Archive for April, 2013


Spitting: Optional

Barwang Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Mid-full bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: Hilltops, NSW


Overview: It’s not easy being green… This week I tasted the wine in this review and another Cabernet Sauvignon dominant wine that was twice the price of the Barwang Cabernet and reminded me of how divisive Cabernet Sauvignon can be. The more expensive wine was a 2005, well awarded (in its youth) but the aging process had not been kind to this poor senior. The reason was the ‘green’ character that causes many an argument between wine writers and show judges. This ‘green’ edge may have been less apparent when the wine was young, masked by youthful Cabernet characters but as those bright flavours have dropped away with age all that is left is a sappy, bitter wine, best served to people you don’t really like but insist on inviting you over for dinner parties.

In comparison the Barwang had a pleasant leafiness which added to the elegance of the wine but did not stray into the ‘green’ realm and displayed far more finesse than the more expensive wine. That being said the Barwang would be best enjoyed over the next 1-2 years, don’t bother with cellaring.


Tasting note: A nose of plum and blackberry, these two characters feature also on the palate with a touch of cassis and menthol complimented by fine tannins. Overall the palate is very elegant, and refined due to the cool-climate influences of the Hilltops.


Final Say: Leafy but not green, this wine has escaped Kermit’s curse. The price of this wine differs greatly; I’ve seen it as cheap as $11.99 and as dear as $18 a bottle.


Score: 17 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on


Spitting: Optional

M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Blanc 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Un-oaked White

Country: France

Region: Luberon, Rhone Valley


Overview: This white from Luberon in the Rhone Valley is a ménage à trois of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and Ugni Blanc (also known as Trebbiano). Sounds sexy, huh? Well it is, especially for the price. As with many European wines this wine displays great texture. This texture is often obtained by ‘lees’ contact. Lees is the dead yeast and other particles that drop out of solution from the wine after fermentation. There are two types of lees, Gross Lees (yucky, as the name suggests and is sometimes known and Heavy Lees) and Clean or Fine Lees. Clean or Fine Lees can be used to stir through white wine to give the wine texture and a complex nuttiness. This process is known as Lees Stirring (der) or Sur lie which means ‘on lees’.

So there you have it, not only does yeast excrete in your wine to create alcohol (its far more complex than that but I’ll leave you with that image) but after its dead its corpse can be stirred through it by a sadistic winemaker. Poor yeast.


Tasting note: Elegant aromas of talc, white flowers and almonds. A refined, classy palate including characters of white nectarine, talc and jasmine. Finishes with clean acidity. The texture added via lees stirring makes this a great food wine.


Final Say: $13 bucks a bottle! Need I say more?

Score: 17.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on

Barone Chianti

Spitting: Optional

Barone Ricasoli Chianti 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Medium bodied red

Country: Italy

Region: Chianti


Overview: While this wine lacks some of the complexity that other Chianti’s have it is a great introduction to the variety Sangiovese and Chianti as a wine. It can also be said that in life sometimes all you need is the simple things. That being said you do not often hear anyone saying that they need Paris Hilton or Brynne Edelsten, other than those seeking mental euthanasia. The fruit charecters are lifted and in your face and there is an under-ripe, ‘green’ character but with food this becomes imperceptible.

Overall it ticks all the boxes for the price point and is a pleasant, uncomplicated drink.


Tasting note: Great colour, vibrant ruby hues. A dusty nose with lifted cherry and flint. The fruit characters vie for attention on the palate, cherry, strawberry and rhubarb with light undertones of cinnamon and menthol. A touch under ripe but clever food matching will mask this.

Final Say: As mentioned, if you are looking for an introduction into Chianti than look no further. $25 a bottle.


Score: 16 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on


Spitting: Optional

Vinaceous ‘Divine Light’ Verdelho 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Un-oaked white

Country: Australia

Region: Margaret River, W.A


Overview: The packaging of this wine may be, let us say, garish (something that perhaps belongs on the hood of a car as a decal) and not to everyone’s taste but the wine in the bottle speaks for itself. As I’ve mentioned previously ‘V’ varieties can get a bit of a rough time in Australia, Verdelho being one of these. It is a Portuguese variety that can be quite rich but balanced by acid and citrus. The difference that Verdelho has to other ‘V’ varieties is that it was once popular in Australia. At the height of its popularity wines like the Moondah Brook Verdelho and Tullock Verdelho were jumping off the shelf.

What surprised me about this wine was its elegance and restraint, at odds with the labeling, which will make it a great food wine. ‘Divine Light’ may just be what Verdelho needs to this underrated variety.


Tasting note: A nose of green apple and straw. The green apple joins the palate, zesty with added characters of citrus and pineapple. There is a touch of creaminess there but is well balanced by fresh acidity


Final Say: Don’t let the label scare you, pick it up for around $20 a bottle (I have seen it cheaper, $10 a bottle through certain websites) and give it a try.


Score: 16.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on