I’m going to get a bit more traditional this week and do some tasting notes and story-telling. It’s been a very busy fortnight with a whole heap of events and catch-ups on so right now I’m having a couple of well earned alcohol free days and focussing on sleep and exercise! In the meantime I thought I’d reflect on some of what I’ve been fortunate enough to drink recently. Much of the celebrating was for my wife’s 30th birthday, that was stretched over a number of different events with family and friends and resulted in a slew of corks being pulled on some pretty tasty drops. Be warned, it gets a little wine nerdy at parts, I’ve put in some small hints to help decipher some of the french stuff and I promise to return to more familiar territory next post. For the nerds amongst you, read on…
Sat Sept 8 – Dinner at Cutler and Co (also recently blogged). Kicked off with a glass of the delightfully acid-and-citrus driven Perrier Jouet NV (champagne) and then into a great bottle of 08 Pierre Yves Colin Morey St Aubins 1er Les Combes (Chardonnay from Burgundy in france). 08 was a great white year in Burgundy and PYCM is a great up and coming producer. This wine was steely and generous, with some nice lemon-citrus and white-flower aromatics. Lovely. After that we moved to an 09 Domaine Tempier Cuvee Classique (A French Mouvedre) which was surprisingly light on its feet, showing great acidity to support the savoury, earthy and dark berry palate of the wine.
Sun Sept 9 – A few casual arvo drinks with a mate. More 08 white Burgundy (08 Bernard Moreau 1er chenevottes) that was ok but not awesome and some 08 Elio Grasso Barolo (can’t remember which one!). Today, my tastes were with everyday wine though. The 12 Chalmers Aglianico Rosato (in stock at LTLT, as well as a few other wines mentioned in this post) was looking fantastic and the bottle seemed to evaporate. We also had some 2010 Dandelion Eden Valley Riesling which was showing a touch of richness after a couple of years in bottle and made me wish that I’d bought more of it! We finished up with the 10 Hudelot Noellat Bourgogne Rouge (French Pinot) which is showing intense minerality over sappy dark-red fruits. Will be even better with 12 months more in bottle.
Tues Sep 11 – A pre-birthday dinner with the mother in law while she was in town. Took the chance to open a bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon which was singing. Full of the clove-y spice and the slightly grippy, chewy aromatics typically associated with that wine, and showing just a touch of aged richness it was a pleasure. At dinner we had a bottle of the 2010 Pieropan ‘La Rocca’ Soave; a savoury and floral wine that was a perfect match for the cauliflower risotto I was enjoying at Ilona Staller in St Kilda (great place).
Fri Sep 14 – With some more family in town and a 30th birthday party to get to, we opened the account with a bottle of Perrier Jouet NV (see notes above) before I attempted to drink my body weight in the fantastic 2011 Ocean Eight pinot gris. Don’t let anyone tell you that 2011 is a complete write-off in Australia. That’s snobbery talking and I plan on making it the subject of a future post.
Sat Sep 15 – Dusting off the hangover with a glass of 06 Jansz Rose (which was bursting with strawberry flavours and looking a treat, enough to get me re-interested in a label that I’d brown a bit tired of) we then had a bottle of the exceptional ‘Cuvee 735’ Jacquesson Champagne before heading to a sensational dinner at Huxtable in Collingwood. We eased into it with a bottle of the 2012 Grosset Alia Riesling, which is off-dry and a great match with the savoury, fried nibbles at the start of the meal. It shows the trademark Grosset floral and perfume aromatics but the sugar balances out some of the acidity to make it altogether a pleasure to drink. We then moved onto a 2010 Paul Ginglinger Pinot Blanc, which is worth ordering for the name alone, let alone the steely and textural wine in the bottle. Our bottle of 2011 Allies Merricks Pinot was a slow starter but got quite pretty with a bit of air and the all saints muscat to finish was a delicious touch.
Sun Sep 16 – A quiet dinner at home! Continuing the celebration vibe we opened a bottle of the 10 Jean Marc Pillot Chassagne Montrachet 1er Vergers Clos St Marc (French Chardonnay) with some home made blue swimmer crab linguine.
Mon Sep 17 – Some friends over for dinner. We took the opportunity to open an 08 JJ Prum Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett (German Riesling) and it was in incredible shape. Showing no age (not surprisingly) and loaded with minerality and ‘rockiness’ it was a pleasure to drink and trying to age the other bottle I have will be quite a challenge! These are near perfect wines, if you have never tried one – search it out. Also tried an 10 Pyramid Valley Savagnin Rose (a ‘red traminer’ – which makes white wine…) which was honeyed and spicy, then rounded out with the 07 Pegasus Bay Encore noble riesling which was the perfect mix of sugary palate weight and light honeyed acid.
On web the 19th I went to a pretty large tasting of Italian and Spanish wine but won’t go into the details now except to say that like this love that will probably be stocking a bit more tempranillo before too long!
Sat Sep 22nd – I was in the Hunter Valley for a wedding and went to the iconic winery Brokenwood. Whilst they make a quite spectacular amount of wines, the highlights for me were their 2010 Cab Merlot (tasting like bitter cherry and licqourice allsorts, yum) and 2010 Beechworth Nebbiolo (not a traditional neb, but showing some aromatic cherries and violets and fine tannin structure). The 12 Horseshoe Vineyard Semillon at the wedding was also worth a mention
Sun Sep 23rd – Going out with a bang! Eased out of the hangover with a sensational tasting at Tyrell’s winery going through many vintages of their Vat 1, Stevens, Belford, HVD and Johnno’s Semillons. The new 2012s (from a challenging vintage) are looking very tight and the 2005 HVD, with complex honey, lemon curd, hay and grass aromas was a bargain I couldn’t resist at $35 cellar door price. Things got a bit silly that afternoon as my friends and I had specifically stuffed our suitcases with wine for a mega Sunday Session/tasting. We kicked off with a bottle of Pol Roger NV that must have had a bit of bottle age as it was toasty, nutty, complex and delicious. Moving onto a Leasingham riesling from the outstanding 2005 vintage. It was drunk in memory of a friend who helped make the wine and is no longer with us and was a fitting reminder of his skills. Next up was a 2010 Jean Marc Pillot Chassagne Montrachet (French Chardonnay) which may well have been wine of the day. Piercing minerality, quince and citrus aromas and incredible persistance this wine punches well above its classification. Two pinots next, The 07 Amisfield RKV from Otago and the 08 Lynmar Estate Freestone from Russian River Valley (California). Both had their strong points, the Amisfield had nice sweet otago fruit and some nice dark spice, but the relatively young vine age showed through after some time in glass. The Lynmar was a blinder. Rich, raspberry and plum with a beautiful tannic undercurrent and some liquorice notes. A trio of 07 VOFT cabernets next. Made by another acquaintance in minute quantities, these wines are all identical except for their oak treatment. One was raised in American oak, and showed toasty, coconut aromas that for me overshadowed the wine itself. The second was aged in Russian Oak and showed some nice charry aromas at first but changed quite quickly over time. The final one was aged in Frenck oak and was altogether the best wine, with fine grained tannin and oak playing a supporting (and elevating) role to the fruit in the wine. More cab next with a magnum of 02 Katnook. At first it was looking a bit tired but after time in glass it pulled together for some nice dusty, savoury flavours with a bit of dark fruit and dried herbs. The final still wine of the day was the 02 Jim Barry Benbournie Cabernet, a beast of a wine with powerful structure, a nice balance of herbs/vegetative aromas and cassis-like cabernet, and at least another 10-15 years of life left ahead of it. We finished the day with a 91 Warres Vintage port and Kay Brothers Amery Grand Muscat before a cleansing Cooper’s pale and a looooooong sleep.
Fortnight over, time to rest!