An Australian Wine Blog

Monday, 28 April 2014

S.C Pannell Adelaide Hills Syrah 2012

Whilst having been familiar with the producer, the product has largely remained off of my radar until recently. A change of distribution in and around the Brisbane/ SEQ area has seen greater availability in the retail space.

Sees 25% whole-bunch with partial carbonic, there's 3% Viognier in the mix - it doesn't show, possibly the only clue is the vibrant purple-edge to the rim - small open top fermenters and then 20 months in large format French oak, 20% of which is new.

Why did I bother to write all that - winer nerdery aside - it all goes to contribute to a wine that, whilst initially showing cool elements, delivers a wine that is ultra-smooth, polished.

Meaty, charred meat and pan juices. That vibrant edge, a mere suggestion of floral lift the clues to the addition of a little Viognier. Polished, yet carrying a substantive presence in the mouth; ultra-fine tannin, graphite, dusky violets and a little black fruit. 

Composed, generous, substantive - yet gentle - length. An impressive wine, all the more so at the price. Sold out ex-winery, still available around the retail blocks. 93

Tasted on: Thursday 10th April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Retail
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.pannell.com.au/

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Out of Step Wine Co. Malakoff Estate Nebbiolo 2013


When a producer goes to the effort of naming the source of fruit for a wine, I'm generally of the opinion that I should seek more information about it:

"Just south of Landsborough, in the slopes of Victoria's Pyrenees, lies this beautiful Nebbiolo vineyard. Planted in 2000 and run by father and son team Robert and Cameron John" Source: http://www.fletcherwines.com/

Excellent first effort from the Out of Step team, slight hazy, semi-opaque with a cherry/ garnet hue. Morello cherry, light florals, a little bitter citrus and red fruit by way of a little raspberry and macerated strawberry.

Cherry, touches of red fruit crumble here too; tannin is firm yet with a yielding powdery feel, as befits the style sought by the team, with minimal contact. It's fresh, long and persistent on the finish with a suggestion of depth. Really enjoyed this, with and without food, on opening and with time. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 19th April, a Leaf Day

Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.outofstepwineco.com/

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Massolino Langhe DOC Nebbiolo 2011

To my mind, in my never-ending questing to learn about wine, Langhe can be a little confusing. It refers to the hills (langa) north and south of Alba, and here we are interested in the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. 

Under the DOC it is possible to use up to 15% non-Nebbiolo fruit - this example here is 100% Nebbiolo - and producers are known to use the DOC to release wines from Barolo and Barbaresco earlier to market (as to do so allows them not to be bound by those DOCGs) though they would only generally do so with the youngest fruit, or fruit off vines from poorly located sites.

Florals, fresh sage and dried herb, red berries - cherry and a little redcurrant, Pot Pourri floral elegance too. The palate shows power and concentration, tannin is firm - a touch peppery, with acid pinching the palate a little. Dried herbs, dusky red fruits and finishing with powdery tannin that flows and dominates, but without length per se. 91

Tasted on: Saturday 19th April, a Leaf Day
Source: Retail, The Wine Emporium
Price: $49
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.massolino.it/en/

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Kirrihill Clare Valley Nebbiolo 2012


Lovely pronounced aromas cherry blossom and touches of rose. Quite captivating aromatics. Strikes me that much of what is good about the wine is there on the nose.

A little of that cherry character flows through onto the palate, thereafter it's all about ferrous, drying tannin without much else by way of additional flavour. A shame, it started out so promising with that alluring perfume. 85

Tasted on: Sunday 20th April, a Leaf Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.kirrihillwines.com.au/

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

Yelland & Papps Second Take Shiraz 2013


Initially red fruits abound: raspberry, satsuma plum, a little citrus...I could go on. Secondarily, a touch meaty with a little liquorice and cassis. It grows in stature with a little time, become a bolder wine than it was.

Sandy, powdery tannin - it felt like the crunch underfoot of fresh powder after a good snowfall - a marvellous textural feel followed by crunchy and vibrant acidity. Then, there's dark soy through the palate and dark fruits, but it's the tannin structure makes it for me.

Concludes with a little bitter citrus twist. Superb. 93

Tasted on: Wednesday 9th April, a Leaf Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.yellandandpapps.com/

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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Dodgy Bros Grenache Shiraz Mourvédre 2012


"I've got an aching in my bones, 

I've been exposed to what I want to see"
~ Dodgy, Good Enough

Reliving my teen years there. A big and ripe wine reflective of its provenance, of the early ripening Sellick Hills of McLaren Vale. Fruit drawn from a range of vineyards across the (unofficial) sub-region. 

Opens with driven aromatics, of Grenache initially; latterly moves towards meat and earthen compounds, before settling back with cassis. A pleasant meander across its aromatic spectrum.

Concentrated, bold, of chocolate and blueberry; powdery tannins that envelope the mouth, raspberry comes and goes - fruity high notes with chocolate and dried earth bass lines. With time in glass we see some burnt orange and the alcohol becomes a little more evident toward the finish.

Powdery cocoa tannin lingers on toward the finish, concentrated fruit delivers a final punch. You'd have to appreciate the bold style to really enjoy this, overall it drinks and holds up well - an attractive proposition. 91

Tasted on: Tuesday 8th April, a Flower transitioning to a Leaf Day
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.dodgybrotherswines.com/

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Duck Duck Goose Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends.

Dark, prune and raisin. Thick, lush and plush; touch of fruit and nut chocolate about it. Good-ish, gentler than initially thought. 'They' would love it, a crowd-pleaser. 87

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.roclandestate.com/

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Chapel Hill Parson's Nose Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends.

Attractive perfume: pomegranate, cassis, mulberry and red cough candy. Soft, plush and rounded on entry; fine tannin, touches of chocolate. More-ish, soft and of moderate-good length. 89

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $16
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.chapelhillwine.com.au/

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Mawson's 'Far Eastern Party' Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends.

Plum, damson, play-doh touches; smooth, plump and rounded. Plenty of soft black fruit coursing through the palate, backed-up with some savoury touches of tobacco and a little clove derived spice. 87


Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, a Leaf to Fruit day 
Source: Sample
Price: $15.95
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.hsfv.com/

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Cooks Lot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013


Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends. 

Sweeter aromatics on display here, mint and cassis with some red fruit character rounding out the profile. Palate sees a wine that's juicier, sweeter, touch riper; mint present too - firm tannins. 88

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, Leaf to Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cookslot.com.au/

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Taylor's Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends. 

Mulberry, choc/mocha, touch leafy with a hint of eucalypt. Delightful aromatic intro. Palate a little flat, all up front aroma, little by way of body. Tannin firm. 86 

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, a Leaf to Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $18.95
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.taylorswines.com.au/

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Xabregas Mount Barker Cabernet Sauvignon 2011



Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends. 

Deep, rich, cabernet. Cedar, chocolate, red berries and a little mint. Elegant palate profile, acid and fruit in good balance; structured - powdery/ graphite tannin. Length, elegance, suggestions of cool (both in presentation and origin I would guess). 

I continued to taste this over three days - identity at this point known - it's a grower, takes on a dusky/ dusty elegance, tannin a little more prominent. 92

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $22
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.xabregas.com.au/

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This post was edited at 19:50 on 20th April 2014 to update the bottle image.

Alkoomi White Label Cabernet Merlot 2011

Tasted blind in a bracket of 7 Cabernet Sauvignon/ dominant blends.

Positioned nicely at the entry to Alkoomi's portfolio, opens with plum, fig and tapenade. Fresh with plenty of fruit coming forward. Medium bodied, fresh, touch fleshy, fine-grained tannin and little else to worry. Reasonable length, a good drinker. 87

Tasted on: Tuesday 1st April, a Leaf to Fruit Day
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://alkoomiwines.com.au/

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Topper's Mountain Gewürztraminer 2013

This was an interesting exercise, two Gewürztraminer, fruit for both from New England, NSW, same winemaker (Mike Hayes), made at the same winery, for two different labels.

Musky, slightly musty, with the prettier elements of lychee, rose petals and turkish delight. Elements common to many a Gewürztraminer, and it's from here that things take a turn.

The palate sees a wine of detail, of focus, pinpoint precision - the dance of a thousand pinpricks across the palate. It's a wine of texture, layered, with extraordinary length and a fine tail of acid and spice. Holds up well into a second day of drinking. A wonderful example. 94

Tasted on: Saturday 29th March, a Flower Day
Source: Sample
Price: $35
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.toppers.com.au/

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Symphony Hill Gewürztraminer 2013


This was an interesting exercise, two Gewürztraminer, fruit for both from New England, NSW, same winemaker (Mike Hayes), made at the same winery, for two different labels.

Gewürztraminer as a variety is often lazily lumped as a wine match for 'spicy' or 'Asian' food. Generic groupings as broad and limiting as that association in the first place. Look beyond that to the origin of the variety, and think about pairing with a veal schnitzel, or a lovely piece of fatty pork belly that's been spiced up a little, or perhaps even a weisswurst.

Here, a pale hint of colour on pouring; rosewater, lychee, turkish delight and musk; beautiful aromatics here.

Mineral feel is immediately noted on entry; texture comes through with crushed candies, a little sweetness detected balancing against a touch of acid. Excellent length, drive, tingly spine of acid through the wine. Texture seems enhanced a little with time, and in fact I remarked on tasting a second day how I thought it reminiscent of Grüner Veltliner. A stunning example. 93    

Tasted on: Saturday 29th March, a Flower Day 
Source: Retail, Craft Red Hill
Price: $30
Alcohol: 12.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.symphonyhill.com.au/

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{This post was edited at 18:25 on 08/04/2014 after it was identified that fruit is contracted in from New England, NSW and is not grown in the grown Belt GI}

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Pyramids Road Mourvédre 2012

2007 Image

A mere fifty dozen produced, i first tasted this out of barrel (one of the two made, one American and one French, both two year old) not long after it had started its journey to becoming a wine. I could see the quality wine it was to become then. 

Dark, earthen, spicy - heady; hints of cured meats, black fruit - cherry, black forest gateaux-esque - touches of dried herb/ garrigue characters in the wine's aroma.

Entry is smooth, black cherry and plum. It's a concentrated affair, then comes the onset of acid - a little unsettling (and I'm not shy of acid) - grainy/ powdery tannin. I kept being drawn back to the black forest gateaux/ liqueur cherry/ mascerated plums. Concludes with a glorious tail of dark matter derived flavour. I'd recommend cellaring for 2-3 years minimum before enjoying. 92+

Tasted on: Thursday 27th March, a Root Day 
Source: Retail, Wine Experience
Price: $35
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.pyramidsroad.com.au/

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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ferngrove Cossack Riesling 2013


Opens with creamy panacotta, frangipani before seeing a movement toward more tropical notes of grapefruit, a little melon and lime.

Palate shows a similar theme: zest, florals and chalky dryness. Not your cut and thrust Riesling, it feels cool and composed. Glorious length of flavour, drying. 91

Tasted on: Tuesday 25th March, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ferngrove.com.au/

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2013 Parish Vineyard Coal River Riesling


The former Frogmore Creek vineyard, renamed the Jansz Parish Vineyard following acquisition by the Hill-Smith family. Tasmania, the new frontier in retaining a presence in cool climate viticulture.

Lime, bath salts, suggestions of a chalky coolness. Hints of apple blossom and melon give further indication of the wine within.

The palate sees a wine that is, initially, vibrant and zesty, showing and energetic mineral presence. Loses its way a little from there - seemingly having out its effort into the introduction, leaving little in reserve. Reasonable finish, but not at this price point at present. 89

Tasted on: Tuesday 25th March, a Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $28.95
Alcohol: 11.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://hsfv.com/

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Cooks Lot Riesling 2013

Citrus, green apple, honeyed tropicals and white florals. Hints of citrus peel, suggestions of lemon and honey. 

Feels fleshy and open, lacks the tightness you see in good Riesling - and it's a crowded marketplace for Riesling under $20. Lacks a little drive on the finish. 86


Tasted on: Tuesday 25th March, a Fruit Day 

Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: Cooks Lot

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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Topper's Mountain Red Earth Child 2011

Oh my, a striking wine. Red Earth Child it is, with a backdrop that shows arresting aromas of rose petals, with bramble and black fruit, spicy hints waiting in the background to enchant further.

Shows a deftness, light-footed touch on the palate, fine-powdery tannin with some hints of red and blue fruits. A glorious spice sensation that slowly makes its introduction, and builds - not at the expense of fruit, working in tandem with it. Harmony.

This is another excellent wine that grew in stature with some time. Cherry was a common theme, structure carried the wine and excellent acid structure aided a level of sustain. I was quite captivated. 93


Tasted on: Sunday 23rd March, a Leaf transitioning to Fruit Day 
Source: Sample
Price: $38
Alcohol: 13.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.toppers.com.au/

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Lark Hill Viognier 2013


Opened this up in a small bracket of three Viognier, it was the wine that looked initially least favourable, yet over time it opened up significantly.

Apricot lends an allure, a prettiness - background white florals, aromatics hold up over time - good start.

Touch of texture and weight on the palate - the wine is partially wild yeast fermented and a portion of the wine is fermented in barrel. Esters, meal, moving to stonefruit skins and suggestions of fresh ginger, with time that texture and spice becomes more pronounced. 

It comes across as a cooler expression of the variety. Length gently builds, phenolics, waxy texture, spice. Generous length. 92+

Tasted on: Wednesday 19th March, a Root transitioning to Flower Day 

Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.larkhillwine.com.au/

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