Friday, January 30, 2015

2013 Montalto Estate SingleVineyard releases

Simon Black and the team at Montalto Estate are in the middle of an ambitious expansion process. In the last few years, Simon and the Montalto crew have released a series of single site wines to reflect the different types of terroir in their Mornington Peninsula vineyards. Following a tour of the winery and an intimate barrel tasting of earlier vintages back in 2013, it was clear that the team at Montalto were on the right track, and after a few days on the tasting bench, their new release 2013 single vineyard wines confirm this assessment.

2013 Montalto Estate Tuerong Block Pinot Noir
Some fresh red and black fruits on the nose, mixed with fruit cake spice and vanilla.

Initially shows juicy, primary red/black cherry and a bit of strawberry fruit, opening up with darker blackberry and sour cherry with some more air.

Over the course of 3 days on the tasting bench, the Tuerong became more brooding and complex, developing earthier and stalky flavours in the mid palate, and increased savouriness on the finish.

Should develop along these lines in the next 2-3 years, but is drinking well now

RRP: $65
Rating: 93pts+ nice journey ahead

2013 Montalto Estate Merricks Block Pinot Noir
Juicy fresh red fruit, varietal; strawberry and red cherry, backed by vanilla. Fresh black cherry and plum on the palate, brooding yet light on its feet. A flavoursome Pinot Noir that has nice intensity and power, yet is well structured, with nicely balanced acidity.

ABV: 13.7% 
RRP: $65
Rating: 92pts 

2013 Montalto Estate Main Ridge Pinot Noir
Fresh and flavoursome dark cherry and blue plum, supported by a decent amount of vanilla oak on the nose. A bit of stalkyness and liqueur cherry on the mid palate. Overall, on opening a ripe, fresh and juicy Pinot, enriched by some seductive oak.

ABV: 13.7%
RRP: $65
Rating: 91pts (did not taste on subsequent days)

2013 Montalto Estate The Eleven Chardonnay
On opening (double decanted) the wine was quite lean and clean in texture, yet with a powerful smoky, toasty oak, cashew and citrus nose.

On day two the wine was in a great groove – elegantly integrated oak, cashew, grapefruit, white and yellow nectarine, enlivened by unobtrusive acidity.
The Eleven is not going to blow you away with overplayed flavour (in a good way), nor is it a chardonnay in need of a figurative big square meal. Happy medium and a win-win. Given how this evolved on opening, give it a good decant to draw the best out of it, or put it down for a few years as it is an elegant yet sumptuous chardonnay.

ABV: 12.9% 
RRP: $55
Rating: 93+ (91 on opening, though improved markedly on the tasting bench over the next few days)

Overall, a premium range of wines from a winemaker and high quality winery hitting their straps.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2009 Rosby Cabernet Sauvignon (Mudgee)

There is great value to be had here.

Gerald Norton-Knight tends a small but quite unique vineyard in Mudgee. I have written about it previously in more detail here. The wines are as such subject to the vagaries of the vintage, and the lesser vintages tend to produce enjoyable quaffers. The good vintages, however, result in lovely medium bodied Cabernet that is fantastic value.

2009 was a pretty good Mudgee vintage and the wine speaks to this. It delivers lovely ripe, plummy fruit with some liquorice notes, all, however, within a medium bodied frame. Where the interest comes in through is in the earthy rusticity it displays, something on show with many a Mudgee red. I had it at 3.5 Stars on day 1, but as it continued to integrate and lengthen on the finish over a few days I nudged it up to 4 stars. Superb value at $13.30 a bottle in a case and still available from the cellar door.

Rated: 4 Stars
RRP: $160 per case from cellar door
ABV: 13.5%
Closure: Screwcap
Drink: 2015-2019+


Sunday, November 9, 2014

2014 Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner (Canberra District)

A quality addition to the Lark Hill Gruner stable, albeit that it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the superb 2013. Given the challenges of the 2014 vintage in Canberra district, moreover, it is testament to the Carpenter's pursuit of this unique variety (unique in Australia in any case) over the past decade. 

With this wine there is always a flavour profile that offers plenty of interest while still delivering on the yum factor. Citrus and pear is offset by some green bean and root vegetable flavours. Somewhat weird if you weren’t expecting it, but it nevertheless works and is very enjoyable to drink. Good quality fruit is underpinned by a prominent acidity and a nice chalky texture. A worthy change-up to my summer diet of Riesling and it should drink well over the next 5 years and beyond. Over the line for 4 stars.
Rated: 4 Stars
RRP: $45
Closure: Screwcap
Drink: 2015-2020+

Monday, October 27, 2014

2012 Marius Simpatico Shiraz (McLaren Vale)

This is possibly the best Shiraz I have had this year. It takes a day or so to really open up at this stage of its life, but once it does it's all glory. The Simpatico, of course, sits behind the Symphony, which is Roger Pike’s top wine and comes off a select block of fruit in his vineyard. At the moment, however, the Symphony is raw and way too young to be drinking. For now there is more on offer from the Simpatico.

Seductive nose. Aromas of berries, McLaren vale chocolate, a deep earthiness, and roses. Indeed those floral notes really mark the wine out, with rose notes flowing through to a beautiful mouth perfume that envelops the wine. It never gets much above medium bodied, but the fruit has an undoubted power and ripeness. Persistent tannins help shape the wine through its long finish. Top shelf and one to cellar.
Rated: 4.5 Stars
RRP: $35
Closure: Screwcap
Drink: 2016-2027
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