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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marius Simpatico Shiraz 2008

I've talked about this wine before but never really done a tasting note. That's largely because Philip White, Gary Walsh and James Halliday have already given it glowing reviews, so what can I add?

Well, I'm not a professional reviewer, I am a customer, so perhaps other potential customers might appreciate that point of view.

Simpo 08, as my case of this is labelled, is almost 4 years old now, and it's been interesting to try this wine over the last 8 months or so. When I first tried it in March what stood out to me was a savoury character that I associate with Schwarzwälder Schinken, or Black Forest ham in English. This is not to say that it's the most forward characteristic of the wine, but that it is the unusual overtone that makes this different to your typical plum, chocolate and licorice McLaren Vale Shiraz. That is to say, it's a strong hint of the complexity of this wine.

Tonight I still picked up on that aroma but it's slightly different now, it's a bit more like a xmas dinner. There is still the ham, and of course some fresh cherries and blackberries, but I can also smell the spices in the family recipe (obligatory but very much looked forward to) xmas pudding.

The other thing about this wine is that the bloody thing vanishes from your glass too quickly. It's like being a kid opening xmas presents as fast as you can tear off the paper, there's a head rush, you're in the moment, and then, the moment is over. The bottle is empty. Too soon Executus!

So, let me check if all the clever buggers previously noted above missed anything I need to tell you about this wine...hmm, nope they've pretty much nailed it between them. Actually, there is one thing they haven't actually said clearly enough - you really should get some of this!

Scoring or rating this wine is in many ways rather limiting. It is a wine of such character and singularity that even it's brother Symphony is but a fraternal twin with promise. Excellent and *****

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kimbolton Brad's Block Montepulciano 2008

This is the full Monty.

Sorry, couldn't resist, but it's true. Montepulciano is not exactly commonly available in Australia, and much more rarely is it grown here. There are barely more than a handful of winemakers putting it on their labels at this time.

Montepulciano in Australia is often seen in wines from Abruzzi, as Montepulciano d'Abruzzo of which you might have come across the $10 Gran Sasso. So let me first say this Aussie version is fairly different in style to that one which is somewhat lighter.

Aromas of leather, mushroom and cigar box. On the palate it's full bodied with blackberries, cherries and kalamata olives. The tannins whilst substantial are not dry or grippy owing to excellent balance with the almost crisp acidity.

This is a savory wine, a food wine, and a wine that makes you think about it. Top marks for being fairly different and thoroughly suited to a slight chill for dinners in summer.

Rated Highly Recommended and ****, though I am somewhat swayed to that score because I think this is worth seeking out simply for it's difference.

Available from the The Winehouse, Langhorne Creek, whom I link because there is a retailer with a similar name.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Warrabilla Reserve Durif 2009

It's not normally Warrabilla red weather in late November, but it's a chilly 16 this evenin' and will get down to 14C. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to enjoy this before summer sets in.

Often when I watch a movie, even if I enjoy it, I feel like I'm there sitting in a cinema watching a movie. I'm just a voyeur. Sometimes though, the movie really drags me in and I feel a part of the story. I jump in my seat, lean forward, tense up and sometimes even get emotional. I come out of the cinema feeling like I just experienced what happened in the movie.

This Warrabilla Durif is not just a mix of aromas and flavours, it's an experience.

I've re-written this blog about five times now, because this wine is so hard to describe. Normally you'd describe a wine by referring to other flavours and aromas, those that the reader will likely have personal knowledge of. But with this wine, unless you know the Warrabilla style, and how it applies to Durif, I reckon I'd sound like a fool. Whitey would nail it though, he'd have gunpowder and black snakes in it, and he'd makes sense to you.

So, who cares what the reviewers say, go see this movie for yourself and experience it first hand. Better yet, take the ride at Warrabilla World, it's in 3D, surround sound and the seats vibrate and tilt - or they will after a few glasses. Buy the Blu-Ray too, you'll want to watch this over the next 10 years or so.

Rated Excellent and *****

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Lazy Ballerina Shiraz 2009

I opened a bottle of this a little while ago, took some notes, intended to write them up here, and then lost them. It's not unusual for me to lose things, but this time I feel it was Freudian - I needed an excuse to open another bottle.

This wine is also a reminder to me why I don't review wines unless I can spend time with them. I tried this at cellar door, and it was clearly a very good wine but it didn't blow me away as much as the 2008 did at the same time last year. Apparently my taste buds hadn't quite woken up at cellar door. They're wide awake now.

Magnificent colour pouring into the decanter, almost iridescent purple and crimson. Loving this colour is probably Freudian too. Growing up, we had a plum tree in the backyard, and at least one time I recall my brother and I having a plum fight. We spent quite some time hosing off the plums before Mum and Dad got home, which is a shame really because the house looked brilliant with purple polka dots.

Fabulous nose. Red cherries, blueberries, a hint of fennel and lurking around in the background is something dark and wicked. You know how when you're at a party with loud music and you're trying to talk to some lady who isn't your lady and you have to lean in quite close to them to yell in their ear (for guys I just yell louder). Well, sometimes they smell quite nice, wickedly nice. I think they've been dabbing LazyB Shiraz behind their ears instead of perfume.

I don't think my wife reads this blog. You'll know if she does when the posts stop suddenly.

The flavours are complex. It's like being in your car at a train crossing, waiting as a freight train goes past. You sit there trying to read the graffiti on each carriage, but just as you've almost worked out what the word was, another one appears. And then another. Quite a lot more follow. So please forgive my failed taste buds if they can't get beyond "yum".

Tannins fine and velvety but they really need more time yet. Acid perfectly matches that though. This wine will age well, so unlike me try to hide it away for 2-3 years, but get enough you can drink it for a lot more years than that.

James Hook, the winemaker, told me he gets almost ill with apprehension when he releases a new wine. Clearly it's not because he fears the wine's quality, but just because he cares so much about what he's created. I love that.

Rated Excellent++ and ****.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chris Ringland 2009 CR Shiraz

When last I'd tried a CR Shiraz it was the 2008 and at that time I'd not yet discovered the magnificent Warrabilla reds, so I declared that wine to be about as big as they get. Well that wasn't true, though perhaps most of the Warrabillas I've tried aren't all that much bigger. This 2009 though, is even more on par with them in intensity, though not on overall balance.

This CR wine won't age as well as the Warrabillas do, and I suspect Mr. Ringland would be fine with that, he's kept the acid fairly much in the background and the tannins are pretty soft really. It makes for a great drink now wine (where now really means winter), but since I'm having lamb roast tonight I chilled the bugger slightly and I am loving it. Having said that, I do reckon 4-5 years is fine, it's just not likely to go 10.

I asked my wife to guess the alcohol, and remember it is slightly chilled, and 15% was the guess. It's actually 16.8%, which is kinda crazy in some ways, but it works for me. I've had 15% wines that taste and smell hotter. There's a fruit intensity I get that is not mixed with alcohol heat, and my tastebuds absolutely love it.

This is a wine that some will hate, and I can understand their point of view. But I love both AC/DC and Mozart, and I don't see why I can't also enjoy this and a 10 year old Clare Riesling. Perhaps not on the same night.

Better than the 08 and much better than the 07, but probably not as good as the 06 thought that's a guess as I only tried the 06 at five years old.

No rating on this one, it's too polarizing in style, but lovers of huge Shiraz should seek it out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lazy Ballerina Shiraz Viognier 2009

I'm a bit new to Shiraz Viognier really, I mean who would think it's a good idea to co-ferment a white grape with a red one? I'd somehow picked up the idea that it's done to lift the aromatics, but if done poorly it can leave the wine smelling like apricots.

However James Hook (aka the Hookmeister), informed me when I pronounced his SV free of such stonefruit 'taint' that the reason for the Viognier is to soften the tannins a little. There's under 3% Viognier in this wine if I recall correctly.

Thus this wine is slightly more approachable than it's 09 Shiraz sibling, which if you'd read my review you'd know I reckon it needs a little time for those tannins to soften up. (Which you can't have read yet because I lost my notes in a Freudian desire to have a need to open another bottle of it, despite it being too young.)

A side note on this wine is that the Shiraz in it is from a completely different vineyard to it's straight Shiraz stablemate.

A couple of hours in the decanter first and it's clear this is one classy drop. The nose is plums and spice and all things nice. On the tongue it's full bodied high quality fruit supported by fine young tannibles and excellent acid balance. Despite the Viognier, the tannins will benefit from a wee bit more bottle age.

This is a very good wine and I have no hesitation in rating it Highly Recommended++ and ****. (Remember I try to mark hard)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kimbolton House Block Shiraz 2008

I discovered Kimbolton wines via the Winehouse in Langhorne Creek, which is a cellar door for a number of local LC wineries. They also do functions there, well worth a visit. In fact the entire area is probably underrated for it's wines.

Dark crimson on the pour. Blackberries, noticeable but quality oak and Indian spices on an intense and somewhat hot nose. The blackberries follow on the tongue with hints of white pepper and salami. Medium bodied with silky tannins, the acid balance is very good.

The fruit intensity isn't as expected from a 2008, and I'd like more complexity but perhaps that will come in time when the oak settles in a bit. There's a lot to like about this wine despite my somewhat harsh judgement, and at $20 it's reasonable VFM.

Recommended+ and ***