Browse Tag


Plymouth Plantation

Voyager Estate 2006 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (Margaret River) – Grassy grapefruit rind, crisp and slightly overdriven. It’s a very refreshing drink, but it’s the refreshment of a fruit-based soda more than a wine. Still, it seems churlish to complain, because this is neither advertised as nor attempting to be some vinous sophisticate. I suspect it would be even better with food. (4/10)

Arthur "Two Hands" Jackson

Two Hands 2003 Shiraz “Bad Impersonator” (Barossa Valley) – 15.0%. Really not bad at all. Powerful, for sure, and this is a decidedly berry-dominated expression of syrah, but that’s not unexpected. There’s black pepper and some iron-flake minerality, too. Balanced in its steroidal fashion. I admit that, to my surprise, I find this quite appealing. (4/10)

Indicator finger

[vineyard]Green Point 2006 Shiraz (Victoria) – Syrah demiglace, concentrated to the extent that licorice and jam dominate both nose and palate. A little bit volatile. There’s nothing here other than severely reduced (I don’t mean chemically, but as one would concentrate a sauce) fruit. No structure is evidence, though I’m sure there’s some lurking somewhere underneath the infantry assault. If you’ve ever looked at a porn star and thought, “well, she’d be more attractive if her implants were bigger,” this is the wine for you. (3/10)

Are you there, cab? It’s me…

[vineyard]Voyager Estate 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon (Margaret River) – Unfortunately, this is my last bottle of what has been a wine consistently outperforming both its price and its expectations. It’s not “Australian wine” for all the dire connotations that has to American consumers, it’s cabernet sauvignon, and it’s Margaret River, and it’s good. Dark blackberry fruit, narrowed and focused, with the herbal bite of rosemary and thyme, black peppery structure, and the requisite balancing act between firmness of character and the complexity of age. It’s good, it’s middle-aged at best, it’s aging as any fan of non-internationlized cabernet would wish, and it was under $20 at release. You won’t find wines like that coming from California. (2/10)

Win someone’s money

Knappstein 2006 Riesling (Clare Valley) – The prevailing “wisdom” that Australia = goop is relentlessly questioned by Clare Valley rieslings, which (if anything) bite, slash, and rend far more than their Germanic brethren. To the extent that they have acid balance issues, it’s almost always too much (or too aggressive), rather than too little, acidity. Here, too, the acid is almost lurid in its intensity, and while there’s a pretty solid layer of greenish-yellow fruit and apple skin pressing down upon it, this really is all about the vibrant spike of sharpness driving right through the wine’s center. (2/10)

…aren’t forever

Rosemount Estate “Diamond Label” 2005 Riesling (South Eastern Australia) – Solidly made, clean and simple, with a good acid/sugar balance and flavors that hover in the lemongrass-grapefruit range. There’s not all that much of anything, but there’s enough for well-chilled quaffing. (8/09)


Campbell’s Tokay (Rutherglen) – From 375 ml. Sticky-sweet butterscotch and reduced, slightly charred clove honey. Brown sugar drizzled with grade B maple syrup. Did I mention the sugar? (7/09)


[vineyard]Pirie “South” 2006 “Estelle” (Tasmania) – 50% riesling, 30% gewürztraminer, 20% pinot gris. An aperitif-styled chilly chugger of a wine, full of crystal sweetness and pretty, almost icy fruit. No complexity, but I doubt any was desired. A wine for laughter. (7/09)


Veritas 1997 Shiraz Hanisch (Barossa Valley) – Black raspberry and black cherry, both coated with bitter chocolate. Then, there’s crème de cassis, licorice liqueur, bubblegum, and a significant spike of acetone. Texturally, the wine’s sticky to the point of being gummy, an absolute harlot with its fruit, and rather massive. All that said, there’s a certain insane balance to the wine, and those for whom “more” has no upper bound will probably love the geysering sluttishness of it. But it’s definitely not my thing. (3/05)

Cullen the herd

Cullen 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Margaret River) – Dense and a little roasted, with razor-like tannin and a certain alcoholic weight (though there’s only a bit of heat). Coconut, blackberry, and…not much else; the center is hollow, there’s volatile acidity hanging about (and sure to get stronger), and the wine finishes with both feet and a large portion of its torso in the grave, though it’s still swinging its fists as it descends. A bit brutal to drink, honestly, and it appears to have suffered the fate so often predicted for modern-style wines (though what it was actually like young, I have no idea). Some at the table opine that it’s actually having a mid-life crisis, and while I concede their greater experience with the wine, I don’t see it based on what’s on display. (3/05)