Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Chateau Tanunda: Terroirs of the Barossa Shiraz Range 2006


Firstly, kudos to Chateau Tanunda for an exercise like this - To my knowledge there is no other producer that has sourced fruit from different Barossan subregions and served to highlight their terroir in this way - plenty have individual vineyard wines from all over the valley, but few treat them as a terroir exercise & make them in exactly the same fashion (like was done with these)

Wine 1: Ebenezer Shiraz 2006
(Sandy Loam over Grey Clay, 80yr old vines, 15%)
Earthy, meaty nose with a bit of Grange like Formic on the nose, the palate has big rich chocolate flavours with a big alcohol hit on the back. Ultra high quality fruit in a very smooth, old school Barossan style. After leaving it for a little I returned to the glass and found that there was a bretty, animal character that I hadn't notice the first time that somewhat obscured the fruit. Never got the chance to see whether it would end up blowing off. No doubting the quality though. 18/20

Wine 2: Lyndoch Shiraz 2006
(Brown Earth & Gravel, 15yr old vines, 16%)
This was much more aromatic & forward than the other too, with an addictive red fruit nose.
Jubey red fruit on the nose in a slightly one dimensional style, the palate has lovely intense raspberry & red plum flavours and is propped a little by some vanillan oak. Real flavour and style here. Finished with furious alcohol heat.
The heat was a turnoff, but this was otherwise one delicious wine. 18/20


Wine 3: Greenock Shiraz 2006
(Heavy Brown Earths, 60yr old+ vines)
This was definitely the most backward dense nose and had me thinking about Torbreck reds. The fruit is compact, coiled with little whisps of red licorice and apricot escaping. The palate is tight and powerful & the oak also seemed more dominant here, even though all these wines had near identical oak treatment.
Potential plus, but no questioning the quality. 18.7/20+

Needless to say, besides the heat on the finish and a little bit of Bretty, meatiness of the Ebenezer wine, these wines where incredibly impressive, unquestionably high quality drinks highlighting some seriously good Barossan fruit.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Lots of tasting, little drinking

Craggy Range
07 Fletcher Vineyard Riesling – Excellent style with well balanced RS. Nice.
07 Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay – A lean and elegant Chablis inspired style, Very good.
06 Le Sol Syrah - Extremely stylish red (I even picked out the miniscule addition of Viognier) and obviously well made. But still didn't really do anything for me. Lacking a little intensity. Ridiculous price ($120!!)

Larry Cherubino
Met the man himself and he is a very interesting and friendly guy.
Loved his wines.

He has three single vineyard 2008 Rieslings soon to be released under the 'The Yard' label, all very very good and all from the Great Southern (Mt Barker, Frankland River etc)

The ‘Whispering Hill’ 2008 Riesling in particular is something quite amazing. Serious structure, real fruit, its got to be the best young Riesling I have had this yr.
08 Margaret River Semillon Sauv very good too.

Under the Cherubino label there is another spectacular Mt Barker 08 Riesling and although his 06 Shiraz is definitely the product of a very average vintage for reds (Larry discarded half his fruit!), it is still a good-un

I prophesise a strong future for this label. Even his cheaper Pemberton Chard & ‘Ad Hoc’ wines are the goods.

Barossa Valley Estate 'E Minor' Shiraz 2005
Distinctively Barossan Shiraz at a great price ($15). Very drinkable.

De Bortoli Gulf Station Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Following it's 'Yarra Valley' brother, this de-emphasises varietal characters for a slightly more textural style. Again very drinkable.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Tasmanian Pinot Noir Seminar

This took place @ Liquidity in Rozelle. Certainly a glorious sport for a tasting (by day), but the place looked more like a construction site in the dark.

All wines where served blind - although if I had of wandered up to the front before hand I would have known what we where tasting.

The hosts for this were Julian Alcorso & Andrew Pirie with Huon Hooke anchoring. I feel sorry for the non wine people in the crowd as some of the Pinot Noir discussions delved into serious technical depths (particularly about clones) and droned on on an empty stomach. I found myself agreeing with Huon & Andrew Pirie's knowledge is very impressive indeed.

My notes are just impressions so I apologise for the slightly abrupt style. The points would be higher if judged separately but I think everyone becomes a points miser in a cross section like this.

Bracket 1

D'Meure Birchers Bay Pinot Noir 2005 (Huon & South Region, Tas - $79.99) Classic red cherry nose, leafy with some quite obvious choc oak. Big acidity on the palate. I found this a little one dimensional and overblown myself. 17/20

Kelvedon Estate Pinot Noir 2006 (East Coast Region, Tas - $29.99) Lovely ripe red fruit nose, with soft red fruits on the palate. The whole package felt warm, cuddly and ripe, yet with a grippy, stalky finish. 16/20

De Bortoli Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 (Yarra Valley, Vic - $54.99) The nose is tight, backwards and reserved with some choc oak poking through. The palate is tight, linear and absolutely perfectly formed. Real class & style here. 18.5/20+ and my second favourite wine of the night.

Carrick Pinot Noir 2006 (Central Otago, NZ - $49.99) Another reserved nose, this needs time as at present it is a grippy, well structured Pinot that looks towards the future. My notes here just talk about the structure, which I really loved 18/20

Bracket 2

Grosset Pinot Noir 2006 (Adelaide Hills, SA - $64.99) Pencil shavings, oak, green stalks with ripe & unripe fruit that is both forward yet tough all at once. I love Mr Grosset's other wines, but this did little for me. 15.5

Home Hill Pinot Noir 2005 (Huon & South Regions, Tas - $79.99) Rich, textured with integrated acidity & power plus. I really liked this & it was my favourite Tassie 18/20

Bream Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (East Coast Regions, Tas - $37.99) Back to Earth with a thud, this is a big simple, hot style with little of appeal. 15/20

Chanson 'Les Vergelesses' 1er Cru 2005 (Pernard Vergelesses, France - $84.99) Menthol, 'animale', powerful fruit & firm structure. Needs time to show its best & suffered compared to the voluptuous wines in this tasting. I was stoked to have picked this as the Burgundy though. 16.5/20

Bracket 3

Kooyong Single Vineyard 'Ferrous' Pinot Noir 2005 (Mornington Peninsula, Vic - $59.99) Lovely, meaty even stinky nose, firm acidity on the palate, lovely style and structure. This was just a classic Pinot and I secreted it away to drink for the rest of the night. I thought this was Martinborough myself. Yum 18.8/20

Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006 (Martinborough, NZ - $84.99) A shy, blocky oaky nose with a tight, sappy palate. Really needs some time in the bottle, thoughy not sure if it will hit the heights of the stunning 05. 16/20

Clemens Hill Reserve Pinot Noir 2005 (East Coast Region, Tas - $51.99) Nice fragrant nose, with a sweet red fruited palate. Generous and supple it was but I was bored. 17/20

Pirie Sigma Pinot Noir 2005 (Relbia, Tas - $64.99) Another fragrant nose, this was tightly bound in its tannin and acidity. Desperately needs time. 17/20

Interesting to see that most people rated the Tassie wines higher than I did. Personally I really question the value of the tassie wines in this lineup, with prices that are ridiculously high given that the labels have little brand cache and the quality was rather hit & miss. $85 for an unknown simple Tassie Pinot? No thanks, I'll stick to the comparatively cheap De Bortoli, Carrick & Kooyong's thanks & pocket the change.

This was followed by a few more to sit and drink with cheese and such.
The Wine Society Tasmanian Pinot Noir 2007 ($19.99) A simple light Pinot Noir that was very easy to drink. After this lineup it came across as very one dimensional, but ok value nonetheless.

Ninth Island Tasmanian Pinot Noir 2007 ($24.99) Young and hollow. This felt stripped & lifeless. Checked two other bottles for consistency - All the same. Way too young yes, but still lacking.

Tamar Ridge Pinot Noir 2005 Welcome back. Now this is much better. Fragrant juicy, with good structure. Great value & well well worth the extra couple of dollars.

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2007 It's another very young Pinot, but the hallmarks are there. Its not the finest year for this label but its still rather tasty stuff.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

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Week ending 1st June 2008

Stonier Reserve Chardonnay 2005: I am a big fan of the 05 releases from Stonier, this was similarly top notch. A yellow green colour, the nose is rich & full, worked yet still showing fruit freshness. The palate is full flavoured with big ripe golden fruit, lemon curd oak and leesy richness, with citrussy acidity. Day 2 saw it fill out a little but otherwise little budged. Besides a little heat on the back palate this is a very complete, full bodied, New World Chardonnay. Top stuff.
18.8/20

Main Divide Riesling 2006: Where is the acidity? The palate sweetness is more than a little clumsy and cloying. Still drinkable, but didn't impress. 16.5/20

Goundrey G Shiraz Viognier 2005 I can appreciate why people enjoy this - silky soft, generous upfront fruits. I can also understand why it would win show awards: Fragrant, juicy, good structure etc. But I just didnt like it. Too sweet and one dimensional for my tastes. May well improve with time. 17.5/20

Battle of Bosworth Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 I liked this even more than its sister Shiraz. Lovely flow of ripe, choc berry fruits. Its no heavy hitter (tannins are discrete & light), but the whole package is a really delightful, textural drink. 18/20+