Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Bottle #15552. A blend from the Coonawarra, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Padthaway. Interesting to see Penfolds were blending from all these regions way back then. I kind of thought it was modern phenomenon.

A beautiful nose, engagingly complex, cedar, cigar box, sweet red currant and cherry fruits, coffee beans and mocha, grilled capsicum, wood smoke and damp forest floor. The palate is supple and getting quite secondary but still with lovely fruits, currants and plums, soft spices and dried mushrooms/forest floor. Excellent length. Drink 2014-2021. 14.0% abv. Cork. 94 points.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Barossa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, McLaren Vale, Notes, Padthaway, Price, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

Château Léoville Barton 1996

Château Léoville Barton 1996

Left bank. Saint-Julien. Very dank on opening, and even was 3 hours later, so I was unsure. And so the next day has come and it is still not very attractive. Consumed alongside the Moss Wood below, and certainly the Moss Wood won this Cabernet-off hands down. Anyway, the Bordeaux had a very structured and ungiving nose, firm tannins, reserved, a bit bulky, with iron filings and old wood. The palate is similar, pencil and dry spices, a woodiness; though with a certain fineness. Perhaps I am being influenced by the label. 12.5% abv. Cork. Not sure if it was sound; not obviously corked, but must to be stripped. 85?!? points.

Posted in Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, France, Notes, over $100, Price, Varietal/Style, Wine | 2 Comments

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

Our son’s 18th birthday, so I have a string of ’96s to try. He is vaguely interested in wine, but then, really, when the wine was purchased it was never really intended for him. He’s more interested in Bacardi cruisers. No, seriously.

Opened quite dankly, and I was mildly perturbed. Evolves nicely, sweet blackberries, red currants, cigar box, olives, cloves, and touch of mixed spice; complex and alluring. Palate is still a bit muscular, red fruits and cedar, soft and stretchy long tannins, great length, a sweetness spike near the end, and then a dry finish. Looking very good indeed. Window-wise, it is really up to you, but for me drink 2014-2018-ish, but could probably go longer. I did think this was a bit more advanced than I was expecting, and not quite as pristine. 14.0% abv, cork. 92 points for this bottle. I think the next bottle should score higher.

Posted in $50 to $100, Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Notes, Price, Varietal/Style, Wine | 3 Comments

Mayer Bloody Hill Pinot Noir 2010

Mayer Bloody Hill Pinot Noir 2013

Another Mayer wine. Wrong year on the bottle image; my apologies. But it was nice to find one with a bit of bottle age, as I’d been wondering recently about how they would age.

Cherries and rhubarb, minerals and strawberries, forest floor, a striking sweetness, a lovely concentration without heaviness, some spices and green fruits too. Not a pretty perfume, more solid and earthy. A relatively simple palate compared to the nose, red fruits and some stalk, well flavoured and freshly fruited, with the acid giving it a bit of a lift. Pretty good length and a dry finish with a touch of pippiness. 13.5% abv. Diam. Drink 2014-2016. 87 points.

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

2009 William Downie Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir

After the 09 Ata Rangi, time to try an 09 Aussie.

william downie morningtonThis was the only William Downie wine from 2009, with the Yarra fruit unavailable due to bushfire.  Not sure why no Gippsland.  Anyhoo, these wines have a loyal, almost reverent following.  Dreadnought bottle, punt the size of a fist, Reg Mombasa artwork on the label, tip top wine maker – whats not to like?

And from here it all goes awry.  Something is not right with this bottle.  There are some nice savoury bits, and its intensely spicy, there are airy redcurrant and raspberries in the beginning.  But there is a chemically, paint thinner element which is just too distracting – a real shame there is a nice wine under there.

No rating – surely this is not how this wine is meant to be.

Posted in $50 to $100, Australia, Mornington Peninsula, Notes, Pinot Noir, Wine | Leave a comment

Meerea Park “Terracotta” Shiraz 2010

Meerea Park "Terracotta" Shiraz 2010

From the Individual Vineyard series of wines, with this being the “Somerset” vineyard belonging to the Howard Family, situated in the heart of the Hunter Valley in Pokolbin. Co-fermented with 3% Viognier, with 30% whole bunches in 2 tonne open vats. Matured in 70% 1 year-old and 30% new French oak Hogsheads for 20 months.

Stalky, savoury and somewhat fruit shy. Plums, cherries, dry pepper spices and quite herbal with some unripe green fruits characters and dessicated coconut. Broad fruits on the palate, some confection, plums and stalks, gooseberries, stalky but not bitter in any way. The tannins are soft. Not bad, but lacking something. I think I was expecting more. Looked a touch better on the next day. Drink now-2018. 14.0% abv. Sealed under screwcap. 87 points.

Posted in $50 to $100, Australia, Hunter Valley, Notes, Price, Shiraz, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

2009 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

I saw Lincoln taste this wine here, and I have a few in the cellar.  Time to borrow from the Winefront double take, which they don’t seem to do any more.Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2009

Smells of raspberry and cranberry, redskin lolly, with meat and woodsmoke savoury character.  Lush and satisfying texturally, raw meat, roast meats, plum skins over dark berries, but mostly savoury in its attack right now.  There’s a bit of oak to the fore – good oak mind you, and a mile of length on a savoury lightly spiced finish.

This is in an in between phase, i think this will turn a corner sometime soon and be a beautiful aged pinot.  89/100 and very satisfying now, but i think this will add a few points and become outstanding in a year or three.





Posted in $50 to $100, Martinborough, New Zealand, Pinot Noir, Wine | Leave a comment

Fonseca Vintage Port 2011

Fonseca Vintage Port 2011

I bought a few of these in the 375 ml bottle; makes it easier to get through it before it gets oxidised – it can last a week, but it is best to drink it within a couple of days of opening.

A vivid purple/red colour. A fascinating nose: meaty black fruits, hairy and savoury, black tea leaves mixed with rose petals, lemons and minerals, elusive but with some freshness. I could sniff this for ages. The palate is tangy and complex, savoury plums, Christmas spices, black fruits again and red liquorice. Quite approachable even though it is young. Seems drier and more savoury than an Aussie vintage port. Was about $70. 20% abv. Drink 2014-2031. 95 points

Posted in $50 to $100, Notes, Portugal, Price, Wine | Leave a comment

Poggio Argentiera “Bellamarsilia” Morellino di Scansano Vendemmia 2006

Bellamarsilia Morellino di Scansano Vendemmia 2006

A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Ciliegiolo. On the nose, forest floor, mushrooms, roasted nuts and cream. On the palate, old wood, mushrooms, a hint of cherry fruits and old spices. Not “old spice”, thank goodness. Very secondary, maybe even tertiary. Tannins resolved, or should that be dissolved? 13.5% abv, sealed under cork. Slick packaging, but on the downward slide unfortunately. Faded badly overnight. Was $29 when purchased in 2008. Drink now. 83 points.

Posted in $20 to $50, Italy, Notes, Price, Sangiovese, Tuscany, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

Campbells Classic Rutherglen Muscat

Campbells Classic Muscat

Made from grapes that the locals refer to as Rutherglen Brown Muscat, though their correct title is “Muscat a Petit Grains Rouge”. The wines are classified according to age and complexity from the youthful Rutherglen to the Classic, Grand then the pinnacle Rare, each successively increasing in richness and complexity.

A lifted nose, slightly volatile, not that that is bad for a fortified wine, showing apricots and creme brûlée, luscious sweet fruits, syrup and spices. The palate is showing some tanginess, with sweet fruits, mouth coating, rose water, apricots again, lychees and glacé fruits; so much happening. Awesome stuff, and a classic Australian fortified; and this is not even the Grand Muscat, or the Rare. 92 points. 17.5% abv, which is moderate I think. Sealed under screwcap, which is sensible. About $40 RRP.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Muscat, Notes, Price, Rutherglen, Varietal/Style, Wine | 1 Comment