Ahh you little beauty. Back in the day I used to drink gallons of this stuff and wrote about the 2015 McRae Wood I recently tasted. This one, being a year older is still opaque ruby in the glass. The nose is quite pronounced with gorgeous aromas of sweet blackberry, black plum, vanilla laced blueberry pie, baking spice, red licorice and orange peel. The palate is as hoped for- dry with great acidity, smooth tannins, full body and a long finish. Pronounced flavors of the above mentioned primary fruit, secondary nuance from oak and perhaps a dash of tertiary influence from leather notes. I feel like I am missing out on the traditional jammyness usually found in Aussie Shiraz but I don’t miss it. This wine is chock full of complex flavors and I am enjoying the melding of said flavors with the structural components. 93 points from me for this $45 wine will get it 5 stars. Drink till 2030 with steaks, lamb chops or a hearty stew like short ribs. Salut….
I have had a few of the Two Hands wines and enjoyed them so when I came across this slightly aged bottle I had to try. It’s Lamb Chops tonight so an Aussie Shiraz is appropriate. This one is deep ruby, ie nearly fully opaque. The nose is of medium intensity and has aromas of plums, blackberry, rich baking spice, cedar and eucalyptus but no telltale pepper note. The palate is dry with really juicy acidity, medium (+) tannins and medium (+) body. There is some heat from the high alcohol that caught me off-guard. The flavors are medium (+) intense and consist of black plums, blackberry, cedar, eucalyptus and a jammy component. The finish is quite long, the wine is nicely balanced and complex. It has good mouthfeel even though there is a slight, lingering burn on the back end. I like it and think it will drink well for some time- till 2029. Pairing it with meat is obvious. 92 points from me and for $35 it’s a steal worthy of 5 stars. Salut….
I’m delving into the unknown with this one. I have never tried a Muscadelle, but I have heard about it in my wine course. In an effort to expand my palate I went looking for one of these and boy is it a rich amber color. It looked syrupy when I was pouring it and the legs are just a watery sheen on the glass which is surprising considering this sweet dessert wine weighs in at 18.5% ABV. The nose is interesting- some oxidation with stewed fruit and nuts, almost peanuts… On the palate it is very thick and rich with aromatic fruit. Pecans, honey, tangerine peel, burnt sugar, dried apricots, medicinal- think lemon and honey cough drops. It is unctuous and sweet for sure but there is a bitterness too. The acidity is medium and the finish is also medium in length. To say it is full bodied would be an understatement, but the mouthfeel is great. I am liking this intro to the style yet miss a botrytized white, that’s more down my sweet wine alley. This bottle will eventually get finished, unlike a good Sauternes which won’t last but a few short hours. Not knowing what to score this $15/375ML offering, I will defer to the pros who gave it 91 points. 5 stars, drink with dessert! Salut…
I’ve been a fan of this winery for many years. In fact I have written about several wines from them and each one got a glowing review. I just realized that this bottling is named after the founder’s daughter who is but 3 days older than my youngest son, Jet. This vintage runs a little less ABV than previous, 14.2%. In the glass it is deep purple and showing youth rather than maturity. The nose is very pronounced with aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant and white pepper. There’s oak for sure, it’s just seamless and presents itself in vanilla and perhaps some chocolate notes. As I swirl the flavor profile shifts towards blue fruit- think blueberry and plum. There is a sweetness to this wine that might manifest into a jammy component on the palate- let’s see.
On the initial attack I get blueberry cobbler, vanilla, grippy tannins, juicy acidity and ever so slight jamminess. It’s not overly thick like some Aussie Shirtaz-bombs can be, more subtle. I get a distinct smoky note which is actually not playing well into my aspirations, it’s a bit disjointed. The mid palate is quite dry and the finish is definitely where the tannins are showing up. It’s quite a long affair with plenty of fruit flavors, but the grip is very present. I like it. This wine will pair well with my char-grilled strip steak and Chorizo sausages. I think it drinks nicely now and will continue to evolve and get better with time. Cellar or drink till 2028 for this 91 point wine that gets 4 stars for it’s $55 entry fee. Salut….
In my wine course I had to write about the Coonawarra region in Australia. I learned quite a bit about this tiny appellation- a bevy of high end Cab Savs come from here so when I saw this bottle, I had to give it a try.
It’s pretty opaque with a nice shade of ruby in the glass with thin legs belying it’s 14% ABV. The nose is stacked with black fruits, charred wood, bell pepper, black pepper and something rich that I cannot put my finger on. The palate is dry with generous tannins coating my gums right off the bat. The fruit is having a hard time competing for attention until the mid palate where the blackberry, black plum, black currant, cedar and charred oak finally get a say. The grip of those tannins re-emerges on the finish where my teeth are now rough and my gums are begging for mercy. This is a young wine folks, it needs time or a good run through the aerator. The richness of the fruit is somewhat lost, hidden by the cloak of structure. There is ample acidity to balance the tannins in due course and I think the whole package will come together nicely. Save this young-un for a few years and drink from 2025-2030. I think it warrants 91 points and at $22 it’s a steal worthy of 5 stars. I loaded up on a few bottles, and will cellar the remaining ones. Salut….
Medium ruby with watery legs. The nose has medium (+) intensity aromas of blackberry, raspberry, red plum, violet, black pepper, charred wood, cedar and is meaty. It is quite complex and developing. The palate is dry with medium acidity, medium tannins, high alcohol, medium body and medium (+) intensity flavors of raspberry, red plum, coffee, black pepper, cedar and that meaty note. There is nice complexity to this wine that has a medium (-) finish. Overall I really like this blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that is drinking well now but has potential for aging. 91 points for this $22 bottle make it a 5 star effort. Drink till 2028. Salut….
For the finale at our Virtual Wine tasting #20 I selected an oldie but goodie. It’s been a few years since I drank any Mollydooker wines. They are a treat but buyer beware- they pack a punch. It all starts with the obligatory Mollydooker Shake, which is an important part of tasting this wine correctly. I had all the participants open the screw cap and pour off a half cup of wine into another wine glass. After re-sealing the bottle we shook vigorously to help release the Nitrogen that these wines are bottled under. Once done I had them pour regular glasses and we compared the smell of the original wine versus the shaken version- a stunning difference in aroma.
The wine is bright purple, opaque and menacing in the glass once you read the label and realize it has 16% ABV. On the nose it is jammy with blackberry, raisin, plum, pepper, coffee, black tea and vanilla. Our group got flavors of coffee, blackberry jam, cinnamon, and someone mentioned ‘grape’. Lithe tannins and medium (-) acidity make for an easy mouthfeel once you clear the alcohol hurdle. A decent finish was enjoyed as I reflected on the length and depth of fruit flavor coming out of this bottle. The body is most def full, the grapes being extracted to the max. This is not a lightweight. I am a little stumped as to what I would pair it with- the richness will overpower most foods- oh well…drink it all by itself. 91 points from me make this $30 wine a 5 star effort that needs to be on your short list. Drink till 2028. Salut….
When I drank this wine at my mates place, I was thinking of my wine course so I used the standard lexicon to describe it. Having said that, I will add a few personal notes. I’ve never had a wine from Yarra Valley. A cooler climate area that allows Pinot to grow, I found this wine to be well developed, almost over the hill at a mere 6 years of age. Perhaps my mate Johny stored it incorrectly? It was tasty to be sure, but was very much ripe and stewed. It may have a few years left but drink now to enjoy it the most. I give it 90 points even though it got upwards of 93 from the pros. At $30 plus, it gets 3 stars from me. Salut…
- Pale tawny
- Nose- medium intensity strawberry, cranberry, red cherry, earth and game. Developing
- Palate-dry, medium – acidity, medium – body, medium – tannins, medium intensity flavors of strawberry, red cherry, earth, cooked strawberry and sour?. Medium finish.
- Conclusion- acceptable quality to be drunk now, but has potential for ageing.
This week I am focusing on New World wines for my course. I have selected this bottle to kick off the festivities and here is my official tasting note for class:
Clarendon Hills Grenache ‘Romas’ 2011, Australia 14.5% ABV
- Appearance- Deep ruby with thick legs.
- Nose- Pronounced aromas of red plum, raspberry, blackcurrants, chocolate, coffee and smoke. Developing.
- Palate- Dry, medium acidity, medium+ tannins, high alcohol, medium+ body, medium+ intensity flavors of raspberry, red plum, chocolate, coffee, licorice. Medium finish.
- Conclusion- good quality, drink now but has potential for aging.
I have drunk many different vintages and varietals from this winery. Their Syrah mimics Rhone wines rather than jammy Shiraz. This particular bottle of Grenache was somewhat one-dimensional and lacked much development, even with 10+ years of aging. It was very tasty but had a bit of astringency that bothered me.
It ran me $30 per bottle and I am going with 89 points- kind of disappointing, I know. 2 stars, hopefully the other bottles show better as the original pro review gave it upwards of 95 points. Drink till 2030, served mine with grilled Hangar steak and Chimichurri. Salut….
I was reading about Biodynamic farming today in my wine course so naturally I was tempted to try one. This particular wine is an Aussie Shiraz from McLaren Vale that runs 14.5% ABV, typical. They like to wring the heck out of the juice downunda. It shows in the glass- deep purple with big tears. The nose has rich plum, bakers spice, blackcurrant and a whiff of the heat. On the palate it reverberates the dark fruit theme with spiciness alongside chocolate powder hints. It is opulent yet not overly jammy, as can be the case too often in Shiraz. The mouthfeel is very round and warm, the alcohol noticeable on the mid-palate. There are some lithe tannins and a modicum of acidity – very balanced in my opinion, even if on a smaller scale. The finish is short to medium and certainly fruit forward, it’s nice. This wine will drink nicely till 2026 and pair well with roasted meats. 89 points from me and at $18 per bottle, its gets 3 stars. Salut….