Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Report from ... Australia Tasting - August 18, 2009

Wine Australia has always prided themselves on innovation, so on this hot August afternoon what do they decided to do? Celebrate Christmas of course. Now I understand the theory behind the idea – many media types are readying their holiday editions, so let’s put Wines of Australia at the top of people’s minds – but still, Christmas in August (complete with Turkey, stuffing, Christmas pudding and plenty of carols), not sure I was ready for that. Be that as it may, there were some very nice wines that would make excellent gifts for yourself this coming holiday season. The wines were broken down into 3 categories: Under the Tree (gift packs and bottles); Colour of the Season (Reds, of course) and Stocking Your Cellar (bottles with some longevity) … there were also food matching wines … and that’s where we’ll start (the good news is that all these wines will be, or are, available at the LCBO):

Top 3 “Food Pairing” wines …
Skillogalee 2008 Single Vineyard Riesling (online exclusives) – peach, apple, petrol and lemon are the key elements of this wine, quite steely and crisp with good acidity (****½).

Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat NV ($25.95 / 375ml – Vintages) – raisiny sweet with pecan chocolate notes (****½).

DeBortoli Wines 2007 Pinot Noir ($15.95 - #61622) – great price for this sour cherry, raspberry and touch of earth Pinot that delivers lots of raspberry in the mouth (****).

“Under the Tree” Top 3 …
Shaw & Smith 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($24.95 – Vintages Oct. 24, 2009) – lemony-citrus with nice bracing acidity (***½).

Leconfield 2008 Chardonnay ($22.95 – Vintages Nov. 21, 2009) nice fruit, good balancing acidity with bite on the finish (***½).

Yalumba Y Series 2007 Shiraz-Viognier ($15.95) – floral and peppery notes on the nose, smooth sipping on the palate (****).

“Colour of the Season” – Reds – Top 3 …
McWilliams Wines Hanwood Estate 2007 Merlot ($14.95) – the blueberries and spice are quite nice (****).

Henry’s Drive Vigneroons 2007 Pillar Box Red ($17.95 – Vintages Oct. 10, 2009) – a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that has a pepper and black fruit nose which follows on the tongue, it’s easy drinking and delicious, alcohol’s a whopping 15% (****).

Gemtree Vineyards 2008 Bloodstone Shiraz-Viognier ($17.30 – Vintages Nov. 7, 2009) – 95/5 in favour of the Shiraz, aged 12-14 months in mainly new French oak; lots of chocolate-vanilla and black fruit with a nice spicy finish (****½)

“Stocking Your Cellar” – Two Under $50 …
Grant Burge 2004 The Holy Trinity ($29.95 – Vintages Nov. 21, 2009) – chocolate, mint with silky smooth tannins, and some pepper thrown in for good measure (****).

Mitolo 2007 GAM Shiraz ($46.95) – sweet fruit with spicy rich tannins, quite the delicious sip (****½).

Gemtree Vineyards …
Andrew Buttery, former oil pimp for Shell, now pimping wine for the family business (brother-in-law: winemaker; sister: the viticulturist), from Gemtree was on-hand to talk and taste a few of the Gemtree wines … two of which are not available here in Ontario, therefore were quite a treat to try. The two not here are the White Less Shiraz, called that because the wine is aged on Chardonnay lees. The other is called Cadenzia, it’s a Grenacha / Tempranillo / Shiraz blend that’s exceptionally good and I hope it does makes it’s way into the market one day, but it’s pretty limited with only 500 cases are produced each year.

Gemtree’s current production is around 30,000 cases; not bad for a winery that started out doing 500 cases in 1998.

As for the wines available, or soon to be available, in Ontario, there’s the Tadpole 2008 Shiraz ($15.85 – Vintages January 2010) – this is Gemtree’s entry level unfiltered Shiraz. It is easy drinking with beautiful black fruit and mint, very juicy. It’s aged in 2-3 year old oak barrels so it’s quite soft on the palate. (****)

For those who like their Shiraz with a little more umph, you’d best pick up a few bottles of the Gemtree 2007 Uncut Shiraz ($24.95 – Vintages November 2009); it’s partially made from some of the 40 year old vines grown in their estate vineyard. First made in 1998, it is Gemtree’s first wine and their flagship, and it’s truly worth the price. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, aged 16 months in French oak (60% of it new) and grapes harvested from the best 30% of their 340-acre vineyard. Scrumpious fruit and spice, with hints of pepper, eucalyptus and menthol. Great finish and even better the next day when opened young. Less than 5000 cases are made annually. (****½)


Dean Tudor said...

Pinky, you have a typo -- it is NOT "pimp" but rather "pump"...use your spellcheck, you've paid for it..

Michael Pinkus - Grape Guy said...

He called himself a 'pimp for Shell" ... but I get pun.