Archive for June 2007

Bindi Composition Pinot Noir 2006

June 29, 2007

img_3014.jpgI had the intention to leave this bottle alone for a while but I simply couldn’t resist the temptation. The 2006 vintage was the warmest, earliest and driest on record in the Macedon ranges and I was curious to find out whether these conditions were reflected in the wine. The intense brick red coloured wine shows ripe and fragrant cherry, plum and spicy aromas on the nose. Full and round fruit flavours dominate the front-palate with soft and velvetly tannins giving a perfect mouthfeel. There is enough acidity to keep everything in balance while the finish is restrained and tight with a lot of lingering spicy oak. I expect that with a little more time all components will be even more integrated leaving a powerfull yet elegant and harmonious wine. My conclusion is that this wine is just another example of what can be achieved with proper viticultural practices, exceptional fruit and great winemaking skills even in more challenging vintages. 93 points.

Source: Swanbourne Cellars  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2015

Chateau Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2004

June 27, 2007

img_3017.jpgThe historic appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of France’s most diverse regions with no less than 13 varieties permitted under the excisting regulations. As the largest single-vineyard estate in the region Château Mont-Redon is one of the few producers who cultivates them all although in the red cuvee mainly Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèrdre are used while Cinsault, Muscardin, Counoise and Vaccarese only play a supporting role. The Mourvèdre is grown on the more sheltered sandy soils of the estate where it can ripen fully while the Grenache and Shiraz are planted on the poor alpine diluvium soils that are characterized by the classic galets roulés over iron-rich clay subsoil. These soils lend enough water and heath-rediation to the grapes to develop the necessary structure, backbone and concentration of flavour to match the accumulation of sugar and therefore alcohol degrees. This intense grenat coloured wine shows prunes, dried black berries, leather and gamey characters on the nose. The palate opens soft, supple and smooth with sweeter Grenache fruit dominant while the mid-palate and finish show fresh acidity and minerality – a hallmark of the 2004 vintage – to provide a perfect balance to the weight and tannins of the Shiraz and Mourvedre. This is a wine from a classic vintage that should keep for at least 5 years in the cellar. 91 points.

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $72  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.chateaumontredon.fr

Telmo Rodriguez Basa 2006

June 21, 2007

img_3018.jpg“Wine is a drink that has to give pleasure -you can open a bottle with friends; you don’t need to spend $100 to have fun”   Telmo Rodriguez, Gourmet Traveller WINE oct/nov 2005

Wine magazines and consumers give a lot of attention to the concept of ‘value’. Although this word can contain different meanings to different people there seems to be a popular consensus that it refers to the price of wines in relation to their quality. A relatively cheap but high quality wine is usually coined as ‘good value’. It is not strange that people look for good buys because it’s simply impossible to drink First Growths or Grand Crus all the time, unless you’re a millionaire of course. I personally think Australians can consider themselves lucky because prices are relatively low while the quality of wine has never been so high due to the high standards of winemaking- and vineyard practices. This has not always been the case in countries like Spain where quality could be downright shocking. Not surprising for a country where the majority of wines was made by cooperativas that relied on grapes grown by farmers for whom quality was not their first priority. How things have changed! This excellent wine from Telmo Rodriguez is not only an example of modern and clean winemaking, it also offers you the experience of indigenous Spanish varieties that truly reflect their regional origins. Basa is a blend of Verdejo (85%), Viura (10%) and Sauvignon Blanc (5%) and is completely fermented in stainless steel tanks. The nose shows clearly defined and intense tropical fruit, pear, melon, citrus and herbal notes. The palate has a lovely round texture with lively fruit, chalky minerality and fresh acid while the slightly phenolic finish adds even more character. This wine really delivers interesting and high quality drinking. The price is just a bonus. 91 points.

Source: The Spanish Aquisition  Price: $22  Drink: Now

Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2005

June 21, 2007

img_3022.jpgThe first time I tasted this wine was two years ago at the annual Viognier tasting at Millbrook Winery in the Perth Hills. Twelve Viogniers from Australia and France featured in two brackets including classics from Yalumba, Guigal, Yves Cuilleron and Georges Vernay. Distinguishing the Viogniers didn’t cause too much trouble with the French being less alcoholic, more elegant, subtle and concentrated than their Australian counterparts. The third and last bracket of the tasting consisted of Shiraz Viognier blends. This turned out to be a different story when I mistook the 2004 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier for a Côte Rôtie from Georges Vernay, the only French delegate in the line-up. The so often heard comment that Tim Kirk’s flagship is reminiscent of a Côte Rôtie turned out to be true. The 2005 wino sapien and I simultaneously drank last Sunday was no different. The nose of this wine is simply gorgeous with a mixture of cherry, raspberry, spices and gamy aromas being complemented by the fragrance of the 7% Viognier component. With its soft and silky tannins the palate is about elegance balanced by the power and intensity of concentrated fruit and spice. The wine finishes fresh, elegant and very, very long. A true showpiece for Australian Shiraz. 95 points.

Source: Mailinglist  Price: $70  Drink: Now-2018

Web: www.clonakilla.com.au

Denis Pommier Chablis 2005

June 18, 2007

img_3025.jpgDenis and Isabelle Pommier’s domaine is based in the tiny village of Poinchy, a few kilometres west of Chablis, and consists of small holdings in different Chablis appellations including the Premier Crus Fourchaume, Côte de Léchet and Beauroy. Three hectares of 25 year old vines supply the grapes for the basic Chablis which is completely vinified in stainless steel tanks. After resting on lees for 6 months the wine undergoes another year of bottle ageing to add more complexity. The result is a wine with an open, high-toned nose with fresh citrus, pear and floral tones. The palate is round, rich and textural giving way to a crunchy mineral acidity that rolls around the mouth and lingers on the finish. This is a perfectly balanced wine with depth and complexity that shows how good generic Chablis really can be. 90 points.

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $45  Drink: Now-2010

Web: www.denis-pommier.com

McHenry Hohnen Tiger Country 2005

June 16, 2007

img_3027.jpgIt is true that good and interesting wine is made through creativity and innovation, characteristics that certainly apply to this wine from McHenry Hohnen vintners. Where a straight Cabernet Sauvignon or blend of the traditional Bordeaux varieties would have been the region’s natural choice, the Tiger Country combines Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination between the first and the last is not uncommon – in Spain anyway – but it is the addition of the Petit Verdot that makes it all pretty unique. What is truly remarkable about this wine is the complexity that has been brought about with the use of such different varieties while the whole is kept in perfect balance. Pure chocolate, earthy aromas, red berries, floral and spicy notes contribute to a highly interesting nose. The palate opens like one would expect of a varietal Tempranillo, round and soft, but the more grippy tannins and overt acidity of the Petit Verdot and the Cabernet Sauvignon quickly take over and add power and complexity to the wine. This beautifuly structured wine is an experimental benchmark and offers a completely different drinking experience. Keep your eyes open for more wines of this interesting producer. 91 points.

Source: MGM Wine  Price: $33  Drink: Now-2012

Web: www.mchv.com.au

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock 2005

June 11, 2007

img_2924.jpgSince I began working in the wine-industry as a professional I have access to a lot of wine at pretty smart prices. I also started to drink aged wines more regularly and so the idea of putting together my own modest cellar was quickly born. Far from being a serious collecter with the hope to make money out of cellaring wine I began to buy collectable australian wines along the line of Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine. Useful information on wines, regions and vintages is provided which makes this site a handy buying-tool. But isn’t the classification nothing more or less than just a reflection of current market sentiment influenced by track record, reputation, consistency, demand and price? The answer is yes because when the preferences of consumers, collectors and investors change so does the classification. When comparing the four classifications that are released since 1991 it catches the eye that the number of wines has gradually increased from 34 to 101 and that there is a shift from multi-regional to regional and single-vineyard wines. Overall it could be said that the classification has become more diverse and this diversity is exactly what should be kept in mind when buying wines for a cellar. But if one has a good look at this ‘unofficial honour roll’ of Australian fine wine it is not hard to find out that out of the 101 wines in the classification 86 wines are red and only 13 white. From those 86 reds 78 wines – more than 75% of the total – are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and blends of both varieties from all major Australian wine-growing regions although South Australian Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon hold absolute sway. To put it shortly, when the classification is used as the only buying tool your cellar – as I did for almost half a year – you might end up with too many wines of the same style and varieties while a lot of these wines also demand quite some time in the cellar before they show their true potential. To avoid falling into the same trap I can recommend to buy wines that make your cellar more balanced. Apart from your favourite ones consider cellaring wines and varieties that fall outside your normal drinking pattern, whites with good cellaring potential or wines from other countries than Australia. Most important is to cellar wines you find interesting to drink apart from wines that represent good value on the secondary wine market.

Anyway, I found myself in the situation that I wanted to open some of the bottles I had gathered over the last year. Apart from some wines I wouldn’t consider buying anymore I also drank some really interesting ones. The Bindi Pinot Noirs and older Grosset Rieslings where undoubtedly the winners while only a few of the Shiraz really stood out. Luckily the 2005 Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock was one of them. What fascinates me about the wines from this Heathcote pioneer is the fact that the grapes all come from dry- and biodynamically grown vines, something that has not been easy in this by drought affected region. Over the past vintages the alcohol-levels in the Emily’s and Georgia’s were getting dangerously high although it can be said that the balance in the wines never really got lost. Having to pick grapes at optimal physiological ripeness in difficult conditions faced is something different than deliberately pursuing blockbuster-style wines and due to the strict adherance to the viticultural philosophy the wines never lost or will lose my support. I was delighted to see though that with only 13.5%  ABV the 2005 Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz is back to normal resulting in a more balanced and elegant wine. The nose shows the typically strong earthy and sweet red berry aromas. The palate has a sweet, dense and round texture upfront beautifully balanced by a lot of refreshing acid and spice towards the back. This wine is all about combined power, finesse and complexity with the latter developing even more over the next decade so don’t drink this wine too young. 93 points.

Source: Liquid Library  Price: $85  Drink: 2010-2017

Web: www.jasperhill.com