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Spitting: Optionalspring vale

Spring Vale Pinot Noir 2011

Style: Light- mid bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: Tasmania (Freycinet)

 

Overview: I have to say my favourite thing about this wine is the Map of Tassie on top of the screw cap:

Spring

 

Call me immature (I’ve been called worse, trust me) but every time I peek into a box of wine and see the Map of Tassie looking up at me I can’t help but giggle. Obviously there is more to this wine than matching its state of origin with a piece of anatomy. This is Spring Vale’s flagship Pinot Noir, spicy and complex its one to keep the Pinophiles drooling.

 

Tasting note: Dusty spice and lifted cherry, strawberry and cinnamon aromas with subtle floral notes. The palate is vibrant yet complex with flavours of plum, sour cherry, truffle and savoury spice. The tannins are on the grippy, grainy side and the oak quietly sits in the background. Great length and balance.

 

Final Say: More than just a pretty screw cap. $40 a bottle

 

Score: 18.5 out of 20

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

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Purple Hands Wines Pinot Gris 2012Purple Hands

Vintage: 2012

Style: Dry White

Country: Australia

Region: Adelaide Hills

Overview: There is still much confusion surrounding Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio – you’d think we would have worked it out by now. It’s definitely not the consumers’ fault; in Australia we’ve seen Pinot Gris labelled as Pinot Grigio and vice versa. As a result, the muddied water will take some time to clear. The two styles use the same grape but should be made very differently. Pinot Grigio is a simple, fresh and crisp drink. Pinot Grigio is generally fermented in stainless steel with lees stirring (lees= dead yeast; try not to think about it) used to build texture and nuttiness through the mid palate. Pinot Gris is generally picked later to maintain richness. In the winery, to add complexity, the winemaker throws more work at it, such as time in barrel, lees contact and sometimes malolatic fermentation. This wine definitely sits in the Pinot Gris spectrum with 40% of the wine fermented in oak and left on lees for eight months while the remaining 60% spent its time hanging about in stainless steel.

Tasting Note: The nose is typically Pinot Gris – pear, almonds and a little bit cheesy. There are subtle oak notes on the palate, with a lovely richness. The aromas on the nose transform into flavours on the palate with added stone fruit and custard apple notes.

Final Say: This is a wine that has escaped the ever present Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio identity crisis. $16.99 a bottle.

Score: 16 out of 20

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

Mandala Pinot Noir 2011Mandala

Style: Light-bodied Red.

Region: Yarra Valley

Country: Australia

Tasting note: This wine is from a tough year in Yarra Valley; it was wet and cold, which is why this wine is so light in colour. It has a bright, lifted cherry nose with just a touch of spice. There is more where this came from on the palate with strawberry tones complementing the sour cherry. Simple yet enjoyable.

Final Say: If you’re looking for a great, everyday Pinot Noir then this wine is for you. $19.99 a bottle.

Score: 15.5 out of 20

MV mer

Spitting: Optional

Mount Avoca Merlot 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Medium bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: Pyrenees, VIC

 

Overview Merlot is often referred to as a ‘wishy-washy’ variety in Australia. Simple, easy to drink but not a serious wine. This term reminds me of dirty dishwashing water and for some Merlot this description could be seen as kind. It’s a shame that a variety that originates from one of the world’s most famous wine regions, Bordeaux has been given this reputation. Although in Australia most Merlot is made into a quaffing style there are certain exceptions to this rule. Serious Merlot (as funny as that may sound to some people) should display good structure, red berry and spice. This wine ticks these boxes and is a better food wine than one to drink on its own.

 

Tasting note: A leafy, dusty nose complimented by subtle blueberry aromas. Raspberry and forest fruits on the palate with grainy tannins. A touch short and under ripe but food helps push these characters to the background.

 

Final Say: No recycled grey water here. $20-$28 a bottle. A decent Merlot if you’re so inclined.

Score: 15.5 out of 20

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

Oakridge 864 Charlie's Block

Spitting: Optional

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria  

 

Overview: Chard freaks and pinophiles all love the Yarra Valley, the self-proclaimed Burgundy of Australia. During a recent visit to the Yarra I found the diversity in Chardonnay styles quite impressive. Thus I have compiled a list that could be seen as a veritable best of the best of Yarra Valley Chardonnay (that is if anyone takes what I write to be serious of course).

Tasting notes:

 

Innocent Bystander Chardonnay 2011: A fresh, uncomplicated Chardonnay that displays nice stone fruit characters and subtle oak. A good every day Chardonnay.

Score: 16/20

$20/bottle

 

Giant Steps Sexton Vineyard Chardonnay 2011: A complex, flinty nose with a party-in-your-mouth palate of nectarine, peach, underlying citrus and lovely oak tones.

Score: 18/20

$40/bottle

 

Giant Steps Tarraford Vineyard Chardonnay 2011: A more restrained style, toasty oak and citrus on the nose. Elegant grapefruit characters, mouth filling and classy.

Score: 17.5/20

$40/bottle

Colstream Hills Chardonnay 2011: Nice stone fruit on the nose supported by subtle oak, lingering grapefruit on the palate and great acidity.

Score: 17.5/20

$35/bottle

 

Coldstream Hills Deer Farm Chardonnay 2011: Flinty, toasty nose with a fantastic minerality, citrus and stone fruit with a great, creamy mouth feel.

Score: 18/20

$45/bottle

 

Coldstream Hills Rising Vineyard Chardonnay 2011: Awesome nose (the wine not mine) complex notes of struck match with a fresh palate of honeydew melon and citrus. Well integrated oak and great acidity.

Score: 18/20

$45/bottle

 

Yeringberg Chardonnay 2011: Toasty nose with a salty, austere palate with nectarine characters, zippy citrus and lingering finish.

Score: 18.5/20

$50/bottle

 

Yeringberg Chardonnay 2009: Oak more evident on the nose, toasty and nutty with a creamy mouth feel and grapefruit flavours.

Score: 18/20

$60/bottle

 

Oakridge 864 Charlie’s Block Chardonnay 2011: This wine displays layers of complexity, subtle, complex sulphides, toasty oak, elegant minerality, grapefruit and nutty characters. A real winner, probably my favourite overall.

Score: 18.5/20

$72/bottle

 

Oakridge Denton Vineyard Chardonnay 2011: So funky this wine could play jazz sax, flinty nose, citrus and white-fleshed nectarine characters with a fresh, clean acidity.

Score: 18/20

$38/bottle

 

 

Oakridge Guerin Vineyard Chardonnay 2011: More Chablis in style, restrained citrus and grapefruit with a mouth-watering minerality.

Score: 17.5/20

$38/bottle

 

Final Say: Sorry pinophiles, Chard freaks won this week.

 

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

 

Gone Fishin’

Posted: February 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hi all,

Spitting:optional will be taking a short break while I go on holidays. See you all in three weeks.

 

Image

Spitting: Optional

Chrismont ‘La Zona’ Barbera 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Medium-bodied red

Country: Australia

Region: King Valley, Victoria

 

Overview: The Italian grape Barbera may be the 3rd most planted variety in Italy but here in Australia it is lesser known and barely grown. In fact most people probably believe that Barbera is an attempt at spicing up the name Barbra, in an exquisitely bogan fashion.  The King Valley is known for its prolific use of Italian varietals which, for me, makes it one of Australia’s more interesting wine regions. Out of the Australian attempts at taming this variety this is definitely the stand out.

Barbera is my grapey wife, I love it. It’s funky and temperamental and there are some shocking wines made from Barbera floating about, due to its propensity to become reductive and a bit smelly (due to hydrogen sulfide) if fermentation is not monitored correctly. Its typical characters are blueberry, pepper and spicy notes and are best in enjoyed with red meat dishes.

 

Tasting note: A funky nose of sour cherry, white pepper and tobacco. A complex palate of fresh fruit and spice, strawberry, plum, cherry, white pepper and cedar. Finishes delicately with a fine tannin structure.  

 

Final Say: Enter a brave new world and give this wine a try. $20 a bottle, absolute bargain.

Score: 17 out of 20

 

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