S.C.Pannell Grenache Shiraz Touriga 2013

S.C.Pannell Grenache Shiraz Touriga 2013

Gorgeous and vibrant florals on the nose, violets, with musk and white peppercorns, cherries and raspberries, and a touch of nutmeg. Medium weight palate, red fruits and spices, red cherries and a muskiness, with tannins that are supporting without being intrusion. Juiciness on the finish, and some plumpness too. Good to go now, and over the short term. Drink 2015-2018. Screwcap. 14.0% abv. $28 from the cellar door. 90 BCP.

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

2010 Vietti Barbera d’Asti la Crena

vietti_barbera_dAsti_la_crenaNot the Scarrone, and not the Tre Vigne either.  About $70 – spendy as Barbera goes, but this does seem to be a grape where you get what you pay for. A garnet rim on an inky core, a heady, hedonistic fruit pastille and dried herb nose.  This is a thick juicy wine, tingly warm in its plum essence road tar and blackcurrant compote, with the tingle being both alcohol and a terriffic acid cut – which structures the wine more than its moderate tannins.  A touch monolithic if you want to be critical and it needs hearty food to accompany it.  Indeed – it picks up some hard edges with an hour of swirling. 14.5% ABV. 89 BCP.

Posted in $50 to $100, Barbera, Italy, Notes, Piedmont, Wine | Leave a comment

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2011

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2011

The 2011 vintage follows two that are regarded as stellar. And for this it is somewhat dwarfed. Here is an article from Tim Atkin: click here.

White peppery spices and dry leather, blackberries, dusty red cherries, dried meats and a splash of liqueur. With a swirl, the fruits are more prominent, and attractively juicy. A balanced palate, pleasant red fruits underscored by earthy and savoury and meaty characters; though perhaps the fruit is a bit jammy. Okay length and nicely tannined. An interesting wine, but slightly spoilt by the overripe characters. 14.0% abv. Sealed under cork. Good value at $18 or thereabouts. 86 BCP.

Posted in France, Grenache, Notes, Price, Rhone, Shiraz, up to $20, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

Cullen Mangan Vineyard Merlot Malbec Petit Verdot 2014

Cullen Mangan Vineyard Merlot Malbec Petit Verdot 2014

A blend of 38% Merlot, 35% Malbec and 27% Petit Verdot. Matured for 6 months in French oak, 35% of which was new.

A lovely nose: dark cherries and plums, blackcurrants, violets, deep seated spices and an earthiness. The palate is juicy and savoury, vibrant black fruits and some somewhat steely tannins. All in balance though, with a crisp dry finish. Dries out a bit with time. Sealed under screwcap. 13.5% abv. I think a couple of years in the bottle will help. Drink 2017+. Retails around $28. 88 BCP.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Malbec, Margaret River, Merlot, Notes, Price, Varietal/Style, Wine | Leave a comment

2012 Chard Farm The Tiger Pinot Noir

CF-the-Tiger-2012-MediumI have a soft spot for Chard Farm.  They live at the elegant end of Central Otago, although I admit their ageing capability has been questionable in recent years.

The Tiger is from a single vineyard in the Lowburn subregion, which usually produces dense, fruit packed wines.  Chard Farm have dialled their version down – limpid transparent red colour, forest berry nose. It tastes of the forest too, all manner of small berries and lightly spiced, into a lightly oaked spicy finish of medium grained tannins and reasonable length in a densely coiled package that shows off the strength of the 2012 vintage nicely.  This is going to need time to build complexity, and cross your fingers this doesn’t go bacterial / feral like some of their wines have.  If it blossoms, the steepness of the  $NZ74 Cellar Door price will be just a memory.  13.5% ABV.  90+ BCP.

Posted in $50 to $100, Central Otago, New Zealand, Notes, Pinot Noir, Wine | 1 Comment

Greenock Creek Alice’s Shiraz 2012

Greenock Creek Alice's Shiraz 2012

A close look at this label, and I saw 17.0% abv….. luckily this is an old edition of the Alice’s Shiraz, and isn’t the wine I’m trying now. This one has been reined back to 14.5%; thank goodness.

A striking intensity on the nose: masses of blackberry liqueur, with raspberry confit, spices and currant jam. An abundance of fruit on the palate too, with some toasty oak, drying coffee grounds, a touch of bitterness, and oddly some dried apricots on the finish. Overall, not a lot of structure, quite blooby and splodgy, the fruit just swimming around in a loose wooden frame without any tannins. A fair to middling wine. 14.5% abv. Sealed under cork. Drink now. 83 BCP. Retails around $33, which seems too high to me.

Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Barossa Valley, Notes, Price, Shiraz, Varietal/Style, Wine | 7 Comments

2014 Maude Pinot Noir

Maude-Pinot-Noir2014 Central Otago is a bit of an unknown as yet.  Some of the prestige wineries didn’t make their single vineyard wines – some did. This release from Maude seems to have come out while most others are still on their 2013 releases, and it is certainly a young wine.

It looks and smells like the young wine it is – barely in bottle, dense purple fruit and whiff of black pepper subtle brown spice  and vegemite.  Primary.  Raw even.  Brooding and bold juicy black cherry fruitiness here.  Spritzy and fresh upon opening, a chamois of oak char, and a good lick of quality fruit tannin. Some  more of that yeastiness and spice on a chewy fruit driven finish.

Looks set on a nice path for evolution, potentially over a long time.  Hard to rate in its youth – let’s call it 88-91 BCP.

Posted in $20 to $50, Central Otago, New Zealand, Notes, Pinot Noir, Wine | Leave a comment

Three Boys Pils

beer_56019One of the treats that comes with visits to New Zealand.  Props to Max Marriott for introducing me to this little delight some years ago.

A brewery in Christchurch run by three, er, boys.  The Pils and IPA are great drops and to see this in a local supermarket while on holiday made me smile.  Its floral to smell and front palate, then its moderately hoppy and lightly malty, finishing crisp and clean with grippy bitterness.

If you are in the South Island, seek this out.  It doesn’t disappoint.

Posted in Beer, Canterbury, New Zealand, Notes, up to $20 | Leave a comment

2012 Lowburn Ferry Pinot Noir

lowburn ferry pinot jpgThe 2013 is out, but this is still on the shelves.  Picked up a pile of Gongs, and the stickers on the label say so loud and clear.

Ripe red fruits and plum skins, warm even to smell, and savoury forest floor whiffs in the mix too. Red berries, blackcurrants, moss and mulch, some candied rosepetal, a hightoned, rosehip and unripe strawberry crunchiness which seems to be an entree to wholebunch pressings and the stalks that sometimes come with it. Limpid texture, and great persistence, albeit with some back palate warmth and a touch of oak toast.

This evolves nicely in the hour after opening, and becomes something quite lovely and dare I say it- burgundian. Obligatory Central Otago 14%alcohol – it doesn’t show. The stalk character might divide a crowd, but if its your thing, you’ll rate it 90 BCP or more.

Deserves the gongs it has received.  Bravo.

Posted in $20 to $50, Central Otago, New Zealand, Notes, Pinot Noir, Wine | 1 Comment

2013 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir

Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 13 Sml new capThis is class.  Beautiful balance.  Flows effortlessly from a forest fruit nose, to a slinky, silky small berry palate, where its 12 months in oak has been swallowed up and only shows in a little of both pippy fruit tannin and drier oak tannin.

Slick, approachable, satisfying and still nuanced for the intellectual.  Does not show its 14% ABV at all.  91 BCP.

Posted in $20 to $50, Central Otago, New Zealand, Notes, Pinot Noir, Wine | Leave a comment