Saturday, March 24, 2012

Payton Vignerons Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2010

In just under two hours our house in downtown Brunswick will be inundated by 4 screeching 7 year old girls and one screeching and attention seeking 3 year old boy for Imogen’s birthday party. Doesn’t sound like too much, but when you factor in one very fluie wife, the thought of wrangling 5 kids this afternoon and for dinner on my own is dead-set frightening! Need to go to a happy place toot-sweet!!!!

One such happy place lately has been the Payten Vignerons wine range from Yarra Valley; Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and a very handy little Tempranillo. Run by young guns Troy Jones and Behn Payten, who also happens to be chief cider maker for Napoleone & Co, their wine is easy to spot on the shelf by catchy caricatures of what can only be described as wine lushes. Brilliant, because isn’t that what we are all inside?

All are varietal. Thats important. Whats more important is they are all lip-smackingly awesome. I think the Sangiovese is my favourite right now, but the Pinot Noir had last night is an absolute cracker. But so is the Tempranillo. But to the wine at hand. The Pinot Noir 2010. Dirty pinkish/red in the glass, the wine smacks of subtle strawberry and tart raspberry. The palate has an instant hit of acid with the finest line of tannin coming through. More tart fruit, this time coming from cranberry. One of the best Pinot Noirs I’ve had from the Valley in a while. Easy.

Ohh God. They're here!

Drink with pizza with salty anchovies
Drink till 2015
Screwcap 13%v/v $26

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Wanderer Upper Yarra Valley Chenin Blanc 2010

This variety is vying with Pinot Blanc right now as my default wine; both are positively singing right now due to proper viticulture and dedicated wine makers. The Wanderer Upper Yarra Valley Chenin Blanc 2010 right now is in the groove. Bright and shiny nose - I know thats sounds like a bit of a wank, but hey, just works! Fresh ginger on the nose is followed by the gentlest of honeysuckle. Crisp in the palate, the acidiy is followed by more subtle ginger and the tiniest amount of white phenolics - sort of a talc feel in the mouth. I seriously do love this wine right now.

Drink with Hue prawn and pork pancake
Drink till 2014
Screwcap 13%v/v $26 Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Explorer Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008

A while ago now, Central Otago was anointed the New World's closest thing to Burgundy. Massive words. The closest to Burgundy I believe is the Northern Rhone - geographical and stylistically.

But lets talk about Central Otago. For a few years now this sipper has gone off CO because of what I think is too ripe fruit. For one of the southern most wine regions, discounting Tierra Del Fuego, CO more often than not delivers plummy and nose-bleeding levels of alcohol that would send Msr Parker in to a fit of extasy. I like my Pinot Noir tight, linear, tart, and after a few years or so singing as sexy as the King of Pop Dave Graney.

There are many that get frothy at the pioneer wines from CO - Carrick, Felton Road and Quartz Reef. But are they getting frothy about past glories rather than current releases? I get frothy on what I mentioned in the previous passage - the sexy sounds of Dave Graney. This is the category I put the Explorer Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 in.

Explorer isn't the type of wine that runs with the popular kids, rather a loner who is more interested in finding their own way in life and not relying on the cool kids to give them an opinion. A typical colour in the glass of dirty transparent red. A burst of tight green capscicum acid hits the aroma first; this is not a bad thing as it shows some whole bunch press going on and also for me it sort of wakes up the olfactory. Also there is some tart rasbery with a hint of beetroot leaf. In the mouth the acid and tannins take centre stage, but with the gentlest of touches. It is both the acid and tannin that hold all in balnce - more tart fruit with raspberry and cranberry the noticeable elements.

For the money, this wine punches well above its weight and has the ability of showing its more well known and fated neighbours a thing or two about style and grace

Drink with rare lamb rump
Drink till 2015
Screwcap 13%v/v $25 at Albert Street Food & Wine

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cantina Cellaro Luma Inzolia/Chardonnay 2010, Sicily Italy

This came across my bow about a month ago and from the first whiff and sip I was hooked. Massive fan. Huge!

On a segue, do you remember that corny wine commercial for Nottage Hill from the 90's where one of the two nimrods keeps saying, '... it's not-taa, it's not-taaa...' Basic proviso is that he couldn't pick A) the aroma and B) what type of wine it is. Well this sort of happened with the Cantina Cellaro Luma Inzolia/Chardonnay IGT 2010. I could get the shot of grapefruit citrus burst, but I was searching for the Inzolia - the native white variety from Sicily - and couldnt pick it, but you get that sometimes.

Like I said, a great burst of grapefruit and raw lick of minerality; the river stone type of minerality, with beautiful and pristine acidity that doesnt get out of control. Very austere and pure, and just a pleasure to drink. Just love it!!

Drink with spagetti and prawns
Drink till 2014
Diam cork 13.5%v/v $32 Albert Street Food & Wine, Brunswick

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red chillie's from my garden

"Colour has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it. I know that it has hold of me forever... Colour and I are one. I am a painter"
Paul Klee

Between Five Bells Geelong Red Wine 2010

In life as it is in science, things just gel and go together; positve and negative ions, bees and honey and meatpies and footy. Yet sometimes some pesky butterflies in Japan have been know to disrupt Ying and Yang and all hell breaks loose; Marilyn Monroe marries Arthur Miller, Michael Phelps loses a race and George W. Bush wins two terms as President! Yes I know, head-scratching stuff indeed.

So when a group of Geelong wine makers decide to blend Shiraz, Sangiovese, Grenache and Zinfandel, yes Zinfandel, you gotta start thinking that these butterflies in Japan need a good dose of Mortein. But as it happens, this blend fucking rocks; you are safe this time butterfly.

The Between Five Bells Geelong Red Wine 2010 has all the hallmarks of becoming a cult wine very fast for two reasons; A) the whacky blend, and B)its so good God Damn it! This wine has it all with tart red and dark fruit but sitting so soft and smooth in the mouth, silky tannins, subtle licorice all-sorts and achingly perfect acid. It is such an easy wine to like and such a hard one too share.

Drink with Melanzane alla Parmigiana
Drink till 2015
Wax seal with Diam cork 13.5%v/v $39 Albert Street Food & Wine

Natural Selection Theory Apple & Pear Cider, Adelaide Hills

There's really not much to say about this cider except that it is by far and away the best cider that has been produced on this island - ever! A blend of apple and cider, the good folk at The Natural Selection Theory (Anton, Tom and James) have put together what can only be called a minimalist bevvie of apple and pears; tart and sweet blend together with natural sweetness and tart and grippy pear wrapped in the nebulas that it is. Sort of doesn't make sense but drinks spankingly well!

Drink with pork cutlet and apple coleslaw
Drink now
Crown seal 7.5%v/v $26 at Albert Street Food & Wine