Showing posts with label Gippsland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gippsland. Show all posts

Saturday, 6 October 2012

10 x 20 years tasting - a plethora of Victorian goodies

10 x 20 years tasting - a plethora of Victorian goodies

'Ten Victorian vineyards - established, owned and run by ten passionate families.

Ten families that have invested in an individual site for growing grapes, building a winery and making their own wines for twenty years or more.

Ten producers with a lifelong obsession with discovering the full potential of their vineyard, who strive to produce world class wines with the grapes from their vines.'

Producers who are strong minded, opinionated and fascinating individuals, focused on the art and science of producing wine of place and personality - and most importantly a delicious drink!

Put these ten producers in one room, pouring a selection of their best wines - something new and something older - and that's a tasting not to be missed!

Sounds good doesn't it? Especially when those producers include the likes of Bannockburn, Bass Phillip, Bindi, Craiglee, Crawford River, Dalwhinnie, Jasper Hill, Moorooduc Estate, Tarrawarra Estate and Yeringberg.

What surprised me was how many people missed the 'trade' session of this tasting. Sure, the clever ones made an appearance, but, by-and-large, the room was empty. Obviously they missed out big time, particularly given just how many 2010 vintage wines were on show, a vintage that was very very kind to many Victorian vineyards. That malaise is worrying though, a reflection of the occasional lack of respect given to such celebrated wineries. The public session, conversely, was well attended...

Personally, I just targeted a few producers/wines that I don't get to normally see and found, unsurprisingly, much glory. I wish I had hours more to spend chatting to the absolutely genuine Pat Carmody from Craiglee or the wonderfully mad Phillip Jones of Bass Phillip. Heck, the combined wines and personality in that room was worth days of closer attention.

Here is just a few of the goodies tasted.The wines were tasted at speed and the notes are stunted. I hope you get the gist...

Bass Phillip

I love Bass Phillip. The wines can be murky, mercurial and unstable. When they're good, however, they are amongst the best Pinots in the country, bar none. This lineup only supports that notion. Someone buy me all the 2010 Pinots please.

Bass Phillip Estate Chardonnay 2010 (Gippsland, Vic)
Biscuity oak on the nose, the palate is rich but has noticeably briny acidity, the style backward, firm and very serious. That oak is just a little resinous but the style is rather charismatic. 17.7/20 92/100

Bass Phillip Estate Pinot Noir 2010 (Gippsland, Vic)
Tomato leaf and raspberry, classic Pinot aromatics yet not sweet. Very stem driven but has the fruit to match. So very classic! I love this style. Yes. 18.5/20 94/100

Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir 2010 (Gippsland, Vic)
More reticent than the Estate Pinot but also with more structural drive. Perfection of line through the back. Exceptional length and a finish that lasts for minutes. There is a real stalky red fruit resonance to this that is pure warm year, cool climate Pinot. Wow. 19/20 96/100

Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir 2009 (Gippsland, Vic)
Decidedly more open and generous than the 2010, this is less classy but still very impressive. Richer red fruit, if just a fraction warmer and harder than the '10. Hard act to follow indeed for this is a glorious mid weight Vic Pinot in the classic mould. 18.5/20 94/100


The dry stretch over and Craiglee is back on form, this 2010 Shiraz showing nothing of the confection that has plagued recent Craiglee Shiraz releases. That famous spice is still missing though (or not obvious at this stage).

Craiglee Shiraz 2010 (Sunbury, Vic)
Super glossy this vintage. Almost candied purple plum fruit even. Plush and round with proper acidity too. I like that glossy fruit, but just waiting for the structural penny to drop. Hold. 17.5/20 91/100+

Crawford River

The next generation of Thomon family members have begun to influence the direction of Crawford River and it appears to be for the better - not to say that wines were broken to begin with, but it is certainly welcome to see new labels and even a welcome dip into social media. That Young Vines Riesling deserves a special mention (the vines are 11 years old now which no doubt helps) as an example of the new good bits.

Crawford River Young Vines Riesling 2011 (Henty, Vic)
Floral, grapefruit and super tight nose with just a little honey escaping. Very pretty palate is delicate, driven by high acid but not unripe. Such purity and delicacy! Lovely cool clime Riesling. 18/20 93/100

Crawford River Riesling 2005 (Henty, Vic)
Just a flick of turpentine - it's not pervasive. Underneath it's delicate and toasty, not the obvious sort of toast found in Clare Riesling, but somehow lighter and fresher. Underneath that is grapefruit - lots of it. The glory here is that age-old tension between bottle age weight and super firm acidity. I like it so much, even if it's very much a wine in motion. 18.5/20 94/100

Crawford River Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Henty, Vic)
Rich and quite powerful, love that thick, cedary, dark berry fruit character. So vibrant and youthful, if a fraction bulky and minty. Bordeaux meets southern Victoria. 17.8/20 92/100


Even during the Pyrenees drought vintages (2007-2009) Dalwhinnie's wines have retained a sense of vitality. Having been there I can attest to the detail of the viticulture - when I visited the cover crops here looked healthier, the vines more alive than in many other vineyards around the area. These 2010 reds don't dissapoint either.

Dalwhinnie Shiraz 2010 (Pyrenees, Vic)
Slightly dominant, slick oak but can't mask the fruit underneath. I love the white pepper, the licorice, the extract and power. Luscious and briary yet savoury. Mid weight but powerful. Excellent 18.6/20 94/100

Dalwhinnie Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Pyrenees, Vic)
Very dry, almost severe. Perhaps too hard? Lean and classically long, minty palate. Looks precise and firm, a cool and backward wine. Will reward the patient. I like how unshowy this is, even if it needs the patience. 18/20 93/100

Jasper Hill

To be completely honest I haven't loved the recent Jasper Hill releases. The best wines from this estate are brilliant, sure, however the past few vintages (Heathcote hasn't had an easy viticultural ride of late) have often looked too candied and alcoholic to float my boat. The 2009 wines are certainly a step in the more balanced direction, even if the second label-esque 2011 red blend looked thin and light (though I oddly didn't record a note).

This older wine reiterated just how good the 'good' can be.

Jasper Hill Emily's Paddock Shiraz blend 2002 (Heathcote, Vic)
Dry, drying and tannin driven. I don't ever remember Emily's being so structured. Regardless this was rich and firm, ripe and long, all choc mint and a real sense of vitality. Straight out of left field and wonderfully drinkable because of it. Superb. 18.3/93

Moorooduc Estate

Only one wine tried in this Moorooduc range and obviously a winner. Historically the Moorooduc Chardonnays have often impressed more than the Pinot Noir (to my palate) so this is a massive win from what is obviously a glorious vintage in much of Victoria.

Moorooduc Estate 'The Moorooduc' Pinot Noir 2010 (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
A veritable classic Mornington Pinot, a quite pretty wine with gentle pippy red fruit and just a hint of pan juices. The palate has juicy redcurrant fruit and classic, soft-yet-powerful acidity. A fleshy and open wine but with both structure and delicacy. Just a beautiful, generous and not sweet Pinot of proper proportions. Bloody good. 18.7/20 95/100

Tarrawarra Estate

Consistency. That's what Tarrawarra has been notably good at, the wines consistently tasty and varietal. I'd still like to see more wildness though, the wines always well built, if missing a dash of x-factor.

Tarrawarra Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
Quite a masculine Pinot this one, oak poking through on the nose, the palate smooth, full and powerful is a fraction brawny and drying. A Shiraz drinkers Pinot perhaps with its best days ahead of it. 17.5/20 91/100+


Buy. That is the very simple message for these Yeringberg wines, all of which show grace, delicacy. vibrancy and a wonderful soft touch.. The labelling is simple, the wines effortless... I've always enjoyed the Yeringberg wines and these releases are amongst the very best. I didn't write notes about the 2011 white blend but even it looked good for the season. Did I mention buy?

Yeringberg Pinot Noir 2010 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
Smoky and duck friendly, it is quite a big wine with a slightly hammy edge, carrying all the power and weight of the warm season, yet served in a style that is quite open and unforced. Lovely. 18/20 93/100

Yeringberg Shiraz 210 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
This Pinot-esque style is my favourite form of Yarra Shiraz. Fragrant, white pepper and cranberry sort of wine with a measured palate that couples red fruit with acidity and dry, delicate tannins. Mid weight and fine, without ever looking bony. Great cool clime Shiraz. 18.5/20 94/100

Yeringberg Yeringberg 2010
Quite firm and stocky, yet also retaining that essential black leafiness too. I miss seeing leafiness in so many Cabernets and blends, the mere suggestion of herbs a no-no in the modern idiom. Beyond the herbaceous hint, this is all vibrant redcurrant fruit and in that fragrant right bank Bordeaux spicy form that makes me think there is a fair bit of Cab Franc in the blend (just 11% apparently). A beautiful, lively and perfumed, finely tannic red of fluidity and balance that is perfectly ripe at 13% alcohol. 18.8/20 95/100

Monday, 14 June 2010

21 Blind Pinots

I'm in catchup mode at the moment, utilising the long weekend to attempt to transfer tasting notes from notebook (and random pieces of paper scattered around the unit) to website.

So apologies in advance for the rather random nature of this weekends posts.

The following wines were all served blind over a very long lunch last month, with the experience once again reminding how mercurial the Pinot Noir grape is, variable and divisive to the end.

These notes are in unedited raw form, so they can seem a little haughty.

Bracket 1:

Pyramid Valley Calvert Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007
Subdued, mildly volatile, bark and black pepper, hint of stems. Classic fleshy Pinot nose. Firmly oaky and alcoholic palate is quite extractive, firm and dry, with a nice cut of sweet fruit through the finish. Sweet fruit lingers too. Very serious, needing years. Top wine. Victorian? (wrong there!) 18.4/94+

Bald Hills Pinot Noir 2005
Much more fleshy after wine 1, this shows caramel oak and red fruit in a quite sweet fashion. Fleshy. Floral. Lovely fleshy and soft palate, though slightly hollow through the finish. Lots of pleasure here. 18/93

Fromm Marlborough Pinot Noir 2002
Old leather, spice and cinnamon. Obvious age. Dry and quite astringent palate. Drying out, touch of mint on the back. Not much love and little fun to be had here. 14.6/82

Peregrine Pinot Noir 2004
Looks slightly older. Volatile, stewed and meaty. Stewed red fruits. Mildly horsey. Still plenty of flesh but just a bit awkward and metallic through the back end. Heat through the finish. 15.8/86

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2006
Lots of wood on the nose. Volatile and backwards. Vegetative edge. Tangerine citrussy character on the palate. Just a fraction awkward. Nice flow through the finish though. Desperately in need of time. 16.5/88+

Bracket 2

Maurice Ecard et Fils Savigny Les Beaune Les Jarrons 1er Cru 1999
Mature, roasted game and a sniff of volatility on the nose, with a slice of bark and old wood. Palate is nice and complex with leather and roasted beef. Fully resolved and comfortable if very dry through the finish. A lovely drink and interesting stuff. 17.5/92

Jean Fery & Fils Savigny Les Beaune 2006
Strawberry fruit and oak with lots of sweetness on the nose which is offset by the truffley savoury overtones. Palate is quite sweet but also extractive with lots of oak, finishing with oak tannins. Awkward acid to finish. Potential sure, but not quite there yet. 16.5/88+

Domaine de Courcel Pommard Les Croix Noires 1er Cru 2005
Golden syrup sweetness with some caramelised notes, though still quite floral. Palate is extractive and liqueured with harsh acid and soapy oak, but still there remains some decent fruit in there somewhere. Lots of heat through the finish. Just not quite there. Time might sort things out. 15.7/86

Anne Gros Vosne Romanee Les Barreaux 2001
Cinnamon and pepper, mushroom and spices. Secondary and wild nose. Palate is very dry and faintly leathery with lots of tannins and acid. Impressive length. Complete wine. 17.2/90

Bracket 3

Tarrington Pinot Noir 2004
Bacon bits. Redcurrant. Big and heady nose. Rich, full and heavy palate is thick and intense. Long. Very good. 17.5/92

Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2003
Horsey bretty stink. Bandages. Palate though is sweet and classic with just a fillip of bretty sausages on the finish. Bretty character hits hard on finish. Small amounts of brett are fine, but this is just too much. 15.0/84

Lucy Margaux Pinot Noir 2009
Rich, plush, liqueured cherry nose. Volatile and sappy. Semi sweet oaky palate is all oak at present. Lots of pretty fruit in there though. Just needs time. 17/90++

Picardy Pinot Noir 2001
Lots of bacony development. Palate is a bit horsey and acid is rising up, palate losing its fruit. Interesting enough though on the decline. 16.3/87

Paringa Estate 'Estate' Pinot Noir 2007
Plush. Youthful, sappy and extractive. Big nose. Oak a tad intrusive. Very tight and sour palate that is long but desperately in need of some bottle age. 17.5/92+

Bass Phillip Estate Pinot Noir 2004
Lovely resolved nose. Faintly volatile and stewed, but so utterly Pinoty. Beautifully weighted sour palate, complex and full. Deliciously gamey. Lovely wine. 18.5/94

Bracket 4

Stefano Lubiana Estate Pinot Noir 2008
Soapy oak sitting on top of the fruit. Soapy, dry palate is withdrawn and still smashed by oak, with sweet fruit just poking through. Very very backwards. Vinfanticide. 17/90++

William Hatcher Willamette Pinot Noir 2005
Sweaty, lovely sweet pure Pinot fruit with some chocolatey oak and no shortage of plush impact on the palate. Meaty chunk through the back. Very well balanced, nice chewy tannins. Excellent stuff. 18.5

Hillcrest Premium Pinot Noir 2005 (I've had better bottles of this)
Cherry fruit opulence, smoky and spicy, citrussy even. Sausage meat and sap on the chewy palate. Just a bit metallic through the finish. Dry and savoury, though not overly generous. 17.3/91

Beaux Freres Beaux Freres Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Lifted and lightly volatile nose. Very full and very chunky palate that finishes very hot. Big and extractive palate. Lacks delicacy, but plenty of impact. Oregon? (picked it!). 16.3/87

Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir 2006
Raspberry and spice, again with a hint of citrus. Interesting palate is full and ripe with cherry fruit. Tail end is very extractive, hard and unappealing. Disjointed. 16/87+

Main Ridge 'Half Acre' Pinot Noir 2006
Caramel and berries, spicy and just a bit sappy. Palate is very dry and unwieldy with a stemmy finish. A bit greenish and mean at this stage but very very serious. Should blossom with bottle age. 16.5/88+