Sunday, February 27, 2022

Tertini Wines

 Tertini is located in the Southern Highlands, NSW, and it deserves more recognition. I visited 18 months ago, and have now come back for a second look. Last time, I reported that the strength of this winery is in Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. This turned out to be the case in this tasting as well. 

The 2019 Tertini Riesling has 8g of residual sugar. It delivers a bit of sweetness, but essentially adds more interest to the palate, which delivers citrus and some honey flavours. The wine remains crisp, with well balanced acidity and a dry finish (93 points).

The 2019 Pinot Blanc is a clean wine, texture orientated, and a good food wine. The finish is a little flat (90 points).

I tasted their two Chardonnays, which provide an interesting contrast in styles. The 2018 Tasmanian Chardonnay is very fresh, citrus focussed, and very dry. This is a typical modern Australian cool climate Chardonnay. I found it a bit lean, but well made (92 points). The 2019 Southern Highlands Chardonnay in contrast goes through 100% malolactic fermentation and sees 40% new oak. This is a  wine with a rounder mouthfeel. Citrus, melon, and pineapple flavours deliver complexity on the palate (93 points). 

The 2019 Southern Highlands Pinot Noir is an attractive wine with a light touch. There is a small amount of whole bunch (12%) in this wine. Red cherry, five spice, mushroom, and forest floor flavours deliver a typical good quality Pinot Noir flavour, on a light frame in this case, defying the 13.1% alcohol (94 points).

The other red varieties I tasted, a Nebbiolo from Hilltops (very Pinot Noir like), a Corbena Amarone, and a Lagrein (Northern Italian variety) create some curiosity value, but do not reach the quality of the other reviewed wines. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Taste Champagne

 Today, I participated for the first time since the start of the pandemic in a larger public tasting. It felt good to be back. It was Tyson Stelzer's juggernaut Taste Champagne. A few interesting grower Champagnes were missing, but Tyson managed to get about 40 houses to exhibit.

I found a comparison between Bollinger, Pol Roger, and Taittinger interesting. Bollinger has the brilliant fruit, Pol Roger showed more fruit weight and lees character. Taittinger was the most elegant of the three, with very fine mousse. I also enjoyed the mouthfeel of the Louis Roederer Vintage Brut 2013. But the best wine was the Millésime Vintage Brut 2012 from Charles Heidsieck; very fine, with great depth and some toast, yet refreshing.


Friday, February 18, 2022

Chateau Léoville-Barton

 There was a concern that the warm 2003 vintage in Bordeaux would deliver overripe wines with limited ageing potential. A few posts ago I reviewed the gorgeous Lafite-Rothschild from that year, and now it is the turn of the 2003 Chateau-Léoville Barton. This is another enticing wine.

This wine is super aromatic and perfumed on the nose.

There is a huge depth of flavour on the palate; blackberry and dark cherry in particular, some tobacco as well. This is a very intense wine, but also elegant. The firm tannins deliver a nice counterpoint. There is an x factor all the way, including a long finish. I loved this wine.

Score: 97/+++

Friday, February 11, 2022

Rochford 400 Gradi Chardonnay

 Upping the ante with a sub $15/bottle wine from the Yarra Valley. The Gradi wine is a special Rochford release for the joint venture restaurant in the Yarra Valley with Melbourne's pizza king. And a pizza wine it is!

The 2019 Rochford 400 Gradi Chardonnay tastes of citrus and green apple. The flavours are light and a bit metallic. The acid tastes added. Overall, this is an acceptable quaffer, but not very harmonious.

Score: 84/--


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Domenica Nebbiolo Rosé

 It has been many years since I visited the Beechworth region. In those days, it was Giaconda, Sorrenberg, Savaterre, and Castagnia. It has always been a high quality region, but now, a number of newer wineries have joined in. One of them is Domenica - well, the winemaker is ex Giaconda.

Rosé is not a wine style I often report on, but when it is based on Nebbiolo, it attracts my interest. This is because the rose petal notes so suit Rosé.

The 2020 Domenica Nebbiolo Rosé displays an attractive salmon pink colour, as shown above. There is an attractive mix of orange peel, red cherry and musk on the palate. The attractive acidity leads to a dry and refreshing finish. This Rosé delivers a good balance of lightness and seriousness.

Score: 88/+

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Tyrrell's Hunter Valley Chardonnay

 Most people would look to the Yarra Valley when it comes to value for money Chardonnay. And it is unlikely you would think of the Hunter Valley. However, Tyrrell's is one of the great Chardonnay producers of Australia.

A couple of days ago, I drank the 2020 Tyrrell's Hunter Valley Chardonnay. Now there is a red flag going up. This is the year of the terrible bush fires, and they were close to the Hunter. Bruce Tyrrell was very vocal of not picking quite a few vineyards because of smoke taint. The good news: there is absolutely no smoke taint in this wine.

The wine was matured for six months in old and new barriques. This Chardonnay generates a very pleasant mouthfeel with citrus, pineapple, and a mild vanilla influence. The wine is not overly complex, but has some persistence. It has more body than a Yarra wine of similar price point, and a little less acidity.

I highly recommend this wine, which can be found for close to $20 per bottle. It should be drunk in the next couple of years.

Score: 90/++ 

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon

 The Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon lives in the shadow of Cullen and Moss Wood, but in some years it soars to significant heights. The 2014 Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon is such a wine.

There is a typical style to this wine, which makes it immediately recognizable as Cape Mentelle. It is blackcurrant and mocca. These flavours are beautifully integrated. The wine has elegance, but also grit, with fine grained tannins. The slightly 'dirty' finish does not detract from the overall impression.

At eight years, this wine drinks well now and has many years of satisfying drinking ahead.

Score: 96/+++ 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Bottle Shock and Air Flow

 This article is about chemistry, and I easily admit I understand nothing about it.

Normally, when I buy wine or get it delivered, I would not drink the wine for some time. It goes into the cellar. But a little while ago, I tried this white wine immediately, and it was not like I expected it. It felt unbalanced and unsettled. When I drank another bottle some time later, it was balanced, with excellent texture. You sometimes hear wine merchants saying, let the wine settle before you open it. Apparently the molecules of the wine get disturbed in transport (science people, help me out here), get mashed up, and need time to regroup.

Something similar happens when you decant wine. Most of the time, I see people simply dumping a bottle of wine into a decanter. Yes, the wine gets aerated, but again, the molecules get disturbed. Please use a funnel when you decant, and make sure the wine flows along the glass into the decanter. This is also why Riedel has come up with these strangely twisted decanters. It helps air flow without shocking the wine.

Sometimes you might open a bottle and do not have time to decant, but you wished you should have. There are devices which help in this situation. As you pour the wine, it gets exposed to some aggressive

airflow. I have used this device from time to time, but not on expensive bottles. Stephen Henschke advises strongly against using this, again because of the disturbance which occurs in the wine.

I would appreciate, if somebody could shed some light on this topic with more of a scientific background.