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 29th – Tempranillo


Anciano Tempranillo 2012

Off Topic: Anciano Crianza Tempranillo Valdepeñas  2012 – $

I have walked past these bottles, wrapped in their fine gold wire netting, many times in the supermarket without being tempted. As Monty Python said once, “this bottle has a message in it, and that that message is ……………”

But L had stocked up wine for the ski season, and we were up the club for our first ski weekend of the season when I opened up the ski locker and saw this wine, and went,” Si. Ole!”.

ski1

L had her go-to The Ned Pinot Gris, while I had this full malo wee beastie …

Old-world characterful flavours, with enough intensity and interest to be worthwhile. Red cherries. Bright in the mouth. Nothing startling. Red in regulation.

Commended 85 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 22nd – Chardonnay


sigu ros 2

Off Topic: Domaine Faiveley Rully Les Villeranges Cote Chalonnaise 2013 – $$$+

L and I went up to Auckland to see Sigur Ros, one of my favourite bands. The light show was amazing and made up a little for the their lack of emotion and engagement with the audience.  They didn’t play my two favourite tunes either – Samskeyti and Von – but what they did play was layered and dense and crafted…a tick for the bucket list…

Dom Faiveley Rully 2013

On the Saturday night we went to eat at White & Wongs, an Asian fusion restaurant at the edge of Viaduct Basin. The food was abso delicious. We started with a glass of Moet, then shared a bottle of Dom. Faiveley Rully Les Villeranges 2013. It was flinty and austere and restrained and lean.

Recommended 88 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 8th –Viognier


Delas Viognier 2015

Off Topic: Delas Vin de Pays OC Viognier 2015  – $

12.5% alc. Brilliant gold colour.

Lightly aromatic, with apples and oranges, lightly spiced.

Delicious in the mouth. A rich and textured mouthfeel and a long spicy finish. I noted generous citrus orange flavours.

Terrific value at $15/bottle from Moore Wilsons!

Recommended 88 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 6th – Tawny


Grant Burge 10 yr Tawny

Off Topic: Grant Burge 10YO Tawny Barossa – $$

20% alc. Tawny brick colour.

Complex aromas of toffee apples, caramel, and dates. Yum.

Very sweet and fine in the mouth on entry. Flavours of toffee, dried currants. A vibrant line of acidity bisects the wine, but it is still a ‘sticky’. Not as ripe or full as I would expect a Douro tawny port to be, but still this wine shows its own unique confected character.

I wouldn’t know how to score this wine, except to say I am pleasantly surprised and pleased. Half the price of a 10 year Taylors. Buy local (ish)!

What’s in the glass tonight July 5th – Zinfandel, under cork.


Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma 2013

Off Topic: Sebastiani Zinfandel Sonoma County 2013 – $$

Nice to pull a cork every now and then…

14.6% alc. Inky ruby. This may be a monster….

Sumptuous and rich bouquet, with strong aromas of black fruit, vanilla and cedar…

..and a mouthful of the stuff shows it’s packed with flavour – luscious dark fruits, plums,  prunes – and with a really hot finish.  Spicy through the mid palate, and finished very fleshy, and scratchy.

A showstopping, car-crash of a wine, this. Too much alcohol. It may have suited the beef stroganoff we ate for dinner, but it’s no good as an aperitif. A firestarter maybe, not a fireside drinker…

Too bad. An earlier vintage really impressed me up the skifield three years ago. Perhaps the high altitude dulled my senses? The grunty and forward fruit flavours really showed well up there in the cold.

However, I still mark this wine Highly Recommended and score it 90 points, as I reckon you gotta give a belter like this it’s due. But this wine would be even better if it were a point and a bit less alcoholic!

A drought wine?

Highly recommended 90 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 June 21st – Riesling


20170621_144806

Off Topic – Wynns Coonawarra Riesling, by the glass, on Circular Quay

No sooner was I back from Fiji, but I had to fly to Sydney to inspect a new client’s office premises.

After a whirlwind morning and afternoon session of meetings, walk-arounds, note-taking and photograph-making, I found myself back on the street outside the client’s building, finished, and with a couple of hours free before I was due to check-in at Kingsford-Smith Airport for the sleepy-eye back to Wellington.

So I headed for Circular Quay. I took the usual touristic pictures of the bridge and Jørn Utzon’s famous sails. I watched a piano accordion player accost the ears of passers-by with his (deliberate, I think) atrociously out-of-key playing.  I watched the yellowing and green passenger ferries come steaming headlong in to crash-stop at the docks, and watched the heavy wash from their reversing propellers heave and surge against the massive timber barriers that bulwarked the quayside. I watched meandering groups of aimless Maroons stink the place out, filling in their own time before Origin Game 2 kicked off.

Finally, I settled down at City Extra, below Circular Quay Railway Station, with a glass of Wynns Coonawarra Riesling, and watched the local world walk on by for a bit. I don’t recall anything about the wine. The waitress offered to go find out for me about the vintage, but I said, it’s ok, no worries.

What’s in the glass tonight June 9th – White Burgundy


Olivier Leflaive Les Setilles Bourgogne 2013

Off Topic: Olivier Leflaive Les Sétilles Bourgogne 2013 – $$$+

I bought this bottle to take to a friend’s 70th and share with L. I thought it was a bit funky at first, and perhaps faulty, but friends who have a good nose tried it and agreed that this wine was pretty good. Fine minerality, a steely austere quality, and crisp acidity. Delish!

Unfortunately L didn’t like it much. I have my eye on a Marsanne/Rousanne Northern Rhone blend for next time – she might like that better!

Highly recommended 90 points