These tasting notes all come from the Boutique Wine Awards tasting, held at Sydney’s Marriot Hotel back on the 3rd July (yes, I am very behind).
What was most heartening to see was that whilst these wines did not necessarily win awards, there was charisma and character aplenty, making for more than one little known highlight, serving of a reminder yet again that in the wine industry, small is beautiful.
Oh and for reference, all of these wines were tasted in the renowned show style – at speed and one after the other. As a result, there will always be a little vagary in the scoring (even though wine first impressions are always the best).
Terravin Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Tropical passionfruit nose, with a similarly tropical fruit drenched, sweaty palate. Good, if just missing a little conviction. 16.8
Terravin Te Ahu Sauvignon Blanc 2008
11 months in oak, wild ferment.
This was only freshly released at the time, so it did appear a little raw and edgy, with creamy oak too dominant at that stage. Important plus signs. 16.7++
Terravin Pinot Noir 2008
Quite deep for a Marlborough Pinot though obviously far too young. Rather rich and chunky, yet still tightly packed. Really good. 17.2+
Peter Rumball Coonawarra Sparkling Cuvee 1997
I’m not really a massive fan of the rich Rumball style, so I may not be the best judge, but this was pretty good. Nose of cooking chocolate over peppery maturing red fruit & the odd whiff of red meat. Palate is rich and long but edged with some minty fruit, with excellent tannins on the finish. I like the proportions here, but also felt the fruit was a little too advanced for real satisfaction. 17
Anderson Cellar Block Durif 2005
Interesting Durif this, with typically massive intense fruit, but without the back palate burn. Nose shows really dense, super sweet black fruit nose, with a forward, malty and liqueured palate. It’s a typically big wine, but never feels hot or unbalanced. Good stuff. 16.8
Schiller Shiraz 2006
Sweetly perfumed with marshmallow oak on the nose and jubey fruit, the palate is mid weight and sweet with a fair dollop of chocolatey oak on the palate. It’s actually a very pretty and generous wine, if hardly an earthmover. Barossa bottled. 16.9
Jones Winery & Vineyard Shiraz 2006
Gem. Porty nose hides a truly lovely wine that belies its Rutherglen origins with a rather savoury, complex and almost old world palate. Little wonder after speaking with the winemaker Mandy Jones, who spent 12 years as a winemaker in Bordeaux before returning to take over the winemaking full time in 2002. Couple that with century old vines and you have a masterpiece. Great mix of typically rich Rutherglen Shiraz fruit and some proper structure. Bargain. 18.0
Jones Winery & Vineyard LJ Shiraz 2006
Shiraz from oldest blocks mixed with under 5% Grenache
Really dense, with the sort of sweet cocoa and loamy nose that I’d associate with Heathcote rather than Rutherglen and the intensity to match. It’s obviously very youthful, yet also with the sort of complexity that is rarely found in a wine of this power and weight. Sweet & sour, textural palate and delightfully long tannins signal that this will get even better too. Great. 18.5
Symphonia Quintus 2006
Blend of Saperavi, Tempranillo, Tannat, Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon
Crammed with oak, which sadly obscures the interesting fruit flavours underneath. It could have well come out by now, for their lay some potential interest in the intriguing blend. Retaste required. 16.5+
The Bruiser Durif 2008
Looks excellent, with some smart makers behind it and a good story. Sadly I found this simple and slightly cheap tasting with the sort of thinness I’d associate with young/overcropped vines and not single vineyard Rutherglen Durif. Question marks over the bottle? 14.8
Tapestry The Vincent Shiraz 2005
Almost a McLaren Vale caricature, but bound to find many friends. Very sweet, oaky and volatile nose, the fruit is tied up in oak but just glistens with richness and positively sings out ‘McLaren Vale’. 17
Tapestry ‘XV Barrels’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Big & very oaky, but with nice textural choc berry flavours and sticky tannins. Heroically proportioned but not without appeal, I actually quite liked this. 17.3