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, 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.

Attollo "The Black Wine" Malbec 2010

I had meant to write up the rest of the MR tour but I've got a bit on the plate atm and can't seem to manage that. However, this is such an exciting wine I need to get it out there.

This wine, and indeed Attollo Wines, are a project of Julian Scott, who is also a winemaker at Flametree Estate in Margaret River. We met Julian on our winery tour of Flametree (a post yet to come) and shortening a long story we also stole a few bottles of his Attollo wines to try when we got home.

Malbec is rarely used as the main variety in Australian wines and you'd not often see it go much over 15% of the total volume in blends. They do use it in 'Bordeaux blends' to give a bit more body, complexity and tannin structure. I'm betting it's pretty tricky to make into a varietal when you consider for this wine 1.7t of Malbec grapes resulted in only 560L of wine bottled, which is somewhat a testament to Julian refusing to compromise on wine quality for the sake of volume and selecting only the 3 best barrels.

There are only a few wines each year where I think "wow" when trying them, and this to me is a wow wine.

A blood plum rim is the only hint of colour, otherwise she's as black as the label portends. A very heady nose, not over extracted or alcoholic mind you, but rich like a Belgian chocolate shop. It's very perfumed too, perhaps a bit of lavender in it. It's fruit forward but not at all sweet, and clearly made by blending satsuma plum, blackberry, pomegranate, espresso, nutmeg, and cardamom. In a witches cauldron. Which was recently used for love potions.

I managed to hide the bottle away for another tasting on the second night, and was rewarded for my patience with a bit more of everything above. It almost made up for the chastisement I got from my wife for daring to take it away from her the night before.

The balance is very good, with a long finish.

I'm going to rate it Excellent++ particularly because there are so few wines of such individuality and character, but also because it's just so enjoyable.

If you want to know where to buy this wine, Julian can be contacted here