Wine Review – March 2011

By Franz Scheurer


Parker First Growth Cabernets

Parker’s First Growth is their flagship wine; a wonderful expression of Cabernets, only made when all the stars align. Made from the ‘Reynella Selection’ Cabernet Clone it’s 86% Cabernet and 13% Melrot (with the 1% undisclosed, my guess would be Petit Verdot). The juice is warm-fermented for a week with 84% 30 day maceration on skins. It then spends two years in French oak barriques, 84% new and 16% second fill or older. Peter Balnaves grows the fruit and Peter Bissell is the winemaker, which has proven to be a top partnership looking at the result. It’s interesting to note that the southern part of the Coonawarra (where this fruit comes from) is quite a bit warmer and does not usually get a lot of frost, resulting in additional hang time with ripening occurring up to a couple of weeks later. The wine is unmistakably Coonawarra and unmistakably New World, and although young at this stage, drinks admirably. My guess is that it will improve for at least 12 years if cellared correctly. At a RRP $110.00 a bottle it might at first seem expensive but it’s incredibly good value for money.


Dominique Portet Sauvignon Blanc 2010

The fruit for this wine comes 85% from the Yarra Valley and 15% from the Pyrenees region. Two totally different wine growing areas, who, when combined, add a lot of complexity, length and flavour to this wine. The wine is made by Ben Portet (10th generation winemaker) at the family vineyard in Coldstream. This is not a cats’ pissy New Zealand-style Sauvignon Blanc, but rather a complex, citrus forward wine not too dissimilar to what they produce in Sancerre in France. More like a Pouilly Fumé in style abut 15% of the wine are fermented in new French oak barrles and the rest in stainless steel. Lovely white peaches and a ‘walk through a meadow in spring’ aromas are confirmed on the palate with the extra addition of strong lime flavours.

RRP $28


Jean-Marc Brocard Petit Chablis ‘Domaine St Claire’ 2009

2009 seems to be a good vintage for Burgundies and specifically for Chablis. Brocard consistently produces excellent base wines like the Domaine St Claire, a good mix of cost vs quality. This wine is made with fruit from the Domaine Saint Claire family vineyard and it is unoaked with low malo, showing a typical Prehy terroir. White flowers with dominant Lily of the Valley on the nose give way to more savoury and honeyed-flower flavours with good length and plenty of acid. This wine will age for about 5 years.

Distributed in Australia by Déjà Vu Wines you can find more information here:




Bergamot is a citrus that grows all over Italy. It’s a type of bitter orange and it’s pear-shaped. Bergamot oil is obtained by cold-pressing the skin of this unusual citrus and is widely used in traditional medicine, skin care and as a flavour agent. Just think of Earl Grey tea. Now a company in the south of Italy makes a Bergamot liqueur. It’s called BergaSpina, liquore di Bergamotto Calabrese. Bottled in a small, triangular bottle, 20cl at 40% a/v it’s a pungent, sweet liqueur that you will either love or hate. Distributed by Enoteca Sileno Australia it works a treat as a digestif, plain or with a lump of ice and it makes a fantastic ice cream.

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