Sunday, 26 April 2015

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2012


Alvaro Palacios is one of "names" of Spanish wine.  The Camins del Priorat is rather obviously oaky in terms of aromatics, with reminders of plum, vanilla, bitumen and potpourri.  There's quite long length on the palate, supplemented by fruit cake and more vanilla characters.  This is plainly a good to very good wine, and I would be happy to settle on the latter, provided the oak characters are capable of settling.

Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: $42, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: Not obvious, Tasted: 2015

Agnès de Cervera La Petite Agnès Priorat 2012


Forgive the minor Spanish detour, but here is another Spanish wine, this time from Spain's other heavy weight wine region of Priorat.  It's a blend of 85% garnacha and 15% carignan.  Better on the second day, the wine reminds of fruit cake and has a balanced and savoury palate.  A pleasant wine, if not something I would be rushing out the door for.

Rating: Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: $28, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.agnesdecervera.com/, Tasted: 2015

Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza Rioja 2011



If I had to recommend an imported red wine at around the $20 mark that over delivered for quality, Rioja would be on my list at the moment.  This Rioja crianza release (which in Rioja means the wine must have spent a year in oak, and aged for 2 years before release) is a blend of tempranillo, garnacha and graciano and has aromatics of earth, iron and blackberries.  The palate is fruity, with earth, blackberry and fruit cake characters.  The length is quite plush on the finish, and the bottle disappeared quickly.

Rating: Good, Abv: 13.5%, Price: $22, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: Not obvious, Tasted: 2015

Hahndorf Hill Winery Blueblood Blaufrankisch 2013



Blaufrankisch is a relatively little known grape variety in Australia.  It is one of Austria's most planted varieties at home in Burgenland and the warm shores of the Neusiedlersee.  The grape variety  is also known as Kekfrankos in Hungary, where it forms part of the "Bull's Blood" blend that was once well known.

In Hahndorf Hill's hands this grape variety, labelled as "Blueblood Blaufrankisch", produces a very attractive style of wine, and I think it is deserving of more mainstream interest.  The 2013 vintage has attractive juicy aromatics of blueberry, blackberry, green spices and cedar.  The palate has between medium and long length, the acid edge just right and its expression reminds of a melange of blueberry and blackberry fruits.  This is an enjoyable new release wine.

Rating: Good to Very Good, Abv: 14%, Price: $40, Source: sample, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.hahndorfhillwinery.com.au, Tasted: 2015

d'Arenberg High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


The High Trellis 100% cabernet sauvignon from d'Arenberg is of interest, and is an example of the regional style that constitutes McLaren Vale cabernet sauvignon.  Cabernet sauvignon is probably not McLaren Vale's strongest suit in fairness - that honour goes to shiraz and grenache - but it's objectively pleasant nonetheless.

The grapes for this wine are sourced from a vineyard first planted in the nineteenth century.  The elevage is in old American oak and therefore there is no particular oak influence to report on.  In the glass, the 2012 vintage of the Hill Trellis has aromatics that remind of bay leaf and dark olives.  The palate is balanced with firm tannins, dark olives and bay leaf rounding things out.  Overall, a pleasant wine suitable for current to medium term drinking.

Rating: Good, Abv: 14.3%, Price: $18, Source: sample, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.darenberg.com.au, Tasted: 2015