Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Six in 2011

It’s that time of the year again when we make resolutions and spend money on gym memberships that rarely get used. 2011 came and tomorrow its 2012’s time to shine. But 2011 year has been pretty huge for me, starting off still working in champagne and as agent for eight Australian and New Zealand producers to be now heavily involved in one of Melbourne’s newest, and biggest I think, restaurant – Albert Street Food & Wine. Yes, it has been positively Heaps Bunta (South Australian Oxford Dictionary meaning HUGE!).

This year has also been a great year for new and not so new wine, which I have come across. Even though there has only been just shy of 90 posts this calendar year, it’s been a year when so much has been awesome, and so little being crap; that a good thing! So here are my Top 6 (5 just couldn’t justify) wines of the year in no particular order. You will notice that there is a leaning towards whites. This is by no means a ‘White Power’ salute to white supremacy, just worked out that way I guess.

Mitchell Harris Pyrenees Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – a recent post on Cooked and Bottled, and a truly great wine. What I loved about this wine is the wonderful nose of dried white herbs of coriander, fennel seed and white pepper. Just love it.

A.Rodda Beechworth Chardonnay 2010 – the first wine produced by Adrian Rodda under his own label. I met and worked with Adrian in 2008 doing vintage at Oakridge in the Yarra Valley and hit off pretty quick with a shared passion for The World Game; I think he still follows Melbourne Victory, me Melbourne Heart. Anyhoo, I smashing debut up in Beechworth.

Bindi Macedon Ranges Original Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 – What more can I say about Bindi that i haven’t already. This is Australia’s answer to Burgundy. That’s all I’ve got!

Vinteloper Clare Valley Watervale Riesling 2011 – made by possibly the tallest wine maker in Australia, David Bowley producers a beautiful wine loaded with never ending flint and river stone minerality without the predictable lime acid that is known from this part of SA.

Marcel Deiss Alsace Pinot D’Alsace 2010 – a blend of Pinot Gris, Blanc and Auxerre, this wine has beautiful floral notes on the nose and a seductive fullness in the palate that just makes me want more, more and more....

EKK Weissburgunder Südtiroler Pinot Bianco Alto Adige 2010 – a real wine out of left field when I first came across it. Rich and viscous with orange blossom and a tickle of honey, this wine has a real residual feel to it, but this is more from lees stirring that left over sugar. But eat it with rich fatty pork like i did last night. Delicious!!!!

There you have it. If there was a real favourite I think it would be the Mitchell Harris Sauvignon just because it made me fall in love with this much maligned variety all over again. So leave your preconceptions behind and do yourself a flavour favour and get some.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Must!

Two weeks ago I flew to Perth for an in and outer – sounds lewd I know – for a mate's 40th. So there I was on the Saturday afternoon with 5 hours to kill and wearing my best Hawaiian shirt and effectively nowhere to go. Staying in the CBD I ventured down to Balthazar, but alas, they were shut. After this I shifted up to St Georges Terrace to Greenhouse, but that was too noisy (and I was the only person there without ink or piercings) with some douff douff or whatever blaring out of the speakers. Fortunately all was not lost and a quick taxi ride (Perth’s traffic lights are possibly the slowest in the free world!!) I was at Must Wine Bar & Restaurant in air conditioned comfort and in the company of the very erstwhile Stefano, Tim and Aaron. Here is where my 5 hour lunch started.

There was so much good stuff that those boys put in front of me; steak tartare, oysters, parfait, pork belly and more stuff and more.... There was also a lot of wine and cider, and it was this gem that was the standout; Piero Mancini Cucaione Vermentino di Gallura from Sardinia. Very Vermentino in the glass with a mature Chardonnay look about it. The nose was a mix of brine and custard; sounds odd but it was all working really well, so well that I reckon I was sniffing it for a good 5 minutes before it past the laughing gear! Like the nose, the mouth was a combination of brine and acid and burnt cream, or crème brulee, and once again it worked and was pretty spot on with the tartare. An awesome day fella's. Thanks for everything!

I made sure before I left the boys that they give me the details of the importer, so expect to see this gooden’ beauty down at Albert Street Food & Wine sometime in the New Year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Head Brunette Moppa Syrah 2010

This wine is not built on sun but rather the minerality that is below the ground. The Head Brunette Moppa Syrah 2010 is still very young in the bottle, but speaks to as if it had been around for five or so years. Beautiful and dark in the glass; a perfect example of ox blood if there was one, the Brunette 2010 like the 2009 has a great hallmark of tart red and dark fruit, but none of the JABS characteristics of stewed fruit and blood curdling alcohol. As I said, this wine speaks with a very mineral accent that drives both luscious tannins and squeaky clean acid. Lucky there are 5 bottles left in the 6 pack; needed to see what the little fella looked like!

Drink with rare venison
Drink till 2020
Screwcap 13.8%v/v $40ish

Mitchell Harris Pyrenees Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2011

This is close to the best wine of the year for me. The Mitchell Harris Pyrenees Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2011. In past posts I have mentioned that I am an unabashed Sauvignon fan; done right that is and not to a regional formula. So the first thing to say is that I should not be confused with the ‘Savvy Bashes’ and secondly buy this wine. Full of cracked white pepper and fennel on the nose, the palate also too surprises with a crisp and, this next one I had difficulty with, unctuous and almost tangible herbal note to it. This persisted throughout the bottle. The only trouble with this wine was the glass and a bit I left in the bottle for the next day had no impact like the first three. So I went back to Albert Street Food & Wine the next day and picked anotherie up. A truly great Australian example of how to do this grape justice.

Drink with goat’s cheese
Drink till 2013
Screwcap 12.5%v/v $24 Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick