Before we launch into the Christmas season proper here’s some bits and bobs from recent weeks:
2011 Cantina del Pino Langhe Nebbiolo: Love the lightness of touch in this maker. Red fruits, middle weight, tamed tannins. Easy to drink but clearly still a Nebbiolo. Nice, somewhere around 86 to 87 points
2014 Clonakilla Riesling: What a cracking wine. Pineapple skin and lime pith, gin and tonic, yellow flowers, gravelly mineral touches. There’s a bit of texture in this years release in place of the pure steel acids, and possibly a little bit of RS, as the acids are fairly approachable. Lovely drink. 91+
2012 Lot 7 Shiraz (Redheads Studio): Balls out McLaren Vale Shiraz. Right on the edge for me – ripe but just kept in check, black olive, and prune with its small berries, a little bit of nice new oak, but not quite over the top. Kind of enjoyed it, but only a glass or two at a time over three nights. Probably 88ish, but dont really know how to rate great big reds.
2011 Schloss Lieser Kabinett: Just keeps on giving, This bottle showed a bit weightier than earlier ones, but no matter. Lots of summery joy here with its tropical orange and cumquat. Shotgunnable. 88/100
Drank one of these in August, and and a second one a week or two ago. Don’t normally post double ups, but the impression from this was different enough to warrant it…despite the score ending up the same.
Wow this is good juice. From a vintage thats produced some Kabinetts that have a bit of weight to them, this is light and airy. Red apple, green apple, pineapple skin. Touched by coriander and brown spice, resting on its slatey bed. its clean and pure and as a result not full of weight and presence, but for summer drinking in Brisbane, this is just brilliant. Full of joy, this bottle is. 91/100.
Its been many a year since I’ve bought this wine, but the lure of the stellar reputation of 2010 drew me in.
This is Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz, as it always has been. Takes a little bit of breathing to show itself. Small berries that become lush and inviting with air time, salted licorice, sandy, loamy tannin, and brandy like warmth on the finish.
As a package its medium bodied and balanced, rustic in style. Feels like it lacks precision, but just focus on what it tastes like and it is sensory pleasure. Very tasty and appealing to drink. 89 points.
A Blend of 70% Barbera and 30% Nebbiolo. This is a very tidy blend – building on the workhorse barbera with its tomato and redcurrant body by adding nebbiolo darker flavours, plus its fragrance and tannin. Its tingly warm at a ripe 14.5%, and is vibrant, fresh and alive. Lovely drinking right now. Maybe it will age a year or two but seriously – this is great bang for buck at $26 or so from Boccaccio. Could easily become a house wine. 88 points.
Ooh er, this is nice. Sangiovese from Montalcino, and despite the relatively lowly Rosso Di Montalcino designation, this is a wine worthy of your attention.
It needs a good breathe, otherwise all you’ll get is tart cherry acids. But give it some airtime and deep set blueberry and black cherries join in with some nappa leather support. Ripe fine grained tannin, and a long finish where the oak treatment just shows.
Very tasty now, but should benefit from a year or two in the cellar. if you can keep your hands off them.
14% ABV, $50. 89 points.
Been a long time since I’ve bought a Semillon of any sort, but these are worth a look if you are partial to Sem with a bit of body and some winemaking work.
3 years old now and picking up some golden flecks in the colour, smells of wool fat, oyster shell and lemon curd. The palate is immediately fresh and alive, with its cut grass, herb garden flavours, accompanied by some nougat like notes, with some cashew like oak rounding this out with some phenolic grip on a well rounded citrus pith like finish that sees just a little acid cut right at the end.
A bit to be interested in here. Pleasant and credible, balanced, and right for fish and chips.
88/100 from me – which means it is more than halfway up the “very good” category. Some would arrive at a score of 91 or so with the same impressions. The magic of numbers.
Still some red colour; no bricking. A good start. Initially quite mushroomy and earthy, and a touch of volatility. Then some caramel and spices, getting more pleasurable with time, lifted aromatics, white florals, undergrowth and pan grille. The palate is a bit thin, fine cherry and mushroom fruits and undergrowth. Drying out? Drink now. 87 points. Sealed under Diam. 13.0% abv.
Chardonnay is probably the least regarded of the trio of grape varieties Felton Road make. Thats an odd thing, as they do a really, really good job of it, right from the minimally oaked Elms, through the Bannockburn to this, the Block 2.
This is a nice stage in the evolution of this wine, theres a lot going on here. The early impression is of winemaking – rich, creamy cashews & nougat, laid across some white peach fruit. There’s also a piercing lemon acid line on the finish. Its a little split personality, and I think a couple more years will see the components integrate more. And good quality components they are. To be really picky – dialling the oak down a touch would help. But I think the answer to that is to drink the Bannockburn instead. Not entirely sure of the price but I think this lands at a little under $A50 ordered from cellar door
91/100 now with upside.
My second look at this in quick succession, after seeing it on Grand Final Day, albeit this time out of half bottle.
The preview starts with holding the bottle to the light before opening – relatively transparent, and expectations of lightness. It pours red with no purple tinges, and smells of medium weight things – rosepetal, redcurrant, and classic nebbiolo tarry whiffs.
The palate is size 10, but with size 16 tannins! I wonder if more breathing or bottle age will see these settle? I hope so, so the pretty redcurrant and strawberry fruits can come out more and get across those hallmark nebbiolo sawn timber tannins. This feels like it is coiled up and held tight, so fingers crossed the tannic grip will get released at some stage. Right now, this demands food.
Hard to rate – 92/100 for what I think it will be, but a bit of a challenge to drink now.
The second best riesling made in New Zealand
I’ve been sipping this over 4 nights And its still oh so gluggable even now on night 4, as these sugar and acid balanced rieslings can be.
It looked a little pudgy on night one with the usual acid tension slackened right off, but with a few nights in the fridge it seems to be back in form. The lightness of lemon, the fullness of orange, the backbone of lime pith, a big smiley citrus tree this is. Some secondary petroleum jelly whiffs just beginning to peek through. There’s a dried green herb nuance too on the back palate, some slatey sulphur and freshly crushed sugar cane.
All up its showing a lot like a bigger riper Mosel style just now. Another in a long string of tip top rieslings from Felton Road. 91 points.