Wine News Ė August 2008†
By Franz Scheurer
During the first weekend in August I had the pleasure of sampling Blood woodís new releases.
Bloodwood Schubert 2004
A perfect expression of New World Chardonnay, this wine is elegant yet powerful. Citrus aromas expand to over-ripe grapefruit and lemonade on the palate, with unmistakable honey and honeydew undertones and a solid, complex structure. Barrel fermented, matured in French oak hogs-heads and bottled at 13.8% a/v, this is an immensely enjoyable drop right now, but will benefit from cellaring up to 10 years.
Bloodwood Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
I love Bloodwood's terroir, manifested in all their wines, but prevalent and easily recognizable in this Cabernet Sauvignon. Dense and dark it displays aromas of chocolate and mocha with hints of blackberry at first sniff. On the palate you notice mace and dark berries. It's mouth filling with rather soft tannins and the chocolate makes a welcome return, finishing long and spicy with lingering notes of cinnamon. This is my favourite red wine from Orange, without a doubt.
Bloodwood Pinot Noir 2006
Somehow I never managed to get overly carried away with Bloodwood's Pinot Noir. For my palate it's too clean. Fruity and entirely lovely, I miss those 'dirty' aromas and flavours. Nevertheless it must be made clear that this is a Pinot Noir showing all the signs of great craftsmanship and if you like a clean, fruit forward Pinot Noir, this might just be it.
Bloodwood Big Men In Tights 2007
A rosť with a funny name that could give the wrong impression. I remember a time in Blinman, Flinders Ranges, when a mate of mine (pink T-Shirt, one way blue, round Lennon sunglasses) and I drank this wine at a campsite in the late afternoon, 'nuff said! It is however a serious rosť, made from Malbec and Cabernet Franc with a fair load of acid, dry and easily able to cut through a heavy, grease-laden meal. It is also VERY pink. Despite (or maybe because of its name) I love it!
Bloodwood Maurice 2004
Bring on the big guns! This is the wine for all you battle-hardened, jaded palate vinous warriors out there; a real, down-to-earth red, with lots of feral, minerally and barnyardy aromas on the nose. That's until it hits your palate: Suddenly the tiger turns into a pussycat and becomes the most elegant feline you can imagine. Soft tannins, integrated and velvety, a caressing mouthfeel akin to a long forgotten lover, then subtle hints of blackberry with a bit of cigar box and oodles of chocolate. And then some more chocolate! It's glorious, long and satisfyingly smooth, leaving a desire for more of the same! Pass me the bottle, please!
Bloodwood Riesling 2007
It takes courage to make a Riesling that is ripe, has some residual sugar and is relatively low in alcohol. It's the German way of making a Riesling and not at all what we are used to in Australia. Nevertheless, this is a divine drop. Finger lime, honey and honeysuckle on the nose it explodes with leatherwood honey flavours and an all-encompassing mouth feel; oily, almost gelatinous and moreish. There is some citrus here, under the honey, and some inherent acidity that is not immediately obvious. This wine will shine with pan-fried or deep-fried northern Chinese food, e.g. shallot cakes or pot sticker dumplings.
For more information go to Bloodwood's Web Site
Fox Creek JSM 2006
JSM I hear you ask? A Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and JSM? Well it stands for Captain James Stanley Malpas who lived in Fox Creek's 19th Century cellar door cottage and who inscribed his initials, JSM into the stone lintel above the front door in 1891. This wine is made for immediate consumption or limited cellaring and it's fruit forward on the nose with substantial quince flavours on the palate. It's eminently drinkable and a wine to enjoy with the simple things in life, e.g. a few slices of salami or Prosciutto, some olive, good sourdough and ripe tomatoes.
For more information go to Fox Creek's Web Site
Tintilla Estate Patriarch Syrah 2005
The 2005 is made from concentrated fruit from a draught season, night harvested, cold stabilized and fermented in open-vats, then aged in French and American oak and fined with egg-white. It's a powerful, yet elegant wine that tightly balances tannins, fruit and a certain 'je ne sais quoi', blessed with a long, briary and lasting finish. It's a very good wine young and I expect it to get more complex as it ages. It's bottled at 13/5% a/v and certainly a wine worth having in your cellar. RRP: $ 60
For more information go to Tintilla's Web Site
Logan Moscato 2008 (Orange)
Peter Logan makes this Moscato, which, although higher in alcohol than its Italian cousins and sweeter than expected, makes a good dessert wine or a wine perfectly suited to be savoured with a really feral cheese like a Munster. It has a good fizz and the tiny bubbles help negate some of that sweetness. This is not the most elegant, nor a particularly old world style Moscato, but it's a great Aussie dessert wine.
RRP: $ 12.70
For more information go to Logan's Web Site
Benson Rise Cygne Blanc 2007
Cygne Blanc is a white grape of the Cabernet family and it first occurred naturally in Western Australia, and was discovered in 1989. It's different and it's now grown on the Limestone Coast, overlooking the Southern Ocean. Benson Rise Cygne Blanc is a cool-climate style white wine and it has a strong bouquet of tobacco and honey, both of which are confirmed on the palate. It is a fragrant, very dry wine that's hard, if not impossible to place and it will stand up to smoked or cured meats and fish. Although a curio it stands on its own and is definitely worth pursuing.
For more information go to Benson Rise's Web Site
This is a superb wine made from low yielding, concentrated fruit from a vineyard with more than 100 year old vines. Itís classic Barossa Shiraz with spicy plums and vanilla aromas from the American oak, which are confirmed on the palate with well-structured, fine tannins. The fruit is hand picked, basket pressed and bottled unfiltered at 15.5% a/v. This is a superb wine and if you like classic Barossa Shiraz this is one of the most typical. Try to get your hands on some and lay it down for 5 to 10 years.
For more information go to: http://www.chateautanunda.com
Rosemount Show Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2005
It might be aesthetically pleasing but the oddly shaped bottle (squared off at the bottom) does not stack! Typically design over functionality. Just as well the wine is noteworthy! Rosemountís show reserve series pays tribute to the regions and its best performing grape varieties. The McLaren Vale Shiraz is full bodied, plummy, with hints of liquorice, presenting a good structure and a long, fruit-laden finish. This is a fruit driven wine and it certainly appeals now but will integrate a little more with some time in the cellar.
For more information go to: http://www.rosemountestate.com
Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2006
WOW, what a beautiful wine! This is one Australian Chardonnay that I want to drink. Itís fabulous on its own and it works wonderfully with the right food. 2006 was Margaret Riverís coolest (and latest ripening) year to date, bringing with it very small yields and bunches as light as 50 grams. These growing conditions however brought fantastic retention of aromatics and crisp fruit flavours. This is a classic Chardonnay with citrus and white stone fruit on the nose and over-ripe grapefruit flavours dominating the palate with white peaches and a touch of musk sneaking in. The finish is long, lingering and moreish. This has to be one of the top Chardonnays of 2006.
Cellar Door RRP: $ 42 per bottle
For more information go to: http://www.voyagerestate.com.au
Brown Brothers Pinot Grigio 2008
A terrific Pinot Grigio from Victoria despite its rather drab and old-fashioned label. Mainly from cool climate vineyards like Whitlands and Banksdale, Brown brothers are one of Australiaís prime makers of Pinot Grigio. They released their first Pinot Grigio vintage in 1994 and have been able to maintain its style and excellent value for money. Talking to winemakers in Italy they found that the high altitude vineyards of the King Valley could replicate the growing conditions very well and despite the devastating bush fires (no Pinot Grigio vintage in 2007) they survived and brought this lovely wine to market. This is an austere, Italian style Pinot Grigio with lots of citrus and pears and a clean, crisp finish. This is a food wine and at a RRP $ 18 per bottle represents excellent value for money.
For more information to go: http://www.brownbrothers.com.au
Mount Pleasant Philip Hunter Valley Shiraz 2006
Always a good wine the 2006 stands out with its atypical Hunter characteristics. Itís fruit forward on the nose with black berry aromas and a curious undertone of raspberries. On the palate the fruit is confirmed mingling with vanilla oak flavours, some deep, rich earthiness and soft, velvety tannins. This is an elegant wine with soul and despite its alcohol of only 14% a/v it reminds me more of a Barossa Shiraz. This is a cracker. Try and get hold of some.
For more information go to: http://www.mountpleasantwines.com.au
Sweden has always produced excellent vodka and Absolut is synonymous with quality. Their decision to release a 100 proof (50% a/v) vodka has to be applauded. It brings with it all the inherent sweetness high alcohol will deliver, underpinning the faint orange blossom and cereal flavours. Sold in a 1lt black bottle with silver writing, this is not easily missed on the shelves and PLEASE try it at room temperature first! Itís sublime!
For more information go to: http://www.absolut.com