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.

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 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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Koltz Autumn 2015 Release

2011 Koltz Etruscan
80% Sangiovese, 10% Shiraz, 10% Sagrantino

You know a wine has a great nose when you start getting a buzz even before the first sip. An absolutely stunning olfactory experience, though it has moderated slightly on the second day. I'd advise amateurs to avoid drinking it from Burgundy or tulip shaped glasses.

A bit of a dirty wine this, likely grown on sacred soil, and so has sucked up some of that righteousness. Earthy and savoury, and just a little floral, a bit like doing a face plant in a herb garden really. Mid weight on the palate, silky tannins and that beautiful mouth watering acid that is sadly very rare. The fruit somewhat in the red spectrum but a bit of black and blue too.

Ignore the year, I know some of you still have a mental bias, but this is from McLaren Vale and secondly my big Shiraz loving wife thinks it's bloody good (I may be paraphrasing here). My own confession is I am not much of a Sangiovese drinker, in fact I might not have any in my cellar, but this is bloody good (I am not paraphrasing) and clearly I need more of it.

Highly Recommend+ and *****

2013 Koltz Dog Day Sangiovese

As mentioned before, I don't drink a lot of Sangiovese but it's a grape with a relatively distinctive nose, and whilst I would not have picked the Etruscan as Sangio, I'd like to think I'd have picked this in a blind tasting. Of course I probably wouldn't have, but I have delusions of adequacy.

I like the nose on this better day 2, it's a little less fruit focussed and more clearly savoury. Blueberries for sure, some mulberry too. I had a bit of cigar box on day 1, but today I'm going with dried shiitake mushrooms grown under an old jarrah tree, as unlikely as that may seem.

At the lighter end of medium weight, very fine tannins, acid is light but in balance, it overall strikes me as a very pretty wine. Have with food to get the best from it, but sips just fine.

Recommended+ and ****

2014 Koltz Dog Day Shiraz

My wife wants to come back as a golden retreiver, 'cos ours spends a very large amount of time just laying around snoozing. Clearly a 'dog day' is a good day. Anyway, I'm not sure the Pope will be that keen on changing church dogma.

I reckon this might be my first 2014, if you don't considering me internally fermenting Marius grapes a year ago. I may be sharing too much information. I'll be even more honest and say I thought this was too young yesterday, but what a difference one day can make. Stating the obvious, it's still pretty young, but there's sometimes a bit of cool vivaciousness in young wines as they gangly run around, with knees and elbows seemingly juxtaposed yet weirdly in harmony.  

The more I drink it, the more I like it, and yes that sometimes happens with booze, but then again I've never gone back for a second glass of Cow Bombie, ever.

So, a powerful nose of rich red and blue fruits, there's something underneath but the fruit aromas overwhelming it at this early stage. More savoury on the palate than the nose suggested, full body, chewy tannin, chocolate and black cherry. Balance makes it absolutely good enough to drink now if you are an impatient type, but try for a year or 3 in the cellar and drink the Sangios in the meantime, I reckon.

Recommended++ and ****

Oh, and you can probably add a star above if you order soon as Koltz have an Autumn offer for the above 3 wines at a further reduced price. I secured mine before telling you about them, so feel free to load up.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Longwood 2013 Sellicks HIlls Cabernet Sauvignon

I started writing this quite some time back, then forgot I hadn't finished it until I cracked another bottle and wondered what I wrote back when I "first reviewed" it.

A nose of graphite, blackberries, mulberry, mace, and a hint of custard & apple. OK, I'm stretching on that last one, the Frenchies would say je nes sais quoi, which sounds all very clever until you know the direct translation is: "I haven't got a flamin clue". I wouldn't normally go with custard or apple as descriptors in a red, but this is all cuddly and rich without being sweet, so c'est ce que c'est.

Med to full body with very fine round tannins, and the acid is playing seesaw with the fruit, so all the kids are playing nice together.

Very good value wine this, a true bargain at $12ish. Drinks so easily now, and even better a day later, so I reckon hedge your bets and go short for fun and long for more complexity. Apparently there's some left, which is crazy.

Recommended++ and ***** for value.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Flametree "Frank" Tempranillo 2012

This wine was only available from cellar door and wine club. Shame that as it's pretty good.I'm only posting about it in case someone is thinking of joining their wine club and wants an example of the club only wines.

Lotsa blue fruit is what this is built on, despite them using red grapes. Somewhat spicy but more like mace than the usual pepper, and of course nutmeg with that, but I'm not sure I want to call it a savoury wine as that blue fruit is pretty forward. The body is medium full, and the finish lingers suitably long with a hint of dried herbs.

Let's call it a Rec stick a + on it, and say that it's one of the better Temps I've had recently, and the Mayford was one of those recents.

If I had a more empty cellar I would probably join the club.