Archive for category ‘Wine Tasting’

Pasanau

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 28 April 2008 in Wine Tasting

For the first barbecue of the season last weekend I prepared some lamb chops and opened a bottle of La Morera de Montsant 2002, a Priorat D.O. by Cellers Pasanau. This turned out to be an excellent match.
morera02.jpg

The bottle was offered to me by Joan Gómez Pallarès, the man at the keyboard of De Vinis Cibisque. We had met for a lunch in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress last February.

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Star Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 22 April 2008 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Cascade Green – up to $18 the six-pack of 330ml bottles *
According to the label, this full-strength (4.5%) lager is 100 per cent carbon neutral, preservative free and low carbohydrate. It has pleasant hoppy spicy aromatics. The palate is medium-weighted and very smooth in texture. Flavours are malty sweet and the finish without bitterness.

Banrock Station Ecomate Colombard Chardonnay 2007 – 1 Litre Tetra Pak – up to $10 * *
Light lemony nose. Fresh easy drinking style with faint oak, off-dry finish and mild acidity.

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Useless Standards

Posted by Martin Field on 27 February 2008 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Headlines over recent months have featured horror stories about alcohol abuse, binge drinking, and general overindulgence in our favourite legal drug.

Some stories have ludicrously blamed the size of wine glasses for excessive boozing. For example, “MP calls for smaller wine glasses” and, “Wine glasses blamed for women drinking large alcohol amounts.”

I’m totally unconvinced that standardising the size of wine glasses is going to stop boozing and I don’t believe that proposals to change the official guidelines for the recommended number of standard drinks per day will have any effect whatsoever.

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Star Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 27 February 2008 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Shanghai Lager – up to $16 the six-pack of 330ml bottles *
Unusual this. Brewed from rice, according to the media release. A pale looking lager style with a good foamy head. Slightly sweet and light on the palate with faint bitterness at the back of the tongue. Would suit people who generally don’t drink beer ‘Because it’s too bitter!’ Would go well (obviously) with Chinese tucker.

Tyrrell’s Old Winery Hunter Valley Semillon 2007 – $11 * * *$
Lemons and straw on the nose. Light (10.5% alcohol) fresh style with attractive ripe citrus flavours. An ideal lunch and entrée white.

Shingle Peak Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – up to $26 * * *
This one exhibits the typically grassy pungency we expect from quality NZ sauvignon blanc. The palate is crisp with upfront tangy acid and stacks of lychee fruit.

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Queensland Wine Awards

Posted by Martin Field on 18 December 2007 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Judging for the 2007 Queensland Wine awards took place at the Brisbane Sofitel on December 3 – with your kindly editor as one of the judges.

Three judging panels tasted some 340 wines from 55 Queensland wineries. A tiny number of contenders compared with, for instance, the Royal Melbourne Wine Show’s 4,000 plus entries. Not bad however, for a state that most southerners still see as an emerging wine region.

Obviously, I didn’t get to taste all the wines but of those I tried, I thought the verdelhos were very good, the merlots were also impressive.

In the taste off for the trophy awards, I rated the 2006 Hidden Creek Rooklyn Shiraz as outstanding.

Trophy winners
Best Fortified Wine: 1986 Ballandean Estate Wines Red Liqueur Muscat; Best Dessert Wine: 2006 Heritage Wines of Stanthorpe Botrytis Chardonnay; Best Red Wine: 2006 Hidden Creek Rooklyn Shiraz; Best White Wine: 2006 Kooroomba Vineyards Chardonnay; Best Sparkling Wine: 2006 Sirromet Wines Sparkling Petit Verdot.

Cringe factor?
Funnily enough, you don’t see many Queensland wines on Queensland restaurant wine lists. Reminds me of the Mornington Peninsula region 20 and more years ago. If you went into a Peninsula wine store or bottle shop and asked for a local wine the typical reply was, ‘Don’t get much call for that sort of stuff around here Sir.’

Prawns and Technicolour yawns
Travelling to and from Brisbane for the awards judging, I couldn’t help noticing that the coastal strip is a bit of a horror show for fine food lovers. Numerous fast food outlets whiz past the bus windows. Their garish shopfronts interspersed with a number of restaurants advertising that ghastly juxtaposition: ‘Surf and Turf’, or its inventive alternative, ‘Reef and Beef’.

‘It’s for the tourists.’ Locals explain lamely. Strange really. Tourists in France, for example, seem able to make do with superior food that doesn’t depend on meat and seafood piled on the one plate.

Spitbucket Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 18 December 2007 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Bridgewater Mill Sauvignon Blanc2007 – up to $23 – \_/\_/
Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Pungent bouquet of herbs and a tinge of asparagus. Light and dry on the palate with a touch of tropical fruit and clean acidity to finish. Try with entrées.

Green Point Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – $22 – \_/\_/
Victoria. Aromatic with lychees and a subtle influence of French oak. Fuller style of sauvignon with a rounded texture, passionfruit and some grassiness.

AU Verdelho 2006 – $16.50 – \_/\_/
Granite Belt, Queensland. Fruity nose reminiscent of ripe pears and pineapples. Generous, soft palate showing dried pears and finishing with mild acidity.

Blind Man’s Bluff Liaisons Chardonnay 2007 – $28 – \_/\_/\_/
Kenilworth, Queensland. This unwooded chardonnay displays an attractive nose of peaches, apricots and apples. Stone fruits continue on the palate and the wine finishes with tangy citrus acidity.

PHI Pinot Noir 2006 – around $50 – \_/\_/\_/\_/
Yarra Valley, Victoria. Perfumed nose of strawberry conserve and dusty oak. Medium weighted palate, dry and velvety tannins and lashings of lovely berries. One of the better pinots I have tasted this year.

Conte Estate Numb Hand Pruner Grenache 2006 – $18 – \_/\_/
McLaren Vale, South Australia. Nose of raspberries, stewed plums and alcohol (14.5%). Soft sweet berries on the palate lead to a warm juicy aftertaste. Main course wine.

Picarus Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – $20-ish – \_/\_/\_/
Wrattonbully, South Australia. The bouquet of this wine shows blueberries, red currants and a hint of pencil shavings. The palate is youthful, showing good fruit intensity; the tannins and acidity are quite forward and probably need a couple of months to soften off a tad. Will cellar well.

Tahbilk Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz 2002 – $60-ish – \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/
Nagambie Lakes, Victoria. A worthy name for what was originally the Tahbilk Special Bin label. The wine opens with an inviting nose of spice, chocolate, blackberries, mint and aniseed. The palate is a complex mix of concentrated shiraz and integrated French oak, ably supported by lean, sinewy, drying tannins. If you’re looking for a special bottle for your Christmas dinner, or a wine gift, or one to cellar gracefully for another 10 to 15 years, this is the wine.

Spitbucket rating system
Five gold spitbuckets \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/ – outstanding
\_/\_/\_/\_/ – classy
\_/\_/\_/ – first-rate
\_/\_/ – good stuff
\_/ – spit it!
An added $ or two denotes excellent value for money.

Spitbucket Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 14 November 2007 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Brown Brothers Zibibbo Rosa – RRP $15 \_/\_/
A light (8% alcohol) bubbly made from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. Pinkish in hue, it shows plenty of raisiny character on both nose and palate. Sweetish in style, it reminded me a little of the Italian sparkler Prosecco.

Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2007 – up to $35 \_/\_/\_/\_/
Lovely nose of Granny Smith apples, dried pears and lime blossoms. Intense mouth-filling white displaying yummy apple pie aspects and acidity reminiscent of lemon sherbet.

Deviation Road Pinot Gris 2007 – up to $24 \_/\_/\_/
Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Subdued, likeable orange marmalade bouquet with a hint of toasted oak. Delicate, dry and zesty palate showing citrus fruits and biscuity flavours.

Plunkett Gewürztraminer 2007 – about $19 \_/\_/\_/
Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria. Aromatics of Turkish Delight and white flowers on the nose. Lively fruit salad flavours dominate the palate alongside tangy lemon acidity.

Fox-Gordon Abby Viognier 2007 – up to $20 \_/\_/\_/
Adelaide Hills, South Australia. The nose reminded me of the fragrance of freshly cut peach. The palate is quite full and smooth showing more stone fruit flavours. Unusually for a white wine, the aftertaste is quite lengthy and substantial.

Moss Wood Pinot Noir 2005 – $48 \_/\_/\_/
Wilyabrup, Western Australia. The nose of this Pinot has a delicate aroma of cherries and a hint of grape skins. The palate is elegant and clean with cherry notes continuing, along with a hint of cherry pips and pencil shavings. Acidity is quite forward at this stage but will soften off after a few months.

Cimicky Trumps Shiraz 2006 – up to $19 \_/\_/\_/\_/$
Barossa Valley, South Australia. A superb combination of ripe Barossa fruit and integrated oak. Both nose and palate offer an extravagant melange of blackberries and dark chocolate, tinged with vanilla and coconut from American oak. Great value.

Temple Bruer Shiraz Malbec 2005 – $20 \_/\_/\_/
Langhorne Creek South Australia. ‘Certified organic wine. Vegan friendly’ says the label. People are a bit suss about so-called organic wines and I have to admit I haven’t tried too many of them. However, if this is a typical example, give me more. The wine has a lovely texture, full and chewy. This texture ably supports what I would call an earthy fruit style, stacked with stewed plums and blackberries.

Saltram Mamre Brook Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – up to $27 \_/\_/\_/
A rich, generous red that fills the mouth with layers of blueberries, red currants, liquorice, oaky vanillin and mocha. It finishes warm (15% alcohol) and long.

Spitbucket rating system
Five gold spitbuckets \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/ – brilliant
\_/\_/\_/\_/ – classy
\_/\_/\_/ – first-rate
\_/\_/ – good stuff
\_/ – spit it!
An added $ or two denotes excellent value for money.
Prices in Australian dollars.

Spitbucket drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 15 September 2007 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Capel Vale Debut Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2007 – up to $17 \_/\_/
Juicy ripe sauvignon nose to start. This dryish style shows kiwi fruit flavours along with oodles of lip-smacking acid. Just the thing for an aperitif to serve with canapes.

Murdoch Hill Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – up to $19 \_/\_/\_/
Cool climate, blackcurrant leaf pungency on the nose. The generous palate is full of abundant ripe sweet berries with a hint of passionfruit adding zest.

Shaw and Smith Adelaide Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2007 – around $25 \_/\_/\_/
Lychees, asparagus and just ripe apricots lead the bouquet. There is more of the lychee flavour in this full-on, mouth filling white and just a hint of pineapple. Would go well with any entrée you’d serve a squeeze of lemon with – say, fried haloumi.

Jim Barry Watervale Riesling 2007 – up to $15 \_/\_/$
A bouquet of white flowers, lime cordial and fresh grape skins. Dry on the palate, light and citrussy with zingy refreshing acidity and a firm minerally finish.

Chandon Tasmanian Cuvée 2004 – up to $40 \_/\_/\_/
Pinot noir and chardonnay from Tasmania’s Coal River Valley. Lemon green hues, busy long-lasting bead. Generous bouquet of lemons, a delicate floral note and fresh bread. The mid-dry palate shows lovely balance and length with more citrus aspects, green apple and just right acidity to finish.

Angove’s Nine Vines Shiraz Viognier 2006 – up to $15 \_/\_/
Slight purple hues. Light peppery and plum aromatics on the nose. Soft warm ((14.5% alcohol) plummy flavours and mild oakiness continue to a quite firm finish.

Hardys Oomoo Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2005 – cost $14 \_/\_/$
Fruity blackberry aromatics with an edge of anise. Blackberries, coffee, and chocolate spice up the palate supported by textured tannin chewiness.

Hanging Rock Heathcote Shiraz 2004 – $60 \_/\_/\_/\_/
A nose of intense perfumed berries and sweet vanillin oak. Full-bodied red with mulberries, a hint of mintiness and robust tannic astringency. Definitely main course wine and will cellar gracefully to 2014.

Tahbilk Reserve Shiraz 2001 – up to $60 \_/\_/\_/\_/
Tahbilk is one of the few Australian winemakers that does not depend on lashings of new oak for their reds. Their methods, including open vat fermentation, are more in tune with European tradition and the results are noticeably different from the brash young things that often reek of the barrique rather than the wine.

This wine has a complex aroma of berries compounded with pencil shavings, leather and tobacco leaf. The palate shows some bottle development and is full of savoury character with stewed plums and aniseed over a substructure of sinewy, assertively astringent tannin. Cellar to 2020.

Spitbucket rating system
Five gold spitbuckets \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/ – brilliant
\_/\_/\_/\_/ – classy
\_/\_/\_/ – first-rate
\_/\_/ – good stuff
\_/ – spit it!
An added $ or two denotes excellent value for money. Prices in Australian dollars.

Spitbucket Drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 30 June 2007 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Scarborough White Label Semillon 2006 – $22 \_/\_/\_/
Hunter Valley, New South Wales. Pale, youthful greenish tints. Unwooded, dry, steely, typically Hunter style of lemon, lime and lemongrass structured over lip-smacking acidity. Great aperitif. Will cellar gracefully to 2017.

d’Arenberg The Noble Riesling 2006 – 375ml bottle $25 \_/\_/\_/
Golden yellow. Aromatic nose of Seville orange marmalade, honey and pears. Luscious palate of orange peel and honey and cleansing tangy acid.

Claymore Déjà vu Rose 2006 – $15 \_/\_/
Grenache and Malbec blend from the Clare Valley, South Australia. Pale, rose petal pink. Fresh fruity nose with a hint of strawberries on the palate and some grapey sweetness. Easy drinking style.

Pfeiffer Gamay 2006 – $16.50 \_/\_/
Light cherry hues. Sweet, almost fruit pastille nose with a hint of Turkish Delight. The palate showing a touch of maraschino cherry with some firmness at the finish.

Kangarilla Road Sangiovese 2005 – up to $17 \_/\_/\_/
Ruby appearance with a slight russet edge. Liquorice, new oak and mulberries on the nose. The palate shows substantial berry fruit and assertive tannins. Would suit pizza nicely.

Terra Felix Shiraz Viognier 2006 – up to $15 \_/\_/
Crimson hues. Restrained blackberry and vanilla oak nose. Medium-weighted dryish style with continuing blackberries on the palate and a hint of dark chocolate.

Lou Miranda Estate Old Vine Shiraz Mourvedre 2005 – up to $30 \_/\_/\_/
Black cherry hues. Generous bouquet of berries, vanilla and a touch of coconut. Palate is softish with flavours of ‘fruits of the forest’ conserve underlaid with hints of mint and eucalypt. Very approachable style.

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2003 – $70 to $80 \_/\_/\_/\_/
St Henri is surely the most European of Australia’s classic reds in that it doesn’t depend for its classiness upon lashings of new oak and jamminess. Rather it is a wine of beautiful structure: long lean and sinewy, with elements of plums, aniseed, cigar leaf, bitter chocolate and the subtlest oak sub-strata. Cellar to 2027.

Spitbucket rating system
Five gold spitbuckets \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/ – brilliant
\_/\_/\_/\_/ – classy
\_/\_/\_/ – first-rate
\_/\_/ – good stuff
\_/ – spit it!
An added $ or two denotes excellent value for money.

Spitbucket drinking

Posted by Martin Field on 31 March 2007 in Wine Tasting

by Martin Field

Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Vineyard Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2006 – seen for $19 – \_/\_/\_/
Fuller bodied white shows spiciness, lemongrassiness and dried apples. Quite delicious.

Plantagenet Riesling 2006 – $19 \_/\_/\_/
Aromatic with white flowers and lemons. Dry zippy white shows a lovely lemony tang in the mouth and finishes with lively acidity. Works well on its own or try with an entrée of saganaki.

Sticks Sauvignon Blanc 2006 – $18 – \_/\_/
Yarra Valley. Victoria. Fresh lively style bursting with passionfruit and lychees on both nose and palate. Serve as an aperitif.

Tarrawarra Pinot Noir Rosé 2006 – $17 – \_/\_/
Pale pink with a hue of onion skin. A light soft wine showing a melange of raspberry/strawberry fruit, mildly acidic at the finish. Serve well-chilled as an aperitif.

Nanny Goat Pinot Noir 2005 – up to $32 – \_/\_/\_/
Central Otago. New Zealand. Maraschino cherry nose with underlying savoury notes. A pinot noir of substance showing plenty of black cherry fruit and integrated tannins on the palate. In a word: tasty.

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2006 – up to $29 – \_/\_/\_/\_/
Assertive and complex pinot style showing blackcurrant, cherries, faint herbal notes and upfront, sweet toasted French oak. The finish is long and firm. A pinot noir for full-bodied red fans.

Nepenthe Tryst Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo/Zinfandel 2005 – $16 – \_/\_/ $
What an odd blend – but it works. The nose is sweet with a hint of cabernet capsicum. Medium-weighted ripe red fruit flavours extend along the palate and finish nicely with softish tannins.

Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz 2005 – up to $27 – \_/\_/\_/\_/
Generous tightly structured red with an assertive, very dry, youthfully tannic palate. The palate shows notes of blackberry supported by understated oak. Not a ‘fruit bomb’, merely a fine example of classy winemaking. Excellent as a food accompaniment and will drink well to 2014 – and longer.

Spitbucket rating system
Five gold spitbuckets \_/\_/\_/\_/\_/ - brilliant
\_/\_/\_/\_/ – classy
\_/\_/\_/ – first-rate
\_/\_/ – good stuff
\_/ - spit it!
An added $ or two denotes excellent value for money.