Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1996 Chateau Talbot

This 1996 Chateau Talbot Cabernet displays typical Bordeaux flavours of red- and blackcurrant, but also plum. It has earthy undertones which are not detracting from the purity of the fruit. The tannins are soft and the wine has a harmoneous finish.

This is a strong showing from one of the cheaper Bordeaux chateaus. A very good wine, drinking nicely now, but with many years ahead. A good example that Bordeaux should really be aged well so that the tannins can mellow and integrate with the fruit. If the fruit is good, as in this case, you have something quite special.

Gloria Ferrer 'Etesian' Pinot Noir

This wine is a 2006 Pinot Noir from Sonoma. In a number of ways, Sonoma is to Burgundy what Napa is to Bordeaux. These wines can be attractive for their fruit and have good structure as well.

This Pinot is medium to full bodied and has an attractive flavour of raspberry, cherry and mushroom. It is quite dry and very balanced. The texture is not perfect, but the wine has some pleasant length.

Some International Reviews

I am currently travelling, therefore there will be a few, hopefully interesting reviews of wine from around the world, even though they may not be available in Australia.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cellaring Wine

The people at http://justwineracks.com have written this introductory article about cellaring wine for me. I hope you find it helpful.

Creating the Perfect Wine Cellar
If there’s one thing that can bring a group of close friends or family together, it would be done with a bottle of wine. Seeing as how giving the gift of wine is such a popular choice around the holidays, for housewarming parties, or for casual dinners throughout the week, the idea of creating your own wine cellar with your existing collection of wine is always a great idea. Not only will you be able to properly store your bottles on a set of sturdy wine racks so that they may age over time but it will also allow you to be prepared for a last minute event at your home.
It’s important to keep in mind the temperature, amount of light, and humidity of the room you choose. Many people choose to use their basement to store their wine collection as this is one of the darkest, coolest areas of their home where dehumidifiers can be stored as well. The humidity of a wine cellar should be stay around 65-70% so as not to let the corks from drying out or cracking and this will also allow them to stay airtight in the wine bottle. Your wine cellar should stay at a constant temperature between 7-18 Celsius and the optimal temperature for maturing wine is anywhere from 10-13C. Wine should be in the darkest space you can find as natural light can potentially ruin the aging process and taste of the wine when you finally decide to use it.
When choosing the perfect wine rack for your collection, find a reliable model that allows the bottles to lie flat on their sides so as to keep the cork moist. Place more expensive aged wines in the back rows of the racks so as to keep them out of the way for special occasions in the future as this will provide a space for wine you plan on using soon in the front for easy access. If you don’t have a cool, dark space in the home for wine storage, you can always look into purchasing a wine cabinet that will provide proper temperature and light conditions for you. This option allows you to hold anywhere from five to a few hundred bottles of wine and can be used as a decorative piece of furniture in your formal dining room or bar area.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dalwhinnie Moonambel Shiraz

The Dalwhinnie Shiraz is one of my favorites. It is not a typical, high peppered cool climate Victorian Shiraz, like Mt. Langhi or Craiglee, but of course not a big Barossa either. The attraction comes from the multi-layered fruit profile and the very silky tannins. I have reviewed a couple of these wines here.

This time I had the 2000 Dalwhinnie Shiraz. The wine displays many berry flavours, like in a joghurt with fruit, in particular blueberry and blackberry, but also plum. The wine is not as full and ripe as in other years, but still delivers a satisfying mouthfeel. The wine has good length and the silky tannins are present. Eight years is a good drinking window for Dalwhinnie, in my experience. It brings out the complexity of the wine, while maintaining a fresh feel.

Also, the vineyard site is one of the most beautiful in Australia, with slopes on three sides at the end of a valley. I highly recommend a visit, where the tasting of Cabernet and Chardonnay is also worth while.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Majella Cabernet Sauvignon

Interesting to compare this 2000 Majella Cabernet Sauvignon to the Howard Park from last night.

This wine is fully flavoured, with mouthfilling blackcurrant fruit. It has savoury characteristics as well and bottle age has made this into a multi-layered wine. The tannins and acidity have become well integrated. The first glass was excellent. With the second glass, a sharper element and maybe a slightly metallic taste appeared on the finish.

Overall, this wine demonstrates the power of the terra rossa in Coonawarra with its strong fruit flavours, even in a difficult year. The Howard Park has more elegance, but I would give the edge to this wine, as a result of its flavour fullness and complexity. Not perfect, though.

Howard Park Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon is Howard Park's flagship wine. The 2001 Howard Park Cabernet is from a very good vintage. It has strong red- and blackcurrant flavours and a good backbone. The wine is still lively and fresh. It has a perfect fruit/tannin/acidity balance and good length. But somehow, I would not call this wine world class.

What is missing? There is maybe not enough complexity or savoury characteristics in it: not enough brooding. The answer: this is a classic case where the Cabernet Sauvignon grape would have benefited from some help by the other Bordeaux grapes, Merlot in particular.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lerida Estate Chardonnay

Lerida Estate is a relative newcomer, making wine for less than 10 years. The winery is beautifully located on the shores of what used to be Lake George.

The 2006 Lerida Chardonnay has an attractive flavour profile with stone fruit and a significant peach flavour being dominant. The wine is elegant and has a smooth finish. The only drawback is the mouthfeel, which is somewhat linear and not as round as it could be.

Not a wine for long term cellaring, but a good drink now.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sydney Opera House Wine Bar

Tonight I watched a world class dance performance by Sylvie Guillem. The only white and red wines available at the bar were a 2008 Bimbadgen Semillon Verdelho Chardonnay and a 2008 (!) Bimbadgen Shiraz Cabernet Merlot. They must be world wines, like world music (or soup). It would have given me an opportunity to use the lower echelons, if I were in the habit of using the 100 point rating scale. There is no point in describing these wines in any detail. Hail to my own cellar (no intention to sound snobbish)!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mr. Riggs Tempranillo

As part of a degustation menu, I had some Mr. Riggs Tempranillo last night. It was such a delight, I thought I report on it,  although I don't even know the year. Likely it was the current release.

My (limited) experiences with Tempranillo from Australia have not been all that exciting. This wine is light to medium bodied and bright red. It has mainly cherry flavours. The wine is easy on the tongue, but serious nonetheless. It is quite elegant and has a smooth finish. A bit like a Pinot, but without the  forest characters and firmer tannins. The wine was paired with duck and it worked a treat.

Highly recommended as an easy drinking style.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Poverty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

I found this 2005 Poverty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon in a friend's fridge, still in the tropics. I had never heard of it. When I looked this up on the website, it was listed as one of the 10 most promising new wineries. This made me curious.

The move away from alcoholic wines is currently in the joint lead in my poll of desirable trends. Well, this winery has not heard of it. The wine has nice underlying fruit, but its taste is very alcoholic and hot. I had trouble drinking a second glass (which is unusual for me). Unfortunately Cabernet specific characteristics are getting lost behind this alcoholic front.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tarrawarra Tin Cows Chardonnay

Tarrawarra burst on the scene some 20 years ago, I think, with a pair of beautiful Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Later on, it became almost better known for its stunning Art Gallery, one of the best in the country, not just amongst wineries. Then it introduced the second label, Tin Cows. The much lower volume reserve wine is rarely seen, these days, at least in New South Wales.

This 2006 Tin Cows Chardonnay tastes of stone fruit, but is somewhat diluted, probably because of high yielding grapes. It has a  metallic flavour, but is otherwise well made. Overall, very much a second label.

Interesting how some wineries start out so well and then fade: Mountadam and Salitage are others which come to mind.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Poll Created

Please vote in this new poll. I know you are out there. Your views help me to fine-tune the site. You can give multiple answers. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Vasse Felix Chardonnay

I am still traveling around the North of Australia and good wines are difficult to come by. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this 2007 Vasse Felix Chardonnay.

The wine tastes of stone fruit, mainly pear and apple, and has a lot of complexity. The wine is medium bodied. It is crisp, but has a soft texture at the same time, as a result of partial wild yeast fermentation. The French oak provides some creaminess, but not over the top. The finish is elegant. 

An excellent drop from a winery which is sometimes overlooked.