Wine Weekend 8-10 March 2014

First two wines tasted shown below:

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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
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Horses, Fashion and Wine

 2 November 2013. It’s Spring Racing season in Melbourne Australia. A time for the glitz and glamour of the horse races with ladies fashion, great racing and hopefully a few winning bets. Today is Derby Day, one of the major race days of the spring racing carnival.
 DerbyDay13With the weather being a warm 30 degrees celsius it was the perfect occasion for dressing up, heading for the track and drinking some fine champagne. Our friends Peter and Jane bought a bottle of 2004 Dom and we bought a 2004 Grand Annee….and what a great pair of wines!
2004 Dom Perignon. Flagship wine of Moët and Chandon
 2004 Dom Perignon
The 2004 is a blend of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay from an excellent vintage in the Champagne region. The wine has a persistent bead and lovely mousse on pouring. The nose was vibrant and had lovely floral, honeycomb and citrus characters. The palate was sensational with lovely fresh acidity, a light toastiness, pear, grapefruit and hints of honeycomb. Rich, elegant and lingering on the finish. Score 96/100 with great cellaring potential. AU$150-$190
2004 Bollinger Grand Annee. Marquee wine of Bollinger
 2004 Grand Annee
This is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay sourced from Grand Cru vineyards (76%) and Premier Cru vineyards (24%). The wine poured with a light bead and rich creamy mousse. The nose was instantly rich and intense with grapefruit, white peach, lemon curd, praline and fresh baked bread.  There was a mouth filling richness consistent with the higher percentage of Pinot Noir in comparison to the Dom. There were flavours of grapefruit, peach, honeycomb and fresh toast with a long and persistent finish. Another sensational wine! Score 96/100. Price range AU$150-200.
Preferred Wine??  Preference came to personal taste, the Dom had more acid, minerality and elegance and the Grand Annee was a richer, creamier mouthfilling style. Me, I had a slight preference for the Grand Annee, but would drink either any day of the week! The only sour note was that I didn’t win a single dollar from all my bets!! Can’t win them all…….

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.

https://i2.wp.com/www.castagna.com.au/images/genesis_syrah_08.jpg

94/100

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.

95/100

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.

Cool Climate Aussie Shiraz

2003 Paradigm Hills Shiraz|

Mornington Peninsular winery on the SE outskirts of Melbourne. This wine 13.1% alcohol, 2.2 tons per acre, 3800 bottles made. Purchased from winemaker at a Paradigm Hills dinner in 2007.

Tasted 28/9/13. On opening, presented a soft earthy nose with red berry fruit aromas. Hints of spice and Szechuan pepper. On tasting, soft spicy red fruits, good mouthfeel and pleasant stalky lifted finish. Medium to light bodied wine showing expected cool climate characters but a little closed. Retasted 3 hours later and wine had opened nicely. Nose deepened and more powerful with nice addition of blackberry, smoke and hint of tar and cloves. Excellent mouthfeel with good fruit/tannin balance. drinking well.

Retasted 29/9/13. Wine has softened and flattened somewhat, but still pleasant drinking. Soft blackberry nose with hints of leather, smoke black pepper and spice. Drying tannins and secondary characters more pronounced.

Drink now. 89