Friday, September 28, 2012

2011 Tarrawarra Pinot Noir Rose (Yarra Valley)


Rose rarely piques my interest. I like to drink it, but it doesn’t as easily elicit notions of things like terroir and ageability . . . the things that excite me about wine, beyond just how enjoyable it is to drink . I was interested in this wine, however, before I’d even opened it as it had received both glowing and critical reviews. A polarising wine it would appear.

To drink this is a Rose that very much meets the “pale, dry, and textural” mantra that is in vogue at present. To drink there are delicate and appealing flavours of strawberry and cherry, along with a hint of cream, but it is ultimately very dry and without much in the way of fruit generosity. Evidence of the wet and challenging 2011 vintage in the Yarra comes with a bitterness on the finish that will be challenging for some. The result is a wine that will find its fans, but if you are after some generosity in your Rose then this won’t necessarily be the right wine. Decent drink and food friendly.

 
 
 
Rated:

 
 
 
RRP: $22
ABV: 12.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Drink: 2012-2014
Website: www.tarrawarra.com.au
 
 
 
Red

Saturday, September 22, 2012

2011 Yelland & Papps Delight Shiraz (Barossa Valley)



I really like the new packaging with the Yelland & Papps delight range, and to my mind it aligns well with the price point and style of wine. More importantly, they are good wines. The 2011 Shiraz especially so, given the tough, wet vintage in the Barossa.

Impressively ripe, it tastes of berries and plums, a bit of barossan tar, and spice. There's a hint of something herbal, that suggests a cooler year, but you've got to go looking for it. Not too much in the way of structure going on here, but plenty of juicy flavour, and it's so very drinkable. A wine for drinking, not thinking, and in that vein, it's damn good. Perfect barbecue red this summer.




Rated:



RRP: $20
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Drink: 2012-2015

Red

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2005 Borgogno Francesco Brunate Barolo (La Morra, Piedmont)



My visit to Borgogno Francesco in 2009 remains one of my most memorable winery visits. I wrote about it in detail in a post back then - (Link). It was one of those experiences that beautifully brought together family, vineyard, and wine.

Having bought a couple of bottles of their 2005 Barolo for the cellar (I wanted to buy a case, but of course you can only bring back a few bottles into Australia), I’ve often wondered whether the wine when opened would live up to the memory. Having a great winery or cellar door visit often puts a wine in its most positive light, and I thought the Borgogno Francesco to be a beautiful wine at the time, especially at 16 Euro. But had I got caught up in the moment and overrated the wine?

No, not a bit of it. Upon first whiff, I’m back in Piedmont, looking up the hill at the Brunate cru, and chatting with Francesco over a glass of his Barolo.

Brunate is one of the great vineyards of the La Morra Commune within Barolo, and is situated on a beautiful south facing slope heading up towards the town of La Morra, a beautiful hilltop town itself. The vineyard soils are calcareous clay marl, high in magnesium, and tend to produce slightly more structured and powerful wines than that of other crus within La Morra, which is renowned for producing the most perfumed and approachable of Barolos.

The Borgogno family’s approach to making their Barolo is both a traditional and a proud one, following a process that has been repeated annually by three generations since 1930. The fruit sees a long maceration period and is aged in large format slavonian oak

The bouquet is deep and enticing, and I love it. Yes, classic aromas of tar and roses, but beyond that notes of liquorice, cherry/strawberry, tobacco, and leather. At 7 years of age it still has plenty of primary fruit on the palate, but the beautifully ripe and mouthcoating tannins, while still prominent, have softened from 3 years ago when I first tried it. Intensity and complexity in equal measure. Drinking it over a couple of days it developed a lovely earthiness too. It still has many a year in front of it. Stunning value, and a real pity that no one imports this wine into Australia. 4.5 Stars.

Rated:

 
 
 
RRP: 16 Euro at cellar door
ABV: 14.0%
Closure: Cork
Drink: 2012-2022
Website: http://cantinaborgogno.com
 

Red  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2010 Whicher Ridge Shiraz Frankland River, WA


The Whicher Ridge Shiraz was tasted over 4 days, and even at the end was dominated by its tannins. On the nose, there are blueberries, mocha, eucalyptus oil, new cedar oak and a shiny, varnished leather, on the palate  dark chocolate, blackberry, and black plum. The finish is savoury, with hints of black pepper and more dark chocolate. The wine is more intense at the back, the tannins are  prominent, mouth filling and drying, though not unripe. After 4 days the wine was still standing, the fruit holding up, and the oak less obvious. Leathery notes had dropped-off, but the tannin was still front and centre. Not sure how it will age, though I would put it in the cellar for a few years before revisiting unless you are a fan of tannin.

Rating: 88pts
ABV: 14.0%
RRP: $28

2011 Lark Hill Pinot Noir (Canberra)


What a difference a day can make. On opening this was a challenging Pinot Noir, that only a real Pinotphile might appreciate, being all sap, spice, and undergrowth. On day 2 however, some lovely strawberry/cherry fruit and sweet oak had come through to balance those savoury, spicy characters. Day 3 continued the trend, and it ended up being a joy to drink. It’s a nicely balanced Pinot that's delivers much drinking pleasure. Gives this another year or so and then enjoy.


Rated:



RRP: $30
ABV: 13.5%
Drink: 2013-2016
Closure: Screwcap


Red

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2009 Juniper Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Margaret River)


The 2009 is the third vintage in a row this wine has achieved 4.5 Stars. Of the three vintages I think the 2008 is perhaps my favourite, but it's a photo-finish with the 07 and 09. Regardless, under Mark Messenger’s guidance, Juniper Estate has moved assuredly into the very top tier of Australian Cabernet. Moreover, this wine represents decent value when compared to many of its peers.

As of now, the 09 certainly needs a good decant before it comes together. Once it does however, it provides a beautiful Margaret River Cabernet experience. It’s medium-bodied and refined, and yet delivers delicious, mouthcoating fruit. Complexity as ever is evident with these Juniper Cabernets as flavours of blackcurrant, liquorice, black olive, tobacco, and gravel come to the fore. Lovely oak is present but well enmeshed in the wine. Fine, yet persistent tannins provide just enough grip to keep a tannin lover like me happy. A long, savoury finish completes the story. This wine needs a stint in the cellar first but it is undoubtedly a great Cabernet.

Rated:



RRP: $50
ABV: 14.5%
Drink: 2015-2025
Closure: Screwcap
Website: www.juniperestate.com.au


Red
 
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