Willie Smiths Apple Cider

Willie SmithsSo hot right now in every way -apple cider, from a craft maker, farmgate style cellar door in Huonville south of Hobart, organic from dawn to dusk, etc etc.  I think a Hipsters head would explode.

But a nice drink too.  No idea how to make notes for cider, except this genuinely tastes of crushed apples, and seems to have been handled oxidatively at some point, possibly for the part of its life in barrels.  In wine terms this is off dry, with the residual sweetness countered by both acid and fizz.  While some ciders are clean pure and rereshing, this has a bit of complexity about it, from multiple varietals and age in wood.

Not cheap at about $100 for a carton of 24 330ml bottles (cider is taxed the same way as wine), but worth a look.  Available in 330, 600 and 750ml sizes – see Craft Wine Store or Cru Bar.


Posted in Australia, Cider | Leave a comment

Four Pillars Gin

Craft spirits are going from strength to strength in Australia.  First – witness the success of the Tasmanian distilleries and their whisky product. Now pay attention to the handful of strong smaFour Pillarsll batch gins.  Including this one, which already has some impressive silverware on the mantle, while only on their third batch!

This is distinctly dry forest floor on the nose, with pine needle, dry leaves and juniper framing some lemony citrus, enjoined with some lift and tang before settling into mid weight, refreshing palate.  The whole orange among the botanicals doesn’t overpower with sweetness and weight.  The spices balance it out well, with Tasmanian pepperberry being the one that shows more than the cardamom coriander and others.

This is your summertime G&T gin, where the Aviation style might have been your Negroni.

Posted in $50 to $100, Australia, Gin, Yarra Valley | Leave a comment

2011 Pooley Butchers Hill Pinot Noir

butchers-hill-pinot-noir-2011__45938_zoomOn our world tour of Hobart in December we took in a few wineries in the Huon and Coal River regions.  Not a lot excited us really, with one exception – Pooley.  Attention getting wines across the range, all of which impressed for their balance and interest.

Butchers Hill is the block right above the cellar door just near Richmond, and 2011 wasn’t thought of as being quite as strong as 2012, but in this case it created a very tidy expression.

This wafts casually out of the glass, rhubarb and redcurrant over raspberries, over brambly blackberries and a fruitcake like warmth which I usually dislike, but seems to work well here  – unusually for a Pinot Noir and unusually for a 13.5% alcohol wine.  Muddy Mocha tannins round this out, giving it the feel of a warm year wine from a cool area. Plenty of length and persistence, lovely mouthfeel, in a very new world way.

It’s more attractive than this note sounds, and far more interesting than the 88/100 technical score I can find for it.  Will buy again.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Coal River Valley, Pinot Noir, Tasmania | Leave a comment

Ochota Barrels Fugazi Vineyard Grenache 2011

ochota barrels fugazi vineyard grenache

Amazingly light in colour for a McLaren Vale Grenache. Ruby, with a lot of transparency. A lovely fruit-driven nose: raspberry and spice, lighted roasted peanuts, some dried herbs. Lightly bodied on the palate too, delicate and pure, edgy, spicy and slippery with cleansing acidity. Is it boozy, one asks oneself… checking the bottle… 13.8% abv, so it’s just the acid. $38 from the cellar door. Sealed under screwcap.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Grenache, McLaren Vale, Price, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

Epis Pinot Noir 2004

Epis Pinot Noir 2004

Found this one lurking in a corner. A lot of confection, caramel and spice, with a plastic-like greenness and stalk. Nothing much interesting going on with the palate; simple and sweet, with some sappy characters, a bit hollow and acidic in the mid-palate, with bitter tannins on the finish. Weird for a ten year old wine. One to blend with a big juicy Shiraz. Highly rated in some quarters, but I cannot see it. Sealed under Diam. 12.9% abv.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Macedon, Pinot Noir, Price, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

Rousseau Tasting


My first post for the year, and a subject worthy of it. So, I was lucky enough to get an invitation to a Rousseau tasting yesterday. The only rule was that everyone was to bring a Rousseau Grand Cru or Clos St. Jacques. We started with a Baron Rothschild Champagne and two white burgundies, and then on to the reds, served is 5 flights of three.

2005 Charmes-Chambertin: a lovely start, some slightly odd characters on the nose, but a nice palate
2009 Charmes-Chambertin: my favourite of the flight; still very young, but better fruit than the 05s
2005 Mazy-Chambertin: shared some of the odd characters with the Charmes…. got me wondering about the 05 vintage; is it an good as its reputation

2002 Clos de la Roche: a very tidy 02… I haven’t seen this wine for ages, and it is at its peak
2003 Clos de la Roche: none of the hot vintages characters…. quite a relief
2009 Clos de la Roche: again, very pretty, give it 5 years

2005 Cazetiers 1er cru: yes this broke the one rule, but was actually a second contribution from one of the participants. And to be honest was looking remarkably good for a warm year and a 1er cru wine.
2006 Clos St. Jacques: super, but stunning stuff
2007 Clos St. Jacques: oh er, an 07 that I like… might be the first or second one of these

1990 Ruchottes-Chambertin: too old; dried out and herby/mushroomy
1996 Chambertin-Clos de Beze: outstanding, balance and power and perfume….
2000 Chambertin-Clos de Beze: probably better than the ’96, but it is really splitting hairs

It was at this point appropriate to recite the standard quote: I don’t remember the place, I don’t remember the girl, but the wine was Chambertin. Or words to that effect.
1996 Chambertin: outstanding, though slightly too old me
2001 Chambertin: outstanding, and balancing the secondary with the primary characters. Drink up (for me at least)
2008 Chambertin: incredible purity; too young of course, but still a privilege to try

15 great wines, no double-ups, no 2004s, none corked and no pre-mox. Hurrah!

Posted in Wine | Leave a comment

2013 Ridgemill Estate Amphora Orange Wine

Title edited and link to bottle image added after the first two comments below received.

Now here’s a rare wine in very respect.  Made from Sauvignon Blanc Viognier and Verdelho, on the Grantie Belt in Queensland.  Made in an amphora – one only – which sits proudly on display in the Ridgemill cellar door.  Under screwcap in a 500ml bottle, and sensibly so, this is the kind of wine you might only want a glass or two of, unless these high skin contact wines light your fuse.

The colour is a tad darker than you’d expect for a 1 year old wine, but its the aroma when you first know this isn’t from the cookie cutter.  Musky at first, moving to acetone, then a skinsy ripe citrus peel laid across passionfruit and melon.  The taste is immediately pithy tangy citrus, laced with musk and infused with heaps of gingery, apricotty phenolic skin contact.  These pokes about a bit here and there, and is good for a glass or two.  Its flavour profile that carries this, and there isnt any great deal of acid and of course no oak invovled.  No idea how to rate it, but I suspect it is good, somewhere around the 86 or 87 mark on the Book Club scale.

Couldnt may my hands on a bottle image – but There is one on the QWine blog here.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Granite Belt, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho | 3 Comments

2009 Domaine Faury St Joseph “la Gloriette”

A handy little item from the postage stamp collection that is Eurocentric’s portfolio – Shiraz Viognier in this instance. Faury

It shows its varietal straight away, in the white pepper and viognier apricot tones, which inflect as an airy, lifted spicy sensation.  Tarry liqueur cherry fruit, perhaps a touch more wood than I’d like but it is of the nicer kind.  Cuddly spicy warm finish of decent length despite only 13% alcohol.  Nice with kangaroo sausages.  89/100

Posted in $20 to $50, France, Rhone, Shiraz | Leave a comment

Miscellany IV

One nights drinking to celebrate a 50th:
08 Leflaive Puligny Montrachet les Combottes: Oxidised
04 Bouchard Corton Charlemagne: Lovely – in a really good place right now.
10 de Montille Malconsorts: Way too young.  popped and poured i thought this was Victorian Pinot Noir.  If there was any more room for glassware I’d have saved one to revisit later.
02 Rousseau Clos St Jacques: Worst showing ever for such a revered wine – tasted overripe and almost porty.  Being polite – this is in an awkward phase.
10 Alex Gambal Latricieres Chambertin:  Noice
64 Bouchard la Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus:  Cloudy and murky, but vibrant and showing foresty fruits.  A real treat to try a 50 year old wine.
53 Clos de la Roche: And then it goes back further – didnt catch the name of the negociant who bottled this, bit it was also firing.  Lovely.
02 Domaine Fourrier Clos St Jacques:  Dont remember much here other than this being better than expected – I’m told that in the early noughties Fourrier were still cleaning up their act, and the better wines only realyl started to emerge from 05 onwards.
02 Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares: Wine for the night for me – complete and integrated.  Others who saw it later on in the evening said it was starting to look a bit awkward.
08 Hudelot Neollat les Suchots: corked
06 Rousseau Clos de la Roche: Don’t remember this
07 Ponsot Clos de la Roche: Don’t remember this either
11 Warres VP:  Thick and juicy and approachable and not overripe.  Rooly Noice.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Miscellany III

Not really miscellany – the wine list from a 50th Birthday celebration.

10 Rudi Pichler Weissenkirchner Achleithen Smaragd Riesling: Big rich botrytis driven style from Austria.  Others liked this more than me.
09 Kistler McRae Vineyard Chardonnay:  Nice wine that’s seen a lot of winemaking.
04 Dom Perignon:  Lovely as usual
11 Bindi Quartz Chardonnay:  A real surprise – served blind I thought this was chenin blanc such was the juicy acid edge on this.  Lovely wine.
08 Vietti Scarrone VV Barbera:  Aah I love top end Barbera, and this is a real winner.
09 Il Carbonaione Sangiovese:  Also liked this, an example of warm climate wine done realyl well.  i thoguht this was Spanish or Portugese, it was so similar in flavour profile to the juiciness that can come frmo Touriga in a VP.
03 Quinta de Pancas Premium: This is Portugese, and showed as hot and a tad disjointed.
10 Rippon Emma’s Block Pinot Noir:  Not the right place in a tasting for this wine.  I loved it, but others at the table described it as “fruit slut”.  In Central Otago context it definitely isn’t. but thats more a comment on Central style pinot vs rest of the world..
89 Chateau Labergorce Zede:  Another wine that should have come out earlier – Mature Margaux that was quite enjoyable in its cigar box wrapper.
10 Ornellaia: The anniversary bottling.  Iv’e seen this described elsewhere as tannic and monolithic – not on this showing.  Seemed quite integrated and approachable for  such a young wine, despite being a bit closed.
10 Bass Philip Premium:  Also came out out of order, and I only got a quick sip.  i tihnk I enjoyed it
05 Bouchard la Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus:  And a cracker to finish the night in alcoholic fog.  Very young and needs a long sleep.  revisit in about 2018.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment