I popped into Newcastle's Reserve Wine Bar during December. It was great chatting with owner Patrick Haddock, and when I asked him for something interesting to buy, he didn't hesitate to suggest this.
I love wines with interest and mystique, and this has all that. This is super impressive and the label grabs one's attention too.
A single vineyard wine from the Margaret River, 23% whole bunches were used with 24 days on skins. Add to that 16 months of French oak, the wine was unfiltered and unfined. Only 123 dozen were produced.
Dark fruits, mulberries and savoury herb characters slowly unfurl along with some sweetish fruit that's chiseled into a deliciously moreish delivery. A few more sips and the spice and earthy tones really captured my attention. Each element seems to get it's own moment in the spot light. I was fighting with my guests for another top up. It possesses a dangerous sensual allure and I just wish I bought more.
Cellar for the medium term and have with meat. Slow roasted beef did the trick for me.
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 posthere.
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.