s success.”

Opens with nougaty and sawdust oak, charry cedary notes, hints of mint and evergreen pine. Black fruited, cassis starts to reveal itself a little with some time.

Full bodied, chocolate and blueberries add a little flesh. Initially strikes a bitter note, with a nod towards licorice twists-meets chicory and chocolate. Tannin is good and raspy - decent length to boot. Be better with a little time, 5-8 years my recommendation. 89


Tasted on: Wednesday 11th September, a Leaf Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20.99
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hardys.com.au/

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Cook's Lot 2012 Shiraz


Plum and pepper - speaks of cooler origins with a fresh fruit vibrancy. Has a darker edge too: black fruits with a supporting framework of oak.

Medium bodied, deft, light on its toes. Peppery, spice dances along the tongue a little. Tannin is grainy; possesses good intensity of flavour in a short burst.

Juicy, joyous and just damn drinkable. 90 

Tasted on: Monday 9th September, a Flower Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

d'Arenberg Cadenzia GSM 2009

A Grenache (50%), Shiraz (45%), Mourvèdre (5%) blend from self-confessed 'Grenache Freak' Chester Osborn. Grenache, the primary constituent component, is shown in its darker, meatier guise here: leathery, dried earth; hints of red fruits slowly reveal themselves, with touches of rose washed over by sweet oak.

Given time, the wine takes on a more savoury portrayal: ferrous, some blood and guts - the three players acting out their roles as the workhorses of the Australian wine industry.

The palate shows fine grain tannin, red fruits and spice that balloons in the mouth. I'll say it again: savoury more than fruit driven with some depth and spine from the Shiraz and Mourvèdre. I saw more of the sweeter aspects of McLaren Vale Grenache on the second day it was open, a little raspberry and general fruit. Good drinking all up. 89


Tasted on: Friday 6th September, a Root Day
Source: Grenache Day
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Ballycroft Small Berry Mataro 2010

I've written up a few of the Ballycroft wines on the blog, saving this Mataro for last. 

In late March 2010, Joe and Susan Evans - along with a few friends - tenderly picked just shy of 300KG of fruit from Ballycroft's 300 Mataro vines. The vines were planted in 2000, so were at ten years of age as of this vintage, an age where it's generally regarded you want vines to be in order to have started outing down good roots.

The wine was pumped over 4 times a day for 11 days, seeking good - but gentle - extraction of flavour, colour and tannin. Did it work?

Opens with some of the usual suspects: touch of damp earth, black cherry and a licorice high-hat. Hints of Indian sandalwood in the mix, touched up by a note of citrus rind. Deep, aromatically complex - yet familiar, comforting in amongst the heady aromas. It settles a little over two days, still possessing depth, with black fruit more prominent and hints of coffee/ mocha revealing themselves.

Thick, slick and glossy initially. Possibly a little too much so. Get over it, be consumed by the spice that begins its familiar march across the palate: brown spice, hints of all-spice, mere suggestions of clove. Again, these more forward elements subside over time, secondarily we see hints of freshening citrus along with juicy plum and black cherry.

Tannin is fine, barely a mouth-coating; spice and other savoury elements form the initial impression at the wine's conclusion. It's a lengthy embrace, memorable, and I would agree with the winemaker's assessment of a 5 year drinking window. 92

Tasted on: Friday 6th September, a Root Day
Source: Sample
Price: $?
Alcohol: 13.75%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com/

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Friday, 6 September 2013

Cook's Lot Sauvignon Blanc 2013


Makes some pretty smart wines does Duncan Cook of Cook's Lot wines. The brand has received some good exposure from James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion magazine, and I'd like to think that I've given the wines a fair run on this here blog!

Opened alongside a couple of other Sauvignon Blanc, this showed the greater aromatics. Lemon sherbet tickles the nasal hairs, sitting in front of a herbal twang. It's not pungent, exhibiting faint tropicals - all up a good aromatic package.

Good vibrancy on the palate, starts out imbued with a little citrus, and builds from this  - similar techniques are seen from the 2012, the texture and partial barrel ferment character.

Has a wee stony edge to it too, a touch of zing and zest. All up it finishes well, holds a line, advancing - steady as she goes. 91

Tasted on: Thursday 5th September, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au/

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Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bakkheia Different Drummer Sauvignon Blanc 2012


"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, 
perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer"

The above quote comes from Henry Thoreau and Bakkheia took the Different Drummer to label their Fume Sauvignon Blanc, as it was the first white wine they had made.

Opens with hints of lemon balm, a gentle underlying hint of tropical fruit, some aromatic herb: lemongrass, lemon basil. It doesn't shout like Sauvignon Blanc can, it gently states its case.

Nicely textured. A little creamy lemon courses its way around the palate, delivering a mineral hint with a gentle pinch of acid, tickle of spice. Texture and a smokey hint flow through, finish moderate, fading gently. Gentle an apt descriptor here, the wine fine and balanced. 88

Tasted on: Thursday 5th September, a Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $14
Alcohol: 12.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.bakkheia.com.au/

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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Redbank Sunday Morning Pinot Gris 2012

"Sunday morning I'm waking up
Can't even focus on a coffee cup
Don't even know who's bed I'm in
Where do I start, where do I begin"

Chemical Brothers ~ Where Do I Begin?

Touches of honey, 'golden' notes, of warm Spring sunshine. Floral notes with a hint of melon and spice. 


Weighty palate, lovely texture and width - spiced too with hints of mineral. Fleshy pear and lemon fruit, open and loose with a structure to carry it. Good length here, again the length helps mark this out as a good example. Happy to drink this any day of the week - not just Sunday. 89

Tasted on: Tuesday 3rd September, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $24.95
Alcohol: 
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.redbankwines.com/

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Redbank Long Paddock Pinot Gris 2011

Opens with a creaminess, flashes of mashed raw banana with some ripe pear character. Moderate aromatics. The palate is fairly neutral, offering suggestions of pear and apple, little by way of discerning flavour.

Spice forms the predominant palate element, which leads well into the finish. Well put together, just seems a tad wanting, little too excite. 85

Tasted on: Tuesday 3rd September, a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $12.95
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.redbankwines.com/LongPaddock

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Lerida Estate Pinot Grigio 2012

Good Grigio this I thought. Showing nashi pear, honeysuckle - a delightfully fragrant little thing - all backed up with a little citrus.

Crisp, punchy acid in the middle, tart pear and a little spice mix things up a little. A little more weight here, possibly more than one might expect, touch of width to boot.

Length is good, generous, takes it up into an upper echelon of quality. Combination of acid and spice working their magic to take things on. Good Grigio. 91


Tasted on: Tuesday 3rd September, a Leaf Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $25 
Alcohol: 11.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.leridaestate.com.au/

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Monday, 2 September 2013

La Curio McLaren Vale Reserve Shiraz 2010


"The Raphael of wine" is how I have heard La Curio winemaker Adam Hooper referred. I'm unsure as to whether that relates to an 'artistic' appearance or for the approach to winemaking. For now, I'll just go with the quote.

The wine slowly opens up, undergoing a transformation from dark and sullen through to something altogether more expressive. Chocolate at its core with hints of violet, cassis and damson. Over time, it takes on a more savoury mien: licorice before again retreating a little into itself.

Full bodied, it shows an intensity, its beating heart of powerful dark fruit; oak is present and demonstrates a balance against the fruit. Multi-faceted is the wine, the back end brings up a little acidic tang giving the sense of flow. The elements possess an individuality, yet the checks and balances show a wine at ease with itself.

I'm no artist myself, but have a read of the wikipedia entry for Raphael and you may just get a sense of understanding of that opening quote. 93 

Tasted on: Sunday 1st September 
Source: Gift
Price: $31
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.lacuriowines.com/

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Rockford Black Shiraz 2009 Disgorgement


This was gifted to me by my brother-in-law on the birth of my first daughter. Therefore, I couldn't think of a more fitting moment to open, and share it, than on Father's Day. 

Wine can be so much more than just the contents within, and this wine - regardless of the disgorgement - will be inextricably linked to family and precious moments such as its receipt as a gift.


It's matured in large format old wood for three years before being tiraged. Further, it's left on years for 12 months before disgorgement. 


Opens with black cherry, touches of dried earth, plum and leather. Mousse here is fine, gentle, as is the bead. The palate shows off sweet liqueur of both red and black fruits. The body is fine, again, of a gentle nature.


Elements of licorice weave their way through the palate before a persistent finish of candied red fruits. So fine, yet also having at its core a rugged underbelly. As a wine it is so more-ish, so very Australian as a style. 93


Tasted on: Sunday 1st September, a Flower Day

Source: Gift
Price: $?
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.rockfordwines.com.au/

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Sunday, 1 September 2013

Kalleske Plenarius 2012


There's much to enjoy here, even if just from the perspective of the square shouldered, proprietary bottle that Kalleske use.

The wine is 100% organic Viognier that spends 7 days on skins, the resultant wine has a delightful amber-onion skin-russet edged hue, it's what the be-bearded, be-hatted fraternity would refer to as an 'orange', or 'skin-contact' wine on account of the technique of, well, spending time on skins.

Smells of cool jasmine tea, lavender, florals. Touch of butterscotch lurks in the background and hints of ground ginger waft up as the wine itself opens.

The palate shows a little tinned mandarin, lavender and cool apricot. Textural to boot, exhibiting a steely edge with a phenolic rub and long-lasting drying length, oh what length. I've been drinking this over two days and its still looking the goods. Good price too. 92

Tasted on: Friday 30th August, a Flower Day 
Source: Retail, Craft Wine Store
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.kalleske.com/

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