Archive for March, 2014

Spitting: Optional Goes to Canberra

Overview: Oh Canberra, the region that makes cork dorks sigh and lament at how underrated it is. It may be the place where politicians conspire against hard working tax payers but it is also where some of Australia’s best cool-climate wines are produced. Last weekend they took off my straightjacket and let me out into the wide, wonderful world. Where did I go? You guessed it. Here are some of the best I tasted:

Mount Majura Vineyard:12TSGl

Mount Majura Riesling 2013: A floral style of Riesling with plenty of citrus and minerality- nice length and acidity. 16.5/20
$27/bottle

Mount Majura Pinot Gris 2013: I wouldn’t say that this definitively sits in the Pinot Gris style. I found it to be a fresher, simple style with loads of cut pear and citrus and crisp acidity. 15.5/20
$25/bottle

Mounth Majura Molli 2013: A charming and innovative blend of two Alsatian varieties Pinot Gris and Riesling, this wine is mouth-filling with toasty oak influences- grapefruit and almonds with a nice savoury edge. 16.5/20
$27/bottle

Mount Majura TSG 2012: No it’s not the new Ford model; TSG stands for Tempranillo/Shiraz/Graciano. These varieties blended together has created a spicy, savoury red with characters of cherry, blackberry, cloves and a touch of smoky hambone- grainy tannins on the finish. 17/20
$32/bottle

Mount Majura Dinny’s Block 2010: A very good take on a Bordeaux blend. Leafy on the nose with flavours of blackcurrant, black olives and plum- subtle truffle notes and great structure. 17.5/20
$27/bottle

Eden Road Wines:Eden Road
Eden Road Wines Canberra Riesling 2013: Austere and flinty. Elegant lime and talc characters with great length. Fantastic value. 17.5/20
$20/bottle

Eden Road Wines Canberra Off-Dry Riesling 2013: Super pure and clean with notes of orange blossom and sherbet- a nice savoury edge despite the residual sugar. Perfect with spicy food. 17.5/20
$30/bottle

Eden Road Long Road Chardonnay 2012: Toasty oak dominates the nose with subtle hints of grapefruit reaching through- more of the same on the palate with a nice, biscuity edge. 16/20
$22/bottle

Eden Road Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2012: A flinty, toasty nose with a palate consisting of citrus- grapefruit. Fresh and clean with nice acidity. 17.5/20
$35/bottle

Eden Road Courabyra Chardonnay 2012: Eden Road’s elegant, unoaked Chardonnay shows the purity of the Chardonnay grape with crisp characters of lemon and lime. 17/20
$50/bottle

Eden Road Maragle Chardonnay 2012: A great balance of savoury spice and fruit definition- nice, toasty oak with characters of peach, citrus and brioche. 17.5/20
$50/bottle.

Eden Road Tumbarumba Pinot Noir 2011: Typical Pinot Noir characters of mushroom, forest floor, truffles and clove. Lacks some primary fruit. 16/20
$40/bottle

Eden Road The Long Road Shiraz 2012: Plum, blackberry and pepper bursting from the glass- quite flinty with grainy tannins. Great value. 16/20
$24/bottle

Eden Road Canberra Shiraz 2011: All the Canberra elegance you would expect- violets, blueberry and pepper. Decidedly juicy yet complex. 17.5/20
$55/bottle

Clonakilla:Clona sv

Clonakilla Viogner 2013: Apricot, spice and all things…I won’t go there. Dwelling beneath the bustling Viognier characters is some nice, toasty oak and great acidity. Probably needs some time in bottle. 17.5/20
$50/bottle

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2012: Flinty with notes of violets, blackberry, blueberry and white pepper. Dense and powerful with a velvety mouth-feel and underlying tones of liquorice. Good supporting oak also. 17.5/20
$28/bottle

Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz 2012: A spicy nose- white pepper with brooding tones of plum and blackberry. Just a touch of hambone and toasty oak. Well balanced and complex. 18/20
$36/bottle

Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2012: Silk in a glass- velvety and seductive with powerful characters of plum, blackberry and cinnamon (This is about as wanky as I get). Grainy tannins and fantastic length. 18.5/20
$90/bottle

Helm Wines:helm

Helm Wines Classic Dry Riesling 2013: All there is to love about Riesling: lemon sherbet, granny smith apples, lime and floral notes. Great fruit richness yet balanced by the fresh acidity. 18/20
$30/bottle

Helm Wines Tumbarumba Riesling 2013: A more floral example of Riesling- jasmine and lime, pure and fresh with subtle notes of cut apple. 17.5/20
$26/bottle

Helm Wines Premium Riesling 2013: The Classic Riesling definitely jumps out of the glass more than this wine but it some attention and it will show great austerity and purity. Clean, fresh lime with mouth-watering minerality. A finish that lingers on and on. 18.5/20
$48/bottle

Final Say: With that all said and done I do have one gripe. Who doesn’t have a price list or tasting notes that I can scribble on? Clonakilla, that’s who. My scrawl is hard enough to understand as it is without trying to read it off a brochure. See below:

Clona scrawl

Don’t worry guys, my tongue is firmly in my cheek. Love your stuff.

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

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Spitting: OptionalFiano

Hand Crafted by Geoff Hardy Fiano 2013

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia

Region: Adelaide Hills

 

Overview: Fiano is predominately grown in the Campania region in Italy. It’s a variety that tends to like warmer climates, thus why it is grown in Australian region such as McLaren Vale, Rutherglen and Adelaide Hills. Unlike some of the Italian white varieties such as Pinot Grigio and Arneis Fiano is quite a complex variety that can handle more hands on wine making such as time in oak. However, this Fiano is a more stripped back, simple version. It is not concerned with the musing of Sartre and does not claim to be Morrissey’s biggest fan, it does not ask the ever pressing question of why, it is focused on the fun and frivolous. This wine displays the fresh, lifted characters of Fiano and is ultimately approachable now.

 

Tasting note: Floral on the nose with underlying hints of straw and pineapple. Freshly cut Granny Smith apples on the palate with citrus and jasmine notes. Simple and refreshing.

 

Final Say: Not as complex as some Fiano out there but a great introduction to the variety. $25 a bottle.

 

Score: 15.5 out of 20

 

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

Spitting: OptionalPaxton Temp

Paxton Tempranillo 2012

Vintage: 2012

Style: Medium bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: McLaren Vale

 

Overview: When Australian Winemakers first started toying with certain European varieties which we call ‘alternative varieties’ many of the reds such as Tempranillo and Sangiovese were picked ripe, had loads of tannin and were stuffed into oak. Bada-bing-bada-boom we had a wine that drank like a Shiraz but was named something a bit left of centre. As we’ve more comfortable with these varieties we’ve started to treat them the way they should be treated. Paxton pick their Tempranillo earlier in the season to maintain savoury spice notes to add to the lifted aromatics and cherry characters typical of Tempranillo. For the fermentation process they have used wild yeast with may not be as clean and stable as inoculated yeast but adds complexity and interesting notes on the nose. Whole bunches are also thrown in during fermentation, the juice of these bunches ferments inside the berry and causes the skins to breakdown adding aromatics and firm tannins to this fantastic wine. This process is also known as carbonic maceration. It sounds like a whole lot of work and it is but the results speak for themselves. This wine has power and complexity at a modest alcohol level (12.5%) and is a bargain to boot.

 

Tasting note: Bursting with aromatics of cherry, spice and sarsaparilla with subtle oak support in the background. The palate is surprisingly powerful with deep plum characters joining the cherry and spice from the nose. Nice oak with grainy tannins on the finish.

 

Final Say: Cool climate spice with warm climate power. $20 a bottle.

 

Score: 16.5 out of 20

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

Helen’s Hill Ingram Rd. Sauvignon Blanc 2013HH

Style: Dry white

Region: Yarra Valley, VIC

Tasting Note: I can honestly say that Helen’s Hill is one of my favourite Yarra Valley wineries. They represent the typical Yarra Valley varieties perfectly, while also tiptoeing into the realm of the experimental. Even their Sauv Blanc excites me and that’s saying something because 9 times out of 10 I need to be force fed Sauvignon Blanc to even try it. The nose is grassy and zesty while the palate is a lively combination of tropical fruits and lime: grassy and elegant with great acidity and length.

Final Say: One of the better Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted this year (yes, yes, we’re only three months in, I know). $17.99 a bottle

Score: 17.5 out of 20

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

TWSThe Wine Society Premium Selection Pinot Gris 2013

Style: Dry white

Region: Swan Hill, VIC

Tasting Note: Though I have slotted this wine into the ‘dry white’ category, it does have a touch of richness from some residual sugar. The term ‘just-slightly-off-dry-white’ doesn’t sound quite right however. The pink tinge suggests a little bit of skin contact. The nose is rich with dominant tones of custard apple. There’s honeysuckle on the palate with spiced, poached pear. A creamy mouth-feel is balanced by crisp acidity.

Final Say: This is definitely Pinot Gris in style, which means it is best in enjoyed with food … spicy Thai dishes perhaps. $14.99 a bottle.

Score: 16 out of 20

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

Dodgy Brothers GSM 2011Dodgy

Style: Full bodied red

Region: McLaren Vale, SA

Tasting Note: This wine is like a labourer in a tutu. Yep, that’s right. It straddles the border of elegance and power, which is especially remarkable as 2011 was a tough year for South Australia. A bustling, rich nose consists of cherry, plum and spice. The palate is dense yet velvety with characters of blood plum, pepper, liquorice and blackberry.

Final Say: Put this one in the naughty corner (the cellar) for a few years until it learns its lesson (matures). $22.99 a bottle.

Score: 17.5 out of 20

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

Killerby Merchant Trader Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012Killerby Merchant Trader Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Style: Dry white

Region: Margaret River, WA

Tasting Note: A restrained nose of citrus. Lemon zest brings the palate to life with grassy undertones and good length.

Final Say: A great quaffer. $14.99 a bottle

Score: 15.5 out of 20

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