Henschke's Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Two Hands, Sophie's Garden, Padthaway Shiraz (2007)

Padthaway, South Australia
16.5%, screwcap, around $60

With a soft entrance, a complex array of dark fruits and spice unfolded on the palate. Good balance and structure with a nice touch of acid at the end. Medium to full bodied - 92.5.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Scarpantoni, Block 3 Shiraz (2004)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.5%, cork, around $35

Deep red. With a deceptively shy nose of plums, earth and smokey scents, this wine's bouquet was the equivalent of a wedding veil. As the veil was removed upon tasting, the overwhelming beauty and sheer power immediately became overwhelming. Its best feature by far was its elegant and silky smooth palate of intense red fruits, perfectly supported by oak, fine tannins and refreshing acidity, all in balance. Impressive structure. Medium bodied.

As if on a blind date with a stunning beauty (you know they type - they look like models and being in their presence overwhelms the nerves), I found myself mincing my words, placing ridiculously large chunks of food in my mouth and slurping away without control.

Despite this not being a blind date, it did feel like a one night stand and ever since I have been drowning in regret that I only bought one bottle all those years ago. That solitary bottle had been lying in my temperature controlled cellar for quite some time. The back label recommended that it could be consumed over 10-15 years from vintage. Having had eight years, this wine still had plenty of life. What a sensational wine - 96.   

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Chapel Hill, Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.5%, screwcap, about $27

Deep purple. Boom! A fragrant explosion of red fruit, oak and spice. Whilst the bouquet was not particularly varietal, it was rather seductive. Mouth filling, vibrant and bright red fruit flooded the palate. Medium bodied, with incredible fruit intensity and cedar notes. Finishing with pleasing acidity - 94.  

Friday, 25 November 2011

Peter Lehmann Classic Riesling (2010)

Barossa Valley, South Australia
11%, screwcap, around $13

Light straw in colour. With a nose of apples and white flowers. On the palate citrus notes shone through, with good line and balance. A nice match with Thai green curry. Just lacking the depth of flavour and fruit intensity for a higher score - 90.

The back label of this bottle utilised a 'Riesling Taste Profile' (pictured below). Created by the International Riesling Foundation 'to help consumers predict the taste in a particular bottle of Riesling'. To learn more about the profile click here.

The Riesling Taste Profile appears to be a useful guide to assist consumers to identify the style of Riesling that has been crafted. This Peter Lehmann Classic Riesling was marked 'medium dry', which was about right. I think its a great idea and I would love to see all Rieslings have this type of indicator on their back label.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

McWiliams Mount Pleasant, Elizabeth Semillon (2010)

Hunter Valley, NSW
11.5%, screwcap, around $17

Mount Pleasant usually releases its Elizabeth Semillon with at least several years bottle age, so I was surprised to find bottles from the 2010 vintage on the shelves in early 2011. In past years they have occasionally put out early releases, which were labelled as such. This bottle simply stated on the back label that it had been crafted for early consumption.

With light colour, the bouquet emerged with scents of white flowers, apple and hints of citrus. I found the palate to be rather intriguing, with an array of citrus highlighted by floral notes. Good balance and structure - 91.  

Monday, 14 November 2011

Two Hands, Brave Faces Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro (2008)

Barossa Valley, South Australia
15.3%, screwcap, about $25

Lovelly juicy red cherry on the nose. A mouth filling and full bodied palate of red berries. Finishing with pleasing acidity. Nice length - 93.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

De iuliis, Show Reserve Shiraz (2006)

Hunter Valley, NSW
13.8%, screwcap, about $26

Deep colour. A nose of red berries with some plums and spice. With time floral notes emerged on the nose. There was nice depth and structure to the medium-full bodied palate. Finished with grippy tannins - 93.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tahbilk, Cabernet Shiraz (1995)

Nagambie Lakes, Victoria
12.5%, cork, approximately $35

This cellar door museum release wine was a delight. With a nose of leather, tar and hints of salami, the palate was silky smooth, exhibiting a range of primary and secondary fruit characteristics. Light to medium bodied. It showed amazing longevity and freshness for a 16 year old wine - 92.5.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Tahbilk, Nagambie Lakes, Victoria

I recently had the opportunity to visit Tahbilk's historic cellar door. Every Australian wine enthusiast must do this at least once in their life time. The cellar door requires a couple of hours just to take in the various features, including the historic buildings and underground cellar which are open to the public without charge.

Tahbilk's wines are crafted using traditional techniques. What struck me most about the wines was their incredible longevity, in both the reds and the whites.


Sauvignon Blanc (2010) - 12.5%, $13 - a classical representation of the variety, with tropical notes flared across the nose and the palate - 92. This bottle was open and sampled during the course of one week, during which it remained fresh and without any degradation.

Chardonnay (2009) - 13%, $13 - a more traditional style of the variety, with vibrant fruit lifted by generous oak, buttery notes and refreshing acidity - 93. Great value. Similarly, this bottle was open and sampled during the course of six days, during which it remained fresh and without any degradation.

Cabernet Franc (2010) - 13%, $14 - Light bodied. A spicy palate with red and dark berry fruit, but needs more time.  I initially scored this wine 88, but with several days exposure to the air it blossomed. The bouquet opened up, the tannins settled and the fruit rose to a new level. I finished the bottle seven days after it had been opened, by which time I amended the score to - 92.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Seppelt, Benno Shiraz (2005)

Bendigo, Victoria
13.5%, screwcap, around $50

The scents of blueberries and spice on the bouquet weren't apparent on the rather plane palate of plums, which ended a little sour edged and short. Whilst the fruit did seem fresh, it would have benefited from more pronounced acid. The wine finished with grainy tannins. A disappointing experience for a wine with such a reputation (and a moderate price) - 89.  

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Head Wines, Barossa Valley, South Australia

I recently had the opportunity to sample the Head wines from the 2010 vintage. I have previously written about Head's 2009 vintage wines here. Winemaker Alex Head described the 2010 vintage in the Barossa as 'ideal'. The preferable vintage conditions did shine through in these wines which continue the trend of high quality, small production wines with a focus on individual vineyards. Alex's wines are crafted to have a long life.

Head Red Shiraz Viognier (2010) - Barossa Valley, 14% alcohol, screwcap, RRP $25. 1% Viognier. Red berry nose with mixed spice. A voluptuous palate with ripe tannins coated by the delightful fruit caressing the mouth. Nice length - 92.5. 

The Blonde Shiraz Viognier (2010) - a single vineyard wine from the Stonewell district of the Barossa Valley, 14% alcohol, screwcap, RRP $35. Co fermented with 2.5% viognier. A nose of boysenberries and hints of rosemary. The palate delivered powerful red berry fruit with pleasing oak influence and a serious structure - 93. 

Incidentally, the Blonde 2010 just won the trophy for best shiraz dominant blend at the 2011 Barossa Valley Wine Show.

The Brunette Shiraz (2010) - a single vineyard wine from the Moppa district of the Barossa Valley, 13.8% alcohol, screwcap, RRP $45. A nose of dark fruits, some spice and violets. The palate was dense, opulent and complex, with a mix of dark fruit and herbs. It finished with quite grippy tannins, which should soften and lengthen with time - 94.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Peter Lehmann, Burdon Greenock Shiraz (2005)

Barossa Valley, South Australia
14.5%, screwcap, about $30

The primary feature of this wine was it's evocatively fragrant nose displaying rosemary, eucalyptus and some floral notes. With further time earthy notes and hints of tobacco emerged. The nose also spoke of red fruits which played out on the palate, though without the contextual fanfare they had been surrounded by on the nose. With a soft entrance, delightful fruit filled the mouth, finishing with some grippy tannins. A single vineyard wine - 93.

My wife and I shared this bottle over dinner at Scopri, an amazing restaurant in Melbourne (Carlton to be precise). This was one of the culinary delights from our trip down south, thanks to the food that was of a very high standard and the wine that I had purchased during a previous trip to the Barossa. Over a period of one and a half weeks this was the only decent BYO restaurant we found. What is that about?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Serafino, Cabernet Sauvignon (2006)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.5%, screwcap, around $26

Deep crimson. A cedary bouquet. On the palate my initial impressions were of dark brooding fruit fused with bright acidity and finishing with grippy tannins. With more time in the decanter hints of red berry emerged and the tannins transformed, becoming delightfully slippery, as if they were coated by the sublime fruit. A silky mouthfeel also became more pronounced. A gorgeous wine - 95. 

This wine won the trophy for best Cabernet and best wine of show at the 2007 McLaren Vale Wine Show. These results were clearly well deserved.   

Monday, 12 September 2011

Two Hands, Angel's Share Shiraz (2009)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.8%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $27

Dark crimson. The bouquet was enticing with boysenberries, a little coffee and spice. Berry and plum notes swirled around the mouth, enhanced by gorgeous American oak. The palate had soft mouthfeel and good length. A medium bodied wine that finished dry - 93.5.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Two Hands, Angel's Share Shiraz (2008)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.8%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $28


Boysenberry, aniseed and smokey scents on the nose. Amazing dark fruits on the palate, with soft tannins and perfect acid. Nice balance, American oak influence just right. Medium bodied - 93.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Two Hands, Ares Shiraz (2007)

Barossa Valley/McLaren Vale, South Australia
16%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $165

A bouquet of aniseed and tar. On the palate there was a range of red to mainly dark fruit, with Silky mouthfeel. Finishing with refreshing acidity and grippy tannins, it had impressive length. Medium to full bodied - 95.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Tyrrell's Rufus Stone, Shiraz (2006)

Heathcote, Victoria
15.5%, screwcap, non organic, around $21

Dark purple. Quite a pungent meaty nose, with elements of salami, stewed plums and some cedary notes. Impressive fruit intensity with bright red fruits and bramble on the palate. Oak in the background. Nice balance. Slightly grippy tannins at the end. Bright acidity throughout. Some leather emerged on the nose after some time in the decanter - 93.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Thomas Wines, 'DJV' Shiraz (2007)

Hunter Valley, NSW
13%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $35

This wine combines the two strengths of the Hunter Valley, Shiraz and...Semillon (9%). The semillon was picked early and provided natural acidification. A lovelly fragrant bouquet. The palate was striking with silky mouthfeel. Great structure and length - 94.

These notes were from a tasting at the Small Winemakers Centre in the Hunter Valley a couple of years ago. No doubt this wine sold out a long time ago, but I stumbled upon my notes recently and decided that it should at least be mentioned on the blog.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Little Wine Company, Petit Verdot (2008)

Murray Darling, NSW/VIC
13.8%, screwcap, non-organic, around $25

Deep purple. The delightful bouquet showed scents of plum, clove and violets. The palate was tight and focused with juicy intriguing fruit that was slightly sour edged (but pleasantly so), dancing with refreshing acidity and finishing with grippy tannins. There is American oak in the background. Great texture. Light to medium bodied - 93.

This Petit Verdot is from a 'small' producer located in the Hunter Valley. They have quite a large range of wines, which include some of the Hunter Valley classics, such as Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. They also produce a range of alternative varieties, such as Sangiovese and Tempranillo. Their 2008 Gewurztraminer is the best I have ever had of the variety. Sadly, the 2008 Gewurztraminer and Petit Verdot are both sold out, but they both deserved a mention.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Clonakilla, Hilltops Shiraz (2006)

Hilltops, NSW
14.5%, screwcap, non organic, around $25

Deep red. A meaty nose with red berry scents and a little aniseed. The palate showed elevated boysenberry fruit. Oak in the background. Not overly complex. Some grainy tannins. A fraction short - 92.5. 

The back label states that this wine would benefit from four to eight years in a cool cellar. This bottle had been cellared in optimal conditions, but I formed the impression that it would have been better a year or two ago.   

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Seppelt, Chalambar Shiraz (2004)

Grampians/Bendigo, Victoria
13%, screwcap, non organic, around $24

A bouquet of dried herbs and roasted tomatoes. The palate was gentle and smooth, but lacking primary fruit and even secondary characteristics. A seriously underwhelming experience and quite disappointing. I did try a sample of this wine earlier this year and I was quite impressed. A dud bottle perhaps? Who knows - 87.  

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Allandale, Cabernet Sauvignon (2008)

Hilltops, NSW
16%, screwcap, non organic, around $25

Deep purple/crimson. Cedary nose with hints of blackberry and some nettle. The palate had good line, was very focused and quite luscious. Cedar and blackberry played out on the palate with American oak influence all in balance. Amazingly, I could not detect the incredibly high alcohol at all. Refreshing acidity at the finish. Needed a bit more time in the cellar - 94. 

I have been inspired to make a confession following Andrew Graham's recent admission that he has more cabernet/cab blends in his cellar than any other variety. Shiraz is easily the most common variety in my cellar. Cabernet would be the second most common variety for reds. But, I have come to the realisation that I have probably tended to under score varietally correct cabernets as a result of this bias. It's a bias that I'm working on. Watch this space.      

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Wynns, Coonawarra, South Australia

Riesling (2011) 12.5% - Tropical nose. A full bodied palate with a smorgas board of tropical fruits anda hint of citrus. More like a chardonnay than a riesling - 87.

Chardonnay (2011) 12.5% - A mouthfull of tropical flavours (again) with a whiff of oak. Nice balance and depth of flavour, but lacking oak influence, complexity and refreshing acidity - 88.   

The Siding Cabernet Sauvignon (2010) - Some green and herbal notes on the nose. Silky mouthfeel. A blend of fruit and cedary notes on the palate. Nice structure and good length - 91.

Cabernet Sauvignon black label (2008) - There was a mix of licorice, cedar and some herbs on the bouquet. On the palate a heap of blackberries, with nice complexity and good length. The oak is in the background. Some grippy tannins - 94. 

Cabernet Sauvignon black label (2009) - The palate was thinner than the 08. Whilst quite young at this time, the palate had a mix of dark fruits, cedar and some oak influence. Needs time - 93. 

There is no doubt about it, these red wines have been crafted in a traditional style and need time to really show their best (at least 5 years in a cool cellar). This seems to be an increasingly rare thing in the current market place as more and more wines appear to be crafted for the purchaser that intends to drink them 5 minutes after their purchase. I'm not against approachable wines, but quality often seems to be lacking in such wines. Another case of the baby being thrown out with the bathwater.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Cumulus, Climbing Shiraz (2006)

Orange, NSW
13.5%, screwcap, non organic, around $25

Deep red. A nose of blueberries and cloves. The palate was juicy with an array of red berry fruits sprinkled with notes of vanilla and spice, fine tannins and good length. The palate wasn't as complex as I had expected from the row of gold medals (and two trophies) decorating the bottle like bling, nevertheless it was a very enjoyable wine - 93.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Two Hands, Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon (2009)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.9%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $27

Deep crimson. Hints of earth and berries on the bouquet. The palate had good mouthfeel and impressive fruit intensity, but finished a bit short - 91.  

Friday, 22 July 2011

Torbreck, Les Amis Grenache (2009)

Barossa Valley (Seppeltsfield), South Australia
Screwcap, 15.2%, non organic, RRP $210

Dark ruby in colour. The nose deceptively restrained. With a soft entrance, the depth of fruit intensity and complexity soon emerged. Silky tannins danced with juicy fruit and delicate French oak. The depth of flavour was surprising. Sourced from a single vineyard planted in 1901. This was a straight Grenache that almost swept me off my feet... and then I saw the price and started gasping for air - 94.

P.s. I wonder how Torbreck (and other Australian wineries) are coping with the high Australian dollar? Will they be able to sustain such high asking prices for some of their wines in the context of (what must be) a crippled American market? I concede this is a very nice wine, but with an extraordinary price tag.  

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Jacob's Creek, Chardonnay (2010)

13%, screwcap, non organic, $10

With a fruit salad nose, this quaffer was startling (in a value for money sort of way - particularly when you pick it up for $7 a bottle). There were tropical notes to a white peach palate, with a hint of oak. It appears that these thoughts were corroborated by my wife, who thought it was 'noice'. Great value - 89.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Penfolds, Koonunga Hill Shiraz (2009)

South Australia
13.5%, screwcap, non organic, around $14

The medium bodied palate was bursting with a mixture of plums, red berries and spice. The tannins were surprisingly soft. I later learnt that the bottle had been opened the day before. Given the impressive result, I formed the view that this wine will benefit from short to medium term cellaring. This wine is great value - 91.  

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Clonakilla, Hilltops Shiraz (2010)

Hilltops, NSW
14%, screwcap, non organic, $25

This vintage of Clonakilla's Hilltops Shiraz continues the trend of delivering high quality wine at a very reasonable price (a trend that began with its flagship Shiraz Viognier, which could easily command a three figure price tag given the massive demand). The palate showed vibrant fuit intensity with blackcurrants and spice. It had impressive balance and nice length. Another great example of cool climate shiraz crafted by Tim Kirk. I really liked this wine - 94.

The Granite Belt, QLD

Last year I had the opportunity to visit the Granite Belt in QLD. I visited a few of the cellar doors, which are steadily increasing in number in this emerging wine district. The Granite Belt is a great destination for a weekend away due to its sensational National Parks, range of cellar doors, impressive restaurants and proximity to the Gold Coast and Brisbane. The following winerys were two highlights.

Ballandean Estate

This family owned vineyard and winery had some fine offerings. They are producing some good wine and last year experienced some significant show success with their Generation 3 Shiraz. 

Attached to the cellar door is the Barrel Room Cafe, where chefs Matt and Bobbi Wells are doing some amazing things. The food was so good we went back the following day. Given the opportunity, I would have tried to sample the whole menu, but alas, we had to move on.

Family Reserve Chardonnay (2008) RRP $22, 93.
Shiraz Viognier (2006) RRP $17, 91.
Estate Shiraz (2005) RRP $17, a shy nose with a silky tannins on the palate and good length - 93.
Cabernet Sauvignon (2006) RRP $17, 93.
Family Reserve Shiraz (2006) RRP $25, 92.

Golden Grove

This was my pick of the cellar doors in this region. Their winemaker, Ray Costanzo, is doing some good things, particularly with alternative varieties. The wines consistently showed great intensity of flavour and balance.

Barbera (2008) RRP $20, 94.
Tempranillo (2008) RRP $22, 93-94.
Malbec (2008) RRP $28, 93-94.
Durif (2008) RRP $28, 93.
Mediteranean Red blend of tempranillo, durif and barberra (2009) RRP $18, very good value - 94
Shiraz (2007) RRP $35, 95.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Gemtree, Uncut Shiraz (2006)

McLaren Vale, South Australia
14.5%, screwcap, biodynamic, around $23

Deeply scented with a delightful nose of red berries, mulberries and some earthy notes. Soft on the entrance. All the promise of the bouquet is realised on the palate. Powerful fruit flows on and on and on. A wine with incredible balance - 95.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Two Hands, Angel's Share Shiraz (2007)

McLaren Vale, SA
15.5%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $27

Deep purple. This wine smelt of blackberries, with a sprinkling of forest floor and roasted coffee. The palate was intense with very powerful fruit flavours, supported by pleasant oak, grippy tannins and a nice acid finish. The power of the fruit in this wine was incredible and it will benefit from further cellaring - 95.

Wolf Blass, Gold Label Shiraz (2006)

Barossa Valley, South Australia
15.5%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $25


Deep purple. A bouquet of berries, currants and sweet oak. The bouquet was played out on the palate, which was packed full with juicy fruit with smoky oak in support. I could detect very ripe (some might say over ripe) fruit in the mix (hence the very high alcohol). I thought that the vibrancy and freshness of that fruit was adequate and balanced with the tannins and a nice acid finish. That said, I have had other bottles of this wine that didn't quite pull it off. Judged on this bottle alone - 94, but on average - 92.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Seppelt, Chalambar Shiraz (2005)

Grampians/Bendigo/Pyrenees, VIC
13.5%, screwcap, non organic, RRP $28


The smokey bouquet led to a palate of roast tomato. The fruit that was there was rather simple. The tannins were quite pronounced. It finished short. On the second night there were more earthy notes to the bouquet and the tannins had settled. I found this to be a largely underwhelming wine, particularly given its reputation and the time it had been provided with to mature. No bottle variation here, they have all been the same over the years - 87.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

HEAD Wines, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Alex Head made his debut on the wine making scene in December 2008, inspired by the wines of Cote-Rotie in the Rhone Valley, France. Alex has focused on Shiraz (and Shiraz Viognier) which he has sourced from single vineyards that are situated  in different districts of the Barossa Valley. Those vineyards also have different soil profiles and produce wines with contrasting personalities.

Alex also produces a semillon and most recently added an 'old vine' Grenache to the line up. He has experienced an enviable debut, receiving significant praise from highly respected reviewers, such as James Halliday. Oh, and there are only very small quantities of these wines. 


Head Red Shiraz Viognier (2009) RRP $25, a blend of declassified barrels from 'the Blonde' and 'the Brunette', the bouquet burst forth with vibrant berries, which were also pronounced on the palate - 92.

Grenache (2009) RRP $25, this wine was made using traditional techniques, whole bunches were pressed and fermented in an old oak barrel using natural yeasts, unfined and unfiltered. Light ruby, with a restrained nose, this straight grenache was very approachable. With a palate of red berry fruit it was easy drinking. Some residual sugar? An ideal match for a robust Indian curry - 90

The Blonde Shiraz Viognier (2009) RRP $35, single vineyard wine from the Stonewell district of the Barossa Valley. It had a pretty floral and berry bouquet. Great balance and flavour intensity, with impressive acid on the finish - 94.

The Brunette Syrah (2009) RRP $45, single vineyard wine from the Moppa district of the Barossa Valley. Deep purple, a bouquet of tar and licorice followed through onto the palate. Great balance of fruit, tannin and acid. Light to medium bodied - 93.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hunter Valley, NSW March 2011

I managed to take a detour via the Hunter Valley on a recent holiday. I had a day to visit a few cellar doors, so please excuse the lack of detailed notes:

Mistletoe Wines

Home Vineyard Semillon (2009) RRP $20, amazing fruit intensity - 95.
Chardonnay (2009) RRP $20, 93.
Reserve Chardonnay (2007) RRP $40, 93.
Barrel Fermented Rose (2009) RRP $20, The oak influence a little overpowering (whereas the 2008 was spot on and wonderful) - 92.
The Rose (2010) RRP $19, 94.
Shiraz (2007) RRP $30, 94.

Pepper Tree

Chief Winemaker Jim Chatto is doing some amazing things at Pepper Tree with their white wine and red wine. They have an outstanding selection of wines available. Visiting their cellar door is a 'must do' for any trip to the Hunter Valley.

Limited Release Hunter Valley Semillon (2010) RRP $22, clean citrus notes, nice balance - 93.
Winemaker's Reserve Semillon (2007) RRP $30, 92.
Winemaker's Reserve Semillon (2009), nice citrus notes - 93.
Limited Release Hunter Valley Verdelho (2010) 13% alcohol, tropical nose and clean melon palate - 93.
Chardonnay (2009) RRP $25, great balance, melon and peach, oak just right - 93.
Rose (2008) RRP $20, made from shiraz - 93/94.
Winemaker's Reserve Shiraz (2007) RRP $42 - 93/94.
14 Shores Reserve Merlot (2009) Coonawarra RRP $35, 14.5% alcohol, amazing mouthfeel, silky tannins, powerful fruit intensity - 95.
The Pebbles Limited Release Wrattonbully Shiraz Viognier (2009) RRP $25 - 95.
Calcare Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (2008) Coonawarra RRP $35 - 94/95.
Elderslee Road Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (2007) Wrattonbully RRP $35 - 94.
The Gravels Reserve Shiraz Viognier (2008) Wrattonbully RRP $35 - 94.
Grand Reserve Wrattonbully Cabernet Sauvignon (2004) RRP $55 - 95.

First Creek
Winemaker's Reserve Semillon (2009) RRP $30 - 93.
Chardonnay (2009) RRP $25, great balance, melon, peach and oak just right - 93.
Shiraz (2008) fruit sourced from the Canberra District, RRP$25 - 94.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Penfolds, BIN 28 Kalimna Shiraz (2004)

South Australia
14.5%, screwcap, non organic, $24

Medium purple-red. With a bouquet of plums and spice, this wine did not disappoint. The complex palate showed delicious blackberry and plum with hints of licorice, with a fleshy texture and smooth tannins. Impressive structure. In the past I had considered this wine a little simple, but it has improved with time. 94

Metala, White Label Shiraz Cabernet (2006)

Langhorne Creek, SA
14.5%, screwcap, non organic, $12

Deep purple, the bouquet was of vibrant fruit with spice and white pepper. The palate was filled with impressive fruit intensity, showing vibrant blackberry and plum. This wine showed a superb balance between fruit, oak, acid and tannin. This wine is drinking well now, much better than a year ago. I was most impressed by this 'week day' wine. Great value when you find it on sale (as I did). 93

Brookland Valley, Verse 1 Chardonnay (2009)

Margaret River, WA
13.5%, screwcap, non organic, $17

Light golden hues. The bouquet was dominated by oak, but vibrant fruit came through on the palate, with a hint of manderin which left a sour edge that wasn't completely pleasant. That sour edge had disappeared by the following evening and it seemed more balanced. It had a creamy texture, but no butteriness. 

Whilst I couldn't necessarily fault this wine in any way, it wasn't my preferred style. Personally, I like a stronger buttery/malolactic influence, which it appears is not in line with current trends. 91 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Lloyd Brothers, Shiraz (2006)

McLaren Vale, SA
14.5%, screwcap, non organic, $25

I originally tasted this hand picked, single vineyard wine at the cellar door. A great vintage in the Vale. I consumed a bottle in March 2011. It was drinking very well after five years. The aroma was of berries and spice. The palate was very smooth, with blackberries and hints of chocolate. Amazing fruit intensity with a nice long finish. Great balance. 94

Tamburlaine, Hunter Reserve Semillon (2008)

Hunter Valley, NSW
10.5%, screwcap, organic, $28

I was pleasantly surprised by the citrus notes of its aroma when I poured this wine. I had toured the Hunter Valley in 2009 and found that I didn't like most of the semillons I tasted, due to the characters they were displaying, which were more akin to Sauvignon Blanc. I have since learned that can be typical of cooler years. 

With some time in the bottle, there were no signs of Sauvignon Blanc characteristics. This wine was showing well defined citrus notes on the nose and the palate. Flickers of lemon and lime were set amongst pleasing acidity. A lovely wine. Perfect with battered Perch and chips. 93

Sydney Royal Wine Show 2011 - selected highlights

I attended the public wine tasting on the Saturday. As you will appreciate, there was no time for extensive notes as I rushed my way through the many wines that were available. I sampled a total of 65 wines on the day. By the end of it my palate was severely fatigued. How do those judges do it?

Hardy's Winery, Sir James (2005) - 94-95
Bay of Fires, Tasmanian Cuvee Brut (NV) - 91-92
Starvedog Lane, Chardonnay Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier Brut (2004) - 96

Taylors, Riesling (2010) - 91
Jim Barry, Riesling (2010) - 91
Leo Buring, Riesling (2010) - 92
Wynns Coonawarra Estate, Riesling (2010) - 92
Leo Buring, Riesling (2005) - 93
Leasingham, Clasic Clare Riesling (2005) - 93
Brokenwood, Semillon (2010) - 94
Peter Lehmann, Margaret Semillon (2005) - 96
Penfolds, Bin A Chardonnay (2009) - 94
Wolf Blass, White Label Chardonnay (2009) - 94
First Creek Wines, Winemaker's Reserve Semillon (2010) - 95

Domaine Chandon, Pinot Noir Rose (2010) - 93

Peter Lehmann, Eight Songs Shiraz (2008) - 92
Annie's Lane, Copper Trail Shiraz (2008) - 95
Wolf Blass, Platinum Label Shiraz (2008) - 95
Scarpantoni Estate, Block 3 Shiraz (2008) - 93
Wolf Blass, Grey Label Cabernet Sauvignon (2008) - 94
Moppity Vineyards, Shiraz (2009) - 95
Collector Wines, Marked Tree Red Shiraz (2009) - 96
Pepper Tree Wines, The Pebbles Limited Release Shiraz Viognier (2009) - 95
Philip Shaw Wines, The Idiot Shiraz (2009) - 96
Evans & Tate, Margaret River Merlot (2008) - 96