Wednesday, April 15, 2015

2012 Krondorf growers Barossa Shiraz

Krondorf Growers Barossa Shiraz 2012
This wine from the Cellermasters stable has a nose with pretty hefty vanilla oak, intermixed with ripe, dark/black fruits. 
Fruity and mouth filling, with mulberry blackberry and some stewed black plum supported by soft tannins, slight aniseed notes and mixed spice. Finishes sweet, and the alcohol heat is in balance with the hefty fruit. For sub-$20 a nice smooth, fruity and powerful wine that is not subtle, but with elements in balance. On day two of tasting, this wine had developed nicely and should be drinking well for several years.

ABV: 14.5%
RRP: 17-18
Rating: 88pts

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

2007 Domaine Epis Pinot Noir (Macedon)

I've long wanted to taste an Domaine Epis Pinot Noir, but for some reason only just got around to it the other day. The Pinot Noir that Alec Epis and his former winemaker Stuart Anderson have made over the years have garnered plenty of praise. Furthermore, I'm a fan of Pinot Noir from the Macedon Ranges with Bindi and Curly Flat two standouts. When I saw a few bottles of the 2007 Epis Pinot at auction at a reasonable price I decided it was time to scratch this longstanding itch.

Buying at auction, however, always adds an element of Russian Roulette to the pursuit of drinking aged wine, but the risk was very much worth it in this wine, with the diam cork having aged the wine without issue. It opened with a classic, varietal nose of smoky undergrowth and cherries. These flavours carried through to a silky and supple palate, with additional spice and a touch of pleasurable warmth through the finish. It was the perfect foil for some roast pork over a long lunch, though I'd suggest the wine is at its aged peak at the moment. We had it open and decanted for 2-3 hours and it seemed to fade a bit just with the last half a glass. A great introduction to Domaine Epis Pinot Noir.

Rated: 4 Stars
ABV: 13.2%
Closure: Diam
Drink: 2015-2016


Friday, April 3, 2015

2013 Tahbilk Rousanne Marsanne Viognier

I loved the previous Tahbilk labels and branding - very old school; channelling both 1970s and 1870s (fitting, given the age of some vines at their winery, which are even older).
This new wine sits in between their great value, entry level  Shiraz, Cabernet and Marsanne and their flagship wines, and is a new blend from the winery. A solid addition to the range.

A nose and palate of fresh pear, apricot and green and red apple. Rounded fruit with orange peel and low key acidity. Nice minerality throughout, with, some toasty oak and pleasant phenolics on the savoury finish.

On days 2 and 3 it lost a bit of weight in terms of textural mouthfeel, and freshened/lightened up.

RRP: $25-$28
ABV: 12.8%
Rating:  89 pts

Thursday, March 19, 2015

2013 Tyrrell's Single Vineyard Reds (Hunter Valley)

I had these wines late last year, then lost my tasting notes, only to find them again the other day!
I sometimes wonder if the past 5-10 years or so will be remembered as a mini-golden era for wine lovers in Australia. It has been a period in which an increasing number of wineries across the country have begun to produce compelling wines that are unique expressions of site or vineyard. This has all happened at a time when Australian wines were on the nose as far as many international critics were concerned, the Australian dollar was incredibly strong (further weakening export demand), and there was a general glut of grapes. The result has been a wonderful array of exceptional wine at more than reasonable prices. As with all cycles, things eventually turn, and in the past two to three years we have seen a gradual positive changing of opinion amongst international critics, and there has been some easing in the oversupply of grapes (while still remaining problematic). Importantly, in the past 12 months we have also seen the Australian dollar drop substantially, particularly against the US Dollar. All of which would point to a likely increasing demand for Australian wine. Some quite remarkable price rises by individual wineries on their premium wines in the past year or two would seem to be at least in part an early indication of this.

Which leads me to these Tyrrell’s single vineyard reds. Here you are indeed getting compelling wines that are unique expressions of their respective sites. Furthermore, they are scarce (not much made in terms of production), and they age a treat. Finally they have an amazing history behind them, being made by a winery established in 1838 and still in family hands, and sourced from 100 year + old vineyards. While $50 is never a small amount to pay for a bottle of wine, I would argue that with all these things considered, these wines are great value at that price. I feel fortunate then to be a part of the Private Bin club at Tyrrell’s through which you can buy these wines, and have been stocking up in the past few years.
I believe something in this favourable equation for these special wines will eventually break. It might be large price rises, a closing of the Private Bin club to new entrants, or something else. Either way, I struggle to see how these wines will remain so accessible, given both growing local awareness and interest, and the turning, even just marginally, in international demand. If these wines are your type of thing and you’re not a member you might want to get in before it’s too late.

To the wines at hand -

2013 Tyrrell’s Johnno’s ShirazJohnno’s block was planted in 1908 and sits is on alluvial sandy loam soils.
This is somewhat unyielding at present, only gradually revealing its true appeal and potential over a few days. It’s light to medium bodied and very much a “Hunter Burgundy” in style. Lovely cherry fruit meets regional earthiness, with just a hint of oak at play. Acid driven. One thing that does stand out at this stage of its life is its great length of finish. This should largely be left alone for its first 10 years, and then savoured after that. Rated: 93++  Drink: 2020-2030+

2013 Tyrrell’s Old Patch Shiraz The ‘Old Patch’ vineyard was planted in 1867, making it nearly 150 years old, and sits on red clay loams. .
While remaining medium-bodied, there’s a bit more of everything with the Old Patch as compared to Johnno’s. A bit more joy and drinkability early in its life. That being said this is just as much a monty for the cellar as the Johnno’s. A slightly darker, richer fruit profile here, while remaining in the cherry spectrum. Earthiness and a beautiful cinnamon note. The tannins are subtle yet firm, and help shape the wine through its long finish. Rated: 93++  Drink: 2018-2030+

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