I have a cluster of these gold cap sweeties in my wine fridge, remnants from a small and distant windfall. They poke out at my attention, promising precision and joy. There seems to be a small market for such things, I’m not sure my drinking partners approved. . . A sugar cane / toffee apple nose, sulfur and more than a whisper of botrytis. . . a tooth ache wine – sweet and stinging; intense and pleasingly thick – like apricot nectar.
Midway through the lunar festival and the chance to open and revisit some older bottles. . .
Not in picture – a green skinny bottle of unsurprisingly fresh and pert Grüner. Prager Hinter Der burg 2008. 12%. Screwcap. Pale, peppery and primary. Peach, pollen and polished stone. Super texture – in retrospect, like a mouth full of citrus and white flowers. Lovely acidity and poise. My drinking companion thought it was a 2018 riesling – so fresh. It’s the more expensive (though I’ve long forgotten the price) sibling to this bottle that I tried a decade ago.
Also unseen – a bottle of 2010 Mountadam Chardonnay. It’s become a butter ball – round and full, very old school / 1980’s in shape and accent. Butterscotch and almond meal. In passing.
The half bottle of the 2011 Lake’s Folly Caberents is starting to turn I think. Still …
Tea leaf and rust, volatility and humus. . . for me it’s an acquired like rather than a natural love. . . a prickle of spice and alcohol. Formidable. Meaty and bold, quite telescopic before a fan of sinew and tannins.
In transition. . . deep, rust like, but entirely taint free. . . mature and rounded. . . changeable and evolving. Tobacco leaf and nori. . . roasted, cured leaves. . . an iodine edge perhaps. Fine and soft, loose and comfortable. It’s warm and familiar; curved edges and perfectly weighted. Modest and self contained – Yes.
A clammy but worthy White Bourgogne. Almond meal and freshly laundered woollens, peach and flint, a prickle of white pepper. . . like inhaling too close and deep from a white flower. . . RRR a reassuring riff of reduction. . . More reason for hyperbole in the mouth; energy, line and beautiful tension; a convincing spice and lactone edge. Super. A+
Seemingly unchanged from my last encounter. The colour is impressive and note worthy. . . haematuria was the word that first came to mind. . . a chemical factory of scent – glue, musk and grape skins. Sour and gripping, super tannins and bite. ? Ageless
First there was Sparky Marquis. He was the “hit winemaker” for years in South Australia. His wines were highly coveted, especially in the states. His wines were bigger than life, bold, rich, but beautifully linear and precise as well. Things started going sideways for him in 2005, culminating with his divorce a few months ago from his wife Sarah, who now owns all their properties, including Mollydooker. Few people realized she, as much as Sparky, was responsible for that luxury-grade style of Shiraz that Mollydooker epitomized.
Why take that much time talking about another winery? Because the steps that Sarah walked, often in the shadow of her famous husband, made way for another female maker, who is rightfully getting rockstar-level love in Australia. Her name is Kim Jackson, and this is one of her wines.
Burnt incense, toasted allspice, and chocolate-covered cherries bobbing in a gigantic vat …
A modest mid week tipple to drown my sorrows. . . I spent the morning observing the US election count. . . hopeful and expectant at first, then confusion followed by disbelief. What just happened. . . Another reminder (Brexit was the first for 2016) not to place too much weight on predictions (the night before Nate Silver suggested there was a 71% chance of a Clinton victory) – it leaves you open to danger and disappointment. For someone who had hoped manners and reason would prevail, it feels like a kick to the goolies.
Quite a simple wine – it leads with strawberries and petals, but later more earth and undergrowth. Grip and meat in the mouth – firmer and harder than expected. . . On another day I’m sure I would find more charm.
Beautiful, fragrant and poised. Soft and for a moment I thought this might be a Beaujolais – macerated fruit and stems, but then more depth and spice, mushrooms and earth. Light, delicate – but sure. It grows and is both quick and expansive. Bold, but contained, sappy and savoury. A perfect mid week wine.
After all these years (and all those wines!) the high level of winemaking and the low cost of Spanish wines still amazes me. For instance, this bottle of reserva should cost twice what it does, and even then would be a steal. Not that I’m complaining.
Dinastia Vivanco is located in Rioja Alta, the northern Basque quarter of Rioja. In every vintage, the winemaker selects the top barrels of it’s wine to bottle In a typical vintage, he retains less than 25% of the wine. The rest, he sells off. This level of selection is crazy expensive, but results in a beautiful wine.
The reserva is a balanced beast of a bottle. Dense notes of tobacco and chocolate are layered over ultra ripe tannins and glass-staining opacity. The opulent texture holds smoky vanilla and ambergris in it’s grip, slowly releasing savory notes into a finish of fresh red fruit …
Being inattentive, I had expected this to be a pinot noir, like the last bottle from this curious and worthy producer. Quite a shock then to see something orange. . .
Diam. Approx $A85. 12.5%.
It’s a wonderful wine – expressive and delicious. Rust and must, spice, a bruised apple, mushrooms and glue. Autumn. Sweet decay. Crunchy and gripping, sappy and musk like. 35 days on skin. Meaty and savoury with warm ginger spice. A+
A belated attempt at moderation. . . and so I find it’s the last drop of my third glass that is the most delicious. It’s correctly awkward and structured to begin – tar and rose petal, but there’s no give or softness. It’s a vinous hair shirt. . . at least initially. In time it softens and nose becomes rounder, more spiced and caressing. In the mouth it’s a juxtaposition – lean and quick; tannic and meaty. Yes.
A trio of pinot noir, each peculiar in its own way, but all some how missing the high bar.
2010 Riorret ‘The Abbey’. Yarra Valley. Perhaps the best thing is the name, which is a semordnilap of terroir. A struck nose, it’s savoury, ham and ginger flavoured, slightly sweet too.
2013 Fromm La Strada. Marlborough. More convincing than the last, grainy and dense, earth and something dark and unresolved. Short tail, a little gritty at this stage, should improve modestly.
2015 Murdoch Hill ‘Ridley Pinot x Two’. Adelaide Hills. Meunier and Noir. I wanted to like this more. . . It’s light and sappy, a bojo nose, stewed and spiced – but it seems diffuse and skinny and slightly metallic.
Thorey is a Rodet monopole in Nuits Saint Georges, and one of their best bottlings. For the serious lover of Pinot Noir, this is a dramatic bottle of Premier Cru Burgundy that should be in your wine cellar.
A trio of holiday wines, pleasant enough, but none worthy of an individual note.
Yetti and the Kokonut Sercial 2015. A curious grape and a cute though childish label complete with presumably intentional spelling errors. . . Sercial, a Portuguese varietal, is thin skinned, acidic and austere. . . Unfiltered. It smells of ginger, apple and glue. Clean and gripping, tart and cider like. Fair. 85-88. Eden Valley, South Australia.
Single File Porongurup Riesling 2015. An aromatic and interesting nose – lime and what seems to be the premature start of petroleum. Pepper too. It overly hard and unforgiving, short and too curt for affection. 88.
Marchand and Burch Porongurup Chardonnay 2010. A promising nose – flint and stone fruit, but it’s too sweet and round in the mouth. It seems too easy and lazy. 84-87.
First the 2010 Kosovich Chenin Blanc – warm climate – less edge and more flesh and grip. Crunchy in the mouth, mineral and stone fruit.
The 2014 Eagle Eye Pinot noir comes in a heavy bottle, screwcap, 13%. The back label mentions this is from a Gruyere vineyard in the Yarra Valley and the clone MV6, picked on the 18th of February, which is about a month later than the sharper, faster Mac Forbes wines of the same vintage. There’s much more padding and richness – velvet and definitely more wobble and weight. Plum and spice and for an opening moment nutmeg and cinnamon. . . It’s very good, but I like my pinot to be leaner and quicker.