Henschke's Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills

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?