Posts Tagged ‘red wine’

Spitting: Optional

Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti

Vintage: 2009

Style: Medium red

Country: Italy

Region: Tuscany

 

Overview: Sangiovese may be a variety that is relatively new to Australian grape grower but it a variety that has been used in the old world for a very long time. Its prolific use dates all the way back to the 16th century and its origins reach back even further.

I see its name often tease the Australian consumer who has never heard of it before, firstly it taunts them with the pronunciation of its name. My favourite attempt at sounding out its name has been ‘sag-nee-o-vay-see’, apparently the order of the letters has no importance in this case. Often when presented with a lovely Sangiovese I see the consumer’s face drop and they look to the fool presenting it to them with a look on their face that says ‘well you tell me how to say it, smart@#$%’. To help the consumer associate the variety with something they may know the presenter says, ‘Sangiovese is the predominate variety used for making Chianti’. Finally, a light of recognition, the consumers face lights up and they say, ‘So it’s sweet?”… NO! NO ITS NOT SWEET!!!!!! Damn the cheap imports that came through a decade an ago. Damn those sweetened reds, packaged in bulbous bottles and a straw cage. These sweet, cheap reds did what Blue Nun did to Riesling.

It may sound like I am a little to invested in this but it is a personal pet hate of mine. Sangiovese is savoury, spicy and complex just as the wine in this review is, a great example of what Sangiovese and Chianti has to offer.

 

Tasting note: A spicy nose, pepper and cedar. Sour cherry on the palate joined by the spice mentioned on the nose, cinnamon and other savoury spices. Soft tannins and a great length on that allows the wine to linger after each sip.

Final Say: Help me dispel the myth! Go out and try this, savoury, complex wine. Enjoy with lighter red meat dishes. It sells for around $35 a bottle. PS, please pronounce San-gio-vee-se

 

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

 

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Jack Davis

 

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Willunga 100 Grenache 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Medium to full bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: McLaren Vale

 

Overview: It could be said that if Grenache was a person it would be a shy individual. It is known to lend courage from its two buddies Shiraz and Mourvedre to deliver flavour and personality. While Grenache does shine when these two friends are about it is a very versatile variety on its own. It can make a fruit driven rosé. It can make a soft, aromatic red and it can make a rich, full bodied red. The Willunga 100 Grenache is one of those rich, full bodied red, spicy and addictive.

Grenache, I have found, is a wine perfectly matched with exhaustion. After a long, busy, taxing day I stumbled home in need of a drink and with no beer in the fridge I pulled a bottle of this Grenache from my collection. This Grenache made me feel like Popeye slamming down a can of spinach. Its vibrant flavours and rich complexities had me refreshed and ready for action, for at least five minutes…        

 

Tasting note: A bouquet of cherries, strawberry and rich spice. The palate is chocolate like in its richness and velvety mouth-feel. Flavours of dark cherry and soft strawberry are complimented by chewy tannins. It lingers on the palate long after each sip.

Final Say: This wine is great value, sells for between $17 and $20 dollars. It’s incredibly addictive; I found myself just wanting more, I actually felt panicked when the possibility hit me that this vintage might be sold out and I wouldn’t be able to get anymore… I seriously considered calling in some favours.

 

Score: 18 out of 20 (90 out of 100)

 

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Jack Davis

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Pierre Amadieu Roulepierre Côtes Du Rhône 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Medium to full bodied red

Country: France

Region: Rhône Valley

 

Overview: Winter is coming. Not only is this a line from a popular TV series/novel but it also speaks of my recent wine selections. There is nothing better than a hearty meal and a full bodied red as the temperature drops which is why I always find my hand closing around wines from the Rhône Valley at this time of year.

The Rhône Valley is broken into Northern Rhône and Southern Rhône. Northern Rhône is known for Syrah (Shiraz) and Syrah Viognier blends and Southern Rhône known for blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre being the predominate varieties, Carignan and Cinsault are added in smaller quantities. Both regions grow white varieties but we’ll save that for another blog.

The wine I am reviewing is a Southern Rhône wine which is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. This wine of velvety goodness represents one of the best value Rhône Valley wines I’ve tasted in a while. Fit for a King…

 

Tasting note: Aromas of raspberry, strawberry, violets and subtle pepper. This myriad of flavours joins the palate in balanced harmony with additional characters of blackberry and lifted spice. It’s velvety on the tongue and finishes with soft tannins.

Final Say: For $20 a bottle this wine is a must try, especially in the winter months. While I find the lifted, up-front characters this wine displays in its youth it will benefit from 3-4 years cellaring.

Score: 17.5 out of 20 (88 out of 100)

 

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Jack Davis

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Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2010

Country: New Zealand

Region: Central Otago

 

Overview: Welcome to volume 2 of the chronicles of Freddie Mercury the stinky, grumpy bunny. For volume 1 visit: http://spittingoptional.com/2012/03/22/cosmo-pinot-noir-2010/. As mentioned in my last Pinot Noir review some people struggle with Pinot Noir when they hear descriptors like game and forest floor. Truth is that Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile grape varieties; it can make a light, savoury, complex wine or a fuller, brooding style. It also one of the main varieties used for making sparkling wines and can make a great rosé.

It is also, I believe, the most romantic variety. Yeah, yeah, I can hear you groan and say ‘what a wanker’ but when you say the word Burgundy to even a wine novice they know of its greatness in the kingdom of wine. At least I hope that is the case, perhaps the reason their eyes light up is because they believe Burgundy is not the most famous wine made from Pinot Noir but the birth place of Jim Beam and Cola.

Taking cues from Burgundy, Central Otago have been making some highly commendable Pinot Noir in recent years and Mt Difficulty has been one of my favourite producers from the region.

Tasting note: Red fruit, game (aka smelly, grumpy bunny) and forest floor on the nose. A peppery palate supported by cherry characters, red fruit, game and finishes with a racy acid. Soft, silky tannins add to a velvety mouth-feel.

 

Final Say: Freddie Mercury the transgender bunny (she was bought as a he but turns out she’s a she) says buy this wine. It sells for around $30 a bottle. It’s a little bit lighter than the Estate Pinot Noir but great value.

 

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

 

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

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Jack Davis

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Delatite Riesling 2011

Region: Central Victoria, Australia

Tasting Note:

 

Almost clear in colour, citrus on the nose. A palate of citrus, orange blossom, green apple and a delicate acid.

 

Score: 17.5 out of 20 (88 out of 100)

 

Wood Park Wines Sparkling Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2009

Region: Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

 

Toasty nose. Yeasty characters on the palate, soft citrus fruit.

 

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

 

Wood Park Wines Meadow Creek Chardonnay 2010

Region: King Valley, Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

 

Older style, quite oaky with characters of butterscotch and peach.

 

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

 

Wood Park Wines Wild’s Gully Tempranillo 2010

 

Region: Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

 

Peppery nose with a palate of cherry and savoury spice. Lighter style

 

Score: 15.5 out of 20 (78 out of 100)

 

Wood Park Wines Kneebones’s Gap Shiraz 2006

 

Region: King Valley, Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

 

Nose and palate of plum and blackberry, softer tannins.

 

Score: 16 out of 20 (80 out of 100)

 

 

Wood Park Wines Cabernet Shiraz 2006

 

Region: King Valley, Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

 

Raspberry nose, red fruit on the palate. Nice tannin structure.

 

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

 

 

Brown Brothers Limited Release Prosecco 2011

 

Region: King Valley, Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

 

Light sparkling style. Apple and pear characters with a nice bead.

 

Score: 17 out of 20 (85 out of 100)

 

Brown Brothers Patricia Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut 2006

 

Region: King Valley, Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

Yeasty, brioche nose and palate with subtle citrus backbone.

 

Score: 18 out of 20 (90 out of 100)

 

Brown Brothers Limited Release Vermentino 2011

 

Region: Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

Talc nose, nice herbacousness, nice fresh style.

 

Score: 15.5 out of 20 (78 out of 100)

 

Brown Brothers Chenin Blanc 2011

 

Region: Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

Touch of sweetness, grassy and pear flavours.

 

Score: 16 out of 20 (80 out of 100)

 

Brown Brothers Limited Release Banksdale Chardonnay 2011

 

Region: King Valley, Victoria, Australia

 

Tasting Note:

Oaky nose, soft and complex. Quite Chablis like.

 

Score: 17 out of 20 (85 out of 100)

 

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

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

Jack Davis

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Spitting: Optional

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2010

Vintage: 2010

Country: Australia

Region: Hilltops, NSW

 

Overview: Finally, a Shiraz has entered Spitting: Optional’s midst. It’s not that I don’t like Shiraz, I quite enjoy it. The reason why I don’t drink a whole lot of it is because Shiraz is, normally, consistently good. I know that sounds strange but whenever I’ve tasted in a blind tasting the Shiraz bracket is always the largest and always the most consistent and I believe it is the imperfect things in life that make for the most interesting objects. What I’m trying to say is that if a winemaker has good Shiraz fruit than that translates into a good wine but because of this a lot of winemakers use minimal winemaking techniques when handling Shiraz which means the winemakers personality does not shine through when we are presented with a finished product. The other reason why I don’t drink a whole lot of Shiraz is that it’s just so popular and I am known to pull against the tides of popularity. For example you will never catch me reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or watching Harry Potter movies.

The great thing about Shiraz is that it’s so expressive. It displays the characters of where it is grown without even trying. This is what I had in my head when I tried the Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz. Typically a Hilltops Shiraz shows vibrant blueberry characters and white pepper. This what was I was expecting with the Clonakilla but found it far more complex and brooding than anything I’ve come across from this region before.

Tasting note: A nose of vanilla, blueberry and white pepper. The palate is a brooding mix of blackberry, blueberry, white pepper, rich chocolate and a nice flint like character. The soft tannins give this wine a silky mouth-feel.

 

Final Say: I let this wine decant for 6 hours before drinking just because of its youth but the nose was very expressive even when I first opened the bottle. It sells for around $28 a bottle and will make a great addition to the cellar. I’m a big fan of this Canberra based producer and they keep kicking some great goals.

 

Score: 18 out of 20 (90 out of 100)

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

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Jack Davis

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Tuck’s Ridge Turramurra Chardonnay 2009:

Region:Mornington Peninsula, Vic, Australia

Tasting note: A flinty nose with hints of line and subtle oak. Citrus, white nectarine and minerality on the palate. The oak is subtle and adds another dimension to the wine without being overpowering

Score: 18.5/20 (93 out of 100)

Querciabella Mongrana 2009 (Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon)

Region:Tuscany, Italy

Tasting note: Relatively simple and uncomplicated, nice red fruit characters and spice.

Score: 15.5/20 (77 out of 100)

Quiciabella Chianti Classico 2008

Region:Tuscany, Italy

Tasting note: Savoury spice, raspberry and delicate plum on the nose and palate. Quite floral.

Score: 17.5/20 (88 out of 100)

Querciabella Batar Chardonnay 2009

Region:Tuscany, Italy

Tasting note: Liberal oak contact, this oak dominates the nose. Very full on the palate with characters of peach and melon, the fruit notes are bold enough that the oak does not dominate the palate.

Score: 18/20 (90 out of 100)

Lungarotti Rosso di Torgiano DOC Rubesco 2007:

Region:Umbria, Italy

Tasting note: An elegant style, dusty on the palate and spicey.

Score: 16.5/20 (83 out of 100)

Lungarotti Rosso di Torgiano Riserva DOCG Rubesco 2005:

Region:Umbria, Italy

Tasting note: Aged characters are only just gracing the palate of this wine, smokey, tobacco palate with a great earthiness.

Score: 17.5/20 (88 out of 100)

Marchesi Alfieri La Tora Barbera d’Asti 2009:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: White pepper, blueberry complimented by soft tannins. Very floral

Score: 17.5/20 (88 out of 100)

Marchesi Alfieri ‘Alfiera’ Barbera d’Asti 2009:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: A little more brooding in style, it still has those lovely pepper tones but enters more the cherry and prune spectrum of fruit characters.

Score: 18.5/20 (93 out of 100)

Matteo Correggia Roero Arnies 2011:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: Lifted citrus tones on the nose and palate. Great texture and nutty flavours.

Score: 17/20 (85 out of 100)

Matteo Correggia Roero (Nebbiolo) 2009:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: Brambly characters, herbaceous with a good tannin structure.

Score: 16/20 (80 out of 100)

Matteo Correggia Barbera Bricco Marun 2009:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: Silky, velvety mouthfeel. Pepper, spice and sour cherry.

Score: 17/20 (85 out of 100)

Matteo Correggia Nebbiolo Val di Preti 2009:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: Raseberry, menthol, mint on the nose and palate, as expected with Nebbiolo it has a big tannin structure.

Score: 17.5/20 (88 out of 100)

Matteo Correggia Roche d’Ampsej (Nebbiolo) 2007:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: Vanillian oak on the nose, cherry and violets. Needs a good piece of salami to tone down the tannins.

Score: 18/20 (90 out of 100)

Forteto della Luja Loazzolo 2005:

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Tasting note: A dessert wine made from dried muscat grapes, very delicate, orange blossom and honey characters. Barely showing a hint of age.

Score: 19/20 (95 out of 100)

 

Knappstien Handpicked Riesling 2011:

Region:Clare Valley, SA, Australia

Tasting note: Straw, citrus, lime juice and racy acid. One of the better ’11’s I’ve tasted so far.

Score: 18/20 (90 out of 100)

Fowles Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2011:

Region:Strathbogie, Vic, Australia

Tasting note: Funky nose, palate of citrus, white nectarine and subtle oak.

Score: 18.5/20 (93 out of 100)

Fowles Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Merlot/Lagrein/Tempranillo 2010:

Region:Strathbogie, Vic, Australia

Tasting note: Mediterranean style, savoury spice and fine tannins.

Score: 17/20 (85 out of 100)

Fowles Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz 2010:

Region:Strathbogie, Vic, Australia

Tasting note: Holy white pepper! White pepper on the palate and nose but nicely rounded out by soft blueberry characters.

Score: 18.5/20 (93 out of 100)

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Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais-Villages

Vintage: 2009

Country: France

Region: Beaujolais

 

Overview: Beaujolais is by far one of my favourite styles of wine. If a masked gunman held a gun to my head and forced me to choose the one style of wine to drink for the rest of my days I would choose Beaujolais. It is a region that overlaps with Rhone and Burgundy but is considered separate from both. The grape used to produce Beaujolais is Gamay. I’m not sure if there is a word like onomatopoeia that, instead of meaning a word that sounds like it spelt, means it taste like it sounds, but for some odd reason I find that Gamay tastes like it sounds. I have created my on term called onomatosippa. Typical characters of Beaujolais are strawberries, pepper and strawberry yoghurt.

Beaujolais uses a winemaking technique called carbonic maceration, when harvested the grapes are poured into vats. Gravity causes the skins of the bottom third of the grapes to split and the juice ferments in the skins of the fruit. Carbon Dioxide, a by-product of the fermentation process, rises through the vat and permeates the skin of the unbroken grapes to create a ferment within the individual berries.

I’ve notice that there are people who vehemently hate Beaujolais, when I’ve probed for details I have discovered their only interaction with the style is Nouveau. Nouveau is released very young for ‘Beaujolais Nouveau Day’, which is a Beaujolais harvest festival of sorts, and is very light and supposed to be drunk as young as possible. Thus by the time a Nouveau Beaujolais reaches our shores it is past its prime.

The Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais in this review is a Village which sits between Nouveau and Grand Cru.

Tasting note: A nose of strawberry and white pepper, it is typically lighter in style with the characters of strawberry and white pepper as the dominate flavours on the palate and are joined by spice and soft tannins.  

 

Final Say: This is one of the best value Beaujolais’ I have tasted, you can pick it up for around $18 a bottle. It’s a light style and goes with a range of dishes from salads to pork and can be chilled.

 

Score: 17.5 out of 20 (88 out of 100) A damn good drop.

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

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Jack Davis

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Haselgrove First Cut Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Vintage: 2009

Country: Australia

Region: McLaren Vale, South Australia

 

Overview: For those who have been following my blog for a while now may notice my tendency towards International wines. This is simply because a lot, not all, but a lot of Australian Wine blogs cover more Australian wine than anything else and I am of the belief that there is a need for more coverage of international wines. After all Australia would not have a wine industry without the influence and guidance of the ‘Old world’ of wine. The ‘Old world’, in wino speak, includes France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Greece, though Grecian wines have been overshadowed by the rest of the ‘Old world’. These countries have been making wine for hundreds and thousands of years. The ‘New World’ of wine refers to Australia, USA, Chile, South Africa, Argentina and many other budding wine growing countries. Australia does not produce the best wines in the world but they do produce some of the best value wines in the world, just like the wine in this review.

Just as we, Australians, are new on the Winemaking scene so is Cabernet Sauvignon. When I say new I mean it was believed to be developed in the 17th century whereas the older varieties like Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc etc. can date all the way back to 500AD. Cabernet Sauvignon is a hybrid of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, that’s right a cross between a red and a white.

The Haselgrove First Cut (Primo Taglio) Cabernet Sauvignon is from the McLaren Vale, a warm region that produces great, full-bodied red wines.

 

Tasting note: A nose of plum, mint and tobacco. The palate is soft and smooth with characters of plum, blackberry and menthol with dry, grippy tannins. Drinking well now but will benefit from careful cellaring.

 

Final Say: This wine generally sells for around $16 a bottle but I have seen it as low as $14 so as I said this wine represents what Australia is known for, powerful, great value wines.

 

Score: 16 out of 20 a great drop for the price. (80 out of 100)

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

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Jack Davis

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Enrique Mendoza La Tremenda Monastrell D.O 2008

Vintage: 2008

Country: Spain

Region: Alicante  

 

Overview: What do Monastrell, Mourvedre and Mataro all have in common? Well they’re all the same variety only named differently. The variety is believed to originate from Spain where it is named Monastrell or Mataro. In France it is grown in the Rhone Valley, Languedoc and Roussilon where it is known as Mourvedre or Mataro. And what do we call it in Australia? Whatever we damn well please. Around the world it is typically used as a blending variety, commonly blended with Grenache, Shiraz and Cinsault however when done right it makes a very impressive wine on its own. It typically displays characters of blackberry, cherry, pepper and leather but can also be very aromatic; its nose alone can sometimes be its greatest asset. While the saying goes ‘take time to smell the roses’ I’d much rather ‘smell the Monastrell’.

With a name which sounds like a Latin pop star and his number one hit song this wine perfectly captures what I love about Monastrell. So without further ado I present to you Enrique Mendoza performing La Tremenda Monastrell.

Tasting note:

            A nose of cherry, leather and pepper, very fresh for a 2008. The palate is awash with characters of strawberry, cherry, spice and pepper. The tannin structure is great in this wine, nice and chewy and lingers in the mouth.

           

Final Say: Probably the wankiest tasting note I’ve written yet, so how about we rename it my Ode to Monastrell. It’s a great wine to try if you love your fuller bodied reds but want to try something a bit different. It sells for around $30 a bottle.

 

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

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

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Jack Davis

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