Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2006 Alluviale Merlot Cabernet Franc (Hawkes Bay, NZ)

One of my gradual learnings over the years is that most premium, age worthy wine doesn't actually get discernibly better with age. Sure, a wine may age in the sense that it drinks well at 10 years of age, but a wine that actually builds additional complexity and enjoyment when compared to its youth is indeed rare. Instead, for most aged wines edges have softened, flavours have become more savoury, and a glide path of gradual decay has begun. There’s plenty of enjoyment to be had in following a wine on such a path, it’s just not the epiphany that is often hoped for when initially laying a bottle down in the cellar.

The 2006 Alluviale Merlot Cab Franc fits this mould. Nothing startling has happened with a further 5 years under its belt since I first tried it, but is nevertheless represents very enjoyable cellared wine drinking.  Medium bodied and food friendly, the tannin and acidity remain present but have now fully integrated into the wine. It still has plenty of nice plummy fruit along with chocolate notes. Grassiness, tobacco, and some earthiness all combine to provide a savoury finish. A lovely wine.

Rated: 4 Stars
ABV: 13.9%
Closure: Screwcap
Drink: 2014-2017


Sunday, June 15, 2014

2004 Fontanafredda Serralunga D'alba Barolo (Piedmont, Italy)

I consumed this as part of my birthday lunch along with a 2008 PHI Pinot Noir from the Yarra Valley. The Pinot won wine of the day (see original note and updated comments here), but the Fontanfredda was also impressive and provided me with the Nebbiolo hit I was after.
At 10 years of age those famous Serralunga tannins have softened somewhat and the acidity has integrated, but both remain prominent enough to deliver a wine with a great sense of texture. Classic flavours of liquorice, sour cherry, and tea leaf. There’s also an interesting and appealing orange peel note. Tends to earthiness through the back palate though perhaps doesn’t quite finish with the length to push it up there for higher points. Very enjoyable now, but will also continue to age well, turning increasingly savoury over the next 10 years.

Rated: 4 Stars
RRP: $80-90
Closure: Cork
Drink: 2014-2024


Saturday, May 24, 2014

RedtoBrown #Orangegate EXCLUSIVE: Port Adelaide Power to consider lobbying government to rename the beverage ‘wine’*

Adelaide Friday 23 May: Having succeeded in convincing the Australian government to change the name of the fortified wine Port (with Wine Australia renaming it ‘Tawny’ in 2006), AFL football club, Port Adelaide Power are pressing ahead with moves to change the name of the alcoholic beverage ‘wine’ to something else in order to avoid confusion with star player Ollie Wines.
The move by Port Adelaide comes at the same time the New South Wales wine growing region of Orange is attempting to regulate skin contact wine being referred-to as ‘orange’ to avoid similar confusion
among consumers and retailers. - Link: Here

Port Adelaide President David Koch hit the media circuit yesterday calling for wine to be renamed, and has even met with members of parliament to argue his case. “Ollie Wines is one of our best players, and market research is showing that the beverage wine is hurting his cut-through in the market – neutral fans we are trying to attract keep getting wine confused with Ollie Wines. Given his already massive profile, it seems an obvious move to either rename the drink or put strict caveats on the use of the term ‘wine’ when selling it at shops." 

The controversy over the Ollie Wines/Wine confusion has prompted Wine Australia to issue a clarification on the use of the term ‘wine’ when referring to wine. Henry Wilson, General Manager, Regulatory Services noted the following on the Wine Australia website:

The word “wine” can signify many things; an alcoholic beverage, a star Australian Rules Football Player, something an interest group or region may think is important to their bottom line and want protected/denied to other people using the term legitimately. But when used to describe the alcoholic beverage known as wine, it could be an offence under both the Wine Australia Corporation Act and the Sports Trademark Act to refer to it as wine without providing a clear indication the product is not in fact Ollie Wines, the AFL football player, or a product derived from that player.”

Wine commentators and wine producers have been busily digesting the new clarification on the use of the word ‘wine’, and were considering alternatives to avoid further confusion with the Port Adelaide Football Club. Shortlisted alternatives were “Tomayne, Apalleraya, and Jungle juice”.

Confusion: Is this wine or Ollie Wines? 
Wine makers and producers are on notice to consider changing their labels to fully differentiate between the various uses of the term ‘wine’, and Wine Australia has encouraged the Australian Wine industry to be proactive and suggest alternative words to describe their product in anticipation of the Port Adelaide proposals succeeding in Australian and the European Union parliaments.

Hands off Ollie! - PAFC President David Koch adamant
that 3000 years of wine making history will not dilute Ollie Wines' brand image

*Satire, views expressed are personal satirical opinions, etc.  PAFC have nothing to do with any wine related issues, other than encouraging Ollie Wines to help win the AFL Premiership in 2014 and beyond.

Friday, May 23, 2014

2012 Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz (Grampians)

The Mount Langi Cliff Edge is generally a great value Grampians Shiraz, which won’ t set you back the big bucks of the flagship Mount Langi Shiraz. Indeed there have been some big 94-96 scores flying around for this vintage of the Cliff Edge. I’m a fraction more circumspect, but as a wine you can pick up for less than $25 it is undoubtedly great value.
This wine combines great drinkability with plenty of yum factor. It’s just over medium bodied with a lovely mouth perfume that gives the wine a levity and elegance. Underpinning this however, is perfectly ripe fruit. A touch of regional plum but tending more towards berries. Some meatiness, chocolate and pepper adding complexity. This is a wine that will provide very enjoyable Shiraz drinking over the next 5 years and beyond.
Rated: 4 Stars
RRP: $30
ABV: 14%
Drink: 2014-2020

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