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
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+
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
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
Quality cork 13%v/v

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
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
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+
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
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+
Diam cork with wax coat 13.5%v/v $50 Blackhearts & Sparrows, Fitzroy North or

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
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
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
Diam cork 12.33% v/v to be precise and $36 Blackheart & Sparrows, Brunswick