No vacuuming for me....
The following wines were sampled at the 2010 Tri Nations Wine Challenge, another alternate styled wine show with a slightly different slant. In this case the competition pits an invited selection of Australian wines against a similar selection from NZ and South Africa in a tri nation wine face off.
What makes this show particularly good is that the 'invited' wines are selected by highly regarded wine scribes, scribes whom are both asked to come up with a 'hit list' of wines to invite, as well as helping to judge the winners themselves. Each writers hit list typically includes wines that would not normally be seen in your average wine show either, so the calibre of entries is typically very high indeed.
All of these factors thus end up producing a wine show with a difference, and a wine show tasting that shouldn't be missed. Sadly I only had about an hour, so it was very much a flying visit, but worth it regardless.
As per usual, these wines where all tasted with the label visible and in quick-shot, wine show time. Again the tasting was a solid 7 months ago so the wines may have changed a little since.
Oh and a quick note on medals - only gold, double gold and trophies were handed out.
Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay 2008 (Nelson, NZ)
Lively nose, carries plenty of nutty, creamy oak over a rich and full flavoured palate. Firm acidity to finish. Nutty, warm length. Just a lovely mouthful or creamy, nutty full bodied Chardonnay flavours. Lovely wine this. 18.2/93
Martinborough Vineyards Jacksons Block Riesling 2009 (Martinborough, NZ)
No medalOvert, terpene laden nose is just a bit too overt perhaps. Palate is rich and almost fat, the finish cutting off a little early too. Plump and full flavoured but perhaps not quite balanced. An awkward stage? 16.8/89
Martinborough Vineyards Chardonnay 2008 (Martinborough, NZ)
Gold medalFine nose, lovely oak and fruit interplay. Palate is a bit warm and raw, but again no shortage of power. Just needs some time methinks. Potential 17.8/92+
Mahi Twin Valleys Chardonnay 2008 (Marlborough, NZ)
Gold medalVery fine nose. Palate is also quite fine though the oak looks a little intrusive and obvious. Served a little too warm? 17.5/91
Derwent Estate Chardonnay 2008 (Tasmania)
No medalVery fine nose. Linear, coiled and elegant palate with fine zippy acidity. Lovely intensity, this is all about power and style. Superb. 18.5/94
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2009 (Walker Bay, Sth Africa)
Gold medalSpicy, long and crystalline style, with only the rather raw oak on the finish to distract. Good stuff, just desperately in need of time. 17.5/91+
Cape Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay 2008 (Franschhoek, Sth Africa)
No medalLean and firm grapefruit nose, with a clean, lemony and slightly banana edged palate. Lots of firm acidity and a very long finish. Very cool and powerful. Persistant plus. Excellent Chardonnay. 18.2/93
Oakridge 864 Chardonnay 2009 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
No medalMealy, very fine nose, with fine grained spicy oak. Very tight and driven palate has lovely long butterscotch and grilled nut palate with exceptional length. Top shelf booze. 18.6/94 (One of my 2010 wines of the year).
Mission Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, NZ)
No medalLeafy, gumleaf and blackcurrant cool fruit nose with quite a bit of chocolatey oak. Palate is crammed with oak, extract and power, finishing bitter and a fraction hard. It lacks a little delicacy, but no questioning the intensity. Sure to win friends. 17.5/91
Blake Family Redd Gravels 2007 (Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, NZ)
Gold medalMassive bottle. Slightly subdued nose, with lots of oak. Palate is smashed by sweet oak too. But there is fruit underneath, and if it escapes this should be very smart. Maybe needs a good decant? 17/90
Kaapzicht Steytler Vision Cabernet Blend 2006 (Stellenbosch, Sth Africa)
Gold medal & trophyBottle covered in bling. Sour, leathery, bretty nose, with a horsey and rubbery palate. Unpleasant. Rather puzzled by this one. A bad bottle? Retaste required... 14.5/81
Mudbrick Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2009 (Waiheke Island, NZ)
No medalTight and very youthful nose, with only alcohol esters escaping. Sweet and luxuriously oaked palate smells luscious (and still fermenting). Should be good when it settles down.. 17/90++
Caillard Mataro 2008 (Barossa, SA)
Dusty, reductive and classically varietal nose. Earthen and withdrawn palate. Just a fraction unyielding and meaty for current enjoyment, though potential aplenty. 16.8/89+
Haskell Pillars Syrah 2008 (Stellenbosch, Sth Africa)
No medalCranberry, musk and lots of pepper in a very cool climate style. Viognier? Cool and peppery palate. Very young but also rather fine - real quality here. 17.9/93+ (another successful release for Haskell)
SC Pannell Shiraz Grenache 2006 (McLaren Vale, SA)
Gold medalLighter, lifted nose over a soft, red fruit and chocolate palate, with light Grenache fruit highlights. Entirely drinkable. 17.6/92
Waterford Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Stellenbosch, Sth Africa)
No medalHello varietal Cabernet! Herbaceous tobacco leaf nose with so much well defined Stellenbosch Cabernet character. Firm, linear and powerful palate with lovely tannins. Dry but not lacking in flesh. Yes. 18.5/94
Starke-Condé Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Stellenbosch, Sth Africa)
No medalFirmly varietal but juicy. Riper than the Waterford, yet still built with similar power. Lovely rich Cabernet with a proper backbone. Like this too. 18/93
Val de Vie Shiraz 2007 (Wellington, Paarl, Sth Africa)
No medalRed fruit, roasted meats on a rather cool climate nose. Herbal and a little green too. Palate is just a bit raw though very Rhonish and interesting. Smoky, stinky but fun. Like this. 17.5/91
Fleur Du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet 2007 (Stellenbosch, Sth Africa)
Gold medalLightly dusty nose. Restrained, if vaguely horsey palate is just a little underwhelming. A dud bottle? Hmm. 16/87 (This is normally a star. Very surprised that it didn't show well in this lineup).
Boekenhoutskloof Chocolate Block 2008 (Franschhoek, Sth Africa)
No medalSweetly lifted style with pan juices, pepper and interest. Lovely juicy palate. Nicely textured palate is typically round, savoury and delicious. Nice wine. 18/93 (always a winner this)