Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bill Pannell Book Launch

The Pannell family has been associated with three major Australian wineries: Moss Wood, Picardy and SC Pannell. On the occasion of Bill Pannell launching his autobiography "Once more unto the vine", we were given a treat to taste wines from all three wineries.

The Picardy wines from Pemberton, in the south of Western Australia, are best known for their Burgundian wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The 2009 Picardy Pinot Noir was impressive for its cherry fruit and forest floor savory flavours (93 points). The 2008 'Tete de Cuvée' Pinot Noir contains 50 per cent French fruit. It is much more backward, quite savory, and a wine to keep (92 points).

Of the Moss Wood wines, I tasted the 2009 Moss Wood Chardonnay and the 2008 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chardonnay is A big wine. The focus is on texture, rather than fruit. The new oak is currently quite prominent and makes the wine creamy. The wine has good length and will be better in 2-3 years (92 points). The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is quite an amazing wine. It has a lot of quite deep, even dense black currant fruit, yet it is elegant, with good acidity and soft, silky tannins. Based on other Moss Wood experiences, this wine will last for 20+ years, and improve for at least 10 years. The fruit will show more complexity and integrate into the texture of the wine. Every Cabernet lover should buy this wine (I did) (97 points).

SC Pannell is the label of Stephen Pannell. The wines are from Mclaren Vale, but they are not typical for the region. The fruit is very vibrant and probably picked much earlier than what is the norm. The focus is on freshness and forward fruit flavours. The 2009 Tempranillo Touriga is quite light, but with backbone (91 points). The 2010 Grenache is very young and fruity (88 points). The 2007 Shiraz/Grenache has a similar flavours profile, but more weight, due to the Shiraz component (90 points). The 2008 Nebbiolo would be my pick, although it is not similar to the Piedmont wines. It has the floral notes, but has quite a Burgundian character. The wine is not very concentrated, but has good precision and length (92 points). Overall, these wines impress by the purity of their fruit. However, in terms of their mouthfeel, I would prefer the Spinifex wines from Barossa.

In summary, this was a fascinating tasting, to see the variety which these wineries bring to the table. All wines are well made and they show real character.

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