Browse Tag

australia

Heads Leeuwin, tails you lose

[leeuwin estate]Leeuwin Estate “Art Series” 1999 Shiraz (Margaret River) — Blackberry syrup and soy. I suppose this has aged, but my memory is that it was less sludgy in its youth. It’s in no danger of cliff-diving, so I suppose it might be interesting to see where it goes from here. (11/16)

V’ger

Voyager Estate 2003 Shiraz (Margaret River) – Impatience is what caused this. I probably should have waited another ten years, at least, but curiosity overcame sense. This isn’t even particularly ambitious or artsy shiraz, and yet it has held and oh-so-barely developed without so much as a blink or a nod. Intense peppered blackberry compote, bark, a touch of tar. If one is waiting for this to turn into something, one will of necessity wait longer. (2/12)

Yalumbaring

Yalumba Muscat “Museum Reserve” (South Eastern Australia) – 375 ml. My interest in wines of this overwhelming sweetness has waned over the years, and while it’s certainly impressive in its molasses-like texture and endless, sugary lingering, I just don’t want more than a few small sips of it. None of these are really criticisms – the wine’s a fine exemplar of what it purports – so much as a realization that our relationship has moved on. (12/11)

For he’s a jolly verdelho

Tyrrell’s 2010 Verdelho (Hunter Valley) – Juicy, green, balanced, fun. I don’t think it’s meant to be any more formal than that, so it doesn’t really need more verbiage. (9/11)

Renny

Petaluma 2006 Riesling Hanlin Hill (Clare Valley) – A little reduced, but this dissipates after a reasonable amount of time, lifting the haze over limestone and green grapefruit. Sharp and very – perhaps overly – present, with an acid tongue (in more than one sense of the phrase). Good, if unduly biting. (6/11)

Jeff

Chateau Tahbilk 1994 Shiraz (Goulburn Valley) – The vines for this wine were planted in 1860, ungrafted and pre-phylloxera. And while I can’t say if it’s the vines, the terroir, or the winemaking, you have to toss everything you think you know about Aussie shiraz when faced with this wine in your glass. Brash acidity, tart reddish-black berries, peppercorns, cedar, and black dust…no, this isn’t what one thinks of as Australian shiraz, but neither is it European; almost no classic syrah from France or elsewhere tastes like this, either. I can’t decide if this is just a little past its best or is merely amidst a very long and lingering maturity; just based on this bottle I’d guess the former, but I’ve had older versions that were still in development, so patience could also be warranted. This is a true treasure, and proof that its neighbors wines don’t have to be made as they are. Whether or not one prefers that they are is a different question, of course. (5/11)

Skins

Seppelt 1986 Sparkling Shiraz “Show Reserve” (Barossa Valley) – Right out of the bottle, there’s the baked soy and caramel thing that I loathe, and too often find, in Barossa shiraz. But that doesn’t last long, and after an hour or so of nudging and sipping, the last glass is by far the best. Moreover, I fear there was still more to come as the dregs are drained, though of course I’ll never now. The intended froth is still present but the wine is so full-bodied (and this is in a worldwide, not strictly Barossan, context) that you don’t much notice it after the first few sips. Luscious dark fruit, certainly sun-drenched but not overly so, and black pepper, with a more particulate and coal-dust texture than I would have expected. Fun just because sparkling shiraz is, but with a serious side as well. This wine, decades ago and from a different (and older) vintage, was the one that convinced me sparkling shiraz could be something other than a parlor game and the setup for jokes about goat sacrifice. I’m glad to see that little has changed. (11/10)

Owens

Tyrell’s 1999 Semillon “Vat 1” (Hunter Valley) – Sneaks up, taps you on the shoulder, waits for you to pay attention, then slips away, laughing at your sudden realization that you haven’t been paying enough mind, and now you’ve missed something important. It plays this teasing and eluding game over and over, never surrendering and just showing what it has. It’s not entirely divorced from the flavor profile of a delicate old white Burgundy, though with a little more grass and lemon, and quite satin-textured. The finest white pepper dust, maybe, later in the play. Those who think they can understand a wine’s adulthood and retirement from its birthing pains are, or at least should be, routinely mocked into abashed humility by the journey that this and other Hunter Valley semillons take. (11/10)

Gathering none

Moss Wood 2004 Ribbon Vale Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (Margaret River) – A mix of green and yellow citrus influences, gooseberry, grass, and herb. Ripe to the point of juiciness, and on the fulsome side, but not over the top. A pretty decent finish, too. (3/05)