Monday, December 31, 2012

BK Adelaide Hills Cult Syrah 2011

Its the last day of the year. 2012 will be recent history this time tomorrow.

Sometime over the coming week I will compile my 'Best of 2012'. You can be sure that this wine will not only be in that list but will also feature on the podium. The BK Wines Adelaide Hills Cult Syrah 2011 . Cult indeed!

It is no secret that 2011 was fairly tough throughout south east Australia. One wine maker said to me that, 'you cannot make a turd shine but you can role it in glitter to make it sparkle'. Too true. This wine, however, shines and sparkles and quite simply perform a lap dance when considering the year should merely be flashing some boob.

So to the wine. The nose has an instant hit of brown spice - cardamon springs to mind straight away - with prickly subtle dark plum and red licorice; very northern Rhône. All very delicate and leaving me just wanting more. The palate starts with seamless soft tannins with acid flowing just after. More spice forms the mid palate with tart red fruit and more spice lingering all the way. I'm not sure how long this was; I don't time length like Robert Parker. Just superb.

Drink with smoked duck breast
Drink till 2018
98
Natural cork 13.5%v/v $32 Seddon Wine Store

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Austins Geelong Shiraz 2008

This wine reminded me of what simple good wine is all about. A Shiraz. From Geelong. A good year. It looks and sounds like a simple formula, and that's exactly what you get here. The Austins Geelong Shiraz 2008 label reads just that. In the bottle you get s great whack of cool climate shiraz, a lick of regionality and a touch of age which is something odd these days with wine producers often getting their wine out the same year as the vintage.

Black licorice and subtle spice - white pepper notably - come to the fore on the nose with white pepper being quite dominant in the primary palate. I did decant this after my first sip; very big acid early. After about 30 minutes the wine was still focused around the acid and white pepper but time in the decanter brings black licorice and half tart half ripe blackberries. Good to have you back Austins!

Drink till 2016
Drink with chilli con carne
93
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $30 Carlton Cellars 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Vinea Marson Heathcote Viognier 2011 Part II

Gorgeously textured, the Vinea Marson Heathcote Viognier 2011 is a true expression of this variety with exactly the right amount of apricot and other stonefruit to balance out with the acid and supple white phenolics. And if you want to know exactly what the right amount of stonefruit is for a viognier, then its 59!

Drink with pork cutlets - with fat on of course
Drink till 2016  
93
Diam cork 13%v/v $30ish

Wine Super Heroes Unite! Bodegas Roda Rioja Sela Tempranillo/Graciano 2009

It maybe that time of the year where a good proportion of my brain cells have been internally fried by excessive wine and beer intake, but humour me with this one. What if for some funky-arsed reason there were wine super heroes, and with this there were Nemesis's to said wine super heroes. Cool hey?

So, who are are wine super heroes and nemesis's you wonder. I think its a no brainer; Tempranillo and Pinot Noir.

There's this brash young upstart -Tempranillo for argument's sake - in the new territory who has been lording it up in the old world for god knows how long. So then we look at the perennially good guy, Pinot Noir; butter wouldn't melt in its mouth they say. Tempranillo looks down the street and sees a life of adulation and worship, and Tempranillo wants some of that, wants it now.

Then all of the sudden Tempranillo develops a little following, and slowly over time this little following turns in to a ground swell. Well, Pinot Noir does not particularly like this, not one bit. But it is not in Pinot Noirs make-up to respond in spite for Pinot Noir is a member of the Noble Royal European family and to stoop to a the level of a commoner would just not do.

So with this Pinot Noir offers Tempranillo a seat in the unofficial 'Cool Grape Society', and as they say, the rest is history with Pinot Noir and Tempranillo both sharing equal adulation and glory without any blood, or juice for that matter, being spilt. It is not everyday we can say we have peace in our lifetime.

This little piece was inspired by the lyrical genius of Tenacious D and the song 'Wonder Boy'.



And with that we need a wine note I think. The Bodegas Roda Rioja Sela Tempranillo/Graciano 2009. Super dark in the glass, the wine has a great waft of blueberries and a surprsing hit of marzipan - something I was not expecting, but nevertheless thought was rockin'. The palate is all about primary acid and tannins up front with a flow of spice and more blueberries and marzipan. I loved it.

You can probably see in my labels that Tempranillo is somewhat in the shadow of Pinot Noir on my blog. I promise to remedy this over time.

Drink with spiced lamb shoulder roast
Drink till 2019+
96
Natural cork 14%v/v $50 Seddon Wine Store

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bindi Macedon Ranges 1992 Chardonnay

It has come and gone just like that. Christmas 2012 is but a recent memory, and for some of us, a loosening of the belt. Like with most Xmas days I try and pull something schmick out of the cellar; didn't have to think too hard this year. The Bindi Macedon Ranges 1992 Chardonnay. It may not have a label, but when it is given to me by Michael Dhillon I just take his word for it.

The colour was turning orange with hints of straw yellow in the hue. The nose was a bomb of creme brulee, almonds and dried figs. The palate was just amazing with acid still prominent. There are not too many Australian Chardonnays that have the chutzpah to hang in there. Twenty years people, and a first vintage to boot!

Drink till 2015
Drink with my salmon gravlax - a Susan if ever there was one
99
Natural cork 12%v/v

Monday, December 24, 2012

Kasaura D'Abruzzo Trebbiano DOC 2011


Days like today throw me. You see its not a public holiday, but I'm not at work. I'm not at either of my jobs actually - Seddon Wine Store or Bindi up in the Macedon Ranges. I've trimmed the hedge, mowed the lawn, turned the gravlax (wait till you see it!!) and given Daisy a bath. But it just feels a bit, well you know?

The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago when I tried this beauty; The Kasaura D'Abruzzo Trebbiano DOC 2011. Its a Trebbiano, not something that has gone down well in my humble glassware. Till now. This is such a spankingly good wine. A bit of green garden dried herb something something going on with a lick of soft citrus. The palate starts with a generous amount of glycerol and wax all melded into one. Great start. There is great weight with this wine without any terse astringency, and right at the end is a great lick of lemon curd. Bloody good.

Merry Xmas everyone!

Drink with a classic prawn cocktail
Drink till 2014
93
Screwcap 13%v/v $16 Seddon Wine Store

Eastern Peake Ballarat Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2009

So when its hot, drink dry whites. When its not, drink something else. Yesterday was hot. Last night was really hot. Today; not-so-hot. That's right, I live in Melbourne. This means I can have a wide selection of wine to choose from cos the weather here lives in a permanent state of bi-polar flux.

So my wine for a cooler day today is the Eastern Peake Ballarat Intrinsic Pinot Noir 2009. Deep red in the glass, the aroma has an instant waft of dark fruit with prickly plum to the fore. But it is after about two hours open that the wine develops in to a beautiful beast of game and forest floor;serious and sensual stuff. Very Pommard if I have to say. I have to say!! The palate follows a similar path of the nose with supple dark fruit beautifully held together with mouth watering acid and perfectly tuned silky tannins. Nice work Norman.

Drink with sticky pork ribs
Drink till 2022
95
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $46 Seddon Wine Store

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reichsrat Von Bulh Pfalz Riesling 2011

Its taken me about 6 years to give this wine a go again. So when I saw this in the fridge at Seddon Wine Store, and also glimpsed the price; a meager $24 if you don't mind, then yes, it was long enough to have another wee look at this German dandy. The Reichsrat Von Bulh Pfalz Riesling 2011 is quite simply a knockout!

In the back of most peoples mind just before sipping a Riesling, certain flavours leap out such as lemon/lime and tart minerality rounded out by sharp acidity. And sometimes it is all about sweet primary fruit with glycerol. This wine was, and is, somewhat of a leap from the two previous styles. The nose starts full of fresh white peach with lanolin wafting around the longer in the glass. The palate is where it gets funky. My first sip was full of dried green herbs very reminiscent to the Vadiaperti Falanghia tasted earlier in the year, with fresh green fennel being the standout.

The surprising bit about this wine is that I was not disappointed because I did not get the massive citrus and acid whack, nor the sweet stewed pineapple affect; quite on the contrary. What I love about this wine is it is not one dimensional. Its Original. Its a winner!

Drink with chicken with buttered sage
Drink till 2016
96
Screwcap 12%v/v $24 Seddon Wine Store

Friday, December 14, 2012

Albert Mann Alsace Pinot Blanc Auxerrois 2011

Its getting to the pointy end of the year and the time where we need to grab some awesomely-awesome wine for Xmas. Its also the time I collate my top drops for the calender year; I think this one will get a mention. The Albert Mann Alsace Pinot Blanc Auxerrois 2011, whom I was informed recently was named Wine Spectator winery of the year 2012,  is quite simply the Bomb! A cute blend of Pinot's Blanc and Auxerrois, this wine has layer upon layer of fine nashi pear, wax, minerality and crisp fine acid; there's also a fine line of white phenolics right at the end which neatly balances out the tort acid.

Such a great wine and a monty in downtown Brunswick this Xmas.

Drink with grilled octopus
Drink till 2014
96
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $29 Seddon Wine Store

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne 2010

It was at a tasting earlier this year where a young sommelier, or that's what he was telling everyone he met and announcing it as his 'calling', made the comment that any French wine with the variety on it should be avoided at all cost. Fortunately a wine maker there reminded him that pretty much all Alsace wines come with variety stated as do with a lot of great champagnes. Score 1 to the wine maker!

It seems comments like the one from the sommelier are like hair cuts; everyone has a different one. My take on opinions should squarely be based on the finished product, not what the label says. But if on the label somewhere is the name Anne Gros, then yes, my opinion will be a resounding thumbs up. The Domaine Anne Gros Bourgogne 2010, with the variety fair-and-square for everyone to see, is easily one of the wines of the year for me so far.

A very dark red in the glass, the wine opens up with dark cherries, spice and earth, and the longer in the glass a very distinct bacon fat wafts up the olfactory in a most pleasurable manner. The palate is quite different from the nose with a very dry and grippy front that washes away with an almost syrupy cherry middle and then, just like that, a tart cherry and cranberry finish. Just delightful.

Drink with grilled quail with figs
Drink till 2016
96
Cork 12.5%v/v $45-$50

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prunotto Ochetti Piedmont Nebbiolo d'Alba 2008

My lament is that only one glass gets washed around here these days; Erin only having wine a few days a week, which is cool though. Pitiful lament I know. But its the case so half bottle season it is! The Prunotto Occhetti Piedmont Nebbiolo d'Alba 2008 is all bells and whistles; its really everyhting you love about Nebbiolo, or Barolo for that matter, only its in a little bottle and perfect for one glass - 2 1/2 really. Chicken or the egg meets tomato/potato kind a thing if you get my drift.

Drink with juicy lamb chops
Drink till 2020
96
Quality cork 13.5%v/v $40ish Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Paradigm Hill Mornington Peninsula Col's Block Shiraz 2007

A truly captivating wine this one. The Paradigm Hill Mornington Peninsula Col's Block Shiraz 2007 is one of those new world wines that would fit very neatly alongside Northern Rhône gems; Ghislaine Fumat and Allemand Reynard from Cornas were two producers that spring to mind straight away.

One thing that always jumps out in this wine is the long and intense mineral line, once again drawing comparisons to Cornas with its ever present Massif granite that lies just below the top soil. The nose in this wine has certainly developed with a soft coffee note coming through as well as retrained black olive tapanade. The palate sits very cool in the mouth with the acid still holding court along with soft grainy tannins that are followed by even notes of black licorice and black olives. A wine that has got better with age and will again benefit with more cellaring to follow.

Seriously, this wine is so good, if Thom Yorke wanted to make wine he'd want to make this.

Drink with crusted slow roasted lamb
Drink till 2022
97
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $50ish if you can still find it

Old school

It looks old school. It is. Lamb chops, rosemary and lemon on the BBQ. Simple

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holyman Tamar River Pinot Noir 2010

It's funny how you go through stages. For a long time it was all about acid, tannins and a super dry style of Pinot Noir. I was a poo-pooer of big, bold and fruity Pinot's. Like I said, you go through stages. I'm a big boy now, so I take it all for what it is, not what I want it to be. Sometimes I like, sometimes I dislike. This one I really liked.

The Holyman Tamar River Pinot Noir 2010 is certainly not a wall flower. This is a wine that yells, 'I'm over here. Look at me'. And it is this bravado that sets it apart from other 'bigger' style Pinot's from across the ditch. Yes it has a wonderful mix of dark and masculine fruit, but it also has a very even balance of acid and soft mineral tannins that leave the palate clean and fresh and not heavy and hot. This a wine that demands food and is a definite Susan to the classic Peking Duck.

And speaking of stages, I'm currently listening to Phil Collins, 'Hello, I must be going...'. Now that's the funky shit.

Drink with Peking Duck
Drink till 2017
95
Screwcap 14%v/v mid $40's

Monday, November 19, 2012

Craiglee Sunbury Chardonnay 1996

Stonkingly. Good. Stonkingly good. Stonkinglygood. Doesn't matter how you say it. The Craiglee Sunbury Chardonnay 1996 was today's knock off beer at Bindi. But no, beer is really good after a hot day in the vineyard. But anyway.

Who would have thunk it that in 2012 a 16 year old Australian chardonnay would be this good. And youthful. And awesome. In the glass the wine still has a youthful white wine look about it, with just a touch of colour age about it. The nose smells very 1996 with crème caramel with some orange and grapefruit pith. The palate however? 1996 no way! A massive mix of soft butterscotch, creaminess, citrus in the way of pithy and taste, and above all fine and persistent acid. With a wine, and espicially chardonnay, at this age the acid would have pretty much been swallowed up by time. Not here. Acid is all preset here.

One of the best knock off beers I've ever had.

Drink with grilled marron
Drink till 2018
97
Quality cork 13%v/v http://www.craiglee.com.au/

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cascina Morassino Langhe Nebbiolo 2008 DOC

'O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, 
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse 
Without all hope of day.'
John Milton - Samson Agonistes

Not quite the end of the world stuff, but dark nonetheless. The Cascina Morassino Langhe Nebbiolo 2008 DOC appears almost black in the glass with the hue seemingly black also. The nose is all true Nebbiolo with tar steaming off the surface. The palate, like the nose, is again all Nebbiolo with lip smacking tannins and acid all holding tart red fruit in check. No need to wait for the apocalypse to enjoy this.

Drink with osso bucco
Drink till 2020
94
Quality cork 13.5%v/v $50 Blackhearts & Sparrows, Fitzroy North

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shobbrook Seppeltsfield Syrah 2010


There's steak on the menu tonight. Erin is off to one of her friends birthdays so steak makes an appearance tonight in my kitchen. The kids will probably have pasta or noodles but steak at about medium rare will suit me just fine.

The wine cellar is a bit skinny lately so I will get to what I'm drinking later, but if I had this gem still in there then it would be an easy option. The Shobbrook Seppeltsfield Syrah 2010. Like the 2008, this wine is very much a part of the new breed of Shiraz/Syrah coming from the Barossa. Yes, there are still wines that are all JABS, but then there are wines such as Shobbrook, Head Wines, and Vinteloper from MacVale who are all creating wines that hold more familiarity to Northern Rhone than South Australia.

So the 2010. Like the 2008 again, very dark in the glass with a faint purple hue. The nose throws up plenty of black olive and black licorice with a lick also of prickly plum. The palate has a super razor sharp acid length going on with tannins that are there, then not, then back. Strange that one. With the aid of a decanter the wine opened up wonderfully with a mix of savoury gaminess, grainy minerality and more prickly plum. Such a great wine.

Drink with porterhouse medium rare
Drink till 2020
95 
Quality cork and wax seal 13.5%v/v mid $40 range Blackhearts & Sparrows, Fitzroy North

Friday, November 16, 2012

Domaine Maurice et Anne-Marie Chapuis Corton-Charlemagne 2004


in•dul•gence    [in-duhl-juhns] Show IPA noun, verb, in•dul•genced, in•dul•genc•ing. noun

1. the act or practice of indulging; gratification of desire.
2. the state of being indulgent.
3. indulgent allowance or tolerance.
4. a catering to someone's mood or whim; humoring: The sick man demanded indulgence as his due.
5. something indulged in: Her favourite indulgence was candy.

Courtesy of http://dictionary.reference.com/

Tick. Tick. Tick. A stunning wine. The Domaine Maurice et Anne-Marie Chapuis Corton-Charlemagne 2004. Hazelnut meal, citrus, white peach, lean minerality. Sexy as a nut. That's it really.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blue Poles Margaret River Teroldego 2011

If I loved continental tigers I'd write a blog on them. If I loved 16th Century Albanian poetry I'd write a blog about that too. The thing is I love wine. Lots of people love wine. Lots of people may also too love 16th Century Albanian poetry, but that may be a stretch I reckon. So when it seems I am almost Robinson Crusoe regarding the next wine, well I just don't get it. Maybe people are just too busy with peace crisis meetings to actually take the time to look at it.

The Blue Poles Margaret River Teroldego 2011 is a step up from its predecessor, the famous 'non vintage' wine from the same producers; well there are only two producers of this variety in Australia who share approximately 4 hectares between them. Very dark in the glass with no real hue to speak of. The nose is very heady and rustic with secondary notes of cedar, lead pencil with big, fat and juicy ripe cherries at the back; there's a lot to love in the nose itself. The palate is laced with a gorgeous line of lip smacking tannins and acid all combined with more secondary flavours such as dried herbs and bitter chocolate. Wonderful rustic goodness I say.

This is a wine that is not predictable in the slightest, and in that may just challenge your local neighbourhood wine expert along the way. Ships ahoy!

Drink with parmigiarna di melanzane - a definite Susan
Drink till 2020
96
Screwcap 13.8%v/v $30ish

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jamsheed Beechworth Syrah 2011

My body hurts. You see I've just spent the past few days up in vineyard at Bindi; lifting wires, dropping wires, snipping watershoots and leaving watershoots. My body hurts. That was hard work.

Now I could have come home and opened one of the many wines from Bindi I got for being a top bloke, but that would have been a little predictable don't you think! But I wanted something grand. Something schmick. The Jamsheed Beechworth Syrah 2011.

Its only a young wine but by goodness, what a young wine. Blackish purple in the glass, the nose opens up with blackfruit, black licorice and slight olive - black - tapanade. It's the new black you might say. Plenty of minerality up front with acid and silky smooth tannins riding shotgun. The wine is just super. I love it. My body still hurts.

Drink with rare roast beef and horseradish rolls
Drink till 2020
97
Diam cork with wax seal 13%v/v $44 Blackhearts & Sparrows, Brunswick

Sunday, November 11, 2012

De Iuliis Hunter Valley Aged Release Semillon 2005

If you are in Melbourne this morning, look out the window, it's a stunning day. And on a day like today when all is said and done, when the garden has been sorted, when the washing has dried - from the close line not the drier, and when the kids have exhausted themselves from 4 hours of trampolining, drink this.

The De Iuliis Hunter Valley Aged Release Semillon 2005 is a Melbourne spring day in a bottle. Straw colour in the glass, the nose offers soft hints of honey, white flowers and waxy lanolin. The palate is driven with a mix of lemon and lime citrus sting with an almost whizz-fizz grainy finish. And like a Melbourne spring day, after a while it all changes. On looking at this wine the following day a real toastiness flows through the wine. Just beautiful, like today.

Drink with grilled prawns
Drink till 2015+
92
Screwcap 11.5%v/v $30ish at Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paradigm Hill Mornington Peninsula Les Cinq Pinot Noir 2010




So it's over for another 12 months. The Melbourne Cup has been run-and-won and I can once again forget about a career as a professional punter after my worthless box trifecta I spent 2 hours on this morning; seems being smart at maths doesn't work here.

Green Moon. It was written off by the experts after the Caulfield Cup I think. Since a little after 3pm I have been humming a host of songs in my head with 'Green' in the title; 'Green Eyes' by Coldplay, 'Devil with the green eyes' and 'Evergreen' by Matthew Sweet, 'Everything's gone green' by New Order and most of the 'Green Album' by Weezer. But it has been 'Devil with the green eyes' by Matthew Sweet that has stuck. And this stuck too. The Paradigm Hill Mornington Peninsula Les Cinq Pinot Noir 2010 is not green, but it's a wine that if you didn't get any, you'd be green with envy.

This has got to be one of the best ever Pinot Noirs to come from the Peninsula. And I'm not just saying that because George Mihaly is like a defacto dad to me. Not at all. The nose is all seduction with a woven mix of brown spice, tart cranberry and gamey goodness. The palate is a class above anything I have had this year I'd say. Supple and generous acid and stunning tight tannins combine up front that open the way to brambly red fruit, earthy sweetness all flushed along by mouth watering minerality.

My notes got a bit blurred so I'll just leave you with this. Buy it. Drink it. But try sharing it.

Drink with as few people as possible
Drink till 2030
100/100
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $85-$90

PS. Good luck with the $100 million jackpot tonight

Monday, November 5, 2012

BK Wines Adelaide Hills Skin n' Bones Pinot Noir 2011


Q. What are the two things you take home with you when you leave a wine store - assuming you have just purchased a bottle of wine?
A. The wine of course, and the receipt. When its natural cork, the receipt is what stands between you and undrinkable wine.

Okidokey then. The BK Wines Adelaide Hills Skin n' Bones Pinot Noir 2011 - second bottle - was a pretty as a picture. Ruby red in the glass, the aroma was a mix of soft strawberries and tart cranberry and raspberry. The palate was brimming with more tart red fruit, little bit of spice, but tart red fruit; that's what the notes say anyway. And the 250 days? Dunno. Maybe on skins. A goodin' for the dollars.

Drink with spicey taco's
Drink till 2015
89
Natural cork 13.5%v/v $32 Seddon Wine Shop

PS: BK Wines, diam is the new black.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wedgetail Yarra Valley Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010


A very pretty wine. The Wedgetail Yarra Valley Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 is everything you want from a Pinot coming from a great vintage; perfume, tart red fruit - think raspberry and cranberry, spice and plenty of acid. It should really be a crowd pleaser, but coming in the high $40's, its not everyone's cup of marmite when it delivers, but just doesn't deliver. All things being equal, a nice wine.

Drink with BBQ quail
Drink till 2016  
91
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $40+ Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Castaño Yecla Ecológico Monastrell 2009

This is another Monastrell/Mataro/Mourvèdre that I simply cannot get enough of. The Castaño Yecla Ecológico Monastrell 2009 has been a regular in my recycling bin lately purely and simply because its so bloody good. Very red in the glass, the nose throws up blackberries and an almost iodinie-cum-medicinal- throaty-lolly-cum-gingerbread; that's the funky shit, and that's a good thing. The palate starts with crunching acid and tannins that flows along with more blackberries and black licorice. Just get some.

Drink with lamb sausages
Drink till 2017
94
Screwcap 13%v/v $22 Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Château Léoville-Poyferré Saint-Julien 1996

This was quite special. The Château Léoville-Poyferré Saint-Julien 1996 was opened at about 9am, double decanted, and finally left to sit for about 6 hours before emptied and used to wash down a Côte du Boeuf. Intense is a word that can describe just about every facet of this wine, but i will just say that this wine has plenty left in the tank, something that Left Bank wines take from the 1996 vintage and Right Bank unfortunately do not. Super tort tannins are ever present, with the wine moving through a wave of flavour and aroma profiles; mocha, black and blue berries, leather, dry spice and plenty more but the cocktail napkin I wrote my notes on got a bit smudged so that's all there is. Super sexy it was.

Drank with Côte du Boeuf - medium rare
Drink till 2030+
98
Quality cork 13.5%v/v $$$

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2011

You see, a funny thing happened on the way to the winery. The Chardonnay grape, a grape that can be done this way or that, decided to stand up for itself and spoke to the winemaker who just happened to be driving the tractor. This is the conversation that took place, word for word; I swear!!!

Chardonnay Grape (CG) - hey winemaker person
Winemaker (WM) - yeah little chardonnay berry
CG - that building we are heading to, the winery. Now I'm not trying to tell you what to do when we get there, but I'm just giving you the skinny of what may happen
WM - the skinny hey. This should be good.
CG - sigh!!! Yes the skinny. Now when we get there I reckon you have two paths that you can take. First path is the old school path. This is where you allow me to suck up as much new and used oak as you can give me and then allow me to go through not one, but two ferments; oh the butterscotch. Secondly, the new school method where you can pick me green and just bath me in the steel tank just so as I can get all my sugar, which is not much, in to CH3CH2OH. Lovely!
WM - so then, you know the skinny.
CG - but, as the Bard would say, 'here in lies the rub!'
WM - since when do you read Shakespeare?
GC -you'd be surprised what gets passed along in the canopy. Anyway, whats it gunna be?
WM - well, seems you have been doing your homework, but I'm one step ahead of you.
GC - go on ......

This did go on for a while so I will not bore you with, as the Chardonnay grape calls it, the skinny. In the end the wine maker was all over the two methods - old and new school - and he managed to combine the two methods to bring us a chardonnay that is dripping in uber cool licks. The Hoddles Creek Estate Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2011 is a wine that was made in a difficult vintage, but Franco D'Anna put together a cracking wine that has surely got to be one of the bargains of the year.

So the wine. All chardonnay on the nose with citrus and a touch of stone fruit and toasty oak. In the mouth there was plenty of natural acidity coming through, but there was also a great mix of more stone fruit and a touch of leesy creaminess without being bathed in butterscotch drops. Like I said, easy one of the bargains of the year.

Drink with grilled whiting
Drink till 2014
95
Screwcap 13.2%v/v $18 Prince Wine Store, Essendon

Eastern Peake Ballarat Pinot Noir 2003

Was able to hog a glass of this at a recent Eastern Peake wine dinner at Gerald's Bar in Carlton. From what Norm said about the wine in its youth - green and harsh and absolutely no substance - to what it is now; pretty much the ugly duckling story ensued. The Eastern Peake Ballarat Pinot Noir 2003 is brooding with unashamed sexuality with toffee and fatty gaminess a plenty. A real pity that there is bugger all left.

Drank with grilled quail
Drink till 2018
98
Quality cork 13%v/v http://www.easternpeake.com.au/

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chalmers Murray-Darling Aglianico 2009

They call Aglianico (pronounced a-li-a-nico) the 'Barolo of the South', the south being Campania in Italy; around the bottom of the shin of the boot for those trying to place it. A big call yes, but when its good, its very schmick.

Change of time zone and we're in the Murray-Darling of NSW and in the very capable hands of the Chalmers family. These guys have been propagating cuttings from the old world for yonks, and it has been of recent that they have been takings these cuttings and making their own wine. The finished product is a ripper.

For today's post, that finished product id the Chalmers Murray-Darling Aglianico 2009. Plenty of red in the glass, the wine offers a great mix of red fruit and garden herbs - think a pot purri of dried sage, rosemary and friends. You are greeted by crisp acid and furry tannins up front which are followed with more red fruit and an almost medicinal finish, or orange acid blast as I wrote down. I don't know if its just me, but I get a whiff of iodine on the nose which translates to cough drop in the mouth; this is a good thing I reckon cos it displays what a unique variety this is, and not just a garden variety fruit bomb. This is definitely one to look for.

Drink with mushroom ragu
Drink till 2015
92
Diam cork 14%v/v $32

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mitchell Harris Pyrenees Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Yes, I'm going to say it again. I am a Savvy B fan. This blog exists to write about worthwhile, and sometimes unworthwhile, wine. This blog does not suffer for sycophantic rock-stars who get frothy at the thought of having a thimble full of DRC La Tache. It exists for good wine. Sorry, but I sometimes have to stand up for the variety that is so often lambasted as undrinkable lighter fluid.

So now that we are once again reminded of my love for Savvy B, let me introduce Mitchell Harris Pyrenees Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2012; my favourite Savvy producer. Packed full of cracked dried green herbs and spice on the nose with a lick of tropical fruit at the back. The palate is fresh with acidity keeping all in check. Last year I had the 2011 Fumé Sauvignon Blanc as my wine of the year. This may not scale those heights but it is still a cracking wine that should be sort out in retail land. And a bottle of this is better that a thimble of La Tache too; wonder if they'd drink 'drinkable' lighter fluid?

Drink with Thai fish cakes
Drink till 2015
91
Screwcap 12.5%v/v $25ish at Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Ata Rangi Martinborough Pinot Noir 2010

It has been made aware to me a lot lately that I am old. It is my daughter, Imogen, who in conversation about this and that, will ask or comment, '... when you were a kid in the olden days' . Olden days. Thanks sweety, you are officially grounded!!

It then made me think of the olden days, or more succinctly wine olden days and the labels that are still holding their own. All this while I listen to golden oldies such as The Police, Hunters & Collectors, and Springsteen. There are plenty; Jasper Hill, Giaconda, Grossett, Cullen. All producing iconic wines that have and will last, and all from a time when wine making was something bored doctors and chemists did. Back in the olden days of course.

Another olden day producer that brings it year after year is Ata Rangi from across the ditch. It was Perth 1989; I cannot recall what it tasted like, but vividly remember it because it was this exotic sounding wine coming from a far off shore; back in the olden days in Perth, anything that came from outside WA to me was pretty cool.

Fast forward from the olden days and Ata Rangi is still a yard stick to Pinot from across the ditch. It's a yard stick here as well I reckon. So the wine. The 2010. I've been fortunate to have had this twice in the past 4 weeks. Both times it was spot on. Quite a deep colour in the glass, the nose is all things sexy with gamey woven in with dried garden herbs and by tart red fruit. The palate follows the nose with multiple layers of juicy gamey bits all held together with super fine tannins and lip smacking acid. Just bonzer! You'll have to excuse me now I'm sorry; need to untangle slinky before finishing my stage on Donkey Kong.

Drink with roast duck
Drink till 2020+
97
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $75+

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vinea Marson Heathcote Viognier 2011

Remember about 7 or 8 years ago how Viognier was going to tackle Chardonnay's dominance in the white wine market here in Australia. This was of course before Savvy B went boom, and with it so too did Viogniers rise. Since then there have been few producers that have been able to deliver consistent wines that demand an audience. One of them is Mario Marson of Vinea Marson and the 2011 is another great example of Viogniers class with this version full of candied apricot and coconut balanced neatly with the right amount of acid with a hint of crisp white phenolics. I also should mention that this is a product of probably the toughest vintage Heathcote had faced in many a year with disease pressure not seen in Heathcote for as many as some can recall.

Drink with sticky pork sliders - an easy Susan
Drink till 2015
92
Diam cork 13.5%v/v $30ish

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fletcher Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo 2010

About 4 months ago I reckon, Tony Nowell of Moor Street Wines sent me a message to see if I wanted to have a taste of a new wine he took on in his portfolio. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? At the time I was flat chat, and to be honest the list at Albert Street was pretty solid, so I passed on this occasion. Like I said, Hindsight!

So there I was last week in Blackhearts in Fitzroy North pondering on what to drink with my lamb chops. It was the last one so I thought I'd give it a whack. The Fletcher Adelaide Hills Nebbiolo 2010. Sexxy. Awesome. Breathtaking. Oursum. Capitivating. Orsum. Sexxy. These are just a few of the adjectives that I wrote down in my little wine black book.

Very much still in its juvenile stage, the Fletcher Neb does not come across as being in the new world Nebbiolo category; far from it. Checking back on the email Tony sent me, it mentions that the Fletcher, David, has spent many years in Nebbiolo world - Piemonte - where he has obviously learnt a thing or two about the why's and the what's of Nebbiolo. The wine has the slightest brown/bronze hue in the glass. The nose is all herb garden with sage leaf coming through with an intensity I have never seen in an Australian Nebbiolo. Sour cherries, subtle black fruit and youthful chewy tannins all held in check by lip smacking acid. As close to perfection as anything going around today from Australia. Awesome.

Drink with rosemary crusted lamb chops
Drink till 2030+
98
Diam cork with wax coat 13.5%v/v $50 Blackhearts & Sparrows, Fitzroy North or http://www.fletcherwines.com/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Izway Barossa Valley Mates Mataro 2011

The photo is a bit grainy; think I was a bit grainy too when I took it. These are two things that I have fallen in love with again. 1) The Beastie Boys 'Licensed to Ill' - this is an original vinyl from 1987 when I was a wee lad surfin' and skateboardin' all over Perth, and 2) Mataro, Mourvedre or whatever you want to call it. To borrow from Julie Andrews from 'The Sound of Music' , ".... these are a few of my favourite things." Never thought I'd be quoting The Sound of Music!

The Izway Barossa Valley Mates Mataro 2011. It's part made by Brian Conway, the 'way' in Izway. Even though he follows Old East - will never understand why they changed to the Sharks - supporter; I'm a tragic South Fremantle Bulldogs supporter. Getting way off track here. This wine is brimming with black fruit and licorice on the nose. A near black colour in the glass, in the palate the wine flows with more licorice and hints of black olives and sweet black berries. Long and tight with acid and tannins cleaning all and sundry at the front and back. A cracker of a wine. RIP MCA.


Drink with beef short ribs
Drink till 2020
95
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $29

Fikkers Two Bricks Sauvignon Semillon 2011

The owner of the coolest wine name and label, Anthony Fikkers, knows what to do with Sauvignon Blanc. No you holier than thou wine snobs out there, he doesn't pour it down the drain, he blends it with Semillon and a lick of Muscadelle and pulls out a little ripper of a wine. The Fikkers Two Bricks SBS 2011 from the Yarra Valley is quite easily one of the easiest drinks right now, jammed full of green and white spice and a palate that has more weight, depth and flesh than Paris Hilton. Bad simily; dishwater fills that category.

Drink with pork schnitzel
Drink till 2014
93
Screwcap 12%v/v $22

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sébastien Brunet Vouvray Arpent Sec 2010

So it's been, what, a week and a bit(stupid cookies disabled my blog posting) since the mighty Melbourne Storm beat the Canterbury Bulldogs. It was a great game. Beautiful weather. Great crowd. Beautiful break foot. I have just one more thing to say. SUFFER IN YA JOCKS GUS GOULD YA MISERABLE TWAT!!!!

There you go then. Where was I? Yes, the Sébastien Brunet Vouvray Arpent Sec 2010 is right now my favourite wine. This wine first came across my bow about 6 weeks ago when i had a tasting at Albert Street Food & Wine. it was a tasting I requested because I love Vouvray and needed a new one on the list (didn't get around to it I'm afraid). It was great. Still is.

Plenty going on in the nose with ripe locuts and creamy lees with a lick of mandarin peel. In the mouth there is more ripe locut dominant as well as more citrus at the end with mandarin and tangerine waxing the back palate. I love it.

It hasn't been mentioned for a while on this blog, but this wine gets a definite Susan with pork cutlets - fat on - with the Vouvray cutting through the fat and lifting and extending as well as Billy Slater did through the Bulldogs defence. In your face Gould you sucker of the sourest grapes; Chenin not one of those.

Drink with pork cutlets
Drink till 2018
98
Diam cork 12.33% v/v to be precise and $36 Blackheart & Sparrows, Brunswick

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ipso facto Margaret River Chenin Blanc 2010

For a grape variety so well made in the Loire and so bastardised here in Australia, Kate Morgan has produced a wine that can easliy comne from Vouvray or Montlouis and not the back blocks of Margaret River. Huzzah to you Kate!!!

The Ipso facto Margaret River Chenin Blanc 2010 by pure fact is a super little drop of flintiness and tart acid, and the longer in the glass comes a great swell of cracked ginger, orange blossum and subtle pear notes. I am sure my mother-in-law, who holds Amberley close to her heart, will disagree, but the Ipso facto may certainly be the game changer that Chenin Blanc needs in Australia.

Drink with chicken and ginger stir fry
Drink till 2016
96
Screwcap 12.5%v/v $28

Spring blooming


"Who are the violets now
That strewn the green lap of the new come spring?"
William Shakespeare - Richard II

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Forest Hill Mount Barker Block 5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Just hear me out for a sec. Block 5. Block 5 wines are fast becoming a marketing tool to so many producers. Don't quote me on this, but I think the first Block 5 in Australia was from Bindi in 1997 - the Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir 1997 I recall was listed at $400 not so long ago at The Lincoln in Carlton; not bad for a vineyard that was planted in 1992!

Anyway, the Block 5 tag seems to have that marketing 'midas touch'. Here's just a few that I can recall of the top:

  • Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges
  • Yabby Lake Block 5 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
  • Felton Road Block 5 Pinot Noir, Central Otago
  • Chalice Bridge Chapman Series Block 5 Shiraz/Cabernet, Margaret River
  • Saint Clair Pioneer Block 5 Pinot Noir, Marlborough
  • Forrest Estate Block 5 Cabernet Sauvignon, Marlborough 
Talk about doing your block!!

So it was about 2 weeks ago that I had a tasting of the new Forest Hill wines from Mount Barker with their very pregnant winemaker Clémence Haselgrove; for me the Springvale Estate Riesling is pound-for-pound one of the best in Australia, but thats for another post. The last wine in the bracket was, now wait for it, the Forest Hill Block 5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Block 5's aside, this is truly a cracking wine.

Deep ox blood colour in the glass, the nose throws up aroma's of whispy mint and eucalypt with the smallest hint of dusty tannins to come. The palate is all Left Bank with subtle blueberry notes woven together with pitch perfect acid, tannins and dry dusty cocoa powder. This wine has all the hallmarks of spending another 20 years in the bottle for plenty of reward.

Drink with shephards pie - I did last night
Drink till 2025+
96
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $60ish

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Moondog Black Lung II

So the story goes .... Devilishly handsome boy meets devilishly handsome image in the mirror and its love at first sight. Years later devilishly handsome boy witnesses devilishly handsome friends incinerate at local gas station in innocent petrol fight. Blah blahs aside, devilishly handsome boy becomes muse for crazy brewers in downtown Abbotsford where a devilishly awesome stout is produced. You know the story ....

The Moondog Black Lung II is liquid gold. And yes, looks can kill. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Thats all I got.

Just drink it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Byrne Ballarat Pinot Noir 2010

The second I laid eyes on this wine I was instantly back in my Grandmothers house where she had a crazy felt like wallpaper in the toilet that I was completely mesmerised with. I'm happy to say this wine did not have any similarities with the humble crapper. But the label....

The Byrne Ballarat Pinot Noir 2010 is a really good wine, with all the hallmarks of a gamey prickly Pinot that I have come to love; plenty of juicy red fruit woven with a gamey pong of sappy whole bunch and bacon fat - thats the funky shit. In the mouth the wine follows the palate with abundent prickly plums without being ripe, and more gamey goodness blended in with fine tannins and bolt acidity. Cracking drop.

Drink with beer braised beef short ribs
Drink till 2016
94
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $30-40 Blackheart & Sparrows, Brunswick

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fathers Day Reuben sandwich

The start of the greatest sandwich in the history of mankind - The Reuben.
  • lots of corned beef
  • lots of Swiss cheese, or Jarlsberg for the politically correct
  • lots of Noisette multi grain bread
  • lots of my Russian dressing - home made mayo, mustard, tomato sauce, horseradish cream and Worcestershire sauce
  • lots of Sauerkraut
  • lots of paper towel to wipe sauce from running down arm
  • a good Chardonnay
The wine today is Sinapius Tasmanian Chardonnay 2010 from Pipers Brook; pretty much cos there was a glass left-over from last night, but also cos it has just enough acid to cut through the sauerkraut and corned beef. Not that I am proposing this is a great match to sauerkraut - don't think any wine would be, just cos once again it was convenient.

Happy Fathers day boys!!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes De Vrigny 1er Cru, Ambonnay


Its Spring. The suns out. Lawnmowers are churning away around the neighbourhood and I feel pretty good after a 15 hour day at Albert Street yesterday. Champagne anyone? The Egly-Ouriet Les Vines de Vrigny 1er  from Ambonnay is 100% Pinot Meunier and is everything today is in downtown Brunswick; bright, crisp and singing - no lawnmowers though.

 
Drink with Pambula rock oysters
Drink now
95
Quality cork 12.5%v/v

Friday, August 17, 2012

Valli Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2009

"Take short views, hope for the best, and trust in God." Sydney Smith 1771-1845

Now I'm not pontificating like the erstwhile Mssr Smith; he was a God-squadder unlike myself being anything but. Anyway, the jist is short and to the point.

The Valli Waitaki Valley Pinot Noir 2009. I know it says North Otago, but Jim Jerram from Ostler would have my neck if I didn't lead with Waitaki Valley, New Zealands newest wine region.

So to the wine you say. Quite a deep colour in the glass, the nose is a great marriage of new world and old world Pinot Noir with prickly plum woven together with gamey and bacon fatty notes. The palate follows the nose with wonderful depth of games and dark fruit all held together by balanced acid and tannins. Well worth looking for.

Drink with five spiced duck breast
Drink till 2020
96
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $60ish at Raffles Cellars, South Perth

Viñero Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2010


This trade - the wine biz - is a funny beast. Out there in wine sniff land there is an abundant lot that crow about this Grand Cru and snort on how Montlouis is far superior to Vouvray in drier years; thats what they read or heard second hand anyway. The wine expert, yes indeed, a curious fellow of both genders.

With that said, it is rare to see two interested and curious fellows come along and take a genuine stab in the wine game on a primary level and go out and hang their hat on a patch of fruit in the woolly Macedon Ranges; pick it, crush it, blend it, bottle it, market it, sell it and finally chase over-due invoices. The fruits of their labour is the Viñero Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2010. A wine by two sommeliers; Matt Brooke and Liam O'Brien.

A dirty red in the glass with a faint translucency, the wine throws a great mix of spice a green sappiness on the nose - partial whole bunch I suppose. The palate is what I would call effeminate and long; supple musk stick/red skin on the front palate with more brown spices woven in with tort acid and super-fine tannins.

This is a wine though that if you do not have any now, you probably wont be getting any. I was fortunate enough to grab a few before they all went down the road at Albert Street.

Drink with grilled spatchcock of quail
Drink till 2017
95
Screwcap 13.5%v/v



Saturday, August 11, 2012

By Farr Geelong Sangreal Pinot Noir 2009

I think the last time I blogged about a By Farr wine, Tout Pres I think, I likened it to a Pommard with the wine delivering a supurb mix of power and elegance. Well they have done it again down in Geelong with the By Farr Geelong Sangreal 2009 simply stunning. Enjoyed last month at Must Wine Bar in Perth on Bastille Day, the wine was simply stunning with prickly semi-ripe fruit woven delicioulsy with game, funk, bacon fat and earth, it has it all. Just stunning.

Drink till 2024
Drink with Beef Bourguignon
100/100
Quality cork 13.5%v/v $120 on wine list at Must Wine Bar, Perth

Gioiello Upper Goulburn Merlot 2008


Merlot still gets a bad wrap unfortunately, from that stupid movie 'Sideways' to Neil and Bob on Youtube, Merlot is still the ugly duckling. But we all know what happened to the ugly duckling, it turned in to a majestical beast. Good Merlot too can be a majestical beast; look at the great Right Bank wines like Petrus, Le Pin and Cheval Blanc - all Merlot and all truly unforgettable.

With the soapbox put away, please welcome the Gioiello Upper Goulburn Merlot 2008. Pronounced 'Joy-ello', meaning 'jewell' in Italian, is a wine that came across my bow a few months ago and was penned in to the list when there was a spot. A great colour in the glass, the wine sings with pretty blue fruit with a hint of dusty tannins too come. The palate is a great example of what Merlot is; blueberries, ash, minerality, cedar and acid. And the producers of this wine have done the right thing and released the wine with a bit of bottle age, and not straight away where the real Merlot would not be seen. A ripping wine.

Drink with lamb back-strap
Drink till 2025
95
Screwcap 13.6%v/v $25 Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ruggerbellus Barossa Valley Efferus 2010

It seems in an ever changing wine landscape, there are some things that are just what they propose to be - wine without the song and dance. Enter the Ruggerbellus Barossa Valley Efferus 2010 Mataro blend.

I reckon I had this about 2 years ago for the first time at Fix in Sydney and was simply drawn to it by it pure simplicity; gorgeous fruit, gorgeous acid and tannin structure and gorgeous length. Gorgeous.

Forward 2 years and it is now a fixture at Albert Street Food & Wine, but don't put it on the burner, there's not much left. So the wine. Deep colour in the glass with an almost black/purplish hue. Massive wafts of black fruit and black olives on the nose with a slight ashed finish, the wine powers in the palate with flavour that ascends ever so lightly and seems to go on for ever; I didn't do a Robert Parker Jnr and time the flavour length - I do have a life thankyou! But I digress. Plenty more black fruit with a slight tinge of green leaf in the acid working its way at the end. Cracking good wine.

Drink with Côte de boeuf with Béarnaise - like I did last night
Drink till 2025
96
Screwcap 13.5%v/v $42 Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tour reading #2

Oh Cadel, did you go too soon? My lament is that you did, and with that I turned to some Tour reading; #2 - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte or Ellis Bell, the pseudonym it was published under in 1847.

This passage by the guest Mr. Lockwood directed at the servent Joseph:

'"Sir," I exclaimed, 'sitting here within these four walls, at one stretch, I have endured and forgiven the four hundred and ninety heads of your discourse. Seventy times seven times have you preposterously forced me to resume my seat. The four hundred and ninety first is too much. Fellow martyrs, have at him! Drag him down and crush him to atoms, that the place which knows him may know him no more!'