Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tasting Top Wines Of 2014, Part 1

Philip Rich, co-owner of the Prince Wine Store, publishes a list of his top 20 wines annually in the Financial Review. They are not necessarily his best wines of the year, but wines that stood out in his tastings. His list is designed to show diversity in wine varieties and styles. He does not attribute a point score. Last night, I participated in a tasting of 11 of these wines. There were two wines each of Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, showing quite different styles.

2013 Vickery Watervale Riesling: this wine is from the Clare Valley. It is a relatively lean style, showing off floral, citrus and lime characteristics of Riesling. The fruit is pure and the wine has quite good definition, but is a little broad on the mid-palate. Great value for money (92 points).

2013 Keller Riesling - von der Fels: this Riesling shows off a deeper colour. It is a richer wine, fuller bodied, basically dry, with a hint of sweetness. Acidity in this wine keeps it well balanced. Klaus Keller is one of the Riesling stars of Germany, from Rheinhessen (92 points).

2012 Oakridge 864 Funder & Diamond Chardonnay: this wine is one of a number of superb 2012 single vineyard Chardonnays from the Yarra Valley. The fruit is quite restrained, white peach, pear and grapefruit show on the palate. The oak is understated, but cashew flavours are noticeable. The wine has good form, leading to a refined finish (94 points).

2013 Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay: the second wine had to come from Margaret River, the other major Chardonnay region in Australia. Being a reserve wine, this wine is bigger and richer. Yellow peach and mango flavours dominate in this well textured wine. It is maybe a bit fruit forward (92 points).

2013 Coldstream Hills Deer Farm Pinot Noir: this wine displays very bright colour. The red cherry flavours in this fruit dominated wine are well defined and carry through to the back palate. This wine split the tasters. Some enjoyed the brilliant fruit in this wine, others found it a bit simple. I belonged to the second group, in particular when this wine is compared with the next one. The wine did very well on the show circuit, impressing judges with its pure fruit and good definition (93 points).

2013 Farr Rising Pinot Noir: the colour in this wine the colour of this Pinot is much darker, almost a bit cloudy by comparison. This is a richer and denser  wine, a function of the 30 per cent whole bunches included. The wine is more savoury, with concentrated dark cherry and forest floor flavours. The wine has a good mouthfeel and finishes with firm tannins - very true to the 'Farr' style (94 points).

I would drink happily any of these wines, different as they are.


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