Saturday, November 30, 2013

6 Mac Forbes Pinot Noirs

Sorry for being absent for a while. Opportunities for reviewing wine while trekking in Nepal do not really arise. I am now back, and I thought I start with a review of the 2012 releases of perhaps the currently "hottest" winemaker in Australia. The problem is, I was struck with a cold. Therefore the descriptions are not going to be detailed, but hopefully you will get an idea.

Mac Forbes explores the terroir in the Yarra Valley and apart from the entry wine, all wines are single vineyard, some owned, some contracted.

The 2012 Mac Forbes Yarra Valley Pinot Noir from declassified single vineyard fruit is not your typical fruit driven Australian version, but more European in style. Mushroom flavours dominate in this very dry wine, yet it is quite accessible now. Terrific value.

Score: 92/++

The 2012 Mac Forbes Coldstream Pinot Noir comes from the valley floor and is Mac Forbes' warmest site. The wine has appealing aromatics, quite feminine in the strawberry spectrum, well rounded and elegant.

Score: 93/++

The 2012 Mac Forbes Gruyere Pinot Noir, also from the valley floor, is one I struggled with. It has great texture and balance. At one point it is quite soft, then savoury mushroom flavours take over. There is a good tannin structure in the wine, but it may take a couple of years for everything to come together.

Score: 93/++

The 2012 Mac Forbes Woori Yallock Pinot Noir is the most celebrated wine of this line-up. Phillip Rich of the Financial Review called it his wine of the year. The wine is quite complex, with black cherry, floral and spice flavours and its main feature, the silky tannins, which lead to a long finish.

Score: 94/++

The 2012 Mac Forbes Wesburn Pinot Noir was my favorite. It is from an even colder site than Woori Yallock, in the hills of the eastern part of the valley. The palate is very complex, with more intense cherry flavours and a very steely structure. This wine needs to soften a bit, but the aromatics are beautiful.

Score 95/+++

The 2012 Mac Forbes Yarra Junction Pinot Noir was harvested last and caught a couple of heavy rain days. As a result, it is remarkably different from the previous wines. It is more forward and a little sweeter, yet displays beautiful aromatics, a bit similar to the Coldstream.

Score: 92/+

This is a terrific line-up. Over time, the different personalities of these wines, from different altitudes and soil types, will become more pronounced. I would love to do a vertical tasting of these wines to see these differences more clearly.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bottega Gold

Many companies try to sway people with their labels or bottle designs. Only a few succeed. But look at this bottle! Eye-catching, but still classy.

The Bottega Gold is a high-end, but not so expensive Prosecco. It is attractive in the glass, quite pale, and with a lot of tiny lively bubbles. This is not a yeasty French Champagne, but a refreshing aperitif. This sparkling wine is on the fruity side and quite feminine, with a vibrant finish.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tahbilk White Rhone Varieties

 Tahbilk has bottled Marsanne long before it became more fashionable to drink white Rhone varieties. There are three such wines in the current offering.

The 2013 Tahbilk Marsanne is refreshing on the front palate. It has pear flavours, and some sweetness on the back, but the wine is more about its balanced texture. This is a very clean wine. I would drink it well chilled and have it with Thai food or even desert.

Score: 90/++

The 2013 Viognier is equally clean, but I find the flavour profile a little nondescript. The acidity on the finish is pleasant, but otherwise there is not much of anything, really.

Score: 88/-

The single vineyard 2004 Tahbilk 1927 Vines Marsanne uses some of the oldest Marsanne vines in the world. The style of this wine is different from typical Rhone wines of this variety. The wine is picked early and has more acidity than is common for Marsanne. The 2004 shows pear fruit, blended with toasty characters. The wine carries quite a bit of fruit characters, but finishes dry.

Score: 92/+