Well, this wine had a downloadable, hi-res image, but it’s such a poorly exposed shot that I had to edit it. Sort of looked like someone had taken a photo of a snake in the dark. I’ve previously reviewed the cheaper Flor De Brezo from Mengoba. This wine has perhaps more oak and concentration, but isn’t necessarily better. It’s mostly Mencía with a scattering of Estaldiña.
Oak is obvious here, which makes sense seeing as the grapes are put into a single 400 litre barrel and not moved until the wine is bottled. You get burnt toffee, chocolate and coffee, then a note of barbecued meat typical of Mencía. Fruit characters follow with raspberry and dark cherry being the main offenders.
It’s bigger and more tannic than a lot of Bierzo reds that I’ve tasted. It should age very well, but in the meantime, enjoy its bold flavour and concentration. It feels like the essence of the wine is thin and flowing, but there’s a density of tannin and fruit floating amongst it all. A bitter chocolate note finishes the wine.
I’d say it will be a better wine in two or three years’ time. Until then, would be best served with a hearty stew.
Very Good / 91+ points
Hooray for downloadable, hi-res bottle images.
Paler than the hi-res image suggests. Gives out blackcurrant, licorice and tarragon aromas with a fair projection. Touch of meatiness. Sort of reads more like a red, but it’s a flavoursome rosé, but on that’s still much more subdued and less ripe than a lot of other Australian examples. Has a decent body and the blackcurrant follows through, joined by some black jellybean. Noticeably soft and weighty, and doesn’t show much of the phenolics that Nebbiolo rosé sometimes has. Pretty good drink and has individuality.
Good / 89 points
Brought along by myself and tasted at a small monthly tasting group that’s just started up. It’s mostly for Perth wine trade, so if that’s you and you’re reading and interested, send me an email. Last month’s theme was Tasmania. Two Chardonnays were brought along – this and the Holyman 2009. Polar opposites in terms of style. Since Tasmania doesn’t yet have truly defined wine regions, I’ll keep it under just Tasmania. Derwent Estate is 20km out of Hobart, so it’s south eastern Tassie.
Has a delicate citrus nose with a subtle mineral support – oyster shell and quartz. Perhaps some green papaya too. There’s more of a clout of stonefruit on the palate, but there’s still a great deal of finesse. Some will probably say it’s Chablisesque, which is one of my pet hates. I will not. It may share the delicacy but not the terroir. There is nothing wrong with it being from its own place.
Oak is present but doesn’t get in the way of fruit purity. A beguiling modern Chardonnay with complexity that doesn’t shout in your face.
Excellent / 93 points
I’ve got this open next to the 2013 Hahndorf Hill Grüner, and they are totally different wines. The HH is delicate and Riesling-like. This Lark Hill GV is rich and intense, but with the variety’s natural acidity, it is still crisp and light.
You can expect aromas of baked apples, white pepper, jasmine and pear. The palate is oily and viscous, thick with flavour and cut by gentle acidity. Some apricot, ginger and nutmeg spice emerges. Feels like a bit of residual sugar is at work.
Whilst I do like the racy but not thin styles of Grüner Veltliner, it’s so good to see an Australian alternative with this much character, texture and intensity. The quality is immediately apparent, and it’s got the balance that the 2012 somewhat lacked. Quite brilliant.
Outstanding / 94 points
Delicate nose that suggests a myriad of apples – green and red apples, and the Champoo apple, which, incidentally, is currently available at my local farmers’ market. Other than that, a hint of slate and unripe pear.
It has both lingering weight and the quick energy of acidity. Some tannins are noticeable as well right up front. The palate introduces puckering lime to a continued mineral accord. Certainly a good wine for lovers of South Australian Riesling.
I’m trying to decide if I like this vintage better than the 2011. Hard call, as I rated that Excellent – Outstanding (which may be been a slighty inflated score). Anyway, it’s a prime example of Grüner and I love drinking it.
Excellent / 92 points
I must admit, I was expecting this wine to be far too young to drink, but gladly, it wasn’t. Not saying it won’t get better though.
There’s a curious note of smoky piquillo peppers (thanks Jeremy for implanting that thought). Notes of stalks, rhubarb and plums are there to be sniffed too. Not so much spice to the nose, but more something like polished hardwood.
It does change in the glass significantly. Midweight palate, with a balance of fruit and spicy, savoury notes. Frisky acidity too, which seemed to be mellowed with time in the decanter. Great clarity and persistence of flavour here and it shows paprika, cherries and allspice characters. Just a whisper of tannins suggests to me that this will be best consumed within a few years.
Seductive, inviting and alluring Pinot Noir. It certainly wooed me. I’d drink this all the time if it wasn’t so limited and expensive. Damn. Yarra’s got me again.
Outstanding / 94 points
Forgive me Father, it’s been a month since my last blog post. I’ve been moving house and the like, so haven’t had an internet connection. Plus I needed a bit of a break. Anyway, back into it with a superb Soave.
I find Soave to be a bit hit and miss. We have a hit here, without any doubt.
Aroma-wise, at first, it’s like many Italian whites – pears and apples and flowers. There’s more to the wine than that however. You can find notes of heady jasmine, tangerine and white peach. Starts all racy and refreshing on the palate, then builds with powdery mineral and waxy flesh. These elements all seem to have their turn in front before the others momentarily hit the lead. In Robert Parker style, it runs for about 23 seconds. But honestly, who waits 23 seconds before having another slurp of Soave?
A wine that you can analyse, but you do not have to. The quality is immediately apparent. I can’t say for sure what foods this will go well with, because I’d say it will probably enhance most dishes that aren’t red meat based. Well, probably even some of those too. Probably the best Soave I’ve come across on my travels. Check out Suavia’s Recioto dessert wine as well.
Excellent – Outstanding / 94 points
What’s this? A Gewürz? From WA? In balance? Well, I never…
Opens with fresh pear, a small hint of lychee, and heady notes of clove, pansy and musk. Certainly a complex and restrained nose for a Gewürztraminer. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed such a distinct eugenol (clove) aroma in a wine. Dry, but not fiercely so. It has some weight and oil, but the acidity has been carefully managed and I can happily say that this is a multiple glass affair unlike many of its kin. A treat with spicy food, as the old cliche goes. Coconut based curries – South Indian or Thai.
There’s not much of this about, so if you see it on a wine list, do order it. It’s a real pleasure to drink.
Very Good – Excellent / 92 points