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.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marius Matarius 2010 (Preview)

It's a straight Mataro if'n you haven't guessed it from the name.

So there I was, sitting with a large glass of the Matarius in my hand. In struts Underworld's Selene (aka Kate Beckinsale). She's wearing tight black leather, and has a faint aroma of gunsmoke, and blood.

She's a vampire, of course.

I look at her.

I look at the glass.

I look at her again.

And I really can't decide whether to offer her the glass, offer her my neck, or swallow the wine and then offer her my neck.

Then I realise the vamp in tight black leather was in the glass all along, and I've already offered my neck...

....and my soul.

Outstanding wine.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Inkwell Shiraz 2010

I was going to describe this as inky black with a very thin purple rim, then I realised how stupidly obvious that sounds.

And then I got a whiff of the bouquet and forgot all about the colour.

I have a pretty good smell memory, in that I can detect smells in the wine that remind me of other smells. What I often can't do is remember what those smells are, and it drives me crazy trying to work it out. This one however didn't take me too long tonight; it's cinnamon.

I tasted this wine yesterday at Dudley Brown's winery which is in full swing for vintage 2012 - I also tried a 2012 Shiraz that is about 2 weeks old and was pressed yesterday and put into barrels, but try not to be jealous.

I'd also sampled this 2010 Shiraz last October and with neither of those two previous tastings did I get cinnamon. It's been breathing 24 hours and tonight it's pretty clear to my snoz. Whether it's to do with the extra air, or just part of this wine's development only time will tell.

The aroma overall is brilliant, and whilst I could pick the cinnamon out, it is part of a blend of spices and fruit that has my nose jammed firmly in the top of my glass.

There's a heap of Indian spices on the palate too, combining with the dark fruit flavours. It's full bodied without being at all sweet, and really has me hanging out for a curry. Tannins are firm and very fine, acid balance is excellent, and has an extremely long finish.

Right, we're on day 3 now. I got distracted and didn't finish the post, but I did manage to hide the glassful still left in the bottle. I have to hide it well too, my wife has a 'girl look' for the good ones. You certainly can't tell it's been open more than 48 hours.

The cinnamon has faded a fair bit, and it's more just overall Indian spices to me. Dudley claims cardamom and I certainly wouldn't disagree, but that may also be the power of suggestion.

I'm not sure when this wine will be released, but I believe it's not too far off, possibly when vintage madness is over. I'm always a little hesitant to score a preview of a wine that isn't released because basically the winemaker hasn't declared it "ready". So let me put it this way, I'll be buying a dozen when it's released - at least.

This post was written a week ago, it got delayed for a few reasons.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Marius 2012 Harvest

I left home at 6am and it was already very warm. The forecast four days earlier said it was going to be around 30C, but by the day before harvest that had jumped to 39C. Since Marius wines are hand picked, and are picked by his customers, then picking at night or rescheduling at such late notice can't be done so easily. The best laid plans of winemakers are often thwarted by the weather.

Early in the day the vines provided decent shade

At this point taller vines would have been welcome

We took it in turns to be on the sunny side, but soft Steve (not in photo) opted to go shadey only later and pick through the vines
Someone had that sunscreen that smells strongly of coconuts, luckily we wore gloves else the wine may have ended up with a more tropical bouquet.

Only one person dropped out of the harvest team, which says we are all dedicated and will suffer a lot to get a free tasting of several Marius vintages. A great crew to pick with.


Cut the red wire, not the green one!

I have to admit I might have trimmed a few more leaves than I really needed to. Roger's very neat vines are pretty easy to pick from, but sometimes working out just where the top of that bunch is can be tricky.

Is that Edward just there?
When picking opposite someone, which is fairly often, you need to be aware of Mr. Scissorhands, who may also be wondering where the red wire really is.

Roger has small ones, and he likes em that way

The Marius vines are dry grown, and the foliage is kept a lot thinner than many vines you'll see through the Vale. This results in smaller berries, which is desirable as most of the flavour is near the skins and small berries means a better skin to juice ratio. The penalty for Roger is low yields every year, but better wines because of it.

This year however yields were extra low, with many Shiraz vineyards across the Vale down 40-50%. That was in part due to the weird weather ie. high summer rainfall in 2011, where the vines did not set themselves up for the following season properly.

A few rows are extra low yielding with even smaller berrier and bunches because....

The low yielding vines with the water stealing pines in the background

The workers enjoying the fruits of previous years labours

This is Roger not telling us what's in the 2008 End Play but dropping some hints, I'm now 66% certain I know what it is

The rewards, not in drinking order, and possibly a few bottles are missing, none in my esky I promise. The 2010s are not released, this was an early preview for a lucky few, and keep in mind review samples for some of the professional reviewers are sent in somewhat early as you never know how many months they'll take to get around to reviewing them.

Apparently the Symposium does not sell as quite as well as the straight Shirazes, but the 2006 is starting to hit it's straps now and is Oustanding drinking, the wine of the day for many of us there. There will not be a 2011 or 2012 Symposium for a few reasons, but I strongly recommend you do yourself a favour and try the 2010 and the Matarius when released.

Love this
Getting even better with age

May become my new favourite
Great character
Many years left

Some of us are lucky