What’s in the glass tonight July 31st – Shiraz


Bleeding Heart Shiraz 2015

Off Topic: Bleeding Heart Shiraz Lower Murray McLaren Vale 2015 – $

13.5% alc. Deep ruby colour.

Bright fruit on aroma, red cherries. Dusty. Some spice.

Sweet attack, and a medium heavy bodied wine to srink. Meaty. Dusty and powdery tannins. A lean finish. Short, closed.

Commended 84 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 26th – A Calibration Shiraz


Yalumba Patchwork 2014

Off Topic: Yalumba Patchwork Barossa Shiraz Barossa 2015 – $

The June 2017 issue of Decanter included a review of Australian value Shiraz, defined by the price point spread of GBP10 – GBP20.

Aha! Now, it isn’t that common for me to be able to buy wine that this magazine usually reviews, cos geography / tyranny of distance, but in this case there were a couple of wines I saw I could pick up from my local supermarket. I recognised this was a splendid opportunity for me to compare and calibrate my scoring palate against the crack team of drinkers that the magazine assembled to do this Aussie tasting. And not too expensive either!

So I picked this Yalumba, and noted the scores given, and set about to assess the quality of the wine myself, and also see if I saw the same tastes and aromas that the judges wrote of…

Firstly tho, DWWA regional Chair Anthony rose wrote in the preamble, “Broadly speaking, there are three main styles: the traditional hot-climate inland region and Barossa style with powerful, super-ripe fruit and high alcohol; the more restrained, spicy reds of the milder regions like Mclaren Vale and Clare Valley and slightly cooler Yarra, Heathcote and Coonawarra; and the perfumed peppery intensity and blackberry elegance of Mount Barker in the west, Adelaide Hills, Canberra and the Grampians.

The latest trends reflect the objectives of creating both more refreshingly drinkable Shiraz and wines that express their origins.”

So, to the wine…served non blind, with the magazine review compared non-blind also

Deep carmine colour. 13.5% alcohol.

Soft and fruity aromas of oak and spice, dark fruits, smells bright.

Soft texture and quite Rhone-like flavour and structure, ripe fruit, good level of extract, some attractive complexity and layering on mid-palate, silky tannin, reasonably long finish. A rewarding example. L liked it.

I would have scored this a solid 88 points. Towards the lower end of the Decanter trio of scores, but certainly not a 92 as one judge called it.

Comparing the tasting notes, I was trying hard with no luck to see blueberries on the nose, and I thought the wine too dark and rich to show cherries. I did detect a slight stalk flatness, so the comment of a herbaceous top note seemed on point. On palate I saw the pepper (white) (natch, this is Shiraz..) but not the marzipan, unless this is confused for vanillin. I agreed with the Rhone-like comment.

What’s in the glass tonight July 16th – Chardonnay


Te Mata Chardonnay 2016

Te Mata Estate Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2016  – $$

13.5% alc. Pale gold colour.

Light and citrusy nose. Sweet. Hints of apple, white peach

Sweet entry, with medium fruit weight through the middle palate. Finely textured also, with a refreshing line of acid throughout, extending  to a long finish.

This wine can be available for as little as $18 a bottle, so great value for it.

Recommended 88 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 4th – Viognier


Elephant Hill Viognier 2016

Elephant Hill Viognier Te Awanga Hawkes Bay 2016 – $$

13.5% alc. Pale gold colour.

Nose of spice, licorice allsorts, and ripe luscious golden stonefruit and melon. Cheery and fine.

Sweet and dense in the mouth, rich fruit. Long luscious honeyed finish. Flavours of pear and navel orange. Peppery and gritty in character and texture.

Recommended 88 points

 

What’s in the glass tonight July 2nd – Syrah blend


Kloof Street 2014

Off Topic: Kloof Street Swartland Rouge Swartland SA 2014 – $$

This is a rouge blend from the Swartland region of South Africa, a province in the Western Cape some 50km north of Cape Town. Swartland is the anglicised name for “Het Zwarte Land” (the Black Land) named for the colour of the endemic Renosterbos flowering shrub (Elytropappus rhinocerotis).

The wine consists of 86% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 4% Carignan, 2% Mourvedre, 2% Tinta barocca and 1% Cinsault. A proper southern Rhone-style blend, this.

13.5 % alc. Deep ruby colour.

Lightly floral to the nose, with dusty dark fruits, spice, vanilla, and bush honey.

A rustic honest red to taste, somewhat lean and angula in the fruit department. There was acid freshness at the death. Quite long, and hot on the back of the throat. Persistent note of tobacco leaf. I expect this will soften over the next 24 hours and round out.

An attractive wine.

Recommended 87 points

What’s in the glass tonight April 16th – Chardonnay


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From the Cellar: Villa Maria Keltern Vineyard Chardonnay Hawkes Bay 2011 – $$$

Pale gold colour. 13.5 % alc. Single vineyard wine. I have been fortunate to have drunk a few vintages of this great wine.

This version smells delightfully aromatic. Poised and elegant. Light meal. Lean and restrained. A lovely nose.

An off-dry attack in the mouth. Fresh crunchy acidity throughout. Attractive austere mineral character. Long and incredibly powerful. Lemon finish. Long and long. Sooo good.

A real show wine, this. A cellar-door show-stopper, and a wine that rewards cellaring. One of the best wines I have had this year so far.

Outstanding 97 Points

What’s in the glass tonight April 11th – Pinot Noir


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Alexander Dusty Road Pinot Noir Martinborough 2011 – $$

Tawny carmine colour. 13.5 % alc.

A heady bouquet – floral and savoury. Dark red fruits and spice, and a scent of honeysuckle.

Bright acid on the front of the palate.  Lashings of vanilla. A touch thin and austere. A metallic edge leading to a bitter and hot and spicy finish. An acceptable pinot for the age and price, redeemed by its nose.

Recommended 86 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 24th – Pinot Noir


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From the Cellar: Greystone Pinot Noir Waipara 2012 – $$

This wine won ‘Pure Elite Gold’ at the Air NZ Wine Awards in 2013 by showing up and showing off, so I thought it might be a bit good and cellared a bottle then to try later.

Now it’s later, and now, and I see it’s a typical carmine colour, and 13.5% ABV.

On the nose it’s elegant, with floral notes of violets and herbage of thyme, savoury, lightly fruitful, luscious and brambly. Good so far…

There is a sweet attack in the mouth. Fresh acidity with bright red fruit flavours. Great body and extract, depth and length.  A raspy finish, with heat lingering at the back of the throat. A tasty one with no bad habits.

Highly recommended 91 Points

What’s in the glass tonight March 11th – Chardonnay


Stonelegh Chardonnay 2013

From the Cellar: Stoneleigh Chardonnay Marlborough 2013 – $

This wine was part of an experiment I started in 2014. I bought a bunch of bottom-tier ‘value brand’ wines from the lauded 2013 vintage, and put them down to see how they would develop over time, and see whether the cheaper products showed cellar improvement and made for better value for money than the more prestigious hand-made ’13 offerings.

This wine was the first out of the blocks for the tranche. Brilliant gold colour. 13.5% alc.

I like the malolactic character and the oak handling of Stoneleigh Chardonnays, especially the Latitude series on the next tier up, so this would be interesting.

Gorgeous warm and rich, buttery and biscuitty golden stonefruit aromas. This wine is showing lovely development. Butterscotch and spice; elegance and intensity.

To taste there were rich flavours bursting from the glass. Caramel, oak, so textural, and with a great acid line underpinning the ripe fruit. Not at all flabby or over-exposed. Spicy finish. Just great.

The wine is nearing a peak, and is superb value for drinking over the next 2 years.

Highly Recommended 92 Points

What’s in the glass tonight February 27th – Marsanne Viognier


Rod McDonald One-Off 2015

Rod McDonald Wines ‘One Off’ Marsanne Viognier Gisborne 2015 – $$

A Rhone blend, and a one-off wine conceived and produced by Rod McDonald from the grapes he had at hand. As he says, “once it’s gone, it’s gone”. Indeed, that’s what I usually say when a good bottle goes west…as this one most certainly was.

Pale gold colour. 13.5% alc.

A nose of melon and peach. Perfumed and smoky. A very attractive and immersive floral scent filled the glass, which softened over time to a mellow lifted and savoury expression. Strongly oaked. Quite unique and sophisticated.

In the mouth there was a lovely balance of fruit flavours and spice. There was honey and ginger, citrus and heat. A winning combination of angular minerality and luscious fruity bawdiness.

Highly Recommended  – 91 points