Archive for September, 2012

Spitting: Optional

De Bortoli Windy Peak Chardonnay 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry, oaked white

Country: Australia 

Region: Yarra Valley 

Overview:

A little goes a long, long way. Less is more. Brilliance in simplicity. KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. This wine shows the truth in all these sayings. We all know that the more we try to dress something up the worse it can end up. The same can be said about winemaking. If you have great fruit then you don’t have to do much to it to make a great wine. Each time a winemaker practices a winemaking technique like oak contact or lees stirring etc it effects the natural fruit of a wine. This wine has just enough oak to give it complexity and just enough minerality to make it elegant. The key word is balance. This wine stands in the middle of the see-saw without tipping too far over into either side.

Are we seeing a resurgence in popularity of Chardonnay? To an extent yes but I do not believe that Chardonnay will ever steal the top spot from varieties like Sauvignon Blanc. This is not a bad thing. You see, Chardonnay is a diverse variety and echoes climate and winemaking more so than those simple fruit-driven styles which means each Chardonnay you drink will be different. This is great for serious wine drinkers but for those drinkers who like Sauv Blanc like the fact that they can buy two different Sauv Blanc’s and they will display similar characters. What is great to know is that there are wines like this one that are priced to appeal to a wider market  and show how great Chardonnay can be without costing the earth.

Tasting note:

            Freshly cut grapefruit aromas mingle with subtle, toasty oak. Nice level of ripeness on the palate, peach, grapefruit and honeydew melon with a lingering saltiness. Clean and fresh.

 

Final Say: Great value, great wine. A steal at $14, on special it gets as low as $11.

 

Score: 17 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

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Spitting: Optional

Les Courtilles Côtes du Rhone 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Medium bodied red

Country: France 

Region: Rhone Valley 

Overview:

Drinking a wine like this reminds us that oak is not the be all and end all. Sometimes simple, upfront fruit can be more appealing than dense oak characters. Aging in oak would tone down those pretty, perfumed, luscious characters that many of the Côte du Rhone wines display.

As I have said before some varieties just need a little extra to express their potential. Grenache is quite pretty and shows delectate red fruit flavours but can be a touch light. Shiraz has pepper and dark fruits but can be overpowering. Mourvedre sits between these two but has great structure. With their powers combined they summon forth Captain Côte du Rhone or Captain GSM, the younger, Australasian cousin of Captain CDR (Côtes du Rhone). Somehow it doesn’t have the same ring to it when I sing the Captain Planet theme song.

Fruit is king in this wine, it uses oak as its royal footstool. Using the barrel to stand taller but never steal the show. Just recently in Australia we have accepted that 10 years ago we were over oaking our Chardonnay and now it is considered a wine fault. This is because the fruit disappears into a mire of cedar, woodchips and pencil shavings and stops being Chardonnay. All varietal character was lost. This will never happen when drinking wines from Cote du Rhone, especially those as reasonably priced as this one.

Tasting note: Musk, strawberry and white pepper rises from the glass to fill the nose. The palate is soft and elegant with red fruit characters such as strawberry and raspberry. A subtle spice and pepper rounds out this wine. Don’t bother cellaring this wine, it’s too enjoyable now.

Final Say: Sing the Captain Côtes du Rhone song all the way to the bottle shop to buy this one. Enjoy with lighter red meat dishes. Sells for around $16.

Score: 16.5 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

Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Vermentino 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia 

Region: South Australia 

Overview:

Welcome to part 2 of the odyssey into grape varieties starting with ‘V’. I’m sure part 1(https://spittingoptional.com/2012/07/17/martinsancho-verdejo-2010/) had your head swimming with plot twists and elaborate storytelling.

There are only around 50 Australian wineries that grow and produce Vermentino making it relatively unknown in Australia. It’s an Italian variety that can sometimes be a little bland. I haven’t tried too many Australian examples of this wine (Brown Brothers, Serafino and Fox Creek to name a few) and this wine, the Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Vermentino, is probably the best example I’ve seen of Australian’s handling this grape, and guess what? It’s the cheapest as well. I was actually taken aback by how good this wine is and how little it cost.

It has the elegance and varietal character of a wine three times its price. Sadly, the price point may mean that it is overlooked by many serious wine drinkers but trust me on this, flip yourself the ‘V’ tonight and give this wine ago. You won’t even notice the money is missing and there’s a fair chance you’ll buy some more.

 

Tasting note: An herbaceous nose with hints of stone fruit. A fresh, lively palate. Rich with nuances of stone fruit, jasmine flowers and talc. It finishes with a salty, briny acid. Begs to be enjoyed with seafood.

 

Final Say: I’ve said it all already all that is left is for you to try it. It sells for $11-$15

Score: 17 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

Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock Tempranillo 2009

Vintage: 2009

Style: Mid to full bodied red

Country: Australia 

Region: Adelaide Hills  

 

Overview: Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while now will know that I’m a big fan of Mediterranean wines and Mediterranean varieties. Tempranillo is one of the varieties I have a lot of love for. I can tell you a whole lot of facts about the grape such as ‘temprano’ in Spanish, Tempranillo being native to Spain, means ‘early’ which refers to the early ripening of the Tempranillo grape. I can also tell you that the roots of Tempranillo have the capacity to absorb potassium easily which helps balance the PH levels in the grape’s skin and flesh. However, if too much potassium is absorbed there is the risk of the fruit becoming salified (increased levels of salt) which interferes with the malic acid, letting it hang around for longer which is something you don’t want in a red wine. I can keep going but guess what?  I know you could care less (unless you’re some painful wine geek like me) so here is all you need to know:

  • It can be made vibrant and youthful with little oak contact
  • It can be matured in oak for added complexity
  • It can be elegant or robust, depending on the climate
  • It’s a great food wine
  • It grows really will in Australia
  • More people should drink it.

So there you go. The Adelaide Hills, much like the King Valley, have long been pioneers for the Mediterranean varieties and critics have been pretty tough on them. I for one love what they are doing. Keep it up! ß A threat, not encouragement.

Tasting note: Typically Tempranillo on the nose, ripe cherry, earthy and a touch of game. A rich palate, the cherry characters verge on becoming plum-like, nice spice- subtle pepper. Chewy tannins and a clean, pleasant finish.

Final Say: A relatively new variety in Australia but with wines like the Mr Riggs Yacca Paddock the future is looking bright. You can pick it up for $25.

 

Score: 16.5 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