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 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 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.

Straight to the Pool Room – May 2017


Pool Room May 2017

Three additions for slumberland under the watchful gaze of KellerMäusefänger Mimi.

Wynns Michael Ltd Release Shiraz Coonawarra 2012- $$$ – drink 2020-2027. A gift from lovely L. High hopes for this classy Aussie.

Man O’War Ironclad Cabernet Waiheke 2012 – $$$ – drink 2020-2022. Odd to think that despite me having enjoyed wines from this producer for a few years now, there isn’t any in the Pool Room. There is now – this great cab!

Man O’War Valhalla Chardonnay Waiheke 2016 – $$$ – drink 2021-2024. And this one too.

What’s in the glass tonight April 18th – Shiraz


Serenity

Off Topic: Take It To The Grave Shiraz Barossa 2016 – $$

How’s the serenity?

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of my favourite movies – The Castle.  In it, a working-class family from Melbourne, Australia, fights the city council after being told they must vacate their beloved family home to allow for infrastructural expansion. This comedy film became a cult hit, and spawned endless quotes – “it’s the vibe”, “suffer in your jocks”, and my personal favourite, “ this is going straight to the pool room”… Sound familiar?

I love it. And my darling L has never seen it, and she’s Australian!

So, in honour of the occasion, we opened a Shiraz. L bought it. I asked her to get me a Brown Brothers Heathcote Shiraz down the supermarket but they didn’t have any, so she bought this one on the strength of the striking label.

IMG_8994

Inky black plum colour. 14 % alc.

Smells soft and fruity, simple. Quite Rhone-like for an Aussie.

Soft rich fruit flavours. Simple and uncomplicated. White pepper, dark chocolate, fine tannins to finish. A classic BBQ quaffer..

Commended 85 Points

What’s in the glass tonight January 6th – Chardonnay


evans-tate-butterball-chardonnay-2015

Off Topic – Evans&Tate Butterball Chardonnay Margaret River WA 2015 – $$

Gold colour. 13% alc. My L likes a buttery Chardy on a sunny summer weekend afternoon. And this fitted the bill.

Ripe and flavoursome, not too heavy, with pleasant butterscotch and caramel characters, and tropical fruit flavours, with enough citrus underpinning not to have the wine collapse into a flabby mess of oak

Recommended  – 87 points

What’s in the glass tonight November 24th – Shiraz


barossa-valley-estate-cab-sav-2014

Barossa Valley Estate Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia 2014

A gift from the outlaws on my birthday. Thanks!

Inky carmine. 14% alc.

A rich nose, with scents of dark chocolate, vanilla and oak, ripe black plums, and a brace of boxes – cigar and cardboard.

Big in the mouth, and very attractive. Rich flavours, fresh, with a deep fruit intensity, and a sweet finish.

Very nice.

Highly Recommended – 90 points

What’s in the glass tonight July 27th – Viognier


Yalumba Y-Series Viognier 2015

Off Topic: Yalumba Y-Series Viognier 2015 – $

L is drinking a bit of Viognier now. She liked this so I had to try.

Greenish straw colour. 14% alc.

Very floral. Apples. Spice. Turkish delight. Grape-y. Honey notes. Perfumed

Fine and sweet and ripe to taste. Gorgeous depth of fruit and flavour. Quite refined. Pleasant bitter biscuit notes in there too, with a ginger spice finish.

90 points