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Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014 Chaffey Bros Düfte Punkt

ASB0959_001_LO_sRGB copyDüfte Punkt translates from German to "The Aromatic Point", and aromatic this wine sure is. This blend consists of Gewurtztraminer, Riesling and a less common German grape called Weißer Herol. All three varietals are grown on a single vineyard in the Northern Eden Valley. This is drinking great right now and just in time for summer. 

It has a giant flowery nose that keeps delivering Turkish delight, grapefruit and orange peel. A fantastically aromatic wine. Great minerality plays wonderfully with heaps of citrus. Perfect level of residual sugars for my taste.

I will definitely be stocking up on this for the summer. Sure to be a crowd pleaser among serious wine drinking friends and occasional tipplers alike. Drinks well with Vietnamese food, and likely much more. A cracker.

Price:     $25
Source: Cru Bar, Brisbane
Varietal: Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Weißer Herol
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   94
Website: http://www.chaffeybros.com/

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2012 SC Pannell Tinto

I came across the following quote from wine writer Nick Stock, regarding winemaker SC Pannell: "I wouldn't be surprised if in 40 years time that we’re talking about this guy as one of the greatest Australian winemakers ever to make wine in our age." So, the bar was set pretty high before I even tried this wine. I was still super impressed with this one, and look forward to trying the rest of his range.

Stephen Pannell was chief winemaker at Hardys, prior to founding his own McLaren Vale winery in 2004. Since then his goal has been to produce wines that express a sense of place. He's approached this by using natural yeasts for fermentation, and minimizing contact with oak.


The Tinto is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Touriga Nacional, a wine grape considered by many to be Portugal's finest.  A very inviting nose, with an interesting mix of sweet raspberry and cherry alongside some savory notes. The palate follows through with more berries and wonderful soft but textural tannins. Reminiscent of some of my favorite elements in good Rioja, with the plus of great aromatic intensity.  

I'll definitely buy this again. Drank great with a margherita pizza, and I imagine it would suit many other styles of food. Definitely over-delivers for this price.

Price:     $23
Source: Cru Bar, Brisbane
Varietal: Grenache (60%), Touriga Nacional (40%)
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   93
Website: www.pannell.com.au

Monday, September 22, 2014

2012 Smallfry 'Schliebs Garden' Grenache

It being International Grenache Day this past Friday, I took it upon myself to try a few different grenache and grenache blends. Among these was this straight grenache from a biodynamic producer in the Barrossa Valley. Having previously tried two excellent wines from Smallfry, I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed by this offering.
Opens up with an interesting nose, indicative there was likely some addition of whole bunches of grapes (stems and all) during fermentation. A bit spicy with some dark berry notes and possibly a hint of acetone.  The tannins were a bit sandy and overpowering for the level of acidity and berry flavors present. This may develop over time and become quite good, but it's not for my taste right now. While I likely won't be buying another bottle of this, I will surely be grabbing up some other wines from this producer.

Price:     $27
Varietal: Grenache
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   87
Website: http://smallfrywines.com.au/ 

2011 Mayfield 'Icely Road' Chardonnay

Icely Rd Chardonnay 2011Mayfield is located in the Orange region of New South Wales and produces a selection of wines suited to this cooler climate. One of the wonderful things about chardonnay is that it offers a lot variation within the context of one type of grape. Hence, offering an opportunity for wine makers to express themselves and represent the fruit in distinct ways.

This was a rather delicate chardonnay with some melon and vanilla on the nose. Very moderate use of oak has left it quite fresh, displaying the fruit well. Limited malolactic fermentation has resulted in good acid balance without the buttery notes present in many other chardonnays. Rather on the lean side for my taste in chardonnay.  Nonetheless, a crisp, clean, elegant chardonnay and it was just fine with goat cheese spread across baguette, on a sunny afternoon.

 Price:     $20
Varietal: Chardonnay
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   90 
Website: www.mayfieldvineyard.com   

2009 Wynns Coonawarra Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

You can't think about Australia's Coonawarra region without thinking about Cabernet Sauvignon, and this is an excellent example of why that is, from an iconic producer in the region.

One of the great things about Wynns black label Cabernet is that it is fairly easy to track down.  I was able to find both this 2009 and a 2010 at a major retailer and noted the 2012 was also available.

Great nose with dark vibrant fruits, a hint of tobacco, and that classic hit of mint, so distinctive of Coonawarra Cabernet.  Full bodied with decent length on the palette and hints of blackberry. Great structure and almost velvety tannins. A fantastic Cabernet for this price, I would buy it again. It drank wonderfully with grilled lamb loin chops.  Likely to have quite a few years left in it, so if I see it again I'll get one for the wine fridge.

Price:     $30
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   93 
Website: http://www.wynns.com.au/


Monday, September 15, 2014

2012 Fowles "Ladies who Shoot their Lunch" Shiraz




A very lively Shiraz, perfect for a barbecue with friends.  While the intentions with the "Ladies who Shoot their Lunch" series was to produce a range of  wines that would pair well with game meats, I suspect this Shiraz will be quite food friendly in general.

Fowles winery and vineyards are located in Strathbogie Ranges, a cool climate region in central Victoria residing on a granite range.  It is a family owned winery, lead by Matt Fowles with Victor Nash as the chief winemaker.

Opening with a spicy, peppery nose, this has a great round palate delivering juicy dark berry fruit and a nice touch of minerality.  I'll buy this again, and look forward to trying it with some game.

Price:     $35
Varietal: Shiraz
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   93
Website: https://www.fowleswine.com/


Saturday, September 13, 2014

2005 Penfolds St. Henri


 A fantastic wine to celebrate a special occasion.  Coming from a warm 2005 vintage this wine is very generous and drinking very well right now.  A great example of  the potential for Australian shiraz, this wine is a fantastic expression of top quality fruit, with delicate use of old oak.  

This wine developed and changed a lot over a couple of hours in the decanter.  Spicy plum nose with a hint of anise with more notes of stewed fruit developing over time.  Incredible length on the palate, with wonderfully integrated tannins. Truly one of the great Australian reds and drinking great right now.

Price:     $100
Varietal: Shiraz
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   97
Website: https://www.penfolds.com/

Friday, September 12, 2014

2012 Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz

Hailing from Canberra, Clonakilla is one of Australia's finest shiraz producers. As their entry level red, the Hilltops Shiraz offers excellent value for money and is a great example of a restrained cool climate Australian shiraz.

The nose shows a hint of stalk with notes of cherry and blackcurrant.  Very nice and refined, the perfect ripeness for my taste .  Nice length on the palate with some lively fine tannins.  At this price point I might not buy again, but would happily have a glass if it were on a wine list.

Price:     $30
Varietal: Shiraz
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   92
Website: http://www.clonakilla.com.au/

2010 Luis Cañas Crianza Rioja


Went to check out a spanish tapas and wine bar in Brisbane called Peasant.  After enjoying the Luis Cañas Barrel Fermented Viura, I opted for a bottle of this Rioja which was recommended by the waiter.  It drank beautifully with a charcuterie board, chorizo, and croquettes.

A nice precise nose with gentle use of oak and some cherry notes.  Very clean structured palate.  Good acidity and round tannins held up well against the strong flavors of the cured meats and croquettes.  I would definitely buy this again, as soon as I can find some available here in Australia.

Price:     $75 (by the bottle at Peasant in Brisbane) 
Varietal: Tempranillo
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   94
Website: http://www.luiscanas.com/

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2011 Feudo Di Santa Tresa Avulsi Nero D'avola


As I've been drinking a fair bit of Australian Nero D'avola lately, I wanted to refresh my memory on how it's done in Sicily.  Didn't hurt that I was looking for a sixth wine to get that great discount associated with buying in multiples of six.

Right away I got tobacco and blackcurrant/cassis, a very savory nose.  The palate was nice, if short lived.  Nice soft round tannins and more savory notes. This developed over a couple of glasses and provided some interest for me, but certainly didn't blow me away.  I wouldn't buy this by the bottle again at this price point, but would be happy to have another go on a wine list if I were eating the right food.


Price:     $30 
Varietal: Nero D'avola
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   92
Website: http://www.santatresa.com

2013 BK Wines Skin and Bones White

This is a super cool wine.  I had this a while back at a monthly tasting I attend here in Brisbane called Swirl, Sniff, and Spit.  I wanted to show my office mates something different and interesting and this turned out to be the perfect pick.

Holy aromatic!  My boss smelled it walking by and busted us wine tasting on a Friday afternoon, so I had to pour an extra glass.  The time spent on skin and in contact with the stems gives it a very unique nose for a white wine, reminiscent of a pinot that has had some whole bunches left in during fermentation.  There are also some floral notes that make it very pretty, as well as interesting. Great tasting wine, with nice acidity and citrus flavors.  I love what these guys have done.  A wine that's both novel and beautiful.

Price:     $30 
Varietal: Savagnin (80%), Chardonnay (20%)
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   95
Website: http://bkwines.com.au/

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2013 Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy Nero D'avola

This grape varietal from Sicily is starting to make waves here in Australia, and I can see why.  It is well suited for a hot and dry climate, and seems to be growing very well here in the  McLaren Vale region.  Nero D'avola is always one of the wines I think about when eating pizza and pasta. This one paired well with my homemade pizza, topped with sausage, red onion and portobello mushrooms.

Nice nose with lots of raspberry and floral, possibly lavender, notes. It has juicy soft tannins and the palate gives off more raspberry with a hint of cherry.  A very enjoyable wine.  Having taken this to a few parties, I can say this is a  crowd pleaser and a great drink now red wine.

Price:     $30
Varietal: Nero D'avola
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   93
Website: http://www.handcraftedbygeoffhardy.com.au/

2013 Long Rail Gully Shiraz Cabernet

Long Rail Gully Shiraz Cabernet 2013I'm not entirely sure how this wine ended up on my wine rack, but I was pleased to find it, after a long day at work.  The Long Rail Gully vineyard resides in Murrumbateman, approximately 30 minutes north of Canberra and was first planted in 1998.

I was pleasantly suprised when I took s whiff of these to find a nicely balanced Cab/Shiraz blend with lots of black cherry and nice integration of oak.  Quite soft tannins and short lived on the palate.  Having tasted this over a couple of days I have the feeling this might not be a very long lived wine.  However, a pretty decent mid week quaffer and pleasant find for me.

 Price:     $20 (Unless you find it on your wine rack:)
Varietal: Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   90
Website: http://www.longrailgully.com.au/

Monday, September 1, 2014

2012 Carpineto Chianti Classico

Making pizzas tonight, so naturally going for some Italian wine.  In my experience Sangiovese and predominately Sangiovese blends (such as Chianti)  pair awesome with pizza.  That being said, some of the Australian Nero D'avola I've had lately are starting to give these a real run for their money.

The nose has a touch of tobacco and roast pepper, but generally very mild and subtle.  Quite soft tannins for a young Chianti, but generally a fairly bland wine.  That being said, it was in no way offensive and drank well with the tomato based pizzas.  Would I buy it again? Probably not.

Price:     $20
Varietal: Sangiovese (90%), Canaiolo (10%)
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   88
Website: http://www.carpineto.com/

2005 Penfolds Reserve Bin Riesling

Penfolds recently held a promotion, in collaboration with Vinetec wine fridges, offering a fantastic deal on a  fridge when you purchased at least six wines from their bin series or luxury wines.  Being in need of a wine fridge this seemed like a perfect excuse to pick up some Penfolds wines.  Amongst the six pack of wines I got a couple of bottles of this riesling and am glad for it.

The nose has a nice toasty character with some lime and kerosene, characteristic of so many aged rieslings from this region.  The palate is holding up well with nice crisp acidity, sustained minerality and plenty of citrus.  Drank fantastically well with salt and pepper soft shell crab.  Will buy again, if I see it, as it's hard to beat at this price and I love aged riesling.

Price:     $25
Varietal: Riesling
Tasted: September 2014
Rating:   94
Website: https://www.penfolds.com/