Browse Tag

clare valley


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)

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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)

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Birks “Wendouree” 1999 Shiraz/Malbec (Clare Valley) – Wine as amaro, and I mean that in an appreciative way. Quite tannic, with the signature eucalyptus note present only in a supporting role. Blackberries at the core, plus a dusting of Tellicherry pepper. Intense. Texturally, like drinking the finely-ground dregs of coffee. As a guess, this wine has decades of life yet to explore. What I love so much about these wines are their unrepentant individuality, even more so than their actual quality…which goes beyond iconoclasm to outright indifference to their reception. (4/09)

Birks in stock

AP Birks “Wendouree” 1997 Shiraz (Clare Valley) – Shocking. That’s mostly a comment about the nose, which is a little insane: blackberry dust, volatility, and a huge stonking wallop of eucalyptus. It’s as if someone distilled the air in the Blue Mountains into shiraz form. Once one gets past the eucalypt, however, there’s a lot more to discover: the darkest possible black fruit streaked with anise, a dusty tannin that develops increasing bitterness as the wine lingers (and boy, does it linger), though eventually this bitter streak starts to grate a bit. Striking and incredibly individualistic. Probably not mature, but I have absolutely no baseline for that judgment. I’m not sure I would say it’s a “great” wine, nor would I want to drink it every night, but I absolutely love it. All wines should have this much character. (3/05)