Category Archives: Wine Tasting, articles on wine tastings

Older Yarra Yering Whites

The other night a friend brought two older Yarra Yering whites to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. Both corks were in perfect condition with no ullage. (He bought them new and they’ve been cellared in an airconditioned, humidified cellar).

The first we tried was the Yarra Yering 1997 Chardonnay – well past its peak. Gold hues, appley, slightly oxidised nose. Soft on the palate, faint fino flavours along with dried pear. Lacked acid balance.

Next was the Yarra Yering 1998 Dry White No. 1. – a semillon and sauvignon blanc blend. Almost water pale in colour. Lifted nose of dried grasses, with a hint of lemon zest. Light, elegant, steely dry palate. Beautifully structured, fruit starting to develop secondary vinous characters. Lip-smacking finish of almost perfect acid balance. If I had tasted it blind my first guess would have been “Fine French dry style.” Curious to drink one of the best whites I’ve had in a year with such a simple meal.

Star Drinking

Taltarni ‘T’ NV Sparkling – $15 – ** – A non-vintage blend of chardonnay and pinot noir. Medium bead, with the faintest blush – from the pinot component? Peachy nose has a hint of strawberry fruit. The strawberry is also apparent on the palate and the wine finishes just off-dry.

De Bortoli Windy Peak Pinot Grigio 2009 – $14 – ** – Very pale with a green apple, sherbet-like nose. Clean, fresh, grapey flavours are enhanced by soft citric undertones and a mildly acidic finish. Continue reading

Star Drinking

Peter Lehmann Princess Moscato 2009 – 500ml – up to $18 – ** – Red frontignac, carbonated, low (7.5%) alcohol. Faintest onion skin tinge of colour. Pleasing raisiny nose and palate in a mid-sweet, spritzy style.

Yellowglen Bella Bianco 2009 – up to $20 – ** – Low (8%) alcohol bubbly. A blend of white frontignac and riesling. Bouquet of ripe pears and apricots. Notably sweet palate continues the fruity pear theme with maybe a hint of oranges and lemons at the finish. Pleasant luncheon or picnic style. Continue reading

Star Drinking

Coopers Clear Low Carb Dry Beer – around $15 the six pack

This is a full-strength – 4.5% alcohol – beer sold in clear glass 355ml stubbies. A very different style from Coopers Sparkling Ale but quite enjoyable for all that. Lightish amber in colour with a pleasing malty nose. Surprisingly full-bodied in the mouth with the malt continuing to a dryish finish.

Reschke Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – $19 – **

Pale, hint of lime green in colour. Aromatic, almost pungent fruitiness on the nose, with the faintest hint of grassiness and toasted oak. A rather full-bodied style of sauvignon blanc on the palate, showing notes of tropical fruit salad that lead to an off-dry finish. Continue reading

A dozen drinks to try before you get old and broke

This one’s been simmering on the backburner for a while, and now that Jeni Port has listed her 10 wines you really must try before you die, it’s time to turn up the gas.

From time to time lovers of fine wines and spirits get to taste those rare or obscure elixirs that comprise the distinctive or even archetypal alcoholic drinks of the world. Most of these, it should go without saying, are either expensive or hard to find, or both.

However, when just a few sips of any of these precious liquors will live in your memory forever, who cares about the cost? If you can’t afford to buy one for yourself, hint that a bottle of this or that might be a fine gift. Failing that, share the cost of a bottle with four or five friends.

Here is my selection of essential nectars of the gods, in no particular order: Continue reading

Cocktail alchemy

The sub-tropical clime of Noosa has led to a marked change in our drinking habits. In Melbourne, it was mostly beer and red and white wines, winter and summer. In Noosa’s summer heat and humidity, the drinking diet has varied somewhat and now includes a fair whack of mixed drinks and cocktails, as well as the tried and true.

After some research, the bar is looking well-stocked: a stainless steel cocktail shaker from the local op shop, Angostura Bitters, vermouth, all sorts of spirits and liqueurs. No teensy umbrellas. And in the fridge, the usual tonic water, dry ginger, and soda water. Not to mention various cordials, and limes and lemons and buckets of ice.

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Star Drinking

Yarra Burn Blanc de Blancs 2004 – $45 – ****

100% Chardonnay. Very pale yellow with an edge of green, fine bead. White flower petals, light biscuity yeast and a hint of green apple on the nose. Youthful, dry and elegant in the mouth with delicate Apple Danish flavours against a background of beautifully integrated lime acidity at the finish.

De Bortoli Rococo Yarra Valley Rosé NV – $22 – ***

A sparkling blend of chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir. The colour is a pale, just off-white, candy pink. Lively fragrant nose of rose water and strawberries. Shows a dry, clean palate of new season summer berries with a tang of lemon zest at the finish. Ideal summer luncheon fizz.

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Star Drinking

Holey Dollar Over Proof Rum – seen around at $55 to $65 ***

This is a powerful drop at 57.2 per cent alcohol, but the power is smooth and constrained in its rich mouthfeel. Flavours are reminiscent of molasses, vanilla, walnuts, chocolate, toffee and warm spices. It goes down very well on its own, with ice, or with a splash of water. Try also as a fine mixer. For a Dark ‘n Stormy, pour one measure of rum over ice and add about four times that amount of dry ginger ale, garnish with a wedge of lime.

Chandon Vintage Brut 2006 – up to $40 ****

Yarra Valley, Victoria. Pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot meunier blend. This bubbly spent two and half years on yeast lees and the lees contact is evident in the aromatic, bakery oven nose. The palate shows brioche like flavours along with new season white peaches and a hint of lime juice. It finishes with lip-smacking zest. Continue reading

Star drinking

Hardys Stamp of Australia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 – I bought a dozen at around $6.60 the 1 litre bottle – ***

I know it’s only September, but this red gets my value for money wine of the year award already.

 A lovely robust melange of fully ripe berries, plums, sweet vanillin American oak, mildly assertive tannins and a pleasant aftertaste. Good on its own or with tucker and a stunner at the price. Some very ordinary cask wines are dearer.

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The Emperor of Scent

by Martin Field
I cheekily asked the Emperor of Scent, Luca Turin, if he had ever written wine reviews, and if not would he write one for us.
He replied, ‘I would be incapable of writing a wine review, though I am very flattered you should ask.
‘Here’s why: I believe that what underlies my perfume reviews (and Tania’s) is the fact that insofar as perfume is composed by humans it contains intent, which it is the critic’s job to infer.
‘Wine seems too much a product of divine providence to be an artistic creation proper. I could no more write wine reviews than I could write cloud ones.’
Despite Luca’s reservations, let’s hope that one day he and Tania put their pens to wine in a way that is as evocative and incisive as their writings on fragrance.