Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bordeaux vs Coonawarra: 1994 Chateau Leoville Poyferre vs 1994 Petaluma Coonawarra Cabernet

Two 21 year old Cabernet blends, courtesy of my aunty’s cellar.

The first, the Leoville Poyferre, is a Second Growth from the Saint-Julien commune in Bordeaux. Having been established in 1840, the estate has been through some peaks and troughs as might be expected, however, the past few decades have seen a resurgence in its reputation and the quality of wine produced. The second wine, the Petaluma Coonawarra has been one of Australia’s more highly regarded Cabernet blends over a few decades now. Production for this wine began in 1979.
When the Red and Brown clans got together recently, we decided to take these two wines of pedigree head to head. They are obviously worthy of enjoyment and contemplation without competition or reference to any other wine, but I still find comparative tastings like this highly enjoyable and revealing.
Both wines had excellent quality, long corks that happily had done their jobs, with both wines smelling great in the decanter from the get go. We then proceeded to drink both bottles over the course of a few hours, with some slow cooked lamb the accompaniment.
1994 Petaluma Coonawarra -  At 21 years of age this has retained an impressive level of primary fruit that is present from the tip of the tongue through to the long finish. Blackcurrant mainly. Adding savoury complexity are notes of red earth and black olive. There’s a bit of regional mint/eucalypt but it’s in no way dominant and plays its part in a complex whole. What’s really impressive moreover, are the prominent tannins that really help shape and finish off the wine. There was a little bit left in the bottle on day 2 and it continued to drink impressively well. It’s in a real sweet spot now where it offers a great aged Cabernet drinking experience, but still has the stuffing to drink well over the next 5-10 years. 94 points
1994 Chateau Leoville Poyferre – What enthrals me with this wine is the tightrope it walks between power and elegance. The entry onto the palate is supple and subtle before building to great mid palate intensity, which then tapers into a focused and savoury finish. It's the kind of structure that marks it out as a great wine. Classic cassis and cigar box flavours. Gravel is also a signature, both in terms of the bouquet as well gravelly minerality through the long finish. Fantastic to drink and wonderful to see it weigh in at only 12.5% alcohol. It's a wine that ultimately could only be Bordeaux and would never be confused as anything else.  As with the Petaluma, it gives great enjoyment now but will age over the next decade without a second thought. 96 points
In the end the Bordeaux was the preferred wine on the night, showing a class that is rare in the world of wine. That being said the Petaluma is a great wine in its own right and is testament to the ageworthiness and quality of the marque and Coonawarra Cabernet more generally.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2012 Krondorf growers Barossa Shiraz

Krondorf Growers Barossa Shiraz 2012
This wine from the Cellermasters stable has a nose with pretty hefty vanilla oak, intermixed with ripe, dark/black fruits. 
Fruity and mouth filling, with mulberry blackberry and some stewed black plum supported by soft tannins, slight aniseed notes and mixed spice. Finishes sweet, and the alcohol heat is in balance with the hefty fruit. For sub-$20 a nice smooth, fruity and powerful wine that is not subtle, but with elements in balance. On day two of tasting, this wine had developed nicely and should be drinking well for several years.

ABV: 14.5%
RRP: 17-18
Rating: 88pts

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2007 Domaine Epis Pinot Noir (Macedon)

I've long wanted to taste an Domaine Epis Pinot Noir, but for some reason only just got around to it the other day. The Pinot Noir that Alec Epis and his former winemaker Stuart Anderson have made over the years have garnered plenty of praise. Furthermore, I'm a fan of Pinot Noir from the Macedon Ranges with Bindi and Curly Flat two standouts. When I saw a few bottles of the 2007 Epis Pinot at auction at a reasonable price I decided it was time to scratch this longstanding itch.

Buying at auction, however, always adds an element of Russian Roulette to the pursuit of drinking aged wine, but the risk was very much worth it in this wine, with the diam cork having aged the wine without issue. It opened with a classic, varietal nose of smoky undergrowth and cherries. These flavours carried through to a silky and supple palate, with additional spice and a touch of pleasurable warmth through the finish. It was the perfect foil for some roast pork over a long lunch, though I'd suggest the wine is at its aged peak at the moment. We had it open and decanted for 2-3 hours and it seemed to fade a bit just with the last half a glass. A great introduction to Domaine Epis Pinot Noir.

Rated: 4 Stars
ABV: 13.2%
Closure: Diam
Drink: 2015-2016
Website: www.domaineepis.com.au


Friday, April 3, 2015

2013 Tahbilk Rousanne Marsanne Viognier

I loved the previous Tahbilk labels and branding - very old school; channelling both 1970s and 1870s (fitting, given the age of some vines at their winery, which are even older).
This new wine sits in between their great value, entry level  Shiraz, Cabernet and Marsanne and their flagship wines, and is a new blend from the winery. A solid addition to the range.

A nose and palate of fresh pear, apricot and green and red apple. Rounded fruit with orange peel and low key acidity. Nice minerality throughout, with, some toasty oak and pleasant phenolics on the savoury finish.

On days 2 and 3 it lost a bit of weight in terms of textural mouthfeel, and freshened/lightened up.

RRP: $25-$28
ABV: 12.8%
Rating:  89 pts

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