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Single vineyards and the Mornington Peninsula; a look at the wines of Polperro and Even Keel A tasting of the 2008 Bordeaux first growths When carignan is not carignan Wine storage, absurdity and other things Merlot in Australia; maligned or misunderstood?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Burgo Viejo Tinto Rioja 2012



Rioja seems to be a thing for me at the moment.  Few miss the mark in terms of quality and they seem leanly priced.  This wine from Burgo Viejo is a blend of 85% tempranillo 10% garnacha and 5% mazuelo.  It has aromatics of blueberry, earth and juicy blackberries.  These aromatics carry through to the palate, with the addition of some fleshy texture and plum characters.  This is a very drinkable wine indeed, and is balanced with a medium length finish.  The bottle disappeared quickly from the table.

Rating: Good, Abv: 13.5%, Price: $22, Source: sample, Vendors: http://www.cesoirwine.com/, Website: http://www.burgoviejo.com/en/index.htm, Tasted: 2014

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Montalto Pennon Hill Pinot Noir 2013


The evolution of Mornington Peninsula pinot noir continues at pace.  Each time I look into the pinot noirs from this region, it seems that the wines are growing more interesting and savoury.  Perhaps it's vine age, winemaking, the style is growing on me or a bit of everything.  Montalto's Pennon Hill pinot noir is from a cooler south west facing vineyard, planted in 1985 in Red Hill South.  The 2013 vintage has aromatics of cherry, spice and tea tree.  The flavours on the palate remind of bright red cherry and old cedar.  There's medium length on the finish, and the depth and intensity of flavour builds with time in the glass.  A balanced and lovely pinot noir.

Rating: Good, Abv: 13.7%, Price: $30, Source: sample, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://montalto.com.au, Tasted: 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Bladinières-Liorit Mas des Étoiles Petite Etoile Cahors 2010


Mas des Étoiles is a collaboration of two vignerons, Arnaud Bladinières and David Liorit, who have planted a hectare of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc and 4 hectares of malbec in Cahors in south western France.  There is so much good (and often powerful) malbec coming from Mendoza these days, that it is interesting to check in on its progress in its home neighbourhood in Cahors in south western France.  Just looking at the map created a pang of desire on my part to return to this beautiful region.

The 2010 vintage here is deeply coloured and has aromatics of mulberry, roast meats and anise.  The palate is full bodied, with its expression of mulberry, plum and fine grained tannins in balance.  There's a savoury complexity and texture on the palate not usually seen in the more pure fruited Mendoza versions.  That said, the fruit in this wine too is ripe in expression and there is an identifiable bridge between this and the Mendoza style of malbec.  In all, there is quite a lot of interest here for $29 and this wine is easy to recommend.

Rating: Good, Abv: 13.5%, Price: $29, Source: sample, Vendors: http://www.cesoirwine.com/, Website: http://www.mas-des-etoiles.com, Tasted: 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Checking in

I have been writing grapeobserver.com for a few months shy of five years now, and from time to time, I reflect on its purpose.  Writing about wine takes time, and the latter is for me a very scarce commodity.  Sometimes I find it hard to describe why I am keen to devote so much time to it.  I didn't do a particularly good job of explaining it recently to a non wine enthusiast.  On reflection, I suspect it is because wine has come to resemble the gazing upon of an alternative path, which only becomes visible in glimpses, through a series of gradual pushes into the unknown.  Equally, experience has taught that the grass is frequently a rather similar shade of green on the other side of the fence and my side isn't so bad.  So, perhaps then it's more like a vacation that invigorates.

In writing, I enjoy most the interactions with wine producers and importers.  Being given the honour of tasting and reviewing wines that others have gone to the trouble of producing or sourcing is not something I take for granted.  The publication of a couple of recent pieces in wine magazines with much broader distribution than my own has also been a source of pride.  The years of toil undertaking the WSET diploma and lesser qualifications are also opening education paths, and allow a certain confidence that I have the right academic underpinnings to comment.  The latter is of course not a universal affliction, but conversely, academic knowledge is not everything.  The other side of the coin sees a lot of time spent on what is frequently a solitary intellectual exercise where many competing views are equally valid, and the reality remains that my family and professional life are paramount.  And so I must temper my commitment from time to time for what is foremost a labour of love.  Unluckily for the reader, the vein of my interest is not yet sated, and so wine writing on grapeobserver.com continues.  The only certainty being that the destination is quite uncertain.

Ross Hill Pinnacle Series Chardonnay 2012


The last of the Ross Hill Wines from Orange.  This wine is the Pinnacle Series Chardonnay from the 2013 vintage.  Its aromatics are classically proportioned, with notes of obvious cedar, stones, clarified butter and lees.  The palate has long length and flavours of ripe nectarine, cedar and butter.  In all, it's a balanced wine, with long length that is well made.  The chardonnay characters are not however particularly hidden away per the style of recent times.  I therefore think it will suit some more than others stylistically.

Rating: Good, Abv: 13.5%, Price: $35, Source: sample, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://rosshillwines.com.au, Tasted: 2014