Cause » Wine
The weekend before last marked the first Pinot Palooza. One of the best ways to spend an afternoon that I could think of: tasting a great cross section of Pinot from across Australia and New Zealand. The guys at The Wine Guide did a brilliant job of bringing it all together, complete with ridiculously loud playing of Gangnam Style and #realperoni in the hands of all of the producers.
We took a bit of a scatter gun approach to the tasting, tasting a few producers whom I’ve not previously tasted (had been looking forward to tasting Bannockburn’s wine for a while), a few randoms and a few old favourites.
Overall I would say that the standing of Australasian Pinot is top notch. Young Pinot vines can sometimes produce a thin, slightly insipid wine which struggles for depth and balance. This is often the kind of Pinot that’s cheaper, but not worth the price of the glass. I can safely say, I didn’t taste a single wine like this. In fact, some of the cheaper wines really held their own.
The following are the photos I snapped of my standout wines. I seemed to have missed taking a photo of what was my favourite wine of the day, the Valli Gibbston Valley 2010.
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On our recent trip to McLaren Vale, Adelaide Hills, Eden Valley, Barossa Valley and Clare Valley we had the pleasure of stumbling across the cellar door of Suffield Wines. Getting there wasn’t by design, it was a matter of taking a wrong turn down a road and pulling into the first winery we saw.
The story of Suffield Wines is much the same story as how we stumbled upon it. With no experience of winemaking or vineyards, Nick and Lyne bought the vineyard in 1998. At the time they were living in the US managing their businesses and bought the cute little farmhouse and vineyard with the goal of taking things easy. That never happened, but spending a short amount of time with Nick, that’s no surprise – he has an insatiable passion for everything and anything he mentions.
The house was run down, with dirt floors, no bathroom and in desparate need of attention. The vines too were in a similar state, left to their own devices for god knows how long. The house was run-down and the state of the vineyards were no better. The exact years of planting aren’t really available, but they estimate that the Shiraz and Riesling are around 80 years old. Neither of these have ever seen much irrigation, so they have deep root structures and a consistent harvest. Turns out the age and establishment of the vines were their saving grace, and with a bit of well placed pruning, some active maintenance and a lot of hard work they are seeing better days.
At the time the Suffield’s bought the vineyard, most of the fruit was sold by contract to Henschke. Since then, the have continued the contract selling but have started making an increasing amount of their own wines. Using a combination of minimal intervention in the wine making, the help of a contract wine maker, and great fruit the wines Suffield is producing are not only sensational but also great value.
The earlier vintages of Shiraz were heavy-handed and off balance, but age has treated them well and they are well priced. The newer vintages have been made with a far subtler hand and will mature into some crackers. The older Rieslings have the roundness which I love in older Riesling and the later vintages have fantastic acidity, almost to a fault. The 2010 vintage was bone dry, all citrus and acid and lacking in complexity – this Jim told us is the style that all Eden Valley Riesling are moving towards. Personally, I like a touch of residual sugar, it plays well with the acidity and lifts it.You should follow me on Twitter.
It’s a sad day when a local small retailer closes and even sadder when it’s rolled by one of the big guys – that’s the story of Randall’s wine store in Albert Park. I’ve known for a month or so that the shop had been done, but it was only the other day when the realisation actually happened. It now doesn’t exist, it’s just another Vintage Cellars. A quick peek in looks like they’ve held much of the same stock (which is a relief cause the selection rocks) but it’s got some new shelving and a new sign and lot less clutter.
I’ve heard rumours that they soldout because it wasn’t making enough money but who knows. One thing is for certain, Coles offered enough money that they sold and now the shop is a Vintage Cellars.
I suppose what makes me the saddest is how great a member of the wine loving community of Albert Park Randall’s was. The master classes they hosted were not only awesome but affordable. I’ve learnt a lot and experienced some awesome wines that I probably would never have even considered through them. All Saints, By Farr, Teusner and Adam Foster to name the more memorable. They were hosted in the little Japanese restaurant next door by the friendly and knowledgeable staff and always had ample cheese and generous pours.
To make matters worse another locally owned wine shop has recently closed down, though I don’t believe it was sold – just the lease was not continued. That was the Prince Wine Store in the Clarendon Centre and it was replaced by the soulless institution that is Liquorland, complete with it’s shitty selection of wine and cheap beer. Thankfully, there still remains a Prince Wine Store around the corner in Bank St, but it closes far too early for my liking and isn’t open on Sundays.
To get my local wine retail fix, I’m going to have to start shopping at the Richardson St Cellars again. I feel bad, since moving closer to Randalls I haven’t been to Richardsons and I’m going to feel like a traitor. Better to support them with than the behemoth that is Coles I suppose.You should follow me on Twitter.
A day in McLaren Vale. For the Shiraz fiend, that may sound like heaven. But quite frankly, I’m just not that in to it. I love a good Rhone style shiraz, but the general style of Australian shiraz just isn’t to my liking. But as I’ve learnt many times, a trip to a wine region is almost never about that region’s flagship wine. It’s about the gems you find on the edges of the wine lists. Things like Sangiovese, GSM and Nebbiolo that perhaps aren’t available widely, but given the chance you will fall in love with.
McLaren Vale was no different. The standout was Grenache followed closely by Sangiovese (which inexplicably isn’t very widely produced in McLaren Vale.) Grenache is one of the most widely grown grapes in McLaren Vale (rivalled only by Shiraz.) It was introduced in the 19th century and was generally used in fortifieds. Today however it is being used to produce still wines, either by itself or blended with Shiraz and the results are terrific. It has an almost delicate spiciness and a refined richness with a fine not overbearing structure. It is interesting in that it is a “big” wine, yet doesn’t tend to overpower your palate.
And the growers of McLaren Vale obviously know they are onto something with their Grenache as they have a scheme wherein producers can showcase their Grenache based wines through a special brand, Cadenzia. I’m not entirely sure of the specifics, but someone mentioned they have to be deemed to be of a certain quality and be majority Grenache based.
If Grenache was the winning wine of the day, Kangarilla Road was the winning winery. It’s a fresh, modern winery with a great lineup of wines. The custom built cellar door itself lacks the heritage of many of the other cellar doors in the region, but what it lacks in character it makes up with it’s spacious interior and tasteful appointments.
The catalogue of wines is slightly off center. While it produces the requisite Grenache and Shiraz it also has plantings of Primitivo and Zinfandel. These wines are really well suited to the region and both wines show a unique rich character.
My favourite Kangarilla Road wine however was the Sangiovese. In comparison to the usual style of Sangio in Australia this is a different take. A darker browner colour in the glass, a stronger structure and a darker flavour profile might take this away from a traditional style, but I believe it plays into the the hand of the region perfectly.
If Kangarilla Road is new, fresh and modern then Kay Brothers is slightly dated. With an aging cellar door and retro labels the winery isn’t going to win any design awards. Though that surely is the furthest thing from their minds. The cellar door features an amazing section, “100 years today” featuring the diaries of the owners of the properties 100 years ago. The page I read featured some amazing tidbits, things like: Shot birds (10). Painted door. Looking back 100 years, the mundane seems almost exciting.
Don’t get me wrong though, in this case, it’s far from a bad thing. Kay Brothers is one of the few producers of wine in McLaren Vale who have been making wine since before federation, so I suppose they are allowed a bit of leyway.
Not that they need it, the wines do all the talking. The Shiraz (I tasted 06, 07, 08) is tightly wound and ready to ooze out over a good 10 years in the cellar. The 2008 was the most open of the 3, fruit driven yet not a hint of over-ripeness.
It is also worth mentioning the Moscato. Classic grapiness, clean and refreshing. According to the cellar door staff, it’s best served with gin and lime.
Coriole bills itself as an italian varietal specialist, but confusingly only has 3 italian (and about 6 regular) varieties available for tasting at the cellar door. Luckily for us, there was a Barbera and a Nebbiolo open. For mine, the Sangiovese was a little thin, lacking enough structure to make it interesting. The Barbera on the other hand was well balanced, juggling structure and savoury notes beautifully.
Coriole also has a cafe attached to it and although it was closed for the day, the courtyard and decks are amazing, decked in dappled sunlight they invite you to lie down and enjoy the day.
Tucked away in a valley on what seems to be the edge of the Vale, Olivers Taranga is a family owned winery that does so many things right. The cellar door is in a heritage listed cottage with a small, tasteful family history section they serve pizzas on the weekend and the wine tasting experience is perfect. Professional and friendly, with a good range of wines and a very casual, no worries attitude.
While all of the wines were well made and considered, the 2 hightlights were the Tempranillo and “The Banished” Fortified Grenache. The Tempranillo is a beautiful wine, balanced and well structured without taking itself too seriously.You should follow me on Twitter.
The thing I love about Queenstown is it’s diversity. There is a heap of crazy things to do, like bungy jumping, snowboarding and skydiving but aside from all that there are some of the most amazing eating and drinking experiences. My favourite of these is jumping in the car and driving out along the Gibston Valley, Bannockburn and Cromwell and tasting wine at some amazing producers. I’ve been to many of these cellar doors over the years but have compiled my favourites into this tour. They all have great stories to tell and amazing wine to try and buy. I’ve got a few more in depth blog posts about these on their way, in the meantime, here’s a couple of sets of photos I shot on one trip. As impressive as the scenery looks in the photos, sadly they don’t really do it justice.
Cromwell & BannockburnTwitter.
Posting may be a little slow over the next few weeks as we are in Queenstown snowboarding. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of eating and drinking.
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A few weeks ago I posted about the Governor-General’s wine cellar. At the time there was very little information at hand other than the article in The Age so I contacted Senator Scott Ryan’s office who has provided the entire list. Here for your viewing the entire list of wine at Government and Admirality House. This cellar is pretty impressive and I would personally be very disappointed if it was sold and not appreciated by the guests of our “head of state”.
The purchase price of the current cellar is $88,067 but I would suggest that the real value is more than twice that. Needless to say, whoever has put this collection together (the previous Governor-Generals) has pretty good taste, or at least pretty expensive taste.
The wines marked with ** have been purchased by the current Governor-General
|Number on hand|
|Baileys Bundarra Cl Herm 1989||12|
|Bannockburn Shiraz 1996||48|
|Bleasdale Shiraz Cab/Sav 2003||6|
|Bleasdale The Wise One Verdelh||12|
|Blue Cutting Rd Cab/Merlot 03||9|
|Brands Cabernet Sauvignon 1997||12|
|Brands Shiraz 1997||12|
|**Brindabella Ries 08**||7|
|Brown Bros Banks. Shiraz 1997||24|
|Brown Bros Fam Res Chard 1995||3|
|Brown Bros Graciano 1997||9|
|Brown Bros LH Nob Ries Dess 96||6|
|Brown Bros LH Noble Ries 1998||1|
|Brown Bros Orange Muscat/Flora||6|
|Brown Bros Pat Pinot Chard 97||12|
|Brown Bros Pat Shiraz 2000||24|
|Brown Bros Verdelho 1999||9|
|**Chalkers Cross CabSav 06**||24|
|Chalkers Crossing Merlot 04||4|
|Charles Cimilky CabSav 1992||23|
|**Clare Vall St John Blanc de B**||58|
|Clare Vall Stephen John Blanc||28|
|Coldstreams Hills R Chard 1996||6|
|Dalwhinne Shiraz 05||12|
|Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chard 00||3|
|Dalwhinnie P/Noir 2001||3|
|D’Arenb GrenShirMourvedre 1993||12|
|D’Arenberg CabMerl Franc 2002||12|
|**D’Arenberg Ceno CAT 07**||18|
|D’Arenberg D’arrys Orig SG05||34|
|D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz ’00||18|
|D’Arenberg Fort Shiraz 2000||12|
|D’Arenberg Noble Reisling 95||10|
|D’Arenberg Noble Ries 1998||12|
|D’Arenberg Pepperrm. Pdk Champ||10|
|D’Arenberg Shiraz 2000||4|
|D’Arenberg The Stump Jump GSM||25|
|**D’Berg Fish Sav Blanc 09**||24|
|**D’berg Money Spider Rouss 06**||24|
|**D’berg Money Spider Rouss 07**||12|
|**D’Berg Noble Riesling 08**||6|
|**D’Berg Stump Jump Sticky 08**||48|
|Devils Lair Chardonnay 1998||36|
|Elderton Botrytis Semil 2004||12|
|Elderton Botrytis Semillion 02||4|
|Elderton Botrytis Semillion 05||3|
|Elderton Command Shiraz 2001||6|
|Elderton CSM 2001||24|
|Elderton Friends Riesling 05||13|
|Elderton Merlot 2001||7|
|Elderton SB Verdelho 04||1|
|**Fire Block Grenache 03**||12|
|**G/Burge Hillcot Merlot 07**||1|
|**Geoff Merrill Shiraz Gren Mouv**||35|
|Grant Burge H.T GrenShirM 1997||23|
|Grant Burge Mashach Herm 1991||12|
|Grant Burge Meshach Herm 00||6|
|Grant Burge Meshach Herm 1996||24|
|Grant Burge Meshach Herm 1998||36|
|Grant Burge Shad. CabSav 1996||24|
|H/ford Hill Btryt Sem 2004||9|
|Hav Alkoomi Blackbutt Blend 98||24|
|Hav Alkoomi CabSav 2001||24|
|Hav Alkoomi LH Chard 2004||12|
|Hav Alkoomi Shir Viognier 2002||12|
|Hav Edlerton Est Shiraz 2002||12|
|Hav Wil Br Rs CabSav Rose 2003||12|
|Hav Willow Br CabSav 2001||24|
|Hav Willow Br Est Merlot 2001||2|
|Hav Willow Br Res Shiraz 2001||10|
|Henscke Hill of Gr. Shiraz ’94||19|
|Henscke Hill of Gr. Shiraz ’96||6|
|Henscke Hill of Grace Shir 1993||2|
|Henscke Mt Edelstone Shir 1996||8|
|Hungerford Botrytis Sem 2000||1|
|Hungerford Hill Botrytis Sem05||26|
|Ingoldby Cabernet Sauvignon 89||12|
|Jasper Hill G. Padd. Shiraz 93||36|
|Jim Barry The Armagh Shir 1998||4|
|Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 96||2|
|Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz 99||36|
|Kilikanoon Conv Shiraz 2002||12|
|Kilikanoon Oracle Shiraz 2002||8|
|Lindemans H.R Burg. Shiraz ’91||24|
|Lindemans L.R Shiraz Cab 1992||24|
|Longview My Fat Goose SSB 06||38|
|**Longview Red Bucket Shir Ca 07**||21|
|**Longview Red Bucket SSB 07**||8|
|**Longview Whippet SBlanc 08**||48|
|**Majella Musician 07**||67|
|Majella Musician 2004||26|
|Majella Musician 2006||12|
|McWilliams Mt Pleas. Shiraz 96||24|
|Miceli Michael Meth/Champ 2001||12|
|Moorilla B/L UnW Chard 03||6|
|Moorilla Botrytis SB 05||6|
|Moorilla Res Pinot Noir 1999||6|
|Moorilla Vintage Brut 2000||12|
|Mount Langi Ghir Shiraz 1990||3|
|Mount Langi Ghiran Ries 1999||16|
|Mount Mary Lilyd Cab 1990||4|
|MSV The Barossa 2005||12|
|Oakridge Res Cab Sauvignon 91||5|
|Old Station Gren/Shiraz 1999||8|
|Parker Estate TRFG Shiraz ’98||24|
|Penfolds Bin 407 CabSav 1990||30|
|Penfolds Bin 707 CabSav 1997||24|
|Penfolds Bin 707 CabSav 1998||22|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1985||17|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1986||32|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1987||12|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1988||8|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1989||12|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1990||2|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1991||6|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1992||3|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1993||36|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1995||30|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1996||48|
|Penfolds Gr Herm 1997||42|
|Penfolds Mag.Est Shiraz 1992||24|
|Penfolds Mag.Est Shiraz 1997||12|
|Penfolds Mag.Est Shiraz 1998||24|
|Pepp Tr GR C’Warra CabSav 2000||12|
|Pepper Tree R C’Warra Mer 1998||12|
|Petaluma (Hanlin Hill) Ries 02||26|
|Peter Lehm Ment CabMerSM 1996||12|
|Peter Lehm Ment CabMerSM 1997||12|
|Peter Lehm Stone. Shiraz 1991||12|
|Peter Lehm Stone. Shiraz 1996||24|
|Peter Lehmann Shiraz 1998||24|
|Pirramimma R Petit Verdot 2001||24|
|Pitchfork Cab Shz Mer 2005||12|
|**Pitchfork Sem SB 08**||36|
|Polkolbin Lks Foll Cab 1996||2|
|Polkolbin Lks Foll Cab 1998||3|
|Polkolbin Lks Foll Cab 2000||12|
|Redbank Emily NV||48|
|Rosemount B.S Shiraz 1995||6|
|Rutherglen Botrytis Musca 05||24|
|Rutherglen Ratafia 2003||6|
|Rutherglen Ratafia Viognier 03||1|
|Rutherglen Shiraz Durif 2006||24|
|Rymeill Merlot Cabernet 2001||6|
|Rymill June Traminer||1|
|Rymill Merlot Cabernet 2001||15|
|Seagrams Sambucca Liqueur||2|
|Shottersbrooke Merlot 2003||12|
|Tatachilla Cab Sauvignon 1999||24|
|Tatachilla F.L Shiraz 1998||24|
|Thomas Hardy C’Warra CabSav 90||11|
|Tyrrells McLaren Merlot 99||16|
|Tyrrells McLaren Shiraz 00||24|
|Tyrrells RH Shiraz 00||15|
|Tyrrells RH Shiraz 98||6|
|Tyrrells Rufus S Merlot 00||12|
|Tyrrells Show Res Cab Sav 1990||4|
|Tyrrells T Block G’traminer 05||7|
|Tyrrells Vat 1 Sem 96||3|
|Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon 1996||24|
|Tyrrells Vat 1 Semillon 1997||1|
|Tyrrells Vat 47 Chard 00||10|
|Tyrrells Vat 47 Pinot Chard 00||1|
|Tyrrells Vat 47 Pinot Chard 99||36|
|Tyrrells Vat 55 Shiraz Mer 98||24|
|Tyrrells Vat 6 Pinot Noir 1996||9|
|Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 1991||23|
|Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 1995||36|
|Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz 1998||12|
|Vasse Felix noble Riesling 00||2|
|Virgin Hills Blends CabShir 88||12|
|Water Wheel Memise Red 06||69|
|**Water Wheel Memsie White 07**||6|
|Water Wheel’Memsie’ 2003||7|
|Watermark Cabernet Sauv 2002||12|
|Wellington Iced Reisling 2001||6|
|Wellington Iced Riesling Des.||1|
|**West Cape Howe Riesling 08**||37|
|**West Cape Howe Rose 08**||1|
|**West Cape Howe Sau Blanc 08**||24|
|**West Cape Howe SS Blanc 08**||31|
|**West Cape Howe Tempranillo 07**||7|
|West Cape Howe Viognier 07||6|
|Wilson Leucothea Liq Gew||1|
|375 Wirra PinotGris 2003||1|
|Wirra Wirra Late Picked Pinot||8|
|Witchmount Estate Cab. Merl 04||12|
|Wynns Cent. Cab Shiraz 1991||24|
|Wynns C’Warr Ridd Cab Sav 1992||3|
|Wynns C’Warr Ridd Cab Sav 1993||13|
|Wynns C’Warra Cab Sav 1986||5|
|Wynns C’Warra JR CabSav 92||6|
|Wynns C’Warra ridd Cab/Sauv 90||7|
|Yalumba Menzies Cab Sav 1988||36|
|Yalumba Menzies Cab Sav 1992||11|
|Yalumba Menzies Cab Sav 97||12|
|Yalumba Octavius Shiraz 1992||11|
|Yalumba Signat Cab Shiraz 92||12|
|Yalumba Signat Cab Shiraz 97||18|
|Yalumba Signat Cab Shiraz 98||24|
|Yalumba Virgilius Viog 2000||10|
|Yarra Yering D.R Cab Shiraz 88||12|
|Yering Station R Pinot G Botry||3|