Simple palates, Seriously

November 2009 Archive

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
The '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 2009.

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 November 2009.

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 2009.

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 November 2009.

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 2009.

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 2009.

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.

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