Archive for March 2007

Grosset Polish Hill Riesling 2006

March 21, 2007

People often ask me why I love Riesling so much. The easiest answer on this question is because this variety produces low alcohol, food-friendly and refreshing wines that drink very easily in our warm climate.  And besides that the best examples can often be kept in the cellar for more than 10 years. It is not as simple as it seems though and the real explanation for my love goes as deep as vines roots in slaty soil. It is in fact the grapes ability to express itself and its terroir in the purest form that really intrigues me, the grape playing the starring role while good winemaking only helps it to achieve the ultimate expression. For top quality Riesling this means giving an incredible amount of attention to details in the vineyard and its grapes, starting from site selection to shoot thinning, bunch thinning and hand-picking of only healthy and fully ripened fruit. The winemaking has to focus on the preservation of freshness and character through quick processing of free-run juice and a non-interventionist approach. It all sounds logical but there are only a few winemakers who show this dedication to quality. One of them is Jeffrey Grosset, producer of the reknowned Polish Hill and Watervale Rieslings from the Clare Valley. The 2002 and 2005 vintages of these wines were great but the quality of Grosset’s Rieslings is so consistent that they are always worth every cent. The 2006 Polish Hill is another benchmark Clare Valley Riesling with all its typical characters. Is has an intense nose of lime and minerals with a hint of green herbs. The palate is not as tight as I expected it to be where the balance is just impeccable. It finishes fresh, vibrant and long and leaves you with the feeling that its power is still restrained. 93 points.

Source: Fine Wines Wholesalers Price: $44 Drink: 2008-2015+

Web: www.grosset.com.au

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Cillar de Silos Torresilo 2000

March 13, 2007

img_2526.JPGTempranillo is grown in many Spanish wine regions but it’s in Rioja and Ribera del Duero where this variety shows its real potential. There are stylistic differences between the wines from each region though, due to soil types, vineyard exposition but foremost wine making and climate. The latter is hotter in Ribera del Duero than in Rioja resulting in rather chunky wines. Very low yields, new oak and much extraction are the oenological answers in a region where wine making is not so limited by tradition as in Rioja. And this is exactly what Cillar de Silos does with its ‘new-wave’ Torresilo: the fruit is sourced from extremely low-yielding old vines and the wine is matured in 100% new French oak for 18 months. This results in a dense, concentrated and powerful yet elegant wine. The intense nose displays dark cherries, plums, spice and more earthy and dusty aromas. The palate is very, very smooth with the fruit, acid and fine grainy tannins perfectly integrated. The finish is long and seems to go on forever. What a cracker! 93 points.

Source: The Spanish Acquisition Price: $110 Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.cillardesilos.es

Olivier Leflaive Meursault Narvaux 2002

March 12, 2007

img_2529.JPGIn 1984 Olivier Leflaive started a négociant business with a view to produce wines from different Burgundy appellations aided with all the expertise from the Domaine Leflaive. Through the years 12 hectares of vineyards have been acquired in Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet and Meursault. Alongside the domaine wines Leflaive makes very good négoce bottlings from various appellations on the Côte d’Or and the Côte Chalonnaise.

The Meursault Narvaux 2002 is a négoce wine from a site that lies just above the Premier Crus Genevrières and Poruzots. The straw yellow coloured wine shows restrained oak and cashew on the nose. Racy citrus fruit, subtle butter and a core of mid-palate minerality are dominant in this medium-full bodied wine. The finish is persistent, fresh and rather spicy. It really offers an interesting play between power and elegance, fruit and minerality and ripeness and acidity. 90 points.

Source: Negociants Australia Price: $90 Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.olivier-leflaive.com

La Chablisienne Chablis 2004

March 11, 2007

img_2523.JPGIt’s hard to imagine that Chablis once was the major winegrowing region of France with vineyards covering around 40,000 hectares. The area’s prosperity was brutally halted with the arrival of phylloxera in 1887. Replanting on resistant American rootstocks started in 1897 but the biggest expansion of the vineyard area took place from 1,000 hectares in 1970 to approximately 4,700 hectares in 2005 due to a strong (international) demand for Chablis. Commercial success initially has led to much debated vineyard expansions, high yields and mechanically harvesting, all with a negative effect on the qualities if the wines. Luckily more and more producers try to change things for the better with the Union des Grand Crus de Chablis (UGCC) as best example.

La Chablisienne, a co-op of more than 300 growers who own nearly 25% of all the vineyards, is a big player on the market. Around 60% from the annual production of 7,000,000 bottles is exported all over the world. As a member of the Union, La Chablisienne seeks a balance between commercial but reliable Chablis and Petit Chablis and high quality Premier and Grand Crus. The Chablis 2004, that sees no oak, represents the region’s style with wet stones and citrus on the nose and a tight palate with a profound, mouthwatering mineral acidity. It is the crisp character that makes up for the lack of intensity that only the very best wines bring. 85 points.

Source: James Busby/Vintage Cellars Price: $29 Drink: Now

Web: www.lachablisienne.com

Hugel Riesling 2001

March 7, 2007

As I already mentioned in the post about the Hugel Gewürtztraminer the ‘generic’ Hugel wines are clear expressions of varietal character. The Hugel Riesling 2001 is another testimony to this. The wine has classic Riesling aromas of flowers, lime and grapefruit and shows some maturity with its slightly honeyed nose. The fruit characters unfold nicely on the palate, enlivened by fresh acidity and mineral notes. The moderate finish is clean, fresh and dry. At this price I expected a bit more complexity and power though. 86 points.

Source:Negociants Australia Price: $38 Drink: Now

Web: www.hugel.com

Joseph Drouhin Chablis 2005

March 6, 2007

img_2524.JPGThere is no doubt that the 2005 vintage of Chablis is a much anticipated one. Since I read about the great expectations in Decanter last year I can hardly wait to try the wines. The first (regional) Chablis now hits the shores of Perth and in great years the wines from top producers should offer extremely good value. And I guarantee that the Drouhin Chablis 2005 really over delivers because this wine has an intensity rarely seen at the bottom of the Chablis-hierarchy. The nose predominantly shows lemon and minerality, so typical for wines made from grapes grown on the Kimmeridgian soils of Chablis. The acidity adds a sinewy structure to the wine that is fresh and crisp and finishes with a flinty aftertaste. The very good balance between ripeness and acidity suggests a cellaring potential of at least 5 years. With a wine so lovely now I guess I’m not going to wait that long. 90 points.

Source: Fine Wine Partners Price: $38 Drink: Now-2010+

Web: www.drouhin.com

Marc Brédif Vouvray 2004

March 2, 2007

img_2525.JPGI often meet people who confess they are intimidated by exotic, mysterious and non-revealing – read French – labels when choosing wine. The absence of grape varieties on the label is the main culprit while labyrinths of generic indications and lieux-dits finish it off. It can get even more confusing if there is more than one wine-style produced in an appellation. In Vouvray for instance Chenin Blanc produces completely different beasts ranging from still to sparkling and from bracingly dry (sec) to demi-sec and sweet (moëlleux), all depending on the amount of residual sugar left in the wine. The sweetness can furthermore be brought into the wine by blocked fermentation, chaptalization, late-picking and botrytis, all having their own impact on style and – more important – quality. Those who want to try the wonderful wines of Vouvray must be aware of these contrasts.

The Brédif Vouvray 2004 I tried yesterday has an intense nose of green apple, pear, quince and a whiff of honey. The upfront sweetness seemingly gives way to a core of mineral acidity while fermentation on lees and barrel maturation add further texture and complexity to the wine. The acidity and balance suggest a long life in the cellar. Regarding the price this wine is a bargain. 90 points.

Source: Negociants Australia Price: $32 Drink: Now-2015+