Showing posts with label Swirlsniffspit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Swirlsniffspit. Show all posts

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Swirl Sniff Spit - "Barossa Grounds" August 2012

The Barossa Valley's stamp on the wine world is Shiraz. A region made up of several sub-regions, a good question to come from the evening is, "Do we really know the Barossa?"

To assist us on our mission to get to know the Barossa was Murray Street Vineyards Winemaker Andrew Seppelt who guided us through this diverse region. Terroir, soil types, and distance between vineyards were all discussed and highlighted to a very receptive audience. In Seppelt's words, "1km apart means 1 week difference in picking." An eye opener in many respects.

Below is a selection of single vineyard wines all expressing their patch of the Barossa - the "Barossa Grounds".

Eden Valley
Sons of Eden "Remus" Shiraz 2009
Dark crimson. Earthy, violets, dark berries, touch of mint on nose. Smooth on the palate. Good spice - subtle. Soft fine tannins. A pretty wine.

Yalumba Single Site Swingbridge Vineyard Craneford Shiraz 2007
Hello aromatics! Are you there? Some violets. Smooth with big mouthfeel. Punchy. Good length. Dryish.

Face off: North v South Barossa
Northern Barossa: Westlake Vineyards "Eleazar" Shiraz 2009
Earthy, floral, roses on the nose. Blackcurrants, dark/black fruits and chocolate.

Southern Barossa: Te'Aro Estate Charred Door Shiraz 2008
Check out my blog post of this wine here. This wine has stood up brilliantly.

Murray Street Vineyards
Western Ridge: MSV Gomersal Single Vineyard Shiraz 2008
Deep colour. Some minerality. Tighter fruit concentration on the palate. Great length.

Greenock: MSV Greenock Single Vineyard Shiraz 2008
Vineyard is full of organics. Great depth and length. Touch of sweetness which appealed. Integration of fruit and oak superb. Ooh la la!

Final Bracket
Greenock: Yelland & Papps Devote Shiraz 2010
Bright fruit in the glass. Lifted aromas with raspberry sauce. Palate is smooth. Fruit concentrated. Good lick of spice. Lighter finish than expected.

Central West: Whistler Estate Shiraz 2010
Violets and lavender. Sweetish oak on nose too. Dark fruits. Jammy. Peppery spice. Leather. Great way to finish the night.

My wine of the night....Te'Aro Estate Charred Door Shiraz 2008

Thursday 19 July 2012

Swirl Sniff Spit - Granite Belt night July 2012

Swirl Sniff Spit is a proud group of Queenslanders who get together on the third Tuesday of each month to learn and share in wines from many regions and of various varieties. The time had come to dip into our own backyard and see what is kicking around on the Granite Belt.

The Granite Belt is Queensland's premier wine region and boasts some of the highest (most between 850-950m) and coldest vineyards in Australia. Last week the temperature dropped to -9C! I recently enjoyed an excellent weekend in the region. Check out my adventure here.

Poor granite soils dominate the vineyards and the vines struggle to produce their fruit, yet the fruit which is the result delivers a handy product.

Getting the word out about the Granite Belt is a struggle at times too as the vast majority of wineries rely on Cellar Door sales to move the wine to the consumer. Quantities produced by the wineries are small compared to southern counterparts and therefore it is hard to get into the big players in the retail sector. Recent years have seen more and more Granite Belt wineries creeping into the retail market which is a pleasing sign for them.

Glen Robert
 We were privileged to have the company of two winemakers on the evening - Glen Robert from Bent Road Winery and Warren Smith from Pyramids Road Wines. Both shared their tremendous knowledge and passion on various topics through the night including the use of oak, wild yeast, blending, and more. Much more. Many thanks to you both for your company and sharing your valuable time.

The wines selected for the evening were done to showcase the region and wines with a point of difference.

Warren Smith
Many eyebrows were raised through the night and the quality of the wines shone through. Big thanks to the wineries who sent through samples and for being so keen to participate.

So to the wines....

Bent Road Marsanne 2011
Lean and clean. Made in the aperitif style (10.7% alc). Lemons. Damn this is seriously good!

Cypress Post Viognier Marsanne 2011
Nose of apricot and paw paw. Apricot and peachy flavours on the palate. An oily feel on the palate too which adds some interest. A great food wine (14% alc).

Ridgemill Estate Chardonnay 2011
Funky as!! Wild ferment, taken off lees to remove buttery characteristics. Mustard seeds, oyster shell, toasted almonds, and herby characters all on the nose. The palate was awash with stone fruit flavours. A Chardonnay with a difference and very yummy!

Ravens Croft Chardonnay 2011
Fruit sourced from Bungawarra Wines at Ballandean. A tight and toasty nose with butterscotch. Lees stirred. 25% was wild fermented and 25% Malo. New oak was used (50%) and of this, it was an even split between French and American. Cashews leap out. It was likened to a Pinot Gris by some. Fruit screaming loudly. Lean, pear and even apple. Well made and some serious delish factor!

Ridgemill Estate Tempranillo 2009
A good whiff of oak, dark cherries and herb. Minimal acid, A lovely rounded palate with juicy fruit and good length. Impressive.

Hidden Creek Tempranillo 2009
Plummy and savoury with enjoyable length. A little firmer tannin mouthfeel. Bold style typical of Spain. Winemaker Jim Barnes has spent vintage time in Spain and modelled his Tempranillo on that experience. This won plenty of fans.

Boireann La Cima Barbera 2008
Cherries, plummy, rounded with a touch of spice. Soft and very approachable. Acid noticeable. Have a plate of salami handy and load up!

Summit Estate Queensland Cabernets 2009
A fruit salad of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Fragrent violets prominent. Intense concentration of blackberry fruit on the palate. A big wine yet classy with a long, lingering finish.

Witches Falls Prophecy Syrah
Soft yet has an acid edge which points to plenty of aging potential. Fruit abundant with oak adding to the profile nicely. Spice, pepper, cherries all kicking on. Tannins complement the wine very well. Many stood up and took notice.

Bent Road Syrah Cabernets 2009
Soft and elegant with complexity. Super long and delicious finish. Fruit punches through very well. A well made wine in a tough vintage. Value deluxe at $19!

Golden Grove Durif 2010
Big black fruit flavours. Sexy earthiness. American oak creeping in. The palate is coated with softness and a savoury finish to wrap it all up. Super drinkability.

Pyramids Road Wines Mourvedre 2011
Has only been in the bottle six weeks. A European style Mourvedre - bright nose, acid driven, bone dry and finishes with chalky tannins. Very impressive and the best of it is yet to come. The crew LOVED it!

Ballandean Estate Sylvaner 2005
Late harvest. Rated the best in the world by some judges. Honey, apricots and citrus peel nose. Canned tropical fruit, marmalade and rockmelon palate. Clean finish. Damn fine!

Witches Falls Botryis Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2008
Oh sweet mumma! This is super delish and it is hard to stop sipping. A good whiff of stone fruits and citrus. Palate of apricots and peaches. Well balanced. Palate flush with sticky goodness. It would be rude to not lick the glass.

Friday 22 June 2012

Fortified Night SwirlSniffSpit 19 June 2012

We were privileged enough to indulge and have the opportunity to share in some wonderful fortified wines at Swirl Sniff Spit this week. Our taste buds were led on a journey by Julian Coldrey who did an outstanding job educating us all.

Fortified wine is some of the best aged and best value wines on the market yet it is so under appreciated by the consumer market. The age of some barrels used for blending solidifies this, particularly as Rare fortifieds as seen below use a base wine of at least 60 years of age as seen in this case.

I was keen to seek out some fortifieds with a point of difference as all these wines could easily fall into the raisin, toffee, butterscotch categories.

A few of the highlights:

The Pfeiffer Wines Rutherglen Muscat was a great start. Fresh, with aromas of orange rind and orange oil. An engaging mouth warmth and long finish. Nicely balanced and top value.

Who: Pfeiffer Wines
What: Muscat (18% abv)
Where: Rutherglen
When: NV
How: $20 (500 mL)
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The Morris Wines Class Liqueur Tokay had a most amazing nose of vegemite and marmite which was very distinct. A smooth palate which was moreish but the finish didn't kick on as much as I would have liked. Nonetheless, lots to like about it.

Who: Morris Wines
What: Tokay (18% abv)
Where: Rutherglen
When: NV
How: $17 (500 mL)

The Chambers Rosewood Winery Old Vine Muscat had some oomph factor. Beautifully balanced with lip smacking depth and length. A whiff of coffee bean with great intensity and a smidge of spice. This oozes Christmas cake and left a subtle warmth in the mouth along with a delicate soft length. Yummo!

Who: Chambers Rosewood Winery
What: Muscat (18% abv)
Where: Rutherglen
When: NV
How: $65 (375 mL)
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Sublime! This Campbells Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat is without peer. Incredible viscosity and impeccable length and it would be rude not to lick out the glass in respect. Something that really stood out for me apart from the never ending length, was that there was no mouth warmth as experienced with the other wines of the evening. This a is complement of the blending but also demonstrates the age of the wine which has a base wine of at least 60 years old. Another 50 years easy left in this wine, and oh how graceful it will be then. Looking at the value component, a definite special occasion drop, but by the same token, a 60 year old table wine of this quality would easily be significantly more expensive. A special treat deluxe and easily the Wine of the Night.

Who: Campbells Wines
What: Muscat (18% abv)
Where: Rutherglen
When: NV
How: $125 (375 mL)

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Monday 26 March 2012

Alternative Variety night @SwirlSniffSpit Tuesday 20 March

Another extraordinary night of wines put together for this edition of Swirl Sniff Spit. Props to The Vinsomniac for his research and excellent presentations during the night, and also to Brad Hickey from Brash Higgins for making the effort to attend and share his wines.

The evening showcased a delectable range of wines, many varieties of which have not been seen by most in the room - me included!

In an industry where everyone is looking for a point of difference and a way to stand out from the pack, there were plenty of examples on show.

A quick run through some of the magic....

Fox Gordon Princess Fiano 2011, Adelaide Hills: Green pea/snap pea on nose. Grassy. Zesty. Love it, and represents super value for around $15. Check out my 2010 post here.
Yalumba Y Series Vermentino 2011, Riverland: For a wine available readily for around $10, you'll be hard pressed to find quality like this at that price point. Serve super chilled with a bucket of seafood - ooh la la! Check out my previous post here.
Holm Oak Wine Arneis 2011, Tasmania: Savory and peachy characters. Plenty of fans in the room enjoyed this but I found it a little too tart and acidic for my palate. Would go well with food, a creamy pasta or even fresh seafood.
Lark Hill Winery Gruner Veltliner 2011, Canberra: This vintage has already sold out and the winemaker was kind enough to share this from his personal stash. A runaway early leader in the Wine of the Night for mine. Pear and fresh apple juice characters. This wine was fresh and finished with a tad of almond meal. A seriously good version of this Austrian variety.
K1 by Hardy's Gruner Veltliner 2011, Adelaide Hills: Pears and pear skin. Restrained mid palate due to light fruit weight. A watery, clean finish. Many happy campers with this.

Crittenden Wines II Tributo Savignin 2010: A sherberty nose. Flavours of savory herbs, spice and a crisp minerality and drying finish on the palate. Yum!
919 Wines Petit Manseng 2010, Riverland: Wow! This was a complex piece of work. Honey, spice, floral notes with a slash of apricot and stone fruit flavours. Lovely soft texture and super length.
Only small quantities of Petit Manseng in Australia, four coming from South Australia's Riverland, and one each from north east Victoria and Griffith.

Brash Higgins NDV Nero d'Avola 2011, McLaren Vale: On skins for two weeks. Wild fermented and only 114 cases made (less than 30 available as I write this). Lavender on nose - stunning!! Orange peel and raspberry jam flavours. Drinks like young Gamay. Serve with slight chill and drink now to five years. $37. Did I say how outrageously fantastic the nose was?!?!

Madeline's Nangkita Primitivo 2008, McLaren Vale: Has an appearance of stewed plums in the glass. Cigar, fruit cake and spice characters all going on here. Gentle soft finish.

Mount Majura Graciano 2009, Canberra: Bright in the glass. Spice and cigar notes shining through. A fistful of pepper and balanced acid profile. Load this up with some food and you're happy.

Chalmers Wines Aglianico 2005, Heathcote: Cherries, raspberries and earthy goodness. Some fruit cake elements in there too which I enjoyed. Smooth finish. An eye opener for a variety I looked at for the first time.

Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy Teroldego 2010, Langhorne Creek: Rhubarb and raspberries leap from the glass along with wild flowers. Some serious kick here on the palate with a handful of dry herbs and flavours which follow through from the nose. The palate is also edged with a brush of pepper. Finish with a dry tannin grip. Matured in 4-7 oak for 18 months - I loved it! Wine of the night, hands down!
Oliver's Taranga Sagrantino 2009, McLaren Vale: A great way to finish off the night with this heavy weight. This wine is the first vintage of Sangrantino made by the winery and it is a mighty fine effort. Violets, black fruits with a tiny herby touch, charred oak and a bucket load of tannin. A big chunk of pork will match perfectly.

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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.

Thursday 17 November 2011

Riesling Night @SwirlSniffSpit Tuesday 15 November

The monthly gathering of Brisvegas' Swirlers, Sniffers and Spitters was again a magnificent evening. The focus was Riesling, and wow, what a line up!

One of the great things about these gatherings is the diverse range of wines presented, but also, the diverse number of people being brought together through their love of wine.

We covered Australia's east coast to west coast, warm climate to cool. A few Germans even made the list, and according to @breebos, "The sexiest vineyards in the world!"

Knappstein Handpicked Clare Valley 2011: I had a look at the 2009 recently and this wine sadly is not a patch on it. This latest vintage had some lemony notes on the sniff, but was short on flavour and lacked some punch.
Petaluma Hanlin Hill Clare Valley 2010: Nice fuller mouth feel and an extra year in the bottle has been a plus. Limes and citrus on the nose which follow through to the palate. Good acid. A nicely balanced wine. Tick!
Karra Yerta Eden Valley 2010:  Sometimes the best things are kept simple... Limes and minerality. Clean, crisp, and steely. Yum!!!

Karra Yerta Eden Valley 2005: The difference on the nose between these Karra Yerta wines was amazing. The '10 was clean and fresh, whereas the '05 was similar to the 06 and had a massive kerosene hit. Wonderful toasty characteristics on a palate with so much gas left in the tank thanks to a good acid profile. It's best years are ahead of it. A clear winner for me here!

A visit to the cooler climate of Canberra and @breebos made the call that this region could potentially be Australia's best Riesling producing region. Have a look at these and you'll understand why...
Capital Wines "The Whip" Canberra District 2011: Crunchy apple, good acid backbone which will sit pretty for many years. Palate had more depth than nose. Tidy finish. Delish!
Lark Hill Canberra District 2011: I really liked the aroma of the nose here. Some touches of white pepper. Crisp and nicely balanced. A delight!
These two were very impressive!!

Bests Great Western Grampians 2011: Very easy to see why this wine is so popular. Very approachable and easy drinking. A little more sweetness than others thus far on the night. Floral, apples with good length. Damn fine.

The Story Henty 2011: A most unique wine on the sniff. Grassy, herbs, lemons. Clearly a point of difference which makes it stand out. Once again, good acid balance and length.

Two very different styles of Riesling here. The Estate is made in the traditional method as we know it, whereas the Artisan is made very much like some Chardonnay - barrel ferment, wild yeasts, time on lees. The first time I have come across this style in a Riesling which made me very curious!  
Xabregas Estate Great Southern 2011: Off dry style. Clean and crisp. A easy drinking style made well.

Xabregas Artisan Great Southern 2010: Crisp and dry. An amazing celebration of flavour on the palate. Once again, a point of difference which separated the punters on preferences between the two. Something I reckon I can easily go back to. Very enjoyable.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Semillon Night @Swirlsniffspit Tuesday 18 October

Semillon was shown in all forms from sparkling, to fresh, to bottle aged to delectable dessert wines. Some notes from this fabulous night....

St Agounant Blanc de Blanc 1999. Spends an amazing 10 years on lees which adds a wonderful depth and complexity. Made in the same style as Champagne. Soft, supple and well textured.

Bimbagen NV Clean and fresh. Touch of citrus on the nose. Very much a drink now style.

Young Semillon
Scarborough Green Label Hunter Valley 2011. Clean with crisp, crunchy acid. Needs food I reckon.

Murray Street Vineyard Barossa Valley 2010. I was pretty keen on this. I was ready to take a leaf out of the @thewinepunter 's book and make the early call of "the wine of the night!".
Clear development already taking shape. Lovely mouth feel and texture. Soft citrus, honey and some melon characteristics. All this for $20... Time to go shopping!
Queensland Semillon
Both of the Queensland wines came from the South Burnett region which is 2.5-3 hours north west of Brisbane. The climate is similar to the Hunter Valley - warm days and cool nights. Not surprisingly, semillon has performed well here for many years too.

Clovely Estate Left Field 2006. Bottle age has been it's friend developing some lovely toasty characteristics. Softer mid palate but lovely length. Very nice.

Barambah First Grid 2008. Needs some time to settle. Acid kick dominant at present. Has potential.

Aged Semillon
Peter Lehmann Margaret, Barossa Valley 2005. This was devine. Texture and fruit superb. Lemon curd is what I was getting. Powers through to the very end. A beauty!

Meerea Park Alexander Munro 2005. A very attractive lemony/lime thing going on here. The acid was prominent and crawls back onto the palate when you think it's gone. More time needed but will be a crowd pleaser hands down in years to come.

Dessert Wines
Punt Road Botrytis Semillon Yarra Valley 2010. Oh I love this drop and I was salivating more than Pavlov's dogs when I saw this on the list.
All elements in sync here. Man it's good! There's citrus and honey, jammy mandarin. Acid beautifully balanced. Drink with caution, or you'll guzzle it too quickly!!!

De Bortoli Black Noble. The best things need little introduction. Chocolate, nutty characters. Lucious length. This is brilliant deluxe, and then some! Be wary, it's addictive.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Swirl Sniff Spit 16 August - Cabernet Sauvignon night!

Cabernet night at Swirl Sniff Spit - Era Bistro 16 August 2011
Another brilliant night and a superb line up of wines. Some belters and even a rabbit pulled out of a hat!
Some wines which caught the eye...

Yalumba Menzies 2007 - Coonawarra. Smooth as silk. Superb drinking. Comment was made, "Menzies has never failed me." Nickos was right. The best was saved til last :)

Murray Street Vineyards - Barossa. Top fruit, spice and oak. Finish is loooong and sensational! Not on the list, but special guest winemaker Andrew pulled this one out. Did I say sensational?

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Cabernet 2008 - Grampians. Seductive nose. Palate weight spot on. Smidge of mint. Elegance!

Wise Lot 80 2009 - Margaret River. Great example of the region. Super nose of oaky goodness. Black fruits. Wonderful mouth feel. Yum.

Bent Road 2005 - Granite Belt. Poor soils. Dynamite used to clear site before planting for crying out loud! Juicy fruit, savoury. Soft, long finish. Giddy up!

Blue Pyrenees 2009 - Stood up to many of the more expensive types well - under $20. Very approachable, simple bottle of deliciousness!

A brilliant night - great company and great wines. Thanks to the @swirlsniffspit crew and @erabistro!

Next month.....Grenache!