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, April 30, 2011

Warrabilla Reserve Shiraz 2006

I'm a Johnny come lately to Warrabilla, and I keep wondering how I managed to avoid them so very long. Especially since I love a big intense wine on the odd occasion*. In fact, it's a bit like sex that way.

Sometimes you just want to take your time, be aware of every little sensation, analyze it, savour it, learn from it. And then there's the times where it's all about the passion, the mind altering and heart thumping sheer abandonment. I'm talking about the wine.

The label says cellar 5 years plus. The label is correct as we're close to the plus part soon and it's not close to done. Which is good, since I am a believer that wines high in alcohol can age just as well as wines with old school 13%. Providing they have structure and quality. Does anyone remember the old David Noon 'Burgundy'? Monster of a wine, I got 8 years from that, and it wasn't remotely done. Bloody hilarious name for it really, and I didn't even get the joke at the time.

So, this wine then. My heart is thumping and I'm experiencing a great deal of passion and wild abandonment. God I hope she gave me her real phone number before she left.

Rated Excellent and ***** for value.

* odd occasion is when you're not having an even one. Flip of a coupla coins with me really.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sevenhill 'Four Buckets' Shiraz Touriga Grenache 2007

This one is only available at cellar door or by being a mailing list member, so this is more for those people.

Touriga is an unusual variety to find on a label unless you're buying a Port, aka fortified in Australia because the EU blah blah, but what I mean is it's the variety the Portuguese use in their Ports, though apparently they are using it more and more in their dry reds. This mix of grapes is indeed the same as the Sevenhill Tawny is made from.

The nose is fairly light with nothing much standing out really. The tannins are superfine which lead to a body that, despite the wine's dark complexion, is pretty much medium. The flavours are subtle and this wine just strikes me as extremely smooth, almost the epitome of a quaffer, in that it neither challenges nor offends and just goes down very easily.

Because this is on special at $120/case delivered until sold out I'm going to give it *** and give it an Agreeable score in the context that it is aimed at being a quaffer and is not a retail wine.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Landhaus The Saint Shiraz 2008

Rich red fruits on the nose which show up much better with a slow gentle inhale, quite impressive really if you get the olfactory wind tunnel speed just right.

Deceptively dark in the glass leading you to expect a typical meaty BV, but turns out it's somewhat medium bodied in the mouth. Tannins are very fine but after a few mouthfuls they show to be a tad dry. The red fruits tend more to cherries on the tongue with a subtle but persistent spicy wave on the finish. Acid isn't very noticable except for it's contribution to the spice.

Surpisingly for it's body there's quite a crust in the bottle, clearly backing up the winemaker's claim to a relatively 'hands off' attitude to winemaking.

Recommended and ***

Saturday, April 9, 2011

An oversupply of good wine?

I've been reading doom and gloom about the wine industry for a while, and there are still calls for 25% of vines to be pulled out, and if they're pulling out the vines that make cask wines and woolcoles cleanskins I'm all for it.

But when you read "oversupply" you need to keep in mind the vast majority of wine made is horrible crap made mainly to get you drunk as cheap as possible.

I'm not sure I see an oversupply of good quality wine, indeed many good producers sell out when they price according to wine quality and not purely what price they'd like to be selling it at. How many times have we seen a wine score a Halliday 94, sell out, then next vintage the price goes up yet the score dropped 4 points.

The biggest problem that many quality wineries have is somewhat of their own making, they spend very little effort on wine education about their product, almost zero in fact. Even at cellar door the vast majority impart little knowledge of their wines and methods unless you ask some searching questions.

The wine industry has this idea that everyone knows heaps about wine because in the circles they move in that's true. The real truth is the vast majority of wine consumers don't know much at all, they have no idea why an oak barrel is considerably better than oak powder/chips, they have no idea what tannins are and the differences between them, they have no idea on what a balanced wine should be like, and most of all they have a hard time telling the difference between a mediocre mass produced adulterated wine that's there to give you a buzz, and a hand made wine with character that is there to give you a memorable buzz.

The really crazy part is the wineries don't even have to spend much money on this education, it's mostly about putting in the effort.

And really, any winery that won't allow tasting of their top shelf at CD are either fools or selling a wine not worth the money - if they don't believe me tasting their $40++ wine will convince me to buy it, why should I gamble on it? I've gotten into my car, searched out their place of business, chosen them from thousands of cellar doors and I can't try their best wine because it's too special? The other side if the coin is if I like it I may end up buying it for many years on mail order. It's called education.

For too many years the quality wine industry has relied on the slogan "life's too short to drink bad wine", and whilst that's true how many consumers know what a good wine is?

I was going to finish my rant there, but there's another side to wine education. If I go to a cellar door or a website and the winery offers me their wine for $20, then next week I go into a chain retailer and I see the wine for $12.99 then I've been educated that (A) I'm silly to buy direct from the winery and (B) the wine wasn't, and never will be again, worth $20. I won't even say much about "members" pricing being more than retail in some cases, except to say what a slap in the face of your best customers.

Don't just show me the price, show me the value!

Cardinham Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

What a deliciously savoury Cab Sav this is. You get herbs and spices on the nose, and they follow through on the tongue. The body is medium-full with powdery tannins that still have a little bit of grip, just enough to encourage you to lick your gums every few mouthfuls. Quality fruit but it's somewhat understated and balanced well with the oak and acid, making this quite a classy wine to go with it's svelte 13.5% spine.

The more Cabs I have from Clare the more impressed I am with the region's ability to make them very approachable even in their youth.

Recommended and ****.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Inkwell Shiraz 2008

Back in December I did a preview of this. It's now been released, well to mailing list members at least, and I assume by now even those foolish enough to ignore my prompting to get yerselves on said list can buy it.

I'd like to get all descriptive but typing means I have to put down my glass. Look, the nose is bloody brilliant ok? And my goodness the flavours are intense...gum lickingly, lip smackingly, eye closingly, intense! See it's even inspired me to come up with new adjectives.

The tannins are still pretty coarse still which gives it a bit of a rustic edge, and Dudley is well aware of that, and I bet if he had his choice I don't think we'd be allowed to drink this for another 3-5 years. So, buy at least 2 bottles so you can revel in it's raw glory now and imagine what's waiting for you in 5-15 years.

I rate it excellent+++ and ****

Damn, the bugger has stained my glass purple!

BTW, there will not be a 2009 Inkwell, thus the next release will not be until 2013.