Coonawarra Roadshow is hitting the major cities soon. $30 tickets at the
In Melbourne, the Young Guns of Wine season is on again, several dinners are
occurring across town.
14th August 2011
I tasted the following Northern Rhone Valley wines last week at
Prince Wine Store (Bank St). The 2009 vintage produced some pretty sharp
wines (the following are syrah). As a consumer I'm not feeling any benefits of the strong Australia $,
but Rhone wines remain so much more affordable, especially compared to the
recently concluded Bordeaux En Primeur prices. However, I bought single
bottles and probably won't be stocking up further.
Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage 2009, Rhone Valley
$40 at PWS. Dark ruby colour, youthful aromas of dark berry fruit and kirsch
liquor. A full-bodied wine, fresh with rich blackcurrant and black cherry
flavours. A touch of sweet savouriness to it. Good acidity and balance.
nice. Drink now - 2020. 90+/100.
Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage La Rouvre 2009,
$60 at PWS. Deep, black ruby colour. A youthful nose, aromas of blackberry,
acacia, violets, smoky graphite. Full-bodied wine, fresh acidity, lush
flavours of vibrant blackberries, black raspberry, cherry skin. Drink now -
Coursodon St Joseph Silice 2009, Rhone Valley
$60 at PWS. Black ruby colour. Youthful aromas of fresh raspberries,
blackcurrants, black cherry. Med+ bodied wine, high acidity, rounded tannins
balanced with the rich, pure fruit flavours of raspberry, cherry, dark
berries. Ripe, lingering finish. Drink now - 2020. 92/100.
Coursodon St Joeseph L'Olivaie 2009, Rhone
$75 at PWS. Inky ruby colour. Enticing youthful aromas of blackberries,
cherry, crushed red currants, pressed black olive, hint of pepper. A herby
character to this wine that screams for food. Lamb or pork chops and roasted
rosemary vegetables. Rich flavours, fine tannins, long finish. Drink now -
I didn't taste the Yann Chave Hermitage 2009 ($175) or the Coursodon St
Joseph Sensonne 2009 ($100).
13th August 2011
The Courthouse in North Melbourne (corner of Queensberry and Errol
Sts) has been the gastropub of the suburb. There are quality beers on tap
and several other interesting pours available if you scan the chalkboard,
including a 21% alc? beer costing >$35. The restaurant has always served
good food but not at a level that I'd consider fine dining, but it gets some
points for trying to impress. I haven't dined there for almost a year now
probably due to the bore factor. The menu appears to have been touched up,
quality of food is still good and the wine list is decent. Good overall, but
lacks any wow factor.
Woodcutters 2010 Rousanne Viognier Marsanne, Barossa Valley
My first impression is of a soft ice-cold stream of water with
aromas of lemon pith and lime leaf. Dry white wine, med+ acidity
with moderate alc. Flavours of white grapefruit and white peach,
with the latter adding a crunch factor. There is a mineral
steel-like edge to this wine, lemon pith on the finish. Good focus
and balance. 91+/100. RRP $21.50.
||Tim Smith Wines
Mataro 2009, Barossa Valley
Deep ruby colour. Typical, yet to me, a more relaxed interpretation
of Mataro. There is distinctive note of French oak on the nose,
accompanied by earthy black currants and spicy dark berries. A dry
full-bodied wine of smooth velvet texture. Lotsssss of acidity,
14.5% alc, flavours of ripe, dark red berries, black currants
(recall ribena). A back of powdery tannins linger on the mid top
palate. Lovely. Drink now - 2017. 91+/100. 2009 is sold out at
winery; 2010 vintage available from Aug11.
5th August 2011
Chateau Bela Riesling 2007, Muzla, Sturovo, Slovakia
$36 from Cloudwine. Made by Egon Muller, it is of pale canola gold
colour, and has soft lime lemon aromas. I detect a hint of
reductiveness, suggested by preserved lemon peel and a sniff of
slightly buttered popcorn. Dry white wine which has a touch of
zippiness to it. Racy fresh acidity, 12.5% alc, ripe lemon lime
juice flavours, hint of peach on the finish. drink now - 2016.
Des Mas 2009, Corbieres, Languedoc, France
$17 from Dan Murphy's. A low-cost wine from the
'vintage-of-the-century' (until the 2010s hit the shelves). Dark
berry notes with purple fragrance, kirsch alcohol vapours. Dry,
full-bodied wine with velvet texture and mouth sucking dry powdery
tannins. High acidity, 14.5% alc, flavours of blueberry and red plum
skins. But the finish is short and this wine lacks depth to be
considered a quality drop. 85/100.
Le Tertre du Lys D'Or Cuvee d'Exception 2005, Sauternes
Purchased from Winestar. Clear pale lemon colour. Lovely apricot,
honey kumquat and a hint of sweet nutmeg. A sweet wine, high
acidity, but it's partially hidden by the relatively high 14% alc.
Rich flavours of ripe apricot, warm honey and mandarin sugars.
However, this is past it's peak and there is a dryish finish right
across the palate. Drink up your stocks now. 88/100.
1st August 2011
|Tim Adams Pinot
Gris 2010, Clare Valley, SA
$19 from Cloudwine. Pale gold colour with a copper tinge. Aromas of
pakenham pear, fresh lychee flesh and iced peach tea. Dry, white
wine with racy acidity that props up the full, bitter-sweet flavours
of green pear and unripe white peach flesh. Hint of quince and honey
ont he finish. Great with thai chilli chicken and cucumber salad.
Drink now. 88+/100.
Pippin Pinot Noir 2008, Sunbury, VIC
$18 from Cloudwine. Medium, developing ruby colour.
Nice bouquet of blackberries, black pepper, hint of nutmeg and pork
bone marrow. Dry, medium-bodied wine, high acidity. The 14% alc is
clearly felt, even more so on the finish. The fruit is tiring out,
but still remains an appealing drink at present. Drink now. 87/100.
Shiraz 2009, Barossa Valley, SA
$22 from Cloudwine. Intense black ruby colour. Lovely aromas of
smoky blackcurrant, red plum, blueberry, hint of steely minerality
and dried coconut shavings. Dry, full-bodied red wine, smooth velvet
texture, lots of ripe fruit acids and 14.5% alc. Rich flavours of
blackcurrant jam and plums, soft diffuse tannins. Long fruity
finish. Good value for money. Drink now - 2016. 91/100.
23rd July 2011
A fantastic dinner at Rockpool yet again. This remains my favourite
restaurant in Melbourne. The menu is always straight forward, portions are
generous, consistent quality and good service. This occasion was to
celebrate Carlton's convincing win over Essendon. A nice non-vintage
Roederer Brut was useful to relax the palate and keep it fresh from the
heavy flavours of a starter of Blue
Fin Tuna Tartare with Moroccan Eggplant and Cumin Mayonnaise ($36).
Slow-cooked wagyu 220g short-ribs ($39) from the rotisserie was the order of
the day and this was washed down nicely with a ready Braine-Ducru 2003. A
chocolate jaffa mousse cake ($25) and salted butter caramels ($8) challenged
the limits of my stomach.
Cuvee Classique 2006, Bandol
$135 at Rockpool. A mourvèdre blend hence the unsurprising meatiness
to it's structure. Aromas of blackberry, leather, very rustic in
nature. This screams for a proper 1-2hr decant, this time a serious
swirl-job was sufficient in coaxing it to open up. Full-bodied which
is a touch fat in the mouth, herby to go with the dark berry core.
Well-balanced with moderate tannins. A bit short on the finish, but
this is a lovely wine paired with food, especially roasted bird.
Drink now - 2016. 90/100.
$310 at Rockpool. I wanted the 2004 listed at $170 but was informed
it was sold out. A lovely complex nose, aromas of blackcurrant,
blackberry, white chocolate and a hint of truffle in the back. A
fine wine, the moderate level of fresh acidity and resolving tannins
are maintained in balance. Rich dark berry and plum flavours. Lovely
matched with my slow-roasted wagyu short ribs. Drink now - 2025.
22nd July 2011
Kaesler Old Vine Semillon 2008, Barossa Valley, SA
$13.50 from The Red Wine Shop. Clear, light lemon gold colour with
the slightest hint of green. Generous youthful aromas of lime spritz,
lemon peel, lime rind, and wet, fresh cut grass. Dry white wine with
rich lime fruit and lemon and orange flavours. A whopping 14$ alc,
there is plenty of fresh lively acid, steely on the finish. Long
citrusy finish. Not for the long term. Drink now. 90/100.
Kaesler Old Vine Riesling 2008, Barossa Valley, SA
$16.95 from The Red Wine Shop. Light golden colour. Youthful nose
that is clean and focused. Aromas of green peach, crushed lemon
pulp, dusty lime chalk and fennel seed. Dry white wine with lemon
flesh and juicy orange peach flesh. 13% alc. Feels nicely balanced
with the relatively high amount of acidity. Drink now - 2020.
17th July 2011
Eldridge Estate Gamay 2009, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
$38 from Cloudwine. Med+ black ruby colour. Generous perfume of
sweet red and black berries, sweet spice, like after cold spring
rains. Silky texture, med+ bodied wine, loads of ripe raspberry,
blackberry flavours, opens up into rhubarb shortbread tart, hint of
sweet green and pink peppercorns on the finish. 13.7% alc. Loads of
clean refreshing acidity, med- soft tannins are worked in
seamlessly. Serve this chilled, or off the balcony table in the
present weather. Drink now - 2016. 89+/100.
John's Rd Blood & Courage Shiraz 2009, Barossa Valley, SA
$19 from Dan Murphy's. Intense black purple colour, young
concentrated perfume of black cherry, blackcurrant and sweet anise.
Dry, full-bodied wine with plush rich blackcurrant and black cherry
fruit, finishing with dried black plums. Clean acidity with easy
velvet tannins. 14.5% alc. A good drop for this price. Have this
with rosemary rubbed lamb chops. 89/100.
Longhop Shiraz 2010, Mt Lofty Ranges, SA
$16 from Cloudwine. Intense black ruby colour. Dense aromas of
blackcurrant cordial, asian salted dried plums and anise pastille,
hint of dusty rock. Dry, full-bodied wine, this is ripe and rich
with incredible flavours of dense blackcurrant fruit, anise,
rosemary bark flavours. 14% alc, a long fruity finish. Have this
with a nice, red juicy kangaroo fillet. Good value for money, fit
the for Sunday family BBQ. Drink now. 89/100.
9th July 2011
Patches Chardonnay 2008, Yarra Valley
Had this with a leek and pinenut tart for lunch. Decent melon flavours with
minerality. A rough edge of alcohol on the finish though. 85/100.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2004, Hunter
$15 from Dan Murphy's. Canola gold yellow, lovely developed nose of ripe
waxy lime, lemon rind and cumin aromas. Lively fresh acidity, medium-bodied
with lemon lime flavours and a touch of minerality. Drink now but will age
for several years more. 90/100.
Head The Contrarian Syrah 2010, Barossa
$35 from Cloudwine. 150dz made. Intense black purple colour. Lovely
young, concentrated perfume of blackcurrant, black cherry and a hint
of eucalypt. A dry, full-bodied wine of smooth velvet texture. It's
plump full of rich blackcurrants, kirsch, fine black pepper, sherry
cured meat. 12.% alc. The fruit flavours re focused on the front of
the mouth and the back is left with a hollow sensation. Could
probably do with greater acidity. Needs 3-4 years to come into being
before a decade of life. 89-90/100.
Old Vine Grenache 2010, Barossa Valley, SA
$35 from Cloudwine. Intense purple crimson colour with lovely aromas
of fresh black cherry, cracked plum stones, dense fresh grass
cutting and wafts of Vicks cherry menthol. Silky texture,
full-bodied wine with fine chewy tannins. 14.5% alc. Rich cherry and
dark berry flavours, hint of black raspberry liquorice. Easy plump
finish. 100dz made. Drink now - 2011+. 91-92/100.
Tahbilk Shiraz 2005, Goulburn Valley
$19 from Dan Murphy's. Dark crimson colour, savoury aromas of
blackcurrants, blackcurrant flan and smoked meat. Soft spongy
tannins are still young and present. Nice fruit load, blackcurrant
and red cherry flavours are resolving. Easy finish. 89/00.
Pierre Naigeon Clos Pierre Pinot Noir 2008, VIC
$17 from Dan Murphy's. I'm assuming this is a generic blend of fruit
from around Victoria. The winemaker hails from Gevrey-Chambertin,
but there is certainly no distinct regionality in this offering.
Closer to a cafe wine you'd expect in a village. This remains
fermented grape juice aka wine, but there easily better offerings
from Victoria like the Mornington Peninsula or Yarra Valley. 80/100.
19th June 2011
Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale 1999, Chalon,
Light gold colour, very bready on the nose but also carries unripe finger
lime scents. Pin point, fine mousse. Waxy lemon flavours with a subtle
citrus lime finish. 90-91/100.
Comte-Lafon Clos du Four, Macon-Milly-LaMartine 2005
Soft aromatics of waxy lemon rind, hints of lemon zest. Lots of
lively acidity that dances across the palate. Rich lime lemon
flavours, clean and long on the finish. drink now. 93-94/100.
d'Armailhac 2006, Pauillac
The baby Mouton-Rothschild. Deep black ruby colour with a watery
crimson rim. Cabernet dominant nose with plush blackcurrants, funky
plum skins and fresh savoury crushed herbs. Silky texture, full
bodied with high acidity. The tannins are not prominent, presenting
as an even slate that is slightly sappy. This provides a nice
framework for the rich blackcurrant, purple plum flavours, hint of
minerality on the easy finish. Drink 2012/3 - 2022. 91-92/100.
6th June 2011
Torbreck Woodcutter's Shiraz 2010, Barossa
At only $21, the latest vintage of Dave Powell's Woodcutter's
Shiraz is monstrous value for money. Intense black purple colour, fresh
bouquet of blackcurrant menthol, black raspberry and pencil shavings.
Full-bodied with high acidity and soft tannins to support the rich fruit -
blackcurrant, black cherry, hint of anise, graphite minerality. Long fruity
finish, perfect for the freezing Melbourne nights. This will easily cellar
up to 10 years. Drink now - 2021. 92/100.
20th Feb 2011
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Palengat
Vineyard 2006, Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
Purchased from Langton's auctions. Intense purple ruby colour, initially
(despite 4 hours of in-bottle breathing) very closed nose and I thought this
might have been a compromised bottle. At times, I would be teased by hints
of exciting florals but what resided in the glass was a dull and uninspiring
spirit. However, overnight, youthful aromas of blackberries, violets and
bramble started emerging. Silky texture, dry, full-bodied with high acidity.
The forward, even tannins provide robust structure to this powerful
fruit-driven wine. rich blackberry flavours with dark cherry and bitter
earthy chocolate linger in the mouth. Long finish. 15.2% alc. Drink 2016 -
18th Feb 2011: Chinese New Year dinner recap - no rabbit!
Straw gold lemon colour. Lovely florals of fresh pastry, baked
lemon puff pastry, fine mousse with ripe lemon flavours and a peach stone
finish. Great with shark fin consommé. 92-93/100.
|Verget Meursault 'Tillets' 2003
Pale lemon colour. Lovely soft creamy lemon fennel sauce with
hidden citrus lifts and raw cashews. Dry, med+ bodied wine, med acidity with
rich ripe lemon flesh and peppery undertones. Finish is concentrated on the
Robert Weil Rheingau Riesling Spatlese 2007
SGD$75. Clear pale yellow lemon colour. Subtle aromas of waxy lemon
rind with developing naphthalene overtones and hint of fresh coriander. A
bright wine with ripe citrus acidity and pineapple notes. Drink now if you
like young fruit, or sit on it for 7+ years if you're after the distinct
aged riesling characters. 94/100.
Maison Ambroise 'Le Rognet' Corton Grand Cru 2000
Lovely med+ ruby garnet colour. Developing forward yet soft nose of
ripe forest dark berry fruit with sour cherries. A dry full-bodied pinot
with high acidity and surprisingly youthful tannins after 10 years. Rich
ripe dark berry, blackberry, sour cherry fruit with earthy sweet mocha
undertones. Long finish. Perfect with roast chicken and foie gras as the
acidity cuts across the heavy weight of fat in the mouth. 95/100.
Domaine Des Comtes Lafon Volnay-Champans Premier Cru 2002
Medium ruby colour with tinge of garnet. Lovely clean perfume of
warm dark berry fruit with summer hedge sticks. Dry, med+ bodied wine with
intense unripe small red fruit and blackberries. Youthful sappy tannins.
Drink over next 5-12 years. 91+/100.
Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 2001, SA
Deep ruby colour with a watery garnet rim. Youthful aromas of warm
summer plum and blackberry laid over cloves in black earth. Dry, full-bodied
wine of smooth velvet texture with high acidity. Rich blackberry flavours
with plum skins on the back palate. This has aged nicely and is a finely
crafted wine despite its boring nature. Drink now - 2020. 92/100.
Purchased from Langton's auctions. A blend of 86% cabernet
sauvignon and 14% merlot. Decanted for 20hours but in hindsight, this should
be extended to at least 36hours. Intense ruby garnet with a lighter rim.
Youthful earthy nose with notes of leather strapping and tobacco. Dry,
full-bodied with silky texture. High acidity, zippy sensations of rich, ripe
blackberry fruit and trails of sour plum skin. Very smooth finish.
Excellent. Drink 2015 - 2025+. 97/100.
8th Jan 2011
La Spinetta Biancospino 2009 Moscato d'Asti,
Lovely lychee aromas with sweet floral notes and uplifting spices.
Med-bodied fizzy wine with robust body and rich fruity flavours. Undoubtedly
a crowd pleaser. 91+/100.Share
Sine Qua Non Whisperin' E 2002, Central Coast,
A blend of Roussanne (50%), Viognier (31%) and Chardonnay (19%).
Only 524 cases made. Lovely gold, lemon colour with intense dill-preserved
lemon and honeysuckle, beeswax, lanolin seed and gasoline aromas. An oily
texture for this rich, powerful wine with intense lemon rind flavours,
almond husks and hazelnuts. Long, long finish. Fully developed, drink now.
Perfect with lobster bisque. 95/100.Share
Vineyards Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard 2007, Santa Lucia Highlands,
Monterey, Central Coast, CA, USA
Only 100 cases made. Youthful aromas of black
cherry, blueberry, freshly baked rosemary focaccia and thyme. Dry,
full-bodied pinot with silky texture, med acidity, 14.5% alc. Rich,
dark berry fruit flavours with hints of roasted herbs and glazed pan
bottoms. Long finish. Drink now - 2020. 95/100.Share
7th Jan 2011
Sine Qua Non On Your Toes 2001 Syrah, Central Coast, CA, USA
What a way to start off 2011! This bottle came from JHL Wines by
way of Chris (Cloudwine). Aged for 39 months in new oak, A medium+ black
ruby core, this prodigious wine exudes enticing aromas of Morello cherry,
blueberry compote, damp smoky wood chips and a hint of finger-crushed
blackberry flesh. Dry and full-bodied, this is perfectly in balance right
now, having descended onto a plateau of balance between the holy trinity -
acid, tannins and fruit weight. Within the sexy, silky texture, there is
still some fine grained tannins present hinting towards the potential of
further cellaring. Rich fruit flavours, there are no rough edges despite the
14.9% alc. This has a long soothing finish and is one delicious baby I had
no problem forgoing sushi, sashimi and soft-shell crab for. Drink over the
next 10+ years. 99/100.Share
27th Sept 2010
A HUGE night at the Grand Hyatt hotel on Scotts Road left me with a
forgettable hangover IF I could remember it. Well the suit was a write-off,
and I didn't have my bum on seat to savour every dish served but I obviously
made it a point to take note of the wines enjoyed to celebrate a memorable
Chateau Montalena Chardonnay 2007, Napa Valley CA
Clear lemon gold colour, youthful nose of orange blossom, talc and
lemon minerality. A full-bodied chardonnay with high acidity and a burst of
mandarin pulp flavours backed by a splash of lemon juice. 13.7% alc. Broad
palate profile with a long finish. 92/100. Drink now - 2015.
Flowers Winery Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir 2006, Cazadero CA
17 months in 40% new French oak. Clear med-ruby purple colour with
watery rim. Youthful nose of strawberry leaf, ripening plum under red
currants. Medium bodied wine, high acidity, even velvet blanket of tannins,
rich red berry fruit flavours. A feminine, delicate wine for the early
summer. Long finish. 92/100. Drink now - 2012.
Radio-Coteau Las Colinas Syrah 2004, Sonoma Coast CA
Clear medium ruby coloured wine with fine legs. A medium+ intensity
nose of oven roasted charred beef rib bones, black cherry anise. Full bodied
plush wine, intense black cherry, blackberry flavours, med+ acidity, 14.6%
alc, even carpet of spongy tannins. Long finish. 90/100. Drink now - 2012.
Montrose 2003, St Estephe BordeauxClear black garnet core with a lighter ruby rim. Youthful nose of
black cherry liquorice, cassis and ripe summer blackberry bush. A
full-bodied wine, multilayered and complex with developing sappy tannins,
savoury plum, blackberry flavours. Abt 13.5% alc. Easy and smiling finish. A
brilliant wine. Drink now - 2022. 96/100.
Gruaud-Larose 2003, St Julien BordeauxClear medium black ruby colour. Developing nose of plum, blackberry
and roasted herb stalks with a core of roasted meat. Medium+ bodied wine
high acidity 13% alc, rich savoury plum flavours with a hint of wet tar.
Lovely fleshy tannins provide a perfect structure for now. Nice finish for
an easy wine that will live for awhile more. Drink now - 2020. 90/100.
Mouton-Rothschild 1994, Pauillac Bordeaux
Dark ruby colour with developing hints of garnet. Fine legs. Fresh
blackberries, red currants and a hint of chocolate grainy powder, fresh
tanned leather. Medium+ bodied wine, fresh high acidity, soothing sheath of
tannins, rich dark berry fruit, hint of granite minerality. Long finish.
93/100. Drink now - 2020.
Haut-Brion 1983, Pessac Leognan BordeauxThis wine has seen better days. Medium garnet colour with a brown tinge.
It's a tiring wine past it's peak but still with ripe fresh dark berry
fruit, leather straps and freshly picked tobacco leaf. Medium-bodied wine
with its acids and tannins gasping on their last breaths floating upon
savoury leathery red berry fruit. 90/100. Should have drunk this 5 years ago
but I'm not suggesting you wash your sink pipes with it.
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May - June 2011
Cos d'Estournel tasting
March 2011 - Penfolds release
February 2011 - Chinese New Year
2010 Australian Rieslings
Langton's 2010 Classification
Coonawarra Roadshow 2010
Tasmania Unbottled 2010
Yarra Yering 2008 releases
May - July 2008
Dec-Jan newsletter 2008
Artisans of the Barossa 2007
A messy, yet-to-be updated collection of