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Monday, 29 October 2012

Estevez Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere 2011 from Aldi. Chile

Estevez Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere 2011 is a  wine is made by Chilean mega-producer Concha y Toro for Aldi spermarkets, and at £4.99 - I can only say - stunning value! The grapes for this wine came from the Valle de Maule in Chile. The wine has a deep ruby colour with a hint at purple at the rim - this is a young wine and you often find this. There is a blackness to its depth, and the glass when swirled has slow coloured dribbles called 'legs' or 'tears' by some, often but not always due to higher alcohol content.
On the nose, smokey tobacco, black fruits that include, plums, cherry and blackcurrant, there is a hint at a stalkiness, but not a main aroma.
When I tasted it, the smoke, spice and dark fruits all vie for front position, the fruit is ripe but not lush, there is a fine grained elegance, my only niggle is that the acidity seems out of balance, it zips about the palate as though it is not meant to be there.
The length is good with stalky fruit and woody spice right at the finish.
Overall I like the wine, would buy it again at this price, but feel that the acidity and stalkiness are the only things that let it down, but in its favour, it is elegant, fine tuned with stalky tannins that have a savoury element to it.
I would like to taste this wine in 18 months time and see if the acidity has settled down and integration has begun!
Score : 85

Tesco's Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010 New Zealand

While at the Tesco's wine fair we sat in on a tasting run by Jane Parkinson - wine journalist who happens to write for Tesco's wine magazine amondst others.
The tasting was the many faces of Pinot, it included 3 Pinot Grigio's and 3 Pinot Noirs. The one real star for me, and first time tasting was Tesco's Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010. I have tasted many Pinot's from New Zealand, the ones that have shone have been those from Martinborough ......( south of North Island, while Marlborough is north of South Island..... sort of opposite each other), the ones from Central Otago have been too angular and lacking in juicy fruits to balance the fresh acidity - well this one had the missing element for me!
There was fruit, animal nuance ( that so many of the New World Pinot's struggle with), there was elegance in abundance and a gentle fine grained meatiness sort of like salami. The tannins were low, ripe and silky, the alcohol really enrobing the cherry, salami, vegetal undergrowth..... A really well crafted wine - a delight, the cost £9.00 reduced from 11.94 - really good value I thought, its on my shopping list for Christmas!
Score : 88

Tesco Wine Fair London - what did we like

I went to Tesco's Wine Fair in London over the weekend - our 2 grown up boys came with us ( first-timers) with their girlfriends.
We all tried alot of wines, some of us remember alot of them, some recall few......But- life is a learning curve, lots of time and lots of things to learn along the way....... :)

What we liked -:


Firstly - Zinfandels - the Bonterra is an Organic Zin from California, full bodied, juicy, fresh and lots of character, the Ravenswood we have drunk for a number of years and admired the wines that Joel Peterson ( Ravenswood's founder) made - but since it was bought by Constellation Brands 2 years ago have felt that the quality and distribution has changed, but Tesco are now stocking the 'Old Vines - Lodi region Zinfandel again at a cost of £9.99 per bottle ( much better than their base Zin which lacks depth, character, length and is a poor example - but cheaper ), while the Bonterra one came in at £11, for me the Ravenswood was rich, juicy, sweet and fresh, ready to drink now, while the Bonterra one was slightly over extracted and would suit a food match better ( venison, beef, hearty stews, veggie dishes with punch..... all go well ). Another option would be Dancing Bull Zinfandel at £8 per bottle .
  • Tim Adams - such a delightful, down to earth, charming guy - and a brilliant wine maker, he makes wine from his heart - we tasted a few on his stand, my favourite that I have bought before ( and will buy again) is The Fergus from the Clare Valley 2007, it is a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo and Shiraz( or Syrah), it was a silky charming elegant wine which had amazing length and persistence, a stunner at £8.99 - a  wine to buy - great!
  • Other Tim Adams wines that are great - The Semillon 2008 - and the Pinot Gris 2009/10 - I loved them both - do go and try them.



  • If you are looking for some wines to see you through the Christmas period - we found 2 that we all loved and nearly fell over at the price, the first was Aguila Coleccion Reserva Carinena 2007 at £4.50 a bottle, and Gran Fabrica Carinena Gran Reserva 2001 at £5.00 a bottle - and this won a silver medal at the IWSC and 91 /100 Parkers wine guide - amazing value - but you have to like Oak in your reds ( though this was not oak heavy I felt, balanced, but the oak was part of these wines character).
  • We also tried a McLaren Vale 2009 Wirra Wirra Church Block blend, it was Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot mix and the price was £10, full bodied, juicy fruit and lovely oak in the spicy mix, well balanced, but the alcohol was high - as they often are from this area.....14.5%, but a lovely rich wine!

Toward the end of the day we tasted 2 delish wines - but at a higher price - sorry - but it had to be done!
  • Villa Antinori Toscana 2008 - basically a SuperTuscan ( though not called so on the bottle/site) , Sagiovese and then Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, there were lush black and red fruits, juicy and full on the palate, like a new world Chianti, great fresh acidity, amazing long length with dark fruit and spice at the finish - charmming elegant, crafted..... all words that could be used in this wines description..... £14.99 a bottle - but worth it - I think!
  • Tesco's Finest Hermitage 2007 - a wine that was silky, fresh but had grippy tannins, lovely syrah character and the length was amazing, fine tuned, elegant and gentle, lovely - at £20.99 - a treat! Enjoy!









We tried many more wines - but these are the ones that stood out - and the ones that I will think about when I order, there were some lovely Pinot's especially the Tesco's Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir, smooth, fresh, fruity but with that great animal nuance that alot of the Pinot's have - and what I like, we also had some lovely Rieslings.....Alsace, Clare Vally......Too many wines to mention, but it is a great way to try lots of different wines in an easy atmosphere, try and walk away - or ask questions, or......


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Blind Tasting Result - MmmmH..... Not quite right....!

Well - I was quite surprised when I saw what it was - but there again maybe not!

I said Italian / Spanish at a first snifter - and you should always go with your first thoughts ( esp when you find out they were right later.......) !



The wine was a Supertuscan ( actually not so super in this case), and was a mix of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot......
It was ' Piccini Supertuscan 2008 IGT' made by Antonella Conti, who is a good maker. It came from Tesco (and is exclusive to Tesco's I think ) on a special offer at under £5 when I bought it.
A Super tuscan wine is a relatively new concept, and it is a Chianti wine ( made in Tuscany's Chianti wine region ) but uses grapes that have not been allowed within the wine rules of the region, they use  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and / or Syrah in alot of the cases. The see a more detailed description of the term SperTuscan follow this link. There have been alot of very, very good and expensive SuperTuscan wines that can age for decades, but I am sad to say this was not one of these. It was a watered down version where alot of the fruit was overshadowed by the clumsy oak used in the maturation of this wine - what a shame. When the fruit did show through it was a fresh cherry with a hint of plum, but thin in flavour.

I guessed a right bank Bordeaux - so Merlot dominant - but with Cabernet ( Sauvignon and /or Franc in it as well)..... So nearly there - I think as it often said on my report - 'must try harder' and  'a bit sloppy in the final details'.....How the truth hurts!

A bit about IGT on the label - what does it mean.
The letters IGT mean Indicazione Geografica Tipica and this certification fits producers who were not creating wines within the standard DOC ( Denominazione di Origine Controllata ) and DOCG ( Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita  ) regulations. Many producers who did not agree with the rules that the regulations imposed on them when producing DOC and DOCG wines, chose to make wine their own way ( often involving non-Italian grapes ) and now the IGT designation has become a well respected certification, and it is definitly one I look for when wanting something a little bit special in Italian wines - and I will say a few Italian waiters in Italy are impressed that we drink IGT wines knowing that they may be a bit of a 'find'!
Similar moves have been made by Southern French wine producers, they have moved out of the Vin d'Appellation d'Origine Controlée ( AOC or AC ) regulations and make wine under the Vin de Pays more relaxed rules.

This wine currently retails at about £6 at Tesco's - when in stock. But if you like Italian wines - try Piccini Memoro, it is an interesting wine made in a New World way, grapes from different areas brought together to make a homogenous un-Italian blend ( I feel ) - do try it and email me with what you think.
It is again the same wine maker Antonella Conti, and the blend of grapes is Montepulciano, Nero d'Avola, Primitivo and Merlot, all grown in different Italian regions. It is also non-Vintage cuvee, this means that the grapes have come from different vintages, stored carefully and used when needed. Described as ' 12 months oak casked Montepulciano from Abruzzo, the solar Nero d’Avola from Sicily, the colder climate (Veneto ) merlot and the Primitivo wine from Puglia ( some of this has been made in the passito way ) ' and was produced by Tenuta Piccini to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. It has fresh and plush red fruits, ripe and tasty tannins, juicy and delicious - and goes really well with alot of Italian / meat / vegetarian dishes.

Enjoy!!





Friday, 26 October 2012

Blind Tasting Friday No. 2 (26/10/12)

 
Once more Peter ventured down to the cellar to oblige me - he loves choosing something difficult for me to guess, and I normally miss the mark - just to oblige him.....of course.
This wine chosen is red - with  ruby core and a ruby rim which was wide and had Garnet glints to it, the core was not that deep either as you can see below. On swirling it - there are slow pale legs - so this wine has some body / viscosity and probably good alcohol content.
I popped my nose in the glass and immediately said - Italian or Spanish, I then wrote down, red fruits, cherry, cranberry, red currant...., also some serious wood maturation aroma, cedar, smoke, spice, and there is a stalkiness and maybe even wood shavings to reinforce that woodiness! And those aromas are quite jumpy - you notice them! Quite pale - see the pics.
On tasting it - again the red fruits dominated by spice, wood shavings and a herb edge. The acidity is quite high, as is the alcohol, the body is enrobing and silky in texture, the tannins quite soft, chalky and savoury.
Having had a few sips and swirls in the mouth, I had done all the sucking in air.....making the wine mix across all surfaces....and then left the flavour to develop once swallowed......The length was long, pithy, red fruits especially sour cherries and the spice enveloping all there, overall the flavours that dominate are the woody aromas, they are responsible for the bitter pithy tastes, and the spice on nose and palate.
So, what did I surmise.....
Cool climate, the fruit is sour and linear, quite thin, not lush like a ripe New World wine, the acidity is also highThe sour cherry aromas and flavours would send me to the Loire ( though this wine had more body than a Loire wine and also more woody flavours and aromas than I would have expected from here), or Italy - the cherry flavours are reminiscant of some Chiantis, or Valpolicella wines, though again the later tends to be lusher. Bordeaux wines tend to have more colour - the cherry red medium(-) colour makes me think that it is a medium quality Chianti, but the the wine is silkier than I had expected, and fatter, so maybe I might opt for a lower quality right bank Bordeaux....Bordeaux Rouge..... Generic Bordeaux Red. Year - 2006 , maybe 2007, a bit of garnet, but no real tertiary notes....A maker who used wood heavily - and the fruit was from a cool wet year ( so neither 2006/7....)
I will be told tomorrow morning what it was, Peter has gone out for the evening, so I will report tomorrow!
Nightie - night!

Global Champagne Day - Celebrate!!

As if we need a reason to celebrate - today is Global Champagne Day - so I think it would be unfair not to treat ourselves - don't you? And I have just received an email with some amazing offers from Majestic - :
  • Bollinger Special Cuvée £42 now £32
  • Taittinger Brut Réserve £38 now £26
  • Canard-Duchêne Brut £26 to £18
I think it is time to go shop!!
Enjoy.
I am doing a blind tasting tonight - hope you will drop back to see if you can determine what the wine I taste is......

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Château Sociando-Mallet tasting with Pascale Roby and Richard Bampfield MW

We went to a tasting of Château Sociando-Mallet presented by Pascale Roby and Richard Bampfield MW at BANK Restaurant in Birmingham, UK. Pascale works for Château Sociando-Mallet and had flown over to the UK to present these wines for the Midlands Wine and Spirit Association, Richard Bampfield MW co-presented ( Laura Clay introduced the evening ). We tasted Château Sociando-Mallet 2008 / 9 / 10 and 1996, and before this we had tasted La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet 2006 / 9 / 10.
At the base of the page is a potted history of the Château Sociando-Mallet Estate.

La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet  is the second label of the Sociando-Mallet Estate and we were lucky to be able to compare 2006 / 2009 and 2010, and it was in this order that we tasted them. The make up of grapes in the wine is 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon sees 65-75%, 11-12 months in new oak.
Down to the wines......
2006 - This had a deep ruby core and slow legs when you swirl the wine in the glass. Popping my nose in the glass - sharp red fruits that include cranberry and sour cherry, along with a herbal edge and a smoky cedar - this wine has had contact with new oak - and it seems to be holding its own, aromas are balanced. It has some aged, tertiary or animal aroma - which makes you want to taste it - great!!
On the mouth, keen acidity, well integrated but bolstering alcohol which means the body is quite full, tannins are quite green and gripping with a chalky sort of texture. The flavours that are immediately obvious are sharp red fruits, stalky green herbal flavours and a pithy finish which is long and mixed with red fruit all the way.
This is a well joined up wine, where everything is in the right place and makes sense, it was a cool vintage hence the stalky flavours and the sharp red fruits - a great food with alot of foods, vegetarian dishes, meat dishes.... etc It is a wine that needs food to balance and work on those tannins!
Score : 86
2009 - Ruby core again, but surprisingly a smaller rim, slow legs which are coloured appear when the glass is swirled. On the nose are darker berry fruits, blackberry, cherry and plum as well as the red fruits seen in the 2006, the green vegetal aromas are less obvious but there is more distinct spice and cedarbox aromas balancing the sweeter riper fruits. On tasting it there is a silkier texture, smoother and mouth-coating, the red berry fruits are overpowered by the sweeter riper black fruits on the palate, there once more is good acidity and the alcohol is bang on, the tannins again are chalky but less intense and drying.The length was long with a green pithy finish intermingled with sour red fruits and a little liquorice twist right at the end. This is a plumper, riper wine than the 2006 and is great to drink now, it could remain in bottle and improve for the next 5 - 8 years, but could I resist ...... I think not!
Score : 88
2010 - again a good medium deep ( you can see your fingers on the glass stem through the core of the wine ) ruby core with narrow rim. The aromas on this wine are more fresh fruit - baked and black, but spice also plays its part. On tasting it - silky mouth-coating and textural with flavours of black ( more than red) fruits, spice, cedar with a little stalky ( green) edge, the acidity is fresh and zippy keeping this wine light and elegant, and the alcohol seemed lower than previous wines but at a good body enrobing level, or maybe better integrated already? This wine really improved with food, it seemed extremely well knitted together, balanced, elegant and one to keep for 5-10 years at least.
Score : 90

Château Sociando-Mallet  is the primary / main wine produced at the Chateau, it has a grape make-up of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, with the grapes coming from the better vineyards. The yields are relatively high - at about 80hl/ha but this is due in the main from the density of planting ( up to 9000 vines/ha), the yield per vine is low, 1 bottle per vine on average.
We tasted 5 vintages, 2007 / 8 / 9 / 10 and 1996, and agin in this order, and so to the wines :-
2007 - A medium to deep ruby core with black tints especially in the core. When sniffed the predominance of black( blackberry, cherry and plum) over-ride the red with additional aromas of coffee, chocolate and nuts is a complex array and leads you on into taste! Silky black fruits which were rich and ripe, sour red fruit, nuts and liquorice all elegant and well intertwined with the coffee and chocolate found on the nose, the acidity was fresh and elegant, the alcohol was in balance and kept the body of the wine silky and weighty. The tannins were chalky but fine grained and had a savoury edge.
Overall this wine was plump and soft - great to drink now, it had been a difficult vintage where the work done in the vineyard and at the sorting table made the difference!
Score : 86
2008 - the medium deep ruby core with black tints at its deepest had a narrow ruby rim, and on swirling the legs were slow and pale ruby coloured.  Aromas on this wine was red and perfumed, elegant and finely balanced, a touch linear maybe?
On the palate the black fruit was more obvious and the oak flavours were not so well integrated, this is a wine that is not yet knitted together entirely, the acidity was great and counteracting the slightly higher alcohol, still well balanced and  warm. The tannins were dry and chalky, with some way to go in their development/integration.
This wine was well structured, elegant and fine grained in its makeup, it is further back in its development than the previous wine, but has much to give, a great futute, it needs to be kept for at least 5-10 years.
Score : 88
2009 - Again a medium deep ruby core with those black Cabernet Sauvignon tints, and a narrow rim. Aromas of black more than red berry fruits exude from the glass with smokey cedar and herbal notes which intertwine with hazelnuts. Once again the fruit character that the aromas promised, followed by a whip of leather and cedar which were concentrated and ripe. Acidity keeps the mix fresh while the alcohol is slightly warming ( not out of the balance scale - but noticeable ), the tannins were silky and ripe. Overall - a beautiful, silky rich Bordeaux wine with some improvement still to come - ripe and juicy with lots to offer. Great to drink now with food - Enjoy!
Score : 89
2010 - the core on this wine is deep ruby with a rim that was narrow, those black tints once more obvious. On the nose perfumed, elegant black fruits intermingled with cedar and smokey cigar box. Black fruits - elegant and fresh dominate the palate, ripe, juicy  and pure. The acidity keeps the wine clean and bright and where it should be, enrobing but not overpowering. The tannins were ripe, fine grained and savoury and the finish was long with fresh fruit driving it and a cedar box end! A wine to keep - with lots of potential, nice now but I feel has a long way to go and will offer much at its peak - 10 years+. Has the potential to be a star!
Score : 91
1996 - This is a wine to enjoy - right from the start - peering into the glass, ruby with garnet at the rim, not as deep as the others, but still with lots of colour. On the nose a complex mix of black fruits, dried fruits ( prunes, dates, sultanas) and nuts are all vying for their place, it is rich and still has a fresh edge, we could not wait to taste.
Rich flavours hit the palate, and wow is it mouth-coating.....not in a heavy weight way, more that it sneaks up and then it is there wanting to be noticed. Great acidity, the alcohol integrated and offers gentle support for this complex and delicious wine with its silky, ripe and tasty tannins Dates, nuts, black cherry are all intertwined, cedar and chocolate/coffee play with each other and the long, long finish is left to both fruit and cedar - dry but fresh at the very end!
This is a delightful rich, complex wine with tertiary flavours that are mixed with the fresh fruits that still exist in the wine, the silky texture and fine tannins along with  its freshness and acidity can be kept for a short time, and enjoyed!
Score : 95
This vintage recently had some cases for sale at auction at Sothebys (24/10/2012), 1 case sold for £423, while the lots of 2 cases  sold for £881 ( sold in Bond ).



The Château Sociando-Mallet  Estate ( http://www.sociandomallet.com/site.php?langue=en )

The propoerty of Château Sociando-Mallet  sits on the left bank of Bordeaux, in the Haut-Medoc which is north of the Medoc and sits on the river bank of the Gironde enjoying breezes off the river, in the commune of St Seurin de Cadourne and not far from Lesparre-Médoc, just a few minutes drive north of St Estèphe and 10 km north of Pauillac.

The property dates from the early 17th century, the estate was the residence of a Basque nobleman named Sossiondo which has been translated since as Sociando - the first part of the name  The later part of the name comes from when the Estate was inherited by a naval captain by the name of Achille Mallet , and thus the property was renamed Sociando-Mallet.

It was purchased by Jean Gautreau in 1969 for francs 250 000 after working for  Jean Miailhe for a few years before heading out on his own venture, and was in the area looking for a vineyard for a wealthy Belgian client. It was a dilapidated property and the purchase was  the heart ruling the head. The vineyard had been reduced to just a 5 hectares of vines, and several buildings were derelict and there was no cellar, but it was the terroir stood it apart, it had the same band of gravel that runs beneath the vineyards of Cos d'Estournel, Pichon-Lalande, Léoville-Las-Cases and numerous other leading properties of the left bank. These gravel croupe slopes away from the buildings at the top of the estate.
He vinified his first vintage with help from an old employee of the estate - and the rest is history!
Over the years more land was purchased financed by his négociant business (which he sold in 2003) eventually exceeding 110 hectares, of which about 90 hectares are planted with vines, though this has been reduced by about 10ha over the last decade keeping the best and replanting has taken place to reposition the Cabernet Sauvignon at the top of the slope (where it has a better chance of ripening - it was at the base of the slope to protect it from the frost).
Today he is joined be his daughter Sylvie and Vincent Faure, Sylvie's husband who is technical director of Sociando-Mallet. Vincent studied oenology at the lycée at Latour Blanche and then took up a post at the Pauillac first growth in 1992 where he remained there for six years. It was1998 that he left to take up the position of technical director at Sociando-Mallet.
The varieties planted are 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 47% Merlot, the remaining 5%Cabernet Franc. The planting is denser than in many other Bordeaux vineyards (although many are catching up), with 8333 vines per hectare, the vines pruned to leave just 6-8 bunches per vines. This means yields per hectare are higher than are found elsewhere, but Vincent Faure is keen to point out that this reflects a normal yield per vine and a high number of vines per hectare, rather than the over-cropping of each vine. A typical figures may be 80 hl/ha, proof that there is more to ensuring quality than mere numbers

Other interesting observations are :-

  • The soils are ploughed rather than grassed over.
  • There is no deleafing, despite this being common practice throughout much of Bordeaux, the aim being to increase exposure of fruit to the sun and to help the ventilation of the leaf canopy around the fruit, thus reducing the likelihood of rot.
  • In addition there is no green harvesting here, despite this being another common practice to encourage ripening of the fruit towards the end of the growing season, and to increase concentration in the eventual wine.
  • And there is no fungicidal spraying at Sociando-Mallet, despite some of these other policies - especially refusal to deleaf - perhaps increasing the likelihood of mildew or rot in the vineyard
  • The harvest is manual, and goes over twin sorting tables, each one having a vibrating section and then conveyor belt on which the fruit is hand-sorted. ( Though this was not in operation for the 1996 vintage - see tasting notes )
  • The fruit is then mechanically destemmed and pressed before going into the fermentation vessels.
  • Natural yeasts are used to increase the character profile of the resulting wines.
  • When Jean Gautreau started out in 1969 the fermentations were carried out in the concrete vats that came with the estate, although much larger stainless steel vats were added when the facilities were extended first in 1998 and again more recently in 2008.
  • There is temperature control, but  temperatures are allowed to climb as high as 33°C to encourage the extraction of tannins.
  • The wine is macerated for several weeks before going into oak.
  • There are two blendings, one after fermentation when the varieties are blended together, then another after the aging in oak in order to create the final assemblage.
  • During the élevage, the wines are racked every six months.
  • None of the free-run wines are filtered, although the press wines, if they are used, are lightly filtered.
  • The oak regimen at Sociando-Mallet is different to some properties, the grand vin Château Sociando-Mallet (typically 20000 cases per annum) going into 95% new oak, the remaining 5% being left in stainless steel vat - where the portions left in cuve are intended to bring a sense of freshness to the wine. La Demoiselle de Sociando-Mallet, sees 65-75% new oak, with 25-35% left in vat again to keep the wine fresh.  Jean Gautreau has a strong preference for new oak,  and after one use, the barrels are sold off.
  • Other wines in the portfolio include a special cuvée named for Jean Gautreau seeing its  first vintage in 1995 has 100% aging in new oak  with malolactic fermentation occuring in oak, and in 2010,  100% Cabernet Sauvignon was used, making this a rare example of a pure Cabernet Sauvignon wine from Bordeaux.  In addition there is also L'Autre de Sociando, a special cuvée made for the L'Esprit de Bordeaux range put together by négociant Yvon Mau.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Stanton and Killeen Rutherglen Topaque NV Rutherglen Australia

Stanton and Killeen Rutherglen Topaque NV Rutherglen Australia is a sweet fortified wine made from 100% Muscadelle grapes from Rutherglen in Victoria, Australia.
It is rich, luscious and sticky - yummy!Ooh and it is not sickly..... no fear there.
It is a deep, rich golde garnet and green tints, has aromas of baked nectarine, tangerine all fresh but with a marmalade edge and all mixed up with dried fruit and honey. Tasting it again the citric tangerine comes through, toffee and biscuit also show themselves, the acidity is fresh and the alcohol high - but fits with the style of the wine and feels balanced. A long length and finishing with honeyed oranges - a delight!
I would probably have this with a baked fruit pudding or a fruit tart - or just on its own after a long hard day, cool from the fridge, the perfect unwinder!
You can buy this from Corking Wines at a cost of £11.90.
Score : 90

Radcliffes Regional Classics Barolo DOCG 2002

Radcliffes Regional Classics Barolo DOCG 2002
We having some Rare-Breed Sausages last night that I bought at the local Farmers market ( tasted them and then could not resist), and I wanted to have something quite high in acidity that would cut through the fat and something that had a bit of a woody edge..... so I chose a Barolo that was on the rack in the cellar - and was a  pressie from somebody a few years ago and needed to be drunk.


 
 
We opened it and let it stand for about an hour before we decanted it ( very little sediment) and then we let it stand for another 45 minutes to breath ( though we did have a little sample..... just to make sure all was well, in the interest of ..well ..... us actually).
The wine had a definite medium depth, garnet colour, core with narrow rim, the legs that formed on the glass sides when swirled were slow and pale.
On popping our nose into the glass - cedar, smoke, tea, herbs, spice and generally perfumed, I would say a touch of Earl Grey Tea and there were faded red fruit notes, this wine has gone over the hill I feel, the fruit has faded and wood / tertiry notes have taken over.....but still beautiful and elegant.
On tasting it the first flavours noted were tea / herbs and near the bottom of the list was red fruits - faded but still present. Other notes were that the cedar and spice were overpowering, then rose, herbs and leather all played a part in this wines character. The tannins still obvious and chalky and green tasting, the acidity was fresh and the alcohol in balance, the length was very long with a cedar / cinnamon bark edge and a tea soaked, sharp sour cherry end.
Overall we really enjoyed the wine - despite the fading fruits, the tertiary notes really suited the wine and it went so well with our sausages, which were what I would call ' old fashioned Pork with a good mix of herbs', how good sausages are meant to taste, and they had texture was not smooth or homogenous - so a success!
Final thoughts on the wine - this was not an a-typical Barolo, the year 2002, was a difficult one with a 30 minute hail storm ruining many producers chances of a good crop of grapes, and this followed a wet summer, some producers were lucky and had good vintages, but I feel this wine was not the best example, and also should have been drunk a couple of years ago.

Radcliffe’s wines are owned and distributed by Thierry’s Wine Services, they pick 'the best' and have it bottled under their own lable to sell. The cost was probably around the £20 mark when purchased.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Blind Tasting Results from yesterdays Post

First I should note where my thoughts lay after the tasting - what hints about the wine told me what - right or wrong!!
  • The viscous / oily texture - this was either a wine where there had been skin contact in the making or a grape that has that texture ( Semillon in the white varieties ).
  • The Kerosene aroma - aged Riesling often has this aroma - esp from Eden and Clare valleys.
  • The low alcohol, I felt the level lay in the range 10-11%abv, this could be Alsace - but often higher alcohol, Germany, often at this level the wine is sweeter, Australia cool regions, Clare, Eden, Hunter, Tasmania.
  • Flavours and aromas - cool region apple-citric not meon - tropical fruit. And grapes Riesling/Semillon/ Chardonnay/ Albarino/Chenin Blanc could all be in the pick.
  • Colour - in day light there was a darker lemon with a touch of straw - this points away from Riesling.
  • High acidity points towards cool region and away from such grapes as Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Roussanne, Marsanne.
I came up with a choice of 2 - Riesling from the Eden/Clare Valley due to the lime aromas and Kerosene, and 5+ years old...... or Semillon from the Hunter Valley picked early to retain acidity and fresh fruits, again 5+ years old - and I could not decide between the two.


The Answer
It was a Denmans, Tesco Finest Hunter Valley Semillon from 2006 - bought at a special offer price of £4.49, reduced from £5.99 - a stunning bargain!! Thanks for choosing it Peter - and I think I will just go and have another glass!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Blind Tasting no.1

My husband has been down to the cellar to pick a mystery wine for me to Taste Blind.
I will have bought it, but there are probably 1000+ wines down there - so alot to choose from! His choice so it will be something he wants to drink........ ( He is actually on a lovely glass of Coonawarra Cab Sauv 2006 at the mo...... so a plan for tomorrow with our Tomatoe Tarte Tatin at lunch I think).

He poured me a small amount into a tasting glass and this is what it looked like.

 
 
How I saw this wine
Pale lemon core with a watery white rim, it was clear and bright with no sediment or bubbles. On swirling it there was a viscous texture too it and it coated the glass. Legs not apparent.
 
Aroma Character
Clean and fresh with a fruit driven start, apple, white stone fruit, lime and a definite peapod tinge. Minerality ( stoney / slatey) played heavily in the spectrum and then there was a floral cast, white flowers, herbs also figure. At the end I was aware of a kerosene aroma, this indicates some maturity in this wine.
 
On the Palate
The wine was dry with a little residual sugar, with flavours of white stone fruit, apple, lime, stoney minerality, all rounded and complete,  with  a  texture that was silky and mouth coating, the flavours grow in the mouth, this shows class and elegance. Great zesty acidity, low alcohol and medium body define this wine. It feels balanced and edgy, fresh on the palate with a bone dry finish.
Long, long length with a apple / apricot finish enrobed with stoney slate and the finish is dry!
 
My overall impression
A well made wine from a cool climate ( the fresh acidity, low alcohol and dry finish), good vineyard ( minerality) and a wine with some age 5+ years ( kerosene).
Worth noting : Acidity, Kerosene, Glass coating viscosity, low alcohol, colour, aromas of apple/white stone fruit and lime and the florality/herbal edge..
 
So I will leave you to ponder, any suggestions welcome, he is keeping it under wraps until tomorrow afternoon, I will post when I know - I will say it went well with our dinner, chicken breast stuffed with spinach and wrapped with proscuito and fennel baked carrots on the side..... That was after mushrooms with blue cheese / spinach topping.
 


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

De Bortoli Black Noble NV Riverina Australia

De Bortoli Black Noble is a Non-vintage wine from Riverina in New South Wales in Australia, it is a lovely deep brown colour that is reminiscent of syrup of figs ( nicely), it has aromas of honey, prunes and some tea and spice mixed in - and I can't wait to try it. On the palate it is rich, silky, lusciously sweet, prunes and figs, espresso coffee, toffee and marmalde all come to mind, layered and complex, but kept fresh by the acidity which balances those sweet notes. The finish is very long and tangy and dry at the end. This wine has made from the Semillon grape which has seen Botrytis Cinera and fermentation has been stopped early by fortifying it, the Solera sytem of maturation is used, 8 years being the average time. 30% new oak is used in the maturation the rest going into barrels previously used for Noble One's maturation. This wine is redolent of Madeira and would suit similar foods, some puddings, but paired with cheese it could be a marriage made in heaven. Yummy - the main word that comes to mind!

It is available at £15.95 from Four Walls Wine Company for a half bottle, but it is rich, luscious, unctious...... lovely to come home to in the fridge after a hard day.
Score : 93

Botrytis Cinerea is a fungus that can infect grapes in the correct conditions, good rot is called Noble rot - the desired one ( the bad one - grey rot results in wiping out the harvest), there are areas in the world that this can happen naturally and one of these is the area around Sauternes and Barsac in Bordeaux left bank.The aszu wines of Tokaji wines are also produced having been affected by Botrytis Cinerea. It needs a temperate climate and ideally early morning mists ( off cool water) and sun later in the day so the grapes are kept dry in those autumn afternoons. Not all grapes will be affected, and some may take longer to mature which is why several pickings - called Tries- are needed to get all the grapes at thier ideal condition.
The fungus affects the skins and feeds off sugars in the grape itself, but also uses about 50% of its water contained in the grape, so overall the grapes sugar concentration increases! Additionally acids are also consumed ( 5/6ths of the Tartaric acid in the grape is consumed). By products that are produced include glycerine ( the chemical which makes the wine feel viscous), acetic acidand a selection of enzymes. Phenolics of from the skins are also consumed so reducing the tannic structure.
Due to the reduction in water content of the grape the juice produced from Noble Rot infected grapes is low - often in the range of 15 hl/ha.

De Bortoli - how they started.
De Bortoli Wines is a third generation family wine company established by Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli in 1928. The couple emigrated to Australia from Northern Italy, from mountain villages at the foothills of the Italian Alps, near the historic town of Asolo.

Their son, Deen De Bortoli, (b 1936 – d 2003) expanded and consolidated the business created by his parents. Deen's children continue De Bortoli's winemaking including icon dessert wine Noble One and the Yarra Valley wines.

De Bortoli Noble One 2008 Riverina Australia

De Bortoli Noble One 2008 from Riverina in New South Wales, Australia, a real 'sweetie', produced in a difficult year, it is complex with the Botrytic notes (see below) controlling the aroma palate. On the nose, honeyed marmalade with pithy lemon thrown into the mix, above all it smells rich and fresh.
On the palate, honeyed and sweet, nearly luscious, with citric notes across the board, a smatter of ginger and marmalade, a really long finish after that fresh zesty start. This is a wine to be savoured, it is complex and inticing, and at 10% abv - one feels that it is not such a sin to indulge. This would be great with some puddings - but adorable with cheese!
The vintage was a difficult one that started well with warm wet weather, but then dry warm conditions took over not to return to the wet conditions that the Botrytis likes until March with the harvest started in April and finished in June - the brave were strong and left the grapes to mature on the vine.


Botrytis Cinerea is a fungus that can infect grapes in the correct conditions, good rot is called Noble rot - the desired one ( the bad one - grey rot results in wiping out the harvest), there are areas in the world that this can happen naturally and one of these is the area around Sauternes and Barsac in Bordeaux left bank.The Aszu wines of Tokaji wines are also produced having been affected by Botrytis Cinerea. It needs a temperate climate and ideally early morning mists ( off cool water) and sun later in the day so the grapes are kept dry in those autumn afternoons. Not all grapes will be affected, and some may take longer to mature which is why several pickings - called 'tries'- are needed to get all the grapes at thier ideal condition.
The fungus affects the skins and feeds off sugars in the grape itself, but also uses about 50% of its water contained in the grape, so overall the grapes sugar concentration increases! Additionally acids are also consumed ( 5/6ths of the Tartaric acid in the grape is consumed). By products that are produced include glycerine ( the chemical which makes the wine feel viscous), acetic acidand a selection of enzymes. Phenolics of from the skins are also consumed so reducing the tannic structure.
Due to the reduction in water content of the grape the juice produced from Noble Rot infected grapes is low - often in the range of 15 hl/ha.
This wine is available from many retailers including Majestic at £20 or Ocado at £16.99 for a half bottle.
Score : 92

De Bortoli - how they started.
De Bortoli Wines is a third generation family wine company established by Vittorio and Giuseppina De Bortoli in 1928. The couple emigrated to Australia from Northern Italy, from mountain villages at the foothills of the Italian Alps, near the historic town of Asolo.

Their son, Deen De Bortoli, (b 1936 – d 2003) expanded and consolidated the business created by his parents. Deen's children continue De Bortoli's winemaking including icon dessert wine Noble One and the Yarra Valley wines.

This wine has been much feted with awards galore.
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mitolo Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 McLaren Vale Australia

Mitolo Serpico Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from McLaren Vale in South Australia contains 10% Syrah in the blend, with the rest being Cabernet Sauvignon, and was made in the 'Amarone method' from grapes picked at around 12.5% potential alcohol and then semi-dried slowly until 70% of their original weight, finishing at around 15% potential alcohol. They are  then fermented on their skins for 2 weeks.  It is made by  winemaker Ben Glaetzer and Frank Mitolo ( who is Italian hence the Amarone method). The grapes come from a grower in Woolunga and are from a single block  at the southern end of the McLaren Vale which were picked early and so avoided the excessive heat  in 2008.
It was matured for 9 months in 100% new barriques, 90% French and this produces a rich, concentrated complex wine with alot to offer.
It has a deep, deep ruby core and abundant concentrated aromas of black berries, mint, leather,  olive oil and sweet spices - very tempting. On tasting, it is vibrant on the palate, sweet black fruits overlaid with sweet spices, cedar box smokiness and minty olive oil, all this is intertwined with intense dried fruit flavours which are redolent of Christmas and all things spicey . The texture is rich and silky, the structural tannins which enrobe the wine, are ripe, savoury and powerful and add another dimension to its structure. The succulent fruit is concentrated and fresh with a vibrancy that suggests it is only just beginning its journey.
I am sure at this point you can tell - I liked this wine, it was one to sit by a warm fire on a rainy Sunday - or eat with a lovely meal - and you can buy it from Slurp at a price of £29.95 or from Paul Adams Wines at £25, good value for this quality - Enjoy!

Score : 94


McLaren Vale is one of South Australia's oldest and most picturesque regions, nestled between the Mount Lofty Ranges and the white, sandy beaches of the Gulf of St Vincent. It has rolling vineyards, a rugged coastline and a charming collective of villages including Willunga, Clarendon, Kangarilla, Sellicks, Port Willunga, McLaren Flat and the township of McLaren Vale.



 
There is substantial climatic variation throughout McLaren Vale, due to varying exposure to the cooling influence of the nearby ocean. There are also significant changes in altitude as the region merges with the Adelaide Hills to the East and the Fleurieu Peninsula to the South. Summer rainfall is low, and supplementary irrigation is considered essential. Site selection and the marriage of site to variety are all-important; Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all do very well in the appropriate location and with the wide variety of soils - red-brown sandy loams, grey-brown loamy sands with yellow clay subsoils interspersed with lime, distinctly sandy soils and patches of red or black friable loams are all to be found and again the grape to soil mix is all important.








Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Margaret River Australia

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 from the gravelly slopes of their Stevens Valley vineyard in Margaret River, Western Australia. This Bordeaux blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot has spent 24 months in oak,  50% new, 50% in 1yr old barrels.

 
This deep ruby wine with a mere hint of garnet has fresh elegant aromas of blackberry cassis, sweet spices, cedar which all follow through to the palate, here there are additional savoury notes all kept fresh by the edgy acidity which also helps to balance the alcohol ( 14%) which feels well integrated. The tannins are fine and silky with a good structure and a savouriness and agin well integrated. Great length with cassis all the way through. This is a well made beautifully matured wine with lots of character and interest and tasted balanced and left me wanting more after each mouthful - the sign of a good wine in my book.
This is a wine that will improve in bottle for 3-5 years and would be lovely with a hearty meal! It is available from Justerini & Brooks at a cost of £29.17 .
Score : 90



Margaret River

Located approximately three hours' drive south of Perth, the region was ‘discovered’ in the early 1970s after various pieces of research from Professor Harold Olmo and Dr John Gladstones identified it as a potentially great grape growing region. The Margaret River area includes the rolling hills of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, extending 90 kilometres north-south between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, and is bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean. Highly regarded as a producer of powerful yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, the region has also forged a great reputation for its white wines notably Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. However, it is capable of producing all the classic varietal wines.

Margaret River wine region first saw European settlement as late as the 1830’s and has evolved from pioneer ‘outstation’, forestry, dairy, alternative life stylers who enjoyed the unique coast and its surfing, to an area dedicated to the pursuit of great vines and fine wine.

The climate is strongly maritime-influenced, as might be expected in a region surrounded by the ocean on three sides. With a mean annual temperature range of only 7.6°C (45.68°F), it has less than 25% of its annual rain falling between October and April. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. While spring frosts are very rare and highly localised, the lack of winter dormancy for the vines can cause problems that are unique to this region.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Margaret River Australia

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 was made by winemaker Paul Atwood and only released recently when ready to drink. This wine from Margaret River has all the pedigree one would expect from this part of the world, deep blackberry aromas marry with a touch of mint blended with sweet spices. On the mouth there is a sort of saltiness which amplifies the black and red fruit flavours mixed up with spice and cedar box smokiness. The blend contains 13% Malbec and this shows in the sweetness of the fruit. The wine has a good acidic backbone with a slightly warming finish which is long and fruity, the overall feel of this wine is lean and fruity, not fat or flaccid, the strength of flavour runs through its heart. The tannins are fine and savoury and well integrated. Great for sitting on a cool Sunday afternoon next to an open fire - the bottle will not last long!
A great wine for food, enjoy with duck, beef and many savoury well seasoned foods. It is available at a cost of £27 from Four Wall Wines.
Score : 90


Margaret River

Located approximately three hours' drive south of Perth, the region was ‘discovered’ in the early 1970s after various pieces of research from Professor Harold Olmo and Dr John Gladstones identified it as a potentially great grape growing region. The Margaret River area includes the rolling hills of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, extending 90 kilometres north-south between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, and is bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean. Highly regarded as a producer of powerful yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, the region has also forged a great reputation for its white wines notably Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. However, it is capable of producing all the classic varietal wines. The region is a vibrant and popular wine destination for visitors from around the world.

Margaret River wine region first saw European settlement as late as the 1830’s and has evolved from pioneer ‘outstation’, forestry, dairy, alternative life stylers who enjoyed the unique coast and its surfing to an area dedicated to the pursuit of great vines and fine wine.

The climate is strongly maritime-influenced, as might be expected in a region surrounded by the ocean on three sides. With a mean annual temperature range of only 7.6°C (45.68°F), it has less than 25% of its annual rain falling between October and April. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. While spring frosts are very rare and highly localised, the lack of winter dormancy for the vines can cause problems that are unique to this region.

Mount Horrocks Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Clare Valley South Australia

Mount Horrocks Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from the Polish Hill River sub-region of the Clare Valley  in Southern Australia is made by proprietor/Winemaker Stephanie Toole and she was at the tasting - vibrant lady who maintains the quality of the wines by restricting the output / yield. Her aim is for the wine to speak for itself and tell its own story about the terroir. Stephanie describes her wines as ‘essentially hand made food wines with an emphasis on structure as well as generous fruit flavours’.
All the grapes are 100% estate grown from three separate vineyard sites that have been managed using sustainable natural farming and organic practices totalling nearly 10 hectares in the Clare Valley. The grapes are hand-picked and then fermented in stainless steel fermenters, pumped over five times a day followed by gentle pressing then the wine was matured in barriques for 18 months, of which 35% was new French oak.
Ruby and a hint of garnet at the rim are the colours to describe this wine, the big aromas redolent of blackberries, olive oil and cedar box smokiness, the flavours follow accordingly with additional savoury ripe tannins of a slightly drying nature, and the wine had a silky sumptous texture. Very persistent finish with a warm end, juicy all the way through. This is a stylish elegant Cabernet Sauvignon which has a typical New World character - enrobing and luxurious.
Available from Aitken Wines at a cost of £23 .
Score : 90



The Clare Valley
The Clare Valley is less than a two-hour drive from Adelaide and is considered one of the most picturesque wine regions in South Australia. James Halliday ( Wine Companion ) described the Clare Valley as one of Australia’s most beautiful wine-producing regions where Hills fold in on themselves, streamlets meander and lines of gumtrees are forever twisting through pockets of vineyards and around old stone houses. Sounds stunning!

Situated in the northern Mt Lofty Ranges, South Australia’s Clare Valley was settled in the late 1830s, with the first vineyards planted and wines produced in the early 1840s. The same features that make the Clare Valley inherently beautiful are also the foundation of Clare’s famed vineyards. The climate features a warm to hot summer where cool afternoon breezes are the key and play a major role in slowing down the ripening process, but cooling afternoon breezes play a major role in slowing down the ripening process. altitude and position within the Valley, as well as aspect, lead to considerable variations in individual site climate. The climate is moderately Continental, with cool to cold nights and warm to hot summer days. The rainfall is winter-spring dominant, while relatively low humidity (and summer rainfall) means a low incidence of fungal disease. Hence some of Australia's finest Riesling is grown in the Clare Valley, and the region also produces many other wine styles, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Coonawarra Australia

Wynns Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Coonawarra in Southern Australia was  the first winery to be established in the Coonawarra, by John Riddoch in 1896. This vintage is  the lowest yielding of the 52 vintages that this wine has been made for,  due to frost, also the vine age averages 32 years. This was a difficult year for the winemaker, Sue Hodder.
The wine was  in matured in a mix of American and French mostly used oak for 15 months with spice, cedar box and smoke all playing their part on the nose and palate.
The deep ruby core has bouncy aromas of black stone / berry fruits mixed with spice and mint and a definite splurge of tropical fruits, these follow through to the palate, good acidity accompanies this blend keeping it fresh , the alcohol is slightly warming but well supportive and adds body whilst enrobing the fruit. The tannins are savoury and have some grip - ripe and not overly intrusive, the finish is persistent with a fresh blackcurrant and spice end. A lovely balanced wine with good depth and character. Expect to pay around £15 - if you can find it - a lovely a-typical Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.
Score : 90



Coonawarra
The Coonawarra region is located in the far south-east of South Australia and has a viticultural history dating back to 1890. It is 100 kilometres (60 miles) inland, and is exposed to a maritime climate, with dry and moderately cool summers but maritime location does not, prevent the occurrence of spring frosts that are occasionally quite severe.  The climate is quite unique, persistent cloud cover partially moderates the ripening period temperatures. The terra rossa soil is what  Coonawarra is most famous for, but it is not unique to the region as many parts of the Limestone Coast Zone have similar soils, it is renowned for its affinity with Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Another soil format is the groundwater or black rendzina clay lying to the west of the limestone ridge and because of its poor drainage this soil is less favourable  The main wine styles produced in Coonawarra include  Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.  

Katnook Estate Founders Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Coonawarra Australia

Katnook Estate Founders Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from the famous Terra Rossa soil region of Coonawarra, Australia was named in honour of the original land holding of John Riddoch, the founder of Coonawarra, and the Katnook Estate Founder’s Block range is styled for everyday drinking.
This is actually a blend of 3% Merlot, 2% Shiraz and the remainder - Caberbnet Sauvignon.
The wine itself has had a little oak maturation, approximately 15% of the wine was matured in a combination of French and American Barriques, 30% of which were new and this adds a subtle layer in the resultant wine and tasted well integrated and smooth.
Shades of garnet at the rim and ruby at the core introduce this wine, as do the aromas of blackcurrant, plum, olive and a touch of mint, there is a slightly 'baked' character to it and looking at the weather profile - there was a blast of record high temperatures just prior to harvest, it could also be due to the pure fruit showing without the masking effect of oak maturation.
On the palate - blackcurrant, olive, mint and spice follow through, with additional black cherry and cedar box, it has great length, sufficient acidity to keep this wine clean and bright on the palate and the alcohol is well balancing at 13.5%, supportive, enrobing but not intrusive. Ripe soft tannins add to the wine, they are fine grained and slightly dusty - it is available for £14 from Elwood Wines, enjoy.
Score : 87
 




 
Coonawarra

The Coonawarra region is located in the far south-east of South Australia and has a viticultural history dating back to 1890. It is 100 kilometres (60 miles) inland, and is exposed to a maritime climate, with dry and moderately cool summers but maritime location does not, prevent the occurrence of spring frosts that are occasionally quite severe.  The climate is quite unique, persistent cloud cover partially moderates the ripening period temperatures. The terra rossa soil is what  Coonawarra is most famous for, but it is not unique to the region as many parts of the Limestone Coast Zone have similar soils, it is renowned for its affinity with Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Another soil format is the groundwater or black rendzina clay lying to the west of the limestone ridge and because of its poor drainage this soil is less favourable  The main wine styles produced in Coonawarra include  Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Riesling.  

Friday, 12 October 2012

Umamu Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Margaret River Australia

2007 Umamu is a blend which contains 33% Semillon  while Sauvignon Blanc is the remainder 67%.  

The wine itself, Umamu Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007, has lime and tropical fruits on the nose, all fresh and zippy, it also has a grassy note which also dulls some of the tropical notes. On the mouth, a slight tickle on the tongue ( due to carbon dioxide at bottling to maintain the wines freshness), this disappears quickly to reveal lemon pith, grass and zesty lime, great pure fruit! Spice also plays a part in this wine adding a warmth to the mix and rounds out the flavours while ensuring a silky texture. The acidity is tangy and vibrant, the alcohol  unobtrusively supportive of the structure. There is a cheesey edge here which suggests some lees contact which adds complexity and enhances the overall  wine. The length is long and has a lemon freshness to it.A fresh wine with lots of fruit character, zesty acidity and silky texture - what more could you ask?
A wine that would go well with food such as white fish and chicken and maybe shell fish.
Score : 84
It is available at a cost of £17.99 from Wines Unfurled.


It comes from 20 hectares of vineyards planted in 1978, 10 km from Western Australia's Margaret River, located approximately three hours' drive south of Perth, the region was ‘discovered’ in the early 1970s after various pieces of research from Professor Harold Olmo and Dr John Gladstone identified it as a potentially great grape growing region. The Margaret River area includes the rolling hills of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, extending 90 kilometres north-south between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, and is bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean. Highly regarded as a producer of powerful yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, the region has also forged a great reputation for its white wines notably Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. However, it is capable of producing all the classic varietal wines. The region is a vibrant and popular wine destination for visitors from around the world.

Margaret River wine region first saw European settlement as late as the 1830’s and has evolved from pioneer ‘outstation’, forestry, dairy, alternative life stylers who enjoyed the unique coast and its surfing to an area dedicated to the pursuit of great vines and fine wine.

The climate is strongly maritime-influenced, as might be expected in a region surrounded by the ocean on three sides. With a mean annual temperature range of only 7.6°C (45.68°F), it has less than 25% of its annual rain falling between October and April. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. While spring frosts are very rare and highly localised, the lack of winter dormancy for the vines can cause problems that are unique to this region.

McHenry Hohnen Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Margaret River


McHenry Hohnen Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Margaret River

This vintage - the 2011 has produced a lovely pale lemon wine with grassy aromas which also include, lime, lemon pith and a medicinal nuance These follow through to the flavour palate. Great acidity keeps the fruit fresh and zingy, with a pithy citric character and a pea-pod aftertatse, good length and  a spicy, pithy finish. The alcohol on this wine ( 12.5%) is enrobing and does not over-ride the fresh clean fruits. Clean, fresh and summery - all words that work for this wine, great with food, but also great without!
Score : 86




David Hohnen of  McHenry Hohnen ( who studied winemaking in the States, at UC Davis, California)  produces this mix of  60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc in Margaret River, Western Australia. He must be one of the best known winemakers of Australia and New Zealand, ( Cape Mentelle in the 1970's / Cloudy Bay in the 1980's  fame ). He was his usual relaxed, informal self when he presented his wines at Australia House to a group of wine journalists and enthusiasts.
Luis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) took a share in the buiness in the 1990's which he continued to manage it until 2003 when he retired to concentrate on his own interests. In 2006, David and his brother-in-law, Murray McHenry, launched McHenry Hohnen Wines, and was joined by his daughter Freya as the winemaker though she has since left to start a family. McHenry Hohnen has four vineyards and grows eighteen varieties reflecting Margaret River's heritage, being mostly Bordeaux varieties like Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. "I'm from Margaret River, and I want to tell the story of Margaret River through the wines," he says



Margaret River is Located approximately three hours' drive south of Perth, the region was ‘discovered’ in the early 1970s after various pieces of research from Professor Harold Olmo and Dr John Gladstones identified it as a potentially great grape growing region. The Margaret River area includes the rolling hills of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge, extending 90 kilometres north-south between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, and is bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean. Highly regarded as a producer of powerful yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, the region has also forged a great reputation for its white wines notably Chardonnay and Semillon Sauvignon Blanc blends. However, it is capable of producing all the classic varietal wines. The region is a vibrant and popular wine destination for visitors from around the world.

Margaret River wine region first saw European settlement as late as the 1830’s and has evolved from pioneer ‘outstation’, forestry, dairy, alternative life stylers who enjoyed the unique coast and its surfing to an area dedicated to the pursuit of great vines and fine wine.

The climate is strongly maritime-influenced, as might be expected in a region surrounded by the ocean on three sides. With a mean annual temperature range of only 7.6°C (45.68°F), it has less than 25% of its annual rain falling between October and April. The low diurnal and seasonal temperature range means an unusually even accumulation of warmth. While spring frosts are very rare and highly localised, the lack of winter dormancy for the vines can cause problems that are unique to this region.