Saturday 28th July 2007
James Halliday was at PWS to sign his newly released wine
companion 2008 edition. Tasting list indicated 10 wines, but the 02 Grange
and 05 Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay were not on tasting, and the 05 Punch
Close Pinot had finished halfway through the session (only 2 bottles
allocated for tasting). For the heck of it, I'll indicate JH's scores too.
Crawford River 2006 Riesling: pre-arrival price $30, wow.. an aussie
riesling that I quite fancied?! Clear nose of lime with a splash of apple.
Luscious flavours that are well-balanced, and not too acidic. Good finish
with a touch of fizz. One of the better buys within this price range for
this varietal. 90-92/100. JH - 96
Tyrrell's 2001 Vat 1 Semillon: $38-45, My notes read as 'OK. It's a
drink.' I had this and the Vat47 awhile back at the Melb Good Food & Wine
Show, and I guess my opinion hasn't changed since, so I don't think it's me;
it's the drink. There's nothing offensive about it, but there's nothing
outstanding that does it for me. 88-89/100. JH - 96
Moorooduc 2005 Wild Yeast Chardonnay: $50-60, woah! talk about a
pricey chard! Nose of heated butter that's just showing a touch of brown.
But I think this could do with a touch more acidity as it's rather flat on
the finish and back palate.
88/100. JH - 96
Yarra Yarra 2005 Syrah Viognier: 55-65, Very nice, soft nose which
clearly shows viognier integration. Good structure, but thrown off by
youthful and raw tannins. 88/100. JH - 96
Hewitson 2005 Private Cellar Shiraz Mourvedre: $60-75, Nice drink,
brooding nose, obvious mourvedre, good flavours and rich in finish. But for
that price? can do better. 89/100. JH - 97
Balnaves 2005 The Tally: $80-95, had this at the previous tasting +
had the 04 last night. Skipped it.
Morris Premium Liqueur Muscat NV: $50-60, Good as always, light nose
but rich lush flavours packed into a thick syrupy texture. 96/100. JH - 97
Pick of the list: Crawford River 2006 Riesling.
It was then round
the corner to Cloudwine where there was some low-cost wines on the table.
Funny thing how just last week Brandon was mentioning how the Mountain Goat
Old Surefoot stout gets snapped up fast by astute followers before a wave of
hunters start asking for it. There was a lady enquiring about them while the
last2 bottles that I bought last week were right at my feet.
Enfield 2006 Pinot Noir: $24, from the Kellybrook vineyard located in
the Yarra Valley. $13.0%, nose of light cherry-flavoured cough syrup, light
feel on the mouth with weak finish. Not much going on, money is better off
Wignalls 2005 Pinot Noir: $32, from the Albany region, much better
than the Enfield, 14.5%, good colour with firm fruity flavours. But I'm not
too keen on this price tag. 88/100. JH - 94
Creed 2004 The Pretty Miss: $20, blend of shiraz, cab franc and
viognier, barossa valley. Nice nose of summer white flowers, good fruity
mouth, the cab franc adds an extra complexity that is welcome. According to
the notes, parcels were individually fermented and oaked before blending
several months prior to bottling. 89/100.
Creed 2005 Shiraz Viognier: $24, 3% viognier, open fermented, basket
pressed, matured in mix of old and new french oak. Sweet confectionary smell
mixed with hint of leather. Aromatic, but yet very subtle. Quite
flavoursome, but tannins are a touch too much for my liking. Worth keeping
over 5-7 years just to see how it develops (no qualms for this price!)
Epsilon 2006 Shiraz: $19, made by the Massena guys, very interesting
nose, almost of faint rose petals? Not bad with a dry firm tannic finish.
Again, for this price, just get a couple of bottles and take your time with
Pick of the list: Creed 2004 The Pretty Miss.
My notes were rather
vague from the Northern Rhone tastings at Randall's. NOT because of the
volume consumed by then (there was lots of spitting! honest!), but more coz
I was scribbling whilst balancing the sheet of paper and the glass.
Albert Belle 'les terres blanches' Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2004:
$36-38, mix of marsaane rousanne, 13.0%. Nice clear colour, good structure,
well balance of acidity and minerality. 88/100.
Albert Belle Hermitage Blanc 2004: $130 - $140, nice sweet smell,
reminds me of morning forest. Crisp and fresh, light minerality. 91/100.
Albert Belle les Pierrelles Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2005: $36-40, 100%
shiraz, nice light nose, good fruit with youthful tannins and abit of bark
towards the end? 90/100.
Albert Belle "Louis Belle" Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2005: $45-50, 100%
shiraz from older vines and exposed to a touch of younger oak. Smooth
and elegant, crystal clear red fruit. 92+/100.
Domaine Patrick Jasmin Cote Rotie 2005: $110-120, 92% shiraz, 8%
viognier, from single staked vines cropped at 2tonnes/acre. Vines average 6
bunches of fruit, which are pruned by half upon varignon (changing of
colour). CLASSIC Cote Rotie style, exotic spice on the nose, initially
almost a touch of sweet durian? Light, vibrant with youthful tannins. Will
go for 10-15 years. 93-94/100.
(Eric & Joel) Durant St-Joseph "Les Coteaux" 2005: $47-55, savoury
chicken soup initially? red fruit, youthful tannins, but a touch too much
right now? 89/100.
Durand Cornas "Premices" 2005: $58-68, simple, approachable wine with cherry
flavours and earthy red fruit. 90/100.
Segries Clos de l'Hermitage 2005: $45-49, shiraz/mourvedre/grenache.
This wine has an interesting background to it. The vineyard is on a chateau
owned by former F1 racer, Jean Aloisi. Plantings are exactly 1/3 for each
variety, and is leased out to Segries. Light and elegant, plenty of sweet
and primary fruit showing with chewy tannins. 90/100.
Durant Super Cornas "Empreintes" (Imprint) 2005: $85-99, nose has a
carpet-y velvety feel, lots of primary red fruit. 90/100.
Durand St-Joseph "Lautaret" 2005: $58-68, YOUNG YOUNG YOUNG! light
bodied drink with loads of red fruit, but over-whelmed by tannins right now.
Do not touch for 3-4 years. 90/100.
Domaine Belle Hermitage Rouge 2004: from the climat of "Murets" with
vines dating back to the 60's. cropped at 1.8tonnes/acre, 100% shiraz, 60%
new oak for about 22 months. Nose of light chicken essence with ginseng,
great clear red fruit with subtle tannins. 94/100.
Vincent Paris Cornas "Granite 30" 2005: $63-68, Nice nose of
liquorice and spice, rich and clear flavours of black fruit. This is great
stuff! Very well-balanced drink. 92-94/100.
Vincent Paris Cornas "Granite 60" 2005: $89-96, vines at located on a
steep slope called "Mazards" of only 1ha, 60 and 90 year old vines. 30%
stems. 100% shiraz. More subdued than the 30, Rich, chewy tannins. Will
cellar for longer than the 30. 91-92/100.
Vincent Paris Elixyrah NV: $74-88, rare botrytis shiraz at only 11%.
wonderful colour, sweet primary grape flavours, very pleasant. From the 2002
vintage, picked at 29 beaume!! more like a shiraz TBA, luscious but abit too
simple for the price? 95+/100.
Pick of the list: Jasmin Cote Rotie 2005.
Friday 27th July 2007
FINALLY! The long overdue Melbourne off-line for the auswine
forumers was held at Abla's on Elgin St to a good turnout sans a couple of
bottles (notably the lack of the anticipated Noble One to finish off the
night!). Dinner was the $45 banquet which was decent considering no corkage
charge. The lamb kababs was a touch salty though.. anyway, here's the list
of wines (mention to MarkS for diligently keeping a record of the wines
through the night. Comments are my personal take on the wines.
Savaterre Chardonnay 2004 - light, stingy nose paired with a tight
lean structure. 85-6/100.
Mount Mary Triolet 1998 - Hmmm
interesting... guessed Old World, clearly wrong.. minerality showing
through. Would never have guessed Yarra. But doesn't rock my boat. 87/100.
Gibson Sparkling Merlot - Nice and
full on the mouth, with the right touch of fizz. Would've done better
Eileen Hardy Shiraz 1991 - I'm
immensely grateful to Prester for his most generous contribution to the
evening! Wow! A lesson in the virtues of good cellaring. Velvety nose,
smooth and mellow in the mouth. Tannins and fruit have fully integrated.
Probably tipping down it's peak now. Drink up. 92/100.
Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004 - I
didn't drink this as I've had it previously.
Springvale Pinot 2005 - very light,
too primary and hasn't got much going. 84/100
Silverwood Pinot 2005 - took a punt
on this, good call by Brandon. $29, from the Mornington Peninsula. This one
got it on the nose, nothing too spectacular but pleasing nonetheless. Good
red fruity flavours, balanced level of tannins. Won't score this one coz I
brought it to the dinner. Could be priced better though.
Schwarz Thiele Rd Grenache 2005 -
the second wine I brought, $29. Aromatic nose, very approachable. Clearly
notes of red fruit, primary and forward. What you see is what you get.
Barossa Valley Estate E&E Shiraz 2002
- hmmm this has got an impressive nose, but lots of primary fruit flavours,
maybe underextracted? Certainly has got a fair level of tannins which should
integrate over the next 5 years. However, I felt the finish was rather
Charles Melton Shiraz 2002 - I
didn't get to try this one.
Balnaves The Tally 2004 - having
tried the 05 not too long ago, the 04 was no let up. Basically most 2004
Coonawarra will be good, but this is right up amongst the best of the lot!
Lovely aromatic nose that's tucked away, impressive balance of fruit and
Penfolds St Henri 1980 - Wowzers! I
don't even know where I was when this vintage was harvested! Might have been
in hawaii or seaworld at the time of bottling! Cork stained halfway, flat
initially, not much going on, but started to open up in the glass. No
obvious fruitiness was left, only earthy organic notes. This has seen better
Campbells The Barkly Durif 1998 -
I'm sure I had this, but I can't remember what it was like.
Seppelt DP63 Show Muscat (375 ml) -
wow.. nice. smooth. light nose but rich flavours. 92/100.
WOTN votes evenly split between the Eileen Hardy 1991 and The Tally 2004. I
voted for the 91 Eileen Hardy, partly for the experience of a well-aged
shiraz. Next offline has been suggested to be a Barossa vs. Rutherglen
Thursday 26th July 2007
A couple of past bottles that I had a few weeks back, but
hadn't gotten round to writing up. Camera and computer are having interface
issues, making uploading the photos a hassled process.
Kalleske 2005 Old Vine
~$50, limited to 2 bottles per mail order. Once again, the Kalleske guys
haven't failed to impress. Handpicked fruit from a single vineyard planted
down in 1935 was open fermented and gently basket-pressed followed by 2
years in seasoned oak hogsheads, giving a complex and graciously aromatic
15.5% drink. My first sniff took me back to the beautiful 2003 Johann Georg.
Dark dense purple colour, sweet nose of hot white blossoms with intense dark
red fruit with a dash of white pepper. An intense fruity flavour that's
clean, well structured with a long aftertaste. Confidently have the other
bottle in 5 years and anticipate the smile. 94/100.
Joe Czerwinski who
is tasting director and senior editor with
Wine Enthusiast Magazine was travelling through Melbourne and we downed
some chicken satays and calamari rings with a couple of James Squires pints.
Before the fat arse chook parmas at the Metropolitan Hotel, we had a
Torbreck 2004 Descendent and the Ojai 1996 (below). Joe generously left a
Siduri which I opened a couple of weeks later.
Ojai 1996 Syrah Bien
Blackish-purple in colour, a compact nose of cassis and bacon fat.
Satisfyingly rich and opulent in the mouth, smooth flowing with no
jarring edges to it. Considering it already has 11 years of age to it,
it's no wonder that this is elegantly balanced and drinking very well
right now. Can this go any further? I don't know.. I sense it's already
peaking and now's the time to drink up! 92-93/100
vineyard is located in Santa Barbara, CA and run by Adam Tolmach. They
also release whites and pinot noir.
Siduri 2000 Pinot Noir
Dark coloured, with notes of earthy cherry. Stocked with fruit flavours
that linger in the mid-back palate. However, a blunted finish with a
touch of unfavourable tannins that disrupts the smoothness one should
expect in pinot noir. 88/100
Siduri is one
from Diana Krall's winelist, located in the Santa Lucia Highlands of
Monterey, CA. They apparently have a broad range but with limited
Saturday 21st July 2007
Several interesting offerings today, PWS with a cheapy
French mix followed by two good-valued reds at Cloudwine.
Monmousseau Vouvray Blanc 2005: $20, from the Loire Valley. Apple and
beeswax on the nose, Rich, medium-bodied wine with an off-dry palate with
citrusy pear flavours. Delicious, rich drink which would be great with fresh
crisp cold prawn salad. 89/100.
Guiot Costieres de Nimes 2004: $20, a shiraz grenache blend at 13.5%,
notes of dark fruit and herbs, medium-bodied joocey wine but lacks
Domaine de la Citadelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2004: $20, made from fruit
from the 'Le Castellet' portion of the vineyard, subdued blackberry,
presence of oaky tannins imparts a dry-ish finish. 85-86/100.
Chateau de Cedre Cahors 'Heritage' 2005: $23-27, Malbec, notes of red
fruit with a touch of eucalypt. 84-86/100.
Lillet Blanc: $30-35. This is an aperitif from the village of
Podensac which James Bond fans would be familiar with if choosing the
emulate their screen hero as it's the key ingredient for the 'Vesper'
featuring in Casino Royale. Made since the 19th century, standing at only
17%, this is traditionally served over ice and with a slice of orange,
matching the light, smooth texture which carries a clear orange flavour.
Eric Bordelet Sydre 'Brut Tradition' NV Apple Cider: $17-20, Eric
Bordelet was a sommelier at a 3 Michelin star restaurant who adopted a 'wine
based approach to cider'. Notes indicate he was 'encouraged' by the famous
Didier Dagueneau whom I doubt had much input into the making process. A very
delicious drink at only 4%, certainly a perfect drink to start off any long
Cooper Burns 2004 Shiraz, Barossa Valley: $25 at Cloudwine, Chris
thinks this is similar to Rockford? Matured in French and American oak, the
latter characteristics showing very clearly towards the finish. Dark fruit
on the nose, medium-bodied wine with flavours of dark red berries. Spicy
finish but a little short on the end. 88/100.
Galli Estate 2005 Heathcote Shiraz: est. release price up to $20, big
liquorice nose straight after opening the bottle with a lot of primary fruit
showing. After awhile, the liquorice has settled down and a sweet, minty
blackcurrent nose appears. Good value for money, this one. 88-89/100.
Saturday 7th July 2007
Tasted some blends at PWS, advertised as 'Super premium
merlot and cabernet'. There were the 2005 Craggy Range Gimblett Merlot and
the Sophia, both of which I thought were displaying some imbalance of
acidity and alcohol. I wouldn't be in any rush to try them, but I'd like to
re-taste them in another 6 months. I haven't tasted enough NZ 05s to comment
but I've heard that in general, the even years have been good to NZ wines.
Tasted side-by-side were the 2005 Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot and
the 2004 Moss Wood Cab Sauvignon. In reality, both are blends including
malbec, cab franc and petit verdot. Having fractions of the other grapes
certainly adds a distinct and enjoyable complexity to the wines compared to
their earlier 'pure' releases. I enjoyed both, although I'd say the Moss
Wood is more accessible now, but the Cullen intrigues me more and would
develop into a better drink many years from now. No doubt the different
vintage conditions had much to do with this. Would be interesting to compare
the 05 Cullen with this 05 Moss Wood. The 5th wine on tasting was the 2005
Balnaves Tally which is a straight Cab Sauv and felt too bold right after
the previous cab blends. But it was a good big-flavoured drink and very
Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Merlot 2005: $38-45, 86% merlot, 14%
cabernet franc. Very pure and fragrant nose of violets, some soft oak. Harsh
sharp attack of acid, velvet palate, dark berry flavours but the weight on
the mouth feels a tad too light. Aftertaste fades off rather quickly.
Craggy Range Sophia 2005: $60-70, 62% merlot, 34% cabernet franc, 4%
cabernet sauvignon. Dense nose, notes of dark chocolate, but a sense that
it's abit too fat. Velvet palate, oaky and dry, aftertaste is weaker than
initial nose would suggest this drink to be and the overall feel of alcohol
is on the high side. The 2004 was much better. 89?/100.
Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot 2005: $80-95, 74% cab sauv, 16%
merlot, 5% malbec, 4% cab franc, 1% petit verdot. Nose of light violets,
cedar, dark fruit with hints of red berries. Medium-full bodied, smooth and
fresh texture with layer upon layer of fruity flavours and chalky tannins
(which aren't offensive). This is the first WA wine that I've been excited
about in a LONG time. Brilliant effort boasting an elegant structure with
sophisticated aromatics. Certainly a keeper, dare I say 15+ years? 92+/100.
Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2004: $90-110, cab sauv blended with cab
franc, petit verdot and merlot (% unknown to me, probably available
somewhere online). A nose on par with the Cullen, waft of creme de cassis,
cedar and violets (recurring smell of the day?), the addition of other grape
varietals makes this a deeply complex wine, with neat layers of pure clean
fruit flavours. A frank drink ready to go right now, but would be great many
years from now. 92/100.
Balnaves The Tally 2005: $80-95, straight Cab Sauv. Typical cab with
a herbish nose, big and balanced. 90/100.