Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Massena Barossa Valley Barbera 2009

Lately I have been rediscovering the joys of the Barossa Valley. No more is it a place where you go for high alcohol jars of jam, instead there are a group of new and young producers making, dare I say, exciting styles of Shiraz/Syrah in the guise of Northern Rhône wines.

But this is where it sort of goes off track a little. I like Barbera, always have. So when I tried the Massena Barossa Valley Barbera 2009, I was instantly wowed, but had to have a double take cos' this was for me not what Barbera is about. To me Barbera is flavors and aromas of fresh fruit and dried fruits and herbs.

Don't get me wrong this wine is great, and I am happy to see Barbera planted in ther Barossa, for the acidity of Barbera makes it ideal for planting in the warm to hot climate Barossa where acidification is usually needed.

So, about the wine then. Really dark in ther glass with no real hint of a ruby hue. ripe blueberries and mulberries come through on the nose with the palate very smooth with acid very much in the background. After about 45 minutes in the decanter the wine delivers red licorice at the end of the mouthful.

A good wine in the end and something that isn't what I would call garden variety.

Drink with slow braised lamd
Drink till 2013
90Screwcap 14.5%v/v $22 Blackheart and Sparrows, Brunswick

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Suckfizzle Augusta Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

My first look at a Suckfizzle wine was a corked bottle of the SSB at Piraeus Blues in Fitzroy just after I returned from four years in Europe and the US. In an Iron Chef moment, if memory serves me correct, the manager quickly took the wine away, and instead of another SSB she opened up the Cabernet Sauvignon. The three of us seemed a little surprised but just went along with it – we were glad. The banquet that we ended up having been accompanied with a further two more bottles of the Suckfizzle CS.

That was effectively the start of my love-affair with Suckfizzle wines, in particular the CS. And with this Suckfizzle Augusta Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 1998, my cellar is a little bit sadder today for there is no more hiding away. But no more tears, let’s get to the wine.

Still very dark in the glass, with no signs of any brickie hue to be seen. Fantastic wafts of cassis, cedar and brown spices with cinnamon the most obvious. More cassis in the palate with the acid a surprising hit in the mid palate followed by blueberries, more spice and another surprise with checked and still firm tannins bobbing up – very Bordeaux and very Left Bank.

My cellar has taken a hit in the past six months, so armed with Mr Visa, I think Suckfizzle may be getting an email from me sooner rather than later.

Drink with Corsican lamb stew – my recipe
Drink till 2016
Quality cork 14%v/v Parkhill Cellars Richmond $38 – still have receipt, but Cellars are now closed

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Good grief, I think I am finally accepting my Brunswickness.

Yesterday in Melbourne was very muggy and quite hot, and instead of inhaling beer I gave in to cider; geez it was good. Nice work Punt Road and rock on Napoleone & Co Apple Cider - made by winemakers if you didn't know!

For some reason I feel like buying a crappy 80's bike and riding on the footpath without a helmet carrying my Mac in the floral basket - I am so rad now!

$14.99 a 4 pack from Northcote IGA

Friday, November 12, 2010

I was Wrong!..... Vavasour Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010

.... and before you know it, it’s hot. Then it’s going to be cold, then hot, then cold, then.....

Melbourne; what a great city to live in hey? Yes summer has once again side-stepped spring in Melbourne and we find ourselves again switching from central heating to air-con over night. And that’s what this post today is based on – switching.

Now, to all those too cool for school rock n’ rollers out there, look away now. Everyone else, I like Sauvignon Blanc. It’s almost a Fonz moment, ‘I was w-w-w-w-w-w-wrong....’, but hey, when it’s warm and the nights are muggy, Savvy B really does hit the spot. And the Savvy B that floated my boat this week is the Vavasour Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010. Crisp, fresh and just a real good sense of balance about this wine; its got great acidity yet it is not astringent; the fruit is there but its not cloyingly sweet. This is a very nice wine.

So people, give this much maligned grape a go. And if need be, look up your local SBA (Sauvignon Blanc anonymous) group and tell the world that yes, I love Savvy B.

Drink with goats cheese and scallop salad
Drink now
Screwcap 13.5% v/v $17 from Dan Murphy’s Hawthorn East

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009

For all of you who do not know who Jack Dyer is, here is a brief synopsis:

• Richmond Football club and VFL legend
• One of the dirtiest players in his, and for that matter any era
• TV personality
• Creator of some of the best quotes in last 50 years

A few times I have mentioned in my blog the phrase, ‘good average player’. This was one of Jack Dyer’s more common summations of players he commented on while he was in broadcasting, and probably for that matter, playing also.

For me, ‘good average player’ is effectively saying he is not a star, but he holds his own; wine imitating football you might say. A wine that will not blow your socks off, but something that deserved to be bottled. Pretty simple really.

This leads us to the Mount Riley Marlborough Pinot Gris 2009. A nice wine without the lap dance. All categories tick the box: colour – slight greyish pink; nose – prickly pear and full; palate – more pear with a slight viscosity about it. In the end, a nice bottle of wine, or in footy terms, a good average drop.

Drink with seared scallops
Drink till 2012
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $19 from Psarakos markets, Thornbury