Still waiting so more wines to try….


2010 Domaine La Fourmone, Tu Tresor Poete, Vacqueyras, southern Rhone, France

Dull purple to brick red. Sweet spicy nose with blueberry fruit and liquorice. Soft medium bodied palate with nice richness, and flavours of blue and red berries, liquorice all sorts, mushroom, spice and good tannins. Easy and pleasant drinking. 89/100. Can keep for another 3-5+ years! but nice while young and fresh. Colour worries me for the long term.

2008 Kellermeister ‘Boots’ Dry Grown Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Lovely bright purple colour with dark core. Pungent nose of vanillan oak, sweet red cherries and cocoa. Palate has lovely intense sweet red berried fruit with strong vanillan oak and hint of mocha. Good mouthfeel and nice finish with sweet tannins. Can certainly keep. Drink 2018-2025. 92/100.

Hamilton Russell Vineyard Pinot Noir, South Africa

Bottle empty!!! Flight called……..
Next time.


Wines in Heathrow BA Lounge


Waiting for my Qantas flight back home to Oz, so let’s try what’s on offer…..



2006 Chateau Batailley, 5th Growth, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France

The vineyard area extends to 57 hectares (140 acres), planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Around 22,000 cases (2,000 hectolitres) of Château Batailley are produced each year.

Plum colour. Nose of earth, crushed rocks, satsuma plum and some meatiness. Pleasant mid weight soft palate with cherry, dark earth, savoury, chary characters, and soft acid with dusty tannins. Still evolving but easy to drink. 88/100. About $60 overseas.

2009 chateau du Moulin Noir, Montagne St Emilion, Bordeaux, France

Montagne-Saint-Emilion surrounds the village of Montagne, 4.8km to the north of the town of Saint-Emilion. Pomerol is about the same distance to the west of Montagne. Very picturesque area, great for bike riding if you can manage the narrow roads. The grape varieties permitted within the appellation are Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is the dominant variety by far, most often partnered with Cabernet Franc.

Brick red colour. Soft blueberry and spice nose. Soft character but quite unbalanced at the moment. Acid and tannins dominant with some nice blueberry fruit in the background. Intense wine that needs time to settle. Lacks balance and finished a little harsh. Not for me. 84/100

Cabernet duel – Napa Valley versus McLaren Vale

Decanted and served blind.


2005 Two Hand, Charlie’s Patch, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California

Brick red with purple hue. Intense spicy, menthol, red fruit nose. Good creamy mouthfeel with briary fruit. Long drying and tannic finish. Clearly a very good quality Cabernet, but no one picked Napa Valley. 91/100. Needs more time to come together. Drink 2016-2025

2010 Clarendon Hills, Hickinbotham, Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Bright purple with a dark core. Smokey, sappy, spicy nose with dusty oak, chocolate and white pepper. Lifted acids on palate with dark fruits, dark chocolate, spice, dusty oak and some savoury grilled meat flavours. Great balance and complexity. Very nice wine and one for the cellar. 95/100. Drink 2020-2030+.

I thought this was an old world wine and surprised by this style coming from McLaren Vale, but not surprised when I found out it was from Clarendon Hills. Roman Bratasiuk calls this wine his “Little Latour”. Interesting to compare these two new world Cabernets. The McLaren Vale preferred in this instance.

The end of a great weekend of wine tasting!! 19 wines over 3 days. We now need a week to detox our livers!


Different but Similar – Rolland versus Ringland

Two fine wines from two great winemakers……


2005 Yacochuya Malbec, Salta region, Argentina

Tasted blind: Wine consultant Michel Rolland. Brick red with purple tinges. Nose of plum, chocolate, earth and spice. Very rich and inviting. Warm palate filled with dark berries, dark chocolate, coffee and spice. Fine drying tannins and good finish. Tricky wine to pick blind. The richness made most think of Shiraz first but a lot of uncertainty. A very rich and inviting wine that is easy to drink and enjoy with beef or game. 94/100. Drink now to 3 years

2010 Chris Ringland, Reservation Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Tasted blind: Winemaker Chris Ringland. An extraordinarily good winemaker and great person to know. He will happily chat to you about his vines, wines and winemaking all afternoon over several glasses…..
This deep purple wine clings to the glass and has a lovely perfumed nose of plum, chocolate, dark berries and fruitcake. The palate is rich and mouth coating with flavours of spice, mocha, prune, and fruitcake. Incredibly rich but not jammy. A wine that evolved and improved over several hours in the decanter. 95/100. Wait for 2-3 years then enjoy over the next 5-8 years.

Verdict: Split decision. Have five bob each way….drink the Yacochuya now and the Ringland in a few years. Win-win!

Very Special Whites – d’Yquem and Leonay



Every now and then you get to try something very special…….

1991 Leo Buring, Leonay Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia

Tasted blind: Beautiful straw, gold colour. Glorious intense nose of pineapple, lemon, honey, and toast. Only a hint of aged “kerosene” found in aged Rieslings. And a palate to match! Very intense and opulent with honey, lemon, toast, and nougat. Long clean acid and mineral finish. This was something special and we all went back for multiple ‘tastes’ until the masked bottle was empty. We agreed this was a beautifully aged Aussie Riesling with some debate whether it was Watervale or Eden Valley. There was NO debate on the drinkability of this wine! Outstanding. 98/100. Drink now – it’s at its best.

1998 Chateau d’Yquem, 1er Grand Cru, Sauternes, France.

Tasted Blind: The moment you bring this to your nose, you know it’s something special! The nose is flooded with aromas of pineapple, apricots, marmalade, and vanilla creme fraiche. Although the botrytis character is not strong, the palate follows the nose with sweet pineapple, vanilla, marmalade and spice. Nice acid to balance. Went well with cheese and dried figs. Fairly easy for all to pick this as a top wine from Sauternes. Most agreed d’Yquem or Rieussec. 94/100. Enjoyable now but will continue to develop for another 15-20 years. The 375ml bottles ages quite quickly.

Two Awesome Blanc de Blancs



2001 Arras Blanc de Blanc, Tasmania, Australia

Tasted blind: Light straw colour with soft mousse and fine bead. Gentle nose of lemon, grapefruit and minerality. Clean pure fruit, clearly Chardonnay with nice acid and fine persistent finish. Very impressive wine. Seemed young and well kept and clearly cool climate. I guessed a young (2004-06) Tasmanian Blanc de Blanc. I was surprised to find this was a 2001 wine! Fabulous example of what Tasmania is capable of. Lovely with prawns and yabbies. Can keep for several more year but drinking beautifully now. 94/100. Drink now to 2017.

2002 Taittinger Comptes de Champagne, Blanc de Blanc

Tasted blind: Pale straw with greenish hue, creamy mousse and persistent fine bead. Beautiful strong nose of fresh baked bread, brioche, pear, grapefruit and toast. Incredible mouth filling flavours, complexity and minerality that screamed a classy French wine. Lovely acids, delicate chalky tannins and a long, long finish. Effortless strength and depth. Definitely needs more time to evolve. A lot of discussion on high end French champagnes as to what this might be, but no one picked the Comptes, and we kicked ourselves when the bottle was unmasked! Obvious in hindsight! Great wine. 97/100. Drink now but will evolve for another 5-10 years

Two Interesting Australian Whites

Two interesting whites Two interesting whites

1988 Henschke Gewürztraminer, Eden Valley, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Tasted Blind: very dark gold to Amber in colour, although wine colour still quite bright. Nose was floral, perfumed, spicy with a slight oxidative character. Palate of toffee, caramel, honey, spice, and drying tannins. Fruit not evident and secondary character predominant. Finish long and drying. Wine opened with time and went well with our spicy mussels. Probably at its peak 5-10 years ago but still an interesting wine and still drinkable. My guess an aged Gewürztraminer – more by a process of elimination of what it wasn’t and the dominance of spice and honey indicating the possibility of aged Gewürztraminer.

2005 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Margaret River Chardonnay, Western Australia.

Tasted blind: Pale straw colour with green tinges. Lovely nose of butterscotch, melon, pineapple, mango and vanilla essence. Rich and hedonistic! A beautiful rich creamy mouthfeel with spicy vanillin oak, honey, peach and clean acid. Long long finish! A beautifully integrated and we’ll balanced wine. I could drink this wine every day! Drinking at its peak now but can keep for another two years before it starts to fade. 96/100

Review from 2008: This is the most purebred and aristocratic of all Australian chardonnays. It has awesome power, grace, depth and finesse; pure grapefruit, nectarine and peach flesh aromas are framed by complex, toasty, grilled nuts; the palate is amazingly concentrated, yet portrays a lightness that is completely beguiling and incredibly long. Drink now-2020 with marron. 97 Points James Halliday – The Australian Top 100 – 2008 image image