Saturday, January 2, 2010

Red to Brown Face-Off – New Year’s Eve – 2007 Voyager Chardonnay, 2007 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Collector Marked Tree Shiraz

Our New Years Eve planning was a bit of a schmozzle (a very long story), but the fall back option saw Brown, myself and our better halves at my place for the evening. As it ended up being a night of yummy food, great wine, and plenty of laughs it all turned out well. To the wines . . .

2007 Voyager Chardonnay – $40 - Red - This is a wine that has all the components to become a wonderful chardonnay, but needs a couple more years before it hits its straps. A classic chardonnay nose of grapefruit, creaminess and spicy oak. On the palate it’s powerful, yet well structured and balanced. The flavours are savoury with a further touch of grapefruit. A few more years and it should be singing.

Brown – I cannot really add more to the assessment by Red other than to say this is a wonderful wine that smells and tastes like the modern expression of Chardonnay I am very happy to see being produced in WA, Victoria, Adelaide Hills and beyond. Nice balance of new and old oak and as mentioned, a wine with several years ahead of it (with a drinking date dependent on how you like your Chardonnay).

2007 Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon – $35 - Red - This was my wine of the night. I’d tried it at a tasting previously - - and this just reaffirmed my impressions. If you wanted to know what a Margaret River Cabernet smells like then you could do worse than smell this wine. Blackcurrant, violets, gravel, and a hint of chocolate combine to make this a beautiful smelling cabernet. The palate completes the promise of the nose. It has beautiful fruit, chocolate, a nice bit of minerality, and fine tannins, all of which are in balance, and suggests that this wine will age gracefully. Loved drinking this.

Brown – The Vasse Felix is wonderful value for money. I would put it in the upper echelon for reliable (easily obtainable in NSW) Margaret River Cabernets under $40. I agree that this wine had the archetypal Margaret River nose, with floral aromas and dusty notes. The balance and structure are typical of the 2007 Margaret River Cabernets I have had so far (not enough!), and I would assume this wine would last a decade in the cellar. A great wine to have with our main meal.

2008 Collector Marked Tree Shiraz – $25 - Red - While you would expect a Shiraz from Canberra to smell and taste different from a Cab Sav from Margaret River, it was still remarkable to me just how completely different the two wines were from each other. I would love to put these two wines in front of any naysayer when it comes to Australian wine, and then ask them to still argue that Aussie wine doesn’t express terroir and instead is industrial, over-oaked, and too alcoholic.

On the nose the wine reminds me a bit of other Canberra wines I have had, though also reminds me even more of a Rhone Valley Syrah. It’s got a touch of those pongy aromas that French syrah often has, along with some meaty/gamey aromas, and some spice. On the palate it is mouth filling, largely savoury in its flavours, with some pepper. Good length and I’ll definitely be interested to see how this wine develops and what secondary characteristics come through. Very nice drop.

Brown – Collector has picked up a few gongs (09 Penguin Guide best new winery) and receives justifiably impressive scores from respected reviewers, so stating that this wine was delicious is hardly a scoop. What I love about this winery is its range – 2 styles of Shiraz – the Marked Tree and the Reserve. We both have a few bottles of each in the cellar and this is the first Red and I tried.

For me the wine was medium bodied, though not lacking intensity. On the palate it had largely red fruit with the typical Canberra region spice and pepper (though not as intense as with other wines, in a good way). I agree this wine had the funkyness and gamey nose that Red refers to, and this gave the wine a uniqueness that I appreciated. As the label on the back of the bottle says – drink now or cellar for 10 years. I will be having an each way bet with the two bottles of this wine I have at home :- )

Summary - No real disagreements between the two of us on these three wines. The Collector shiraz provided a point of difference, but we both enjoyed and appreciated this. Three great wines that can be picked up for between $25-$35!


Chris Plummer said...

Another great comparative tasting fellas!

I was fortunate enough to of tasted both the 07 Voyager Chards and 07 Vasse Cab at the Royal Adelaide a few months back. Both were definite highlights of the day for me.

I haven't seen the Voyager in Adelaide yet but one of my locals just released the Vasse - I was drawn between the Vasse, 07 Cape Mentelle Trinders (also excellent) and just released 08 Moss Wood Amy's, but your writings have just got me over the line on the Vasse. Traditionally I love the house style - it's about as regional as you'll get at an ethereal level for $30. Sexy stuff eh?

Thanks fellas!

Chris P

Red said...

Cheers Chris.

Reckon you wouldn't go too far wrong with any of those three cabernets you mention, but yes the vasse felix is sexy stuff.

Great thing to my mind is that we seemingly have had three very good vintages in a row in the Margaret River (07-09), and will have plenty of choice in the next couple of years when it comes to quality MR cabernet at reasonable prices.


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