5th October 2009
I was rather hesitant when it came to deciding whether to order the
new releases of Greenock Creek. The scars haven't quite
healed in my throat from the harsh alcohols from the 2005 releases, and the
2006 releases weren't a step in the right direction for me. However, I
decided to take a punt after 1) my rather tipsy Biochemistry lecturer, upon
approaching me in a chatty manner at a tasting event at the university club,
mentioned that he was on friendly terms with the Waughs, and 2)
Philip White's notes indicated a
step down on the alcohol ladder without the wines being diluted out.
Greenock Creek Wines Seven Acre Shiraz 2007
$48, 1 bottle per customer, ordered direct from winery. The 2007 release is
ONLY an unbelievable 14.0% alc! That's baby milk formula in comparison to
the previous two vintages. The alcohol content has taken a massive tumble
compared to the previous 2 vintages (2006: 18%, 2005: ~16%). The 2007 turned
out to be a welcome pleasure. I sniffed without frying my olfactory
epithelium, and drank without fixing my throat. Black, inky purple in
colour, an intense cold steely sensation, predominantly blackberries with a
splash of black cherry conserve with hot purple flowers after a summer
shower. The flavour profile is equally satisfying with sweet oolong tea,
cherry pits, blood plum skins and prunes. Perhaps because it's just so
young, the only knock I have about this right now is the even, consistent
core of tannins which was a touch too dry for my liking. However, they come
out swinging right away and don't hide behind the rich fruit flavours. This
is a robust wine and the tannins should smoothen out over 5-7 years, by
which time this will be a ripe whopper to swig! Drink 2014 - 2029.
92-93/100. Tasted October 2009.
9th October 2009
||Greenock Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
$38, 3 bottle limit direct from winery. I'm not too sure
about the quality of this 2007 release. It was certainly much more palatable
for me compared to the 2006 and 2005 releases, but I have to express my
reservations. The dark ruby colour was accompanied by an intense perfumed
core of berries and what I'd call it close to expressing a gin-like profile
(juniper fruit). I also got the sensation of looking out into the shadows
cast by leafy bushes on a late warm summer evening. For some reason, this is
old-school to the point of having an element of reduction. The cabernet
sauvignon has re-visited the lower realms of alcohol, weighing in at 13.5%
which is 3% lower than the 2006s. I feel the tannins are craving for too much attention and
this was a distraction to me, but their prominence suggests to me that this wine
will stand up well over time. This might get ticks of approval from some, but
not me. Drink 7-10 years. 88/100. Tasted October 2009.
12th October 2009
||Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf du Pape 2007
$89. Dark ruby, this gives you a sensation that is a cross between
rich dark berry sorbet and the swirly texture of Jalna's forest berry
yogurt. The added layers of smoky plum and toasty figs gives a sexy element
to this dense and concentrated wine that can be enjoyed over the next 10+
years. 92/100. Tasted October 2009.
Clos Saint-Jean has provided me many moments of drinking joy with
consistent quality from the entry level CdP to the top-class Combes
des Fous and Deus Ex Machina since 2003. There has been a gradual
yet noticeable price rise in its price but also extends to the more
popular CdPs being imported into Melbourne. Note that CdPs can be
purchased for about half the price in the USA, and the chronic
beating the greenback has received over recent months makes buying
and drinking the lovely 2007 CdPs across the Atlantic Ocean
31st October 2009
I had the pleasure of tasting through a line-up of
Hills with winemaker Judy Fowler and Australian distributer Mark
Ovens as they passed through Melbourne. The tasting was held in the backroom
at La Vita Buona (I didn't even know this place existed) which is where they
erect that artificial looking Christmas tree each year in October... The
Puriri Hills winery is located just south of Auckland and their 15 acre
vineyard is planted with the Bordeaux varietals Merlot, Cabernet Franc,
Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere. Initially, the Carmenere vines
were thought to be Cabernet Franc. In 2004, the new winery came into being
and a new approach to wine making ensued. Also, note that the 2005s have
sold out but 2004s are still available. This winery has quietly crept
towards 'cult' status with 3 primary labels Estate, Reserve and Pope and
their latest 2005 releases are already sold out, picking up Bob Campbell's
approval along the way.
Puriri Hills Reserve 2002
$72. This well-rounded wine is a blend that contains approx. 50% Merlot with
an almost equal proportion of Carmenere (42%). It has robust aromatics of
dark red berries, forest floor and warm earth. Drink this over the next 5
years. 89/100. Tasted Sept 2009.
Puriri Hills Estate 2003
$40. You can sense the wine trying to tell the story of a difficult vintage,
and indeed there was a major dry spell in 2003. This is a blend of merlot,
carmenere and cabernet franc. It's more restrained and the weight of the
blackcurrant fruit is much lighter, but it remains focussed and not all over
the shop. Drink up now. 88/100. Tasted Sept 2009.
Puriri Hills Estate 2004
$55. The first real blend of all five varietals - merlot 67%, carmenere 3%,
cab franc 11%, cab sauv 15% and malbec 4%. The first time the newly planted
Cabernet Sauvignon vines were used in blending. A young wine that welcomes
with open arms, offering warm berries, spiced plum that is well balanced by
a well-architected tannin structure. 89/100. Tasted Sept 2009.
Puriri Hills Reserve 2004
$100. A vibrant wine blended from merlot 36%, carmenere 46%, cab franc 11%
and malbec 7%. Anise and spicy dark blackberry on the nose with a sensation
of warm summer red earth. A very fine structure reflecting an elegant
nature, this has depth and intensity but in a feminine way. There is a
tingle of robust tannins which dissipate very nicely to finish. Keep 10-12
years. 91/100. Tasted Sept 09.
Puriri Hills Estate 2005
$60. This appears to be closed at the moment, a blend of merlot 63%, cab
franc 11%, cab sauv 17% and malbec 9%. Warm plum and ripe berry flavours
gives the impression is this a Hulk-ed up Burgundy. A touch of savouriness
too. An excellent entry level wine for the impressive 2005 vintage. 89/100.
Drink next 7-10 years. Tasted Sept 2009.
Puriri Hills Reserve 2005
Puriri Hills Pope 2005
$225. Pieced together only in the best of years. This is still in its
infancy with the oak currently dominating and overpowering the supple fruit
load. Notes of dark fruit, pudding and fine dark chocolate powder. This
should come together over the next 5-7 years and by that time, the
dense core of black plum and blackberry fruit should impress with robust,
grippy tannins in support. A well-balanced wine with good structure and an
elegant finish. If you are desperate for Right Bank wines but can't afford
the price tag, then this would be suitable alternative. Drink 2012 - 2022.
92-93/100. Tasted Sept 09.
Puriri Hills Estate 2006
$50. Merlot 49%, cab franc 12%, cab sauv 29% and malbec 10%. Too young to be
enjoyed to its fullest potential at the moment. After a good swirl in the
decanter, it did start to open up. Cherry, splash of fresh, young berries
and a touch of white pepper in this one, with light tannins offering a good
balance to the overall feel of this wine. A slight knock is that the finish
was a little hollow, but this deserves more time. 88/100. Tasted Sept 2009.
Puriri Hills Reserve 2006
$90. 53% merlot, 33% carmenere and 14$ cab franc. A step up in terms of
aromatics compared to the Estate. There's the sensation of warm earth, that
weighty wafts you get in the spring forest and fresh cherry. Rich flavours
of fleshy fruit with a vibrant finish. Young, drink 2014 - 2021. 91/100.
Tasted Sept 2009.