2013 MacLean Bay Sparkling Rosé

If you speak to my wife she will tell you I am a creature of habit.  This may be correct but I prefer to say I have a routine.  I don’t think this is bad thing.

There is one habit or routine I have decided to rename ‘tradition’, and because it involves my wife, sister and mother, I’m going to add ‘family’ to that and call it a ‘family tradition’.  Pretty simple really.  Let me explain.

Every Sunday afternoon for as long as I can remember (not that I have a good memory), my wife and I meet my sister at my mother’s home.  We share a bottle of sparkling wine (sometimes two) coupled with lunch and convivial conversation.  It develops into a really good afternoon.  My mum is a bit of a traditionalist in that her preferred sparkling wine is the pinot/chardonnay style or as she calls it, “my bubbles”.  So, one Sunday afternoon I decided to take a bottle of this sparkling rosé.  Well, a few sips later and she was like the cat coming out of the dairy.  It was like the day she discovered an iPad; quite the revelation.  Just like her iPad has become part of her day, sparkling rosé has become an occasional part of her, and our, Sunday afternoon ‘family tradition’.

All estate grown fruit, hand picked and whole bunch pressed.  The French winemaking technique of ‘Méthode Traditionelle’ (that’s Traditional Method for those that can’t read French) have produced a pretty yummy bubbles.  Fresh delicate strawberries are the main fruit flavours for me along with nice clean acid dancing alongside a creamy sort of texture, leading to a good dry, medium length finish.  I can picture my mum now after that first taste, looking at the glass, then going in for a second helping.

Region: East Coast, Tas     Price: $36     Source: Sample thanks to Maclean Bay wines.

Maclean Bay Wines Website

Maclean Bay Sparkling

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2019 Jim Barry Watervale Riesling

Recently, my wife and I decided to go for a walk in the bush.  Not that we are bush walkers by any stretch of the imagination, it was just that we were in a pristine area of Tasmania so it seemed the natural thing to do there.  While we were walking, the air we were breathing seemed so fresh, so clean and so pure it was like it was brand new.  I don’t know if you can imagine that; brand new air, but it describes it perfectly for me.  This wine and the air we were breathing are similar.  The only difference is, this wine is definitely brand new and you can tell.

It may be very pale in colour but it is not pale in any other way.  Vibrant and fresh aromas typical of a young riesling.  Lemons and slightly floral notes, coupled with a hint of musk (has it rubbed up against a bunch of Gewürztraminer grapes?) is what it is all about here.  Terrific fresh flavours of lemons, limes, and apple acidity and plenty of them being offered up.  That acidity carries the juicy fruit to a lovely long finish where there is also some texture adding a very pleasant dimension to such a young wine.  This is an absolute bargain Riesling!

Jim Barry Website

Region: Clare Valley, SA     Price: $20 (It can be found cheaper)  Source: Retail Purchase

Jim Barry - Watervale Riesling Bottle Shot

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2018 Yelland and Papps Second Take Mataro

Mataro is so Spanish isn’t it?  I can picture a Spaniard doing the dance of the matador, dressed in his flamboyant costume, saying the word while extending the ‘a’ and rolling the ‘r’, followed by stomping his feet, then placing one hand on his hip, the other raised above his head as he points his nose to the air.  Almost like a challenge, sort of like a declaration, but more like a moment of pride in his native country where the grape, allegedly, has its origins (that’s a debate I’m not getting into).

I can’t say I have tried a traditional Spanish Monastrell (the preferred name for Mataro these days) but I reckon the locals would be enamoured with the way the Mataro has been made on this occasion.

A pretty purply, crimsony colour in the glass sets things off in a traditional sense when it comes to the variety.  Tasting it revealed spicy and slightly peppery characters along with plenty of fruit flavours that liven the palate.  Blueberries, juicy plump plums and dark cherries are all in there contributing as it peters off very pleasantly with lovely smooth tannins.  It’s like Michael Papps has put the fruit, the spices, the tannins and the magic of this wine through a wine weaving loon and produced a mataro that pleases the olfactory senses with ease.

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $45     Source: Sample thanks to Yelland & Papps

Y&P 2nd Mataro

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2018 Yelland & Papps Second Take Vermentino

Recently my wife and I drove to the north of Tasmania and the closer we got to our destination, the more the weather turned a bit dirty.  A brief conversation about the change in the weather proved to be a perfect way to describe this wine.

The sky looked a dark blue with some nice white and pale grey cloud cover.  But, when you looked from the hills and moved your gaze upwards, there were actually dark blue/grey clouds around with white ones below it and pale grey ones that seemed to float above them.  A layered appearance of rain filled clouds with no definite boundaries between them.  Every layer seemed to give the impression of structure and strength coupled with presence and personality, all of it coming together resulting in quite the captivating scene.  I hope you know what I mean because I really haven’t done it justice.

This wine is beautifully layered.  All you need to do is add balance to “structure, strength, presence and personality”, and you have this wine to a ‘T’.

Fun, funky and flavoursome from the bottom up and the top down.  The first thing you encounter is the texture and a nice grip on the palate thanks to 310 days on skins.  Sliding on in next were plenty of fresh apple and pear juice characters that seemed to be finely coated by delicate spices, and then some citrussy like acid chimes in adding to a really good length.  Just like that sky I mentioned earlier, this was a captivating and an intriguingly layered wine.  I have to say, it was very well received by the small group of friends for whom I poured it.  Nice one.  Nice one indeed!

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $45     Source: Sample courtesy of Yelland & Papps

Y&P 2nd Vermentino

 

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2018 Yelland & Papps Second Take Rousanne

Adding interest to a wine can be as easy as letting a wine add interest to itself. Take this wine for example.  Extended maceration, wild ferment, placed in 100% old French oak for a year, unfined and unfiltered and plenty of ‘sediment’ to stir up before pouring.  Definitely a wine that provides some intrigue for your wine loving friends and will certainly get the conversation started, if not about it’s construction, then about it’s tasting and drinking.

If you do the recommended thing and “mix before serving”, you are in for a lovely surprise, for the intrigue starts here.  The colour itself is interesting.  Clarity is a word that needs to be forgotten.  Cloudy is certainly the word but not to the detriment of the aromas or flavours.  It gets started with aromas of honeyed pear juice, a dab of banana and a nice citrus note too.  Similar flavours on the texturally generous palate but it seems almost alive.  I know what you’re thinking, but that’s how it seemed.  A virtual naturally natural, genuine and nicely balanced wine that proved to be a winner with our little group of wine appriecianados.

Yelland & Papps Website

Region: Barossa Valley, SA     Price: $45     Source: Sample thanks to Yelland & Papps

Second Take Roussanne

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2013 Huntington Estate Vintage Fortified Shiraz

This was quite, let’s say, interesting for me.  I cannot remember ever reviewing a fortified wine…ever!  I mean, I’ve tried plenty of them and I am, without a doubt, a fan so to put one in a glass for me to try, there’s definitely going to be a positive attitude towards it.  This however required a different approach (if you like) because it involved reviewing it.  I was sort of compelled to look at it more deeply and, fair enough too.  I rather liked the challenge and welcomed it.  Ultimately, on a good note, it gave me more of an appreciation of this style of wine rather than just utter the words, “I like this” or just sit back and enjoy it.

To start with, I felt sorry for this wine because I’ve no doubt it confuses those who don’t know how to treat it.  Fortified is not a word that rings true to many thanks to a European country that ‘patented’ the words ‘Port’ and ‘Tawny’, which are more in keeping with the knowledge of the masses (no offence intended).  It looks just like any other red wine in the glass, yet it can’t, and doesn’t, say, “I’m not your usual red wine so don’t have me with steak” kinda thing.  This only becomes obvious when you smell it and try it.  Speaking of which, let me tell you what I thought of it.

If you do buy a bottle, have a look at the colour from the top of the glass.  It is deep and dense in the middle and peters out to a pretty crimson on the edges.  It smells fresh and fruity and sweet thanks to some blackberry and blackcurrant aromas.  The palate is quite rich where those same fruits are dominant and complimented by some slight licorice notes.  As I tasted it over three days, the black fruit characters hung around with the addition of fulsome mid palate plums as the licorice character faded. You can’t escape the sweetness but it is in balance with the fruit, and gee it lingers beautifully on the palate.

People may not agree with me on this but, as much as it will stand the test of (some) time, drink up I say.  It is most enjoyable now too.

Huntington Estate Website

Region: Mudgee, NSW     Price: $25     Source: Sample thanks to Huntington Estate and Define Wine

2013 Huntington Estate Vintage Fortified Shiraz

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2017 Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Shiraz

Scrubby Rise as a straight Shiraz?  Did Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot want nothing to do with it, or did Shiraz think it was that good it could go it alone this vintage?  Is there going to be a Scrubby Rise Cabernet Sauvignon?  I’m secretly (not so anymore obviously) hoping there will be.  If Wirra Wirra can produce a Shiraz of this quality and price, I’ve no doubt they can do the same with a Cab Sav (with a touch of PV).  How lucky are we punters?

A very fresh, juicy and fruitful nose and I thought it almost a bit floral too, but it’s the tasting and drinking where it counts for this wine.  There’s a certain level of richness thanks to plenty of red fruits and plums, a minimal dark fruit influence with a hint of spice (don’t ask me which ones, it just has some).  There was a bit of a medicinal character to begin with but that proved to be not a worry as it dissipated with air and time. The tannins and oak don’t demand attention from a wine that is perfectly made for early consumption and is definitely going to be a crowd pleaser.  Bargain buying right here!

Wirra Wirra Website

Region: McLaren Vale, SA     Price: $15 (Bargain)     Source: A very kind mate

Wirra_Wirra_Scrubby_Rise_Shiraz_2017

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