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

Clarendon Hills Wines Unmasked

Clarendon Hillls

2001 Clarendon Hills Sandown Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Tasted blind:  Opaque purple/ brown colour. Lovely lifted nose that grew in intensity over a 4 hour period, starting quite closed and dumb when opened and evolved to beautiful black currents, spice, anise and cedar. The weight of the wine was quite light in the mouth but had great intensity and flavour redolent with black currents, cedar, liquorice, chocolate and toasty oak. Very fine grained tannins and a long lingering finish. Drink over next 10 years. 96/100.

Winemaker Roman Bratasiuk likens this wine to French St Julien second growth, Chateau Leoville Las Cases. Grapes sources from 50-90 years old vines around the town of Clarendon, cropped at 2.5 tonnes to the acre. Nicks Wines gave this wine 99/100.

2006 Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Syrah, Mclaren Vale, South Australia

Blind tasting notes: Nose of spice, pepper, anise, mocha, grilled meats/bacon and dusty oak. Rich mouthfilling palate with great intensity and full of spice , coffee and rich cream. Strong drying tannins and long finish. I picked this as a 2008 McLaren Shiraz. Not too far off…. Drink over next 3-6 years. 95/100.

Nick wines tasting notes: The nose is a pure sniffing pleasure, with violet top note followed by anise, liquorice, cedar and vanilla. The palate flavour profile is explosive – black and white pepper is overlaid with plum, liquorice and spice – totally mouthfilling, with outstanding length and depth. Fine dryish tannins, perfectly balanced – a touch more assertive than the other vineyards Syrah, but well structured. Exceptionally long aftertaste of plum, liquorice, spice and a hint of smoky oak. Cellar 8-10 years (2016-2018) 99 Points

Another 2 Great Wines Unmasked

Grange and Frredomimage

1985 Penfolds Grange Hermitage

Served masked. Brick red colour with large onion skin rim indicating extensive bottle age. Nose of maraschino cherries, plums, dark chocolate, mocha, cream, spice and vanillin oak. A beautiful nose that indicated this wine was something special, hinting of a Grange. Palate with lifted acidity, soft fruit that was possibly past it’s best, soft dusty and drying tannins. Long persistent finish. Really enjoyable drinking!! My guess, Grange of 25 plus years…..pleasantly surprised when unmasked! Wine had recently been recorked by Penfolds recorking clinic. Drink now. 95/100 (scored 90/100 by Robert Parker in 1990.)

2004 Langmeil 1843 Freedom Shiraz

Bright reddish purple colour with small onion skin. Spicy nose with cherry and chocolate malt. Soft mouthfilling palate. Rich but still closed, needing more time to open. (Nose and palate continued to develop and improve over the next three hours.) Very refined palate with bright red berry fruit and soft drying tannins. Very French in style with great length, mouthfeel and persistence of flavour. Something about old vine wines! Assessed by all 4 tasters as something very special, very very drinkable and a top wine. Drink over the next 2-5 years. 98/100

Shiraz vines for the Freedom planted in 1840s with only a few acres remaining. Grapes are dry grown, hand picked and yields only 1.5 to 2 tonnes per acre. Aged in French oak for 2 years. Winemaker, Paul Lindner.

Wine Weekend 8-10 March 2014

First two wines tasted shown below:


2008 Heemskerk  Coal River Valley Sparkling, Tasmania, Australia.

Mix of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Light bright colour with strong bead. Nose of lemon and fresh zesty citrus. Light palate with good intensity and elegance. Bright and fresh with hints of lemon. Light tannins from the Pinot component and finishing clean. Good balance and pleasant drinking.
2000 Bollinger Grand Annee.
63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay. 76% Grand Crus, remainder premier Crus.
Beautiful light gold colour with fine persistent bead. Rich nose of lemon curd, brioche, and pineapple. Palate has an amazing richness and intensity that floods the senses in a medium bodied wine with great power and finesse. Great flavours of lemon, grapefruit, toasty bread, and tropical fruit. Long and persistent finish. Great wine!! Drink now to 6+ years…..but why wait! 98/100

Lovely 2008 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre

A friend gave me bottle of Sancerre to try and what a treat! A beautiful wine from the Loire Valley, a world away from the strong gooseberry flavored NZ Sauvignon blancs. The wine opened with a lovely grapefruIt, pineapple and melon nose. The palate followed suit with great texture and richness displaying flavours of fresh pineapple, melon, soft acid and a long finish. A great food wine that went so well with summer vegetables, pasta salad and rare roasted fillet steak. Very delicious! 93/100. Drink now plus 5 years.