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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Swirl Sniff Spit - Notes from an Overseas Experience

Usual disclaimer: "Swirl, Sniff, Spit" is a monthly, Brisbane based, tasting group that I am a co-organiser of. For the month of February, the theme was that of ‘Overseas Experience’ whereby all wines were made overseas by Australia winemakers. Tasting notes as written, save for the odd tidying up and marrying of background notes that were provided to attendees, for readability.

Ulithorne ‘Corsus’ Vermentinu 2013, Corsica; Winemaker: Rose Kentish
Rose Kentish opted to whisk the family off to Europe in 2009 after a challenging vintage in her native McLaren Vale. It’s a journey she has made each year since. The Vermentinu (Vermentino) is the third successive vintage made. 

Clarity of aroma here: lemon, that most freshest of citrus, plucked from a tree, raschi and leaf intact; shows a little green olive, texture - rolls around the palate. Little phenolic pinch on its tail. Needs the sea, a rocky coastline and possibly a plate of whitebait, crisp with a little salt. Simply devine - clearly evokes the Mediterranean for me. 91/2

Le Grappin 1er Cru Greves Blanc 2012, Beaune; Winemaker: Andrew Nielsen
Andrew Nielsen was working in high-end advertising, for publications such as The Economist, when a bottle of Dujac’s Clos de la Roche became his epiphany wine. It’s a response I can relate to,  given my own expletive lead introduction to Andrew’s Greves Blanc. Chardonnay in Les Greves is rather rare, a mere 2% of plantings across its 31 hectares. From 50 year old vines, this had me leading with “Fuck!” - mealy, creamy - stonefruit and citrus; powerful - such a concentrated wine, of depth and spice - dense and powerful. Superb. 94

Mayer The Doctor Remstal, Kabinett Trocken, 2011; Winemaker: Timo Mayer
Timo Mayer’s family hails from Germany - as does Timo himself. I gleaned a quote from Timo, published elsewhere, on this wine: “It’s a macerated, high solid wild barrel fermented Riesling Kabinett trocken. Its not how the folks do it over there but its what I like, textural and voluptuous”. Shows a little aromatic herb, citrus, lemon curd; fuller feel on the palate - something that possibly might be mandarin segments 90.

Tunkalilla Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Riesling 2008; Winemaker: Brian Croser
In 2005, Brian and Ann Croser purchased an old Christmas tree farm in Oregon, clearing some of the trees to plant out to Riesling and Pint Noir.  This 2008 was from their first vintage and Croser continues to make wines in Oregon each year. Tunkalilla is named for a beach in the Fleurieu (where Croser has the ‘Foggy Hill’ vineyard). Showing some development, possibly a little taint; sugar more evident here at 8.6 g/l (dry is about 2). Palate largely flat some hints of miineral with herb and citrus. 89

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre Aux Vergelesses 2011 Winemaker: Jane Eyre
Eyre was a hairdresser in her native Melbourne when, somewhat serendipitously, she struck up a conversation with a customer about wanting to gain some experience in the wine industry. Said customer just happened to be the wife of leading Australian wine scribe Jeremy Oliver.

Overall ’11 is considered a good vintage, small crop, high prices. It is considered that Beaune can offer some relief to the buyers’ pocket compared to other better known communes. This typically offers a really attractive, perfumed style. Eyre is also the Asst Winemaker at Dom Newman, and since 2011 has made wine under her own name. Fine perfume of florals, and cherry aromas that waft out of the glass; beautifully elegant, well structured wine 94

Andrew Nielsen - Le Grappin
Le Grappin 1er Cru Boucherottes; Winemaker: Andrew Nielsen
From low on the slope near the Pommard boundary, to the West of Beaune. Typically a fruity, as opposed to tannic, expression. Nielsen is fastidious about vineyard work; opts to use smaller barrel houses to be able to work to get the right level of toast for the style sought. Florals almost to violets here - purple if i can just offer a colour. Light on entry, almost bouncy - yet with a little depth, spice and good tannin structure. Pretty special. 93

Two Men in Mendoza Malbec 2012; Winemakers: Dan Sims and Ben Edwards
Two men AKA Dan Sims (PinotPalooza and Game of Rhones) and Ben Edwards (formerly Halliday’s right-hand-man, now tree-changer). Wanted to make a wine in Argentina, make something about making a wine, a wine they wanted to be….just bloody drinkable. From Uco Valley in Mendoza. Plum, mulberry, squishy black fruit; easy-going, juicy - ‘soil’ style, a drinker. Good grain tannin, bright acidity nicely balanced against the fruit. 90/1

Jed Wines Uco Valley Mendoza Malbec 2012
So, Two Men make a Malbec – one upmanship form the three men behind Jed making a Malbec, also from Uco Valley, Mendoza. Woody, spice and savoury character here. Sandalwood - less acidic, not as ‘bright’ - more structure. 92

L’Imposteur Collioure AOC 2010; Winemaker: Adam Foster
Adam Foster
From Collioure, the designated AOC for table wines – if fortified they’re known as Banyuls (heavenly chocolate match!). Foster, “pan rocker”, turned Sommelier (ex-Lakehouse), Salami maker, now winemaker. 

L’Imposteur – as the French call him. Framboise with a little savoury edge - like its fortified counterpart, you could see this even working with chocolate. Touch of lift, moving to that savoury, sous bois character on the palate - good entry, moving to a little wild herb and red fruit. 91

Fletcher Barolo ‘Alta Pete’ 2010; Winemaker: Dave Fletcher
50% Treiso from 350m in altitude, this is one of the cooler areas of Barbaresco and selected because of this reason, and 50% Barbaresco commune. 2010 a ripper Barolo vintage. Winemaker Fetcher was once banned from entering the Alternative Wine Varieties Show for he only made Nebbiolo…go figure. The savoury imbued with a little floral: think pouch tobacco, a touch of clove with rose petal florals and plum skin adding that extra dimension. Feels dusty, powdery, well extracted tannin here that move to a firmness, letting your palate know you've been Barolo-ed. 93

Tasted on: Tuesday 17th February, a Fruit transitioning to Root day
Source: Tasting
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