Review: What have you been drinking lately?
What have you been drinking lately? Feel free to let me know in the comments, or on Instagram (daveistic) or Twitter (@Winebott)!
I’ve taken a break from writing about wines for a few weeks to tick a few boxes, dot a few i’s, cross a few t’s, and take stock of what’s happening in wine. There's also been a name change - out with 'The Wine Bottle', in with 'Wine Writings'. I think the new title sums up what this site is about, which is all things wine (we don't care about wine bottles after their contents is consumed, right?). Any breath you take in writing about wine automatically means you’re on the back foot when you get back in the game. It’s awards season (then again, it’s award season all the time), it’s show season (it seems to be show season all the time), and there’s been launches of new products. Consider this, then, a stocktake.
Awards and gongs
We in Tasmania are used seeing such awards as ‘cool climate trophy’ awarded to our wines. That Tasmania makes amazing cool-climate wines is not in dispute. But I would clarify that Tasmania makes great wines, full stop. It isn’t just me making these claims. Widely considered Australia’s most prestigious wine award, the Jimmy Watson Trophy for the best young red wine has recently seen a spike in Tasmanian challengers. In 2011 the Glaetzer-Dixon Family took out the award for its ‘Mon Pere Shiraz 2010’, a boon for Tasmania not only for the award, but because of the varietal. This year, the award was again awarded to a Tasmanian wine, the Home Hill ‘Kelly’s Reserve’ Pinot Noir 2014, made in the Huon Valley in Southern Tasmania. Still in Tasmania, the House of Arras 2005 Grand Vintage Brut won Australia’s Best Sparkling Wine at The Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships.
Penfold’s – probably Australia’s most well known wine brand – celebrated its latest launch a few weeks ago. There’s nothing wrong with launching wines – the thing is their wines, and their pricing, can be contentious. Put simply, there’s nothing wrong with a company pricing products according to how they wish to market them. If around $650 for the latest Penfold’s Grange 2011 doesn’t cut it for you, don’t buy it. Simple. While there’s no identical recipe for Grange (meaning you can’t buy it cheaper in this range), you can get your fill of top class Shiraz in other wines in the portfolio. They’re just pitched at different buyers, different drinkers. I’m not advertising Penfold’s, but I am trying to say that there’s no point spitting fury about the price of a wine that you may not want to buy – others can, and they will. Move on.
What I’ve been drinking
A variety of good and not so good. My general observations are that Tasmanian producer Clover Hill’s sparklings are going from strength to strength. The non-vintage white labelled cuvee is a fantastic price and quality level for weekly sparkling drinking. In reds, the Wynn’s Grey Label Coonawarra Shiraz 2013 offers up affordable drinking at a good quality level, with its liquorice, jube-like characters and purple fruits. I picked it up for $17. In regard to whites, the Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay 2013, which hails from California, is an oak lover’s paradise. Unfortunately, oak is all there is. It’s not quite like drinking wood, but there is not a lot of fruit or acidity happening. The Villa Maria Seddon Vineyard Pinot Gris 2014, hailing from NZ, is a top notch buy at around $25, as is the Pipers Brook Pinot Gris 2014 from Tasmania, which with its acidity in line with the fruit, could very well fill out quite nicely in a couple of years, though it drinks magnificently now.
If you have any amazing drinking tips, send them through in the comments below, or find me on Instagram (daveistic) or Twitter (@Winebott).
Thanks for catching up!