21st June 2009: Not-so-hot WAGs (W.A. Greats)
Mount Mary Quintet 2005, Yarra Valley, VIC
$125-150. A blend of cabernet sauvignon (46%), merlot (26%), cabernet franc
(18%), malbec (5%) and petit verdot (5%). Typical cabernet sauvignon and
cabernet franc nuances on the nose. It's like drinking a crushed up piece of
sandpaper, rough edges everywhere, lean, high acidity and too greenish for
my liking. There is an odd funk in this, like something wrapped up in
clingwrap. 84/100. Tasted May 2009.
Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Margaret River, WA
$95-115. Having tasted through the past decade of this release, I wonder why
I'm disappointed with the 2006 release.
The aroma profile is fragile as the fruit dissipates all too quickly. This
is on the lighter-side of medium-bodied wines, almost to the point of
thinking this is watered down. The fruit disappears by the time the tannins
kick in. This is a hint of fruit on the finish but I have been left with a
hollow sensation. Quick, someone give me a drink! 86/100. Tasted May 2009.
Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot 2006, Margaret River, WA
$80-100. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and touches of Petit Verdot,
Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Matured for 15 months in 40% new French
barriques. A wafty effort and clearly a wine that doesn't warrant this
price. There is some amount of dark fruit but it's not smooth and feels like
a couple of barrels merely sifted together then stirred with the soiled head
of a pheasant. 85/100. Tasted May 2009.
20th June 2009
Chateau Poitevin Cru Bourgeois 2005, Bordeaux
$30-40. There is plenty of value to be found at the cru bourgeois levels in
the 2005 vintage. Poitevin is a blend of Merlot (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon
(40%) and petit verdot. Ripe, dark berry fruit with the tinge of herbs
typical of Cabernet Sauvignon and even a hint of oak shavings. Firm, dry
velvet tannins confers the robustness to this wine. Nice finish. 90/100.
Tasted May 2009.
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2003, Bordeaux
$280-350. This lovely 2003 Pauillac is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
and Petit Verdot.
Rich aromas of blackberry, cherries and smokey liquorice. This full-bodied
wine is driven by elegant blackberry flavours held together in a
multilayered structure wrapped by seamless tannins. While its ready to be
drunk now, with history on its side, there is little doubt the 2003 release
will last for 20+ years. 95/100. Tasted May 2009.
19th June 2009: Cab-it to Napa!
Honig Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley
$50-66. Dark currant, cherry candy with rich swirly fruit flavours of
blackcurrant. There is the feeling of a higher touch of alcohol, but this
has a nice, even finish. Not a keeper, drink over 5 years. 88/100. Tasted
Ramey Jericho Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley
$150-195. The last vintage of Jericho Canyon to be released.
This has an intriguing nose of charcoal, dark chocolate and black currants.
A Lovely, full-bodied wine with flavours ebbing layer after layer. Great
stuff! Drink over 10+ years. 93/100. Tasted May 2009.
Forman Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley
$110-135. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A
wallop of dark fruit, sweet spice and cedar wood. Rich flavours, the tannins
hit your palate like a block, but the fruit is strong enough to push
through. Load up on this and forget about it for 10 years before enjoying
over the following 10. 91/100. Tasted May 2009.
4th June 2009: Farr-out wines
Some wines by the Farrs, Gary and Nick, from recent tastings. Gary
has reputed himself with cool climate Bannockburn Pinot Noirs armed with
experience from working vintage at Domaine Dujac. Son Nick has released his
own 'Farr Rising' label these days having learnt some tricks of the trade by
assisting at Bannockburn. Overall, the 2007 releases have been
disappointing, though not surprising with the warmer weather and continued
drought conditions. Yields were down to 0.85tons/acre and the wines are
actually decent given the difficult circumstances.
Viognier by Farr 2007, Bannockburn
$50-60. A simple, linear wine with a hint of the exuberance that a typical
viognier should have. 84/100.
Chardonnay by Farr 2007, Bannockburn
$55-65. A Chardonnay driven by mineral characteristics but very primary and
lacking in personality and depth.
Sangreal by Farr Pinot Noir 2007, Bannockburn
$60-70. ~15 year old pinot noir vines. A volatile cherry aroma that
unfortunately doesn't last the length, red berries, cherry oak, hint of
stalks. A weak pinot noir that is lacking in any interesting complexity. 84/100.
Tout Pres by Farr Pinot
$90-110. A densely planted
vineyard just under 10 years of age. A much more enjoyable aromatic profile
than the Sangreal, it's more whole and rounded with hints of dark berry
hidden in warm forest undergrowth. However, my interest is lost thereafter
as this wine lacks complexity and any finish dissipates all too soon. 87/100.
Shiraz by Farr 2007, Bannockburn
$55-65. ~2% viognier blended. A definite cool climate shiraz with soft
aromas of earthy spice, reduced fruit but lacks the weighty component often
found in Australian shiraz. Burnt red fruit flavours, and I'm sensing an
extra touch of sweetness, from the viognier perhaps? The tannins are long
but abit overbearing for the fruit at the moment. Might improve over 5
Farr Rising Chardonnay
$30-35. No fruit from the
Bannockburn vineyard was harvest for the 2007 release. Instead, fruit was
sourced from the Mornington Peninsula and Adelaide Hills. The wine was aged
in 30% new French oak for 12 months. A restrained wine with peach and nutty
notes no doubt associated with the barrel ferment. This blend is an
interesting attempt but the wine is obviously confused. It lacks depth and
is struggling to figure out that personality it's trying to exude. 82/100.
Farr Rising Geelong Pinot Noir 2007, Bannockburn
$35-40. Aged in 30% new French oak, this medium bodied wine has dark fruit
overlayed with sweet spice. Pinot Noir made in a reduced style with gamey
notes and ripe tannins. 87/100.
Merricks Creek Pinot Noir
2007, Mornington Peninsula
$40-50. Whole fruit pressed
with 25% whole bunch, cool-fermented for 16 days followed by maturation for
19 months in 50% new French oak. Earthy aromas, savoury with raspberry and a
hint of crushed herb. This fruit forward drink does have a finish that seems
a little out of sorts for me. 87/100.
Merricks Creek Close Planted Pinot Noir 2007, Mornington Peninsula
$55-65. Whole fruit crush with 20% whole bunch, cold-ferment for 16 days
before 19 months of maturation in 100% new French oak. More intense nose
than the other Farr Pinot Noir releases. Dark, red current fruit with hint
of earthiness. The tannins are soft but a touch out of sync at the moment
probably due to its recent bottling. A decent drink. 87/100.
Merricks Creek Close Planted Pinot Noir
2005, Mornington Peninsula
The 2005 closed planted pinot
noir is clearly 4 shades lighter than the 2007. Much lighter in colour, yet
this surprises by possessing much richer and more fluent red berry fruit
characteristics. The tannin weight is balanced providing this wine a good
backbone and it should evolve a further step over the next 2-3 years and
drink well over the next 10 years. 88/100.
Merricks Creek Close Planted Pinot Noir 2004, Mornington Peninsula
Lighter in colour than the 2007 release but clearly darker than the 2005 is
the 2004 release of Merricks Creek Pinot Noir. Much more depth in this one,
with dark red berry, fresh bark and toasted spice. Nice long finish. This
should be fine for the next 5-10 years. 89/100.