Simple pallets, Seriously

February 2007 archive

The first proper bottle I've opened since I've been back is the 2004 Schulz Benjamin Shiraz. From the Barossa, it's made by Dave Powell (Torbreck) from grapes of the Schulz family vineyard which apparently supplied some of his previous RunRig fruit. 14% a/c, about $24, screwcap. Upon opening, the vivacious fruity smells poured out of the bottle, enhanced probably by the slightly warmer evening air. I decanted for about 4 hours before drinking. The dense fruity nose remained, but was somewhat masked by what I felt was unsettled alcohol (again, the warmer evening weather might have contributed to this). I got a hint of butterscotch at one point in time too. Medium-bodied, this was very much a Rhone-styled wine, doesn't smash into your palate like alot of other aussie Shiraz of the same price range. Flavour is concentrated to the front of the mouth, no excessive acidity to the back. Finish of about 10+ seconds. Good wine for the price. 91-92/100.

2003 Chateau Suduiraut. Abit early for this, wasn't intending to open this till Chinese new year's eve with the rest of the linup. Had this with Milawa cow camembert and Lavosh crackers which were a good accompaniment. Rich honey nectar nose, not as dense as the 2001, but gives a good clue of the flavours to come. I didn't leave it out for long as it disappeared rather quickly, but I got hints of orange towards the end of the glass. In the mouth, not overly sweet. A nice bodied honey opulence that isn't over-powering, but I think the oak flavours are still lingering, which indicates quite obviously that this is still too young. Maybe 2-3 more years. For now, 93-95/100

Chinese Lunar New Year 2007: Year of the Golden Pig
Hi guys! A little late here, but we've just heralded in the year of the Golden Pig.. crispy pork crackle!! yummmm..... fresh siew yoke! YUMMMM... Well, I've got lots to mention from this weekend, from my CNY reunion dinner to the entire day of 初一, so let's get cracking.. oh, I'll include the wines of course, but no pictures of the labels yet.
Saturday started with the opening of the raved 2005 Mollydookers, Enchanted Path and Carnival of Love.

How else can I describe these wines besides BIG BIG BIG!!!! A whopping 16% alcohol each, the atomic bomb of fruit bombs contained within a bottle! The Enchanted Path was slightly less sweet and fruity than the CoL, but tasting both side by side was a torture and I couldn't do more than a glass each. Into the fridge they went, and they're still goog 2 days later. That said, I'd give the EP 94-95/100, but the CoL is no way deserving of RP99, it's too dense, and the secondary characteristics are struggling to come across. Given that Sparky Marquis made this to be drunk straight away, it's too imbalanced currently, and too difficult to determine whether it has the potential to age; personally I think not. I think it's more of a 92-94/100 wine. You either love it, or hate it.

There were two afternoon tasting sessions, the first at Prince Wine Store showcasing new wines from NZ, then followed by a session at Randall's. At PWS, we tasted wines from Koru, Pyramid Hill, Bell Hill, Maude and Peregine. Koru is based in Marlborough, offering Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (note of capsicum and grass) and 2004 Pinot Noir (13.9% alcohol, well-balanced mouthful). Pyramid Hill is one I'd never heard of, from North Canterbury, which Jancis Robinson says "Put your order in now" with respect to the pinot. However, I found the Eaton Family Pinot Noir 2004 ~ok, and balanced, but nothing outstanding. Bell Hill is also from North Canterbury, and their 04 Old Weka Pass Road Pinot Noir 2004 was very light, almost to the point of a diluted flavour, but it was spicy and average at best. Maude is out of Central Otago and makes Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The 04 SB was slightly different in that it exuded strong notes of fresh forest nettles under an emphatic gooseberry smell. The Pinot noir was closer to a Burgundy in that it smelt of earth but had too much tannic notes which left my tongue absolutely dry. The Peregine 05 Pinot Noir had riper tannins but these were still on the stronger side. It had a nose of morning dense musky forest, leafiness, and would be a great pairing with lamb. Randall's had some roses on tasting, from france and italy, but nothing worth mentioning. Right, I'm rather tipsy now, so I'll post the Vue de Monde dinner and Sunday's full day decadent indulgence menu tomorrow.


2005 Pettavel Evening Star Late Harvest Riesling. Amazing stuff out of Geelong. Rich roman-golden colour with mixed rich equatorial notes of ripe papaya and sugar pineapple. Sweet orangey finish minus the harsh acidity and citrus sugars. Tropical punch in a glass. 92-3/100.



2005 Mollydooker Two Left Feet & The Boxer. $25 each, both need a serious 3hours of decantation. Almost undrinkable straight from the bottle due to the overt sweetness and overwhelming fumes of alcohol. Next day, Two Left Feet: alcohol had blown off, intense blackish-purple colour. The first wafts on the nose reminded me of concentrated cologne and black plum, so there was residual alcohol hidden behind after all. Chewy savoury in the mouth, with a spicey finish on the back palate. Very good length. The Boxer: darker colour than Two Left Feet, with a thinner rim. Greenish nose with residual alcohol still present. Tannins are still quite obvious, leaving a slight dryness in the mouth. Not as spicey as the Two Left Feet, with flavours concentrated on the back-mid palate. Chewy, average lengthed after-taste. Thought of bbq'd chicken as an accompaniment. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite grasp how these wines would be able to last in the mid-long term. Because I didn't quite like them on first impressions, I'm going to refrain from giving them any score or the likes until I give them another go.

2006 Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Reserve. I can't remember how much I paid for this.. maybe $20+-30.. Great clear nose and fresh straight forward passionfruit and gooseberry flavours. Almost perfect balance between fruit and acidity. Saint Clair is the NZ wine producer of the year according to the London International wine and Spirit Competition. I'm not a white person, but this was nice. 92-93/100


Chinese Lunar New Year 2007: Year of the Golden Pig Part 2

I need to make an immediate correction to my previous post before I type up the Sauternes notes. It's regarding the Mollydookers, specifically the Carnival of Love. Firstly, Enchanted Path had lots and lots of sediments. Take that as you would. Now, the CoL.. I'm drinking it as I'm typing this, it's almost 4 days since I've opened it, and unbelievably, not all the alcohol has blown off; I mean, my eyes are literally being blown out of their sockets with each raise of the glass! Because of the excess alcohol, the nose is still overwhelming, but I'm starting to pick up some subtle perfumed notes, while it is a mouthful of sweet plummy fruit cake, some tingle on the tip of the tongue and towards the back, with a great length for an aftertaste. I stand corrected as to it's potential to age. I think this will go heaps down the road. I'm still not getting the strong secondary characteristics that I like in the top-notch frenchies, but I guess that's not typical for an aussie fruit bomb, so in it's own right, this IS one of the best big aussie wines that I've had. Do I like the style? Not exactly. Is this good wine? Quite definately so!

Now, before I get high on this full glass of CoL, I need to get onto Sunday's daily menu and wines. Note that I prepared all the following serves.

Breakfast at 10.30am was scrambled eggs with slices of black truffle and garnished with black truffle-infused olive oil.

This was to be had over the 2003 sauternes partial-blind tasting + 1996 Nirac. The first group was what I thought would be the lighter wines based on tasting notes from various sources, and the second group were the stronger, more showy ones. Bottles were opened at 10am to allow for some aeration, and the following listing is the exact order in which I had the wines.



Filhot (1A): Light golden colour. Lacks floral bouquest typical of bigger sauternes. Nose of esters (almond), nothing obvious standing out. Gracious feel throughout the mouth, slightly high acidity. Sweet, aftertaste in back corners of mouth. 90/100
Lafuarie-Peyraguey (1C)
: Slightly darker golden colour; bigger, sweet floral nose, higher alcohol, with strong, streaky legs. Nose of honeyed confectionary, taste of honey suckle, mellow and mature flavours. But aftertaste tapers off quite quickly. 88/100
Latour-Blanc (1B)
: Light yellow colour, not as dense as 1C. Legs not as fast as 1C. Not perfumed or floral, more nutmeg. Flavours of nutmeg, not very sweet. Weak sensation on the mid palate, lacks acidity. Poor aftertaste. 88/100
Guiraud (1D)
:Deep, dark subtle honey nose with a faint grassy note right at the end. Not too sweet, honeyed candy. Well-balanced in terms of acidity, sensation lingers on the mid tongue. Good length for aftertaste on the mid/back palate. 92-94/100
From this first group, Guiraud was the best, followed by Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Filhot, and a very disappointing Latour-Blanc.
Coutet (2A): Golden colour, slightly richer than the first 4 wines. Nothing too clear ont eh nose but fresh and greenish, like crisp salad. Flavour - mellow and rich, concentrated at the tip of the tongue and mid palate. Big and malleable aftertaste. 94-96/100
Rieussec (2B)
: Colour of clarified butter, not much alcohol and few legs. Notes of fresh, light honey; simple basic honey flavour with aftertaste lingering under the tongue and back palate. 92-94/100
Suduiraut (2C)
: Light yellow, very light, castor sugared nutmeg, nothing too obvious. Weak, tasting of sugared water. Lacks aftertaste. Some balance of acidity which lends this credit, but lacking in character overall. 88-89/100
From this second group, the winner was the Coutet, followed by the Rieussec and a disappointing Suduiraut.
1996 Nirac (Barsac): Rich, glossy, pecan-like lacquer colour. Rich walnut nose, very flavoursome concentrating on the back palate. Good balance of acidity, slightly on the higher side but not too much to handle. This is probably at it's peak so if you have these sitting around, better gulp them down quick!



Wow! all that and it was only for breakfast?! I was definitely high by 11am. Nothing handles too much alcohol like more food!

Lunch: Duck confit served on foie gras with a side of fresh mix salad leaves with dried tuscan herbs, tossed in white truffle-infused olive oil. This was downed with some Enchanted Path from the morning before, and remnants of Coutet.

Dinner: Lobster and mushroom risotto, topped with butter seared lobster tail sautéed with fresh mushroom, served with grey truffle slices and white truffle oil.

This was served with the 2005 Donnhoff Schloβböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese. A mere 8.5% alcohol, this is what all riesling should taste like. Good accompaniment for the heavier truffle and butter flavours because of it's crisp, light taste.

Dessert: Ice-cream with peach slices poached in reduced sauternes sauce, topped with crushed fresh walnuts and a white chocolate brandy sauce. Wellington (Tasmania) 2004 Iced Riesling: Light golden colour with a nose of faint petroleum. Medium bodied, rich flavour of pineapple and good acidity, tailing off with sweet lemon. Decent aftertaste but finishes with a hallow feel to the mouth. 88-89/100

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