Posts Tagged ‘Australian Wine’

Rock3

Spitting: Optional

Frankland Estate ‘Rocky Gully’ Riesling 2012

Vintage: 2012

Style: Dry white

Country: Australia

Region: Frankland River, WA

 

Overview:       Short and sweet this week, the blog that is, not the wine.

The Frankland River in Western Australia has been overshadowed by the better known Riesling regions such as the Eden and Clare Valleys. However, you only need to look at wines like this one to see that the Frankland River deserves to be recognized as a great Australian Riesling region. This wine is typically elegant, dry with subtle fruit and minerality. Criminal at this price.

It’s not just about the Valleys.

 

Tasting note: Elegant nose, aromas of Granny Smith apples and talc. All the usual characters on the palate, typical Riesling flavours of lime juice, sherbet and stone-like minerality. Bone dry with great length and fruit purity.

 

Final Say: A guaranteed winner to stave off spontaneous combustion in this heat. $13-$18 a bottle. Great for seafood, light chicken dishes or just on its own.

 

Score: 17.5 out of 20

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

 

 

Spitting: Optional

Brand’s Laira Cabernet Merlot 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Full bodied red

Country: Australia 

Region: Coonawarra 

Overview: Cabernet Sauvignon is frequently referred to as a ‘doughnut’ variety. Why? It’s not because it’s sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or because it is responsible for overweight men of authority but because when it is made into a single variety wine there is often something missing, a hole in the palate. This ‘hole’ needs to be filled in with something. In Bordeaux, France this is filled with the variety Merlot. On the left bank of Bordeaux Merlot is actually the dominate variety.

There is often the perception that Merlot is a one-dimensional, wishy-washy wine that’s good for nothing other than staining the drain with tannin and while this might be true for a lot of the cheap Merlot produced in Australia the fact is that any variety can be made as a one-dimensional, wishy-washy style. When made in a serious manner Merlot displays savoury spice and rich berry characters.

This Cabernet Merlot is quintessentially Australian in style, punchy, oaky, fruit driven and tannic enough to stain your teeth for a week. A good one to put in the cellar for 5 years or so.

Tasting note: Lifted aromas of dark cherry, plum and ground coffee tones. The more delicate cherry characters on the nose give way to plum and blackberries on the palate. Liberal contact with oak has imparted cedar flavours and finishes with a touch of menthol and chewy tannins.

Final Say: Normally sells for $17 a bottle, it’s probably a little young at the moment but will be looking good in 3-5 years’ time.

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

 

 

Spitting: Optional

Hoddles Creek Chardonnay 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Oaked whites

Country: Australia 

Region: Yarra Valley 

Overview: Australian Chardonnay is clawing way back from its shame days of being heavily oaked and taken to far in the malolactic fermentation (the result of which makes the wine buttery rather than creamy). The region trail blazing our resurgence with elegant, well balanced Chardonnay is the Yarra Valley. The cooler climate retains those refined citrus flavours and careful oaking has made way for our New Order of Chardonnay.

As I have said before, Chardonnay will never be as popular as it once was because it’s a food wine not a throw-down-your-gullet-on-a-hot-afternoon-wine and believe me that is a good thing.

As is typical of the Yarra this wine has a great minerality to it making it more delicate than Chardonnay from warmer climates like the Hunter and Margaret River. Some people may still like the punch-in-the-face style of Chardonnay but this wine will convert them. Trust me.

PS: I am aware that minerality is not a real word, it’s been made up by winos to describe characters like talc, flint and chalk. Why? Because we can. Gootely Verab all (wino speak for ‘happy drinking all’- well not really, I’m just making words up for the sake of it now, ‘cause I’m a wino.)

Tasting note: Aromas of citrus, brioche and soft oak tones on the nose. Flavours of grapefruit, white fleshed nectarine and talc. The oak is subtle, elegant and nicely integrated. The finish is flinty and clean.

Final Say: If you haven’t tried Chardonnay in a while or absolutely love Chardonnay like me give this classy drop a try. You’ll pick it up for $20 a bottle, great buy.

 

Score: 18.5 out of 20 (93/100)

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Image

Spitting: Optional

Castle Rock Estate Riesling 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia 

Region: Great Southern, WA 

Overview When asked what my favourite wine is I always reply with ‘It depends on the food I’m having.” I believe that I do not give into favouritism but my partner will disagree and my cellar would support this argument. Riesling is definitely the most prominent variety in my collection of white wines yet in the market place this variety does not share the popularity that it has in this house. When you ask someone in the industry what wine they think will overtake the behemoth Sauvignon Blanc most will answer, “Hopefully Riesling but probably Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay.”

Riesling is the darling variety for people in the industry, we all love it and are frustrated by the fact that the wider market place refuses to embrace this wonderful grape. Perhaps it’s like a maternal/paternal instinct, that we want to nurture the underdog, we want to see it succeed!

In the industry we’ve recently seen winemakers experimenting with Riesling, trialling barrel ferments, wild ferments and lees stirring but I have always found that it is the purity of Riesling that makes it so appealing. Which brings me to this wine. So pure it is that it should not be called Castle Rock Riesling but The Virgin Mother Riesling.

 

Tasting note: Aromas of lime and granny smith apples, these characters are evident on the palate also and are joined by a saltiness and clean, austere minerality. The racy acid on the finish keeps this wine lingering for long after each sip.

            .

Final Say: So pure it’s holy. A great buy for $20 a bottle. Will develop over the next 2-6 years.

 

Score: 18.5 out of 20 (93 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

De Bortoli Windy Peak Chardonnay 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry, oaked white

Country: Australia 

Region: Yarra Valley 

Overview:

A little goes a long, long way. Less is more. Brilliance in simplicity. KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. This wine shows the truth in all these sayings. We all know that the more we try to dress something up the worse it can end up. The same can be said about winemaking. If you have great fruit then you don’t have to do much to it to make a great wine. Each time a winemaker practices a winemaking technique like oak contact or lees stirring etc it effects the natural fruit of a wine. This wine has just enough oak to give it complexity and just enough minerality to make it elegant. The key word is balance. This wine stands in the middle of the see-saw without tipping too far over into either side.

Are we seeing a resurgence in popularity of Chardonnay? To an extent yes but I do not believe that Chardonnay will ever steal the top spot from varieties like Sauvignon Blanc. This is not a bad thing. You see, Chardonnay is a diverse variety and echoes climate and winemaking more so than those simple fruit-driven styles which means each Chardonnay you drink will be different. This is great for serious wine drinkers but for those drinkers who like Sauv Blanc like the fact that they can buy two different Sauv Blanc’s and they will display similar characters. What is great to know is that there are wines like this one that are priced to appeal to a wider market  and show how great Chardonnay can be without costing the earth.

Tasting note:

            Freshly cut grapefruit aromas mingle with subtle, toasty oak. Nice level of ripeness on the palate, peach, grapefruit and honeydew melon with a lingering saltiness. Clean and fresh.

 

Final Say: Great value, great wine. A steal at $14, on special it gets as low as $11.

 

Score: 17 out of 20

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Vermentino 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia 

Region: South Australia 

Overview:

Welcome to part 2 of the odyssey into grape varieties starting with ‘V’. I’m sure part 1(http://spittingoptional.com/2012/07/17/martinsancho-verdejo-2010/) had your head swimming with plot twists and elaborate storytelling.

There are only around 50 Australian wineries that grow and produce Vermentino making it relatively unknown in Australia. It’s an Italian variety that can sometimes be a little bland. I haven’t tried too many Australian examples of this wine (Brown Brothers, Serafino and Fox Creek to name a few) and this wine, the Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Vermentino, is probably the best example I’ve seen of Australian’s handling this grape, and guess what? It’s the cheapest as well. I was actually taken aback by how good this wine is and how little it cost.

It has the elegance and varietal character of a wine three times its price. Sadly, the price point may mean that it is overlooked by many serious wine drinkers but trust me on this, flip yourself the ‘V’ tonight and give this wine ago. You won’t even notice the money is missing and there’s a fair chance you’ll buy some more.

 

Tasting note: An herbaceous nose with hints of stone fruit. A fresh, lively palate. Rich with nuances of stone fruit, jasmine flowers and talc. It finishes with a salty, briny acid. Begs to be enjoyed with seafood.

 

Final Say: I’ve said it all already all that is left is for you to try it. It sells for $11-$15

Score: 17 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock Tempranillo 2009

Vintage: 2009

Style: Mid to full bodied red

Country: Australia 

Region: Adelaide Hills  

 

Overview: Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while now will know that I’m a big fan of Mediterranean wines and Mediterranean varieties. Tempranillo is one of the varieties I have a lot of love for. I can tell you a whole lot of facts about the grape such as ‘temprano’ in Spanish, Tempranillo being native to Spain, means ‘early’ which refers to the early ripening of the Tempranillo grape. I can also tell you that the roots of Tempranillo have the capacity to absorb potassium easily which helps balance the PH levels in the grape’s skin and flesh. However, if too much potassium is absorbed there is the risk of the fruit becoming salified (increased levels of salt) which interferes with the malic acid, letting it hang around for longer which is something you don’t want in a red wine. I can keep going but guess what?  I know you could care less (unless you’re some painful wine geek like me) so here is all you need to know:

  • It can be made vibrant and youthful with little oak contact
  • It can be matured in oak for added complexity
  • It can be elegant or robust, depending on the climate
  • It’s a great food wine
  • It grows really will in Australia
  • More people should drink it.

So there you go. The Adelaide Hills, much like the King Valley, have long been pioneers for the Mediterranean varieties and critics have been pretty tough on them. I for one love what they are doing. Keep it up! ß A threat, not encouragement.

Tasting note: Typically Tempranillo on the nose, ripe cherry, earthy and a touch of game. A rich palate, the cherry characters verge on becoming plum-like, nice spice- subtle pepper. Chewy tannins and a clean, pleasant finish.

Final Say: A relatively new variety in Australia but with wines like the Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock the future is looking bright. You can pick it up for $25.

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

 

Spitting: Optional

Coriole Fiano 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia 

Region: Mclaren Vale

 

Overview: In Australia the white wines considered to be ‘serious’ wines are Chardonnay, Riesling and Semillon. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, while popular, are not considered ‘serious’ merely necessary for more people are looking for an ‘everyday drink’ rather than a ‘serious’ drink. I am generalizing here; this is not always the case. So we’ve got a handful of white wines that make up the volume of bottled table wine in Australia  but what about those other varieties that are planted here that make ‘serious’ wines in their home countries and barely get a look in here? Varieties such as Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne, Pinot Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Savagnin, Verdelho, Chenin Blanc and Fiano. Do they get a fair go? No, they get called ‘alternate’ varieties and suffer low sales figures. Do they get a fair look in at wine shows? Up until 5 years ago I would say no. Do these varieties require a champion? Yes! Should it be me? No, it’s too much work… Just kidding, I’ll champion these wines to anyone who will listen to me.

I’m here to tell you that these wines can be seriously good, if they are made the right way. If they are made as the way they are traditionally treated they’ll achieve greatness. If, instead they are manhandled and forced into an Australian style of wine then, well, they’re going to make a pretty shit wine.

Fiano is an Italian variety and roughly 33 vineyards have it planted in Australia and fewer still make it into a straight, varietal wine. The Coriole Fiano is probably the most recognized Australian Fiano, and has won a trophy at the Mclaren Vale wine show.

Had I tasted this wine in a blind line up I would have thought it was Italian, through and through, even knowing that it was from Australia I had my doubts that it was local… Thus the final comments of my tasting notes read “F@#King classy”.

 

Tasting note: Straw, stone fruit and subtle perfumed nuances on the nose. A palate that is rich yet delicate, sandalwood, nectarine, spice, talc and perfumed white flower characters. Good texture and acid. F@#king classy.

 

Final Say: Stop my rant and just buy it, a truly great wine for $20. I will now step off my soapbox before someone throws a bucket of water over me like a yowling, feral cat.

 

Score: 18.5 out of 20 (93 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

 

Image

Spitting: Optional

Henry’s Drive Vignerons Dead Letter Office Shiraz 2007

Vintage: 2007

Style: Full-bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: McLaren Vale/Padthaway

 

Overview: Shiraz is planted in just about every wine region in Australia. Why? Well Shiraz would grow in your gutters if you planted it there. It adapts well to different climates and is uniquely expressive of each region it is grown in. Cool climate you gives you blueberry and white pepper characters. Moderate climates give you raspberry and spice and warm climates give you blackberry, black pepper and concentrated fruit.

It used to be that the warm climate, South Australian; Shiraz was the work horse of the Australian wine industry. With high alcohol, due to warmer ripening conditions and massive tannins these wines appealed to people who liked to be smashed in the face with flavour. Recently we’ve seen winemakers tone back these wines and are going for a more elegant style. You see, people realized wine is supposed to compliment food whereas this massive styles dominate food, bully that they are. This wine from Henry’s Drive Vignerons is on the cusp, full-bodied with lots of concentrated fruit and liberal oak use but elegant on the finish.

 

Tasting note: Quite oaky on the nose, cedar characters dominate. Subtle scents of menthol and blackberry soon escape the oak overlord. The oak stands out on the palate also, cedar again but the fruit is more expressive on the palate than the nose, blackberry jam and licorice. Full bodied.

Final Say: Like a Shiraz with gusto? Give this a try, not a style I would drink all the time but it does have its place within the cellar. You can pick it up for around $20 a bottle.

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20 (83 out of 100)

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

Delatite Riesling 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry white

Country: Australia

Region: Central Victoria

 

Overview: What are Biodynamic wines? This is a question I am often asked. It is a question that is harder to answer than you would believe. Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that relies upon the relationship between soil, plant, animals and sustainable farming.

For a winery to label their wines as Biodynamic they must follow guidelines that were defined by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. These guidelines seem archaic but have had great benefits for those who follow them. Biodynamic wineries do not spray chemicals such as Fungicides and Insecticides. Fertilizers must be from organic origins. Instead they follow the practices set by Rudolf Steiner which include burying cow manure in a cow’s horn in soil over winter. The horn is dug up after winter and the manure is mixed with water and sprayed on the vineyard soil as a liquid fertilizer. They also advise that Chamomile flowers must be sheathed in a cow’s intestine, hung in the summer sun and then buried in the ground over winter and then dug up in spring. The flowers are to be extracted from the intestines and incorporated into compost used for fertilizing. No I’m not joking. Google the guidelines, they’re fascinating.

Delatite are a Biodynamic producer that also believe in minimalistic winemaking practices to ensure that their fruit and the wines they make display the most pure characteristics they can.

 

Tasting note: Pale in colour. A nose of delicate citrus. The palate speaks of citrus, orange blossom and green apple. There is a tiny touch of sweetness on the palate also but this balances the racy acid on the finish.

 

Final Say: I guess you could sum up Biodynamic farming as a holistic approach to the production of wine. One that leaves the winemaker with fruit that is untouched by chemicals. Fruit in its most pristine form? I’ll let you judge that one. This Riesling sells for around $20 a bottle and is one of my favourite Aussie Rieslings.  

 

Score: 17.5 out of 20 (88 out of 100) Freakin’ Awesome

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis