Monday, June 28, 2010

Vinea Marson Heathcote Syrah 2006

Be well my love
Be well
As you brave
The raging storm

Be well my love
Be well
Into a new world
We are born

Step out on the road
Alone for awhile
Underneath Dublin sky
The quiet grows.

Luka Bloom – Be Well, The Acoustic Motorbike

Luka Bloom. We all know him and his music; raw, folksy, sometimes gut retching but always beautiful and poetic. So if Luka Bloom could be a wine he would be Vinea Marson, or more particular the Vinea Marson Heathcote Syrah 2006.

Hand-crafted by former Mount Mary and Jasper Hill winemaker Mario Marson, the Vinea Marson wines for me have always been of the highest quality, with the 2006 Syrah being just that. Strikingly reddish-purple in the glass, the nose throws up wonderful layers of black pepper and brown spice with notes of blackberry as well. super gorgeous in the mouth, this wine effortlessly brings together firm grippy tannins as well as black olive and licorice. A truly stunning example of Heathcote Syrah done well – just mouth watering!

Drink with beef and Guinness pie
Drink till 2019
Diam cork 14.5%v/v $36

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spinifex Bête Noir Barossa Shiraz 2008

There are times in everyone’s life when they have to admit they were wrong; Lady Di got it wrong with Charles, Richard Nixon got it wrong with Watergate, JVC got it wrong by betting on Beta and even the great Arthur Fonzarelli occasionally got it w-w-w-w-w-w-wrong. And I got it wrong with Barossa Shiraz! There you have it; I admit that not all Barossa Shiraz wine is merely a Christmas cake in a bottle. And the wine that did it for me, the Spinifex Bête Noir Barossa Shiraz 2008.

Midnight purple in the glass, this wine is very intriguing on the nose with lovely wafts of chocolate and pepper and a just a faint lick of licorice. The palate is jammed (sic) with raspberry and blackberry fruit; tart raspberry and ripe blackberry, spice and more juicy chocolate.

I just guess that today’s Barossa shiraz is not what it was five odd years ago. Just like I guess the same for chardonnay today compared to what it was 10 years ago – all buttery and oak! I look forward now to opening up to more delights from what used to be the ‘Heart of Darkness’,

They were dying slowly – it was very clear. They were not enemies, they were not criminals, they were nothing earthly now – nothing but black shadows of disease and starvation, lying confusedly in the greenish gloom.” Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

Drink with seared lamb and black pudding
Drink till 2016
Screwcap 14.5%v/v $42 at Blackhearts and Sparrows, North Fitzroy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ostler Vineyard Waitaki Valley Caroline’s Pinot Noir 2006

Every now and then you come across a wine that really grabs your attention. The Ostler Vineyard Waitaki Valley Caroline’s Pinot Noir 2006 is such a wine, and in the celebrated words of Victor Kiam, ‘I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company’ I went out and pursued Ostler. Unfortunately my finances won’t allow such an extravagance, so the next best thing was to get in touch with the owner and persuade him to let me distribute the wine in Australia. Done done and done!

Hailing from New Zealand’s newest sub-region, Waitaki Valley in North Otago, the Caroline’s Pinot Noir is a brooding ripper, but unlike it’s cousins within the ranges of Central Otago, this Pinot Noir does not suffer the rich ripeness, rather a savoury direction actually. Crimson in the glass, there is a very noticeable whack of mulberries, game and beetroot leaf on the nose. Quick bitey tannins greet the palate with layers of currants, morello cherries and brown spices which flow effortlessly alongside the still savoury acid hit. A great wine and the bonus is I distribute it – sweet as a nut hey bro!

Drink with pan roasted pigeon
Drink till 2016
97 and that’s not just because I distribute it, it is why I distribute it!
Screwcap 13.5%v/v about $50 at Blackhearts and Sparrows, North Fitzroy and Decanters by the Bay in Port Melbourne plus listing at Pearl, The Press Club, Rockpool Bar & Grill, The Point Albert Park and Grossi Florentino – sorry, selfless plug.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dindi Murrindindi Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Quite frankly the best bargain I have seen in yonks and it’s been yonks since I’ve said yonks so there you go. The Dindi Murrindindi Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 was such a good wine that I had to phone up Psarakos Markets in Thornbury and ask them if they had made a mistake with the price. And the price, a crazy $8.99!!!

Now I pretty much do all of our fruit and veg shopping down at Psarakos because simply they have the best range and lowest prices, but they also have a very good bottle shop with cheap imported Stella and Heineken; not the crap brewed here in Australia but the real stuff from Holland and Belgium. But every-now-and-then you find a little bargain, something odd and something different that you cant pass up on; the Dindi was this little bargain.

Deep purpley and red in the glass, the nose instantly throws up soft pepper, red capsicum, raspberries, tobacco and mocca – very surprising. The palate was lean and cool – winter helps with that – with long clean acid and tight chewy tannins with more raspberries and mocca. Such a bloody good wine and a fantastic reason to head down to Thornbury for some fresh galangal and a botlle or two of something something.

Drink till 2013
Drink with lamb korma
Screwcap 13%v/v $8.99 at Psarakos Markets, Thornbury

Monday, June 14, 2010

Gustave Lorentz Bergheim Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru Riesling 2005

There is no way I saw a 4-0 drubbing by Germany this morning – no way! Sigh goes my lamentable heart.

Anywhoo, its Madge’s birthday, or it was her birthday but we seem to have far too many holidays in April so we are celebrating today (geez, thanks heaps Germany). Now the question is what you would honour the Queen on this day of celebration (sleep in); something grand perhaps, and something to take our minds off this morning’s thumping. The obvious answer is down at the pub, but because I am a responsible dad it will have to be Gustave Lorentz Bergheim Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru Riesling 2005 – thanks for pointing that out Henry.

Stupid round ball game! Starting to yellow in the glass, the nose has an instant hit of stewed pineapple followed by the very obvious kero smell. The palate was quite a surprise with what seemed to be a granny smith malic acid hit. This was only for an instant as lavender and lanolin flowed over prickly acid, which by the way was bolt upright for the five hours (no Viagra was used for this acid, and no you filthy animals I’m not talking about getting it on!) we drank it over. Really racey, yet really developed all at the same time.

So thanks Madge for letting us have a sleep in two months after your birthday. And for Germany, well all I can muster up is well done and Sod Off! Nice wine but.

Drink with Lyonnaise sausage and chargrilled eggplant
Drink till 2016
Quality cork 13%v/v $70

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hans Herzog Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006

Sometimes, you wander in to a wine shop and think, ‘yeah, today I’m going to splurge out and spend $60 on a bottle of really good Pinot.’ After all is said and done though, all you have left is $60 less in the bank.

I gotta say that I was a little disappointed with the Hans Herzog Marlborough Pinot Noir 2006. It was a nice wine, but sort of left me wanting, wanting, wanting.........

‘.... and the wanting comes in waves....’ Hazards of Love – The Decemberists.

In the end Erin and I had a nice bottle of wine. Did I want a nice bottle for $60? No! I wanted a lap dance, but instead got a neck rub from my sister. Oh well, never thee mind.

And the wine. Good red with a tinge of brown in the hue. Not a lot on the nose, except for some brambly fruit and what I thought was a little formic acid – crushed ant smell. The acid is still bolt up-right, with a little touch of tart cranberry and a little ripe plum.

Drink with beef spare ribs
Drink now
Cork 14%v/v $60

home made gnocchi

Home-made gnocchi is such a simple pleasure for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It’s easy to make and more often than not all of the ingredients are already in the pantry – potatoes or semolina, flour and an egg. And for the sauce, just some passeta, olive oil, garlic and basil and there you have it. A simple and satisfying meal indeed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blue Poles Margaret River Allouran 2007

We were drinking. We decided to paint something together. I wanted to get him out of himself and into colour again. We spread out a large piece of Belgian linen. It must have taken an hour, because it was wrapped in a canvas sack, and inside, it was wrapped in a kind of wax paper.” Tony Smith, friend of Jackson Pollack, on the creation of ‘Blue Poles: number 11, 1952’

It all starts over a drink.

And what a drink this one was; the Blue Poles Margaret River Allouran 2007. I picked this up yesterday at Carlton Cellars after bottling up at Bindi, and I must say what an impressive wine it turned out to be. But before I get on about the wine, where the hell has this little gem been hiding. I know we are very Victorian centric about what we drink here, but geez, something like this should not be hidden away in cosy Carlton.

A blend of Merlot (66%) and Cabernet Franc (33%)- 1% of fairy dust obviously - this classic right bank blend, a blend that is all to ignored by the greater wine producing regions, is everything I was expecting, and I mean every word I say! Beautifully dark in the glass, the nose is soft and subtle with blackcurrant and tobacco, with a little bit of leafy green towards the end which tells me the Cab Franc has not been mauled by the Merlot. In the mouth there is perfect harmony between oak, acid and fruit, with the acid holding it all together without being too punctuated. I must add also that this went perfect with the ‘old person’ casserole I made when I got home.

A great wine and absolutely worth the trip to Carlton.

Drink with old person casserole – an easy Susan!
Drink till 2018
Screwcap 14%v/v $27 at Carlton Cellars

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jean Pillot et Fils Les Caillerets 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet 1996

Oh it's a miserable day here in Melbourne - you'd think we were in Sydney!!!

Anywhoo. I could well be talking about the Bindi bottling this morning - 2009 Quartz, Original Vineyard and Block 5 with the Quartz being the first Bindi wine to go under stelvin (sounds a bit blue doesn't it, 'Quartz under Stelvin'). Not today folks. Today it is going to be something that is going to shoo these rain clouds away; so shoo clouds, here is the Jean Pillot et Fils Les Caillerets 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet 1996.

I picked this up from Langtons about 18 months ago, and the real good thing about this is that I've got one left. For such a relatively old chardonnay (in our world anyway) the colour in the glass wasn't as dark gold/orange that I was expecting. On the contrary, the colour was golden, but still quite lite with a pale gold hue. Oh what gorgeous harmony the nose was! Full-on custard, lemon curd, creme brulee, oyster shells and truffles all hitting the olfactory at different intervals. In the mouth there were more surprises with the acid still bolt up-right with very citrus and a lovely briney feel about it; this is such a good wine, and like I said, there is one more.

A perfect example of getting what you paid for!

Drink with pan roasted snapper with a burre blanc sauce
Drink till 2011
Quality cork 12.5%v/v $110 at