2009 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

The Ata Rangi Pinot is attracting a lot of attention right now, not least because of aata-rangi-pinot-noir-martinborough-new-zealand-10580375 certain critics 99 point score.

it certainly is a striking wine in any vintage, and has clear hallmarks of the new world style generally, New Zealand, and Ata Rangi’s rosepetal perfume and palate.

At 7 years old its now nicely middle aged, same rosepetal and raspberry perfume of its youth, with some undergrowthy, slightly mushroom  tones and a shaving of quality oak still on show.    Tannins are just right, and support this new-world-rich interpretation.  14% ABV only shows in the glossy texture.  Well balanced and drinking nicely now and for more years to come.  A class act.  91 BCP.

About $90 for current vintage, although YMMV here.

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

2009 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett Riesling

jj prum gh kabinettThere is no producer more strongly represented in my own cellar.  And this bottle is the archetypal statement of why that is.

2009 was towards the end of a golden run for the Mosel, a vintage where ripeness came easily, as did weight and flavour without being unbalanced by excess botrytis, rot, or other vintage pressures.

In this example – easy to overlook its elegance as an underweighted wine, but look closer to see nuance of passionfruit and mandarin, shouldered with Graacher slatey, gravelly minerals and dried green herbs.  There’s a weight of blackberry buds in the mid palate too.  Creamy texture, the primariness is only washing off now at 7 years of age.  Acids, sulphurs are all beautifully harmonised.  Tidy and harmonious. Drinkable now, but you could wait another 3 to 10 years.

A lovely drink.  91 BCP.  About $52 for current release.

Posted in $50 to $100, Germany, Mosel, Notes, Price, Riesling, Wine | Leave a comment

2009 Chard Farm the Tiger Pinot Noir

These single vineyard releases from Chard Farm get my attention a lot of the time.  They are at the elegant end of Central Otago,while showing plenty of character.  They havCF-the-Tiger-2012-Mediumen’t all ages well, but this one has done alright.  This is from a north and east facing block at Lowburn, an area which is quietly producing some of Central’s best wines without the fanfare of Bannockburn or Bendigo, and it shows the subregions fruit presence without the heaviness that can come from Central.

Built around forest berry fruits with redcurrant acidity, now graced with mossy twiggy development, in a lush easy to approach palate.  Acids and tannins are both understated and well resolved into the wine.  Enjoy now or soon IMO.  Some will like this wine more, 88 BCP from me.  Current vintage is $NZ74 at cellar door.  Getting up there.

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

2011 Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir

felton-road-calvert-pinot-noir-2010-wineMy first look at 2011 since release in 2012.

This has all the Felton Road Hallmarks. Black fruit, mocha, touch of quality oak, peaty undergrowth-like savoriness, fine boned tannin.   Plenty of drive and energy, easy to drink and lots of interest.  Also some stem like character which works well to bolster the tannins a little and add a dimension. Lovely wine.  Not  trying to be Burgundy.  Classy all the same and, IMO, outshines the vintages immediately prior.  Very good.  90 BCP.

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

Soumah “Hexham Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2015

soumah pinot noir 2015

From the Warramate area in the Yarra Valley, around Gruyere. A blend of fruit from MV6, Pommard and 777 clones. On the nose, sour red cherries and raspberries, with allspice, a touch of brown sugar and some leafiness. There is also some tang on the palate, darkish red fruits, more plump cherries than anything plummy, with time very much in the cranberries mould, broadness with some spiciness and sweetness. The length is okay, but it wanders around on the palate a bit. Good clean finish. There is a “better” Pinot in their range called Equilibrio, and based on this wine I think I will get a bottle of it and try it. Sealed under screwcap. 13.3% abv. $36 from The Wine Emporium. 86+ BCP. Drink 2018+. It would be interesting to see it when it has lost some of its ‘puppy fat’.

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

2014 Pooley Cooinda Vale Pinot Noir

I do like Pooley.  Their Pinots are nicely styled even if they never hit the scoring highs here at Book Club, and they do a nice set of Rieslings as well.  This is from their Cooinda Vale vineyard in the Coal River Valley.  Oddly – website says 2013 is current but this is definitely the 2014. It took 24 hours to relax into its stride, and the wait is worth it.  Limpid red, and strawberries and cream to smell.  Gentle redcurrant fruits carried by acid as topnotes, some deeper forest berry and mossy undergrowth that might surface in time.  Barely noticeable oak.  Subtle all the way, nicely styled to drink now and will hold for a few years.  A welcome 13.0% ABV. I’d love to score this higher as I quite like this, but it starts to run into serious competition at scores around 90.  So 88+ BCP.

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2014 Stefano Lubiana Pinot Noir

Raspberry cordial, chook poo, and that tell tale Tassie handful of blackcurrant.  But thats about it – I was looking for some meatiness or spice to give this interest but it wasn’t there.  I really wanted to like this more, and its certainly sound and quaffable, but can’t help feeling this is overpriced for what it is near $50.  85 BCP.

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Brisbane Book Club Easter 2016 Dinner

Some wines at our Easter dinner – recorded for posterity.  Notes and scores recorded after the event – any inaccuracy is my error alone:

14 Chatto Isles Vineyard Pinot:  This was apparently green and sulphury and awkward the ngiht before but is now showing some lovely cherry fruit.  Yes it shows some greenish stems, but to me, not to any level of distraction.  Lovely.  89 BCP
13 Roumier Chambolle Musigny:  I don’t have much exposure to Roumier –  this is as good a village level wine as  I have seen.  Pure and clean right now, red berries, cranberry acids, fine silky tannins.  Not especially complex at the moment, but so bright and approachable.  Wouldn’t pick this for the long haul but who cares. 90 BCP
01 Rousseau Clos St Jacques: Middle aged now, and quite a complete wine.  Smoky veil to it, and shows some stalks even now, pure forest berry fruit here.  Well resolved already,  this could go longer but really, why wait.  Lovey, lovely wine.  Everything in balance, tannins starting to resolve but still framing the wine very nicely.  93 BCP.
10 Giacomo Conterno Cascia Francia Barolo: Oh wow.  This has it all.  New style in that it is not ferociously tannic, and it is Barolo in its tar and roses frame, has just the right amount of baked earth warmth, a bowl full of forest berries, enough acids, enough tannin, perfectly ripe.  A finish that goes on for an age.  Wow.  Just wow.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to see other recent vintages of this, and the 10 is so much more approachable  already.  Will it improve?  Maybe, but at the least it is so beautifully balanced it will delight for a long time.  98 BCP
12 Kusuda Pinot Noir: In the middle of all the old world madness was this.  And it didn’t look out of place, beautiful bones, with its bright airy red fruits differentiating it from so may Kiwi pinots, and making it a tough options wine. 92 BCP
12 Mongeard Mugneret Grands Echezeaux: This looked oddly heavy, but that might have been its place in the lineup.  Dynamic Lifter and plums, coffee and black fruits are there to tease out, but this is way too young. 92 BCP here, but this is really a guess based on potential.
10 Vietti Lazzarito:   Had been decanted for some hours.  I never thought I would say a Vietti cru wine would look awkward but after the Conterno, ow do you approach wines like this?  Lovely forest berry fruit, serene among its sawn pine tannin frame.  Plenty of density and length.  94 BCP
10 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino: Evolved a lot over the hour we looked at this, and the owner was concerned the bottle might have been a fake.  If it was it was a good one – and the hour of airtime really helped. ANother beautiful Italian wine of balance and power.  Note taking abiltiy was well faded by this time of night though.  Estimate 94-96BCP on this showing.
06 Domaine Dujac Morey St Denis 1er: Merde, black fruits, baking spice. To me showed a little older than 06 might.  No ability to judge wines left by now.
12 Sassicaia: didnt get to try this.  Shame.
12 Auburn Shining Dawn Riesling:  This was the delivery of a promise of Trockenbeerenauslese, which it basically is – ripe enough, high enough must weight, almost 100% botrytis, berry selected.  Only thing missing is it wasnt made in either Germany or Austria.  Searingly intense botrytis apricots over limes, burnt marmalade, and otherworldly acids. Over 320g/l sugar.  Not fair for me to rate this given my involvement, but Huon Hooke awarded it 96.

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2012 Bream Creek Pinot Noir

BreamCreek_PinotNoir_ShopBG-2Surprisingly this is current vintage, where many are onto their 14s or even 15s.

Smells of smeared berry fruit and mocha with a redcurrant lift.

Juicy blackberries & raspberries and some baking spices, framed on a fine acid spine and set to a dusting of oak tannin and a just a whisper of warmth presenting on a finish of silty tannin.  Getting on to four years old now and feels really settled and relaxed.

Will please a bistro crowd and an intellectual taster equally.  More please.

90 BCP, and a bargain at the cellar door price of $34 is more than fair.


Posted in $20 to $50, Australia, Notes, Pinot Noir, Tasmania East Coast, Wine | Leave a comment

2013 Holyman Project X Pinot Noir

HolymanProjectXI’m going to start at the end here – this is either 83 or 93 BCP, and which is right is going to depend on your point of view.

This is 100% whole bunch pinot noir, all of which has seen new oak.  Both things that I personally struggle with in pinot noir.

However – this has my attention from the get go.  Bright cranberry and raspberry fruit surfing an edge of tangy acids.  Dense and powerful too.  Lovely fruit in fact  And robustly structured as well, with a wall of tannin grasping this tight at this point.

However – and this is where the point schism comes in –  the tannins are very drying – either the now oak or some woody stems – I suspect the latter.  As a result this is hard work drinking on its own, but it really shines accompanying a piece of meat.  Take the advice of the winemaker – leave these to age for a while to let things resolve, at has the potential to be a thing of beauty.  But right now – you have to be ready for it.

13.0% ABV, about $90.

And I’m now looking for Joe Holyman’s other wines to try.

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