Quinta do Crasto is among the best, if not the best Portuguese winery. The Vinha da Ponte wine will be legendary over time and is unique for a couple of reasons. The first is the vineyard. It is situated on the steep slopes of the Douro Valley in schisty soil. There are probably over 30 varieties in this very low yielding, terraced vineyard of more than 100 year old vines. The best known are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tempranillo, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Dao. There are some white varieties here as well. All is put together in a true field blend.
Friday, December 31, 2021
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
The Les Petits Monts is a relatively high altitude 1er cru vineyard in Vosne-Romanée, situated just above the famous Richebourg. This was a good place to be for the warm vintage of 2015. The following year, when I visited Burgundy, I met Maxime Cheurlin, the young winemaker of Georges Noëllat. He is perhaps most famous for having stood up Jancis Robinson at a prestigious lunch in London, but I digress. The wine which impressed me was the 2015 Georges Noëllat 1er cru Les Petits Monts. It was not easy to get some of this wine to Australia, but I managed via a friend in Switzerland. Hopefully this effort was worth it.
Monday, December 27, 2021
Christmas gatherings this year have been much smaller in many countries, as we are still in the grip of covid-19. However, I am sure this community has still been enjoying their wine. My drinkings are shown below.
Friday, December 24, 2021
I am quite excited about this wine. Therefore I am writing this up, as I drink it on Christmas Eve. It is the 2015 The Standish Wine Company Lamella from Eden Valley.
I am drawn straight to the palate. Flavours of red cherry, cranberry, mocca, and some secondary earthy notes create interest. The key here, however, is the combination of energy, power and elegance. This wine absolutely nails it. The tannins are fine for a full-bodied wine. The super long finish is smooth and lifted, and very impactful.
This wine is superb drinking now. It will not last as long as a very good Bordeaux, but should drink really well for the next 3-5 years.
Thursday, December 23, 2021
When it comes to Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula, I tend to be quite selective. Many of the wines are bold and fruity and lack Pinot Noir typicity. Yabby Lake is a producer I am happy to try. Yesterday it was the 2015 Yabby Lake Single Vineyard Pinot Noir. This is a mid-level wine from this company.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
In general, I do not take much notice when people describe a vintage as great or poor. Hot or cool, yes, because this can be objectively verified. But in terms of quality, there is so much variation that you can find great wines in so called poor vintages, and poor wines in great vintages. The odds are perhaps against it, but I prefer to look at the individual wine.
2012 was regarded as a pretty good vintage in Piedmont, although dwarfed by 2010 and 2013. So when I opened the 2012 E. Pira Chiara Boschis Via Nuova I was pretty confident this should be a good wine at a good time to drink. The Via Nuova is a blended Barolo. The number of vineyards varies between vintages. In 2012, it is a blend of six vineyards, two each from Barolo, Monforte, and Serralunga.
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
The Yeringberg winery has famous neighbours in Yarra Yering and Coldstream Hills. Like the generations before, the fourth generation of the founding family is focussed on quality. The low production allows it to eschew all forms of publicity, hype and marketing. Therefore, it is not often talked about. Yesterday, I drank the 2015 Yeringberg Pinot Noir.
Monday, December 13, 2021
For 30 years, from about 1980, the answer to which wine was Australia's best Chardonnay, was relatively simple. It was either Giaconda's Chardonnay or the Leeuwin Art Series, with Pierro challenging in some years. During this time, Penfolds embarked on the 'white Grange' project, the ambition very clear.
A few weeks ago, I tasted the highly acclaimed 2018 Yattarna. It is a very good wine, and as I have a couple of bottles in my cellar I will report on it in the future. However, the wine would not have made me change my view expressed in the previous paragraph.
Then I tasted the 2012 Penfolds Yattarna a few days ago. This wine blew me away. It started with the pungent nose of exotic fruit. The wine is sourced, I believe, from three regions, Adelaide Hills, Henty (Victoria) and Tasmania. As a cool climate wine, you expect citrus the dominant, maybe only flavour. However, this wine shows peach, grapefruit, even some tropical fruits. Biscotti notes round out the palate. This is complex! It remains focused and precise. The overall mouthfeel has some ageing Semillon characteristics as well. Smoothed out acidity, and a gentleness, which is very appealing.
This is the greatest Australian Chardonnay since the 1987 Leeuwin Chardonnay (with apologies to the younger readers).
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
The high quality Chateau Rauzan-Ségla from the Margaux subregion swims somewhat under the radar in Australia. The 2005 Chateau Rauzan-Ségla is testament to the winery's quality.