Latest Wine Tasting Adventure - Wine Safari?
Weekends seem to bring with them the hope of amazing tasting experiences. I wonder why we can't pass that off during the week as well? Bit more acceptable to drink on weekends, possibly. This week's tastings hail from around Australia, and show a variety of grapes. What have I learned this week? Single vineyard wines are not necessarily better than blends, but they do show a single site 'identity' that you can't always get with a blend. Having said that, blends can give remarkable balance. I think I'm talking in circles now.
Villa Maria Single Vineyard Seddon Pinot Gris 2014
There’s some really interesting things happening to my nose when I smell this. Some of the roundness you associate with Pinot Gris, but more expansive. Flowers and fresh stone fruit on the nose meet spice on the palate. Off-dry nature of the wine makes it feel more mouth-filling than it otherwise might have been. It’s a little rotund in the middle but still clean and mouth-coating. Entirely guzzleworthy on a warm afternoon, but not without sophistication and finesse. Works with lemon meringue pie.
Screwcap, 13.5% alc. Drink to 2018. RRP $28.
Pirramimma Petit Verdot 2008
Hails from McLaren Vale, 2008 a warm vintage suiting this wine. I think it’s really fleshed it out. This was bottled in 2011 and so has had a good four years in bottle. The development has been gorgeous. Full, highly aromatic and, if possible, the fragrance expands in the mouth. There’s a good concentration of fruit and tannins almost entirely absorbed here. This is drinking like a hero at the moment. Supple vanillin from the American Oak really gives a mouth-watering effect to the wine. Dreamboat of a finish.
Screwcap, 14.5% alc. Drink to 2020. RRP around $28.
Bellevue Estate Shiraz 2013
Good vintage in McLaren Vale – doesn’t help that ’12 was such a showstopper. When I had the 2012, you could smell the aromatics from a fair distance. With this wine, the aromatics wrap their fingers around the back of your neck and pull you in. It’s got a clawing, magnetic effect. Supple and fragrant on the nose, almost a heady lushness. At first peppery and full-fruited in the mouth, with time in the glass the fruit really expresses itself in a bath of blue and black fruit. Sweet, round tannins are under control, and the acidity underscores a great structure. This wine should expand and lengthen in the coming years. It’s a different beast to 2012, but quality is still amazing. A steal at $20.
Screwcap, 14.5% alc. Drink to 2030. RRP $19.
House of Arras E. J. Carr Late Disgorged 2002
I have previously reviewed this wine at the Effervescence Sparkling Festival at Josef Chromy winery in Relbia, Tasmania. Back then I scored it very highly. The website actually tells me that Arras recommend drinking this within two years of release. It’s not hard to see why. The wine has advanced since I tasted it in November 2014, and now has a strongly defined leatherwood honey scent and taste. The subtle lime, brown sugar, and bready, toasty notes are all still there, and have somewhat fattened a little over the last months. What hasn’t diminished is the explosive aromas that follow through on the taste, where they expand and fill every crevasse. I have never had a wine whose aromas expand in the mouth and lengthen the finish of the wine so considerably. This is still a great wine – as great as it was when I first tasted it, but different now. It is rounder, more mature, and but still there is a b-line of acids, flavour, texture and awesomeness. Hail this wine and hail Ed Carr.
Cork, 13.5% alc, Drink now. RRP $140-$150.
Penfold’s Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2012
Previously tasted this upon release, and at that point I thought the wine was a bit closed. Tasting it this week changed my mind. It has certainly grown over 8 or 9 months since I tasted it – just goes to show how wines evolve in bottle, and the ups and downs they go through. Shows beautiful aromas, as well as some undergrowth, but overall good crystal clear raspberry. Plums and cherries, and some purplish characters. This really fills out in the mouth. It has the bones to be an even more expansive wine, methinks. Gentle tannin and no signs of heat on the finish. Despite a lower acidity feel, the wine doesn’t feel fat – the words I would use are pure and restrained. With another few years this should be flowing tremendously.
Screwcap, 14.5% alc, Drink now-2025, RRP around $38.