Saturday, February 25, 2017

Four Aged Victorian Shirazes

There is still considerable concern about the ability to age Australian Shiraz. The general view is that cool climate Shiraz from Victoria is better suited for ageing due to generally higher levels of acidity than in Shiraz from South Australia. I wanted to put this to the test. Over the last few days, I drank four different Shirazes from Victoria, all 12 years old. This is what I found.

First cab of the rank was a 2005 Mount Langi Ghiran Shiraz. This wine was under screw cap, whereas the others were under cork. This wine is known for its black pepper expression, and this certainly came through strongly on the nose, as well as the palate. The wine was still fresh and vibrant, with good depth in plum and mulberry fruit. The structure is holding up strongly, and the tannins were fine grained, yet strong. The wine is probably at its peak now and for another two to three years.

Score: 94/++

The second wine was the 2005 Battely Syrah from Beechworth. This wine was very dry, and the fruit overripe. I remember that this wine had a big mouthfeel on release, but now it is dead, only the 15.5% alcohol coming through in an unpleasant finish. Clearly, this wine played to the 'Parker palate' initially and used 'Syrah' for fashion as well, although this term is usually reserved for lighter style wines. Why would you try to make such a wine at higher altitude Beechworth?

Score: <80 p="">
The third wine was again from Western Victoria, the 2004 Best's Bin 0 Shiraz. I was confident this would show well, as I had tasted excellent very old Best's wines before. The fruit for this wine comes from very old vines. The black fruits are concentrated, but sit on an elegant frame. The black peppers are equally strong to the Mount Langhi. The structure of this wine is perfect, and the underlying acidity points to a long future. I also enjoyed the firm, but fine tannins on the finish.

Score: 94/++

Finally, the 2004 Giaconda Warner Vineyard Shiraz. This famous Beechworth vineyard has clay soil and produces wine on the richer side. The colour of the wine shows some development - garnet taking over from purple. The wine is still quite rich, but now less fruit orientated. Savoury characters dominate. The finish is long. This is not an unpleasant wine, and the structure still holds, but the flavour profile is not very differentiated. It should be drunk within two years.

Score: 92/+

On this occasion, Western Victoria beats Beechworth quite decisively, and the typical cool climate wines aged well.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mount Horrocks Riesling

In the same way in which Penfolds Bin 389 is often called the poor man's Grange, is Mount Horrocks Riesling called the poor man's Grosset. Except in the former case, it is because Bin 389 uses Grange barrels,whereas in the latter case, Mount Horrocks winemaker, Stephanie Toole, is married to Jeffrey Grosset.

I am drinking the 2016 Mount Horrocks Riesling. The wine is from Watervale, Clare Valley. The wine is fruity, yet dry. It delivers a satisfying mouthfeel of citrus, nicely balanced by acidity. This is a rounder and richer wine than the often steely and linear Grossets and the Watervale subregion lends itself to this style of wine. The wine is well structured and will age well, but is also good to drink now. Would go perfectly with any kind of summer salads.

Score: 92/+

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Head Nouveau

The label suggests this is a Beaujolais. However, it is actually a blend of Touriga Nacional and Montepulciano. This sounds like a good idea in theory. The Montepulciano grape tends to be fruity, with a low skin to fruit ratio, while Touriga Nacional has small berries and a tannic structure. The wine is part of Alex Head's new take on the Barossa Valley. This is an experiment with grape varieties supposedly better suited to very hot weather than Shiraz.

This 2014 wine starts well on the front palate. The wine is fresh, with violet and black cherry flavours. However, then it dies, before slightly bitter tannins pick it up again. The integration between the grape varieties has not worked too well. However, this wine is an easy drinking style where one should not be too analytical about it.

Score: 87/0

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Keller Riesling Trocken

This is an entry level Riesling from the highly regarded Keller winery in Rheinhessen.

The 2015 Keller Riesling Trocken is a modern take on German Riesling. The wine is dry, but features mouthfilling fruit, mainly ripe lemon. This wine is not complicated, but fresh, and perfectly balanced.  It finishes clean. A great summer wine.

Score: 89/+