Monday, 22 December 2014

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2012

Journeymen wines abound at the $15 to $20 price point for South Australian shiraz, and their story can be difficult to tell.  The expression can seem standardised, although ironically, such standardisation may best express their terroir.  There's a hint of journeyman with this release of The Lodge Hill shiraz from Jim Barry, but I think the wine is slightly better than that for a couple of reasons.   First, it is a perfectly enjoyable wine now - its aromatics remind of pepper and blueberry pie.  And the palate is quite peppery too, expressing itself in a pleasant and comforting style with echoes of Craiglee.  Sure, the echoes are not sonorous, but they are there nonetheless.   Second, Jim Barry wines - even at the lower end - seem to age well, and I see no reason why this wine will be any different.   Overall, this is a well made example of Clare Valley shiraz for the price.

Rating: Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: $19, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014

Saturday, 20 December 2014

L'Escalier au Ciel Sauvignon Blanc 2012

This is a very moreish and refreshing sauvignon blanc from south western France.  The wine comes from the appellation of IGP Atlantique, where the IGP stands for Indication Géographique Protégée, which is the new EU/French term for the regions once labelled Vin de Pays.  In the glass, this wine has a lovely balance to it.  Its aromatics remind of spiced apples, lemon and almond meal, while the palate is fresh and leaves a lingering impression of lemon, apple and almond, with a very small touch of grass.  I frankly really quite enjoyed this wine (with crumbed chicken it seemed particularly well matched), and I'd recommend this ahead of most for the price.

Rating: Good, Abv: 12%, Price: $20.50, Source: sample, Vendors:, Website: n/a, Tasted: 2014

Friday, 19 December 2014

Tahbilk Marsanne 2014

The terrible events in Sydney this week have meant little writing, and those families affected, including most unhappily a former colleague of mine, remain very much in my thoughts.

This wine is Tahbilk's classic and enduring marsanne.  Marsanne is more robust in the vineyard than its Rhône Valley stablemate roussanne, making full bodied heady wines and in Tahbilk's hands possessing a quite extraordinary capacity to improve with age.  The 2014 vintage seems more ready than usual for immediate satisfaction, with its aromatics and palate driven by lemon and white peach flavours.  There is a viscosity on the palate that is rounded and balanced, without verging on fat.  Ready to drink now, this is a good release.

Rating: Good, Abv: 12.9%, Price: $16.95, Source: sample, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Château Gazin L'Hospitalet de Gazin Pomerol 2010

Château Gazin.  Source:
It wouldn't be a French chateaux website without the slight panic that ensues when the computer unexpectedly commences a classical musical soundtrack and parts of the screen start moving.  Château Gazin in Pomerol is no exception.  They make great wine though.  The L'Hospitalet de Gazin is the second wine of this estate (the first being Château Gazin) and I tasted it out of a 375ml bottle, that perfect size for when further wine is required, but sense suggests a full bottle is not necessary.

The 2010 vintage here, an outstanding vintage of course in Bordeaux, is a full bodied wine with deep and vivid flavours reminding of mulberry, plum, blackberry and blackcurrant.  The tannins, acid and some stem like notes add interest and complexity.  Overall, this is an excellent Pomerol that is easy to recommend.

Rating: Very Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: ~$80, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014