Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Australian versus New Zealand Pinot Noir (a mini comparison)

It is very interesting to compare Australian and New Zealand Pinot Noir. In my opinion, there are interesting parallels, for example between Central Otago and Mornington Peninsula on the one hand, and Martinborough and the Yarra Valley on the other.

This was a brief tasting of six high quality wines.

The 2010 Picardy Pinot Noir from Pemberton, W.A. is expected to be a little different. I thought this was an excellent wine. The colour has a tinge of orange, and the flavours are savoury. What makes this wine exceptional is the elegance on the palate. Picardy's best? (94 points)

The 2012 Bindi Original Vineyard Pinot Noir shows more fruit by comparison. It is quite acidic and tannic and linear on the palate. This wine will live for many years (93 points).

The 2012 Yabby Lake Block 2 Pinot Noir is the little brother of the Jimmy Watson winner. I have not tasted these wines before. I found this wine to be quite earthy and lacking some elegance when compared with the first two. It is a well structured wine (92 points).

The 2011 Akarua Pinot Noir from Central Otago was the weakest in this line-up. The wine is a little fruity and lacked structure and length (90 points).

The 2011 Mount Edwards Pinot Noir from Central Otago was a more appealing wine. It has softer strawberry flavours and fine tannins. It reminded me of Mt. Difficulty. (93 points)

The star of this line-up, the 2011 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir, did not disappoint, although it is not their strongest wine ever. It is of medium weight, with good length and soft tannins. The oak integration is excelllent. This wine will live for many years (94 points).

So how about Australia versus New Zealand? The tasting showed, not surprisingly, the very high standard Pinot Noir has achieved in both countries. I call it a draw.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Barossa Buys 2012

I normally report on mature wines which come from my cellar and sometimes on tastings I participate in, but I am thinking to maybe venture out and give a heads up on wines I bought from the fabulous 2012 vintage in the Barossa. These are wines which offer good value for money and have a beautiful fruit expression in this year. These wines are on the fresh, not on the overripe side. They are

Head, The Brunette
John Duval, Plexus and Entity
Spinifex, Bete Noir
Caillard, Mataro.

Any thoughts?

Barossa Shiraz

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Spinifex Indigene

The hallmark of Spinifex wines is their vitality, as the grapes come from higher lying vineyards in the Barossa and as they are picked early. As I open a bottle of the 2005 Spinifex Indigene, I therefore expect graceful aging.

This Indigene is a 55% Mataro, 45% Shiraz blend. The colour is dark and somewhat mellowed. This is a big wine. It is still fruit dominant, with blackberry and plum flavours dominating. It has a big mouthfeel and it runs seemlessly to the back palate before finishing long. The tannins are quite noticeable on the finish.

In a blind tasting, I would not have picked this as a Spinifex wine. Its profile is more that of a typical Barossa, with considerable weight. It shows Peter Schell's considerable talent in fashioning well balanced blends.

Score: 94/++

Thursday, April 24, 2014

d'Arenberg The Coppermine Road

d'Arenberg is known for quirky names for some of their wines, but why would you name a wine Coppermine? As I drank the 2009 d'Arenberg Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon, I found the association to be closer than probably intended.

The wine kicks off with typical varietal redcurrant characters, but becomes a little metallic on the back palate. The fruit of the wine is of good quality, but ultimately, the wine lacks elegance, and the finish is a little harsh.

Score: 89/-

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mount Mary Quintet

Apologies for another delay. I have come down with a heavy flu and could not taste any wines.

Today's review is likely to be controversial, but one of the benefits of blogging is the independence and the lack of peer pressure one has to take into account in reviewing wines. So here is a not so great experience with an Australian icon wine.

I had great expectations when pouring the 2010 Mount Mary Quintet. A highly regarded wine from a great vintage, what can go wrong? The wine opens with attractive complex forest berry aromas. Little did I know that this was the highlight of the experience. The wine turned out to be quite lean on the palate, not green, but it simply lacked mouthfeel. I also felt there was some brett in the wine, which dulled the flavours, but I doubt it made a huge difference in this case. On the positive side, the wine had a fairly long finish and a fine overall structure. But it was simply not enough to overcome the lack of mouthfeel. There are certainly much better buys of top level Cabernets from Margaret River, be they full- or medium-bodied. I should probably try another bottle of this wine, but I am not inclined to spend this amount of money on it.

There is a line of thought that Yarra Valley Cabernet can be as good, relatively speaking, as the best Pinot Noir from the area. I have never experienced this. I bought the Quintet from the year 2000, which is supposed to have excelled in that difficult year. I am looking forward with some trepidation to open the first of my three bottles. I should do it sooner than later.

Score: 91/-