Simple palates, Seriously

Wines A to Z
Alasia Moscato D'asti 2005, Italy
Italian sweet with 5%, faint straw coloured ala freshly pressed green grapes, notes of honey mingled with grape juice, refreshing fizz with moderate acidity on the finish. 86/100. Tasted 02/12/06.
2005 Amon Ra by Ben Glaetzer, Barossa Valley
$78 from Cloudwine, this is a revisit after tasting it not long after bottling at PWS last year. At that time, I felt this was better than the 2004 due to a shift from 100% American oaked to some use of new French oak. The wine has apparently settled down, and is more balanced in terms of aromatics and flavours. While previously you'd have to search past wafts of alcohol, I got no hint of the 14.5% that's held within. Instead, it's creme de cassis, mingled with hints of dark, ripe raspberry and smell of freshly chopped soft wood on a cold morning (a most appealing nose bringing me back to my logging days no doubt!). Silky and elegant, it's got a long way to go due to some residual tannins, but is current vibrant and accessible. Fresh and fruity, there's no overbearing heat. Instead, it's sufficient to make you smile and enjoy. A+ effort! 98/100. Tasted 11/06/2007.
  Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2006, Martinborough, New Zealand
$25.50: the second tier pinot, the main one retails for ~$68, obvious notes of red fruit but a bit too light on the palate for my liking, I thought this could have more pizzaz. 89/100 . Tasted 12th May 2007.
  Balnaves Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Coonawarra
deep ruby colour, oaky nose, pencil shavings, abit of greenishness (1/100th the level of greenock creek's cab sauv), light on the mouth, notes of dark fruit, highly tannic across the palate, abit 'hot' but not spice. majority of the aftertaste falls off rather quickly. 87/100. Tasted 22nd March 2007.
  Balnaves The Tally 2005, Coonawarra
$80-95, straight Cabernet Sauvignon. Typical cab with a herbish nose, big and balanced. 90/100. Tasted 7th July 2007.
  Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2001, Italy
Voted 2006 Wine Spectator Wine of the Year. Whoever contributed to that list must have been a bunch of tight-arses in the midst of expensive divorces but unwilling to give up their alcoholic binges. For AUD$120, I don't see how this weak wine managed to garner 97 WS points. Obviously almost completely pissed by the time they got to this wine. It's tannic, dry and I wasn't in the mind to try guessing what flavours it contained. Sure, I got it for a misprice, but even with that, I'm not happy I'm stuck with 2 bottles. 90/100, WS 97. Tuscan tastings at Randalls (25/11/06)
  Catalina Sounds Sauv Blanc 2006, Marlborough, NZ
fairly intense notes of sweet gooseberry, stewed citrus/orange, minerality. medium bodied, clean acidity and flavour, good length for aftertaste. not too dry nor tannic. 89/100. Tasted 22nd March 2007.
2006 Chambers Rosewood Light Muscat, Rutherglen
Picked this up last weekend at the Food and Wine Show. Their crops have been reduced to 50% this vintage. Anyway this light muscat is a perfect summer's drink. About 5%, crystal pink in colour. Light and sweet, very refreshing served cold. 92/100 Tasted end March 07
2005 Chambers Rosewood Walnut Muscat, Rutherglen
Into the glass, and you straight away pick up on the lush aromatics wafting upwards. Rose syrup notes, this rich muscat (lighter texture than usual muscat standards) has a rich raisiny flavour with an aftertaste that goes for about 20secs and doesn't leave you gasping for a rinse of water. 91/100 Tasted end March 07
2002 Clancy Fuller Silesian Shiraz, Barossa Valley
($36 from Cloudwine) Made by Chris Ringland. Dark plum coloured, but not reaching the opulent level yet. Very different from the typical aussie shiraz as it lacks the WOW! factor. It's much tamer, with a nose of cherry, and hints of mint. Very fresh at when first opened. Well-balanced, it's got a chew factor, but it doesn't leave too much of an impression. Maybe abit too much alcohol for this structure. 5 hours later, nothing obvious on the nose, I suspect it's shutting down as it's only oak-y notes coming through. Maybe abit of cherry-menthol in the background. White pepper on the pallet, with the tannins coming out now. After taste not impressionable at all. For me, it's not worth the $36, more of a $20 bottle. 6/10
Clonakilla 2005 Viognier, Canberra District
($47) exudes an aroma of musky ripe apricot spiced with ginger, reminding me of a damp mossy undergrowth with rays of sunlight streaming in through the cool overgrowth. It's full bodied in the mouth giving off an exotic sensation. This is amazing stuff from the Canberra district which does provide the ideal growing conditions for this variety. Unfortunately word is that the current crops have been severely damaged by bouts of frost, however we've still got a fantastic 2006 vintage to look forward to. I've said that $47 is really pricing this beauty out of a lot of leagues, but if you're looking to indulge this summer, this baby is IT! 95/100. Tasted 10/12/06
Clonakilla 2005 Shiraz Viogner, Canberra District
appears to be from a completely different world away from the main style of aussie reds (being barossian or heathcote) but shares the stratosphere with Torbreck's Runrig. Aromatic perfumed, what it lacks in fruit-driven punch, it more than picks up the slack in terms of elegance. Berry, floral notes with a moderate aftertaste centred towards the front half of the pallet and tip of the tongue. Tannin levels are perfectly balanced, and merely an afterthough as you savour this juice. I decanted for an hour before drinking, and the wine stood the test of time by holding perfectly for 48 hours across 24degree days on the dining table. Clonakilla is argued to make the best viognier down under, and not many may offer equivocal alternatives although the straight viognier is rather pricey ($47 - yet to have this). For $70, the QPR appears to be imbalanced, but considering how lovely this wine is (I won't forget this in a hurry), it's certainly worth having a couple bottles of this beauty tucked away. 97-98/100
  Clonakilla Viognier 2006, Canberra District
($42.50-50) Boxed up aromatics with a sharp punch of citrus flavours. Not the most subtle of viogniers. 85-87/100. Tasted 16th June 2007.
  Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2006, Canberra District
($25-30) Berry notes with hints of fresh mint, youthful medium-bodied feel in the mouth with good fruit structure. Very good value for money! 91-92/100. Tasted 16th June 2007.
  Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2006, Canberra District
($70-75) Poured from 750ml bottles, surprised to see this format as only magnums were offered in the latest mailer. Dampened down aromas of viognier, flows into the mouth beautifully, with silky tannins and a touch of french oak. I thought it could be more forward and perfumed from my own personal experience from other shiraz viogniers, in particular if compared to the 05 version. 91-93/100. Tasted 16th June 2007.
Clos St-Jean 2004, Chateauneuf Du Pape is a great followup to the 2003 vintage. It may not be the best CDP out there, but is the perfect accompaniment to slow roast duck leg seasoned with italian herbs. No overt flaws, I can't complain. 94/100.
Chateau Coutet 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Golden colour, slightly richer than the first 4 wines. Nothing too clear ont eh nose but fresh and greenish, like crisp salad. Flavour - mellow and rich, concentrated at the tip of the tongue and mid pallet. Big and malleable aftertaste. 94-96/100.

Retaste after 4 days: Undertones of unripe white peach. Rich, bitey mouthful. Tangy. Sweeping aftertaste of good length.

  Craggy Range Les Beaux Cailloux Chardonny 2005, Hawkes Bay, NZ
 $63.75: Good balance of acidity and buttery notes. 89/100.  Tasted 12th May 2007.
  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. 88/100. Tasted 7th July 2007.
  Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Sophia 2005, Hawkes Bay, NZ
$59.50: Mainly merlot, generous velvet tannins with notes of sweet red fruit. 89-91/100.  Tasted 12th May 2007.

Retasted 7th July 2007: $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.

  Craggy Range Syrah Le Sol 2005, Hawkes Bay, NZ
 $72: Firm tannins and good fruit, finishing with a subtle aftertaste. 91-92/100.  Tasted 12th May 2007.
  Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot 2005, Margaret River, WA
$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. Tasted 7th July 2007.
2005 Donnhoff Schloβböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese, Germany
A mere 8.5% alcohol, this is what all riesling should taste like. Good accompaniment for the heavier truffle and butter flavours because of it's crisp, light taste.
2004 Epsilon Coalsack Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Fruit for this creation of Jaysen Collins & Dan Standish was sourced from the Southern family vineyard who have their roots firmly in Barossan history. Aged in old french barrels, it presents as a pure embodiment of the fruit and straight-forward wine making style. Notes of wild strawberry and white summer flower, the 15.0% alcohol is completely masked by the aromatic nature, almost akin to a grenache style. Light-medium bodied wine has clear raspberry flavours with subtle tannins mingled in-between the simple chewiness. For $22-4, a very nice drink! 92/100. Tasted 29/04/07.
  Escarpment Pinot Noir 2005, Central Otago, NZ
dense garnet colour, earthy undertones with light beef stock nose. young tannic structure which lingers but falls off quite quickly into an agreeable level (can this wine really last for 10 years as suggested?? doubt it). length of aftertaste a little too short for my liking. 88/100. Tasted 22nd March 2007.
Chateau Filhot 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Light golden colour. Lacks floral bouquest typical of bigger sauternes. Nose of esters (almond), nothing obvious standing out. Gracious feel throughout the mouth, slightly high acidity. Sweet, aftertaste in back corners of mouth. 90/100 Retaste after 4 days: Honeyed, light oaked. Hard to know if it will improve. 88-89/100
2000 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz McLaren Vale
A lot of sediment in the bottle. Dark raspberry concentrate colour, nose of vanillin oak and spice with abit of alcohol burn. Velvety texture, lean structure with tannins concentrated tot hemiddle back of the palate. Bit of spicey tinge on tip of tongue. Aftertaste lacking somewhat, hollow taste of the end. Lacks character. 88/100

Next day, there's nothing noteworthy left.


2004 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz McLaren Vale
Subtle eucalypt nose with fruity undertones that transform into dense sweet bread. Silky feel with fine tannic structure; tannins will mellow with further aging. Meduim-bodied and warm, has a good lengthed, spicy (black pepper?) aftertaste which resides on the back palate. Should be drinking optimally in about 3 years. 92-94/100
2004 Glaymond Landrace, Barossa Valley
($34-6) 60% shiraz with 40% Mataro. A whopping 16.5% alcohol. Winemaker Damien Tscharke gives us a wonderous beast brooding in the bottle, following up the successful 03 release which garnered accolades from RP (rated 96). The bottle was popped and left to stand for 2.5 hours before tasting, and an opulent scent of fruit filled the room in no time especially on a slightly warmer spring day. Big plum and blackberry notes with refreshing spice, coupled with strong hints of earthy undergrowth contributed by the mataro, all coming together as a seductive perfume. On the palate, rich thick chocolate with ringing spices lingering on the tip of the tongue with a sweet liqueur streak. Very well-balanced oak, and alcohol and tannins are in harmony. Sexy wine which brought an immediate smile to me. After 6 hours in the glass, the initial waft reminded me of fine cuban cigars. 1/4 bottle kept into the fridge and still drinking fine the next day. Initially released at $38, price has dropped to $32. Big value for money. 8.5/10
  Henri Gouges Nuits St-Georges les Chaignots 2004 1er, Burgundy
($105-125): Elegant, light nose of morning damp earth, combined with nice light fruitiness and a good lengthed aftertaste. 90-91/100 Tasted 26th May 2007
  Henri Gouges Nuits St-Georges Vaucrains 2004 1er, Burgundy
($150-180): Burghound says this is a big wine, but I thought this wasn't big or rich enough. Had a higher tannin/acid structure and a sappy dry palate. Very tight at the moment. 90/100 Tasted 26th May 2007
2004 Greenock Creek Creek Block Need I really say anything? This is good stuff.. just try it.
2004 Greenock Creek Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Greenock Creek Apricot Block
Chateau Guiraud 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Deep, dark subtle honey nose with a faint grassy note right at the end. Not too sweet, honeyed candy. Well-balanced in terms of acidity, sensation lingers on the mid tongue. Good length for aftertaste on the mid/back pallet. 92-94/100.

Retaste after 4 days: Rich nose that isn't overpowering. Opulent mouthful with a good balance of acidity. Sweeping aftertaste on the back pallet. 94-96/100.

2005 Holly's Garden Pinot Gris Wild fermented and at 14.5%, this beauty is more dry than the sweet 06 release, and now's the perfect time to crack open a few as the weather warms up over spring. This hails from the Moondarra region, and is grown at altitute (850m) on volcanic soils of the Whitlands plateau. Notes of honeysuckle and melon. Perfect as a starter or the casual glass. About $28. 7/10
2005 John Duval Entity Barossa Valley Shiraz
$39, 14.5%, 17 months in french oak barrels. John Duval has been making waves with his self-named line of wines, with the Entity being quite a favourite with fans of this ex-Grange winemaker. I'm not sure if it's the carryover of styles, but I thought this was exuding slightly too much oaky notes at the present time. There was a lot of fruit bottled within, but I was disappointed with the lack of secondary flavours and characteristics. This is a good wine, but somewhat one-dimensional. 88/100
2005 Kalleske Greenock Shiraz, Barossa Valley
$39 from Cloudwine, a winning whooper of 15.5% having stewed through 18 months of American and French oak hogsheads. Dark inky, purple colour. Note of sweet blackberry liqueur, creme de cassis and slight funk of meat, almost like fridge cold pork. Intense concentration of pure juice. Smooth and silky, slight touch of tannins on the tongue; ready to be drunk right now but would surely benefit from extended cellaring. One picky flaw I feel about this is that it doesn't last too long in the glass, even with the higher alcohol content, so my take on this is that it doesn't have a strong structure to back up the oomph flavours.  93/100
2003 Kalleske Johann Georg Old Vine Barossa Valley Shiraz
The 2003 Johann Georg shiraz is made from vines planted in 1875, hence low yielding vines result in an extremely limited production (100 cases for 2003). Standing at 15.5%, similar to the 04 grenache, I never even thought of the alcohol levels in the glass, as I was mesmerised by the lush aromatics wafting out of my glass and I couldn't wait to get stuck into the drink. Notes of fresh white flowers, roast beef sauce and creme de cassis all melded into a deep inky purple joocey stew. A touch of tannins linger with the mellow warm aftertaste on the upper palate that goes for a good 30+ seconds. A most elegant wine that is unique for the Barossa valley, and does very well in distinguishing itself as an atypical top-notch SA shiraz. This beauty will do well for 10+ years, can't wait to have the 2 more bottles I have! 98/100. Tasted 11th March 2007.
2004 Kalleske Old Vine Barossa Valley Grenache
The Kalleske 2004 Old Vine Grenache has all the aromatic qualities one normally associates with a pleasant casual-drinking wine. Troy Kalleske makes this beauty from a single vineyard planted in 1935 by open fermentation, a gentle basket press followed by 2 years in seasoned oak. I was surprised to see the label reading 15.5% alc/vol, because at no time during the 1 hour that it took for this bottle to empty out did I get the heaty feel of any excessive alcohol on the mouth (*cough* greenock creek). Incredible nose of rich raspberry, sweet cherries (not black!) and spice.  Medium-bodied drink, great balance of acidity in the mouth with a reasonable-lengthed after-taste. Will do well over the next 5 years. 92-94/100. Tasted 11th March 2007.
2003 Kay Bros Amery Hillside Shiraz, McLaren Vale
The Kay Bros Hillside is the second tier shiraz to the Block 6. The 2003 exudes notes of toasty american oak. Slightly on the stronger side of medium bodied, with 15% alcohol, it has a good structure with no nasty tannins and is a chewy drink. 92/100. Tasted 05/04/07
Chateau Lafaurie-Payraguey 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Slightly darker golden colour; bigger, sweet floral nose, higher alcohol, with strong, streaky legs. Nose of honeyed confectionary, taste of honey suckle, mellow and mature flavours. But aftertaste tapers off quite quickly. 88/100.

Retaste after 4 days: Richer nose with sweet tangy mouthful. Aftertaste is of moderate length and concentrates on the back half of the pallet. 91-93/100.

Chateau La Tour Blanche 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Light yellow colour, not as dense as 1C. Legs not as fast as 1C. Not perfumed or floral, more nutmeg. Flavours of nutmeg, not very sweet. Weak sensation on the mid pallet, lacks acidity. Poor aftertaste. 88/100.

Retaste after 4 days: Light honeyed notes, weak on pallet. Simple sugars. Lacks aftertaste. 88-89/100.

  Lawson's Dry Hills Gewurztraminer 2006, Malborough, NZ
$19.55: Rich nose of rose petals, sweet white peach, lychee?, with a hint of spice to top. 92/100. Tasted 22nd March 2007.
  Lawson's Dry Hills Pinot Gris 2006, Malborough, NZ
$19.55: made as a firm dry style, notes of poached pear, baked apple crumble, clove?. 92/100.  Tasted 22nd March 2007.
2005 Mollydooker Enchanted Path, McLaren Vale
$67-80. The Enchanted Path was slightly less sweet and fruity than the CoL, but tasting both side by side was a torture and I couldn't do more than a glass each. Into the fridge they went, and they're still good 2 days later. That said, I'd give the EP 94-95/100.

2005 Mollydooker Carnival of Love, McLaren Vale
I personally do not feel that the CoL is deserving of RP99; it's too dense, and the secondary characteristics are struggling to come across. Given that Sparky Marquis made this to be drunk straight away, it's too imbalanced currently, and too difficult to determine whether it has the potential to age; personally I think not. I think it's more of a 92-94/100 wine. You either love it, or hate it.

it's almost 4 days since I've opened it, and unbelievably, not all the alcohol has blown off; I mean, my eyes are literally being blown out of their sockets with each raise of the glass! Because of the excess alcohol, the nose is still overwhelming, but I'm starting to pick up some subtle perfumed notes, while it is a mouthful of sweet plummy fruit cake, some tingle on the tip of the tongue and towards the back, with a great length for an aftertaste. I stand corrected as to it's potential to age. I think this will go heaps down the road. I'm still not getting the strong secondary characteristics that I like in the top-notch frenchies, but I guess that's not typical for an aussie fruit bomb, so in it's own right, this IS one of the best big aussie wines that I've had. Do I like the style? Not exactly. Is this good wine? Quite definately so!


2005 Mollydooker The Boxer, McLaren Vale
$25, needs a serious 3 hours of decantation. Almost undrinkable straight from the bottle due to the overt sweetness and overwhelming fumes of alcohol.

darker colour than Two Left Feet, with a thinner rim. Greenish nose with residual alcohol still present. Tannins are still quite obvious, leaving a slight dryness in the mouth. Not as spicy as the Two Left Feet, with flavours concentrated on the back-mid pallet. Chewy, average lengthed after-taste. Thought of bbq'd chicken as an accompaniment. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite grasp how these wines would be able to last in the mid-long term. Because I didn't quite like them on first impressions, I'm going to refrain from giving them any score or the likes until I give them another go.


2005 Mollydooker Two Left Feet, McLaren Vale
$25, needs a serious 3 hours of decantation. Almost undrinkable straight from the bottle due to the overt sweetness and overwhelming fumes of alcohol.

Two Left Feet: On the second day, alcohol had blown off, intense blackish-purple colour. The first wafts on the nose reminded me of concentrated cologne and black plum, so there was residual alcohol hidden behind after all. Chewy savoury in the mouth, with a spicy finish on the back pallet. Very good length.


  Denis Mortet Bourgogne Rouge 2004, Burgundy
($50-60): Narrow and tight, but fruity. 88/100 Tasted 26th May 2007
  Denis Mortet Gevrey-Chambertin Mes Cing Terriors 2004, Burgundy
($115-135): Elegant but less ripe, earthy notes with broad, expansive sweetness that leaves a tingle on the palate. Good long finish. 92-93/100 Tasted 26th May 2007
  Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Margaret River, WA
$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 Diane Madeline 2005, 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.
  Mt Langi Ghiran Riesling 2006, Grampians
($17-20): Weak nose, not much aromatics, acidity abit on the high side to suit the flvours of poached stone fruit (white fruit/peach?). 13.5%. 87/100. Tasted 19th May 2007.
  Mt Langi Ghiran Shiraz 2004, Grampians
($45-55): after skipping the 2003 vintage, the Ghiran shiraz is back. Subdued and carpeted perfume, it's an okay drink. 88-89/100. Tasted 19th May 2007.
  Mt Langi Ghiran Shiraz 2004, Grampians
($45-55): after skipping the 2003 vintage, the Ghiran shiraz is back. Subdued and carpeted perfume, it's an okay drink. 88-89/100. Tasted 19th May 2007.
2004 Muddy Water Chardonnay, Waipara, NZ
$28 from Cloudwine. Screwcap, 14.0%, matured in barrel on yeast lees for a year before bottling. Rich ripe-lemon canola colour, didn't throw up the robust nuances of confectionary butter that I'd associate with great chardonny. Primarily citrus notes with subtle butter undertones, quite like a citrus tart. Light-styled, not overly flabby, good balanced levels of acidity and aftertaste. 89/100
Chateau Nairac 1996, Barsec
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Rich, glossy, pecan-like lacquer colour. Rich walnut nose, very flavoursome concentrating on the back pallet. Good balance of acidity, slightly on the higher side but not too much to handle. This is probably at it's peak so if you have these sitting around, better gulp them down quick!

Retaste after 4 days: Dark golden, rich, elegant walnut notes. Orangey flavours, back pallet, warm feeling. Good acidity, but I feel it's past it's peak.

  Paringa Estate 2005 Riesling, Mornington Peninsula
: The 3rd estate release from 16-yr-old vines off the Callanans Rd vineyard. Tank fermented, the wine has retained a lot of its original ripe fruitiness and unadulterated acidity. Very fragrant, floral and light lemon with a hint of kerosene. Palate of citrus fruits, crisp acidity, flavours go on and on. Can't get any better value for money! 91+/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2006 Estate Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula
: Aroma of pear, high level of malo, with apple flavours and finishing shortly with clear acidity. 89/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2005 Peninsula Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula
: Blend of fruits from several vineyards around the area. Fruity aromas of citrus and stone fruit, nectarine. Palate has similar characteristics. Good acidity. 90-91/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2005 Estate Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula
: A notch up from the Peninsula version, clean citrus and stone fruit flavours but with a slight creamy nut flavour. Aftertaste stays for awhile with malolactic acid. Will definitely improve with age. 92-93/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2004 Peninsula Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
: Dark cherry notes with dark fruit flavours. Very very young, with the tannins coming straight across. 89/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
: Only bottled 2.5 months ago, but cellar door has started to release it as the 05s have sold out. Notes of dark cherry with the new oak showing significantly. Savoury flavour on top of  dark fruits. Revisit in 5 years. 91/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2004 Peninsula Shiraz, Mornington Peninsula
: Nose of ripe blackberry (mulberry?) fruit. Taste is clearly a cool climate shiraz, lacking in the warm heat typical to so many other VIC shirazes. Medium-bodied with plum flavours and a hint of pepper. Soft tannins. 88/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Paringa Estate 2005 Estate Shiraz, Mornington Peninsula
: 3% viognier added, but I don't understand why. I got no hint of the viognier aromatics that should be present. Co-fermented, aged for 15 months in new and 1 year old French oak. Plum flavours. Drinkable. 88/100. Tasted 31st May 2007.
2004 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee
AUD$102. No Cuvee da Capo in 2004, which translates to great news for Cuvee Reservee lovers as the high quality juice got blended into the Reservee! Opulent dark and dense purple colour, powered by a rich nose of liquorice, spice, kirsch liquor and savoury notes. Full bodied, loaded with flavour and rich on the palate. BUT it's not as accessible as other 2004 CdPs at the moment as the tannins that linger with the finish are impart a slight jarring sensation on an otherwise brilliant taste. My guess is to lay this one down for another 3-4 years. 94-96/100.
2005 Pettavel Evening Star Late Harvest Riesling, Geelong
Amazing stuff out of Geelong. Rich roman-golden colour with mixed rich equatorial notes of ripe papaya and sugar pineapple. Sweet orangey finish minus the harsh acidity and citrus sugars. Tropical punch in a glass. 92-3/100.
Chateau Rieussec 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Colour of clarified butter, not much alcohol and few legs. Notes of fresh, light honey; simple basic honey flavour with aftertaste lingering under the tongue and back pallet. 92-94/100.

Retaste after 4 days: Notes of tropical fruit backed up by rich, sweet candied flavours. Very fruity.

2006 Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Reserve, NZ
32 from Cloudwine (South Melbourne). Great clear nose and fresh straight forward passionfruit and gooseberry flavours. Almost perfect balance between fruit and acidity. Saint Clair is the NZ wine producer of the year according to the London International wine and Spirit Competition. I'm not a white person, but this was nice. 92-93/100

Note: supplies of this have been snapped up rather quickly so start hunting now or live in regret!


2004 Sanguine Estate Heathcote Shiraz, Heathcote
($31) Opened and left for 1 hour in bottle standing. Juice carries a deep intense blackish-purple and gives off a masculine nose of subtle perfumed berries. This medium bodied wine is not like the hunky stuff that you'd expect from the ancient heathcote soils of Victoria. Very well-balanced with the tannins and acidity in good harmony. Notes of plum, masked white pepper that concentrates to the back of the pallet and the middle of the tongue. Reasonable aftertaste.
Left O/N on the table, but alas the weather was terribly warm which took away an element from the wine, so I didn't make any notes. But certainly a bottle I'd pull out for a casual drink. 7.5/10
  Sanguine Estate 2005 Heathcote shiraz, Heathcote
extended time spent on oak compared to the 2004 to 18 months, and indeed the 05 is more perfumed (92-94/100). Tasted 24th March 2007.
  Sanguine Estate 2005 Quattro, Heathcote
a Bordeaux blend of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot ($25), nicely perfumed with a velvety texture (92-94/100). Tasted 24th March 2007.
  Sanguine Estate 2005 Chardonnay/Viognier, Heathcote
($25) has 10% viognier, so I expected more exotic fruity notes to come across. Instead it had a deep buttery nose with a slightly harsher texture due to the viscosity imparted by the viognier 88/100.  Tasted 24th March 2007.
  Sanguine Estate 2004 Progeny, Heathcote
($25) The grapes that go into the second tier shiraz - the Progeny - comes from a parcel of light soil right next to the dark soils that hold the Heathcote shiraz fruit and sits on a slightly higher elevation along a slope. This was indeed a younger version of the Heathcote shiraz having only spent 12 months in oak (the latter also had a significant amount of new french oak), but it's got the same dense fruit backdrop within. Tasted 24th March 2007.
2004 Schubert Estate Goose-yard Block, Barossa Valley
A touch under the usual alcohol level at 14.0%, who cares really?! Seductive acacia /white summer flower with blackberry and hint of new leather. Clean flowing with light tannins lingering. Good drink. 92/100
Schulz 2004 Benjamin Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Made by Dave Powell (Torbreck) from grapes of the Schulz family vineyard which apparently supplied some of his previous RunRig fruit. 14% a/c, about $24, screwcap. Upon opening, the vivacious fruity smells poured out of the bottle, enhanced probably by the slightly warmer evening air. I decanted for about 4 hours before drinking. The dense fruity nose remained, but was somewhat masked by what I felt was unsettled alcohol (again, the warmer evening weather might have contributed to this). I got a hint of butterscotch at one point in time too. Medium-bodied, this was very much a Rhone-styled wine, doesn't smash into your pallet like alot of other aussie Shiraz of the same price range. Flavour is concentrated to the front of the mouth, no excessive acidity to the back. Finish of about 10+ seconds. Good wine for the price. 91-92/100.
2005 Schwarz Wine Company Thiele Road Grenache, Barossa Valley
In my recent account of meeting Jason Schwarz, I mentioned that one of his best offerings was teh 2006 Thiele Road grenache grown and maintained by his dad. 2005 was just as good as year for grenache, and so it was no surprise that this 15.0% drink was just a bouquet of berries and sweet small flowers in a glass. Light on the palate with no amount of offensive alcohol or acidity whatsoever, this went extremely well with roasted duck breast (I did the wine and duck injustice by overcooking the fillets somewhat), chicken liver terrine and foie gras. $32, worth every cent and definitely one to revisit over the next few years. 94-96/100
2004 Domaine Senechaux Chateauneuf du Pape
Initially, sweet wakame seaweed broth, then light hints of kirsh liquor and dark fruit. Refreshing taste, smooth flowing. Lively flavours of fruit cake, raspberry concentrate, peppery. Great aftertaste! Young and vibrant, good drink. 92-93/100
2005 Slipstream Shiraz Grenache McLaren Vale
The Slipstream is the project of a trio of winemakers, including Ben Riggs (Tatiarra) and Stephen Pannell (S.C. Pannell). It's 72% shiraz/28% grenache. Lush, aromatic nose of raspberries and licorice. It's elegent, with a heady silky texture, combined with velvety tannins. However, this medium-bodied wine does lack a substantial aftertaste on the back palate and I feel it's abit hollow. There's a lingering sensation on the tip of the tongue with a white pepper finish. Length of aftertaste is reasonable and leaves a warm sensation. 90/100
  2004 Spinifex Esprit
700 dozen cases. Grenache 36% Shiraz 34% Mouverdre 20% Cinsault 10%. Light, waspy and fragrant with characteristics of cinsault coming across. Slight spice and dried herbal tones. Given the age of the wine, I was pleasantly surprised at how drinkable it was, perhaps a tad over-oaked at this point, but the balance of tannin and alcohol was certainly not overwhelming. Medium feel on the pallet, with good length to the aftertaste. I would keep this for another year to allow further development. 6.5/10
  2004 Spinifex Indigene
300 dozen cases. Mourvedre 64% Shiraz 36%. Very well made wine, with hints of peachy/stone-fruit on the nose. On taste, it's extremely well-balanced with no hints of new oak. Decent length, with current flavours coming across after the initial swirl, giving way to a combination of slight plum-like white pepper. Accessible now, but I'm interested to see how this might evolve (no idea at the moment!) 7/10
Spinifex 2005 Shiraz Viognier, Eden Valley
$45 from Cloudwine, I'll compare this to the Indigene when I get the chance to, since Cloudwine South Melbourne has sold out of both. Maybe Randall's still has stocks. Anyway.. I didn't buy this last year, but I had the many other wines that Peter Schell brings out under this label. 95% shiraz, 5% viognier. Notes of blueberry (muffin?), abit of cold, freshly crushed mint leaves, dark chocolate undertones. Very subtle gentle nose, none of the exotic overpowering sweetness or what I term 'bottled mistakes' that other similar blends have presented as. Light-medium bodied wine, fruity, fresh flavours. Maybe drinking this too soon.. should revisit in about 4 years. (89-90/100). Tasted 23rd May 2007.
2006 Spinifex Papillon, Barossa Valley
 ($22) is an interesting blend of grenache, carignan and cinsault, and probably the first 2006 red to hit the market. This is THE red to have over summer, and certainly one to have slightly chilled with berry sorbet. Lovely floral nose, with a body suggestive of a slim-ish petit female (maybe slightly on the thin side). This is definitely one for the girls! 91-93/100
  Stonier 2004 Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula
: Fruity, slightly dry on the palate. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Stonier 2005 Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula
: fruit from 10 year old vines, 80% fermented in 3-4yr old French oak, 20% in steel vats. High malolactic flavour, very fruity, but the acid levels might be on the slightly higher side. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Stonier 2005 Reserve Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula
: fruit from 21 year old vines, fermented in brand new, or 1-2 yr old French oak. Very aromatic, notes of ripe melon?. Fragrant and good lingering aftertaste. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Stonier 2005 Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
: young vines into old oak, hence a very herby young and tight nose. Structure is lean, cherry. Drink over 2-3 years. Tasted 31st May 2007.
  Stonier 2005 Reserve Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula
: old vines (planted 1982) into new oak, small portion whole bunch fermented. Tannins are very high now, quite dry and harsh. Retaste after 4-5 years. Tasted 31st May 2007.
Chateau Suduiraut 2003, Sauternes
Tasted as part of CNY Sauternes lineup:
Light yellow, very light, castor sugared nutmeg, nothing too obvious. Weak, tasting of sugared water. Lacks aftertaste. Some balance of acidity which lends this credit, but lacking in character overall. 88-89/100.
Retaste after 4 days:
Light melon candy nose. Decent aftertaste, slightly higher acidity and obvious alcoholic feed to mouth. Has developed nicely after 4 day but still lags behind on the aftertaste. 89-90/100.

2nd tasting: Had this with Milawa cow camembert and Lavosh crackers which were a good accompaniment. Rich honey nectar nose, not as dense as the 2001, but gives a good clue of the flavours to come. I didn't leave it out for long as it disappeared rather quickly, but I got hints of orange towards the end of the glass. In the mouth, not overly sweet. A nice bodied honey opulence that isn't over-powering, but I think the oak flavours are still lingering, which indicates quite obviously that this is still too young. Maybe 2-3 more years. For now, 93-95/100.

  Te Mata, Elston Chardonnay 2005, Hawkes Bay, NZ
notes of oak, bit too warm hence rich overly buttery nose, fruit based, balanced acidity, grapefruit flavour. good moderate length aftertaste. 89/100. Tasted 22nd March 2007.
2005 Te Whare Ta gewürztraminer, Marlborough, NZ
Multi-gold medal winner in some of this season's early Aus/NZ wineshows, great drink for $25 (could be $20 i reckon) if you like aromatic whites with a substantially flavoursome body. 90/100
2004 Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier lieu dit Malakoff Shiraz, Pyreness ($36). I think this is the first release from this joint project. Opened last night. first notes of currents, but I decided to leave the bottle for 5 hours given the style of Chapoutier creations so it felt kinda closed initially. After 5 hours, there was a musky smell of bitter chocolate around the table, within the glass, more cherry. Medium-bodied with a second of ground coffee. Good lasting aftertaste.
Next day, getting a sense of it being a cool climate shiraz, unlike your big barossa or heathcote ones. Nice drink, but it's mellowed quite abit. 6/10
2004 Teusner Joshua, Barossa Valley
($25) blend of grenache, mataro and shiraz. Unoaked, represents a CdP style, though much more toned down. Whiff of meat with black olives. Well-balanced, refreshing spicey aftertaste. After O/N in the fridge, opened up slight with bigger meaty characteristics coupled with a smooth olive nose. Organised body and well-balanced aftertaste  with velvet finish of spice, and yellow-flesh plum with sweet bitterness. Decided to keep for another day, so O/N on the table. Tight structure, no longer meaty or olive nose. Fresh clear plum overtones. Fleshy smooth aftertaste concentrated on the upper pallet. Excellent value. 7/10
2004 Torbreck Descendent, Barossa Valley
I will not attempt to hide the fact that the 2004 Descendent is one of my all-time favourite wines after having spent an entire night and ensuing 4 days savouring and tasting the different flavours it seductively offers like a grape feeder during the time of Nero. It got a mere 98 from Robert Parker, but just to enforce my point, who cares?! When you fall in love with a wine, a subjective numeric scale  fails to capture the joy it brings to you. This 14.5% monster in a dress is made from cuttings off the Runrig vines, the viognier skins used for the Runrig, and matured in ex-Runrig barrels. The name now makes complete sense no? At $125 (cellar door), this is one of the few triple-digit wines that I'd gladly pay for. Maroon purple in colour, the room is guaranteed to be filled with a mix of blackberries and hot summer wild white flowers once you pull the cork. Full-bodied, rich and gob-smackingly appetising, all you need is to close your eyes and just drink it to understand! 98+/100


1993 Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos, Hungary
A brilliant concentration of tokay that isn't overwhelming in sweetness, is well-balanced and doesn't leave a sick feeling in your mouth. The thick, dark, syrupy appearance masks the elegance bottled up. Have this well-chilled to fully appreciate greatness in traditional wine-making. Lasts well over a week if stored properly and promptly.

2004 Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Eden Valley Shiraz
($30 from Cloudwine), The 03 #1730 had an aromatic nose, very much a rhone-style, but taste-wise the earthy fruits didn't seem to pair up very well for me. Tannins were clearly present, but I think will settle down. The drink has a high level of astringency, and I think it's worth revisiting this in a couple of years. The 04 #1804 was markedly different from the previous bottle I had. Dark hunk of colour with a lovely sweet, spicy nose of clove and a mouthful of fruit. Very interesting combination here, excellent joocey drink. 7/10 for the 04. Would have been higher except that it lost it's structure O/N in the fridge.
Tscharke 2004 'The Curse' Zinfandel, Barossa Valley
$30 from Cloudwine, an incredible 16.1% alcohol, Damien's vision for the tscharke line is to make wines with tradition European grape varieties grown in SA conditions and made in a Barossan-style. An  excellent piece crafted here, perhaps rivalling US Zin's in terms of QPR. Notes of cinnamon, raspberry and slight white pepper undertones. Fruity and spicy flavours combine with sweet cinnamon pastry. Light bodied wine which left me wondering where all the alcohol was due to the absence of the typical alcohol heat. Pleasant aftertaste. 89/100.

Retasted the next day:  Glorious aromas of white flowers (liliums?), almost like walking into a cold room at the nursery, coupled with savoury strawberries. The pepperiness has blown off. Still no sign of the high alcohol. More noticeable, velvety tannins have emerged. 91-93/100. Tasted 22nd May 2007

Tscharke 2005 'Only Son' Tempranillo, Barossa Valley
$22 from Cloudwine. At a mere 14.4% alcohol, notes of light soy sauce with fridge cooled, freshly washed dark cherries. Medium-bodied wine with a spicey finish and a good permeating aftertaste. 88-89/100. Tasted 22nd May 2007
2004 Turkey Flat Shiraz, Barossa Valley
The 2004 Turkey Flat Shiraz is a sweet new car in a bottle! Notes of sweet blackberries slip from the glass with a distinct smell of leather. Full-bodied, it has a robust character with silky tannins and a good-lengthed aftertaste. 94/100. Tasted 05/04/07
Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2004, Chateauneuf du Pape
It is simply too early to be drinking the 04 CdPs, but I wanted to see how good the Vieux Telegraphe would be after having the 04 Senechaux. After popping, very tight on the nose with notes of steaming bitumen road after a heavy downpour. Stingy in the mouth with strong liquorice finish. But after a serious decant, it's opened up to reveal a grenache-esque nose, with light lingering aromas. Smooth into the mouth but tannins are clear and present. Crisp cherry notes and a slightly white pepperish finish that goes for a good length and leaves a warm feeling in your tummy. Revisit in 5+years. Lots of potential. 92/100
  Violot Guillemard Pommard Derriere St Jean 2004 1er
($100-120): Complex wine with earthy notes mingled with perfumed, dark berries. Touch of mineral and gamey smells. Well-blanced, softer flavours, smooth tannins and a long finish. 92/100. Tasted 26th May 2007.
Wynn's Coonawarra Estate 'Black label' Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
$22 from Randall's. 14.5%, dark dense purple colour. Notes of cedar wood, raw tanned leather and a touch of mint. Silky smooth into the mouth, medium bodied with dark plum flavours with rich cigar-like characteristics. Light feel of soft tannins. Good structure and balance, passes the standard for this price. 89-90/100.

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