Simple palates, Seriously

June 2009 Archive

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 May 2009.

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. 85/100.

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 Noir 2007, Bannockburn
. 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 years. 87/100.

Farr Rising Chardonnay 2007
. 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
. 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.

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