Curiously, I had just one glass of fizz on NYE, even though 3 bottles of Krug were in the fridge.
New Years Eve does that sometimes…
Anyway, for this fizz roundup I pulled in a collection of bubbles opened over the past week or so. The one glaring omission was another bottle of Primo Joseph which might be even better than last year – it’s still the most enjoyable sparkling wine in the country of any colour.
The standout of this lineup was undoubtedly the Kreglinger which was exceptionally fine. Oh and I threw in a few NV sparkling in this mix, even though I don’t typically review NV wines without a disgorgement date/vintage details. Would love to see more of that information on sparkling wines…
Zonin Prosecco NV
Simple fizz, good price. Green straw coloured, this goes rather well for a cheap Prosecco. It’s both slightly vegetal and a little tutti-frutti but at least it’s crisp and the sweetness is not cloying – indeed it’s quite peachy and juicy. Simple but clean, fruity and well made without being much more than that. Best drinking: 2016. 16/20, 87/100. 11%, $11. Would I buy it? It went ok in my Campari Spritz.
Huntington Estate Mudgee Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV
From Huntington Estate in Mudgee. 60/40 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and spends 15 months on lees. Just a hint of blush in the colour here, the nose tight and a little sherbety over a very dry palate. It’s long but also just a bit severe, with teeth enamel removing acidity. Hard work. Best drinking: 2017-2019. 15.8/20, 86/100. $29. Would I buy it? No.
Longview Vineyard W. Wagtail Adelaide Hills Sparkling 2013
Longview have packaged this wonderfully, with a wrap around newspaper type label that looks great. The juice inside is simply appealing too. A Chardonnay/Pinot Noir (65:35) blend that spends 22 months on lees, there is just a little bronze in the colour, some juicy strawberry red fruit on the nose and carrying through to the palate. It’s a really quite fruity sparkling, if just a little chubby around the soft edges. Will win friends easily. Drink: 2016-2018. 16.5/20, 88/100. 12%, $30. Would I buy it? No, but many would.
Deviation Road Loftia Adelaide Hills Vintage Brut 2013
Deviation Road is a new name to me, but with no shortage of noise behind the label. Indeed this wine was awarded Best Sparkling at this Adelaide Hills wine show. A blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, it spent 2 years on lees and will hopefully get more lees age in the future. Water clear, it’s immediately appley and very primary, the palate also pristine and delicate with just the right amount of subtle fruit. There’s something quite appealing about this – delicate and pure, built in a classic aperitif style. It’s just a little too lean and bracing for huge love, but the form is excellent. Thumbs up and a label to watch. Best drinking: 2017-2020+. 17.5/20, 91/100+. 12.5%, $45. Would I buy it? A glass for now.
Daosa Adelaide Hills Blanc de Blancs 2011
After the delicacy of the Deviation Road this is a very different wine. Barrel fermented and aged in old oak for 8 months, this spent 43 months on lees before disgorgement in July 2015. If the last wine was the entree, this is the main course. Just a little oxidative characters on the nose, and some cheesiness on the palate. But the driver here is acidity – bristling, ultra hard core acidity. Interesting that you can very much taste the ’11 vintage in this wine, with a lean, grapefruit-meets-barrel-ferment character that was echoed in many ’11 Hills Chardonnay. Still, that acidity is the force here, the oak and lees age just delivering layers of texture. In some ways this is just a little too rich, a little too overt, but if you’re used to grower Champagne this should satisfy. High quality. Drink: 2016-2021. 17.7/20, 92/100. 11.9%, $55. Would I buy it? A two glass proposition.
Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvee 2010
A blend of 51% Pinot Noir, 49% Chardonnay, all from the Jansz vineyard at Pipers River. 50% of the blend is barrel maturated for 7 months, the entire blend spending 54 months on lees. A rather more elegant wine in this lineup, though the lees ageing gives this complexity. Still a light and citrussy style with toasty yeast overtones, it feels more like Champagne than many others in this bracket, if with quite softy acidity. Quite classic in its delicacy I kept waiting for the intensity to come, but it just seemed a little underpowered. Quality, if not profound. Best drinking: 2016-2021. 17.5/20, 91/00. 12.5%, $46.95. Would I buy it? I’d drink two glasses.
Stefano Lubiana Tasmania Grande Vintage 2007
This spends a very solid 7 years on lees and 10 months ‘on cork’. A blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from the biodynamic Stefano Lubiana vineyard. It looks very yeast developed too, with this pale yellow straw coloured wine showing heavy autolysis to the point of being cheesy. It’s almost too leesy really, descending into gum ball funk, custard and then sherbet. So much to get your head around! Complex as it is, this is just a bit hard going. Plenty of interest though. Best drinking: 2016-2018. 16.8/20, 89/100. 12.5%, $55 at the cellar door. Would I buy it? Close, but not quite.
Deviation Road Altair Adelaide Hills Brut Sparkling Rose NV
This is another smart release from Deviation Road. Sourced from up Lenswood way this is a blend of 2013 vintage wine with reserves back to 2010. 50/50 Pinot Chardonnay it spends 24 months on lees. Importantly, this gets the balance pretty right. Bright light pink, it has a creamy frothy bead over a dry and pretty palate – loads of creamy strawberry fruit. It tastes sweeter than 9g/L dosage but I think that’s a ripeness thing too. It’s still very primary – perhaps too primary in a way, but as an approachable and quite tasty simple pink it works pretty nicely. Best drinking: 2016-2019. 17/20, 90/100. 12.5%, $32. Would I buy it? I’d drink a glass.
Stefano Lubiana Tasmania Brut Rose 2010
If the Deviation Road was fruity and fresh, then this is the serious version. 4 years on lees + 10 months in oak, this is 100% Pinot Noir and looks awfully grownup. Salmon orange coloured, it has a bready, Pinot heavy nose that is varietal but carries plenty of lees development. There’s a dash of strawberry and some creaminess to the texture, but it never feels frivolous. Soft acidity makes this generous, but it never feels broad. High class pink really. Best drinking: 2016-2021. 17.7/20, 92/100. 12.5%, $45. Would I buy it? I’d drink two glasses.
Kreglinger Tasmania Brut Rose 2005
Outstanding. I didn’t expect this to be so complete! Wow. Sourced from a single high density vineyard in Pipers Brook, a part of the world that has a HDD of 1030 (which is intriguingly close to Champagne). 100% Pinot Noir, tjos follows the trend and includes one parcel fermented in oak. A huge 10 years on lees, this bottle was disgorged July 2015 (quick numbers for reference: TA 7g/L, pH 3.1). While sharing plenty with the Lubiana, this is a very different beast. Light salmon orange, this has a big hit of lees and less straight strawberry, making for plenty to get your head around. The palate is remarkable in the intensity of the acidity – it’s a thumping wine with extract and serious concentration through the finish. Huge intensity here – almost unheard of in an Aussie bubbles. It’s not quite as complex as some equivalent Champagne, but gee that power is something to be amazed at. Outstanding stuff. Given the age and style, it’s very fairly priced too – you’d need to pay more than double this to get an equivalent quality Champagne. Best drinking (I prefer disgorged bubbles young): 2016-2021. 18.5/20, 94/100. 12.5%, $65. Would I buy it? Absolutely.