Archive for August 2007

Tapanappa Tiers Chardonnay 2005

August 27, 2007

img_3657.jpgLast week I was pleasantly surprised when Brian Croser paid a short visit to show his Whalebone reds and Tiers Chardonnay. Although the reds were very good it was the Chardonnay that really blew me away in all its aspects. Everything about this wine is Burgundian except for the fact that its from the revered Tiers vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley. This vineyard is planted with 3 hectares of Chardonnay and its physical structure and mesoclimate can – just as any vineyard in the Côte d’Or – be divided in three different parts that all produce fruit with subtle differences while viticulture is eerily Burgundian with high vine density and yields at basically Grand Cru level. It’s the fruit from the upper part of the slope that’s used for the Tapanappa, the balance is sold to Petaluma which makes their Tiers Chardonnay. Croser uses the whole spectrum of winemaking techniques including barrel fermentation, malo-lactic fermentation, lees stirring and no filtering resulting in a complex wine where none of the added elements is dominanting the fruit or each other. Balance is the keyword indeed, in fact so impeccable that the final wine nearly seems simple. This is further enhanced by the fact that this wine is rather austere in a positive Burgundian way, simply needing time to open out and show itself over time. I couldn’t resist the temptation though and brought a bottle along to dinner last Friday. The pale straw wine offered a complex aroma of citrus, stonefruit and melon backed by spicy and toasty oak, butterscotch and leesy characters. The complexity and balance is perfectly reflected on the palate that is soft and elegant yet rich and textural with ripe nectarines, figs and melon leading to a long and savoury finish. Another Australian classic crafted by the hand of a master. 95+

Source: Fine Wine Partners  Price: $85  Drink: 2009-2015



Domaine Cordier Mâcon ‘Aux Bois d’Allier’ 2005

August 26, 2007

img_3700.jpgTo find good and affordable white Burgundies I frequently look for wines from the Côte Chalonnaise and Maconnais. Especially the ones from excellent vintages like 2005 can prove to be real treasures at a much lower price than their counterparts from the Côte d’Or. From the hands of talented winemaker Christophe Cordier even this generic Mâcon is crafted into a charmingly generous and straightforward Chardonnay. The nose of this straw coloured wine shows fresh and intense aromas of white flowers, pear, grapefruit and nectarine with hints of honey, nuts, vanilla and yogurt added by the barrel and malo-lactic fermentation. The palate is rich and textural with fairly sweet fruit characters seamless giving way to a fresh, mineral and zesty acidity on the finish. This wine offers a complexity and balance that is rarely seen on this level. 90 points.

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $47  Drink: Now-2009

Vinoptima Gewürztraminer 2004

August 20, 2007

img_3704.jpgAfter 40 years of groundbreaking work in the industry Nick Nobilo hasn’t slowed down. In contrary, his mission to create his own masterpiece has only yet begun by the start of his Vinoptima project in 2000. With passion, flair and catching enthousiasm Nick grows, crafts and promotes what is one of the world’s best Gewürztraminers. The choice for this slightly unfashionable variety needs a lot of courage and determination, characteristics of great winemakers who aim to enrich our experiences by producing something extraordinary out of the square. Since the first release of the 2003 vintage this wine has been compared with the ones from Zind Humbrecht and Josmeyer Hengst, although Nick himself says he’s not out to achieve an Alsatian Gewürztraminer but one on the same parallel from Ormond in Gisborne on New Zealand’s North Island. His dedication has materialized into 8 hectares of Gewürztraminer only and a custom-built winery. Add to this 20 years of clonal selection, fastidious vineyard management and impeccable winemaking and I can’t think of anything else a human-being can possibly do to make a perfect wine. And this is precisely where nature plays its part and takes over to produce wines that reflect terroir and vintage, the latter being the best on record in 2004. The resulting wine teases your senses straight away with an exotic and rich nose of rose petal, lychee, ginger, citrus and spice, all with balanced elegance rather than being over-exuberant. The same applies to the palate where an unctious, oily texture is matched by great purity and limpidity of flavour and crisp mineral acidity. This wine is far from the ones that are simple, plump and overly sweet, it fascinates and provokes by its complexity instead, slowly unveiled after half an hour in the glass. As a wine that can easily be laid down for 10 years this is an absolute must-have for any serious cellar or collector. 95 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $54  Drink: Now-2015


Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Barbaresco DOCG’ 2001

August 7, 2007

img_3702.jpgThe Cantina dei Produttori del Barbaresco is one of Italy’s oldest and best cooperations. With 56 members, 100 hectares of vines and an annual production of around 420,000 bottles it accounts for more than 20 percent of Barbaresco’s total production. In the better vintages 80 percent of the crush is Barbaresco, of which half is released as standard Barbaresco and the rest is split up among nine single-vineyard Reservas. The latter are regarded as some of Barbaresco’s best while the standard wine offers high quality at a reasonable price. The 2001 Barbaresco doesn’t contain any of the crus grapes – they are vinified separately as Reservas – but the quality of the grapes in this vintage was so high that a great wine is crafted. The nose of violets, roses, cherries, spice and tarry oak is intensily perfumed and with such finesse that you don’t want to stop smelling it. The palate runs through red berries, cherries, wild herbs and savoury spices followed by an elegant, complex, tight and leathery finish with dry tannins and cleansing acidity. This wine offers genuine, high quality Italian Nebbiolo at a price that is not often seen at this level. It’s lovely now but will develop further for at least another decade. 93 points.

Source: Enoteca Sileno Australasia/The Grocer  Price: $95  Drink: Now-2020


Gilles Robin Crozes-Hermitage ‘Papillon’ 2005

August 7, 2007

Although the Cave Coopérative de Tain l’Hermitage is one of France’s best, every year young and dynamic growers leave this cooperation to make and bottle wines themselves. One of them is Gilles Robin who started his own domaine in 1996. His vineyards are located in the appellation of Crozes-Hermitage where over 11 hectares of Syrah is planted on the stony and sandy ‘La Terrace de Chassis’. The soil of this plain is rich in round ‘galets‘ on brown clay-limestone, producing showy wines that are round and fruit-driven. The ruby coloured Cuvée Papillon is an excellent example of this style with a nose of ripe plums and prunes, mulberry, violets and olives. The palate is round and pliant with lots of ripe fruit upfront that slowly stretches to a spicy finish. The springy character of the youthful fruit is further enhanced by a short – about 6 months – élévage on oak. This is really different and interesting drinking. 90 points.

Source: Vintage & Vine/Liquid Library  Price: $45  Drink: Now-2009

Cape Mentelle Marsanne Roussanne 2006

August 1, 2007

img_2996.jpgI tasted this wine twice last week at separate occasions, first at a comparative tasting with Margaret River pioneer David Hohnen who planted those varieties at Cape Mentelle in 1970, a day later with winemaker Rob Mann. David makes his own white Rhône-style blend now, the outstanding 3Amigos Marsanne Chardonnay Roussanne, while Rob looks very well after his precious legacy by creating this wine in the typical Cape Mentelle mould. Composed of 87% Marsanne and 13% Roussanne this yellow-straw wine shows ripe pear, lucious honey and mineral aromas on the nose. The same characters mark the palate that is rich, unctuous and textural as a result from barrel fermentation and regular lees stirring. The wine finishes in style with refreshing acidity and some characterful phenolics. A lovely wine that’s even better with food. 91 points.

Source: Winery sample/Cellar Door Only  Drink: Now-2010


Marc Brédif Vouvray 1995

August 1, 2007

img_2997.jpgI have been looking forward to the release of this wine because the Brédif Vouvray 1986 was sold out nearly two months ago. Although the starting point for both wines is the same, they obviously look very different with an age difference of nine years. The relatively young age of the 1995 is somewhat unveiled by a greenish tinge in this straw coloured wine. It has an expressive nose of honey, hay and herbs with an whiff of of gunflint that unfortunately indicates ample use of sulphur dioxide. This is particularly noticeable on the front-palate although it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the wine, in contrary, it still had a lot of flavour to offer. The sweet honeyed and quince characters on the soft and textural palate are perfectly balanced by fine and chalky acid while the intense and long finish shows green apples and vegetal notes. Because of its freshness and youthfull appeal I expect this wine to be more popular than the 1986 although the latter is the better made wine. 90 points.

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $47  Drink: Now-2017+