Tasting Australia

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Tyrrell`s 2009 VAT 1
Fresh, racy lemon and citrus aromatics. Decent herbal spiciness and freshly cut grass join in. Thanks to the vintage, the wine is softer than usual, but still vibrant, fresh and structured for long term cellaring. A great Hunter Valley classic! Keep.

Clarendon Hills 1997 Norton Summit
Far developed, past its prime with oxidative aromatics, orange zest, dried herbs and oaky sweetness. Rather thin, yet alive and harmonious on the palate. Drink up.

Kalleske 2013 Fordson
Yes, this is a Zinfandel from Barossa Valley and it´s a beautiful one! Quite a powerhouse with great concentration of fruit and freshness. Dark aromatics of berry fruit, spices, fruit jam, minerals and earth. Inky and rich on the palate, but of cool depth and freshness. Distinct Kalleske. From a vineyard planted in 2007 this is a promising early-drinking wine.

Torbreck 1998 The Steading
Intriguing aromatics of black cherry, plums, cigar box, road tar, oriental spices and violets. Beautifully integrated tannins and delicate acidity in a smooth, but fresh and super-elegant wine. Great stuff, which is probably still at its peak. Drink soon.

 

Balnaves 2008 The Tally
From an excellent Coonawarra vintage comes this dense and rather robust Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Petit Verdot (4%). Cassis, plum, green pepper, tobacco, earth and oak describe the nose, while the palate is youthful and dark with black fruits and spices. Still looking for balance while compact tannins keep the wine tight. This is nice, but not there yet. Keep 5+ years.

Leeuwin Estate 2007 Art Series
This was the only wine from the gravelly loam soils of Western Australia´s Margaret River region. Compared to Balnaves` Tally, this wine showed rather elegant and light-weight with beautiful aromatics of cassis, stewed fruit, peppery spiciness and present oak. Rather bumpy on the palate with present acidity, while lacking density and length. Still 13% Malbec provide a dark core. Maybe caught in a bad time…

Henschke 1995 Cyril Henschke
One of two wines of the night that could have been taken for Old World if tasted blind. Even though the wine is little past its prime now, the 1995 Cyril shows very elegant, harmonious and complex. Fascinating aromas of cassis, earth, leather, little barnyard, forest floor, smoke and pepper- anise spiciness arrive vital and perfectly integrated on the palate. The tannins have softened and only little acidity shows and provides drive. Good length with dark layers and peppery spiciness. Excellent! Drink soon.

Wynns 1994 John Riddoch
Dark aromatics of blackberries and some fruit in rum, leather, tobacco, earth and violets. Sweet vanilla and present oak. Dense and dark on the palate with flavors of blackberries, cedar, dried herbs, anise and black olive. Youthful with firm tannins, while not lacking juicyness. Very good length with more black fruits and peppery spiciness. It seems that the wine is just opening up. Keep 5+ years.

Briar Ridge 2010 Dairy Hill
From Terra Rossa clays and sandy clay soils comes this Hunter Valley Shiraz. Aromas of blackberry, plums, spices, olives, road tar and fresh herbs. Arrives with cool elegance and smoothness on the palate. Finishes medium-long. Well made, but lacking fascination, yet delicious and very drinkable.

Rockford 2009 Basket Press
Ripe and sweet aromas of red and black berries, plums, cooked fruit, little herbal spiciness and present oak. Ripe, juicy and of present alcohol on the palate. Fairly broad, while lacking structure and focus. A rather disappointing classic.

Henschke 2008 Mount Edelstone
Rich, fruit-driven and spicy wine from a legendary vineyard planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas. 16ha of deep sandy loam over gravelly medium-red clay, overlying laminated siltstone create a special wine, which is always more expressive than its famous big brother Hill of Grace. The 2008 is still in its early fruity stage, but still delicious and fascinating to drink with aromatics of blackberries, plums, oriental spices, dried and fresh herbs, sage and some road tar. It´s perfectly structured dense, deep and concentrated, while fresh and long. Velvety tannins and fine acidity guarantee a long future. Fantastic!

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Penfolds 2004 Grange
From a great vintage comes this elegant, fresh and complex Grange full of finesse with fascinating aromas of red and black berries, spices, delicate sweetness, some chocolate and minerality(!). Multi-layered, fine, but solid structured and of perfect balance on the palate with dark fruit, herbal freshness, little oak and mocha. Finishes very long. A beauty in its youth.

D` Arenberg 2001 Dead Arm
The Dead Arm brought us back to reality after two exceptional wines. Nevertheless, a very good wine, but by far not as special as Mount Edelstone or Grange. Still youthful, it´s opening with aromas of ripe, dark berries, lilac, chocolate and a mix of spices. Balanced and delicious, but lacking excitement and fascination. Yet, a beautiful, distinct McLaren Vale Shiraz. Drink now or keep.

Wendouree 2000 Shiraz Mataro
Does the best always come at the end? In our case, absolutely yes! From the tiny 11,3ha of AP Birks Wendouree Cellars came the winner of the night. Starting off quite funky and taking its time to open up, the wine presented itself different than I remembered it from out last encounter. Back in June 2012 the wine was wide open, rich, deep and dark. But this time it was even better: Fresh, red fruits, a lot of cherries, ethereal freshness of herbs and pinewood, eucalypt, some licorice and wet earth. Pure perfection on the palate with density, freshness and elegance. Mostly driven by dark fruit, fresh herbs and spices, the wine is still youthful and structured for a long future. Finishes long and focused with dark berries, some spiciness as well as sweetness. An exceptional wine at an early stage of its life with finesse, depth and complexity!

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Tasting Note: Henschke 2010 Mount Edelstone

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1. Introduction:
Mount Edelstone comes from 100% old vine Shiraz in Henschke´s iconic vineyard in the Eden Valley.
First bottled as a single-vineyard wine in 1952, it is one of Australia´s most famous Shiraz bottlings today.
2010 was a variable year weatherwise, with several heat spikes and cool periods;
it was the wettest year since 2005. Luckily, the ripening season was steady dry and mild and led to an exceptional vintage with ideal concentrated fruit with decent acidity.
Our 2010 Mount Edelstone is in perfect condition with flawless bottle and Vino-Lok.
14,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark crimson.
Clear, vital & bright.

3. Nose:
Concentrated aromas of Red and Dark Fruit, with mostly Red Currant, Blackberry, Cherry and some Plum. Peppery and Exotic Spices. Perfumy.
Smoky notes (in the beginning), Dark Chocolate, little Earth and Tobacco.
“Green” traces with intriguing cool- and freshness.
Present oak with fine Vanilla and some Eucalypt.
Surprisingly cool and elegant, while rich and inviting!

4. Taste:
Focused Dark Red and Black Fruit (Berries, Plum and Black Cherry).
Great play of Herbs and Spices (decent Licorice!).
Structured for eternity with vital acidity and smooth, but firm and precise, tannins.
Finishes very long and layered with rich Dark Fruit, drive and Herbal as well as Peppery Spiciness.
Fresh mouthfeel, amazing complexity and harmony.

5. Opinion:
A great wine made for the long road!
To me, mostly due to its vital acidity and coolness, the freshest Mount Edelstone for years. Medium-bodied, complex and concentrated, but with fine elegance and harmony.

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Stephen Henschke´s cork substitute: The Vino-Lok

Tasting Note: Turkey Flat Vineyards 2007 Shiraz

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1. Introduction:
Located in the center of Australia´s Barossa Valley, Turkey Flat Vineyards still uses the, now low-yielding (2to/hectar), original vines planted by Johann Frederick August Fiedler back in 1847 for this Shiraz bottling.
The 2007 vintage saw some of the smallest yields on record and produced lower bunch weights and small berry sizes which resulted in notably juicy, densely coloured red wines with expressive flavours.
Our Turkey Flat 2007 Shiraz is in perfect condition. Bottle and screwcap are flawless.
100% Shiraz/ 14,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark purple.
Dense and vital.

3. Nose:
Intense Fruit aromas of Ripe, Dark Berries (mostly Blackberry & Cedar), Black Cherry and Plum. Exotic and Peppery Spices.
Wild play of Leather, Earth and Tobacco. Some Florals (Lavender & Violet).
Oak characters of (sweet) Vanilla and little minty Freshness.
Forward, complex and inviting!

4. Taste:
Dense and powerful Fruit flavors of Cherry, Black Currant and Cedar.
Nutmeg and Herbal Spiciness with Fresh Mint.
Finely grained, chewy tannins and fine acidity packed in a dense structure.
Finishes long and comforting with Dark Fruit and Anise (spiciness).
Concentrated and rich with depth.

5. Opinion:
Classical Barossa Valley style in a generous, full-bodied and powerful wine with medium complexity. While it might be a little excessive right now, it is still very young and will definitely improve and gain harmony and elegance after some more years in the cellar. Drink after 2017.

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Old Vines at Turkey Flat Vineyards

Tasting Note: Wynns 1994 John Riddoch

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1. Introduction:
Wynns` flagship wine is named after John Riddoch, the man responsible for the first vineyard plantings in Coonawarra in 1891. Samuel Wynn and his son David continued this legacy from 1951.
The “John Riddoch” Cabernet Sauvignon was first made in 1982. Since then, it has only been made in years when grapes of extraordinarily high quality are available- less than one per cent of the top Cabernet grapes are used to make it.
It´s a perfect example for concentrated and rich Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.
From a very good vintage, the 1994 John Riddoch consists of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Our bottle and cork are flawless. 13,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark velvet with an almost black core.
Inky, dense and vibrant.

3. Nose:
Dark Red Berries. Little Fruit in Rum.
Florals (Violets!). Leather, Tobacco Leaf and Earthy Notes.
Decent traces of Petrol and Road Tar with an intriguing Cool Intensity.
Eucalypt with Soft, Sweet Vanilla and present Oak aromatics.
Concentrated, ripe and harmonious!

4. Taste:
Ripe and concentrated Red and Black Fruit (Blue- and Blackberry, Cassis, Black Cherry and some Cedar) come with Dried Herbs, Exotic Spices, Black Olive and little Licorice.
Juicy, velvety mouthfeel with fine, but firm tannins.
Long and intense finish with powerful fruit, fresh and fine acidity, proper spiciness and powdery tannins.
Rich, multilayered and forward!

5. Opinion:
The 1994 John Riddoch has evolved gracefully. While showing beautiful secondary and tertiary characteristics, it´s still youthful and concentrated with a lot of potential left.
A concentrated and ripe wine with vital fruit notes, complexity, power and harmony.

Tasting Note: Penfolds 1996 BIN 389 Cabernet Shiraz

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1. Introduction:
First made by Max Schubert in 1960, Penfolds` BIN 389 is a multi-regional blend from several South Australian appellations and, thereby, like the famous Grange a traditional South Australian wine. While the Grange is strongly dominated by Shiraz in the blend or in rare vintages even 100% Shiraz, the “Baby Grange” – that´s how the BIN 389 is often called – tends to be Cabernet Sauvignon (~60%) driven with an (almost) equal part of Shiraz in the blend. The name “Baby Grange” results from time spent maturing in oak hogsheads used by the previous Grange vintage.
From a stellar vintage, the 1996 BIN 389 consists of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Our bottle and cork are flawless. 14% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark purple with an almost black core.
Very dense, but vibrant.

3. Nose:
Dark, Ripe Fruit. Blackberry, Cassis, Cedar and Black Cherry.
Graphite, Leather and Earthy Characteristics. Some Licorice.
Present influence of Oak with Eucalypt and (sweet) Vanilla.
Beautiful aroma package! Energetic, complex and harmonious.

4. Taste:
More Dark Berries and Black Cherry.
Dark Chocolate, Leather and Earth. Little Sweetness.
Inky and soft texture in a round, juicy mouthfeel with fine acidity.
Finishes long with Powerful, Dark Fruit, Finely- Grained Tannins and the Warmth of Intense Peppery Spiciness.
Dense, rich and generous without lacking finesse!

5. Opinion:
The Penfolds 1996 BIN 389 has entered a great drinking window now.
After an amazing evolution, the wine still shines young and powerful.
Great balance, complexity and structure.
An Australian classic to drink now or to keep for another 5+ more years.

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1996 BIN 389 sitting in the glass beautifully.

Kalleske 2006 Greenock Shiraz

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1. Introduction:
The Kalleske family has been farming and growing grapes since 1853 near the village of Greenock in Australia´s Barossa Valley. In 2002 Troy Kalleske, together with his brother Tony, established the Kalleske winery and made the first ‘Kalleske’ wine, which was released in 2004.
All their vineyards- many with vines more than 100 years old, are cultivated organically. The Greenock vineyard consists of sandy loam soils over deep red clay and limestone and, thereby, delivers perfect growing conditions for Shiraz.
Flawless bottle and cork. 15,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark crimson to almost black.
Dense and vibrant!

3. Nose:
Powerful and concentrated aromas of Licorice, Anise and Bald Tire.
A lot of Dark Fruits with Plum, Blackberry and Cassis.
Leather, Dark Chocolate and Earthy Characteristics come with Fresh Eucalypt and Spiciness in a decent cloud of Oak and (sweet) Vanilla.
Bold, precise, inviting and of great complexity!

4. Taste:
More Dark Berries and (dominant) Plums.
Dark Chocolate, Spices, Licorice and Leather.
Perfect density! Soft mouthfeel, while full-bodied on the palate.
Finishes long and intense with Dark Fruit, Fine Dusty Tannins, Anise and Peppery Spiciness.
Channeled strength and power with multiple layers and amazing structure!

5. Opinion:
A full-bodied, rich, intense and concentrated, but balanced and precise wine,
which appears absolutely round with good proportions and perfectly integrated 15,5% alc.
It drinks beautifully now, but will improve from long-term cellaring.
A great wine showing Barossa at its best!

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@Kalleske 05/ 2012

Tasting Note: Clarendon Hills 1998 Kangarilla Grenache

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1. Introduction:
Here is another highly recommended wine out of Clarendon Hills` portfolio of hand crafted single vineyard expressions from pre-phylloxera old vines in Australia´s McLaren Vale.
Roman Bratasiuk creates about twenty different wines each year, which are all tributes to old vines and of consistently good quality. Most famous is the Astralis, one of the few Australian Shiraz that answers to the original French name “Syrah”- as all other wines made from that grape by R. Bratasiuk as a clear reference to Old World France.
Bottle and cork of our 1998 Kangarilla Grenache are in perfect condition.

2. Appearance:
Velvet red to garnet. Vital, but surprisingly light.

3. Nose:
Beautiful integrated, multi-layered and filigree aromas of Cedar, Cherry, Fruit in Rum and a play of secondary characters as Autumn Leaves, Licorice, Eucalypt and Sweet Vanilla.
Heathland and Floral notes. Little Oak.
Fascinating and delicate!

4. Taste:
Reluctant flavors of Ripe Red and Dark Fruits- mostly Cherries. Fruit in Rum.
Leather and Earthy flavors. Maybe lacking some midpalate density.
Finishes long and soft with Dark Fruit, lively Acidity, some Round Tannins and Peppery Spicyness.
Nice flavor-complexity and pleasant, soft texture!

5. Opinion:
A great, but surprinsingly light, medium-bodied and finely spun Grenache from Clarendon Hills with less power but sophistication and finesse!
Still round, perfectly integrated with a solid tannin and acid structure, but to be consumed soon.

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Kangarilla Vineyard (photo by Clarendon Hills)