La Croix-Barton 2009

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By far the most widely searched wine on my blog has been the La Croix-Barton 2008.  I did not particularly care for it, but apparently many people googled it and ended up reading my 2 cents worth.  When I saw the ’09 I did not hesitate.  Priced at around $14 it provides gratification with oak and mulberry on the nose to get things started.  Tart cherry and plums greet the palate but they are slightly thin right now.  Juicy acidity and young tannins make this an interesting wine to drink now yet I feel it could do with another 2 years in a cellar.  This wine is vibrant and lively but should settle down and gain some weight in short order.  It is interesting to taste wines from the same winery but from an average year versus a far superior one to see the nuances.  This particular example highlights just how much variation you can get between vintages.  I’m going with 88 points and 3 stars for this Merlot/Cab Sauvignon blend from Bordeaux.  Salut….
la croix barton

Sass Pinot Noir 2012

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I took Moxie out for a late supper last night at our local Korean/Cajun fusion restaurant called Mokomandy.  We were deep in conversation when the drink order was up, so I asked the waiter what he would recommend and ended up with this Willamette Valley Pinot to go with our eclectic dinner.

It’s funny how some wines taste a certain way to some people, yet others have totally different opinions.  Here we go…

Pinot Purple in the glass, with the telltale see-through hues of a this fickle grape.  Red fruits and a straw component hit me on the nose, I was excited to discover what shade of ‘New World’ this wine would be.  I immediately got sour cherry, strawberry and cranberries on the initial attack, and when I say sour- yowsah….  This wine is most definitely Oregonian in style with some bracing acidity and melded tannins.  The finish was decent with a lingering note of forest floor and strawberry.  The acidity was a little too much for me, making the wine seem a tad off-balance.  I bet it will hold up well in the cellar though and perhaps come out strong in a few years.  Back to the differing of opinions- the winemaker’s website claims flavors of blackberry and black cherry with peppery notes.  I went the other direction with red fruits and certainly no pepper, interesting.  89 points from me for this tasty effort and 3 stars for it’s $22 price tag.  Salut….

sass pinot noir

Doisy-Vedrines Sauternes 2010

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Last weekend I had a big tasting night planned.  The Clarendon Hills Syrah was the opener.  I was then planning on doing a mini vertical of this wine with a 2011.  Problem is that I absolutely loved this bottle and ended up finishing it and saving the other one for another night.  I laid out two cheeses to go along with the sweet dessert wines.  They deserve their own blog posts- simply out of this world.The wine was poured into my Riedel dessert glass where it showed off a light golden color and had a nose of apricots, honey and almond chips. I made note of a classy smoothness with light botrytis in the initial attack. Honey and melon jam came to mind after letting the wine swirl a bit. The first sensation was of light acidity which became cutting on the mid palate. Apricot tart with a sweet minerality on the back end was a really nice way to tail it off but I was in for a surprise. I timed a rather long finish over 90 seconds which added some cloying sweetness and hazelnuts on the finale. Exquisite and worthy of 95 points from me. Here’s the bonus….. it’s only $20 and I’m buying all I can get in 375ml bottles. If you like sweet wines, this one is an absolute stunner. 5 stars for this sticky. Salut….

The original lineup, 2010 and 2011 Doisy-Vedrines

The original lineup, 2010 and 2011 Doisy-Vedrines

The cheese course, out the park with these two!

The cheese course, out the park with these two!

doisy vedrines

Clarendon Hills Bakers Gully Syrah 2007

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Yet another tremendous effort from Clarendon Hills that had me refilling my glass quicker than usual.  I planned a rather extravagant night last weekend before I left town.  This bottle was the opener, going up against some Hanger Steaks, a piece of Flat Iron Beef and some peppercorn sirloins.  The match was perfect.

Purple jam and tar sprung out of the blackish-purple glass that really intrigued me.  The Clarendons are usually slightly restrained and refined, not bombastic.  More on this later…  A plum core with blackberry and spice box introduced me to the wine where I then got some oak and leather notes with bramble on the mid palate.  Well masked 14.5% alcohol is a becoming a regular feature of this winery.  I made note of the smoothness with a racing acidity and well integrated tannins.  This particular cuvee has full extraction but is restrained in style.  The winemaker has really worked these grapes to achieve depth and character with tremendous complexity yet still sticking to their Rhone style of making Aussie Shiraz.  I gave it 93 points which aligns with the pro’s and would drink this wine between 2014-2018 with no problem.  Pricey at $70 or so bucks it will make you look a star on a big dinner date when paired with some grilled meats.  4 stars from me.  Salut….

bclarendon hills bakers gully syrah

Anwilka 2006

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A South African wine from Stellenbosch with huge credentials.  It’s a joint venture between Bruno Prats (formerly of Cos D’Estournel), Hubert de Bouard  (Chateau Angelus) and Lowell Jooste of Klein Constantia.  Each of these men’s wineries are world renowned and highly respected.  I got the offer by e-mail to pick up a few bottles from my local distributor so I jumped in, each priced at about $40.

A vibrant purple greeted me along with a nose of hoisin and plums.  Some cassis became apparent after a swirl which really excited me.  Straight out of the blocks- this is a young wine with some cellaring potential still to go.  Primal fruit flavors of plum, blueberry and rooibos tea came through behind the veil of youngish tannins and acidity.  Coffee notes and some oak were apparent after some time in the glass.  The wine reminds me so much of Meerlust Rubicon, perhaps the terroir plays a role.  The blend is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Shiraz and 5% Merlot- an interesting combo if I might say so.  The bottle says it has a drinking window between 2014-2016.  I am gonna go a step further and say it will last another 5 years at least (2019).  I think it is worthy of 91 points versus the pro’s at 89.  Pricy for an everyday drinker it will do well with a Sunday roast as the weather cools down.  A big Ribeye would also complement the tannic structure to a T if you’re in a grilling mood.  4 stars from me.  Salut….

anwilka wine

 

Cat Amongst The Pigeons Shiraz Grenache 2008

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I bought this one sight unseen from my local dealer who was having a bin-end sale.  It normally retailed for about $16.  I liked it, a lot.  From the Barossa Valley it oozed class and warmth, starting with a full-on nose of Asian Plums, black cherries and blackberries- gorgeous.  Picture a bowl full of dark fruits….

Brooding black berries and eucalyptus with some smoke and tar hit the palate nicely with some polished tannins and slight acidity.  A long finish of chocolate and earth mingle with some plum jam to finish things off.  At 5 years of bottle age it is at peak and will go on for another 3 years I reckon.  For the price I paid I would get more if I could.  92 points and 5 stars in my book for this 57% Shiraz, 43% Grenache blend that hid it’s 14.9% alcohol perfectly.  Plus, it’s a cool name and a great label!  Salut….

cat amongst the pigeons shiraz grenache

Clarendon Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Sandown 2006

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If you have read any of my Clarendon posts you will know that I love this winery and can’t get enough of their subtle yet complex Syrahs, Cabernets and Grenaches.  This particular Mclaren Vale offering was opened to go along with my new favorite grilled meat- Chorizo.  I loaded up two giant Ribeye steaks (the butcher had labelled them Delmonico’s, all hoity toity) some onions and a half dozen of the Mexican sausages on the charcoal grill and opened this beauty to sip while I got the rest of dinner ready.

Thick purple color is always a good start for Cabernet Sauvignon.  Fresh blue fruits with some mint greeted my flaring nostrils- perhaps a touch of alcohol was coming off the glass.  Unique plum compote and blueberry coulis flavors were my initial impression but I began to think the wine is still primal with full fruit and a whiff of heat attacking the mid palate.  Moderate tannins and cutting acidity belie a still young wine waiting to mature.  Eucalyptus and mulberry came into being on the back end with cassis and red fruits adding to the long finish.  The 14.5% alcohol was hidden after a while, blown off from it’s early attack.  The wine is structured, balanced and a joy to drink.  I would imagine it could cellar for another 15 years easily.  $75 and 94 points from me make this a treat of a wine that gets 5 stars for a special occasion.  Salut….

clarendon hills sandown

 

Oak Savanna Cabernet Sauvignon Rancho La Zaca 2001

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Moxie and I went to a friend’s home for appetizers and wine before venturing out for dinner.  They had just moved house and it was my luck that he offered my choice of wines.  This one was not to be missed from his selection.  Not often do you get to try a 13 year old Cali Cab on the fly.  The only downside of this wine was a crumbled cork.

Plums with a nice oak nose welcomed us to imbibe in this smooth wine.  Cassis, plum torte and a hint of eucalyptus were the opening act with some leather and earth coming into mid-palate play.  Fully integrated tannins and great acidity made for a great mouthfeel that you get from aged wine.  I made note ‘Mature in a Bordeaux way’, but believe this was once full on fruit- tempered by time.  Slight bricking in the glass tells me this wine is absolutely at peak, start drinking if you have any more.  I have no idea what this bottle retailed for, but if it was in the $35 range back in the day it would not surprise me.  I give it a solid 91 points and potentially 4 stars if I knew the price.  Delicious wine that has rewarded extended cellaring.  Salut….

oak savanna cabernet sauvignon

Shingleback The Davey Estate Shiraz 2010

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Every once in a while I come across a score that I totally disagree with.  This one is definitely in that camp.  The wine was a dark purple in the glass which was a good start.  On the nose I coaxed fruits of blue and red currants by swirling like crazy.  Once I tasted the wine I wrote ‘Picture blue plums’.  That’s all I could muster.  Bracing acidity with mild tannins made for a rather boring drink that I was trying to pair with some Hanger steak.  Two of the reviews gave this McLaren Vale Shiraz 93 points and WS gave it 88.  I’m going with 87 personally and for the $20 retail price, it gets 2 stars.  Salut….

shingleback davy estate shiraz

Yalumba The Guardian Shiraz Viognier 2010

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One of my mates brought this little Eden Valley charmer to the party.  I found it online for about $20.  My first impression was the color- nearly black in the glass, beautiful.  Plums and cherries on the nose were an interesting combination for me as I was expecting some black currants.  On the first sip I only got blue fruits and some oak with bracing acidity but felt the wine was a little thin.  Slight tannins and mid palate pluminess gave me the impression that the wine is slightly unbalanced.  A noticeable oak touch came through on the back end with a clove hint.  88 points is a fair number for this wine although it got 90 from WS.  I am giving it 3 stars and would drink it after some cellaring with a pasta dish, perhaps some bruschetta.  Salut….
yalumba the guardian

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