Sunday, 20 March 2016

2002 Henschke Cyril Cabernet

A change from Burgundy

20 March 2016

It took some persuading for Shell to abandon Burgundy for the evening.

Ox cheeks braised in red wine for most of the day was going to require something with a bit of weight.

We picked this up a few weeks ago from our 'not to be named' bottle shop for $80. Three of them in fact.

The challenge now is to convince Shell to drink the rest. She seems determined to auction them off for a profit. Is wine just another commodity to be bought and sold for profit? where is the romance in that. Drink it I say!

It remains a certainty the two will be sold. Shell is a difficult person to 'convince'.

2002 Henschke Cyril Cabernet

Deep red brown.

Savoury complexity on the nose. Dried herbs, liquorice, tobacco, notes of tar, cooked red meat and bitter chocolate. 

Velvet mouthfeel with balanced dusty tannins and terrific length. A quality cabernet in a great drinking window. 

Classy stuff. 

Drink now - 2026.

Monday, 14 March 2016

2012 Stonier Merron's Vineyard Pinot Noir

A public holiday is reason enough.

14 March 2016

After a morning drive through Mt Macedon Shell decided we should try the wild boar we picked up at Prahan Markets the weekend before.

It should be noted that before the cooking began we stopped for tea and coffee at a location Shell won't allow me to publish.

Amongst its eclectic little cellar were three bottles of 2002 Henschke Cyril Bordeaux blend. A quick look to the current auction markets showed these selling for between $120-160. Shell grabbed all three for $80 each.

She seems determined to sell them for profit. I am quietly confident I can convince her to drink them.

The "mystery location" is a treasure trove of wine bargains.

Back to the boar ragu...

After much preparation and several long hours of braising the wild boar ragu was ready.

A quick taste test revealed no amount of salt could hide the tremendously hideous flavour of wild boar.

It is now obvious why male pigs are either slaughtered prepubescent or as barrows. The flavour of boar is strong and certainly an acquired taste. Add to the mix that wild pig of any type is even more distinctive and you have one of the most unpleasant flavours I can recall.

A lot of hard work down the drain.

Shell sensing my disappointment suggested we open a bottle of wine and start again with the more predictable beef as the protein.

It is worth mentioning that Shell has taken over the cellar. Not the day to day adding and removing of bottles but the selecting of wines. Those to be drank and when. Those to be sold and when. She has even changed the name of the cellar to her name.

After much reading and indecision she went with an Australian Pinot. A change from the usual Burgundy. I had fears she would tip it down the sink if the wine bore any resemblance to the new world Pinot's she seems to distaste so much these days.

2012 Stonier Merron's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Light in colour. 

Strawberries, green herbs, sweet spices and a hint of oak that is not overt. 

After some time in the glass it opened up showing darker fruits and more vanilla oak. The wine carried it well. 

On the palate more dark fruits. A balanced mouthfeel with integrated gripping tannins. 

A solid new world pinot with medium term cellaring potential. 

Dink now to 2022.

We finished the bottle. A small victory for Australian Pinot. Small steps....

Sunday, 6 March 2016

2011 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

An adequate substitute for Burgundy.

5 March 2016

Having finished a remarkable Chablis while cooking beef ragu, it was time for the main course.

This wine was trashed by Australian critics on release.

Two years later it was awarded Australian Pinot of the Year by Decanter.

We purchased this wine from the Curly Flat Cellar door and tasted it as part of a mini vertical which included the 2010, 2011, 2012 and current release 2013.

The 2011 vintage was difficult in comparison to the 2010, 12 and 13 and it certainly lacked the fruit forward flavours of the other vintages.

Regardless, its complexity and pedigree were clear. The stand out of the vertical with the exception of the 2012 which has all the hall marks of a cellar worthy classic Pinot.

You have to wonder what the judges saw when this was released.

2011 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

From a difficult vintage this wine is quite remarkable.

On the nose it shows dried strawberries, raspberries and cherries. Mushrooms, dried herbs and cooked meats. 

The palate is well balanced with gripping tannins. Remarkable weight and mouth feel. Complex and thought provoking. Well balanced though likely not for the long term cellaring. 

Drink now to 2020.

2010 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet Vieilles Vignes

Something to drink while cooking.

5 March 2016

Shell requested beef ragu.

Its a pains taking process. The beef cannot be minced. Instead it must be finely diced. As with the vegetables. Diced so fine they melt.

The pasta must be hand made. Kneaded by hand, rolled by hand, cut by hand. No machine, powered or manual can touch it.

These are the appellation d'origine contrôlée for making ragu as set out by Shell.

I needed a drink to get me through the ordeal.

Shell rarely drinks white wine. It was a hot day and the debate on what was to be opened was vigorous.

Apparently Lakes Folly Hill Block just wasn't going to cut the mustard for Shell. It was Chablis or red and that was the end of the discussion.

2010 Domaine Bernard Defaix Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet Vieilles Vignes

Sourced from Wineaway in Brisbane. One of the few wine merchants with trustworthy provenance.


Dried tropical fruits on the nose. Pineapple, white peaches and banana.

A surprisingly clean and acidic palate that defies the nose. Green apple, lemon and hints of developing complexity.

A classy wine that will continue to develop though not for the long term.

Dink now to 2020.

It certainly got me through the ragu preparation.