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Friday, December 19, 2014

2014 Ochota Barrels Green Room Grenache Syrah


Ochota Barrels are producing some of my favorite wines in Australia at the moment. Winemaker Taras Ochota has previously worked at Murray Street Vineyards and Two Hands in the Barossa Valley, as well as Nepenthe in Adelaide Hills. In more recent years he has been working as a fly in wine maker in Italy, as well as making some beautiful and interesting Australian wines, such as this.

This wine is predominantly grenache at 88 percent, with the remainder of the wine being syrah. All fruit is sourced from old vines grown on dry loamy red clay, delivering great fruit intensity. There was a large percentage of whole bunch (grapes along with stems) used in this wine, which adds some interest and depth.

I get lots of bright red fruit cherry fruit and aromas that remind me more of a grenache heavy Rioja than any other Australian grenache I've had. Nice chalky tannins and great length. The thing that really stands out to me in this wine is the purity of the fruit. The low levels of oak allow you to really taste just how good the Grenache fruit really is.

I shared this at a friends Birthday and it was an absolute hit. A crowd pleaser, for sure.

Price:     $39
Source:  Craft Red Hill
Varietal: Grenache, Syrah
Tasted:  December 2014
Rating:   95

2008 Pewseyvale Eden Valley Riesling

Pewseyvale sits 250 meters above the floor of the barossa valley, providing a slightly cooler climate ideal for Riesling production. The Pewseyvale winery is one of the oldest in Australia and said to be Eden Valley's first vineyard. They are also one of the most consistent high quality Riesling producers in the country and have produced many of the best Australian Riesling I've tried.

The 2008 is drinking beautifully right now. Starting to develop a small amount of aged Riesling aromas, which sit beautifully alongside aromas of lemon, lime, and hints of tropical fruit. Great refreshing acidity and minerality to this wine.

A fantastic bargain at this price point. I can't believe how good Australian Riesling generally is for the small price tag it so often carries.

Price:     $23
Source:  Dan Murphy's
Varietal: Riesling
Tasted:  December 2014
Rating:   94

2013 Yalumba 'Y Series' Viognier

In Australia Viognier is most commonly seen blended with Shiraz, where it helps raise the aromatic profile of the shiraz, as well as enhance the texture and color. However, I'm glad to see more and more Viognier is becoming readily available as a single varietal wine.

This wine smells to me of tropical fruit, lychees, and honeysuckle. Some savory bready flavors with an unctuous feel across the tongue. Good level of acidity and not too much alcohol (a common problem in some Viognier).

I enjoyed this bottle without food, however next time I have a bottle of Viognier I will try Fiona Beckett's recommendation of pairing it with a mild korma curry. As an aside Fiona Beckett's website www.matchingfoodandwine.com is a fantastic resource when trying to decide which foods pair well with certain wines.

Price:     $11
Source:  Dan Murphy's
Varietal: Viognier
Tasted:  December 2014
Rating:   90
Website: www.yalumba.com 

Monday, December 15, 2014

2011 Frogmore Creek Iced Riesling

An Australian ice wine? Being Canadian I've tried my fare share of ice wines. In the Niagara region of Canada most ice wine producers wait until there are three days in a row where the temperatures stay below -8 degrees Celsius. While it's a bit cooler in Tasmania than many other parts of Australia, they still require freezing units to produce their ice wine. I think this difference in production yields a slightly different product.

The first thing I noticed about this wine was that it was less syrupy than other ice wines I've had. Great aromas of apple blossoms and orange zest, followed by sweet but not cloying flavors of green apple and honey. Lacks some of the interesting elements I expect from an ice wine, which likely develop from the extended hang time prior to picking in Canada and Germany.

Worth noting that this is available at a fraction of the price of any good German, Austrian, or Canadian ice wines. Given the option, however, I'll take a good Aussie botrytis over any of these.

All in all, great way to end a meal. I'd pair this with a good quality, mild blue cheese.

Price:     $23
Source: Gift
Varietal: Riesling
Tasted:  December
Rating:   90
Website: http://www.frogmorecreek.com.au/

2013 Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir



Montalto have been making wines in the Mornington Peninsula since the mid 1990s and have several vineyards in the region. Fruit for the Pennon Hill wine has comes from the cooler south facing slope of their home vineyard in Red Hill. This wine recently won best pinot noir, best red wine, and best wine at the 2014 Victorian Wine Show.

A beautiful perfumed nose of cherry and  pomegranate, with notes of violets. Such a clean and beautiful drinking pinot with fine structured tannins and a hint of spice on the finish.

This is a great example of why I love Mornington Pinot, and an absolute steal at this price. I'll be grabbing another bottle or two of this for the cellar.

Price:     $30
Source: Wine Emporium
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Tasted:  December
Rating:   95
Website: www.montalto.com.au 


2013 Tahbilk 'The Tower' MVR

MVR is a blend of Mouvedre, Viognier, and Rousanne; all white grapes from the Rhone Valley in France. Tahbilk is well known for the quality or it's Marsanne, and the fact that it is one of Australia's most consistent and best value white wines. Their Tower series of wines are the first from Tahbilk to be certified carbon neutral.

The viognier is distinctly noticeable on the nose, offering aromas of stone fruit and baked apple, alongside some citrus notes. A lovely savory pallet with a somewhat slippery texture and a fairly crisp and clean finish. I quite enjoyed drinking this wine, however it wasn't much of a hit with the friends I shared this one with.

Paired well with Manchego and seared prawns. I'll buy this again, but not for sharing with guests. I think the Viognier is a bit unusual for some, and is maybe an acquired taste.

Price:     $15
Source:  Dan Murphy's
Varietal: Mouvedre, Marsanne, Viognier
Tasted:  December
Rating:   90
Website: www.tahbilk.com.au

Monday, December 8, 2014

2012 Godelia 'Viernes' Mencia



The Mencia grape is most commonly found in northwestern Spain, and is a primary constituent of many well regarded wines of the Bierzo region. Mencia has some beautiful aromatic qualities and here it has been put to good use to produce an excellent young drinking wine. While Viernes translates into Friday, this is a wine I'd be happy to have any day of the week.

Complex earthy and cherry aromatics mingle alongside some floral elements, followed up by a hint of anise. This is a well integrated wine with fine and persistent tannins. For me this wine begs for a charcuterie board and good company.

I managed to track a bottle of this down after having it at a tasting and will be ordering another half dozen. I look forward to trying some more wines made from Mencia. Currently the only Australian Mencia I've come across was a rose produced by Oliver's Taranga, which was both interesting and delicious.

Price:     $29
Source: Stewart's Wine Co.
Varietal: Mencia
Tasted:  December
Rating:   94
Website: www.thespanishacquisition.com/