Archive for July 2008

Domaine Tournon Syrah 2004

July 14, 2008

Renowned Northern Rhône producer Chapoutier is one of the most important players on the Australian Shiraz scene with the Heathcote derived La Pleiade – jointly crafted with Jasper Hill’s Ron Laughton – receiving raving reviews and heading towards cult status rapidly. But in the meantime the wines from Chapoutier’s other vineyards in the Victorian Pyrenees and Mount Benson should not be overlooked, producing excellent wines stylistically sitting between French elegance and Australian sturdiness. The in 1998 founded Domaine Tournon in Mount Benson is situated on the famous Terra Rossa soils of the limestone coast. Around 50 hectares of vines are organically cultivated in what is one of Australia’s coldest wine growing regions with a mean January temperature of only 18°C. A viticultural approach avoiding over ripe fruit further guarantees wines that offer finesse through relatively low alcohol as shown by the 2004 Syrah. But if you think this intensily purple red wine exposes any hard, leafy or green characters you’re wrong. In contrary, ripe berryfruit strapped by spicy and toasty oak defines the nose following through to a medium to full-bodied palate exhibiting lush, rounded fruit, velvety tannins and hints of smoke, toast, earth and pepper. This is a discrete, elegant and balanced food wine that drinks perfectly now or can be cellared for at least another 5 years to gain futher complexity. I hope we see more of these wines in the future. 91 points

Source: Fine Wine Wholesalers  Price: $30  Drink: Now-2013 

Web: www.mchapoutieraustralia.com

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La Chablisienne Chablis 2006

July 11, 2008

About two weeks ago Australian Financial Review’s Tim White wrote an interesting article on the unprecedented wide choice of fine European wines in Australia. Apart from importers like Enoteca Sileno, Vintage & Vine, CellarHand and The Spanish Acquisition, praised for keeping up stock levels of many independent bottle shops and top restaurants with exciting wine styles, a fair bit of attention went out to the wine buyers at Coles. Owning outlets as Liquorland and Vintage Cellars, our biggest wine retailer has jumped onto the bandwagon with imports at the cheaper end of the market in order to expose customers to new styles and varieties. Although not all the offerings are of the same quality, some nice ones can be found at attractive prices. I know this subject throws around some controversy but one can’t deny democracy has landed in the world of wine.

The always reliable wines from Chablis co-op La Chablisienne are well represented on the shelves of my local Vintage Cellars. The straw yellow 2006 Chablis unveils its regional identity straight away with aromas of lemon, apple and white flowers while gentle acid flows underneath the smooth and textural palate. This is not the most concentrated and persistent Chablis, but for a village wine selling at twenty dollars its all forgiven. 87 points

Source: James Busby Fine Wines/Vintage Cellars  Price: $20  Drink: Now

Web: www.chablisienne.com

Ca’Marcanda Promis 2004

July 8, 2008

The coastal Bolgheri is one of Italy’s youngest DOC’s. Home to the renowned Ornellaia and Sassicaia, it’s a fast evolving region too with numerous producers following the same path as the Antinori’s. This is understandable regarding the high prices those Super Tuscans have been fetching since the mid-90’s, the possibility of making cutting edge wines out of popular international varieties and the abundance of sunshine ensuring flavours and tannins to ripen fully and relatively easy. Angelo Gaja’s Ca’Marcanda is one of the new kids on the block, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot as main varieties planted in its vineyards. But as with most of its Piedmontese cousins the wines are voluntarily made as IGT’s, enabling cross-regional blending and the use of other varieties than permitted by the DOC regulations. The entry-level Promis fits exactly in this mould with 55% Merlot, 35% Shiraz – both from the Bolgheri estate – and 10% Sangiovese from Montalcino. This deep purple wine shows an attractive nose with loads of ripe red berries and seductive vanillan oak. Soft grainy tannins, generous fruit and balanced acid on a medium weight palate testify of skillful winemaking. Unfortunatly the absence of a defined sense of place makes this wine nothing really more than a well made, easy drinking Italian wine. 88 points.

 Source: Negociants Austrialia  Price: $50  Drink: Now-2010

Faiveley Mercurey Clos du Roy 2005

July 1, 2008

The combination between Faiveley and the appellation of Mercurey is one that delivers pretty good wines at reasonable prices. My expectations of the Clos du Roy were high after the outstanding 2005 Mercurey Clos de Myglands of the same producer. But where the latter had some elegance and subtlety, this premier cru shows the robustness wines from this appellation usually offer. Deep ruby in colour the nose displays dark berry fruit, plums and wet earth following through on a  straightforward palate with rather firm, mouth drying tannins. Although this wine needs more time to come together a bit, it certainly won’t shed off its frankness. 88 points

Source: Negociants Australia  Price: $65  Drink: Now-2012+

Web: www.bourgognes-faiveley.com