Thursday, 26 January 2012

Briar Ridge Dairy Hill Semillon 2010

There are so many reasons to love Semillon in this bottle.
Great colour, nose, taste and texture with a finish which lasts forever.

A very attractive nose of citrus and lemon peel. The mouth is filled on entry with an explosion of lemons. This Semillon is pure! Acid is in superb form and this wine will age very nicely (11.5% abv). Not only does the palate leave you with a big smile on the dial, the crisp finish with a slip of apple adds extra appeal. The final gong then goes to the length. Impeccable! Plenty there to savour.

An absolute delight and $30 well spent!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Rosé night @SwirlSniffSpit Tuesday 17 January

Rosé originated in the south of France and is a style of wine which has flexible boundaries. It can be sweet or dry, and made with any number of grape varieties. There are some excellent examples are out there in the market, but beware those with a little too much sugar, as the sugar can act as a great masking agent for poor fruit.
The process of making Rosé is simple. Red wines get their colour from the skins, and this is the case with Rosé, the only difference being that skin contact is only for a very short period. Only a few hours in some cases. 
The fruit quality of those Rosés shared was well above acceptable and trying to pin down a top wine was not an easy task. The gatherings of @SwirlSnifSpit occur the third Tuesday of every month at Era Bistro in Brisbane. Attendees are a mixed bag with this event attracting a Master of Wine, trade, industry and all in between to your novice. It's a great group to mix with and learn about all things wine.

Here were some of the Australian wine highlights...

La Boheme "Act Two," Yarra Valley 2011. 97% Pinot Noir with skin contact for 10 hours. Some Pinot Gris and Riesling skins were added to boost the texture of the wine. Bright in the glass with a lovely perfumed nose.

Attwood Wines "3 Little Birds," Geelong 2011. This hit the spot. Wild fermented Pinot Noir, it demonstrated some earthy funk. There was a soft and supple element early on then a masculine touch with oak. Damn fine.

Foster e Rocco Sangiovese Rosé, Heathcote 2011. Love the fruit here. Savoury, soft and supple. Good acid core. Some red licorice and a suggestion of watermelon juice which is spot on. A cracker!

Kangarilla Road Primitivo Rosé, McLaren Vale 2011. Primitivo is directly related to Zinfandel. One word sums this bad boy up...dry. Some savory characteristics and a little spice punching through with good fruit weight on the palate. A drying finish that cleans out the mouth. Have with food.
Turkey Flat Rosé, Barossa 2011. Easy to see why this is one of Australia's best selling Rosés. A blend of Grenache (61%), Shiraz (22%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Dolcetto. Raspberries a plenty laced with red licorice. Lip smacking goodness.

Sparrow and Vine Grenache Rosé, Eden Valley 2011. This won the colour award of the night, in my humble opinion. Super bright stewed cherry appearance and loads more on the palate. Appeared to have a reduced element too. Almond meal on the finish. Delicious. Made by Wayne Ahrens from Smallfry Wines.

Bespoke Bros Mourvedre Rosé, Heathcote 2011. Wine of the night? Bingo! Great colour and texture. I picked up a light petilence on the palate which I liked indeed. Very approachable and goes well as an aperitif or with food. Some funk. Some length. Some awesomeness right here.

Capital Wines "The Abstainer" Rosé, Canberra 2010. Great varietal characteristics - Cabernet Franc. Love the colour. Raspberries. A little fruity with great texture and grip. A Rosé in impeccable order.

Logan Wines "Hannah" Rosé, Orange 2011. Logan Wines hail from Mudgee but the fruit for this comes from Orange. Blend of Cabernet Franc, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. Very light and faint appearance. A simple no nonsense style. Strawberries and light whiff of cherry. Very easy to drink. Yum.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Mitchelton Print Shiraz 1999

The time had come to rip the top off this wine and I'm pleased I did for two reasons. Firstly, it was brilliant and was a treat to behold! Secondly, the wine's peak was just around the corner so my timing couldn't have been better.

The fruit which contributed came from three regions, those being Mitchelton Estate 71%, Heathcote 18% and the remainder from the Goulburn Valley.

At first look, the reddish hue depicts the earth from where this wine comes from. Dark fruits, plums and a vanilla influence from the French oak all contributed to a super smooth palate giving great length. A touch of pepper adding some welcome spice. The palate was very consistent from nose right through to the lip smacking finish.

A most enjoyable wine which was sipped on slowly. A blind eye was turned to the truckloads of sediment which caked the glass.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Ocean View Estate

Ocean View Estate is a lazy 40 minute drive north from Brisbane at Mt Mee which sits 450 metres above sea level and is part of the Somerset Valley wine region. The majority of the vineyards have clay loam soils.
The winery and cellar door are surrounded by gorgeous sweeping views of the surrounding hills, with the vineyards within a few hundred metres of the winery.

For those Brisbanites wishing to indulge in a winery experience, this place has it covered. There are regular tours through the winery and vineyards to enhance the experience, as well as plenty of education sessions, live music and concerts. You can even have a picnic amongst the vines. The winery also hosts 60+ weddings a year and recently won the Queensland Tourism Award for Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Boutique Breweries. After my experience, it's easy to see how they did it!

There are three labels in the range: Unwound, Estate and Reserve. All bar the Unwound come from estate grown fruit. The Unwound label is fruit sourced from other vineyards whilst the Reserve only comes from parcels of fruit which are of exceptional quality.

The winery also has a Wine Club which offers members privileges and discounts on purchases.

A run through the wines...

Viognier 2011 Viognier has been the most successful variety produced by Ocean View Estate, and there is plenty of evidence here to support that.
The nose is greeted by fresh apricots. Lovely fruit which fills the palate and has great length with a tidy grip to finish. Clean and fresh. $29

Unwound Verdelho 2011 The fruit for this wine is sourced from the South Burnett. A drop screaming out for some seafood or can easily be had on its own on a hot day.
Buckets of tropical fruit on the nose which flow through to the palate. A hint of lime cordial  in there too. Clean and crisp finish. $26

Unwooded Chardonnay 2011 The Chardonnay fruit here is quite deceptive. On first inspection I thought oak had been used in the wine, but not to be (after reading the label!). A light golden colour in the glass with typical buttery traits. Smooth and very satisfying with a neat texture to round it off. $26

Reflections 2010 This is a Rose made from 100% Cabernet fruit. Made to be a crowd pleaser and it is. Not much complexity here, just a fistful of fun. Fresh with strawberries on the nose and palate. Touch of residual sugar. One for the ladies who love a cheeky wine with a touch of sweetness. $25

Reserve Viognier 2011 This soon to be released Viognier is impressive. The Estate label holds its own, but this Reserve is a cut above. Grown on poor quartz soil with very shallow roots, the fruit for this wine produced smaller berries with thicker skins. A big nose of peaches and canned peach juice. Some mineral characteristics quite noticeable on the palate. The flavours here are firmer and more intense than the Estate (13.2% abv). A generous length is a great reward too. All this from a wet vintage, so the 2012 will be another step up going off current predictions.
This wine has deliberately been held back in the winery to gain some extra bottle age, something which has paid off. $35

Ruby Cabernet 2007 I was able to have a look at this back vintage to compare with the current 2010. The colour was deep crimson with an intriguing nose highlighted by touches of rose petals, a smidge of potpourri and a dusting of frangipani. A good dose of berries on the palate and a gentle finish. $26

Ruby Cabernet 2010 Having had a look at the '07 vintage, this '10 will be even better in a few years. In many respects it is already where the '07 is standing now. The colour is slightly more intense. A nose of rose petals leads to a palate of stewed fruit and berries. Tannins are fine with a persistent finish (13.5% abv). $26

Unwound Shiraz 2008 Granite Belt fruit (14.2% abv). Nose of some plum and dark cherry. There was a gentle pepper and spice on the palate with some subtle oak. Yum. $25

Mountain Top Reserve Cabernet 2008 Only made in a year when the fruit is of exceptional quality, this is a big Cabernet with only 12.8% abv. Time is spent in a mixture of American and French oak. A good depth of plums and blackberries on the nose is inviting. The palate is well balanced and lush with dark fruits. The oak adds to the complexity nicely and the wine offers a soft, drying finish with juicy tannins. Another two years of patience will repay you and then some. $35

A great day out and worth a look!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Pauletts Polish Hill Riesling 2010

Another great Riesling made it into my hands. This Pauletts from the Clare Valley's sub region Polish Hill River was another cracker.

Light golden/pale straw colour with a hue having a tinge of green.

A bright floral nose with lemon and lime characters punching forward.

In the mouth, can it be said that this is a hearty Riesling? Well it is! Big, intense citrus flavours similar to the nose drive up front. A delicate minerality sits cleanly with the acid in perfect check. A great length on the finish making you want to mop up every last drop, and trust me, it's not hard to do.

Devine! And it will easily kick on and only improve for another 10 years at least.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

O'Leary Walker Polish Hill Riesling 2008

What a cracking example of a Clare Riesling, and at a ludicrous price for under $20.

A light golden straw colour in the glass with a nearly clear hue. An aromatic and slatey nose with a palate that is minerally and steely. Delicious lemon and lime flavours, along with some green apple add to a wonderfully textured palate (12% abv). The finish is gloriously long.

Top drop and then some.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Some Young Punks "Lust Collides" Mataro 2010

The label of this wine depicts exactly what you are in for. The young lass oozes sex appeal and a deft touch, whilst the bull's head defines the big beefy element to the wine. A great label!

The fruit is from a single vineyard in McLaren Vale, is wild fermented, and sits in oak for 15 months. Only 10% of the oak is new to ensure the fruit does the talking...and it does!

A captivating nose of dense earthy characteristics but also a touch of flowers. I was having this with some speck and I was convinced there was a little hint of bacon in there too.

The palate is a powerful and beautifully rounded concoction of chocolate, dark fruits, dense fruit cake and plum pudding (14.3% abv). Damn this was good! With all the guts and bravado shown here, this is where Mataro leaps to the fore leaving you with a soft tannin finish with great length.

For around $30, you won't be disappointed, just purely captivated.

If you love Mataro or Mouvedre or even Monastrell, check out Project Mataro, or have a chat with Stu @jetrobins for an informed opinion on his adventure.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Ridgemill Estate Black Dog Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Ridgemill Estate pump out some great wines on the Granite Belt in Queensland. A focus from winemaker Peter McGlashen on alternate varietals has armed him with a stable of some very classy pieces of work. Mainstream wines are still a key component of the winery, as this wine and the Pedigree Chardonnay will testify.

Now, about the Black Dog...
Twelve months in French and American oak and spends a further 3 years bottle age on site prior to release. The Black Dog Cabernet is Ridgemill's premium brand. The top dog if you will!

Dark appearance with a slighter brightish hue. The nose dishes up dark cherries and some minty aromas, with charred roasted peppers. Yum!
Dark fruits litter the palate, and after a couple of days being open, the wine is still humming along beautifully. Big juicy fruit is smashing and the oak is entwined perfectly (14% abv). The double fermented skins add great impact here (see comment below). The finish is delicate and long with juicy tannins ready to cut through a hearty piece of meat.

Winemaker Peter McGlashan's comments: 
"I believe that it is a classic cool climate Cabernet with all the marks of the Granite Belt. The Black Dog was fermented in two parcels. Skins from the first used to inoculate the second (double fermented skins) which gives good structure."

If in the area, definitely pop in or check the website for purchase details.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Mitchelton Blackwood Park Riesling 2009

Nagambie Lakes is a wine region one and a half hours drive (directly north) from Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport. Unlike many other regions where many cellar doors are within a few metres of each other, there is a short drive required here. The most popular and well known winery in the region is Tahbilk.

I've always been a fan of this Riesling, and this 2009 vintage continues to impress. Let's be honest here... it's excellent!

A golden straw appearance is followed up with toasty and honey characters on the nose, with some nicely developed lemon and lime. The palate also incorporates fantastic lemony and citrus characteristics which ensures a beautifully rounded mouthfeel. An infusion of florally elements play their part in the background too. All this and then you are landed with some great depth and length to finish.

The acid and fruit are married together very well resulting in a wonderful expression of this variety from Nagambie Lakes.

A delight indeed and even more impressive for the price - readily available for just under $20.

Hart & Hunter Shiraz Viognier 2009

This wine developed well over a couple of days after opening (12.5% abv).

Dark maroon colour, raspberries and stewed cherry greeted the nose. The palate consisted of a whiff of toasty oak, red currants, but what left me hanging was the lightish fruit weight. The nose to palate was quite deceptive too surprisingly.

Good length finished off the drop with some softish fine tannin.

Tamburlaine Shiraz Cabernet 2009

Tamburlaine from the Hunter Valley is one of the largest produces of organic wine in Australia.

This wine has loads of black pepper on nose with tarry oak. A simple palate of black currants and cedary oak (13% abv). The oak is a little too pronounced at this stage. Some tannin grip but fruit slips off the palate all too easily for mine.

The price point doesn't match up with what you get, but it was worth having a look at some organic offerings.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco NV

Prosecco is quickly gaining a great following as an alternative to the Pinot Chardonnay sparkling we see all over the shelves.

I have previously reviewed the Brown Brother's Prosecco which was I was pretty happy with and it was a pleasure to drink, but this drop was the next step up. The flavours were a little more richly textured, and with the crown seal, it gives you a little more street cred and class when you turn up at your next party with it under your wing.

Made using the Charmat Method, that is, the whole process of making the sparkling wine takes place in a large temperature controlled tank, the end product is well above satisfactory.

This Prosecco once again comes from the King Valley in Victoria, and the Dal Zotto's were the first to introduce the variety to Australia.
A clean and clear appearance in the glass with a nose of green apple peel and some tinned pear juice. The palate is a little drier than the Brown Brothers, but more complex and textured with some more apple characteristics, pear and a touch of citrus coming to the fore. The finish is clean, dry and terribly delicious!

There is no complexity to this, it's stand and deliver type of stuff. Crazy value for the $18 I paid for it!

Go on, you know you want some!

Clovely Estate White Label Verdelho 2011

The Queensland summer is draped in warm days and matched with trawler loads of seafood, this Verdelho fits the bill perfectly. Clovely Estate White Label is an excellent example of a warm summer and seafood match.

Pale straw in appearance, it possesses a distinctive nose of honey melon, tropical fruit, lemon grass and lime cordial.  A deliciously refreshing palate (13.5%) of tropical fruit, pineapple, and bit more lime cordial.

The finish is clean and crisp and goes well with food or own its own. Grab some!