21st November 2009
Pindarie 'Bar Rossa' 2007, Barossa Valley
This is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 25% Sangiovese and 5% Shiraz.
Sensation of hot mineral earth, toasted plum skins and rich blackberry
notes. A slight hint of reduction. An even, balanced wine with mouth coating
tannins, rich dark berry fruit with a touch of anise. A long, even finish to
this youthful wine. Drink 5-7 years. 91-92/100. Tasted October 2009.
Pindarie 'Bar Rossa' 2008, Barossa Valley
This wine would go perfectly with a Mediterranean salad loaded with
black olives and fetta cubes to go along with warm lamb chops. A
medium-bodied wine made from co-fermentation of the Tempranillo and
Sangiovese followed by blending in of the Shiraz at the end. Notes of ripe
berry fruit with a soft waft of pepper, there is rich plum juice and fleshy
red berry juice. The tannins are soft and velvety, and the finish is
pleasing and persistent. 91/100. Tasted November 2009.
22nd November 2009
Willi Schaefer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2007, Mosel, Germany
A lovely light golden shade, this exudes notes of apple, pear skin
and a hint of orange rind. Smooth flowing juice rich in fruit sugars, mainly
pear with malolactic acid to finish. Fresh young wine with a fleshy body.
91-92/100. Tasted November 2009.
Le Tertre Du Lys D'Or 2005, Sauternes, France
$189 per 6x 350ml. Notes of squished kumquat (Trust me, I've lived
a life smelling these over Chinese New Year back in Singapore), honey + bee
wax. This is trying to be complex and luscious, something synonymous with
the 2005 Sauternes vintage, but there is much room for improvement. This has
light, ripe candied citrus flavours, a tad of a dryish texture to it, acids
are a little out of whack. Still a little hollow sensation in the overall
flavour profile. 88-89/100. Tasted November 2009.
27th November 2009
'Family of Twelve' is an alliance of 12 New Zealand largely
family-based wineries that offers a distinct taste of the various wine
regions of NZ spanning both North and South islands. The members hail from
Auckland (Kumeu River & Villa Maria), Gisborne (Millton Vineyard), Hawkes
Bay (Craggy Range), Martinborough (Palliser Estate & Ata Rangi), Marlborough
(Fromm Winery, Nautilus, Lawson's Dry Hills), Nelson (Neudorf), Waipara
(Pegasus Bay) and Central Otago (Felton Road).Some of NZ's best wines are
produced by this co-operative and it is well-worth investing some time to
explore what's on offer.
Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2008
$85. The fine 2008 vintage has yielded a wine described as 'classic' by the
winemaker. Powerful aromatics, savoury plum notes and ripe red fruit with a
hint of oak. Fine tannins but the fruit flavours are very primary and
unexciting. A surprising let down on the palate. Given the track record of
this label I'd have to give this a second go at a later time. For this one,
87?/100. Tasted November 2009.
Craggy Range Kidnappers Chardonnay 2008
$30. This wine has good aromas unripe nectarines and peaches without any
distraction of overt oak influence. Lovely flowing stone fruit flavours with
a shaving of orange zest. Rich, focussed finish. 92/100. Tasted November
Craggy Range Sophia 2007
$70. Almost always a stunner, this flagship blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc,
Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. A curvy wine with ripe plums and dark berry
flavours, hint of chocolate powder and sweet tobacco. Very fine wine that
should last for the next 15+ years. 93-94/100. Tasted November 2009.
Felton Road Block 2 Chardonnay 2008
$65. Reminiscent of an Old-World chardonnay, this has notes of roast rice
tea, baked apple, and pear. The fruit flavours are well-balanced with
minerality. Overall, this is tight and linear, and it will be nice to try
again in ~5 years. 92/100. Tasted November 2009.
Felton Road Calvert Pinot Noir 2008
$85. Notes of black cherry, forest berries and a hint of spice, this wine is
laden with sweet berry fruit flavours. A well-balanced wine, good structure
with the tannin levels in harmony with the sweetness of the fruit. However,
the finish might need a bit of improvement which holds an element of
sourishness, although some might like that. 91-92/100.
Fromm Winery Clayvin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004
$75. A single-vineyard wine with only 6 cases allocated to the Australian
market. Lovely cherry and red berry flavours. Robust, firm tannins that will
smoothen out over time. Very good potential to last 10-15 years. 93+/100.
Tasted November 2009.
Fromm Winery La Strada Pinot Noir 2004
$35. This easy drink is a blend of three vineyards with ripe berry flavours
and a tangy finish. 89-90/100. Tasted November 2009.
Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2007
$45. A solid wine with potential power and concentration in the lemon curd
fruit, but is rather dampened out by the oak. 89/100. Tasted November 2009.
Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2007
$55. A blend of three vineyards (Mate, Coddington and Hunting Hill). There
is less oak influence in this more restrained wine which is buttery, with a
touch of sweetness and cinnamon. Lovely orange citrus balanced with soft
acids. 91/100. Tasted November 2009.
Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2008
$20. A bright wine that would be great for a spicy Thai chicken feet salad.
Notes of capsicum and oddly, liquid chicken stir-fry. 87/100. Tasted
Lawson's Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2008
$23. Notes of fleshy lychee fruit. Soft flavours, maybe too soft so you're
not really enticed back for more. It has a touch of zip, that element of
freshness but a lacks that definitive crisp edge. 87/100. Tasted November
Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc 2007
$30. A vibrant, rich and fruity chenin blanc that is soft and delicate but
with firm structure and acidity. Floral notes with a hint of raw cashew
nuttiness. Buy this for the hot summer lunches on the deck. 88/100. Tasted
Millton Clos de Ste Anne Chardonnay 2007
$50. Single vineyard wine that is ripe and concentrated despite its youth.
Soft notes of creamy peach dessert with a drizzle of honey that don't pounce
onto you. Good acid balance and should be able to be laid down for a few
years (5+). 89/100. Tasted November 2009.
Nautilus Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008
$22. Soft capsicum flavours, not simple but not over-powering either. A
touch of citrus acidity, young and fresh. 88/100. Tasted November 2009.
Nautilus Estate Pinot Gris 2008
$29. Nice peach fruit flavours with pear tautness with a slightly dry
finish. 87/100. Tasted November 2009.
Neudorf Nelson Chardonnay 2007
$40. Very different from the typical NZ Chardonnay, overtly oaked with smoky
notes, creamy texture and soft citrus flavours. 86/100. Tasted November
Neudorf Moutere Pinot Noir 2006
$75. This is not just about the fruit, it's deeper and darker. Dark berries,
so far buried into the pits, its hidden under the perfume. Vibrant berries
on the palate, still youthful right now, keep 5-7 years then drink up to
12-15 years. 93/100. Tasted November 2009.
Palliser Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2009
$24. An easy wine that accurately represents what NZ sauvignon blanc is all
about. Notes of passionfruit and capsicum. 88/100.
Pegasus Bay Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008
$38. The sauvignon blanc component shows through too much for my liking but
the Semillon gives appropriate weight to the wine. 88/100. Tasted November
Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2007
$65. Deep, dense fruitcake with dark plum and cherry notes. Lovely rich
fruit, fine sensation on the palate and a youthful finish. Keep up to 10-12
years. 92-93/100. Tasted November 2009.