Archive for July, 2012

Spitting: Optional

Pieropan Soave 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Dry white

Country: Italy 

Region: Veneto

 

Overview: “How soave”, drum roll and a dry cough, tumbleweed tracking across the keyboard. Sorry, couldn’t help myself there, puns are like bad jokes, they sound so good as they are leaving your lips but once they are out there, spoken and free there are always followed by a cringe and a moan.

Soave is an Italian white wine that is produced in the Veneto region of Italy. Soave is made from a grape variety called Garganega. The name sounds like an evil Transformer. Soave is made up of 70-100% of this variety but other varieties can be blended in small quantities. These varieties include Trebbiano and Chardonnay. Never heard of the variety before? I’m not surprised, there is only one producer that I know of in Australia that produces Garganega, Domain Day in the Barossa Valley (If there are more I’d love to know about them, email below).

The wine in this review is probably the most recognized Soave outside of Italy, it’s made up of 85% Garganega (Michael Bay, I’m watching you. You’ve ruined my favourite childhood cartoon and I will not let you do the same to poor old Garganega) and 15% Trebbiano.  Soave Classico means that the fruit comes from a specific area within Veneto. This fruit comes from the hillsides around Soave and Monteforte d’Alpone.

 

Tasting note: Aromas of straw, lime juice and underlying mineral tones. A palate of spice, rich pineapple, melon and elegant citrus. Well integrated acid helps the wine linger.

 

Final Say: This is a benchmark Soave, elegant and rich. It will match well with seafood and delicate pre-dinner dishes. If you’re familiar with other Italian styles such as Pinot Grigio and Arneis but want to try something new give this wine a go. It sells for between $30-$40 a bottle.     

 

Score: 18 out of 20 (90 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

 

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Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec 2009

Vintage: 2009

Style: Mid-full bodied red

Country: Argentina  

Region: Mendoza

 

Overview: If asked the question of which country started producing wine first, Australia or Argentina what would your answer be? Most would answer Australia and they would be wrong. Like us Argentina are considered new kids on the block in terms of wine production. The first vineyard in Argentina was established in 1557 during the Spanish colonisation. It was 1788 that vines were first introduced to Australia however wine was not produced from these plantings until the 1820s. So with a decent head start on us why is that Argentine wine seems so new to us? Well up until the 1990s 90% of wine produce by Argentina was consumed within the country, it wasn’t until the 1990s when production cost were reduced that they could produce enough wine to start exporting their wares.

Malbec is the variety that Argentina is known for. I’ve always seen Malbec as a blending variety. It originates from France and is one of the varieties that Bordeaux use to blend with for their reds but only in small quantities. It is a tannic variety and is used to give body to red wine.

It was in the early 2000’s that I first tried Argentine Malbec and a remember thinking ‘Holy crap! This is drinkable!’ You see when produced as a straight variety in Australia, the tannins are so strong that it could be mistaken for a cup of black tea made with 20 teabags and left to draw overnight. Argentine Malbec is different; it produces softer, spicy, rich reds and normally represents great value for money.

 

Tasting note: Blueberry, strawberry and pepper characters on the nose. On the palate these berry characters are dominate the front palate, behind these characters of strawberry and blueberry flavours of white pepper, violets and leather add complexity. Finishes with soft tannins.

 

Final Say: Elegant yet robust, there’s loads to love about this wine. It is imported into Australia exclusively by the Coles group which means you can pick it up at Vintage Cellars or First Choice for around $16 a bottle.   

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20 (83 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

Martinsancho Verdejo 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Dry White

Country: Spain

Region: Rueda

 

Overview: I was once told that any variety beginning with ‘V’ is a hard sell. This was about five years ago, I disagreed then and disagree now. While I admit this may have been true in Australia 15 years ago and while I agree varieties like Viognier, Verdelho and Verduzzo will never sell the volume that Sauv Blanc, Shiraz and Chardonnay do I believe as we become more educated about these ‘strange’ varieties we learn exactly where they will fit in our wine collections. After all the are almost as many varieties starting with ‘V’ then there are starting with any other letter (this may be an exaggeration but there are around 27 varieties that start with ‘V’).

Verdejo is a variety that is typically grown to make an oxidised, Sherry-like wine. In Rueda, Spain they use the variety to make a great table wine which is slowly gaining popularity. When made as a table wine Verdejo herbaceous and has lovely tropical characters. I have read that it ages quite well but I have never had a chance to taste a cellared Verdejo.

 

Tasting note: A tropical nose, white nectarine and pineapple. White stone fruit on the palate, rich and full initially yet delicate and elegant on the finish. A great food wine.

 

Final Say: The Martinsancho Verdejo is often used referred to as a benchmark Verdejo, I agree wholeheartedly. Eat with seafood of creamy chicken dishes and you’ll appreciate this variety all the more. It sells for approx. $35 a bottle.

 

Score: 17 out of 20 (85 out of 100)

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

 

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Spitting: Optional

Henry’s Drive Vignerons Dead Letter Office Shiraz 2007

Vintage: 2007

Style: Full-bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: McLaren Vale/Padthaway

 

Overview: Shiraz is planted in just about every wine region in Australia. Why? Well Shiraz would grow in your gutters if you planted it there. It adapts well to different climates and is uniquely expressive of each region it is grown in. Cool climate you gives you blueberry and white pepper characters. Moderate climates give you raspberry and spice and warm climates give you blackberry, black pepper and concentrated fruit.

It used to be that the warm climate, South Australian; Shiraz was the work horse of the Australian wine industry. With high alcohol, due to warmer ripening conditions and massive tannins these wines appealed to people who liked to be smashed in the face with flavour. Recently we’ve seen winemakers tone back these wines and are going for a more elegant style. You see, people realized wine is supposed to compliment food whereas this massive styles dominate food, bully that they are. This wine from Henry’s Drive Vignerons is on the cusp, full-bodied with lots of concentrated fruit and liberal oak use but elegant on the finish.

 

Tasting note: Quite oaky on the nose, cedar characters dominate. Subtle scents of menthol and blackberry soon escape the oak overlord. The oak stands out on the palate also, cedar again but the fruit is more expressive on the palate than the nose, blackberry jam and licorice. Full bodied.

Final Say: Like a Shiraz with gusto? Give this a try, not a style I would drink all the time but it does have its place within the cellar. You can pick it up for around $20 a bottle.

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20 (83 out of 100)

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis

Spitting: Optional

Delatite Riesling 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry white

Country: Australia

Region: Central Victoria

 

Overview: What are Biodynamic wines? This is a question I am often asked. It is a question that is harder to answer than you would believe. Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that relies upon the relationship between soil, plant, animals and sustainable farming.

For a winery to label their wines as Biodynamic they must follow guidelines that were defined by Rudolf Steiner in 1924. These guidelines seem archaic but have had great benefits for those who follow them. Biodynamic wineries do not spray chemicals such as Fungicides and Insecticides. Fertilizers must be from organic origins. Instead they follow the practices set by Rudolf Steiner which include burying cow manure in a cow’s horn in soil over winter. The horn is dug up after winter and the manure is mixed with water and sprayed on the vineyard soil as a liquid fertilizer. They also advise that Chamomile flowers must be sheathed in a cow’s intestine, hung in the summer sun and then buried in the ground over winter and then dug up in spring. The flowers are to be extracted from the intestines and incorporated into compost used for fertilizing. No I’m not joking. Google the guidelines, they’re fascinating.

Delatite are a Biodynamic producer that also believe in minimalistic winemaking practices to ensure that their fruit and the wines they make display the most pure characteristics they can.

 

Tasting note: Pale in colour. A nose of delicate citrus. The palate speaks of citrus, orange blossom and green apple. There is a tiny touch of sweetness on the palate also but this balances the racy acid on the finish.

 

Final Say: I guess you could sum up Biodynamic farming as a holistic approach to the production of wine. One that leaves the winemaker with fruit that is untouched by chemicals. Fruit in its most pristine form? I’ll let you judge that one. This Riesling sells for around $20 a bottle and is one of my favourite Aussie Rieslings.  

 

Score: 17.5 out of 20 (88 out of 100) Freakin’ Awesome

 

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on spittingoptional@gmail.com

Also, check out the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spitting-Optional/314535381931908?sk=wall

Jack Davis