Monday, 31 December 2007

Wynn's John Riddoch Coonawarra Cab Sav 2004

New Years Eve and I have decided to try one of the 'Premium' wines that I bought a few months ago... The Wynns John Riddoch 2004.
A little daunting as this is my first over $50 bottle and I don't want to miss out on catching it at the right moment. As it was, I let it breathe in the bottle for a good couple of hours and although that was not quite enough, it still showed it's class.
A little tight even after that amount of time, it was a nice blend of smoky chocolate - more oak than anything else but not harsh at all. Quite dry too, but again, all in good balance.
As time went on and it oxidised more, the wine became fruitier, spicier and a lot smoother. There is a lot of promise here. It ended up being a mighty fine drop...
I did like this and maybe drank it a little too early, my mistake, I should have decanted.
This wine will last a good many years yet, so I think I will leave the other bottle for quite a while to come.
Drinkability 93/94 (will be excellent in a couple of years or if decanted)
Value 85
Price $58 (Kemenys)

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Wirra Wirra 'The Church Block' Cab Sav Shiraz Merlot 2005 (McLarenvale)

A moderately priced wine that packs a big punch.
I quite like this at a sub $20 wine, it's intense but smooth and well worth a try.
I let this breathe for about 2 hours in the bottle, before I was tempted to try it. When I did it was a good drop. Not particularly astonishing, but much better than most of the sub $15 wines.
A slight vanilla flavouring along with medium tannins and a good complex structure. This is a good wine and could probably sit in the cellar for a year or two more.
I will definitely be looking for this again, as Wirra Wirra comes highly recommended especially at the Premium level.
Fitting that I should drink the Church Block on a Sunday.
Drinkability 91
Value 92
Price $17 (Dan Murphys Chermside)

Friday, 28 December 2007

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2003 (South Australia)

A Christmas pressie and a very welcome one. I have had a few bottles of the 2003 and have found it to be very nice indeed.
This one I let breathe in the bottle for a couple of hours and it had opened up nicely. A smooth new oak with berries were the most prominent flavours. The oak and acidity being quite prominent as is the Penfolds way.
Definitely not unpleasant by any means, it provides a tight structure that is swept up in the flurry of berries and possibly liquorice (aniseed at least)
This wine is all quality. Length and complexity abound. You really know you are drinking something nice with Bin 389.
It's a little dry, so I am assuming that there is more Cab Sav than Shiraz.
I do prefer the 2002 over all that I have tried, but I can tell that all of the most recent vintages need a lot more time. The 2003 probably needs the least though, but it could still use a couple more years.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this and as it's Christmas week, I am happy to (over)indulge :)
Drinkability 93
Value 89
Price $ not sure, this was a gift, but I think it retails at about $49.... ???

McWilliams Hanwood Estate Shiraz 2005

Time for a cheapie and it's been a long time since I have tried anything from the McWilliams Hanwood Estate range. It was once our favourite, back in the days when we thought Australian Lambrusco was the ultimate red wine :)
(not knocking it at all, but my palate has developed somewhat in recent years)
Times have changed and it was for the nostalgia that I thought I would try this shiraz tonight. That said, it wasn't too bad and at $8 a bottle I would definitely choose this as a quaffer over some others I have tried lately.
It's definitey smooth and not unpleasant at all, but has no real substance to it. To me, it tastes like a good cask wine. No particular stand out characteristics, though I have to admit there is a faint candy/vanilla essence to it, but it's not strong enough to diguise the price tag.
I'm not being a snob, but at this price range, a good cask wine is probably better value, if not better quality. I think that of the Hanwood Estate range, the shiraz is probably the weakest and it was the Merlot that we drank a lot of. I will have to give that or the Cab Sav a go next time...
Drinkability 85
Value 86
Price $8.00 (Dan Murphys Chermside)

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Grant Burge Filsell Shiraz 2005 (Barossa)

On a whim I went to Dan Murphy's today and bought a couple of bottles of this Grant Burge Filsell 2005. I am a bit of a fan of the Grant Burge wines and for the price I was hoping this would be great.

Word of warning, this wine can use decanting. I left it to breathe in the bottle for a couple of hours and that was barely enough. My initial tasting was quite tight and it took a little while longer to open up and display the delicious berry and hint of mint that I had been anticipating.

A smoky vanilla nose with firm but fine tannins and long finish mean this wine could use a few more years in the cellar. It's good now, but will improve greatly within a few years. So the second bottle I bought will just have to sit there :)

I'm going to buy a couple of the 2002 and see how that goes. Will let you all know...

Drinkability 91/92 (to be fair, this will improve in time)
Value 90
Price $23.80 (Dan Murphy's in any six pack)

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Tapestry 'The Vincent' Reserve Shiraz 2004 (McLarenvale)

First review for this wine, which has been one of my favourites since I bought a dozen at last years Brisbane Wine Show in July. At the time it was the best thing I have tasted, but that was a while ago now, still, it holds it's own.

Beautiful smooth vanilla followed by ripe rasberries on the palate. Long and luxurious, this wine is a cut above and only lacking a little in complexity.

That isn't really a problem though because this wine tastes fantastic and if you know what you like, you don't need to drink a wine and constantly be looking for more in every mouthful. No, this is a good wine - Simple and luscious.

I read that James Halliday rates it a 94 and he seems to be right again. God Love him.. :)

I paid $35 a bottle on special for the wine show and have had no luck with emailing the winery itself to purchase more (they seem not to answer any type of personal email... that's not the way to build a name...) and to buy it by the bottle they seem to want $50. I rate this a 94 too, but for less than $20, the Dorrien Growers is a far better drop.

Still, I love this wine.

Drinkability 94
Value 88
Price $35 (Brisbane Wine Show Special Price_)

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Dorrien Estate 'The Growers' Shiraz 2005 (Barossa)

How bloody good is this wine!!!

We drank it with cheese and fruits after the bottle of Riddoch and I have to say that once again, I was completely in awe. The rich nose and beautiful smooth mouthfeel combining to make this a fantastic experience and tremendous value.

I have already bought 3 cartons and after that I want to secure a couple more.

James Halliday doesn't bother reviewing Cellarmasters Wines, but don't let that stop you from trying this iconic wine. It has won medals at top wine shows in this country and it has never disappointed me. In fact I think I'll open one to breathe right now :)

Drinkability 94
Value 96
Price $19 (from Cellarmasters, but i might be getting it cheaper for the volume I am buying)

Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (Coonawarra)

Took a bottle to our local Indian Restaurant as I know it's a light but tasty wine. Not disappointed at all, but it fell short of my previous impressions (as my palate grows and I am exposed to increasingly better wines I am finding that some old favourites do not stack as well as previously indicated)
It's definitely not a bad wine, but as you will see from the next review of the Dorrien Growers 2005 Shiraz, it didn't stand a chance of looking good tonight.
Drinkability 89
Price $15 (roughly)
Value 90

Friday, 21 December 2007

Black Wattle Shiraz 2005 (Coonawarra/Padthaway)

Got home tonight and felt like something a little special, but not on the expensive side.
So I immediately thought of the Black Wattle Shiraz.
I still have about 8 bottles left and I felt like this. Very earthy, but with definite berry character. It's rich and smoky, but not overpowering. Long finish and quite nice tannins. Overall, this is a nice wine.
Wine of the Year for Cellarmasters, meh... i don't know how they pick them, but it's good and that's all that counts. Certainly not as good as the Dorrien Growers, but deinitely as good as anything else they have... except maybe the Vaserelli Shiraz.
Anyway, a nice drop.
Drinkability 91
Value 92
Price $13 (on special Cellarmasters)

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Cleanskin - Barossa Premium Old Vines Shiraz 2005

A nice surprise tonight with the opening of this particular cleanskin. It opened up nicely after half an hour and had a brilliant rasberry flavour that was quite appealing.

Not a particularly striking wine, but quite drinkable and the rasberries made it very enjoyable.

Drinkability 89
Value 93
Price $9.95 (Get Wines Direct)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Grant Burge Nebuchadnezzar Shiraz Cabernet 2003 (Barossa)

Got this as a special 6 pack with two other really cool named wines from Grant Burge (Balthazaar and the Holy Trinity) at a fairly good price and thought I should give them a chance... Grant Burge has a good name and these wines are 'Wines of Distinction' according to the website for Grant Burge.

It's a dry wine, not overly so, but enough to notice it above all else at first. Though I must admit that given a little more time the acidity dropped away and this wine became a nice lucious smoky rasberry, still dry, but a lot softer on the palate. On the nose it has a definite warm smokiness and really does have a great appeal.

A great mouthfeel and long finish.

It's about a half hour breathing before the real quality shows itself but when it does it has a taste of it's own (or at least one I haven't had before.

I'm not sure what this would cost outside of the deal I got from Cellarmasters, but it's worth a look. I am going to rate this higher than the 'Experts' like Mr Halliday who gave it a 90.

Drinkability 91
Value 90
Price $35 (apparently. though I got it in a six pack with two others for $130)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Wynn's Coonawarra Cab Sav Merlot 2005

Following on from the Chalk Hill tonight was this old favourite. This wine never lets me down. Tonight, allowed to breathe for about two hours in the bottle (under the air conditioner) it was strong and showed all of the power of a quality wine.
Vanilla coming to the fore (as usual) and a good blend of oak and fruit (though more oak should be noted)
I have to say it again, that for a sub $20 wine, this is a fantastic buy.
Thanks to Kev for introducing me to this and thanks to BWS for continually putting it on special at $13 a bottle.
Drinkability 91
Value 96
Price $13 (BWS)

Chalk Hill Shiraz 2003 (McLarenvale)

Not a bad drop at all. This was stored in my 'non-climate-controlled' fridge and I knew this wouldn't need a long time to breathe. Uncorked it and set off to our local Italian restaurant 'Cortina' and this wine served us well.

Very smooth and quite vanillan it went down a treat. Not so sure it would last a long time and from experience, I knew that this wine tastes best when first opened.

After a small amount of time it does tend to lose it's charm. However, in a group of four it would be a lovely drop.

Drinkability 89

Value 94

Price $9.95 Get Wines Direct (When Available)

Monday, 10 December 2007

Vasarelli Pallino McLarenvale Cab Sav Shiraz 2004

What's in a label? I don't know, but the fact you get a leather tie with two wooden balls appealed to me. This wine was reduced for me from $50 a bottle to $30 a bottle and I have waited til now to try it.
A Cellarmaster's label, but don't let that put you off. The Vasarelli's are well respected and deservedly so.
This is meant to be an icon wine and it is very good. Very oaky at first, but there is a nice berry fruit feel on the finish. It's a dry wine, but quite pleasing.
I wasn't as sold on it as I had expected to be, but that's wine. It's a matter of timing and taste.
I had tried the 2005 Pallino at the Cellarmaster's Barrel Tasting and that was better.
There are 5 more bottles in the cellar and I think that they will be there a long time yet. This should drink well until 2013, so there is plenty of time yet.
Drinkability 92
Value 86
Price $30 per bottle (Cellarmasters Wine Club)

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Gotham Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Well, this wine came as a surprise and a good one at that. We had enjoyed the Gotham Shiraz for what it was worth and this Cab Sav came recommended (albeit by Get Wines Direct)

We let this wine sit in the bottle for an hour or so and it had opened up nicely. A good vanilla oak nose and a real sweet rasberry palate and a hint of mint. Fairly smooth with firm but fine tannins made this wine as good as any Cab Sav in recent memory.

I think this wine will last a few more years yet and develop into a real winner. Apparently it's an ex - Wynns winemaker at the helm and he has done a great job.

I'm going to order another half dozen right now. It is that good..

Drinkability: 89

Value: 96

Price: $9.95 (Get Wines Direct)