Monday, 23 May 2016

Cabernet Dinner - Coonawarra V the rest of Australia

Comparing Coonawarra - Bergerac, Melbourne

6 May 2016


After some rather negative reviews on the Coonawarra some staunch supporters of the area decided a comparison tasting was in order.

Amazingly no one entered a Margaret River.

Never mind. The theme for the next wine night will be Margaret River V the rest of Australia.

As is the case with these events, as the nigh wore on my notes became more vague, more brief, then non existent.


The final line up.


Shortbread, pears and almonds on the nose. Dry and youthful on the palate. Restrained and balanced. Very good drinking.


Served a fraction warm. A touch of barrel fermentation and a few years of bottle age added some interest and complexity. Lychees and some musk on the nose. The palate was difficult due to the temperature. A novelty rather than anything amazing.


Picked as a SSB from the first smell. Developed with only hints of fresh fruit remaining.


Classy stuff. One of our favourites. Tasting notes are everywhere in this blog


Classic Coonawarra. Incredible fruit weight. Outstanding structure and balance. Classy stuff with years ahead of it.


Elegant, restrained yet powerful. Silky mouthfeel with great length.


Restrained. Feminine. Classy.


Huge after the Yarra Valley duo. Fruit forward. Everything in its place and as it should be.


More elegant and restrained than the 2005. Still a very good wine.


A little more conservative than the Balnaves. Lacking the power and structure of the previous wines. Still a very good wine and ageing well.


No notes taken.


Less fruit and more tertiary on the nose. Great mouthfeel. A very good wine though a little more developed than some of the others.


Power and class. Amazing drinking. One of the wines of the night.


No notes.


Ageing well. Structure and balance. Classic Coonawarra. Amazing youthfulness for a wine that is 24 years old.


A poor bottle.


No notes.


A great way to finish.


It is hard to say if Coonawarra came out on top.

Coonawarra is all power and structure. Such big wines.

The others were more elegant and restrained, but certainly not better or worse.

2011 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

A big night of Pinot (Part 4)


4 May 2016


The challenge was set. The Moric did not measure up, the 2010 Curly Flat was too fruit forward and oaked.

Complexity? The 2011, from a difficult vintage it has aged quickly, what it lacks in fruit it makes up for in structure and complexity.

2011 Curly Flat Pinot Noir






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 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

A big night of Pinot (Part 3)


4 May 2016

The 2010 vintage was highly regarded in Macedon.

With the Moric falling short in Shell's opinion it seemed only reasonable to pitch the 2010 against the Moric and the Burgundy.

2010 Curly Flat Pinot Noir






Sour cherries, vanilla, dark chocolate and cured meats on the nose.

The palate has great structure, well balanced tannins and excellent length.

A wine of class reflecting a very good vintage.

Shell is coming around, though she did mention the heavy handed oak, forward fruit and lack of complexity....

2010 Moric Reserve Blaurfrankisch Burgenland Osterreich

A big night of Pinot (Part 2)


4 May 2016


Served blind against the Morey-Saint-Deny by Bruno Clair I was certain this could be the wine to sway Shell.

It came highly recommended by Braden at Baringo I had high hopes.

2010 Moric Reserve Blaurfrankisch Burgenland Osterreich





Dense dark berries on the nose dominated by cassis and licorice.

Elegant mouthfeel though somewhat narrowing toward the back palate.

A classy wine.

I loved this. Sadly Shell remained unconvinced.

Is it possible she is a Burgundy bigot?

2010 Domaine Bruno Clair Morey-Saint-Denis En la rue de Vergy

A big night of Pinot Noir (Part 1)


4 May 2016


Previous attempts to convert Shell to Pinot outside of Burgundy have failed.

Time for a change in tactics.

This Bruno Clair was tasted blind against the Moric on the following post.

2010 Domaine Bruno Clair Morey-Saint-Denis En la rue de Vergy





Strawberries and violets dominate the nose with hints of truffle and smoked meats.

Feminine well balanced mouth feel.

Restrained and elegant.

Drink now 2025.

2003 Lakes Folly Cabernet

Dinner with Diane Griffin.


26 April 2016


A great day.

Always a pleasure to have family visit.

Not Burgundy but one of Shell's favourites.

2003 Lakes Folly Cabernet



Sweet tobacco, dried herbs, coffee and dark chocolate with fading dark berry fruits.

The palate shows great mouthfeel. Very good structure and fine well integrated tannins.

At or near its best.

A very good expression of Australian cabernet.

Drink now - 2020.

Time for bed....

2010 Domaine Gason & Pierre Ravaut Ladoix Le Bois Roussot Premier Cru

Back to Burgundy


26 April 2016


Shell went straight back to Burgundy after the disappointment of the Bellaraine pinot.

Onto our third bottle before dinner. I hope Diane does not think this is a regular Saturday's drinking.

2010 Domaine Gason & Pierre Ravaut Ladoix Le Bois Roussot Premier Cru




Sour cherries, earth, truffles, rhubarb and the slightest hint of fennel.

The palate is masculine yet refined. The tannins are well balanced and the length is excellent.

A very good premier cru.

Drink now - 2026.

2009 Scothmans Hill Norfolk Vineyard Pinot Noir

Between lunch and dinner with Diane Griffin

26 April 2016


It is an ongoing quest to convert my beautiful wife to Pinot outside Burgundy.

With Diane and I having the lions share of the Epogee we needed something to get us through the afternoon before dinner.

A good as time as any to tempt Shell with an Australian Pinot.

I picked this up on a work trip to Geelong.

At the Cellar Door it struck me as variatel, complex and not overly oaked.

What would Shell think?

2009 Scothmans Hill Norfolk Vineyard Pinot Noir



Strawberries and mushrooms on the nose with only hints of sweet vanilla oak and some complexity.

The palate is well balanced. The tannins are well integrated and fine.

There was a high pitched green note to this that let it down somewhat.

Drink now - 2020.

Shell remains unconvinced.

2015 Keith Tulloch 'Epogee' Voignier Marsanne Rousanne

Lunch with Diane Griffin.


27 April 2016


Diane, like Shell, is not a fan of white wine.

One of her favourite vineyards is Elephant Hill in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

Here she tried their Voignier and loved it.

The cellar is very thin when it comes to whites outside of Chablis.

Luck was on our side.

2015 Keith Tulloch 'Epogee' Voignier Marsanne Rousanne



Apricots, pineapple and tropical fruits with hints of almond on the nose.

Textured mouthfeel with well balanced acidity.

A solid well made wine.

I have no idea of the cellaring potential.

2013 Curly Flat Pinot Noir

The risky business of what to open after a Grand Cru burgundy.


16 April 2016


With the Burgundy finished Australian pinot once again became a discussion point.

Why do we get it so wrong so often?

Curly Flat is the rare exception.

Clearly inebriated, it suddenly seemed an excellent idea to open a half bottle of 2013 to make the comparison.

1999 Corton Grand Cru v 2013 Macedon Pinot.

It seemed reasonable at the time....

2013 Curly Flat Pinot Noir



Strawberries, fresh herbs, rhubarb and vanilla on the nose.

Excellent mouthfeel. Heavy oak though the fruit carries it well. Vanilla, chocolate, dried strawberries and coffee.

Very good. Drink now-2020 (half bottle).

1999 Domaine Gaston & Pierre Ravaut Corton Les Bressandes Grand Cru

Grand Cru from a great vintage.

16 April 2016


Shell runs the cellar. Browsing through the list and selecting the wines.

Narrowing her search to 'Burgundy' she chooses whatever takes her fancy.

In this instance a Grand Cru from the highly rated 1999 vintage.

When I suggested that this might be considered a special occasion wine and perhaps another bottle might be more suitable for a lazy Saturday evening meal she simply remarked 'every meal you have with me is a special occasion Grant'.

You can't argue with that.

1999 Domaine Gaston & Pierre Ravaut Corton Les Bressandes Grand Cru



Closed and reductive before opening up after an hour or so.

Somewhat tertiary. Tobacco, dried herbs, dried meats on the nose.

A fraction thin on the palate with fading fine tannins.

Certainly an argument for decanting aged burgundies.

Good without being great. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

 Drink now.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

2014 Oakvale Limited Release Semillon

Quail for lunch.


16 April 2016


Aside from the occasional Chablis, Shell does not drink white wine.

After a glass or two with the quail she declared this undrinkable.

Taking one for the team I finished the bottle while making dinner.

2014 Oakvale Limited Release Semillon



Typical Hunter Semillon.

Lemons, pears and green apples on the nose.

Bracing acidity on the palate. Well structured.

Drink now-2025.

The quail was delicious. I was drunk by dinner.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

2001 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz

A change from burgundy.


6 April 2016


Sometimes you need a change.

It cant be all about burgundy all the time can it?

2001 Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz



Black berries and cherries. Olives, tar and tobacco on the nose.

Balanced with well integrated tannins on the finish.

The 389 never seems to live up to its reputation.

From an exceptional vintage it is a good wine but hardly living up to the hype.

Drink now-2020.

Shell was right, we should have opened a Burgundy.

2008 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Goergres Les Vaucrains Premier Cru

Birthday celebrations continue.


27 March 2016


After the Cristal there was no going back.

I have vague memories of great food and fine conversation.

So nice to share a birthday with my beautiful wife and her family.

Oh, there was some wine as well....

2008 Domaine Robert Chevillon Nuits-Saint-Goergres Les Vaucrains Premier Cru



To be honest I cannot recall the details.

My beautiful wife was there and there was laughter and conversation and she looked stunning.

Sometimes wine comes second.

After lunch we went bowling. Of course we did.

2007 Louis Roederer Cristal Champage

Birthday celebrations


27 March 2016


Rachelle and I have birthdays only a few days apart.

Leanda and Vishal treated us to lunch at Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane.

Celebrations were off to a flying start when the bubbly was ordered.

Even Shell, who claims to dislike bubbles enjoyed this.


2007 Louis Roederer Cristal Champage



Straw to yellow.

Cream, citrus, almonds and sweet pastry on the nose.

Incredible structure on the palate. Just a babe at nine years old. Great length.

Exceptional stuff.

Drink now. Or later. Just drink.

This was only the beginning....