Rorschach Pinot Noir 2013

by The Wine Punter on July 11, 2014 · 0 comments

in Reviews

 

I haven’t met Craig Thompson, the man behind this new label.  I’d like to, he seems like a really nice bloke and I’m loving the surreal vibe that defines this brand.  On Instagram I mentioned this wine tasted like skipping unicorns and hula-hooping mermaids and I reckon that just about sums it up.

Check out the Rorschach (raw-shark) Wine Co. ‘Wine Tasting 101′ video and dive a little deeper into this gloriously twisted world.  Leave your conscious awareness behind however, this is a journey into the ether…

This was the first pinot from the 2013 Mornington vintage I’d tried after having a peek at what was in store out of a few different barrels back in January and I was excited.

This is a gorgeous wine.  Soft and pretty, textured with a sheen of fine tannin and popping with sweet spice, it shimmers.  I drank it over a couple of days and watched it unfold and display more layers of cherry fruit and perfume.

A fascinating new label and a well-tasty wine.

 

Region: Mornington Peninsula

Price: $42

Website: www.rorschachwineco.com

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Raidis Estate ‘Mama Goat’ Merlot 2012

by The Wine Punter on June 12, 2014 · 0 comments

in Tastings

 

Steven Raidis is a good bloke.  I had the pleasure of meeting him and chatting about his wines at this year’s Noosa Food and Wine Festival and most recently, last weekend at Game of Rhones.  For me, wine is always about people and getting to know who makes it and their story adds layers to the drinking experience.

I was taken aback by this Merlot.  It was more savoury, dry and tannic that I was expecting and it was a pleasant surprise.  It has just been bottled so it’s very early days but this shows great promise.

It’s a really spritely wine with obvious oak on the nose and a palate that dominates.  The back label says it’s a ‘cuddle for your tastebuds’. I reckon it’s more like a face squishing bear hug, with a sneaky reach-around cheek squeeze for good measure.  It’s not shy.

Plenty of zippy acid and twiggy tannin provides a robust frame for the fruit which adds some juicy meat to dem bones – a blue fruit, plummy kinda meat.

Mama goat is the goods.

 

Region:  Coonawarra

RRP: TBC

Website: www.raidis.com.au

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I don’t drink a lot of Cabernet from McLaren Vale which is pretty stupid of me.  I remember tasting plenty when I was travelling around the region thinking to myself, I should drink more Cabernet from McLaren Vale.

I took this over to the Oldies’ place for a Sunday night home-cooked dinner of corned beef, white sauce etc. and it worked wonders.  It was a unanimous winner and it’s easy to see why.

There’s that rich blackcurrant and liquorice bullet nose to lure you in followed by a very generous palate that comes across as more of a fruit cushion than a tannin attack.  Plenty of plummy depth to sink into, this is very easy to like and more importantly, drink.

 

Region:  McLaren Vale

Price: $16

Website: www.chapelhillwine.com.au

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Shottesbrooke Merlot 2012

by The Wine Punter on June 6, 2014 · 1 comment

in Reviews

 

McLaren Vale is renowned for rich, full-bodied Merlot and this brings it.  From low-yielding crops this is jubey, juicy and jubbly.

It look rich and deep as it pours with the aromas of blue berries and dark cherry overflowing from the glass.  This depth translates to the palate too, it’s soft and round with a nice tingle of acid and rasp of tannin that’ll see it sit comfortably on the dinner table, albeit emptied quickly.

I made some meatballs in a rich sauce with risoni, the meatballs had a chunk of mozzarella rolled inside and screamed winter comfort food.

This + that = happy days.

 

Region: McLaren Vale

Price: $19.99

Website: www.shottesbrooke.com.au

 

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Howard Vineyard ‘Amos’ Cabernet Franc 2010

by The Wine Punter on June 3, 2014 · 0 comments

in Tastings

 

You don’t see a lot of Cabernet Franc as a single variety, it’s often blended with its Bordeaux brothers – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this.

I’d invested in a mighty piece of eye fillet (always spend money on good meat) and reached for this to wash it down.  I’d drained half a bottle before the Weber had even warmed up.  It’s sensational.

Full of bright blue berry aromas with a dusty dark choc edge, it’s a generous wine.   With a warming, lush texture it’s the kinda wine you could spend some quality time with on the couch.  Meanwhile, back at the dinner table (couch), there’s plenty of fine tannin to provide structure whilst soaking up monster steak, it was a sensational combination.

The price may not be within most punters’ mid-week quaffing range but this is one worth forking out for.   It’s the premium label featuring premium fruit from Howard Vineyard and it shows.

 

Region: Adelaide Hills

Price: $50

Website: www.howardvineyard.com

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So much love for this producer.  Actually, no.  These people.  Yes, they’re producers but first they’re people, and good ones at that.  Susan Yelland and Michael Papps are the kind of people you want to know.  They make incredible wines, are passionate about sustainable food and produce and are great value around the dinner table.  I’ve yet to meet Michael personally but I’ve shared a meal and plenty of on-line banter with Susan.

I love getting to know the people behind the wines I enjoy and our Australian wine industry is stacked with quality humans.  We consumers are so lucky right now to have producers like this putting it all on the line to bring such wines to the table and this, you need to try.

This Roussanne has so much going for it.  For those not familiar with the variety its home is the Northern Rhone (in the South of France) and features a fuller texture and is beautifully aromatic.

The Second Take range is all about making new world wines in an old world way – old skool stylin’ with minimal intervention.  This is a wild ferment (no inoculated yeast), is unfiltered and unfined.

It looks and smells like cloudy apple and pear juice.  The palate is chewy – it’s full and robust with some spice and nuttiness balanced by a tingle of  zesty acidity.

I drank this with some roast pork and with a little apple sauce, it was very special.

If you can’t get to their cellar door to have a chat over a glass, get online and buy a bottle.

You need to try this.

 

Region: Barossa Valley

RRP: $40

Website:  www.yellandandpapps.com

Twitter: @yellandandpapps

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Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay 2013

by The Wine Punter on May 31, 2014 · 0 comments

in Reviews,Tastings

Yep, it’s lucky #13.  A relatively warm vintage in the Hills has produced  a spectacular wine.  The first M3 with Adam Wadewitz at the helm is shaping up to be an outstanding wine for the ages.  Early days but super-promising.

It’s beautifully balanced with subtle nectarine and white peach fleshing out the lean structure.  Give it a swirl and time to warm up and it unfolds with layers of stone fruit, just enough oak and a most precise line of grapefruit-like acidity to see it finish long and clean.

It floats over the palate effortlessly with such gentle persistence.  A nice balance between the lean vs lush styles currently seen throughout Australian chardonnay, though it does tend towards the cooler, leaner style.

I sucked this down pretty quickly with some pan fried snapper and it took all the willpower I could muster to save a glass for the next day.  That glass didn’t last long either, but that supple texture, poised power and intensity sure did.

In fine form now and bound to evolve beautifully over the next 5 years.

 

Region: Adelaide Hills (Lenswood, Lobethal and Woodside)

Price: $45

Website: www.shawandsmith.com

Twitter: @shawandsmith

 

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Plantagenet ‘Omrah’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013

by The Wine Punter on May 24, 2014 · 0 comments

in Reviews,Tastings

 

Not unlike the region it hails from , this savvy from the Great Southern region of W.A. is cool, fresh and crisp.

There’s some gunflint on the nose, it’s as sharp and bracing as Southern Ocean seaspray.  The tropical fruits remain subtle with green melon whilst there’s only a hint of grass or savoury characters.

This is ideal for fishing straight out of the esky, nice and cold, to wash down some fish and chips, prawns or scallops on the beach.

It screams summer.

 

Region: Great Southern

RRP: $18.95

Website: www.plantagenetwines.com

Twitter: @plantagenetwine

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Yealands Estate Pinot Gris 2013

by The Wine Punter on May 24, 2014 · 0 comments

in Reviews

 

From Marlborough comes the next great white grape – pinot gris.  Love it or loathe it the kids are bang up for gris and grigio these days and it’s pretty easy to see why.

This, from Yealands is ripe and intense. Up-front fruit dominates early with creamy pear before that slippery texture sends it all sliding down ever so slowly.

The residual sugar and full-bodied mouthfeel stood out early but as I drank more of this the subtle hints of spice and just-enough acidity kept it from blowing out.    A nice wine if you’re looking for that fuller styled gris.

This wine is part of Yealands’ ‘Land Made’ series.  They’re committed to environmentally sustainable practices and are the world’s first CarboNZero winery.

I like their style and I like this wine.

 

Region:  Marlborough

Webstie:  www.yealands.co.nz

Price: $19.99

 

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I have weak knees and a very soft spot for Leeuwin wines having been seduced by their Art Series Chardonnay consistently over the years.  It’s al all-time favourite of mine and is one of our country’s chardonnay treasures.

Fair to say I was frothing at the opportunity to taste the 2011 release as well as new releases of Art Series Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet.  With some back vintages thrown in for good measure, it was an impressive line-up.

Simone Horgan spoke of her family’s history (read about it here) as well as that of the estate before handing over to winemaker Tim Lovett to speak of the wines.  Below are my hastily scrawled notes, I was too busy enjoying the wines to focus too much on the details.

A brilliant display of Margaret River wines at their finest.

 

2013 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling

A variety not widely planted in Margaret River, Leeuwin pioneered the planting of riesling and have the oldest vines in the region.  This is ripped.  Slatey, crisp and super sharp with persisting lemon throughout.  With mineral salts and lemon pith it’s one for seafood.

 

2012 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Sauvignon Blanc

A celebration of the finest sauvignon blanc from the Estate, this spent time in oak with partial barrel ferment to showcase the variety’s texture – a character not always associated with sauvignon blanc.  It shines here.  Layered with guava, apricot and peach it ripples across the broad palate.  It’s soft, structured and smashable.

 

2012 Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay

This leaps out of the glass with butterscotch and burnt lime.  A powerful presence with more toasty, nutty oak characters throughout finishing with burnt caramel.  Poached pears feature in a wine that packs a punch.

 

2011 Leeuwin Art Series Chardonnay

Tim says the moderate to warm vintage was among the best of the last decade.  The wine has an intense aroma with ripe nectarine and peach.  On the palate there’s hints of that lush breadth that’ll see it go long into the next decade.  The 100% new French oak doesn’t stand out or is at least balanced by the pristine and powerful fruit.  Great energy to this wine and plenty to look forward to.  Now, it’s a firecracker – stand back in awe.

 

2010 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay

This is just starting to warm up.  It’s spectacular – rolling waves of fruit into cashew nuttiness.  There’s a real vibrancy to this wine still but it is starting to settle down.  Drinking beautifully and will continue to do so for many years.

 

2008 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay

Palate envy.  Texture.  Wow, a most cushioned, soft and round texture.  It’s still bright but just envelops your mouth in a massive chardy snuggle.

 

2006 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay

From one of the coolest years on record this wine is still peaking.  In a good place right now with plenty of acid still sparkling and structure to burn.

 

2011 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz

Smells ripe with blood plum, jaffas and a whiff of mocha.  It’s beautifully crafted with spice, pepper and floral lift floating around the medium bodied texture.  I’ll come back to this in a couple of years.

 

2010 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon

A dark well of blackcurrant fruit that should be dense and chewy on the palate but is far more refined and chiseled than the nose suggests.  The structure is super tight with fine tannin persisting long throughout the finish.  Savoury characters balanced with the carefully restrained but powerful fruit ensures this one for the ages.

 

2009 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Ooh yeah.  Blackcurrant and over-ripe cherry tomatoes combine on the nose.  Trés elegant, the plate features intricately woven layers of fruit and bay leaf with oak and acidity all playing important but minor roles.

 

2007 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh sweet Jesus, I’m done.  Stewed plums, blackcurrant and very dark cherry and chocolate.  I can’t get enough of the smell of aged cabernet.  From a ripe vintage it’s bold like its label.  Fitting.

 

Region:  Margaret River

Website:  www.leeuwinestate.com.au

 

 

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