Archive for May 2007

Bindi Quartz Chardonnay 2005

May 31, 2007

img_2915.jpgWhen I tasted Bindi’s flagship Chardonnay it immediately reminded me of a 2004 Corton Charlemagne from Domaine Bonneau du Martray that I enjoyed over a trade-lunch a couple of months ago. The wines from this Domaine offer ripe and intense fruit flavours within a flinty framework and that is exactly what the Quartz Chardonnay does. The grapes come from a miniscule half-hectare patch of the Bindi vineyard that is strewn with stones and rocks of quartz in the windy and chilly Macedon Ranges. The fact that they can fully ripen in such a cool area is a combined result of site selection and viticultural practises. In search of excellence all work in the vineyard is done by hand and crop-levels are kept ridiculously low resulting in rare wines – around 150 cases of the Quartz Chardonnay – of the highest quality. The 2005 Quartz Chardonnay is a phenomenal wine with a basket of ripe stonefruit, melon, figs and nuts on the nose. The palate is full, rich, intense and long with layers of texture and flavour and lovely balanced mineral acidity. The oak in this wine is merely supportive and allows the sheer power of the fruit to shine. This is the best Australian Chardonnay I’ve had so far. 97 points

Langton’s already has classified the Bindi Original vineyard Pinot Noir as an excellent wine. Despite the fact that the secondary market for white wines is not as strong as for red wines, I firmly believe that it will only be a matter of time before the Quartz Chardonnay will make its appearance. Leeuwin and Giaconda, be aware!

Source: Swanbourne cellars  Price: $70  Drink: Now-2017

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Bindi Original Vineyard Pinot Noir 2004

May 28, 2007

img_2913.jpgWith a lot of reviews about imported wines people might start to wonder if I drink Australian wine at all. The answer is yes, absolutely, as long as it meets my general starting point that a wine should be interesting and challenging. Pretty logical, but not in a world where money is predominately made by high volume, consistancy and mediocracy. Thank god – and Michael Dhillon – that the wines form Bindi don’t fit in this profile. In contrary, Dhillon makes wines that are multi-dimensional with layers of fruit, complexity and finesse as hallmarks. Why didn’t I write about his wines earlier? The answer is that they simply give so much pleasure that analysing them nearly seems a banality. Anyhow, after drinking both the 2003 and 2005  I decided the time had come to write after I’d tried the majestic and eerily Burgundian 2004. The nose of sweet cherries, plum, smoke, spice and vanilla shows its depth and is the prelude to an equally impressive palate that is as silky as Pinot can get. Round fruit flavours married with a great smooth texture is what this wine is about. A fantastic drink that lives up to its reputation. I’m already looking forward to the ’06 but the crop was very low so supplies are going to be very small. Be quick! 94 points.

Source: Swanbourne Cellars  Price: $70 Drink: Now-2012+

William Fevre Petit Chablis 2005

May 22, 2007

img_2920.jpgFor a long time the different appellations of Chablis have been classified along geological lines. Chablis – including the Grand- and Premier Crus – was restricted to vineyards on Kimmeridgian marl while vineyards on the harder Portlandian limestone soils could only be classed for Petit Chablis. Several extensions of the classifications boundaries according to site and exposition instead of geological origins have resulted in the upgrade from Petit Chablis to Chablis and the appearance of new Premier Crus, leading to an ongoing debate on the definition of true Chablis. There is no doubt that more factors than soil alone are involved in the quality of the wines as there is no doubt about the differences in quality between the Chablis appellations. In respect to this Petit Chablis sits at the bottom of the hierarchy but because of its friendlier price it offers a good introduction to this wine-style for many people. The Fèvre Petit Chablis forms no exception on this rule. The nose is very fresh with dominant citrus and floral aromas. Zesty acidity displays the same freshness on the palate and a soft and buttery mouthfeel keeps it all in balance. Overall the wine lacks the real intensity and length to make it more than a pleasant drink but it’s definitely not bad for a Petit Chablis. 85 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $30 Drink: Now

Web: www.williamfevre.fr

William Fevre Chablis Fourchaume 2004

May 21, 2007

img_2916.jpgChardonnay is a versatile grape-variety that comes in different guises. It can be moulded very easily by for example the use of oak, lees stirring and malolactic fermentation and is highly adaptable to a wide range of climates and soils, all contributing to an enormous array of different wines. Oaked and buttery Chardonnays remain the benchmark in Australia but the more elegant ‘cool-climate’ examples are getting increasingly popular and are often referred to as ‘Chablis-like’. It is true that Chablis is more racy and mineraly than the fuller and more generous styles of the Côte d’Or. In reality it’s not that simple. Raciness, acidity and crispness alone would make mean wines, so good Chablis also needs enough ripe fruit to get the right balance. It is this precious equilibrium that makes good Chablis unique and so hard to imitate. The 2004 Fourchaume from William Fèvre is a perfect example of this style. Its delicate nose displays white flowers, lively fruit characters and a touch of vanilla. It is the palate that reveals the true Chablis though with zesty and mineral acidity running underneath a broad, fleshy and buttery surface. The intensity and concentration of the fruit combined with a finish that seems to go on forever make this wine good value white Burgundy compared with its Côte d’Or counterparts. 90 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $79  Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.williamfevre.fr

Guigal Crozes-Hermitage 2004

May 15, 2007

img_2927.jpgimg_2927.jpgMarcel Guigal is one of the superstars in the world of wine with his famous single-vineyard and estate Côte-Rôties. Apart from those exquisite but expensive wines Guigel offers his négociants line. It consists of a wide range of wines from various Northern and Southern Rhône appellations at a more affordable price. After the highly concentrated brooding reds from 2003 I was looking forward to try the wines from the more classic 2004 vintage. The cooler conditions show through in this Crozes-Hermitage. The wine is well structured and balanced but hasn’t got the same concentration as the 03’s. This makes it actually a more subtle and easier drinking wine with a nearly silky texture on the front- and mid-palate and fine drying tannins at the finish. It is a good introduction in what this variety can do outside Australia. 88 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $42  Drink: Now-2011

Web: www.guigal.com

Bruno Clair Aloxe-Corton 1999

May 9, 2007

img_2705.jpgWhen Bruno Clair started his domaine in 1979 it only consisted of a few parcels in Marsannay, Fixin, Morey-Saint-Denis and Savigny-les-Beaunes. Over the next fifteen years he extended his domaine with holdings in several Grand- and Premier Crus vineyards all over the Côte d’Or. Conscientious viticulture – based on lutte raisonée– and excellent winemaking is reflected in wines that are of consistently high quality. This wine, made of grapes from Les Crapoussuets and the Premier Cru vineyard Les Valozières, shows that good red Corton is about richness, depth and elegance, a hallmark of Clair’s wines in particular and something I’d like to see in any Pinot Noir in general. Through bottle- ageing the initial power of the wine has given way to even more finesse and with its fresh primary fruit characters still dominant, balanced acidity and velvetly tannins this Corton demonstrates its ability to age very well. 90 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $95 Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.bruno-clair.com

Marc Brédif Vouvray 1986

May 7, 2007

img_2707.jpgIn a previous post I have been writing about the Brédif Vouvray 2004 and after drinking three different bottles of the 1986 over the last months I finally think it is time to make some comments on this wine. What is remarkable is that those demi-sec Vouvrays are some of the worlds longest living white wines. Although the bottles I tried showed some variation, the 1986 has indeed many years to go. This longevity is due to the high natural acidity of the variety and the near perfect storage of those wines in underground cellars carved out the Turonien chalk. This wine shows all the complexity that can be expected of a 20 years-old wine. The bright light golden colour unveils its age and pear, quince, stewed apples and toasty characters dominate the nose. The acid focuses the fruit and balances the sweetness on the fore- and mid-palate leaving you with a pleasant drying finish. If you see any bottles left I wouldn’t hesitate buying them because it’s a good chance to try a unique wine at a bargain price. 91 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $43  Drink: Now-2012+