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, November 14, 2014

Eccolo Sangiovese 2012

We typically have home made pizza on Friday nights, so I thought I'd open this Sangiovese, seeing how both have Italian origins. My wife made hamburgers, of course.

This is not really a hamburger wine.

Then again, I was told by Mark and Anna Day, who make the Italian Amarone-style Koltz Pagan, that some of their customers paired that beast with fish and chips. I applaud their decision to not decide between the two, and telling the pairing gods to go jump. Pagans all around.

Mark and Anna also make this wine. I'd explain why they call it Eccolo and not Koltz, but I forgot to ask, and who cares anyway. What I do know, is there is also an Eccolo Sagrantino, and Eccolo Garganega (clearly named by someone who had a mouthful of it at the time), and all three of 'em come from the Adelaide Hills. They are all bloody good, thus clearly the choice of vineyard locations was spot on.

Back to the Sangio. First sip, I'm thinking "this is very nice", then about 15 seconds later the flavour really wells up and I'm now thinking "bloody hell this is good!". There really isn't very many wines that do that. Savoury? Yeah, of course, but it's the lively fruit that you really notice. It's fairly full bodied but light on it's feet. I reckon I could drink a fair bit over summer, and autumn, and spring. I'm saving winter for Pagan rituals.

I'm having a hard time scoring it, I feel I may be swayed by how incredibly nice the winemakers are. I also happen to know Mr. P. White has already reviewed this recently, and what if I score it higher? I try to be a hard marker, I don't like to trump everyone else's points, I have more hair on my head than me eyebrows after all. Right, I'm going with Highly Recommended+, so probably a 93/94 on the White scale.

P.S. Actually, it went really well with the hamburger. So now I've got a bottle of 2012 Pagan (incredible wine!) just waiting for some fush & chups.

P.P.S. Apparently PW thinks it's a 92++, he's probably been into the vodka again, but he'll be correct in a few more years.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Burge Family Winemakers Mourvedre Grenache 2010

Let's be clear here, we are talking about wine made by the Barossan Burge who still makes all his own wine, and his name is Rick. The other Burge winemaker is Grant, they are cousins and their wineries are close, but their wines have far less in common than the winery name might lead you to erroneously assume.

Rick makes his wines in a quite refined somewhat old world style. Of course he's making them with good Aussie new world fruit, so we get the best of both worlds.

There's a lovely balance and poise to this wine. It's one of those slurpers that you try to roll around on the back of your tongue for a few milliseconds more, just to make sure you've got all the good stuff coating yer buds. And then you suck on the insides of your cheeks because you don't have any taste buds there. After that you lick yer gums, for obvious reasons.

As a bit of a Mourvedre fan, I'm rather pleased to say it's a little different to every other Mataro I've met, but in an interesting way. Perhaps it's mis-labelled and it's got Monastrell in it instead?

As not much of a Grenache fan, I'm also very pleased to say there ain't no raspberries in here. This Rick fellow seems to know his vines.

Savoury yet fruit driven, voluptuously slinky, balanced and with a long future should the cork gods be on your side. Roughly 60/40 dry grown Mourv and Grenache, that lived in old oak for 22 months.
Highly Recommended++ and *****

Slight rant on the cork, I hate them, a lot. However, Rick is one of the few who at least attempt to replace wines with the same vintage should you suffer cork problems, which is extremely rare - replacing with same vintage I mean, cork problems are by nature unpredictable. They do keep a decent amount of museum stock, which is not a bad way to buy some well aged wines, especially their Draycott Shiraz.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

La Curio The Dandy Shiraz 2012

In theory, I've done the wrong thing. This is nothing unusual, of course, there would be a large number of times this week. Ask my wife for a list if you need more information.

This wine has only been bottled a few weeks, and when I bought it, I even had the sense to ask Adam Hooper when it should be ready to drink. Adam is the winemaker, and hence his opinion on the matter should be considered as good advice. He said maybe 3 weeks. So, I waited a 6 days.

I had tried the wine previously at a tasting with some friends from the Australian Wine Tasting Group, though their name suggests they possibly could be wine snobs, they are actually just unrepentant alcoholics who read somewhere that wine can make you live longer, and are now testing the theory for themselves. On that previous tasting I was the driver, and I've never done well doing notes from sip and spit, probably because the spitting part distresses me too much.

Anyway, all of the wines I tried that day from La Curio impressed me, and at the time I thought the 2012 Dandy might well be my bargain of the year, if only I could swallow a bit more. Now, on the few times I think I am right I kinda want to know ASAP that I really am right, even if it's only in my own mind (see para 1).

So, it turns out that whilst I was possibly wrong in opening the wine too soon, I reckon I was correct in saying this is my wine bargain of the year at least in the sub-$25 bracket.

A beautiful complex fruit driven nose with classic McVale spices and 'erbs, plus there's also a bit of late afternoon summer's day, where the sea breeze has kicked in, wafting Nanna's almost cooked roast* aromatics out on to the porch, and strangely even a bit of Grandad's new fangled tractor can be detected - I assume the breeze went past the tractor parked in the hayshed on the way through to the kitchen.

The body is voluptuous with some muscle supporting those curves, ie. fine and firm tannins. A long finish and lovely balance completes the cast.

This is a glass-gets-empty-fast wine, so I'm going to give it a Highly Recommended++ and *****.

I stuck a ++ on the end there more to indicate that it will age well, but this is such a vibrant delicious wine as a 2 year old that I'd encourage people to drink it young as well.

* my Nanna ever did a magnificent roast. I miss all about her, but her great cooking, learned as an early 1900's farmer's wife, made lifetime memories. Grandad used to plow the farm with a team of horses in the early days, but he saw the value of a tractor, even if he missed power napping going home because the horses knew the way, and the 30yo tractor never did manage to learn it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Marius 2012 Releases

Today the 2012 vintage Marius wines were offered to mailing list members. I won't be reviewing them for two main reasons. Firstly, Gary Walsh gave the Symphony a staggering 97 and the Simpatico a lowly 95 on the Winefront - you can read the reviews on the Marius website. Secondly 2012 was a low yielding vintage after the 2011 cool/rainy one, and the confused vines produced maybe half what they normally would.

So you see, should you wonder if Gary is possibly off the mark (all those Barolos can't be having a good effect on him), there is so little of the 12's that it's not like you'll need a second opinion, snoozing will turn to losing in double quick time.

I verbally ordered my cases back in 2012 based on grape tasting, but I'd best go write out that order form anyway.

Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the hounds of points!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Attollo Quinta

I thought I was being clever when I made the deduction that a wine called Quinta would have 5 grape varieties in it, and that based on the pink purple rim one of those was Touriga Nacional. After all, we're talking Margaret River where four varieties to the bottle is common.

Well, Sherlock I ain't, there is Touriga in it, but the only other variety is the well known Tinta Cao. I've just gotten back from Vietnam (good morning!), and I reckon that was possibly the name of the dish I had at the restaurant on the last night. Apparently Tinta Cao means red dog (please, no Vietnamese meal jokes), due to to being extremely low yielding. Clearly a grape that the masochist Julian Scott would love, and I believe the name Quinta refers to the Portuguese vineyard classification.

If you were to hand pick about half a tonne each of the above varieties from Yallingup, fermented them with a Portuguese speaking yeast, and put it in old French oak for some malo, you'd end up with this wine. Well, you would if you'd experimented for a few years beforehand.

It completely belies it's 15.8% and I would have expected closer to 14, which I deduced from it's fairly low acidity and svelte tannins. Despite it being fairly late picked, Julian's judgement of the varieties is spot on with no obvious sweetness despite the numbers. The fruit is wonderfully complex and has a beautiful herbal character on the nose and tongue, and perfectly dances the line of savoury and fruity without either being dominant. The finish is long and very more-ish. It goes down far too easily, but that's hardly a negative.

I really like this, Highly Recommended++

PS. the Vietnamese meal was actually Cao Lau, which I also recommend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

R.I.P. Jeremy Pringle

I just read the very sad news that Jeremy Pringle, who wrote the wine review blog Wine Will Eat Itself, is no longer with us. I never met Jeremy and I only had a few quick interactions with him on Twitter, but I feel compelled to tell the world how much I thought of him.

When I started wine blogging I had a look to see who else was doing the same thing, to see if I was rehashing the same old stuff, so it was amusing to me to find a wine blog seemingly named for that very idea. I read his blog regularly, and he was one of the few whose reviews I considered reliable and genuine, and most importantly to me, entertaining.

Jeremy had style and class, I wish I could write half as well and remotely as concisely. I wish I had told him that.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Attollo Touriga 2012

I had written my review of the Attollo Black wine over a month ago, then failed to click publish as I was madly prepping for a month in Vietnam. Considering the very hot weather in Vietnam it's been a while between reds for me, though I did try the local Da Lat red completely misnamed "Excellence". I recommend the beer.

The people at Seppeltsfield like their Touriga, they make fortified wines from it. They used to called them Port, but the Portuguese followed the French lead and claimed ownership of the name. I hope we've done the same to g'day and owyagoin, especially as the bloody Yanks are using Outback for some steak place and even using 'no worries' as a sales slogan.

Back to the topic, the Portuguese as you might know use Touriga in their Ports, but also in the dry reds, and in fact that's where Touriga originated in the Douro Valley. Apparently Julian likes those as he was inspired by them to make this wine. It also means he's somewhat crazy as the vine is one of the lowest yielding wine crops, and requires being harshly treated to convince it to put it's energy into the grapes rather than growing more greenery. We're talking Touriga Nacional btw, just in case there are any Touriga experts wondering.

Near half a tonne was picked from a vineyard in Donny Brook, which had a cold soak for a week before being introduced to a Portuguese yeast which had it's wicked way with the juice for 10 days. Basket pressing, malo and 14 months in a barrel followed. In the end only 75 half dozen cases were made.

Uncommonly, though typical of the variety, it has a very pink purple rim, leading to a black core. Quite a robust wine really, it's somewhat insisting something should be char-grilled, pronto. The kind of people that would inspire this wine live on craggy mountain slopes where the women no longer claim to be tougher than the men, because the men had already conceded it generations ago. Very savoury, fruit to the background, firm tannins and a fairly long finish.

Recommended+ though if you're at Gaucho's then it's a HRec! Well worth trying if you're looking for something new and interesting.