I do this blog for fun, the wines here are some of the very few I can be bothered to write up. The cream has risen.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Massena Twilight Path 2014

I was a bit unsure exactly what I should expect from a blend of Primitivo (aka Zinfandel), Mataro and Graciano. I know Zin and Shiraz are good mates, and Mataro and Shiraz are good mates, so a friend of my friend is also my friend. Graciano? Well she's Spanish, usually brings tappas to parties, and has flowers in her hair.

Quite a powerful nose of black cherries, a slice of raw ripe strawberry, fresh shiitake mushroom, a scattering of violets, all served on a Bottlebrush wood platter.

It's surprising how easily it can be to get a bottle brush platter. Firstly, you need the water company to come unblock their drain, and whilst doing that also crash into the Bottlebrush tree in front of your house. After they've fled the scene and the tree has indicated by leaning over at 45 degrees, with a split trunk, that it may fall on someone's head or car, you call the council. Three times over 3 days. They eventually send out some poor guy on a Sunday with his chainsaw to fix things. In chatting with the aforementioned chainsaw wielder you notice that Bottlebrush wood is both wonderfully aromatic and quite pretty.

A palate of intense flavours that increased the longer it was open. Vibrant flavours but not acid driven, fruits follow the nose. Silky tannins slide off the tongue and then hang around in the chops, succulent acid leads to a long but more-ish finish. There's good complexity here, the three amigos are melded but you can also taste each one, giving a layered flavour profile, which is not seamless but then that's what makes it an interesting vino.

A sipping wine this, the floral aromatics revisit from the back of your throat and the flavours linger long. Apparently it's designed to be drink now, and whilst yes you can, I have a suspicion it's only going to get better.

Recommended, 92+, price matches quality at $28 RRP

I had with Butter Chicken, which matched very well.

Bought from: Different Drop

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Marius Harvest 2015

Oh dear, I just found this in my drafts. Oh well, better late than not at all...

Sheesh, I'm getting worse. We picked months ago and I still haven't posted anything.

All'ya'all'd (I larn'd me that in the USofA) be sick of me gloating about what we drink after picking, but that won't stop me.

I picked over 2 days again this year, well more like 1.5. I'd like to say teams 1 and 2 were so brilliant than we left little for team 3, but truth is the rain gods were fickle (does that suggest goddess? /duck), and so the yield was somewhat reduced on last year.

Saying the quality was high in the Marius vineyard is a somewhat of a tautology, but it was. The wonderful thing, to me anyway, is that the grape flavours were like no other year I've tasted yet. It's subtle of course, since the Marius grapes are like no other grapes, but I expect yet again the wines to be similarly different as they were over the last 10 years (there's another post here about that somewhere).

On pick #3, we actually tried the 2015 "wine" ferment from day 1, and a week later it was pretty well finished in terms of sugar to alcohol but it will spend more time on skins until Roger thinks it's "done". Rather impressive really, clearly not going to be a featherweight, and really nice silky/rounded tannins, so I ordered a dozen.

To the tastings. I was also lazy with photos this year. You get this: 

The moral winner is the 2005 barrel sample Mataro, lost for a decade and then pops up to show how bloody good Mataro can be even when you treat it so rudely. The one on the right was not a Matarius, but a super secret sample of which I may not yet speak. The 2002 was vibrant as hell and a great wine, thankfully under screwcap and I expect will easily go another 10 years. End Play is nowhere near it's end, keep it a bit longer I reckon, though drinking very well now.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sieber Rd 2012 Ernest Shiraz

You sometimes read that a wine is a 'good food wine', but what does that really mean? I sometimes hope it's a bit like German Fastenbier, which is a strong Bock beer that is rich enough to live off during lent. Then again, perhaps it's best if I'm not tempted to try.

Perhaps it means it's only good with food? Do I need a layer of cheese coating my tongue in order to mute it's acidity? Or does it mean I should use it in my cooking? Coq au Bin 95?

Well, to me, a good food wine is one that refreshes the palate, wakes up the taste buds and melds with the food rather than competing with it. Of course, a Shiraz is unlikely to meld well with a lemon sorbet.

As you've probably guessed by now, this is a good food wine. It dances the line between refreshing the palate and satisfying it. Just when you think perhaps the acid is marginally too fresh, the resultant salivation creates a secondary wave of flavours and primes the palate for non-vinous input. It's pretty good without the food too.

Mulberry, blackberry and dash of redcurrent for fruit. Black leather, red gum and an autumn sunset for a bit of interest. Soft succulent tannins, and balanced acid in a Johanssonesque body. Made for enjoying now, and I did.

Rating: Silver / 92 / Recommended
Value: **** (Punches above it's weight)


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Whistler Hubert Irving 2012

We Aussies still haven't got our collective heads around blends. They seem to scare the masses, and so quality wines like this and Kalleske's Clarry's GSM blend sell for a lot less than they probably should. If this was a straight Shiraz we'd be paying at least $10 a bottle more and still thinking it was a bargain, because it's rare that a straight varietal is going to have as much complexity and balance.

Then again, from the winemaker's perspective they didn't risk having all their eggs in the one basket. If, for example, the Grenache (37%) happened to be a tad more acidic than desirable, you could balance that with the plusher Merlot (41%). Same deal with the Merlot perhaps lacking length, up steps the Cab (17%) to convince it to linger a bit longer. Of course it's rare that a wine doesn't need a bit more subtle flamboyance, so in struts magic Mataro (5%).

Winners are grinnners.

Slightly over medium body, suitable for pretty much any occasion. Opaque body with a dark crimson rim. Fruit forward but supported well with rounded slightly chewy tannins and just right acid. Redcurrent, blackcurrent, purple plum, a dash of miso and a sprinkle of sage. Slurpable synthesis.

Rating: Recommended/Silver/92
Value @ RRP $20 **** (Tell yer mates it's $30)

Whistler Wines Website

Rating System Updated

I've been using the same rating system for 5 years now. I've avoided points for a number of reasons, mostly because they're not remotely relative between wines, let alone reviewers.

Keep in mind, I can't be bothered to review hohum wines, so nobody sees those, so anything reviewed is a wine worth considering.

Regardless of the value I personally see in them, people like points. So in the interests of giving people a rating they are familiar with I'm going to wack a number on it. I still think you should ignore that number and read the text, as the number will be as reliable as anyone else's number, which is to say, not at all.

P.S. Add 2-3 points, or more, when comparing with Halliday.

Not Rated = 87 and below
Acceptable = 88-89 = Decent Quaffer
Enjoyable = 90-91 = Bronze = I'm looking for a top up
Recommended = 92-93 = Silver = I'd buy it again
Highly Recommended = 94-95 = Gold = I'd buy a case of it
Excellent = 96 = Trophy = Have I secured a supply before publishing the review?

* Tell 'em they're dreamin'
** Possibly overpriced
*** Reasonable value for money
**** Punches above it's weight
***** Serious Bargain

Cellaring Potential
+ Likely to improve with some age
++ Certain to improve with some age
+++ Requires and will reward cellaring
(Each + is perhaps 3-5 years)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sevenhill St Ignatius Cabernet Blend 2012

I've been drinking this blend for a while, but the monks at Sevenhill don't tend to market the wine as well as they might. It's a 'Bordeaux Blend', of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Us Aussies regularly blend those, especially in Margaret River, but it's not particularly common to see all four in a wine. I have no idea on percentages, and apart from it being a talking point, who cares really? I think it's typically half Cab Sav, 1/4 Merlot, 1/8th Malbec and Franc.

I had this opened about 4 hours before I started writing, and it certainly did need time to open up properly, and continued to develop in the glass. I'll take that as a sign it will go long the in the cellar, but if drinking soon give it a good decant and if possible a few hours to give up the goods.

The nose is slightly light, but it is very complex, and extremely pretty. Quite full bodied, but more Natasha Romanoff than Nigella. The 15% alc on the label suggests it could be fairly ripe, but the book cover judging technique would be wrong. The tannins are dusty and chocolatey, providing just enough dryness and structure to balance the acid and fruit, and should provide a strong backbone in it's later years. The complexity on the palate even more impressive. Blackberry, schwarzwalder schinken, pipe tobacco, allspice, dried Italian herbs, and a touch of rosemary flowers, all balance and class.

Rated Highly Recommended+++


Monday, June 15, 2015

Koltz The Wizard Shiraz 2013

I wrote a review of this wine a few weeks back. Then I read what I wrote and couldn't bring myself to actually publish that waffle about such an interesting wine. So I shall try to keep this attempt a bit more to the point.

Mark and Anna make this wine using the Ripasso method, which involves arcane magiks and some clever Pagan grape necromancy. I would not be surprised to find that 'ripasso' is Italian slang for 'ripper'.

A sure sign that the wine is an aromatic joy is that you take your eye glasses off, just so you can fit more nose into the glass, and get a seriously good whiff. Bit of hardwood in there, more like Jarrah than oak, wonder if that's been tried? Aromas of mulberry jam, pipe baccy, and rich dark brown/black soil.

There's a very unusual tannin structure to this wine, it's both firm and velvety, clearly the ripper method at work. What strikes me most though, is the clever tightrope balance the wine has between rich fruit and savoury. There's just the slight hint of a late picked character, but it's not cloying or palate fatiguing like a true late picked Shiraz often is.

Savoury? Yes. Plush? Yes. Simple? Nope.

This is a special wine because it's really not like anything else I've had. It takes a bottle or two to start to understand what it is you're tasting. At least that's my excuse.

Rated Highly Recommended+++

PS. background information from Koltz /Mark Day:
We did the first Wizard in 2006 and have since done a 2009, 2010, 2012 and a 2013. We only do it in certain years as it depends on the skins from Pagan.