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.

Food and Wine in Canada’s Capital

Beckta menu2008 Riesling

I was in Ottawa last week and got together with 2 sommelier buddies, Astrid and Perry to try some local wine and food. Naturally I had to bring some Aussie reds to compete. We selected the Beckta dining and wine restaurant on 226 Nepean Street, Ottawa. A great restaurant with great food and friendly service. We enjoyed sharing our wines with the Beckta’s sommelier.

We started the evening with a Riesling from Ontario – a 2008 Henry of Pelham, Speck Family Reserve. The wine opened with a soft nose with some secondary kerosene characters and soft apple and citrus on the nose. The palate was broad and flavoursome without that steely backbone evident in many top Aussie Rieslings. A very enjoyable wine that complemented my Root vegetable soup. A good pairing!

Aussie CabernetsNext we tried 2 aged Aussie cabernets from my cellar: a 2004 Balnaves from the Coonawarra district in South Australia that is famous for its cabernets and a 2005 Chapel Hill from McLaren Vale in South Australia that’s probably better known for its big shiraz reds. Both wines were stunning and were tasted after one hours decanting.

Quebec Duck Magret
The Balnaves colour was a dark plum with a purple hue and the nose was redolent with blackberry and blueberry fruit, earth, and cedar. The palate was soft and mouthfilling with spicy berry fruit, cedar and tobacco leaf. The tannins were nicely integrated and the wine would easily cellar for another 5+ years. I enjoyed the wine with the Quebec Magret Duck that was cooked medium rare to perfection and the flavours worked well with the wine.
The Chapel Hill was a monster wine with bid fruit, and big tannins. Even though only a year separated the two wines the difference was palpable. My view is that the stelvin enclosure on the Chapel made the difference. The wine was young and fresh and still quite primary, with rich spicy black fruits, anise, pepper and cedar. The palate had not integrated fully and the wine definitely needs more time in the cellar! However, Perry said it worked well with his Wellington county beef striploin that was most enjoyable.

My scores: Riesling 91/100, Balnaves cabernet 95/100, Chapel Hill 93/100.
The reds cost approx $35 each when purchased.

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2008 – Beechworth

Tasted 26 August 2013. The Castagna vineyard is situated outside the town of Beechworth in North-East Victoria, Australia. The vineyard is fully biodynamic, yields are kept low and the wines are made with minimal interference to let the terroir show through. The wine opened brick red with a purple tinge, savoury, spicy, satsuma plum nose with a hint of cinnamon. All boding well for a lovely wine…and I was not disappointed. A lovely rich and savoury mouthfeel with beautiful soft red berry fruit, refreshing acidity, a touch of pepper and soft well integrated tannins. Lovely balance and good cellaring potential. Very glad I bought a 6 pack of this wine!! Five to go.


Clonakilla….always a delight

ClonakillaSingapore, 3 October 2013. Farewelling a special friend in Singapore, we gave him a gift of a magnum of 2008 Clonakilla Shiraz Viogner To all our surprise he insisted we open it immediately so we could share the wine. What a great gesture and what a delight! The wine opened with wonderful dark berry fruits on  the nose, a hint of perfume and dusty oak. The palate displayed lovely cherry/red fruits and great texture. It was plush on the palate, balanced and a little musky. Soft chalky tannins evident and a long lifted finish. Very young, but what a great future ahead of it! Sadly the magnum disappeared all too quickly…. Highly recommended.


Ata Rangi Rules!

2008 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir.

Tasted 28/8/13.Purchased this bottle in New Zealand from Ata Rangi’s Martinborough cellar door 3 years ago and keen to see any development. Poured a big glass. Bright cherry colour. No sign of age. And what a great sniff! Lovely lifted cherry fruit, a little forest floor and hint of earth. The palate followed through on the promise. Creamy cherry fruit, lovely soft savoriness and velvet tannins. A long finish with a good Pinot power wave.

Retasted 29/8/13. Nose has developed more secondary characters. Sappy, spicy forest floor, with less pronounced but still beautiful cherry/raspberry fruit. Long soft palate packed with flavor and long lifted finish. Great wine, great enjoyment! Didn’t leave any for a third day….. Score 95/100