And interesting drinks they proved to be...
The following wines (from Thomas' bag of goodies) then were all tasted at the Spitbucket Wednesday tastingfest, held every second week on Coast Restaurant's fabulous Roof Top Bar. If you're in Sydney on every other Wednesday keep an eye on Coast's twitter feed to get on board.
Crawford River Riesling 2010 (Henty, Vic)
Arguably Victoria's finest Riesling (although often forgotten when people talk about Australia's finest rizzas). What is most interesting is that there are now three Rieslings in the Crawford River stable and this - which I suppose you'd call the standard Estate wine - is apparently the most classic form. Yet for all it's classical intentions this looks, well, just a little rounded and fatter than previous years.
That extra weight is probably not evident on the nose, which is pure, zesty and clean, but it sort of sneaks in after a while, a little spoonful of melon juice to bring you back to soften things a smidgen. It's the palate though where things look a little softer, more gentle, more friendly than older vintages, the finish punctuated with phenolic grip and still long enough, but lacking the conviction and line of the top wines perhaps. A pleasant wine, without hitting the high notes. Drinkable nonetheless. 17.3/90
Gembrook Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
Boom! Welcome back character. It's a divisive wine though, which suits me just fine. Smoky, grassy fresh-herbs-meets-bottle-age-generosity on the nose, doing a very fine, Aussie Pouilly-Fumé impression (queue cultural cringe). The palate is dry, incredibly dry even, with pepper/herbal edges to the serious, citrussy-acid-meets-herbal-fruit palate. Quite complex really, though maybe a fraction overt. Likey 17.7/92
Sutton Grange Viognier 2008 (Bendigo, Vic)
Another day, another weak varietal Viognier. Actually, I've really got to stop my Viognier bashing as it's getting old. Anyways, this does nothing good for the style. Broadish, ginger and apricots style with juicy fruit softness and a flabby, orange/apricot cordial palate. Soft mouthfuls of fruit juice, capped off with minimal acidity. Not quite, though with commercial appeal (though hardly $45 worth). 16/87
Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2008 (Macedon, Vic)
Welcome back! Lovely juicy stawberry/raspberry fruit nose. It's unquestionably a riper year Curly Flat Pinot and lacks the delicacy of the top vintages, but still so very much to like. That nose is near perfect - just everything you want in an Australian Pinot really. The palate is a little stunted, but still carries nice stem tannins and assured style. That finish is the only let down, a wobbly end to what is a very nicey nicey wine. 17.8/92
Greenstone Sangiovese 2007 (Heathcote, Vic)
I first banged on about the Greenstone wines last August when Heathcote came to town (here) and this didn't let me down here. From a bloody hard, mega drought vintage, this is dominated by - quite sexy - oak at the moment, the red earth characters of Heathcote stirred in there to make one dense dense nose. The palate has nice tannins too, if just a little hot and heavy for high points. Again a nice wine and much to like (I'd drink this, with steak). 17.5/91
Syrahmi Syrah 2009 (Heathcote, Vic)
Another showing for Heathcote and another entirely drinkable wine. Perhaps the only distraction here is that smoky, characuterie nose which is just a little divisive. It's a swish package anyway, if a little too front palate-ish and light on the finish for big love. Maximum style points though and geez if you had a Tapas joint this would be a near perfect by the glass pick. Would fly with some sort of Chorizo action. 17.3/90
Wantirna Amelia Cabernet Merlot 2008 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
Preaching to the converted with this one. I dig Amelia, she can park herself in my cellar any time (and she has previously). This speaks to me in the ways of Cabernet, the ways of Yarra Cabernet even, in a style that is all about being happily medium bodied and fine. No fancy adornments, just style. Reminds me of a nice Hugo Boss suit really, with lines all very correct indeed. What's more, all of this is announced from the black leaf/tobacco nose, built in a herbal yet ripe form that I dig. Yes. Classic Cab Merlot palate that is just a fraction warm but with proper fruit tannins, proper length and proper goodness. Old school, but in the right way. Yum. 18.4/94