Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Report from ... Skillogalee Wines at the Fine Wine Reserve – October 7, 2009

Since 1976 Skillogalee has been making wines to impress, from grapes grown exclusively on their 125-acre estate. All the grapes are no more than 500m from the winery, which means when they get there they are as fresh off the vine as they can get. The main grapes grown on the property are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Shiraz and Muscat … of these they are probably most well known for their Riesling. The vines on the estate were planted in the early 1970’s and because of their age they do not require thinning (or green harvesting / dropping of fruit), “the vines do it naturally,” says Dave Palmer, owner and winemaker, “the kangaroos also take their share, we wish they wouldn’t of course, but they do.” Seven wines were tried tonight, of which three earned a 4½ star (excellent) rating:

Skillogalee 2009 Rosé ($18.95) – made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec this is a delightful rosé with a beautiful strawberry nose and delicious red berries on the palate. The wine is made from the free run juice after only 20 hours of skin contact (just to give it some colour) and by doing a very light pressing of the grapes … in the heat of summer this wine would be perfection. (****½)

Skillogalee 2005 The Cabernets ($26.95) – most people don’t think of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec as a typical Aussie blend, that’s what makes this wine so unique. A creamy smooth mouth entry which turns to white then black pepper; then chocolate and black fruit take over – this one’s an easy sipper, delicious and very well balance with fruit and palate cleansing acidity. (****½)

Skillogalee 2006 Basket Pressed Shiraz ($26.00) – this handmade Shiraz is one of the flagship wines of the winery, and a perennial favourite of mine. I tried both the 2005 and 2006 version, and the ’06 won hands down (though the ’05 did still receive a 4-star rating). The wine can be seen two ways, as either a complex wine to be mulled over or a wine to be drunk without much judgment at all – either way its very enjoyable. For those looking you’ll find blackberry, black pepper (staples of Shiraz) with mineral and floral notes, nice spice, great mouthfeel and good acidity, all keep you coming back for more, all so very worth the revisit as more flavours materialize with each sip. (****½)

Favourite Quote:
When talking about the red fruited, easy drinking, chocolate-laced, touch of pepper on the tongue 2006 Take Two Shiraz/Cabernet blend, Dave Palmer said: “this is our entry level wine, but I don’t like to use the term “entry level” so I call it ‘non-challenging’”. And it was, but it’s still delicious. (****)

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