Latest Round-the-country Tasting Notes
Tasting reds and whites in the same session can be a bit of a puzzle at times. Your brain tends to get mixed up, and sometimes looks for flavours that don’t belong in the wine you’re tasting. Fizzy water, a bit of fresh air, a room with no interfering smells generally sets you right! The wines I tasted in this session vary in price, appeal, youthfulness and marketing. The most impressive reds were South Australian, the most impressive white Tasmanian. This reinforces the spiritual home of Australian Shiraz in South Australia, and the emerging home of Chardonnay in Tasmania. All wines tasted non-blind, price in AUD and alcohol content provided where possible.
Pewsey Vale Riesling 2014, RRP $20, 12% alc
Riesling from the Eden Valley. Aromas of soft florals and zest, and hints of these interesting notes come through on the palate. There’s a good line of acid but I think it just needed a little more guts. It has the beginnings of a wine that balances box-ticking flavours with development potential, and I could be proven wrong in a few years in regard to my first opinion.
Vinoptima Bond Road Gewurztraminer 2009, RRP $45, 14% alc
‘Potentially the world’s best Gewurztraminer’ the website claims, and from one point of view, I can see what they’re getting at. From a vineyard in the Gisborne area, on the east coast of NZ’s North Island. The Vinoptima Reserve has many claims to fame, and the Bond Road is a new line. There is a clean and attractive nose, and good fruit weight on the palate. I did indeed picture guzzling this whilst dining out on pork dumplings. The age has shown nice development on this wine, and it is showing really nicely now. The wine finished really quite sour, which put a dampener on an otherwise tasty wine.
Longview Red Bucket Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2014, RRP $17, Alc 11.5%
67% Semillon, 33% Sauvignon Blanc. The Semillon definitely serves up the bulk of the flavour in this wine, the Sauvignon feeling like it takes a bit of a free ride. A crisp, clean and uncomplicated wine that won’t cause too much of a fuss, but might do well on a hot afternoon with prawns.
Serafino Goose Island Sauvignon Blanc 2015, RRP $19, 12% alc.
One that will please lovers of mid-week whites. Sourced from Adelaide Hills and showing gentle characteristics of a slightly cooler growing climate. It’s an easy and straight-forward wine – it pretty much delivers what it’s expected to deliver, but is also quite light and edgy. A solid buy.
Nocton N1 Chardonnay 2012, RRP $31
From Tasmania’s Coal River Valley, a premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing region, 2012 also a fantastic year in this region, as with most of Tassie. Lovely barrel ferment notes on the nose – really seductive thing. Colour is great too, still showing young. There’s a problem. The palate just, just doesn’t deliver what the nose offers. I willed it to be a little more complex and lingering than it was. Nevertheless a strong effort, but this price bracket is competitive.
Jim Barry ‘Barry Bros’ Shiraz Cabernet 2013, RRP $19, 14% alc.
From the Clare Valley. Juicy and forward nose, envelopes and swirls around. Typical blackberry and blackcurrant flavours, with some blueberry and vanillin oak flavour. Tannins are fine and that makes this wine very more-ish. Finishes savoury but that doesn’t put a blemish on a spotless and tidy wine.
Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’ Cabernet Shiraz 2012, RRP $19, 13.5% alc.
Anyone who caught my blog on the 2010 ‘The Scribbler’ will know much I enjoyed that wine, and I gave it 94 points. I had expectations for this wine, especially given the fantastic vintage. It’s again quite dense and complex, but lacks the oomph and X-factor that helped the 2010 punch above its weight. In saying that, give me this wine with a steak and chips and I wouldn’t be complaining. Tannins round and bold, quite a lengthy finish to wash down your Rib Eye.
Longview Yakka Shiraz 2012, RRP $23, 14.4% alc.
Shiraz from the Adelaide Hills, in a fantastic year for the region. Dark colour but the brooding colour and nose don’t overwhelm the taste of the wine. Swish dark chocolate and coffee flavours gathered on top of the warm and perfectly-used oak. Great finish, and is inches away from being really top notch. For this price, you have to give it a try.
Longview Devil’s Elbow Cabernet 2012, RRP $23, 14.5% alc.
Has won a swag of medals and awards, from the same region as the Yakka Shiraz. A solid 20 months in French oak barriques has done wonders for this wine. Slightly atypical of the standard varietal flavours, and shows some minty spicy notes I don’t generally associate with this type of Cabernet. Whatever they’re doing at Longview, they’re generating great value for money. Will develop in the cellar, and I’ve added the + to show that.
Longview Nebbiolo Riserva 2012, RRP $45, 14.1% alc.
The first vintage Nebbiolo made here in five years, showing the strength of the long, mild growing season. Can I just say, beautiful bottle design. Apart from that, the most important part – the wine – shows beautifully. A rustic charm that you get from most Italian red grapes, and has bedded down beautifully in South Australia. Cherries and roses do show through, and the wine has a very smooth and curvaceous texture. Fantastic balance here and gorgeous tannins.
Longview ‘The Piece’ Shiraz 2010, RRP $65, 13.5% alc.
Dense and solid colour purple-black colour. This wine is very youthful, but is already showing like a star. I shudder to think how it will look in 10 years. Again, varietal flavours combine with piercing atypical flavours that intermingle in a great way. Cherries and blueberries definitely show through, and the tannin structure confirms the long cellaring needed to show the true brilliance here. Drink now for a taste of heaven, but you will regret not letting it cellar.
Grant Burge Hillcot Merlot 2012, RRP $20, 14% alc.
Rich and pleasing nose and palate, actually a very good Merlot for this price. Finishes slightly short, that being my only drawback to a good value wine. Great colour, clearly defined flavours and all Merlot-y. Oak shines its dim light through the quality fruit, leaving lovely traces of vanilla.
Grant Burge Cameron Vale Cabernet, RRP $23, 14% alc.
Strong cabernet, at a great value price. Varietal blackcurrant and black fruits. With Grant Burge wines, you always get a clearly defined package and a pleasing end product. This is a no-nonsense wine that should sit on your table a couple of nights of the week. Palate structure is great, tannins healthy and not overpowering, and cracking value for the vintage.
Grant Burge Holy Trinity GSM 2011, RRP $32, 14% alc.
The word for this is elegance. In my scrawling, incomprehensible handwriting, I’ve written what I think is ‘Tannins wonderful!’. You tend to get a great concoction of pepper, velvet, and smooth yet rustic flavours with GSMs. This has the velvet and the rusticity but packages it in such an impressive, elegant bundle. Shame the year was a little wetter than usual, but this wine shows barely a sign of it. It’s a medium-volume impression of a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, for a great price. I couldn’t help being hugely impressed.
Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2012, RRP $40, 14.5% alc.
Every bit the Old Vine Shiraz. Called ‘Meshach’s younger brother’ in tribute to the winery’s flagship wine, the Filsell is an impressive effort. The dark and blue fruits of Shiraz combine but it’s the colour notes that punch the most. It is aromatic and fragrant at the same time as sloshing it around the mouth. Strangely not as impressed as I wanted to be.
Serafino ‘Sharktooth’ Shiraz 2009, RRP $70, 14% alc.
Full-bodied and intense, but the tannins have ever-so-slightly begun to integrate. There is a great fruit intensity and length here, but the earthy brilliance is topped by the insistent fruit power. The fruit flavours are black, but propped up by good use of oak. At 6 years, it’s very good now.
Nocton N1 Pinot Noir, RRP $39, 13.8% alc.
Dark and looks intimidating. Has a solid wall of flavour, but the wall is not as decorated with nuance as I would like. There is a good amount of complexity coming through in terms of coffee and dark flavours, but it seems a little hefty at this point of its life. The palate will fill out with time. Wait five years.