Archive for August, 2012

Spitting: Optional

KWV Classic Collection Chenin Blanc 2012

Vintage: 2012

Style: Dry – Just off-dry white

Country: South Africa 

Region: South Africa

 

Overview: Chenin Blanc, sounds like the stage name of a transvestite, right? It’s a variety that is high in acid and ripens with higher sugar levels. It’s a diverse variety and can blended with other white varieties, made into a sparkling wine and even desert wines. The variety is most famous for the French Wine Vouvray from the Loire Valley. Vouvray is typically off-dry with honey characters and ages very well.

Chenin Blanc was introduced to South Africa in the 16th century where also known as Steen, no wonder, Chenin Blanc would be a nightmare to say with a South African accent. Much like Argentina and Chile, South Africa can produce wine very economically which means it hits our shores at ridiculously cheap prices. You can pick up the wines of the KWV Classic Collection Range (formally known as Lifestyle range) for around $11 a bottle.

The touch of sweetness in this wine will help match it with Asian dishes with a bit of spice. The sugar helps tone down the ‘heat’ from food laced with chili; this is good if you’re a wimp like me who feels like they’re on the verge of spontaneous combustion when they simply look at a chili.

 

Tasting note: The nose brings aromas of Granny Smith apples, lanolin, custard apple and lime. On the palate there are nuances of the green apple found on the nose, pear peel, rich yet balanced by delicate talc and jasmine characters and fine acid. There is a touch of Ester still present from the fermentation process (a character of banana) but this will dissipate over time.

 

Final Say: It’s cheap, it’s classy and it’s different. Buy it.

Score: 17.5 out of 20 (88 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

 

Elefante Tempranillo Shiraz 2010

 

Vintage: 2010

 

Style: Medium-full bodied red

 

Country: Spain 

 

Region: Castilla la Mancha

 

 

 

Overview: The strong Australian dollar has wreaked havoc on our attempts to export wine into other countries. On the other hand however, it has made it cheaper for distributors to export international wines to our own shores. As a result there are some great, reasonably priced international wines floating about at the moment and this wine is one of them. Elefante means elephant in Spanish, der, however the symbol for the Elefante wines is a bull. I’m not really sure what the meaning is there, perhaps something is lost in translation. Perhaps it’s some deep metaphor. Like this wine is so large like an elephant that it is a bull. I should write anecdotes for Buddhists. I really don’t know, I tried this wine when it was first launched in 2009 and while impressed by its value for money, the Elefante/Bull confused me, it still does. So much so, even as I write this I am perplexed. Someone please help me solve the Elefante/Bull code before my brain heads into a mess of trucks, horns and hooves.

 

Long story short, this wine is absurdly good for the price. Very funky packaging lets it jump off the shelf. From reading the wine making practices it seems some good quality fruit goes into these wines. The Tempranillo vines are ‘Goblet’ bush vines which are low yielding. Low yields= fruit intensity (in most cases).

 

 

 

Tasting note: Lifted cherry and white pepper on the nose. Flavour of cherry, spice and pepper at the forefront of the palate supported by grainy, chewy tannins. Not too rich and not too serious. Quite elegant and balanced

 

 

 

Final Say: Looking for a cheap crowd pleaser? Give this little blend a go. You can’t go wrong for $10-$12 a bottle.

 

 

 

Score: 16 out of 20

 

 

 

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

Coriole Fiano 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia 

Region: Mclaren Vale

 

Overview: In Australia the white wines considered to be ‘serious’ wines are Chardonnay, Riesling and Semillon. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and blends of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, while popular, are not considered ‘serious’ merely necessary for more people are looking for an ‘everyday drink’ rather than a ‘serious’ drink. I am generalizing here; this is not always the case. So we’ve got a handful of white wines that make up the volume of bottled table wine in Australia  but what about those other varieties that are planted here that make ‘serious’ wines in their home countries and barely get a look in here? Varieties such as Viognier, Rousanne, Marsanne, Pinot Blanc, Gruner Veltliner, Savagnin, Verdelho, Chenin Blanc and Fiano. Do they get a fair go? No, they get called ‘alternate’ varieties and suffer low sales figures. Do they get a fair look in at wine shows? Up until 5 years ago I would say no. Do these varieties require a champion? Yes! Should it be me? No, it’s too much work… Just kidding, I’ll champion these wines to anyone who will listen to me.

I’m here to tell you that these wines can be seriously good, if they are made the right way. If they are made as the way they are traditionally treated they’ll achieve greatness. If, instead they are manhandled and forced into an Australian style of wine then, well, they’re going to make a pretty shit wine.

Fiano is an Italian variety and roughly 33 vineyards have it planted in Australia and fewer still make it into a straight, varietal wine. The Coriole Fiano is probably the most recognized Australian Fiano, and has won a trophy at the Mclaren Vale wine show.

Had I tasted this wine in a blind line up I would have thought it was Italian, through and through, even knowing that it was from Australia I had my doubts that it was local… Thus the final comments of my tasting notes read “F@#King classy”.

 

Tasting note: Straw, stone fruit and subtle perfumed nuances on the nose. A palate that is rich yet delicate, sandalwood, nectarine, spice, talc and perfumed white flower characters. Good texture and acid. F@#king classy.

 

Final Say: Stop my rant and just buy it, a truly great wine for $20. I will now step off my soapbox before someone throws a bucket of water over me like a yowling, feral cat.

 

Score: 18.5 out of 20 (93 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

Eden Road ‘The Long Road’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Vintage: 2009

Style: Full Bodied Red

Country: Australia 

Region: Canberra

 

Overview: Cabernet Sauvignon is an old Aussie favourite. It’s one of the most widely planted varieties in the world yet the variety itself is relatively young. Its birth century is the 17th century and its father is Cabernet Franc and its mother is Sauvignon Blanc. No I haven’t been in the bathroom snorting stuff, this variety, which produces some of the world’s heaviest reds, is a cross between a red variety and a white variety.

It originates from Bordeaux where it is typically blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot. In Australia it is planted in just about every region, the only place I have not seen a Cabernet from in Australia is Tassie, it’s just too cold there. The regions that have gained fame from Cabernet are Margaret River, Coonawarra and the Barossa.

While this variety has been popular for a long time its varietal characters have often been misjudged. Twenty years ago the sought after Cabernet Sauvignons were minty and, what I call now, lean, green and mean (yes, I’m still talking about wine here not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). These ‘green’ characters are very bitter on the palate and it was once believed that these aggressive characters would disappear with cellaring. Wrong, it took about ten years to realize that these characters do not disappear but only become more prevalent as the primary fruit dropped away. Ultimately this ‘greenness’ can be a result of under ripeness.

Today we look for ripe berry characters, blackberry and cassis. Mint and menthol flavours are still sort after but if the wine is ‘bitter’ that is a big no-no. As always with wine it is all about balance. This wine is a great example of that, the cool climate fruit retains an elegant, lean, structure but is complemented by fruit weight.

 

Tasting note: Menthol and blackberry aromas on both the nose and palate. Also on the palate more delicate characters of blueberry can be tasted. The tannins are quite grippy and a touch chalky. It finishes with black olive nuances. Will definitely benefit from cellaring.

 

Final Say: Canberra is a relatively small wine region as far as Australia goes but are producing some of the best wines out of this country. This wine sells for between $20-$25 dollars.

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20 (In the Garden of Eden)

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