Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Dorrien Estate 'The Growers' Shiraz 2005 (Barossa)

Just received another case of the Dorrien Growers 2005 and had to open up a bottle to celebrate :)

I got Jean to open it about two hours before I got home and it was stunning from the first mouthful. A beautiful nose of mocha and a palate of rich chocolate berries. The finest firm tannins and overall, a beautiful wine. Jean even commented, so I know that it has that WOW factor.

I had bottle number 718 tonight, that's pretty damn low since the other ones I have had were about 10,000.

I really do need to get another case of this soon, just to keep. It will always be good to bring one of these out with company and it would suit almost any food.

Not a particularly heavy wine, it is however 15% alcohol. You would not notice, it is that smooth.

Drink ability 94
Value 95
Price $19 (Cellarmasters) (I bought 3 cases already of the 2005 and 2 of the 2004)

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Bowen Estate Shiraz 2005 (Coonawarra)

One of my favourite medium priced wines and this one is no exception. I knew that it required a lengthy time to breathe and I gave it about 4 hours in the bottle.

That was just about perfect!! A light smoky vanilla nose and a lovely warm full smooth velvety mouthfeel, make this a great wine to drink for any occasion.

Buttery (almost creamy) on the palate, but with firm tannins and excellent length, I rate this wine quite highly indeed. There is a dusty berry tone to it as well that adds to a beautiful complexity.

Bought on special for $20 too, I should have bought more :)

Drinkability 92/93
Value 97
Price $19.80 on special from Dan Murphys (in any six)

Penfolds Bin 407 2004 (South Australia)

First time up for a Penfolds wine and this one is not altogether glowing...
Whilst enjoyable, it did take an awfully long time to open up and remained quite earthy and acidic for a good few hours.
Seemingly typical of Penfolds Bin range, this wine had a lot of the characteristic 'Earthy' or 'Dusty' notes that seem to permeate the brand.
After about three hours, the berries (mainly blackcurrent) came out and the wine was smooth and velvety, though unfortunately, it took that long and half the bottle was gone before I really started to enjoy this wine.
Perhaps this is the mark of a good wine that is drunk before it's prime?
I cooked up a steak and that made the wine suddenly taste like liquid gold. There is definitely something to be said for food matching and wine.
Still, my first impressions were that this was nothing of note. It exudes class, butit really does require patience to drink.
On the whole, I wont bag it, but I can't rate it too highly either...
Drinkability 90
Value 87
Price $22 Kemenys

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Heathcote Estate Shiraz 2005

This wine came recommended to me and I bought a couple of bottles based on that. In anticipation, I let the wine breathe in the bottle for an hour or two...
I was not disappointed. Obviously a class wine, and it showed in the nose being strong and smooth, the palate being just that cut above the cheapies and the feel being real top notch. Strong vanillan oak and a very smooth finish. I really liked this wine.
Am going to try a 2004 penfolds 407 next and that will be a real indicator.
For a $30plus wine, it didn't disappoint, but it didn't really havea 'wow' factor either. The Dorrien 'Growers' has that. Still, this is personal taste and I stand by my opinions.
Drinkability 92
Value 90
Price $34 (Kemenys)

Friday, 23 November 2007

Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Coonawarra)

This bottle we took to dinner at the Italian restaurant, it breathed in the bottle for about 2 hours and I must say, really did impress.
A smoky feel on the nose, it was velvety smooth and quite nice. With a strong vanilla tone and it was not unlike the dorrien growers. (but with a little less punch)
On the whole, this was one of the better tastings of the Riddoch and it definitely lived up to my previous praise.
Probably heavier on the oak than the fruit. That isn't a bad thing if well balanced like this wine is.
I still have about ten bottle left, so that's good.
A definite winner.
Drinkability 91/92
Value 94
Price $14-17 (not sure, it was a while ago I got it from Cellarmasters)(retails for about $20)

Cleanskin - Barossa 'Single Vineyard' Shiraz 2002

I said it before and I'm saying it again... WOW!!
This wine is fucking beautiful!!! As a cleanskin you expect the worst and hope for the best, well, this wine delivers.
Vanilla Rasberry on the nose, smooth as silk on the palate and length for days.

I have already ordered a few more, but after comparing it to the bottle of Riddoch that we had for dinner (and I am going to review next) I can safely say that I will have to order another dozen.

They say this was worth $45 retail and I can see why, but for $14.95 it really is a winner and will be replacing the Devil's Lair Fifth Leg Blend in my top wines under $15

Drinkabaility 92
Value 97
Price $14.97 (Get Wines Direct)

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Gotham Langhorne Ck/ Mclarenvale Shiraz 2006

I just had to write this as it is a fairly profound observation... we left a bottle of the 2006 that had previously been opened to sit for a day or two while I drank the 2004 Gotham... well as a test I decided to try the 2006 that had been sitting there... well it drank beautifully. The honey on the nose and palate were sinply stunning and I really enjoyed the drop.

Something to say for the quality when it can sit in the bottle for a few days and then be as good as the 2004 which I raved about.
Anyway, this really was good and I got back online to Grays to order a few more.
In future I will just open a bottle and leave it a few days :)
Note to self, there was a lot of sediment in the glass. Not a bad thing, just an observation.
Drinkability 88
Value 97
Price $9.95 (Get Wines Direct)

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Gotham Langhorne Ck/ Mclarenvale Shiraz 2004

Ok. Now I have to admit that we bought this bottle for the label. I mean... how cool is that? :)

But we had tried the 2006 Gotham and really, it wasn't bad for a sub $10 wine.

This however, I bought for about $13 a bottle at auction with Grays Online. I did pay a little more than I thought, but only because I stupidly didn't notice it was only 6 bottles, not 12. Doh.

However, this wine blows the 2006 away (not just in the label either)(though Jean says she like the 2006 label too...) it's a richer, full bodied Shiraz and packs a punch at 15+% alcohol !!!

It has a fruity nose and very long lingering palate that belies it's price. It gets decent reviews and I can see why. It's not the style I prefer personally, but really at sub $15 a bottle, it makes good drinking. I think it's probably best with steak or some wanky game meat... or a really strong cheese. I'm going to stalk Grays and try to get this even cheaper. It's worth it.

Drinkaility 88
Value 92
Price $13 (auction grays online)

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Abbey View Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Margaret River)

This is an old favourite, but in recent times has been overshadowed by wines like the Dorrien Estate lines... this wines is made by Cellarmasters and I'm pretty sure that Neil Doddridge is at the helm.
It's a nice drop. A very VERY earthy nose and palate. This can be a little overwhelming, but to me it gives it character. Following on from the earth/oak is the berries. Quite intense and the thing that makes this wine rock. Quite a decent finish too.
The tannins are pronounced, but that is to be expected in a 2006 release.
This is one of Jean's Faves, though I don't know why??? It's far from what she's into. Anyway, I have drunk many a bottle of this wine and still have a few to go. Not my favourite, but if I can get it for under $15 then it's bloody good value.
Drinkability 89
Value 93
Price $13 (on special from Cellarmasters)

Tim Adams 'The Fergus' 2005 (Clare Valley)

This was a present for my recent 40th and I have been saving it for a rainy day and some white wine style dining. Seafood.
This 2005 Fergus is made up of 63% Grenache, 18% Cab Franc, 10% Cab Sauv and 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec and that's a blend that I am fairly (very) new to. However, this is quite nice.
Not as perfumed as I would have imagined, but quite light on the nose and palate.
It's easy to drink that's for sure, but not offensive or sweet in any way.
I don't usually go for the lighter bodied wines, but this wine is certainly something I would look at again. It is not too light and does carry a full flavour, but without the headiness of a Shiraz etc...
I really can't pick any standout flavours, but that's not to say there isn't anything flavoursome about it. The reviews I just read all pick different things, so I'm sticking to my 'nothing stands out' opinion. (Like who can really pick 'Rose Petals' in a wine???)
Drinkability 91
Value 91
Price $25 (apparently, though this was a present)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Chalk Hill Shiraz 2003 (McLarenvale)

Opened this Chalk Hill Shiraz and it smelt very nice indeed. Vanilla and very smooth.

Let it breathe a while and found it to be quite ok. As time went on though, it seemed to lose it's charm and fell back into the ordinary. Still holding it's vanilla, but with nothing else to add.

However, it did cost less that $10 a bottle, so I am not really disappointed.

Drinkability 88
Value 90
Price $9.95 (Get Wines Direct)

Friday, 16 November 2007

Dorrien Estate 'The Growers' Shiraz 2004 (Barossa)

Well, after drinking the ClonaKilla earlier this evening, this Dorrien just blew it away... absolutely stunning!!

I do favour the 2005 slightly, but this 2004 was excellent. Smoky oak on the nose and palate. Big Vanilla too. I am a huge fan. Jean too, she loved this tonight. We had a cheese platter and this went with it superbly.

I'm going to have to try get more... :)

Drinkability 93
Value 97
Price $18 (cellarmasters on special because I bought a couple of cartons)

Clonakilla 'The Hilltops' Shiraz 2006 (Canberra)

A long awaited delivery via my friend Kev Holyoak and despite the wrangle with Australia Post, I finally got to try my first wine from our capital territory.
Clonakilla comes with a mighty reputation thanks to James Halliday and it's Shiraz Voignier, which is meant to be as good as it gets...

This Shiraz is very young and it took a good three hours to breathe in the bottle before it gave up anything other than mint... but when it did it was a nice blend of fresh berries and a very smooth finish. Quite nice.

Unfortunately I had tasted too much of the mint and was a little off put. It's a good wine, but too young for now. My mistake, I guess, but you live and learn.

Will keep the other two bottles for a few years and see what happens...

Drinkability 90
Value 86
Price $26 (Wine Ark)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Devil's Lair 'Fifth Leg' Red 2005 (Margaret River)

Mmmm... this wine hath redeemethed itself since my last bottle. (Long Story...)

Allowed to breathe for a couple of hours, this wine reeked of vanilla, which is what I love. Smooth and sweet, I really enjoyed the drop tonight. Will finish the bottle tomorrow night and see if that makes a difference.

Nothing much more to say.

Drinkability 90
Value 94
Price $13 (Liquor Land Toombul) (on special)

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Cleanskin - Barossa Premium Old Vines Shiraz 2005

Bottle 2 of the dozen and this one is quite drinkable. Had a glass last night and left the rest til tonight. The difference a night makes...
A very raspberry nose, quite distinct, almost like smelling the raspberry lollies with a little wood in there. On the palate it's all fruit and it's very nicely balanced with a hint of oak. Possibly plum too. Actually, it is a lot like drinking alcoholic Ribena. Very much apple and black current.
I read the notes and it says Christmas cake... they are right, but I think that may be the power of suggestion. Still, it is possible.
On the whole, this is really good and next time I will know to let it breathe a loooong time.
ps. after two days this wine still tasted good.
Drinkability 89
Value 96
Price $9.95 (Get Wines Direct)

Monday, 12 November 2007

Classic McLaren LaTesta Shiraz/Grenache/Cabernet Blend 2000

Opened a bottle of this Cleanskin again tonight as I had no chance to let anything else breathe in time... this wine did not disappoint.
It's a full flavoured red with a complex palate. Nothing discernably noticeable, but all good nonetheless.
I could pick a smoky fruit flavour and I have no idea what else unfortunately. No vanilla, but still i found this wine fairly smooth and quite easy to drink.
Of course... it should be, as advertised at $55 a bottle, but realistically it is a damn fine cleanskin.
Drinkability 90
Value 92
Price $17.95 (Get Wines Direct- cleanskin)

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Red Knot Shiraz 2004 (McLarenvale)

Bit of a last minute dash to the bottle shop to get a wine to accompany our curry at the Tibetan Kitchen tonight. Jean chose this bottle simply because of the year and the region... unfortunately, we pretty much had to pour and drink.

This was a surprise. Very smooth from the bottle. Nice and easy to drink.

Not a particlarly great shiraz, but it served us well tonight. Not a big flavour, but not weak either.

For the price, we could have gone a little cheaper to get the same value, but this ended up being ok.
I have never heard of this wine, but will give it another go if I see it again, hopefully cheaper...

Drinkabilty 88
Value 90
Price $19 from the bottle shop in the Valley near the Italian place.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Dorrien Estate 'The Growers' Shiraz 2005 (Barossa)

Wow. Pretty much the word to desribe this wine. Left open for an hour or more, we had it as an appetiser and main course with our Italian meals at the Cortina in Nundah. Very rich and with loud chocolate overtones, this wine was a cut or two above the cheapies.

Very Berry. Very smoky, but with a sensational chocolate or mocha that lasts. I love this wine and am glad I bought 2 dozen :)

It's a shame that Dorrien is a Cellarmasters winery, I would love to see what mr Halliday said about it. It did win gold at the 2007 Sydney Wine Show. So, that's nice.

Thankyou Mr Doddridge :)

Drinkability 93
Value 94
Price $19 (on special from Cellarmasters)

Friday, 9 November 2007

Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Coonawarra)

One of my past favourites.. the Riddoch Estate Cab Sav 2004. Now this was once something that I held in high regard, but had let me down in recent times.
Tonight I figured I would give it another chance....
...and tonight it was quite nice. let breathe for an hour or so in the bottle, it had a nose of dusty vanilla, something I don't mind. A very cherry palate and a medium term finish made this a quite acceptable wine.
The bottle shown is not what I had, but the Cellarmasters version is apparently 'more approachable' according to the good people at Katnook Estate. Either way, it was enjoyable and that's what it's all about...
Drinkability 90
Value 90
Price $22 retail. but I think I paid about half that through Cellarmasters.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Black Wattle Shiraz 2005 (Coonawarra/Padthaway)

Opened the second bottle of this Coonawarra Shiraz and it did not disappoint. Didn't really let it breathe too long, but long enough for it to open up and show enough to really please.

On the nose was a little vanilla and a hint of rasberry, not unpleasant or over powering at all. On the palate is strong berry fruits (rasberry sticks out) with a hint of pepper at the finish. Again, not over powering in any way and well balanced. Quite a nice little wine.

I tried the Black Wattle Icon 'Robe' Shiraz at the last tasting and it was brilliant. This particular wine was Cellarmasters 'wine of the year' and it was made by Neil Doddridge.

Need I say more...

Drinkability 91
Value 96
Price $13 (cellarmasters special wine of the year pack) (interestingly they seem to want $280 a dozen for it now)

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Introduction to Wine with Wine and Food Matching by Paula Tewksbury

Did my first course yesterday with Paula Tewksbury (see here)

It went from Midday to 9pm and included a nice meal and a lot of wines. As it was my first course, I had no preconcieved ideas and was hoping to soak up as muc rudimentary knowledge as possible. I did learn a lot of things and did try a few styles of white (i still can't see myself liking it much, but gave it a go anyway)

The food matching part wasn't bad, but not really comprehensive. Still, I did learn some stuff that I did not know. And the food was good.

Nobody on the course liked any of the reds that were used. That made it a little difficult to enjoy. A little disconcerting in a way too, as they were supposed to be good wines. Meh. I may just be a little single minded when it comes to my own taste.

There were 18 people on the course from a variety of backgrounds. Paula herself seemed quite comfortable in the role of teacher and the course seemed to flow nicely without lagging.

I will endeavour to further my study in different areas, but I can't see myself looking for work in the industry. I would just like to know a lot more when I talk to fellow wine wankers. :)

Cheers Ian

Cellarmaster's Barrel Tasting Nov 2nd 2007

My first Cellarmasters event and I had a good time. Not as many wines as I had expected, but a good selection nonetheless. I met Kurtis and had a good chat as well as the Head Honcho Katie Langford, both were very approachable and pleasant.
In my groupie daze, I went and got my photo with my hero Neil Doddridge at the Dorrien Estate stand. See photo.
He was pretty cool about it and said it was the first time he had ever been asked :)

As for the wines, the first wine of the night was pretty good. An unreleased Icon wine from Black Wattle the Robe Shiraz 2006. At $50 a bottle it's expensive, but will be worth it in a year or so.
The last and probably best I tried was the Vasarelli Pallino Red Blend 2005. Again, unreleased and at $50 a bottle, it might be something for the cellar.
Will see what I can get them for or even previous vintages...

I did find a white that I liked and Jean is going to buy... the Stefano de Pieri Moscato 2006 @ $9 a bottle, basically a nice version of passion pop :)

Anyway, we went with Scott and Jeanine and had a nice dinner after at some place on the river at Southbank. Duck, Crocodile, Squid and Chicken... All cheap and pretty damn nice.
In all, quite a nice night and I look forward to more from Cellarmasters.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Gotham Langhorne Ck/ Mclarenvale Shiraz 2006

This is not the second bottle of Gotham we've had, but I'm writing again to confirm that it is indeed not a bad drop.

At $9.95 I have to say it's not the best ever, but it is certainly better than others.

It's smooth and has a nose that I can't identify yet, but it occurs in a few of the cheaper brands and cleanskins. Not unpleasant, but it does let you know what you paid for it.

Still we have had almost a dozen and Jean is happy to spring for another dozen.

Drinkability 87
Value 91
Price $9.95 (Get Wines Direct)