An Australian Wine Blog

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Terre á Terre Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (95% ) with a (no required to declare portion) of Cabernet Franc. And oh what classy Cabernet it is. Oak is on hand here: wafery, cedar, pine forest, resinous; savoury perfume.

Fine, medium bodied wine, ultra fine tannin and freshening acidity. Plenty of red fruit here, raspberry and red currant - adding to that sense of freshness, can be considered Wrattonbully's calling card, and now we are seeing some vine age the terroir is showing.

Herb, seasoning cleaning up at the end - carried by that spine of acid. Feels somewhat 'bitsy' at present, a little flesh and pulling together. Where do we go now (sweet child o' mine)? 92+ 

Tasted on: Wednesday 10th August, a Flower day 
Source: Sample
Price: $55
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: DIAM
Website: https://terreaterre.com.au/

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En Soleil Pinot Gris by Cape Jaffa 2015

Lightly poached pear, suggesting of nectarine. Quite mute...kept wanting it to wake up.

Luscious, textural spread oozing its way across the palate; light spice, a little woody, white root veg element (I kinda often see raw parsnip in something like this, or Grüner). 

Reasonable length. Needs to giddy up a little. There's promise. 89 

Tasted on: 27th July 2016
Source: Sample
Price: $27
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.capejaffawines.com.au

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

O'Leary Walker Watervale Riesling 2016

The annual release of O'Leary Walker's Watervale and Polish Hill River Rieslings is an event to keep an eye out for. Generally found around the $20-25 mark, representing excellent drinking now and rewarding the patient wine buyer with an ability to age.

Lime, florals, a touch of Talc that then segues  to some tropical fruit. More floral than I recall in previous years. 

Doesn't present the driving, linear acidic spine that I've come to (expect?) see. More a definite citrus driven freshness, bright, and chilled has me yearning for the warmer months. 

Finishes reasonably well. Solid. 90 

Tasted on: Saturday 6th August, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 11%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://olearywalkerwines.com/

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Cush & Cush Granite Belt Verdelho 2016

Dave Cush - ex-Spring Vale Tasmania - and wife Kris have set up Cush & Cush Wine Co, with an initial offering of three wines, this Verdelho along with a Vermentino (Heathcote) and a Grenache/Mataro blend (McLaren Vale).

To the wine in question, a select parcel of fruit was purchased from Queensland's Robert Channon (themselves a leading producer of the variety). It was whole bunch pressed, allowed to settle and after racking transferred to old barriques to ferment. A little stirring on gross lees has allowed texture to build. The resultant wine - quite delicious.

Golden, flaked almond, suggestive of a little buttery pastry, segueing to stonefruit and a little tinned fruit syrup. 

Complex, drying, chalky - has texture, through good use of phenolics, than the overt oiliness that can be seen in the variety. Good use of time on lees to build that texture and palate presence without sugar. 

It's long on flavour, spice coming back into play, drying richness. Impressive debut. 93 

Tasted on: Thursday 25th August, a Fruit to Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cushandcush.com/

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Monday, 29 August 2016

Old Jarvie 'The Saviour' Tempranillo Garnacha Monastrell 2015

Second label from the Hither & Yon team, celebrating the region's maritime history and influence on viticulture. Packaging somewhat reminiscent of old portraiture.

Fruit overlaid with a sense of savoury: there's wood, spice and hints of cola. It's medium bodied, carries a soft, tangy herb tinged vibe with some loose tannin. 


That tannin gives a wash of herbs across the palate and giving some length. Enjoyable. 90 

Tasted on: Saturday 9th July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.oldjarvie.com.au/

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Tenuta di Fessina Erse Etna DOC Nerello Mascalese 2014

Erse is named after the Greek goddess of 'dew'. Smokey, dusky, with smouldering red fruit a lingering presence on the nose.

Light, lithe, possesses volcanicity - that sense of a wine that - to me - is airy like a pumice stone; fine texture, it opens up to reveal a loose and fine structure. 

Decent length, open and light. 91 

Tasted on: Sunday 31st July, a Flower day
Source: Retail, Cru Bar
Price: $52
Alcohol: ?
Closure: DIAM
Website: http://www.tenutadifessina.com/

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Rusden Black Guts Shiraz 2013

Oak: all new French.

Subtelty is not its forté. It's all about the deep, stewed, black fruit, tarry, oak - it's the Black Guts, and it does what it says on the tin!

There's caramel, coffee oak, smooth chocolate. It's thick, lavish, but as seems the way with Rusden wines carries an airiness about itself. It's balanced - incredibly so given the lavish new oak thrown at it, and its weighty 15.4% alcohol. 

Bloody impressive winemaking. 93

Tasted on: Thursday 7th July, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $85
Alcohol: 15.4%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.rusdenwines.com.au/

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Hentley Farm The Stray Mongrel 2015

Spends time in old French (70%) and American (30%) barrels - undergo natural malolactic fermentation then returned to oak to mature for a total of 8 months.

At risk of being labelled a wine bore (it's OK, the label fits), I include such detail as it's important to the context of Hentley Farm, where it seems they are pairing back on oak a little and allowing variety and region to express themselves a little more clearly.

Sink your nose into this one folks, a comforting olfactory experience. Red fruits in the main, touch of prune, a little oak in the mix. A little hardwood

Light on entry, a little red fruit, rub of tannin and a spike of heat from the alcohol. There's reasonable length - chalky, powdery tannin. Commendable 90 

Tasted on: Thursday 7th June, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $28.50
Alcohol: 14.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.hentleyfarm.com.au

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Hentley Farm Shiraz 2015

Spends 10 months in mostly old French hogs and fruit is drawn from a selection of multiple Shiraz blocks, with different maceration periods and elevage regimes.

On opening a little like Bresaola; shows black fruit, grilled nuts, tapenade. Quite closed, less overt fruit than in other examples from the vintage.

Somewhat at odds to the aromatic intro: a wine that's loose, open and approachable. Black fruit: mulberry, a little back-up cassis, suggestive of cherry, a little blueberry and vanilla. Tannin is fine, an open structure that provides support for the wine. 

Shows little sign of its just sub-15% alcohol. Finished well, good travel, a little relief from some red fruit that raises its head at the final juncture. 92 

Tasted on: Wednesday 6th July, a Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $28.50
Alcohol: 14.8%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.hentleyfarm.com.au

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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Longhop Cabernet Sauvignon 2014


Cassis and black cherry slowly flow out of the glass. 

Medium bodied, solid core of black fruit, generous and flavoursome, a burst of acidity. There's a semblance of tannin, if a little coarse. 


Reasonable length, pretty solid. Works at the price point. 89 

Tasted on: Monday 4th July, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $18
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.oldplains.com/

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Just Say Vee-on-yay - Viognier Considered

Caroline Mooney - winemaker Bird on a Wire wines - wrote of Marsanne: “(it) has managed to avoid the undulating highs and lows endured by the many wines subject to the pressures of fashionable consumerism.” I offer that the same could not be said of Viognier, one of the three noble white wines of the Northern Rhone, along with aforementioned Marsanne, and the Roussanne.

https://yalumbastories.wordpress.com/the-stories/viognier-labour-of-love/

Viognier was meant to be the great white hope, the answer to generic Chardonnay. For a brief moment in time Viognier was. But it’s story here in Australia goes way beyond that period in the noughties, some would say the story is still being written. As recently as 50 years ago, Viognier was struggling. In danger of becoming extinct, planted to a mere 35 acres (14 hectares). All of that was planted south of Lyon in France’s Northern Rhone. It is the only permissible variety in both Condrieu and Château Grillet (the latter unusually both an appellation and a domaine), and up to 20% is permissible to be co-fermented with Syrah in Côte Rôtie. But how did this variety variously described as ‘enigmatic’ or, less politely, a ‘pain in the arse’ get to have its fifteen minutes of fame and fall from grace in such a manner that production in Australia fell 83% from 2013 to 2014. 

No mention of the variety in Australia is complete without referencing Yalumba. It established the first commercial vineyard planted to Viognier in 1980. Yes, there were a few trial vines planted at Heathcote a few years prior, likewise some 400 vines were established at Elgee Park in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula in 1979. But it was Yalumba's Director Peter Wall, a keen oeno and Europhile, who - as a regular visitor to France - found love in the form of Viognier. Wall brought that love back to Yalumba and, on the Western boundary of the winery in Angaston, on 22 acres owned by long-term Yalumba grape-growers the Vaughan brothers, those vines were planted.

There those vines lay for some years, allowed to established themselves; the Yalumba team used the opportunity to play with the variety, to learn how to make it - to make it in a manner faithful to that inspirational appellation in the Northern Rhone, Condrieu.

Why Viognier?
First, let's get one thing out of the way, its pronunciation: Vee-on-yay as a starter, or vee-oh-NYAY to be precise. 

It's a thick skinned variety. Now that doesn't mean that you can be mean to it, on the contrary (well, not if you want to make something decent). Variously described as 'enigmatic', 'a very shy producer' and 'difficult to grow'. Fairly drought tolerant, it is susceptible to powdery mildew in humid conditions. It needs to be picked at optimal ripeness to get the most flavour from it. Pick too early and it's under-ripe, fairly neutral in profile; pick too late and an alcohol explosion is likely, rendering the resultant wine variously described as 'fat' and 'oily'.

Why bother you might ask? Well, when done right it can produce wines of such flavour, heavily perfumed with apricot, honeysuckle, blossom and even gingerbread.

Viticulture
Winemaking Consultant Adrian Kenny remarked: “it’s generally a pain, small berries and small bunches, even when established it needs shading to protect it from sunburn. It is that sunburn character that is all too common in the worst of examples in Australia".

Kenny continued “I had an epiphany a few years ago. I suspected that it needed three picks through the vineyard. The first when a little under-ripe, when you first start to see fruit presence in the grapes. A second pick - of the majority of the fruit - picked at around mid-12 baumé and then a final pick. 

Kenny considers that most Australians try and handle Viognier reductively, as that’s how they’re taught to do so at school. Being quite a thick skinned variety, his preference is oxidatively handle hard phenolics out and to use appropriate yeasts to bring out the fruit character. 

Early History
“It wasn’t just Yalumba; Zilzie were also selling well” comments industry Sales & Marketing Consultant Kate Giles. With theirs, at $15, people felt they could experiment and do so within a budget. As a variety, it had a similarity, not necessarily regional. For those looking to explore a style, it looked similar: apricot, ginger, acid and small amount of fruit sweetness. Viognier had a clear identity as a wine style - Viognier = apricot. You knew whether you liked it or not and it was different - it was not Chardonnay, Shiraz or Sauvignon Blanc."

So where did it go wrong? More worked styles became more expensive, the clarity the variety had started to become diffused. Giles offered: “it didn’t look anything like the entry examples, there was a reluctance by the consumer to trade up and it typically was not a cellaring style, falling apart after 2-3 years”. The market has since become crowded at the same price point where Viognier was once seen as attractive. The ‘savalanche’ as the profusion of Sauvignon Blanc is referred, the resurgence of Chardonnay, the continued plight of Riesling struggling to gain acceptance over $20 and of course the emergence of food friendly ‘alternative’ varieties such as Fiano and Vermentino have all played their part.

Where Next? James Hook - Viticulturist
“It was a great white hope, going to be an alternative to generic Chardonnay” offers leading Viticulturist James Hook, continuing: “with a endency to over crop - especially when young - Sunburn is an issue, it needs love and that adds to the price"

The market shifted away from whites like Viognier, Chardonnay started to get a bad rep for being overblown and blousey, Riesling just fell out of favour and then the public’s love of cheap, commercial Sauvignon Blanc started.

Hook further offers: “With over-cropping, for a white grape removing crop assists, but it’s not generally the done thing. As those vines that remain have matured, you see a natural reduction with age, less bunches and smaller (self-regulating). But much of the original plantings have now been removed"

What we may be left with are a few serious growers, making the variety into something that resembles its origins in that tiny Northern Rhone appelation.

Three to Seek



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References:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/wine/9790365/At-long-last-wines-that-vindicate-viognier.html



Leeuwin Estate Siblings Shiraz 2013

Hmmm, I wrote down 2013 - but it's now the 2014 that's represented on the winery website.

Black fruit, plummy, violets, hints of tobacco and pepper.

Medium bodied, smooth, peppery, minerally tannin profile - goes alright, but comes across somewhat square. Go the Cabernet. 89

Tasted on: Sunday 3rd July, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: leeuwinestate.com.au

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Friday, 26 August 2016

St Hallett Butcher's Cart Shiraz 2014

Not got too much to say about this one.

Black fruit, hints of coffee bean oak. Approachable, varietal, regional. 

Smooth wine on entry, gruff tannin. However it then gives way to jarring citrus acidity, that swamps the palate. 86 

It has garnered more favourable reviews elsewhere.

Tasted on: Sunday 3rd July, a Root to Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $30
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.sthallett.com.au

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Ballycroft Small Berry Mataro Shiraz 2012

A blend of Mataro (51%) and Shiraz (49%).

I like how winemaker Joe Evans plays with Mataro, harnessing it’s inherent depth of aroma to capture a wine that’s like peering into the abyss. Here, Mataro has been paired with Barossa stalwart Shiraz to create a wine that offers depth, of liquorice and that heady plummy darkness.
 
More of the same on the palate, where some fine, sandy tannin gives the wine a textural bed about which to carry itself. No hint of its 15% alcohol, yes it’s a bigger wine, but well balanced and full of flavour.


Generous length, a little coffee note in the mix too. Could drink it for days. 92

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $23
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.ballycroft.com/

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bremerton Old Adam Shiraz 2013

Like it’s Cabernet counterpart, the oak influence is evident here, yet somewhat paired back from how I remember it in prior years. It offers plenty of coconut and tastiness over well presented blackcurrant and plummy fruit. 

It’s well presented on the palate, more of that black fruit. Acid is evenly handled, it doesn’t really show its 15% alcohol, yes there’s a little spirited edge and plenty of grunt and depth.

Like it’s Cabernet stablemate, it could do with some rest for now and will easily cellar for 15-odd years. Slightly edged by the Cabernet for me, but an impressive wine nonetheless 92

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $56
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.bremerton.com.au/

Bremerton Walter’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

A new wine from Bremerton for me. Big and bold, makes its presence known with an oak cloaked fist that smashes you on the nose: it sees 20 months in new French barriques, its resinous and clearly built for the long haul.

More of the same on the palate, with refined, structural tannins that will clearly provide a framework to reward cellarability. Underneath that oak there’s glimpses of the substantive blackcurrant fruit that will serve this in good stead.

Leave for at least another 2-3 years before approaching and consider cellaring for up to 20. 92+ 

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $56
Alcohol: 15%
Closure: Cork
Website: http://www.bremerton.com.au/

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Taylor’s Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Generic red fruit on offer here, lacks a varietal distinction from my blogger’s view point. Still, what am I asking of it at $14?

Fair amount of sweet black fruit, almost compote like in its representation. Too sweet for my liking. Offers a little tannin, but not much else. Doesn’t really put a foot wrong, yet does little right either


There’s better (try the Merlot in the same range). A no from me. 85

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $14
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.taylorswines.com.au/

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Riversdale Estate Musca Syrah 2014

Sappy elements, of new growth and hedgerow (don't be alarmed now) suggestive of whole bunch inclusion. 

Mid-weight, spice, depth that builds. Somewhat reminiscent of a peppery Crozes-Hermitage. Beyond that a little black cherry, blackcurrant fruit - a cautious glimpse between spice peaks. 

Has a good weight, glossy texture, more about savoury than fruit, a good spine Of interest. 91, touch and go a point higher.  

Tasted on: Wednesday 27th July, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $57
Alcohol: 14.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://riversdaleestate.com.au/

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Katnook Founder's Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

All prime cassis, sitting square and front - you can see how it would appeal. There's gum and a little mint to boot. 

All that doesn't quite translate to the palate, mid-weight, semblance of black fruit and a little gruff tannin on the finish. 


The Shiraz marginally has the edge here. 87 

Tasted on: Monday 4th July, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.katnookestate.com.au

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Shaw & Smith Lenswood Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Whilst Shaw + Smith's exemplar M3 Chardonnay is an exercise in regional composition, the individual site that makes up much of the core of that wine has been celebrated with its own single vineyard release in the portfolio. 

Comprising about three puncheons, one of which is new, this wine seems somewhat reserved, mute: it’s all about citrus, with a little zestyness, a freshness and a little draw of fresh herb adding to that.

The palate is fresh, positively alive - has excellent shape, back palate texture, not creaminess - savoury nuances, flinty and mineral-like. It’s crisp, almost snapping to attention as it draws long across the palate. And length, what fantastic length here. 94 

Tasted on: Monday 8th August
Source: Tasting
Price: $85
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawandsmith.com/

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Monday, 22 August 2016

De Bortoli La Boheme Act Two Pinot Noir Rosé 2016

Strawberry leads here, a little macerated red berry fruit; musky, rose, hint of citrus.

Dry, with a savoury - almost twiggy - mien; there's a suggestion of caramelisation, candied fruits.

It's long on the finish, savoury and drying. A consistent standout example of rosé from the producer that brought to the public fore the pale and dry revolution! 92 

Tasted on: Saturday 20th August, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Retail
Price: $20
Alcohol: 12.7%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: debortoli.com.au

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Rock of Wisdom Grenache 2014

A mere 852 bottles/ 71 dozen made - never let it be said that wine scribes/bloggers/pontificators are not in a privileged position.

Rock of Wisdom is Pete (former BD Viti at Torbreck, now grape whisperer at Unico Zelo) and Sofi (Pete's boss, consumer of booze).

A wine in the mould of the new Barossa, where Grenache is allowed to shine, free from the burdens of heavy oak: whole bunch, natural ferments, old French oak. The result: good berry driven aromatics, underlying savoury hints - there's whole bunch (30%), judiciously used to lend spice and savoury intent.

This immediately leads to the palate: it's smooth, rounded with elemental structure. It all resolves perfectly: body, structure/ fine grained tannin. Length is good: savoury, a little residual fruit sweetness - excellent balance. 92 

Tasted on: Saturday 20th August, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $28
Alcohol: 14.2%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: rockofwisdom.com.au

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Lane Block 1A Chardonnay 2015

Look, I'm going to come out with it and say that I just didn't find this as convincing as the 3A.

Opens with stonefruit that gives way to creamed corn with a sweet nuttiness. 

Palate immediately shows something substantive, weighty, fleshy; there's quite a throw of citrus in the mix too. A modicum of spice. 


Citrus become more prominent with time, but it doesn't quite pull it all together for me. 88 

Tasted on: Saturday 20th August, a Flower to Leaf day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: https://www.thelane.com.au/

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Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Riesling 2016

Fresh, fragrant, florals - with kaffir lime over bath salts. Suggestion of tropical fruit, mandarin. 

Has a deftness, a lightness if you like - goes to a little powdery crunch, kinda like talcum, or even fresh powdery snow. Has a hardness to its finish, almost a bitter lemon conclusion. Personality plus, smashing wine. 93 

Tasted on: Friday 19th August, a Flower day
Source: Sample
Price: $25
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.torzimatthews.com.au/

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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Top 100 Wine Blog?

http://blog.feedspot.com/wine_blogs/
An email dropped into my Inbox overnight promoting a 'Top 100 Wine Blogs' list.

I normally pay scant regard to such things, for they either tend to be geographically focussed (exclusively US based) or are list heavy with those that consider themselves key influencers (read: have bought twitter and/or Instagram users extensively and consider a wine review a brief and pithy few words with a picture of said wine - there I said it, grumpy old man status confirmed).

However, on this occasion it stated I was on said list (down somewhere like #83 just before Sean Mitchell's excellent Grape Observer and way down below Andrew Graham's Oz Wine Review at an impressive #25) so that piqued my interest somewhat.

I don't necessarily believe it, though I am happy for a little additional publicity and for someone to blow my trumpet (I can't do so myself, although apparently 2-3 in a thousand men can ;).

So there you go, you're reading a Top 100 Wine Blog - according to one list at least.

I still ocassionaly tweet expletive-laden, gin fuelled grumblings on Twitter, so you can follow me there, if you like: http://twitter.com/TheVinsomniac

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Cape Jaffa 'Riptide' Red Blend 2015

"The Inspiration:  I was inspired by my travels to do something totally bizarre so blended white viognier juice with red Shiraz skins prior to fermentation."

Creative licence for the artist looking to have a bit of fun. Now comes in a tall, brown, Germanic Riesling-esque bottle. Stonefruit, squashed blueberry, a little raspberry. Curious, fruit-driven aromatic mix. 

I remember the 2014 of this wine, ah....there it is, the loose, open and slippery textured minx I remember. Light, nimble...airy - likely a word I'll come back to. More than a suggestion of stonefruit on the back palate. 


Doesn't seem like it will have length - yet it keeps on giving. Smashed this down with a Rio 2016 inspired Feijoa (with added chilli). Enjoyable. 90

Tasted on: Tuesday 16th August, a Fruit to Root
Source: Sample
Price: $29
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.capejaffawines.com.au

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Cirillo 'The Vincent' Grenache 2015

Alright, I admit it, I've got a bit of a bone for 2015 Grenache. Admittedly the subset of those tasted is limited (think this, Whistler's 'Get in My Belly' and Yelland & Papps' Second Take). 

Those examples released as one year olds, unencumbered by oak, showing lighter hands on the tiller, truly living up to the mantra as the 'Pinot of the Barossa'. Oh, and did I mention this example is a mere 21 sheets?

Made from 80 year old vines, 'The Vincent' shows generous red berry, softer rose petal, suggestion of seasoning in the mix. 

More of the same on the palate - generous red fruit that flows energetically across the palate. Light, lithe and juicy.

Yes, clearly living up to the billing as 'Pinot of the Barossa': soft, generous - plenty of red fruit with savoury undertows of dried leaf, twigs and the like. Cracking. 92 

Tasted on: Sunday 14th August, a Leaf to Fruit day
Source: Retail
Price: $21
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.cirilloestatewines.com.au/

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Montalto Pinot Gris 2015

Shit, get the fire extinguisher - Montalto are on fire! 

By Jove this has the lot: texture, tang, acidity and even salinity. Had me yearning for more than just a tasting glass - unusual for a Gris I tell thee. 

It's fleshy in the mouth, and take note that the wine's flavour ought not be suppressed by serving too cold - it warrants better than that. 

Long in flavour, long on presence. 93

Tasted on: Monday 15th August, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $36
Alcohol: 13.4%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: montalto.com.au

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Friday, 12 August 2016

d'Arenberg: The Noble Sweet Quartet


Beautifully packaged range of stickies from the tireless d'Arenberg. After tasting/writing these up, I had great fun sharing them with some friends and a hastily constructed pavlova. Went down a treat.

d’Arenberg The Noble Mud Pie Viognier Arneis 2015
Sample Screwcap $20 (375ml) 11.1% Adelaide Hills

95% Viognier, 5% Arneis - leads with Apricot and a little lemon curd.

Sweet, unctuous; there’s a dab of acidity here to offset that sweetness somewhat, gingery spice toward the back-end and some cut marmalade. Tasting it alone - without something to pair it with is quite a challenge 90

~

d’Arenberg The Noble Wrinkled Riesling 2015
Sample Screwcap $20 (375ml) 10.4% McLaren Vale

A dab of burnt lime, segueing to a little honey.

More honey and stone fruit on the palate - big mouthfeel of sweetness, a little phenolic grip too. Not so much length, more about fruit presence and sugar. 

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d’Arenberg The Noble Prankster Chardonnay Semillon Viognier 2015
Sample Screwcap $20 (375ml) 10.7% McLaren Vale/ Adelaide Hills

The blend is 60/30/10 respectively. Floral, with an underlying biscuity/nutty edge, almond biscotti perhaps, most interesting.

Quite thick and syrupy this one, least favourite of the quartet tasted thus far. All sweetness and not much else for me. 86 

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d’Arenberg The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Sample Screwcap $20 (375ml) 10.4% Adelaide Hills

A blend of 95/5% respectively - that surely will help with some SEO.
The sweetest of the bunch. There’s a little stone fruit and citrus, but it’s really too sweet - struggled with this one. 85 

~

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

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Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2012

A pretty straight blend of Cabernet (80%) and Merlot (20%).

Good quality Cabernet leads with this number: a little plum, dusty cedar, a little tobacco.

Fine, medium bodied wine on entry; layered blackcurrant, a little coffee and vanilla in the mix. Tannin is fine grained, graphite like mineralogy. Superb length, fine lingering tannin. 91

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $27.50
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: leeuwinestate.com.au

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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Rymill The Yearling Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Fresh and tropical little thing here: honeydew melon, suggestion of passionfruit pulp all sitting an underlying zesty citrus frame.

Clean, ease of entry and it slips across the palate. Citrus in the main with a harder, minerally edge. Some grip provides extra presence and substance. You'd happily go here at the price point too. 89

Tasted on: Sunday 7th August, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.rymill.com.au/

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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Yalumba Y Series Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Comes on quite strong, the herbaceous, grassy qualities strong here. Suggests a significant presence of Adelaide Hills fruit.

Bitter lemon, sherbet, segues to a little tropical fruit. It's a lively one I'll tell you. Packs a fair bit of zing, zest, and pizazz into itself.

Reasonable length too - if you enjoy this style of Sauv Blanc you are just going to lap this up at the price. 87

Tasted on: Sunday 7th August, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $15
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.yalumba.com

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Monday, 8 August 2016

Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Exemplary Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc handled with kid gloves, yes it speaks of region and variety, but does so sotto voce, like the learned elder statesmen it is. 

There's lemon, lemon balm, paw paw - an aromatic complexity we've come to expect. Moves up a gear or three on the palate, a lively and zippy expression that offers citrus based acidity. There's a chalky dryness as it moves through the palate, adding an extra dimension.

Sure (Shaw?) to be a hit. 92

Tasted on: Sunday 7th August, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $26
Alcohol: 12%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.shawandsmith.com/

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Taylor’s Promised Land Merlot 2014

Plummy depths with chocolate hints - there’s a little vanilla accented oak in the mix too. So far, so good. 

Soft, smooth, plush and easy going. There’s spice, particularly pepper, tannin is a little gruff but does give substance


Plenty of black fruit on offer, tannin gives a little extra grunt. Goes well - particularly at the price point, if not the most profound wine. 88

Tasted on: Saturday 2nd July, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $13.95
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.taylorswines.com.au/

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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Katnook Estate Shiraz 2012

Black, tarry, heavy shroud of oak lingers; suggestion of peanut shells, resinous, red fruits. 

Light-ish, lithe - at odds to its stated alcohol. It's flavoursome, bold, a wine of contrasts. Doesn't step out of line and yet doesn't quite fully convince. 


Good length mind. 90 

Tasted on: Thursday 30th June, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $40
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.katnookestate.com.au

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Raïdis Estate The Kelpie Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Asparagus spears, grass, nettle, underlying blackcurrant leaf.

Minerally, citrus, pineapple, a little smokey blackcurrant leaf. Interesting mix across the palate - not necessarily my bag, but you wouldn't call it shy.

Good length, long across the back palate, phenolics for added interest, drying. Good effort. 91

Tasted on: Sunday 7th August, a Root day
Source: Sample
Price: $20
Alcohol: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://www.raidis.com.au/

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Mount Avoca Back Blocks Cabernet Merlot 2014

Sour, savoury, somewhat struggling to sell itself; sour milk, meets generic red wine. 

Juicy, a little tang; chalky tannin that swamps the palate, with little fruit to compensate. 


Reasonable length, cannot compensate for the shortcomings from before.86 

Tasted on: Thursday 30th June, a Fruit day
Source: Sample
Price: $43.75
Alcohol: 14%
Closure: Screwcap
Website: http://mountavoca.com/

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