Sunday 28th October
The cellar door for
is nicely situated atop a hill in the Lyndoch region of the Barossa which,
depending on the season of visit offers a view of purple lavender or golden
yellow marigolds. There is a good range on offer, for pretty decent prices
at that. A good introductory winery, certainly, for anyone just getting into
SA wines with options on the white or red end of the scale. Nothing over the
top, mostly easy to drink and something you'd have over dinner with friends.
Kellermeister Red Frontignac 2007: $15.50. Not often that you find
an offering of the red frontignac grape. Fruit were picked in the cool
of the night, and treated in controlled cool fermentation. Dark crimson
colour, sweet fruity nose but simple tastes, I'd even say a let down on
flavour and palate. Soft and weak. Good with your usual asian stir-frys.
Trevor Jones Cebo Rose 2007: $14. Primary made from muscat, with
some cab sauv thrown in for more structure and colour balance. Crimson
colour, with typical grapiness from the muscat and light hints of
apple(malo?) for this simple drink that has a decent fruit profile but
lacks a similar finish. Good with buttered prawn salad on ice crisp
Kellermeister Cabernet Sauvignon 1999: $22.50. Matured for 12
months in French Nevers oak. Earthy tinge to the dark red colour. Notes
of liquorice and dark cherry and flavours of red fruit. The tannins have
mellowed out now, and it's starting to go soft. 87/100.
Kellermeister GMB Cab Sauv/Shiraz 2003: $23.50. Gold Medal Burgundy
blend of 50/50 CS/Shiraz that spent 18mths in French Limousine oak. Dark
red colour, nose of vanillin, perfumed with violets and purple fruit.
Toned down in terms of flavours, good finish. 88/100.
Kellermeister Black Sash Shiraz 2004: $32.50. From 50yo vines and
aged in 100% French oak. Dark ruby colour. Intense concentrated nose of
dark cherry and plum with lingering oak. Tannins are youthful, good
palate but the finish is stingy. Could probably keep for awhile though.
Trevor Jones Wild Witch Shiraz 2001: $50. From 100yo vines, this
spends 2.5years in 100% new French and American oak. Open, intense
perfumed nose followed by simple flavours of currants and red fruit, but
the tannins are still obvious. Have with your pepper-sauced char-grilled
Kellermeister Frontignac Auslese 2006: $18. Pale golden in
colour. Notes of orange blossom, lime and citrus. Rich sweet
flavours, crisp and not overly intense and overpowering. Good
pairing with spicy Thai onion salad. 90/100.
Trevor Jones Sticky Boots 2002: $15. An 11.5%alc blend of
botrytis semillon and verdhelho. Light golden colour with nose of
stewed apricot. Semi-sticky with an almond-like finish would be a
good pairing with nice washed rind. 90/100.
Kellermeister Eiswein 2006: $24.50. Made from late picked
riesling which were chill frosted down several times for the juice
to freeze. Rich honeyed flavours with good malo content, crisp yet
not sweet like what you'd expect of icewines. Mallow flavours
finishing with a taste of ripe strawberries.
Kellermeister Sylvaner Mistelle 2006: $15. This is for those of
you who enjoy chasing down odd varietals. Sylvaner is a riesling
hybrid and mistelle referring to the French process of fortification
for juicing purposes, not wine. Coming in at 15.0%alc, this light
honey gold coloured wine has a nose of pearled pear, wasabi seaweed
(I was the only one who got this on the day) and luscious flavours
of pear and citrus. Very good flavours and finish. Unusual offering,
and I'm curious to see how this will develop over ~5 years.
Kellermeister Sable: $15. Made from a base of ruby port, dark
German chocolate was added with 3yo brandy. The nuances of chocolate
is the most prominent feature of this unusual style, with rich
caramel flavours this is an excellent way to end off dinner just
before your coffee. 92/100.
Thursday 25th October
2005 vintage of the Kay Bros Amery Block 6 is a smashing attempt that
surpasses previous releases. Limited to 2 bottles per customer upon
purchase of another 4 bottles, the 113th release has seen a price
adjustment to $55. Good growing conditions in 2005 produced excellent
quality shiraz grapes which have been worked beautifully by Colin Kay,
giving a flagship shiraz that is amongst the best that SA has to offer.
Kay Bros Amery Block 6 Shiraz
2005: $55. Handpicked grapes from the 4-acre Block 6 vineyard in the
113th vintage of this benchmark McLaren Vale shiraz were of excellent
quality and winemaker Colin Kay has made a near perfect beauty. Open
ferments following by basket press and matured in 80% new American oak
and 20% new Eastern European oak for 28 months for a final product
tipping at 16%alc under stelvin. The inky, blackish purple colour gives
a hint of the intensity of the nose which is primarily blackberry with
dark chocolate undertones. There's also a hint of cinnamon and cool
eucalypt. Rich and fulfilling flavours sweep the mouth, this has pure
fruit essence, sweet spices, dark berry flavours come at you layer upon
layer without let up. The tannins have been worked in very well to give
an elegant backbone to this drink, staving away from previously chewy
types. This is seamless, what a great drink! Should drink well in 3-4
years, and cellar for 15-20 years. 99/100.
Wednesday 24th October
Oliver's Taranga is
a winery in McLaren Vale that has taken a modern-esque appearance with the
new cellar door having come a very long way since the days of an old stone
cottage. Currently run by fifth and sixth generation Olivers, this huge
operation boasts 100hec of vineyards of various red and white varieties.
While some crop is contracted growing, Don and Marg Oliver have enough to
supply their winemaker niece Corrina for at least 10 labels. On the day, I
made a last-second turn into the Taranga property and was served by Margie
at the cellar door. It was impressive to see a good number of varieties
represented in small production projects, and I was very impressed with the
quality of their straight shiraz which I've had in the past.
Oliver's Taranga Vine-dried
Cabernet 2006: $28, 4400 cases produced. 25% vine-dried for this Amarone-styled
wine, giving a rich menthol-ed nose paired with an intensely flavoured drink
with balanced tannins levels and a good finish. 91/100.
Oliver's Taranga Grenache 2006: $28, 3080 cases produced. A bit
dryish but sufficient fruity flavours which definitely makes this a food
Oliver's Taranga Tempranillo 2006: $28, 1120 cases produced. Another
food wine here with good fruit load and spice. 89/100.
Oliver's Taranga Viognier 2007: $18, 1856 dozen produced. Did not
Oliver's Taranga Sauvignon Blanc 2007: $18, 1430 dozen produced from
the Adelaide Hills. Did not take notes.
Oliver's Taranga Shiraz 2005: $28. Nice deep colour with notes of
savoury spice, liquorice and dark chocolate. Not as powerful or as fruity as
some of the other 2005 offerings but good in its own right with abundant
flavours of spice and dark fruit. 90-91/100.
Oliver's Taranga Corrina's Blend 2005: $28. Blend of 55% shiraz and
45 cabernet. Floral nose with a hint of herb obviously from the cabernet,
accompanied by fruity flavours on the mid-palate from the shiraz held
together by chewy tannins. 91/100.
Oliver's Taranga HJ Reserve Shiraz 2004: $45. Fruit from the oldest
parcel of land planted in 1948 are specially selected for this release. Aged
in new French oak for 30months and another year in the bottle before
release. Drinkable right now, but this spicy, fruit-driven wine will benefit
from 3-4 years of cellaring and will last for at least 10-12 years. 92/100.
Marg also allowed me a peek of a
label bound for the US-market, the Revolution Shiraz which will
retail ~USD$20 by Epicurean. This unfiltered wine of 15%alc is made in a
semi-sweet style and would be perfect for a rare, chunky bbq'd steak. There
is also another label, the Expatriate which is also export only and
will retail ~$40.
Primo Estate was
established in 1979 and now boasts a modern, swanky looking cellardoor in
the McLaren Vale. Run by Joseph Grilli, this Italian-touched operation
offers two labels and award winning olive oils. The Primo Estate is the
entry-level label, while the Joseph label is recommended as a sit-down
tasting with cheese and crackers. An interesting bottle worth chasing down
is the Joseph 'la magia' Botrytis Riesling Traminer which is sold out at
cellar door. This creation earned Joseph Dux when he graduated from
Roseworthy and produced from grapes self-inoculated to ~35% botrytis.
Primo Estate 'la biondina'
Colombard Sauvignon Blanc 2007: $15. Good QPR. 89/100.
Primo Estate 'merlesco' Merlot 2006: $15. 87-88/100.
Primo Estate 'Zamberlan' Cabernet Sangiovese 2004: $28. Good
structure. Good food wine. 89/100.
Primo Estate 'Shale Stone' Shiraz 2005: $32. Grapes from McLaren Vale
and Clarendon. Very soft, weak wine as the aftertaste just fell away. Not
enough oomph. 87-88/100.
Theodore's note: mid-palate strong. backup palate lacking. bitter
Tuesday 23rd October
A standout at the North-East regional Fed Sq Showcase worth
keeping in mind was
Smiths Vineyard. This
small operation is the oldest in existence in Beechworth, a region that
produces quality chardonnay, pinot noir and riesling and more commonly
associated with Giaconda. Residing at 550m altitude, Smiths has been around
since 1978 when they grew grapes for Brown Bros. and has now turned to focus
on producing a small turnout of 1500 cases from a mere 3.2hec overseen by
winemaker Will (no, he's not a Smith but look out for his Flamsteed label
produced with his brother)..
Smiths Vineyard Chardonnay 2006:
$34, 400 cases produced. Matured in 15-20% new French oak coupled with ~10%
malo and a wild yeast ferment. Clean yellowish tinge for a colour, there a
uplifting nose of citrus, melon and stone fruit. Good flavours present in
this elegant wine which should live for the next 5-7 years.
Smiths Vineyard Cabernet Merlot 2005: $25. Two-thirds Cabernet,
one-third merlot which gives this blend a bit of a lift structurally. A lighter styled wine
with notes of plum and capsicum and followed up with red berry flavours and
spice backed by soft tannins. Good, should drink well over next 5 years.
Smiths Vineyard Shiraz 2006: $25, to be released in Feb 08. The first
vintage of a shiraz/viognier blend from this winery. The shiraz is from 14yo
vines with 3-4% viognier added via whole bunch coferments, followed by 12
months maturation in 2nd year round French oak. Uplifting perfumed nose, but
comes across as being a feather weight which is elegant and soft. Turns out
to be medium-bodied on the palate with soft tannins and decent fruit levels.
Good finish. 90/100.
Monday 8th October 2007
There wasn't too much on offer by way of fortifieds at the
North-East regional Fed Sq Showcase. Quite disappointing, since the
Rutherglen is arguably a Mecca for fortifieds, be it muscat or tokay
(whoops, are we legally obliged to not call it that anymore?). RL Buller did
not have any fortifieds on the evening, instead choosing to push sales of
their reds and the Calliope durif and shiraz. Chambers Rosewood was not
represented, another disappointment, as their casual drinking sweet table
whites are certainly a treat. But I managed to collect a standing order of 6
Calliope Rare Tokays from RL Buller, and had reacquainted myself with Ben, the cellardoor manager of Morris, which was timely as that allowed me to squeak
a tipple of their Rare Muscat and Tokay.
Wood Park Wines Brut Rose 2006,
King Valley: $28. Clear, light ruby colour. Nose of strawberry and
yeasty notes. Ok, but not crisp enough for me. 87/100.
Anderson Methode Champenoise Shiraz 1999, Rutherglen: $28. Garnet
colour. Rich, earthy dungy nose with great flavour but is quite primary with
the presence of sweet residual fruit. 89/100.
Anderson Vintage Port 2003: $19.50. Made with brandy spirit, has a
weak nose, dry style, decent fruity flavours with finish is rather soft.
Auldstone Cellars Liqueur Muscat, Glenrowan: $25. Nose of light
raisin, but nothing spectacular. Soft flavour profile. Nice aftertaste
Calico Town Wines 'Au' Tokay: $30. 'Au' being the symbol for gold on
the periodic table. 88% 20yo stock with 2% 100yo and the remainder topped up
with new press. Cologne rich and intense nose, Lightish texture, not a
sticky syrup. Good rain flavour and a nice aftertaste that lingers lightly.
Campbells 'Liquid Gold' Classic Rutherglen Tokay: $35. Light-weight
all the way through. Light colour, nose and raisiny flavours with good
Campbells Rutherglen Muscat: $17. At least 3-4 times darker than the
Liquid Gold. Light nose of walnuts and raisin. Light feel in terms of
flavours and the aftertaste is abit soft. 89/100.
Campbells Classic Rutherglen Muscat: $35. Half a shade darker than
the Rutherglen Muscat, its got a more intense, savoury nose with sticky
raisin flavour profile. Intense aftertaste which drops off. 91/100.
Jones Winery Apero Port, Rutherglen: $25. Made from PX and trabbiano.
Serve chilled, its got a light nose and flavours. But I think the
sugar/acidity is abit high. 87/100.
Jones Winery Ruby Port, Rutherglen: $18. Made from shiraz. Soft nose
but there's some brooding intensity. Flavour-wise ok, but abit blunted.
Rutherglen Estate N/V Muscat: $20. Raisiny + copper tones. Light nose
of raisin that flows through onto the palate with a luscious, syrupy
feel despite a light flavour profile. Soft aftertaste. 88-89/100.
Stanton & Killeen Vintage Port 2001, Rutherglen: $27. Dark colour,
good clean nose of fruitiness. Flows softly, good finish. 88-89/100.
Stanton & Killeen Classic Rutherglen Muscat: $27. Avg age 12 years.
Rusty gold colour, pleasant nose, great flavour of raisins. Quite developed
and rich flavours with a light accompanying finish. 92/100.
Stanton & Killeen Classic Rutherglen Tokay: $27. Avg age 12 years.
Subdued nose with light honeyed, malt flavours. Light finish. 90/100.
Scion Sweet Durif 2006, Rutherglen: $22. Made with neutral spirit,
this sweet fortified red of darkish crimson colour has a toned down, light
berry nose with nice clean fruity flavours on the palate. Recommended
pairing with moderately dark chocolate. 88/100.
Sunday 7th October 2007
I wish people would leave some comments on the tag-board in
the right column.. it's feeling lonesome and unloved.
Couple of bottles that I had purchased for a casual work
event. The Patrick T Riesling was purchased based on previous impressive
from the Coonawarra roadshow, notes which I have been tardy in putting
together. I bought these wines at Parkhill Cellars along Errol St in North
Melbourne just because I wanted an excuse to check out their store. If you
want a quick bottle, they're not too bad for a stop.
Patrick T 'The
Caves' Riesling 2004: Riesling from the Wrattonbully region harvested at
12Be, matured in stainless steel for a year. Marigold gold/yellow colour.
Great nose of lime and mango. Fleshy palate has weight but is not too fat.
Well-lengthed aftertaste which lingers after the mineraly finish. 91/100.
Two Hands The
Lucky Country Cabernet Sauvignon 2004: ~$12. I'll declare that I'm not a
big fan of the Two Hands model, although I'll say I appreciate their terrior
strategy of making wines. This bottling is the result of declassification of
15-20% of the 2002 and 2003 vintages. In 2004, this is a Cabernet/Shiraz
blend from Langhorne Creek. Earthy dark garnet colour. Greenish nose with
hint of dark chocolate. Well-rounded palate, plum flavours but there's some
acidity which throws the balance off. A bit soft by Two Hands standard.
Positive note, the aftertaste does go on for a good length. Good buy for
this price. 90/100.
Pillar Box Red 2006: A blend of 53% shiraz, 37% cabernet sauvignon
and 10% merlot from the Padthaway region made by Chris Ringland. Black
red colour, burnt nose with sweet minty and dark berry. Palate is
vibrant, with flavours of fleshy raspberry. Aftertaste is ok with soft
tannins. Good finish. 88/100.
Saturday 6th October
I've been rather slow in gathering my notes but will
endeavour to work through them over the next few days. I'll be back in
Adelaide next weekend, and hopefully I'll be compiling more information on
several other wineries. This week also saw various wineries from Northeast
Victoria at the Fed Sq Regionals Expo, mainly Rutherglen, but the King
Valley and Beechworth were also represented. I made a few notes on some of
the fortifieds but as this was a full-on public display, nothing substantial
was on offer. Here's some Landhaus for now, which I had contemplated
purchasing to try but was fortunate to be at Cloudwine when they had two
Sinner 2006: $15. A blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Mataro and 20% shiraz
from 60 to 85 year old vines which hasn't seen the daylight of oak. Light,
clear ruby colour gives a hint of the tight nose with stingy offering of red
fruit, followed by a leaness on the mouth. Clean, fresh fruity flavours with
a mildly tingling finish. 90/100.
Saint 2006: $15. Fruit sourced from 70 year old vines from Greenock,
Stockwell, Ebenezer and Bethany sub-regions. Aged in American and French
oak. Dark ruby colour. I'm not getting much on the nose and the
medium-bodied weight only yields a bit of fruit, finishing rather light. Did
not rate on the day.
Kay Bros Amery, McLaren
I haven't given much attention to the past 2 vintages of Kay
Bros, in part due to my growing interests in the Barossa. However, my guilty
attention was refocussed by RP after a glowing review of their 2005 Block 6
(96-99 pts). The last Block 6 I had was the 2003, and the high level of
tannins are etched into my memory along with the impression that the
American oak treatment left it very chewy. It was a good drink, not
mind-blowing but certainly interesting enough to revisit my remaining bottle
in a few years. I wasn't going to pass up on the opportunity to revisit the
cellar door despite only a day of recovery to ease off the residual effects
of a hard Artisans tasting 2 days before. I needed pick me up, so some good
old fashion, honest crafted wine was just what the doctor ordered. (Not to
mention the great pies you can get in the McLaren town centre)
Kay Bros Eden
Valley Riesling 2007: $20. Hand-picked grapes from 60 year old
dry-grown vines produce a light, lime green coloured wine of 12%alc with
citrus-y nose with a touch of minerality. Fresh palate of lime and green
apple flavours which linger for a good length of time before finishing
up cleanly. 89-90/100.
Kay Bros Amery Viognier 2007: $20. The first release of this wine
comes from a tiny 0.7 hectare parcel of 6 year old vines that yielded
4.6 tonnes of hand-picked fruit which were basket-pressed. Light
yellowish-green tinge, rich nose of pear, stone fruit and citrus.
Flavours back up with pears, stone fruit, citrus and sweet melon that
are crisp with light acidity. However, given all that was going on, I
was disappointed that the finish ended a little early. 89/100.
Kay Bros Amery Moscato 2007: $17. Another first release, lightly
coloured with a nose of typical muscat grape, white flower and
honeysuckle. Only 7%alc, but flavours are nice and sweet with a slight
fizz but not to the extent of the Italian-style. Bottled under stainless
steel champagne crown seals.
Kay Bros Amery Late Harvest Frontignac 2004: $15. Handpicked on 8th
March 2004, this 11% alc drink has a pale straw colour, green tinge,
very pleasing uplifting nose of sweet flower, melon and passionfruit.
Tropical flavours on the palate of honeydew, ripe melon and
passionfruit, but is not overly sweet. The long finish is clean and
Amery Grenache 2006: $15. Only ~13tonnes of fruit went into this
production. Grapes were treated with open ferment and a basket pressing
before maturating in American oak for 1 year, resulting in a 15.5% alc,
bright earthy ruby drink that exudes a sullen organic nose of
raspberries. This drink is very different from the barossan grenaches as
it's not big on the nose or forward on the palate. It's soft,
medium-bodied, very rustic style which you'd have matching a nice herby
but simple pasta dish. Good berry flavours, soft tannins and a good
finish. Drinkable now, but should be good for the next 3-4 years.
Kay Bros Amery Merlot 2005: $20. Grapes were treated with an open
ferment and basket pressing before maturing for 18 months in American
oak. A nice dark black cherry colour that's supported by aromas of plum,
quince with a hint of mint. Medium-bodied drink that's got lots of
primary fruit flavours, plum and dark cherry to go along with the chewy,
dry tannins. Good length and well balanced. 88-89/100.
Amery Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: $20. Black cherry coloured with a
shimmery hue. Lovely nose of blackberry, mint and eucalypt is backed up
on the flavour profile with notes of mulberry, blackcurrant and cassis
that are in balance with a fairly low level of acidity but propped up
with a good, firm tannic structure. This is good to go right now, but
imagine what it'll be like in 10 years! 91-92/100. A steal at this
Kay Bros Amery Shiraz 2005: $20. Dark ruby in colour. A prominent
nose loaded with black cherry and blackberry with hints of savouriness.
Fulfilling flavours of plums, blackberries and spice with a touch of
truffle. Well-rounded profile that's not big in anyway, excellently
balanced with tannin levels just right. Should last a decade too.
92/100. Another steal.
Kay Bros Hillside Shiraz 2005: $35. The 9th release of this
mini-Block 6 shows of the success of replanting of the Eastern hillside
of the Amery property with cuttings from the Block 6 vines. Grapes are
open fermented and basket pressed before maturing in American and
Bulgarian oak casks for 28 months. Coming in at 15.5%alc, this dark
purple juice has a great nose of mulberries, touch of chocolate, star
anise and a hint of vanilla. Rich flavours of mulberry, cedar oak and
darkish chocolate complemented by the soft, ripe, chewy tannins. A long
and satisfying aftertaste. Will develop nicely over the next 7-8 years.
Kay Bros 'The
Cuthbert' Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: $35. Limited to 3 btls when
purchased with 3 other btls. The first release of this commermorative
wine that celebrates winemaker Colin Kay's father, Cuthbert Kay whose
father and uncle established the Kay Bros Amery vineyard. Extended post
fermentation maceration with 24 months in new Hungarian oak barrels.
Blackish ruby in colour, this 15% alc drink offers a bouquet of
blackberry, eucalypt and tobacco that paired with a full-throttled
flavour profile of blackberry and cassis that is in balanced with the
dry finishing tannins. This is elegant, yet bold and stands out with its
own unique personality, very much like a Jane Austen character. Very
different from the equivalent 2005 Coonawarra or Margaret River vintages
but certainly capable of holding itself up. Drink in 3-4 years just to
allow it to settle down and should keep for more 10-15. 94-95/100.
Kay Bros Black 6 shiraz 2005: $50. Limited to 2 bottles per 6 btl
purchase. Block 6 is a small 4 acre plot visible from the cellar door
nearing the bottom of the slope from the accommodation cottage (top
right, circled). 2005 was the 113th vintage of this highly sought after
wine which undergo open ferment, basket pressing and maturation in 80%
new American oak and 20% new Eastern European oak for 28 months,
producing a dark, burnt, reddish purple wine that weighs in at 16%alc.
This was not available for tasting on the day, so I will update this
when I have the opportunity. Just for the score keepers, RP(96-99) and
said to be better out of the barrel than the 2004 which was rated RP98.