Sunday, August 28, 2011

Matariki Hawkes Bay Blanc de Blanc 2001

The Matariki Hawkes Bay Blanc de Blanc 2001. I’ve had this wine twice and twice I have loved it. This bottle is another treat I completely forgot about so when it turned up after a search through the cellar, well you know, woohoo! Heady of thick brioche and developed roasted nuts, this wine has still got a bone dry look about it in the glass and a delicious fine bead; a very well made wine indeed. This is not a wine that you will easily find at your local wine specialist and certainly not at Dan’s or VC’s, so if you are heading over the ditch, or are already over the ditch, search it out because it is a seriously great wine.

Drink with crumbed oysters
Drink till 2015
Quality cork and cage 13%v/v $$$?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bindi Bottling June 2011 - 2010 Original Vineyard, Block 5 and Quartz Chardonnay

I’ve learnt two things in the past couple of months, one is “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story” and “its not what you know, its who you know”. I think that’s about all I will say about that.

One thing that is for sure is that Bindi from the Macedon Ranges is mighty fine wine; but you already know that! Just before I took off to Vietnam with the family I headed up the Calder to help bottle the Bindi 2010 Original Vineyard and Block 5 Pinot Noirs and the Quartz Chardonnay. For the 11th time now I have taken the journey up the road and got stuck into some good old fashioned manual labour with 10 or so other Bindi knockabouts and just plain and simply had a great day.

By 7.30am about six of us were milling around the winery ready for the day ahead, and what better way to start then a crisp glass of the Quartz 2010 out of tank. It certainly was a heart starter, and what a way to start the heart; bright, clean, linear and driven by the wonderful mineral soil structure it is grown in. Bill Dhillon was pretty spot-on when he suggested this was the best chardonnay to come out of Bindi.

Just before 10am we were done and dusted with the chardonnay, and now it was the Pinot with the Original Vineyard stepping up to the plate. And with that it was time to taste. Brimming with tart red fruit, the OV 2010 straight out of tank is for me the best since the 06, and that’s big considering the 08 was and is very schmick. The Block 5 was next and quite simply, Amazing!!! Considering this wine was straight out of tank, you could easily say that it was a wine that had spent at least 9 months in the bottle; red and dark fruit, toffee and soft and sexy tannins. A master piece!

One thing that was different this year was bottling all three wines under three different closures; natural cork, Diam and Screwcap. This is so Michael can look at the development of the wines over time and effectively see how much TCA the wines under natural cork will show. I reckon this should be done a bit more by other producers so we can put to bed the ‘natural cork’ sycophants and enjoy all wine, not the 90% of wine that isn’t corked!

Like all bottling days we finished with another beaut lunch from Michaels wife, Wendy. This time it was her Beef Bourgogne; that’s all I’ve got, it was just super. And with this there was more Bindi wine with Michael opening up some back vintage Composition Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and the 2010 Pyrette. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday I’d say!

So there you have it. No truth was harmed in the telling of this story and yes, it is good to know people like Michael Dhillon!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Burn Cottage Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009

Certainly the Burn Cottage Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009 fits into the Rita Hayworth category; fleshy, seductive and wanted by men (and women) from all over. The thing is though, when you get Rita Hayworth home you want the Rita Hayworth that you have seen on the big screen. This is where the illusion ceases. Plump fruit with spicy dark fruit, The Burn Cottage at the end of the day is a nice wine, but ceterius paribus, this Pinot Noir is very Central Otago and very expensive, and like the grainy photo, it sort of misses the mark.

Drink with medium rump steak
Drink till 2015
Cork 14%v/v $80+ City Wine Shop, Spring Street Melbourne


While picking up some bacon from the Sydney Rd IGA for my 'home cooked' meal a few hours ago, I came across this take-home meal; I seriously think Ken Bruce had gone completely mad, again!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Domaine A Stoney Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

In my endeavour as Business Development Manager for Vranken-Pommery-Monopole in Australia, one of my tasks is to go out there and source quality producers for our domestic (including NZ) wine portfolio. Real tough job that one! Over the past twelve months I am happy to say that I have managed to bring in Paradigm Hill, Ostler Vineyards, Blue Poles Vineyard and Vinea Marson. My task is simple; approach producers from each region, represent only one producer from each region, but most importantly approach a producer whom I really like and wine I reeeaaalllyy like. Keep it simple stupid!

So with a good chunk of the mainland and NZ sorted, my attention turned to the apple isle. For me there is one producer down there doing it spot on. All rather there is only one producer I could think of off the top my head whom I would like to represent. Domaine A. Simple. But not so simple. I also believe in not poaching producers from other wine businesses; if they wish to contact me all the good, but I like to think I have some sort of integrity.

Not long ago I posted Domaine A’s 2003 Cabernet, a wine which I believe is Australia’s best Left Bank version; a theory that has met with much guffaw I must say. Anyhoo, Matt from marketing down at Domaine A was kind enough to write me an email thanking me for the write-up. And for the write-up came a bottle of the Domaine A Stoney Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – with a little Cab Franc, merlot and Petit Verdot. What a Stirling chap!

The wine. Dark and lush in the glass with flowing aromas of chocolate, soy sauce and cherry with licorice coming the longer in the decanter. The palate followed the nose with more cherry and chocolate with coffee imparted at the end. An amazing balance also with the acid and fine and savoury tannins. A winner, no doubt about it!

It’s interesting; however, that Domaine A markets this wine to be drunk early and the flagship wines to be cellared. In an age of second and entry level wines, Domaine A is producing two distinct wine labels that can both be struck in the premium category. Again, simple!

Drink with lamb rack
Drink till 2020
Quality cork 13.9%v/v from

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vinea Marson Heathcote Syrah 2008

Words fail me, so I’ll let someone else say it for me. The Vinea Marson Heathcote Syrah 2008

To the onlie Begetter of these insuing Sonnets. Mr. W.H. All Happinesse. And that eternitie promised by our ever-living poet wisheth the well-living adventurer in setting forth.

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should time decrease,
His tender heir might bear his memory;
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy lights flame with self substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

William Shakespeare; The Sonnets: 1

Drink with steak tartar
Drink till 2024
Diam cork 14.5%v/v $46 Purvis Cellars Balwyn and Bistro d’Orsay Collins Street

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Victor Gontier Cidre Bouché

Here I am sitting at home with a sore throat, air cabin ears and Nirvana playing on the iPod – little bit of nostalgia; that makes me sound so old!. So it’s me, the throat and Kurt and I’m thinking what gnarly little delight I have lying around to sooth my whoa’s: the Victor Gontier Cidre Bouché; from France of course.

The mighty fine Stu from North Fitzroy Blackhearts & Sparrows put me onto this (he also got Nicholas Brown from Black Estate in Waipara hooked). It was while I was on a work call with Nicholas when said Nicholas questioned the little ’warning’ sign sticky taped on the fridge below this particular cider. Well the warning sign was there due to a few unsuspecting consumers thinking this badboy was going to be like Strongbow: Oh contraire my learned colleagues! Stu then went on to share with us some of the flavour descriptions some consumers had passed on to him, but it was the elephants piss one that made me want to look at this one. And look at the label, it looks so innocent and harmless; don't know why, but it reminds me of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Very cloudy in the glass with a very distinct ammonia smell about it; yes, that’s the funky shit. But wait, it was also in the mouth with an almost wash rind flavour, and dare I say, texture! But I loved it. Erin did not. I don’t know what it was about it but it was really, really good, and did I say I loved it!

Drink with cheese – seriously!
Drink now
$22 4.5%v/v 750mL with a whacky cork and cage closure