Showing posts with label Tasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tasting. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thierry Michon: Domain St Nicolas

I recently had the pleasure of a quick business trip down to Sydney.  Naturally I left sufficient time to be able to take in a couple of the fantastic wine outlets in Sydney and it was at Fix St James where generous host/ owner Stuart Knox allowed this interloper to stay for a trade tasting of the wines of Domain St Nicolas.  Thierry Michon is the vigneron of Domain St Nicolas and was in Australia as part of the Return to Terroir initiative.

Spread over 32 hectares, the Domain St Nicolas estate has been cultivated organically since 1995. No synthetic pesticides or other chemical products are applied.  Thierry often comments that 'he is alone' - meaning that his vineyards are not next to any other vineyards where there might be sprays used.  In fact whilst all wines are certified Biodynamic.

From Thierry's site: "The estate is situated on the Ile d’Olonne which borders the old salt marshes of the Pays des Olonnes. The vines are planted facing south-west for the Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet and south-east for the Chardonnay and Chenin on clay and schisty soils." 

The region recently received AOC status - thus some of the wines produced will technically be illegal under the conditions of the appellation, Thierry will be given a period of grace but ultimately it is likely he will classify the wines as 'Vin de Table'.  Because he's like that.  And he can.

I've no doubt not done these wines justice, but it's all part of my education. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Les Clous Blanc 2009
A blend of Chenin, Chardonnay and a touch of Groslot Gris.  You can smell the marsh in the aromas present, manifesting to me like heather, lavender and almond.  Good tight, crisp palate. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Reflets Rose 2009 
Gamay, Pinot Noir and Groslot Gris.  One for the #RoseRev: Gloriously pale pink colour with berry aromas with a savoury dry finish many of us are now familiar with. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cuvee Maria Blanc 2005
Straight Chardonnay, named after Thierry's grandmother.  Made in the Burgundian style with new oak treatment.  Apparently this tastes very similar to White Burgundy, this correspondent not having consumed enough to refute or support that claim.  I found it fairly lean, good minerality with an exemplary finish. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Gammes en May Rouge 2009
The name is simply a play on Gamay.  No carbonic maceration lends the nose a slightly earthen mushroomy aroma still supported by typical bubblegum notes.  The back palate exhibits a slightly more savoury note. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Reflets Rouge 2009
A blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Cabernet Franc.  Light berry aromas on the palate but the real beauty of the wine is the incredible lightness of being in the palate.  Fantastic delicate balance in the mouth. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cabaret Rouge 2007
Beautiful perfume and trademark blackcurrant aroma.  The wine showed a good tannic backbone and length. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cabaret Rouge 2006
Perfume here was not as dominant but this was compensated for by a finer body, smoother tannins - yet still persistent with that driving finish. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem Cuvee Le Poiré 2008
Made from 100% Negrette, a variety more at home around Toulouse.  Gloriously perfumed - yet again - to me it showed some Gamay like qualities: light berry, sweet fruit characteristics.  Yet the palate was leathery with fine tannins.  Interesting variety, apparently goes well with fatty foods. 

Domaine Saint Nicolas Fiefs Vendéens Brem La Grande Pièce Rouge 2005
Pinot Noir made in the Burgundian style.  To me the core exhibited a strong hit of raspberry yet this transitioned to a spicy back end, alluding to a faint Maritime hit.

Source: Fix St James
Price: $Free
Alcohol: Yes
Closure: About 17:00

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

New Zealand In A Glass

First up, I want to commend the organisers on a well put together event.  Each attendee was presented on arrival with a Riedel tasting glass, a bottle of water, pen, paper exhibitor list along with a full colour high-quality booklet listing all exhibitors with contact information.  Inside the event, there was plenty more water available along with bread, crackers and even some sandwiches available.  My only gripes being the spit buckets being on the floor, the members of the public wearing their ropey colognes/ perfumes and ruining the beautiful perfumes of the products on show and the exhibitor who didn't know the Residual Sugar (RS) of the Riesling they were pouring!

My focus for the event: Waiheke and Hawkes Bay reds (and maybe a little else of what took my fancy). 

Man O'War
Standout wines: Valhalla Reserve Chardonnay 2009, 100% barrel fermented - 40% new French, wild yeast fermented. Some yeasty notes on the nose with good supporting Oak.  Typical riper characteristics of good quality Chardonnay.  Savoury conclusion.

Ironclad 2008: Blend of Merlot (52%), Cabernet Franc (27%), Malbec (10.5%), Petit Verdot (9.1%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (1.4%).  Beautiful lifted berry aromatics, well integrated on the palate and some concluding earthiness supported by fine drying tannin. 

Cable Bay
Merlot Malbec Cabernet: A blend of Merlot (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), Malbec (20%) and Cabernet Franc (11%).  600 cases made.  Beautifully perfumed, plumminess exhbited from the Merlot along with some dreid herb notes.  Typical cassis along with some of the earthen, leathery notes one would expect.  Fine tannin concludes the experience. 

Trinity Hill
The Gimlett 2008: Another 'Bordeaux' blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (43%), Merlot (41%), Petit Verdot (7%), Malbec (6%) and Cabernet Franc.  There's a pattern forming here: beautiful perfume with blackcurrant and cassis notes dominant.  But it's the gentleness that makes the wine stand out.  It has fine tannins and is of moderate length, but on the palate it has a fullness to it that has you yearning for more..

Source: New Zealand
Price: $45
Closure: About 9PM

Friday, 25 February 2011

Massena Tasting, Bar Barossa, Brisbane

I'm often guilty of attending tastings more for the people present as much for the wines available on taste.  That statement might also be subtext for "I enjoy the wines too much".  

I liked the cut of the jib of this Jaysen Collins fellow.  Together with business partner, Dan Standish, the two have crafted some excellent wines that you wouldn't exactly call out as from your standard Barossan moulds.  

The Surly Muse 2009 Viognier
Rhone influenced.  They wanted to make a wine that wasn't confined to what the Barossa was about.  Typically the wine is picked over two periods: the first pick is around 10 baume, the wine sits on lees, ferments naturally, the second pick about 4 weeks later.  Not your typical Apricotty Viognier.  Exhibited grassy, herby notes but with pronounced crispness and acidity.

2008 Barbera
Made with 40/50% whole bunch action, basket pressed then it' into the tank for secondary fermentation.  Not filtered, it effectively does so itself.  The wine was low in tannin, lean and acidic with lots of bright fruit expression on its mid-weight palate.

2010 Primitivo
The cuttings from this wine came from Puglia in Italy's south.  Again its a fairly natural wine in that it sees no oak treatment.  Up front there is plenty of pure fruit expression which is supplemented by some back end spice.  It was commented on the night that you can literally taste the ferment.

2008 Moonlight Run GSM (with some Cinsault so its a GSMC 55/25/15/5%)
Seen as the 'heart of Massena' for it was the wine first made.  Spends 18-20m in old oak to age the wine rather than to lend the oak to it.  Opens with aromas of Raspberry, cornichon and some pepper.  Good balance in the palate and a savoury finish in contrast to its sweeter beginnings.

2008 11th Hour Shiraz
Name is derived from Jason and Dan's 11th hour rescue of some 60 year old vines that were getting pulled.  The wine itself is now made from vines ranging from 30-120 years old.  Good Barossan Shiraz with plenty of chocolately notes and dark brooding masses of fruit; concluding with some good tannin.

2008 Howling Dog Durif
Lower in tannin than I was expecting for a Durif/ Petite Sirah.  Jaysen advised that extended time on skins leads to the tannins coming down naturally with no need for chemical intervention.  Dark almost porty notes with dried fruit presence.  Some tannin, but as mentioned less than expected.

2007 The Looting Duke Shiraz
Named after Napoleon's 2nd General, Massena - a looter and pillager by all accounts. Total production of 100 cases.  The wine was borne from 2 rows of Durif and a block of Shiraz that looked a bit different.  The two were co-fermented to produce this typical Shiraz of structured fruit with increased tannin at the back end

Friday, 3 September 2010

Samuel's Gorge Tasting

To me Twitter has been a fantastic way of hooking into the Australian wine community, enabling me to connect with local scribes, wineries and distributors.

It was through said medium that I learn that renowned McLaren Vale producer Samuel's Gorge is coming to Brisbane on the 9th September to conduct a public tasting at the Grand Central Hotel on Ann Street - immediately in front of Central Station.

There appears to be little in the way of official information on either the winery or venue websites.

My sole introduction to Samuel's Gorge was at the BYO Favs and Pizza Dinner (see post of the same name). However, suffice to say my recollections of that wine are such that this tasting is a must-attend event for me.