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


Magical McLaren Vale – 2006 Oliver’s Taranga HJ Shiraz

Oliver’s Taranga HJ Shiraz is their flagship wine from vines planted in 1948. Only 600 dozen of this wine was produced. McLaren Vale in South Australia is known for producing big, rich, ripe and earthy reds. This 2006 wine from a good year is no exception. There is an uncompromising quality and delightful richness to this wine.

Oliver's Taranga HJ Shiraz 2006

A big wine and bigger steak

It poured with an intense purple colour and quite opaque despite its age. The nose was rich with floral notes, perfumed, spicy and redolent with dark berry fruits. There was also dark earth, and leather evident. On the palate there was a creaminess and texture that flooded the senses with dark berries, vanillan oak, dark chocolate and clotted cream. Not for the faint hearted! This rich wine went well with a rare scotch fillet steak (ie prime rib minus the bone). A stronger man might finish with a cigar and vintage port…….

Score 95/100 and will keep for another 5 years, but drinking superbly now. Price AU$50

Day 2:  Still going strong! Lovely blackcurrent, spice, dusky oak and white pepper nose. Palate still rich and full with blackcurrent, chocolate and earth. Almost too strong for the Osso Bucco. Strongly recommend this wine – current vintage 2010 also a cracker!

Halloween Special: Batard-Monrachet

2006 Domaine Bernard Morey et Fils Batard-Monrachet, Grand Cru, Cotes de Beaune, France.

2006 Batard MonrachetA special wine to celebrate Halloween! After a deluge of young trick or treaters, and running out of chocolate gifts, its time to relax with a special wine. The 2006 Bernard Morey Batard Monrachet is a great expression of a top chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. Batard-Montrachet is one of the five Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards that remains one of the best places in the world to find Chardonnay. It’s only about 28 acres and yields are very low.

In the glass, the colour is a lovely gold with a green hue. After several swirls the nose opens with a pungent rush of grapefruit, melon, nougat, matchstick and spicy oak. On the palate the wine delivers a beautiful mineral mouthfeel with intense and complex flavours of toasty oak, rich fruit and a very long finish. Although there is a lot happening with this wine, it has great balance and harmony….and so drinkable! It went well with lightly spiced prawns and green salad. Nice finish to Halloween!

Day 2 and the wine is as fresh as day 1. The intensity of flavour and the balance of the wine made it very enjoyable on its own or with food. As usual with an excellent wine, the bottom the bottle comes far too quickly. A very enjoyable, but far too short, experience. The wine could clearly be cellared for another 5-10+ years.

Price approx $180. Score 96/100.

A weekend in the Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley in South Australia remains one of my favourite wine areas in Australia. Big bold beautiful reds, picturesque rolling hills and very friendly people. Four of us hired a little cottage called Hallet’s Hideaway. For anyone spending time in the Barossa, I strongly recommend it. In a quiet rural location, it looks out over vineyards, is immaculately kept with modern appliances and a good open fireplace. We all bought wine from our cellars which we had masked and served the wine blind. Tasting notes from wines served blind from 9-11 August 2013 follow:

2009 Corton Charlemagne – Louis Latour Grand Cru, Burgundy, France

On opening, pale yellow with golden hue. Beautiful buttery nose with hints of pear and melon. Instantly recognised as a very classy chardonnay. Unctuous, mouthfilling viscosity. Pale yellow, beautiful mouthfeel and flavour that floods the palate. A finish that lasts and lasts. Slight bitter aftertaste initially that disappeared within an hour after opening.
Day 2 – Softer, broader, still rich and mouthfilling but lacked the intensity of Day 1.
Perfect complement – Tarragon chicken.
Hommus/Cheese – not good match!

2006 Tyrells Stevens Hunter Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Bright herbaceous crisp nose, amazing bright acid, watery colour. Lifted acidic mouthfeel with hint of oak. Great intensity, but still a refreshing summer wine
Day 2 – Drinking better, softer, more integrated flavours, plush mouthfeel.

2006 Sena Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Bright red brick, perfume, blueberries, butter chocolate, velvet tannins, coffee/mocha, and hint of tobacco. Beautiful viscous mouthcoating feel. Elegant, sophicated, amazing balance – no edges. Score 95.
Day 2 – Smoky nose blackberry fruit. Earthy on palate, still a great wine.

2011 Mollydooker Velvet Glove, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Beautiful plum/purple colour. Creamy, cassis, rich mouthfilling, opulent black and red fruit, great balance but bawdy and in your face!
Day 2 – Still fresh, bright fruit on nose and palate. Softened only slightly, slight stalkiness on back palate.

Penfolds – 1996 St Henri Shiraz, South Australia

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Aged cigar/tobacco character, brownish edges, bright brick red colour. Dumb initially but opened over an hour, steely nose, mocha, oak, dusty, soft tannins.
Good food wine with beef bourgignon.
Day 2 – Dark berries, tobacco leaf on nose. Still drinking well. Secondary characters on palate, more pronounced leather, cigar. Fruit faded.

2003 Trevor Jones, Wild Witch Reserve Dry Grown Barossa Shiraz 14.5%

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Tight, restrained nose, light fresh red fruits, drying tannins, slightly acidic, astringent finish. Disappointing Score 87.
Re-tasted Saturday 10th – Similar to Friday
Mon 12.8.13 Amazing metamorphis!! The wine has opened. The nose has soft, red berry fruit with traces of anise, hint of volatile acidity, very complex, very appealing. Fine dusty tannins, mocha flavour with soft berry fruit. Leathery aged finish. Very enjoyable
Lost freshness, gained complexity. Very interesting to watch. Score 90.