Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pol Roger Reserve Brut NV (Champagne)

When I'm looking to splurge a little, this has become my go-to Champagne. I’ve had it a few times recently as well so I thought it was worth writing up. You can pick it up for around $55-$60.

A champagne that is creamy, yeasty, mouthfilling, and has great effervescence. Beautiful citrus and red fruits. There’s no questioning the crowd pleasing capabilities here. Nevertheless, it remains balanced throughout, and is underpinned by a lovely acidity. Finishes long and dry. It perhaps lacks the complexity for a higher score, but for sheer Champagne joy it’s hard to go past.



RRP: $70
Closure: Cork


Sunday, March 24, 2013

2010 Henschke Johann's Garden Grenache Mourvedre Shiraz

Henschke - a classy, historic winery. I don’t try or buy as many of their wines as I would like.

The Johann’s Garden, Henschke’s Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz blend,  opens with a nose of fresh Black and red fruit, largely raspberry and black cherry.  Similar juicy, vibrant fruit continues on the palate, supported by some mixed spice and low key, ripe tannin. Finishes with a meaty, herbal, Mourvedre-charged edge. Surprisingly savoury on the finish and mellows-out with air yet the savouriness becomes more pronounced.
I like the fact this is blended with 66% Grenache, 26% Mourvedre and 8% Shiraz: I tend to prefer Australian GMS/GSM blends that have a backbone of Grenache, a capable 2IC of Mourvedre and a cameo support of a small amount of Shiraz. There are too many GMSs out there that have marginally more Grenache than the other two varieties (or a 33-33-33 ratio), and the end result suffers, or the wine becomes a vehicle to move on the lesser shiraz in a given vintage. Not a problem with the Johann’s Garden.

There are plenty of GMS/GSM blends available in Australia, and this is arguably priced a bit high given the competition. However, the quality is up there and it should please many.

ABV: 14.5%
RRP: $37-45+

Sunday, March 17, 2013

2012 Mesh Riesling (Eden Valley)

Another cracking Riesling from the 2012 vintage and a fine addition to the Mesh stable.

Incredibly youthful and primary. Intense and beautiful fruit, predominantly lime in flavour. Talc, florals, and a slatey minerality are all nascent at this stage, but will emerge with time. The thing that gets you with this Riesling is its length and precision. It flows perfectly from front palate to back, and then finishes with incredible length. You could drink it now with some seafood, but the quality is such that it deserves a place in the cellar. Being a birth year wine I've decided to stash a few away. Superb Riesling. 4.5 Stars

RRP: $30
Drink: 2013-2027
Closure: Screwcap

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Second Annual Broken Hill International Wine Show – Continuing the Revolution

Following the hugely successful inaugural 2012 Broken Hill International Wine show, a new energetic organising committee are set to take the International wine show to a whole new level.
Last night, the Broken Hill Chamber of Wine and Food Commerce, in conjunction once again with the Far West Alternative Wine Growers Collective launched the 2013 Broken Hill International Wine Show.
The launch was hosted by new Chairman of the Chamber organising committee, Xin Xin Lee and held in the hall of the recently renovated and renamed Yellowtail-Constellation Chambers of Food and Wine.
Mr Lee replaced the original Chairman of the event, Johan Trambly-Churchill last March when reports came to light suggesting Trambly-Churchill had on-sold thousands of bottles of excess wines submitted to the wine show.  Funds from the on-selling had allegedly paid for a renovation to Trambly-Churchill’s ensuite and underground wine cellar, though these rumours were never substantiated.

Seeking to distance himself from the controversy of 2012, Mr Lee made a series of exciting announcements regarding the upcoming wine show. Highlights included:
-        The number of wines submitted for judging had trebled (to 3545 entries), as had the number of wine classes (100 up from 35).
-        A small team of 5 unknown, but exciting wine judges, wine writers and bloggers would be tasting and judging the entries over a three day ‘wine lockdown’ period.  Mr Lee defended the unknown tasting panel and shortened period for judging the wines (three days down from 5), noting that the team of judges were the emerging ‘crème de la crème’ of the twitterverse and all functioning alcoholics, so would be more than able to handle the intense wine tasting load.
-        A slightly tweaked Galena Tasting Panel Method™’ would be used to make the final call on split decisions and to decide the 135 trophies that will be handed out during the show, though details were not forthcoming on the night.
As the centrepiece of the launch, Mr Lee announced that the Broken Hill wine show will be the first in the world to showcase a virtual tasting of ancient wines that have long since been unavailable to consumers and wine critics alike. The revolutionary wine tasting concept, labelled the ‘Magical Wine Mystery Tour’ was the brainchild of Santa Monica native Dr Trey Garcia.
Dr Garcia, who has a triple degree in viticulture, mysticism and marketing from UCLA has spent almost 10 years studying ancient wines as well as séance and extra-sensory perception strengthening methods.

Given the shock and amazement felt in the press gallery following the announcement, RedtoBrown Wine News was lucky enough to speak to Dr Garcia after the presentation and asked him how he came to develop virtual wine tastings using mystical methods.
"Early on in my journey through mysticism I was able to connect easily with relatives and pets I had as a kid. With this natural power of mysticism and crossing over, I turned my attention to my other love – wine.”
The Ancient Wine séance will include virtual tastings of Athenian wine consumed after the Battle of Marathon, infamous Roman Falernian from the 121BC vintage, a bottle of the first vintage of Champagne made by Dom Perignon in 1670, several pre-phylloxera Burgundy and Bordeaux’s from the 19th Century as well as a bottle of the first commercially available red wine produced in Australia (an 1819 vintage sourced from grapes grown adjacent to Sydney Cove).

Trey Garcia explained the process of the ‘Magical Wine Tasting Mystery Tour’ to RedtoBrown: ‘It starts with the tasters ‘crossing over’ together to the period in history the wine comes from. Using my powers of extra sensory perception, I will be pouring the wine into the glasses of the tasters and we will join together in a séance, savouring several historic wines from several parallel realities. I am qualified globally in the responsible serving of alcohol so unfortunately the tasting sizes will only be 50ml”.

An artist's impression of the 121Bc Falernian
 to be tasted virtually at the Broken Hill International Wine Show
RedtoBrown News was unable to verify that the virtual tasting was legitimate, despite our repeated attempts to be given a test run. Dr Garcia did note that well-respected Decanter wine writer, Andrew Jefford had experienced two test runs of the ‘Magical Wine Mystery Tour’ last week, and could verify its authenticity.
When RedtoBrown News contacted Mr Jefford via email, he provided glowing praise for Dr Garcia’s work.

“Words do not do that tasting justice” Jefford noted in his email response. “Twice I was transported to taste the finest, most authentic (and largely cork-sealed) wine from ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, medieval and pre-industrial revolution Europe. I even tasted low PH, (but no added acid) –era Australian wine. As predicted well before the tasting, the Australian wine was like rot-gut, but it was authentic, sincere, cork-sealed: an authentic total wine experience.  The Magical Wine Mystery Tour was other worldly and only poetry can truly capture its brilliance. Allow me” (Mr Jefford proceeded to craft a poem for RedtoBrown):

"Earth in my fingers/the love stork chirping/
like silk on my skin/wine from heaven/
In heaven eternally”.

The Broken Hill International Wine Show follows the successful Sydney Wine Show and Rootstock Natural Wine Show, though has intentionally been brought forward to trump the Karratha Asia Pacific Wine Show and the newly announced Ipswich International Burgundy Challenge.
RedtoBrown News will notify readers of the 100 trophy winners in upcoming posts.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2009 Domaine Tempier Bandol (Bandol, France)

A 2001 Domaine Tempier Cuvee Cabassou I had a while back was one of my more memorable wine experiences, and ever since I’ve been meaning to put some Domaine Tempier in the cellar. I snaffled a few of these 2009 Domaine Tempier when I saw it a decent price.

Domaine Tempier is of course Bandol’s iconic winery, producing a superb range of Mourvedre based wines. This wine is their “entry level” offering, though the quality here is so much more than that particular label implies.

To begin with it's relatively translucent and nebbiolo-like in colour, and indeed in some ways it reminds me of a Barolo more generally. On the nose it opens with a lot of mourvedre funk and animale, almost too much, but over a couple of days this subsides to reveal florals and red fruits. To drink there is interest and complexity with gaminess, tobacco, and a great texture provided by the acidity and lovely earthiness. At its core, however, there is beautifully pure and perfectly ripe fruit that runs its length, all of which is framed by persistent tannins. It finishes long and very savoury. Loved drinking this, and it will be better again with a few more years in bottle. Drink with some roast game.


RRP: $60
Drink: 2015-2025


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