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: 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

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: Rockford 1999 Hoffmann SVS Shiraz

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1. Introduction:
Rockford sources most of its fruit from some of the best and oldest vineyards in Barossa Valley, which are cultivated by long-term relationship growers and friends.
After harvest the fruit of these vineyards is vinified and matured separately to maintain the individual characters and facets of the terroir in the winery.
Some of these distinct and special wines, which don´t completely go into final blend of e.g. Rockford´s Basket Press, are released under the SVS (Special Vineyard Selection) label.
This 1999 SVS Shiraz is a 100% Shiraz from the old, low yielding Hoffmann vineyard.
Bottle and cork were flawless. 14,5 alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark garnet. Dense, vibrant and vital.

3. Nose:
Cherry and ripe Berries; Cassis and some Blackberry.
Beautiful play of secondary characters with Leather, Tar, Licorice and Cedar.
Little Vanilla, Eucalypt and Floral notes.
Intense and present while elegant and soft.

4. Taste:
Ripe dark Fruit, mostly Cherries.
Layers of Leather, Tar and Autumn Forest. Freshness and Mineral Stony aspects.
Finishes long and round with warm, red Fruits, little Acidity, soft fine Tannins and little Spice.
Balanced, nicely integrated, complex and well-proportioned!

5. Opinion:
A rich, full-bodied wine with power AND harmonious elegance.
South Australia´s big reds are often criticized for their lack of refinement, sophistication or missing ability to age gracefully. The 1999 Hoffmann Shiraz gives a perfect counter-example to this cliché.
Yes, it is rich and it is full-bodied, but it shows a great development of complexity and elegance with a beautiful interaction of fruit and secondary characters at the moment.
Drink it now or keep it for 5- 10 more years.

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Tasting Note: Rockford 2006 “Rod & Spur”, Cabernet Shiraz blend

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1. Introduction:
Rockford is a Barossa Valley institution and mostly famous for its Basket Press Shiraz, which is always among Australia´s most sought-after wines.
The limited production wines, mostly from purchased grapes (~80%) from local growers and little from vineyards of their own, are not widely exported and, thereby, maybe not very famous abroad, but it´s hard to find a wine that is more typical traditional Barossa in style and quality than Rockford.
The Rod & Spur is named after the traditional pruning method used by their growers and a blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Shiraz with 15% alc.
Bottle and cork were flawless.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark garnet! Vital, inky and thick.

3. Nose:
Cherry and Eucalypt are the dominant aromas.
Sweet Peppery Spiciness and (fresh) Herbs; Lavander.
Multilayered with Tobacco, Tar, Autumn Leaves and Vanilla.
Little Dark Chocolate.
Great inviting and fascinating nose! Intense, soft and warm.

4. Taste:
More ripe Cherries and other Red Fruits.
Eucalypt with some notes of Liquorice and Spiciness. Graphite.
Finishes medium-long with red Fruits of Cherry, Raspberry and little Red Currant, little acidity and soft fine tannins.
Balanced, nicely integrated and medium complex!

5. Opinion:
A nice medium to full-bodied blend with nice sweetness and the typical Barossa incy-ness. Good proportions, a great nose and a mouthfeel which is easy to handle and makes the wine very approachable.
Drinking quite good now, but still solid for some more years down the road.

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@ Rockford, May 2012

Tasting Note: Grant Burge 2001 Meshach Shiraz

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1. Introduction:
Meshach Shiraz is the flagship wine from Grant Burge in Tanunda, South Australia.
The wine matures 21 months in American (83%) and French (17%) oak and another two and a half years in bottle before release.
It is a typical Barossa Shiraz. Big and bold and created for long-term cellaring.
Let´s have a look at the 2001 Meshach from an optimum growing season.
Bottle and Cork are flawless.

2. Appearance:
Very deep dark-red to almost black.
Dense, brilliant and vital!

3. Nose:
Inviting fresh aromas of Viola and Lilac paired with fresh Mint.
Dark Berries; mostly Cassis and Fruit in Rum. Leather.
Traces of sweet Soft Cheese. Some Dried Herbs, Moss, Vanilla and Eucalypt.
Light, elegant, but complex and multilayered nose!

4. Taste:
Warm and intense dark Fruit of Black Berries, Cherries and little Plum.
Beautifully integrated soft and round tannins and acidity.
Traces of Chocolate and Mocha.
Finishes long and smooth with beautiful Fruit and a little peppery Spicyness.
Perfect proportions, balanced with great texture and mouthfeel.

5. Opinion:
A nicely integrated, concentrated and beautifully aged wine!
Elegant, balanced and complex.
While this wine has aged perfectly, it is still good for many years down the road.

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