Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cockfighter's Ghost Langhorne Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The grapes for this Cockfighter's Ghost cabernet sauvignon are sourced from Langhorne Creek south of Adelaide, and then trucked to far away Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley to be turned into wine more than one thousand kilometres away.  That grapes can travel quite so far is remarkable, although not uncommon.  The result here is a pleasant sort of a wine.  Its aromatics remind mostly of menthol and spice.  Some pangs from its 12 months in French oak resolve with air.  The palate reminds of blackcurrant, with some depth of flavour.

Rating: Acceptable to Good, Abv: 14%, Price: $22, Source: sample, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bilgavia Estate Hunter Valley Pinot Noir 2014

Len Evans's tome, the Complete Book of Australian Wine observed in 1984 that
"the most famous Australian pinot noir wines have been made in the Hunter Valley."  
I am little position to comment as to its veracity in 1984, but few would agree with such a statement in 2014.  A reminder perhaps of the fragility of things and thoughts; perhaps even those firmly held.  The comment in the next paragraph proves more prescient:
"From its performance overseas, it would seem that pinot noir is more suited to cooler districts than the Hunter" (p366)
We return here then to the start, with an unexpected straight pinot noir from the Hunter Valley in 2014.  The producer is Bilgavia Estate, although the spell checker demonstrates a persistent fondness for the word Bulgaria.  Aromatically, this release is stemmy, herby and leafy with cranberry jam reminders.  The palate has jaunty acidity, and lacks pinot noir characters with a plainness that eludes interest.  With time, the component parts of the wine settle in the glass to reveal no particular fault, albeit a wine with more questions than answers.  I wouldn't wish to drink this.

Rating: Acceptable, Abv: 14%, Price: $26, Source: sample, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014

Monday, 17 November 2014

St Mary's Cabernet Sauvignon House Block 2010

This wine rather tastes of a classic, tooth staining Coonawarra.  Yet unexpectedly, Coonawarra does not in fact appear to appear on the label.  Instead, only the substantially wider, and more humble, geographic indication of Limestone Coast is claimed.  To add to the mystique, St Mary's website refers to the vines as being grown on a terra rossa ridge running through the vineyard, situated 15 kilometres west of Penola.  Thus, we would appear here to have the ingredients of Coonawarra, without the label.  This is a much better state of affairs than the converse.

The wine in the glass has heady aromatics of menthol, vanilla, wood and blackcurrant.   There's long length on the palate, together with expressions of mint, menthol and resounding blackcurrant again.  Rich and full bodied, this burly wine is matched in power only by its oak maturation, although ultimately the two reconcile.  Overall, this is a structured, flavoursome and full wine that promises a long life ahead.

Rating: Very Good, Abv: 14.5%, Price: $30, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Bilgavia Estate Hunter Valley Shiraz 2013

I see too little shiraz from the Hunter Valley in these parts.  This wine from Bilgavia Estate immediately has that tang of earth, plum, leather and soft spice that transports you to this hot and steamy wine region north of Sydney.   The palate has some cedary and toasty characters but these barrel characters do not overwhelm.  The balance is tipped a little to the side by some charging acidity, but its general drinkability rights the ship.  A Hunter Valley shiraz of some regional typicity.

Rating: Acceptable to Good, Abv: 12.5%, Price: $26, Source: sample, Vendors:, Website:, Tasted: 2014