Sunday, October 19, 2008

Picardy, Kooyong, Elderton

A couple of days later I went to another wine-ark tasting with an interesting line-up of Picardy, from Pemberton, W.A., Kooyong, Mornington Peninsula, and Elderton from the Barossa.

The Picardy wines are cooler climate and quite light. They have the reputation of being well crafted, but to me there is simply not enough fruit expression and depth to the wine. The 2006 Pinot Noir would have been my pick, because it had a good combination of light berry and forest floor flavour, but it lacked some length, in my view. The other wines were an 07 Chardonnay, 05 Shiraz and 05 Merlot/Cabernet/Cabernet Franc.

Kooyong specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It uses only estate grown grapes and has a three tiered structure with the Chardonnay Clonale and the Pinot Noir Massale at the bottom, then the Estate wines, and then a few single vineyard wines using the best grapes from designated blocks.

The entry level wines tend to be great value for money, as they essentially are made in the same way as the other wines, but with lesser, but still pretty good grapes. The 07 Clonale Chardonnay proved this point It had lovely citrus and peach fruit flavours. The Estate wines are neither fish nor fowl. They are more expensive, and more subtle wines, but do not reach the expression of the single vineyard wines. And so it was on this night with both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

On tasting was also the 06 Farrago Chardonnay and the 06 Haven Pinot Noir. The Farrago had predominantly citrus flavours, relatively light, but well structured and good length. The Haven displayed plush, dark fruit characteristics, good complexity with quite serious tannins and a long finish. This was a very attractive wine and my wine of the night. It proved that Kooyong is one of the elite producers from Mornington Peninsula, next to Main Ridge, Paringa, Stoniers and a couple of others.

Elderton showed its 06 range of red wines, the Merlot, the Shiraz and the Cabernet Sauvignon. These are wines with generous fruit, fairly forward, but well priced at $25/bottle. Then came the 06 Ashmead Cabernet Sauvignon, their flagship Cabernet. This wine sees French oak in addition to American. It has darker fruit, with good intensity, but is not overdone. It has good length and medium tannin strength. My criticism for a wine in this price bracket would be that it does not have as much finesse as the best in this league.

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