Tastings from Australia

Martin Field 2005-10-01T01:25:04+00:000000000431200510 Wine Tasting

Coldstream Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2005 – up to $25
Yarra Valley, Victoria. Green-tinged, extra pale. Voluminous nose of lychee and asparagus. Beautifully made wine, just bursting with varietal elements including lychee, passionfruit and citrus. The citrus zing at the finish completes the pleasure of drinking this.

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What the Dickens!

Martin Field 2005-10-01T01:21:24+00:000000002431200510 Food and Wine

‘Unsophisticated ALES & STOUTS. GOOD BEDS’ so used to read a sign on the wall of the Leather Bottle pub, Cobham, Kent, before the pub was restored. The Leather Bottle was frequented by Charles Dickens and is mentioned in his Pickwick Papers. Clearly, unsophisticated in this sense means pure and unadulterated. Pity the same can’t be said of many present day ales and stouts. Source, photograph in The Legacy of England, third edition, B.T. Batsford, London,1946-47.

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Aged and Ageing wine

Martin Field 2005-10-01T01:16:03+00:000000000331200510 Wine

Among the fine reds lined up on our regular Tuesday table was a bottle of 1952 vintage Mt Ophir Burgundy. Mt Ophir was a renowned Rutherglen winery near Chiltern that shut down in 1957. In its day, according to David Dunstan’s Better than Pommard – A History of Wine in Victoria, Mt Ophir produced over half a million litres a year.

The 53 year old wine (most likely shiraz) was in a heavy champagne bottle of an unusual bluish green hue and we wondered whether the contents had stayed the distance as the ancient cork looked very dodgy and proved difficult to extract. But not to worry, the wine was excellent. In colour it was a deep ruddy brown. The nose showed leathery aged fruit but was not at all sherrified. Also there was a distinct whiff of vanilla, although it is unlikely that the wine was matured in new wood. The palate was soft, rich and dry with a long and penetrating finish and a flavour that reminded me of coffee liqueur. It must have been a monster in its youth.

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Tutta colpa dei Supertuscan ? Non proprio.

filipporonco 2005-09-29T12:05:30+00:000000003030200509 Vino @it

Alla mia domanda – secca – alla Signora Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti di Badia a Coltibuono sulle possibili responsabilità toscane dell’attuale crisi di settore, è immediatamente seguito un cenno di assenso consapevole. Sia pur semplificando molto, è in effetti difficile contestare il fatto che alle origini dell’attuale crisi di mercato, si collochi un comportamento ed una tendenza che hanno avuto inizio con i primi vini palestrati italiani, i famosi supertuscan. Non mi riferisco tanto ai grandi toscani da uve autoctone – leggi sangiovese in purezza – quanto all’avvio di una produzione di un certo tipo di vini e di comunicazione – senza dubbio di alto livello – basata su vitigni internazionali, rese minime spesso esasperate, massima cura dell’aspetto esteriore, muscoli, che ha contribuito alla creazione di un immagine nuova del vino italiano, cui ha fatto seguito il prevedibile aumento sconsiderato dei prezzi e l’avvio di quel processo di euforia prima e di “realismo” poi, che si riflette nell’attuale stagnazione del mercato.

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Chardonnay? No, Vermentino

Luca Risso 2005-09-23T10:26:30+00:000000003030200509 Vino @it

Pare che i vignaioli americani siano alla ricerca di nuovi vitigni.

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Però, queste donne del Pigato!!

Luca Risso 2005-09-08T22:42:29+00:000000002930200509 Vino @it

Sembra che a Ponente Pigato si coniughi bene al femminile. Maria Donata Bianchi, Maria Giovanna Grana ed ora….Saguato Rosella.

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Modifica disciplinare Riviera Ligure di Ponente

Luca Risso 2005-09-08T09:35:42+00:000000004230200509 Vino @it

E’ in corso il processo di revisione della DOC “Riviera Ligure di Ponente”. Possiamo dire la nostra? Forse sì!

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Nebbiolo (di Dronero) o Chatus?

Luca Risso 2005-09-03T21:14:14+00:000000001430200509 Vino @it

Qualche tempo fa ho assaggiato un vino davvero interessante: il nebbiolo di Dronero di Chiotti.

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Champagne restaurant syndrome?

Martin Field 2005-09-01T08:11:18+00:000000001830200509 Food and Wine

In a comprehensive piece, If MSG is so bad for you why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache? a Guardian Observer correspondent discusses the whys and wherefores of the food additive MSG (monosodium glutamate) – pretty much demythologising the so-called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (CRS).

What caught my attention was the mention that MSG is a major constituent of autolyzed yeast extracts – like Marmite and similar products. Now students of wine will know well that a significant flavour (umami) component of Champagne is autolyzed yeast. This raises the obvious question: if CRS does exist does the consumption of Champagne create problems for those who feel they are susceptible to that alleged condition? Should one risk accompanying Chinese food with Champagne?

Recommended wines from Australia and New Zealand

Martin Field 2005-09-01T08:01:19+00:000000001930200509 Wine Tasting

Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Rosé 2005 – under $10
Paleish pink. Sweetish raspberry nose. Light dryish and refreshing, shows delicate raspberry fruit and easy on the palate acidity. Delightful Spring luncheon style.

Yellowglen Perle 2001 – around $23
Pinot noir, Chardonnay and pinot meunier. Three years on yeast lees. Vigorous small bead. Bouquet is lifted, with apple blossoms and biscuity yeast. Medium dry on the palate, mid-weighted with dried apples and apricots and citrus zest to the finish.

Cloudy Bay Gewürztraminer 2003 – about $30+
New Zealand. Pale straw. Heady aromatics of nuts, dried apricots, figs and faint toasty oak make for a complex nose. The palate is rich and long with Turkish delight and marmalade notes leading to a quite firm finish. A beautifully constructed, perfumed white.

Jim Barry Clare Valley The Florita Riesling 2004 – about $40
Green to light gold. Essence of lime and lemon on the nose. Dry steely style with pervasive citrus throughout. This classic Clare dry white has a very low pH of 2.99 but the high acid supports rather than dominates the fruit. Finishes long and lean. Drink at any point in the meal. Cellar if you wish to 2020.

William Downie Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2004 – $40+
Unfiltered unfined. Mid-ruby hues. Intense pinot characters of strawberries and dark cherries on the nose. Powerful and elegant, very dry, showing subtle and spicy French oak. Pronounced acid tang leads to a food-demanding firm finish. Will drink well to 2009.

Yalumba The Signature ‘Geoff Linton’ Cabernet / Shiraz 2001 – $40ish
Dense purple. Cedar and dark berries on the nose. Thick solid and chewy on the palate with blackcurrants and dark chocolate (think Lindt 85%). A great wine with a long lineage – I fondly remember some of these from years ago – particularly the ‘Rudi Kronberger’ of 1967 and the ‘Christobel’ of 1974.

Hewitson Ned & Henry’s Barossa Valley Shiraz 2004 – mid $20sBlended with 10% Mourvedre. Darkish red. Plummy, aniseed nose. Warm and spicy in the mouth with berries, undergrowth and a sub-structure of subtle wood.

d’Arenberg McLaren Vale d’Arry’s Original Shiraz Grenache 2003 – $20 and below
Youthful crimson. Nose of dusty oak and preserved cherries. Medium drying tannins support flavours that remind one of Black Forest cake – i.e. berry conserve and mocha. Solid finish of acidity and tannins will suit main course fare.

Note: Prices in Australian dollars.