Sunday, October 4, 2009

Report from ... Vintages Platinum Wine Tasting, Australia - September 30, 2009

There’s a mighty push by Wines Australian these days as the Aussies try to claw their way back to the top of the heap in the wine world. This tasting was held in the back room of Brasaii restaurant on King Street West and although I rarely speak of the food at events likes this I have to tell you that the shrimp wrapped in kadifi pastry (a Greek pastry that’s thin, spindly and phyllo-like) was out of this world delicious. Okay, now that I have that off my mind it’s back to the wine.

The wines featured today are the ones that will appear in Vintages (or exclusively on-line) between now and February 2010 – I’ll break ‘em down here by release month – wines rating 4.5 to 5 stars below, with mini-reviews of 4-star wines further down the page – aw heck, just read ‘em all.

October 2010 …

Evans & Tate 2004 The Reserve Chardonnay ($29.95) – there are only 15 cases of this beauty showing up at the board, which is why it’s an on-line exclusive. The nose is roasted-vanilla with a light butter and caramel base; that all follows into the mouth along with nice roasted peach flavours. Firm and full in the mouth (14.5% alc.) but without the alcoholic taste or smell to ruin the experience; this one is toasty, tasty and complex. (*****)

Henry’s Drive 2007 Pillar Box ($17.95) – a brawny blend made from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; big fruit and dark chocolate, a little hot in the mouth (15% alc.) but with nice spice and pepper notes. This one’ll go great with bbq’ed fare. (****½)

Tamar Ridge 2008 Devil’s Corner Riesling ($29.30) – from Tasmania, this is a nice cool climate Riesling that has crisp acidity, petrol, apple, pear and peach; seems simple at first but develops nicely in the mouth. (****½) – look for a hot climate style Riesling coming in December.

Tamar Ridge 2007 Pinot Noir, Kayena Vineyard ($28.90) – the only Pinot on the table, and in the room, but what a gorgeous example. Soft fruit with cherry, raspberry and floral aromas; palate is fruit driven with a touch of earth and mineral – delicate and balanced, especially for a Pinot with such elevated alcohol (14%). (****½)

Thorn Clarke 2006 Shotfire Shiraz ($24.95) – dark purple in colour with pepper on the nose, the palate really shines here: dark chocolate, plum, white pepper, a bit of grit on the tongue, but it’s mostly big fruit and bit pepper with finesse and a long finish. (*****)

November 2010 …

Gemtree Vineyards 2007 Uncut Shiraz ($24.95) – this Shiraz is loaded with finesse and mineral; white pepper, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry with excellent mouth feel and length on the finish. Not your typical jammy Shiraz. (****½)

Gemtree Vineyards 2008 Bloodstone Shiraz-Viognier ($17.30) – chocolate, mineral, blackberry, herbs and vanilla; great price for such a tasty wine. (****½)

Thorn Clarke 2007 Shotfire Quartage ($24.95) – a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec, this wine is both complex and incredibly smooth: blackberry, white pepper and vanilla notes dominate, coursing through the mouth leaving a lovely spiced raspberry flavour behind. (*****)

Glaetzer 2007 Anaperenna Shiraz-Cabernet ($59.95) – what many consider the penultimate Aussie blend, Shiraz and Cabernet, this one has a big blackberry nose with licorice and cherry; there’s nice acidity and juicy flavours including chocolate, blackberry and a whole gamut of sweet fruit that ends with a lingering finish. Big alcohol at 15%, but nice balance so that it goes un-noticed. (*****)

December 2010 …

Petaluma 2008 Riesling, Hanlin Hill ($21.95) – this is a heavier style of Riesling than the Devil’s Lair, reviewed above; still with nice fruit, good acidity and bright tropical fruit – there’s a certain delicacy that lingers in the aftertaste for quite some time. (****½)

Other options – 4-star wines (mini-reviews) …

September –
Coriole 2006 Redstone Shiraz ($17.95) – lots of red fruit.

October –
Grant Burge 2007 Miamba Shiraz ($19.95) – graphite, chocolate and toasty.
Glaetzer 2007 Wallace Shiraz-Grenache ($24.95) plum and cherry fruit, easy on the palate.

November –
Thorn Clarke 2007 Terra Barossa Cuvee ($15.95) – a little bit of everything in this wine, which adds up to a lot of taste.
Grant Burge 2007 Summers Chardonnay ($19.95) – peachy, tropical, vanilla with a smooth mouth feel.
Richard Hamilton 2007 Gumprs McLaren Vale Shiraz ($18.95) – spice and pepper, nice finish and plenty age-worthy, all at a nice price.

January 2010 –
Chapel Hill 2007 McLaren Vale Shiraz ($20.95) – jammy black fruit and easy drinking.

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