Cristom is a well regarded producer from the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Its vineyards grow on the volcanic soils of the Eola Hills, in the heart of the valley. It is a biodynamic producer. The Mt. Jefferson cuvée is a blend of three estate vineyards. Fermentation occurs with native yeast and whole-bunch.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Many of the great wine regions are densely planted, for example Burgundy, Barossa, Marlborough. But then, there are wineries which produce outstanding wine, which sit almost by themselves and create this special place. I find this quite curious. Such examples are Bass Phillip in Gippsland or Kumeu River just 30km north west of Auckland. Today, I will review the 2020 Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay.
Sunday, November 20, 2022
The Ovitelli Grenache is the mid-level Grenache of Yangarra, planted right next to the High Sands vineyard. The 75 year old vines are also grown in deep sand. One of the main, if not the main difference is that this wine is matured in ceramic eggs, not oak. It remains on skins for a long 100 days or so.
Thursday, November 17, 2022
The third stop of this short tour was at Cobaw Ridge. Although this winery has been around for over 30 years, I have not known it until now. They make natural wine, if you take organic farming, no fining and filtration and very limited sulphur at bottling as the definition.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Curly Flat was probably the first winery which put Macedon on the wine map for a wider audience. The style of the wines could not have been more different to Bindi. The vines are grown on rich volcanic soil. The wines used to be generous, sometimes quite broad, but delivered great drinkability. I have not been in touch for a number of years, so I was looking forward to this tasting.
Saturday, November 12, 2022
It was high time to catch up with Bindi again, the high quality producer of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Like in many parts of the country, the rainfall this year has been significant. As a result, the grass growth has been substantial, as can be seen on the photo of the famous Block 5 Pinot Noir vineyard.
Saturday, November 5, 2022
On of the wine trends I find annoying is that new and unproven wineries and wine ventures decide to charge the same prices that wineries who worked for decades to establish and refine their styles have managed to command. It is therefore always a pleasure for me to grab a bottle of a well known producer where I know what I will get. This has certainly been the case with the 2016 Vieux Télégraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Monday, October 31, 2022
De Bortoli is mainly know for its famous Noble One brand. But one should not forget it has sizable vineyard holdings in the Yarra Valley. This 2018 De Bortoli Estate Vineyard Chardonnay comes from there.
Thursday, October 27, 2022
This 2015 Domaine Santa Duc Le Pied De Baud Chateauneuf-Du-Pape is a bright wine. Home for them is Gigondas, but they have this plot in the northern part of Chateauneuf. The soil is a mixture of sand, clay, limestone and pebbles. I believe clay dominates. The vines are 90 years old, on average. The wine is Grenache dominant (80%).
Saturday, October 15, 2022
The first impression of tasting the 2020 Stonier Chardonnay is the smart oak treatment. Cashew nut flavours dominate the palate. Underneath sit stone fruit flavours, but then again it is cashew nut. The oak influence is not massive, but enough to cover the underwhelming fruit flavours. The outcome is a well made, but not very interesting wine.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
The winery Miloš, situated about 50km north of Dubrovnik, is astonishing. More than 20 years ago, while all aspiring Croatian wineries went for new oak and French barriques, this winery started to make what they now call natural wines. The winery is certified organic, fermentation with indigenous yeast, no fining and filtration, very little sulphur and maturation in large Slavonian oak (like Barolo). Volumes are very small, only a few thousand bottles per wine, yet the premium wine is found in leading restaurants in Los Angeles and New York.
Saturday, October 1, 2022
Pinot Noir is probably the grape variety most influenced by clone selection. Therefore, many years ago, winemakers were trying to identify the ‘best’ clone. They then discovered a certain sameness in the grape juice. Then there was a switch to growing a number of different clones per vineyard which lead to positive results; more interesting wines.
Single vineyard wines are all the rage now, and they are supposed to represent the place where the grapes come from, but do they deliver the most interesting wine? Penfolds does not think so. It is famous for its multi-regional blends. And if you have ever tried Grange, you may have marveled at the layering of the fruit flavours. This is the result of different vineyard sources.
But if you dig a little deeper, a more complex picture emerges. Take Château Cheval-Blanc, the famous right bank winery in Bordeaux. The vineyard has sections of gravel, clay, and sandy soil. They have identified 53 mini vineyards on this site. They have younger and older vines. They grow Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. All this goes into their famous wine. Single vineyard yes, but a multitude of expressions.
Closer to home, the Gnadenfrei vineyard at Marananga has a west and an east orientation. At the top of the hill, there is little top soil. At the bottom, there is alluvial soil. All this is the source of Torbreck’s Laird.
Vineyards and winemaking are incredibly complex. There is not a one size fits all, but complexity is something worth striving for.