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Andrew Burge

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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:12 pm

2017 Olivers Taranga Fiano

One of the new Italian varietals becoming more widely available now that local plantings are maturing. Vermentino and Fiano are gaining favour, as the warm regions get warmer, and growers and makers seek grapes that will cope with the change. Fiano seems to do particularly well in McLaren Vale, where this comes from.

Smells of waxy lemon rind and jasmine. Summer scents! And the taste follows in a similar vein, honeysuckle and jasmine, light, waxy lemons and an undertone of orange citrus, with a lovely acid twang to close this out fresh and clean. Not overly complex, but hey, chill it down and drink it in places where Sauvignon Blanc used to be. $A22, Screwcap.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Tim York » Sat Aug 25, 2018 1:06 pm

Andrew, thanks a lot for those posts. I was dimly aware that the Australian wine scene was a lot more interesting in the way of boutique wineries with real personality than is apparent in most of Europe and particularly here in France. You give a tantalising glimpse of what to look for even though I am unlikely to find it easily in this continent. I think that availability is a bit better in the UK but bringing wine from there is likely to become much more difficult from end March next year if Brexit goes ahead without a sensible deal as so many UK government MPs are now threatening. When I lived in Belgium, availability of non-French wine was better than here but, for Australia, it was usually Parkerised blockbusters like Clarendon Hills, Rolf Binder, etc, but I did manage to get Moss Wood, Grosset and Frankland estate there.

I would love to visit Australia but I doubt if I will ever make it. It's hard to get my wife to take a short European flight but some 24 hours to Australia................... :(
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by David M. Bueker » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:03 pm

+1 on the thanks Andrew. The market for Australian wine has barely recovered from the Grateful Palate mess in the ‘90s. There are a number of Aussie wines I like, but they are (as for Tim) near impossible to source.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:17 pm

Thanks gents, I'll dig out a few more notes to try to set the scene a little more.

Yes the Dan Phillips monsters did a lot of long term damage. Its hard to believe these styles were made intentionally.

One other feature of the Australian landscape - point scores are out of control. We have instances of entry level wines being scored 97, and a simple rose (that frankly isn't that good) scoring 94. I have a golf handicapping system for local critics - if, say, Allen Meadows is the scratch marker,then James Halliday is at about +8!
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:24 pm

2006 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier

Clonakilla is one of the icon small producers in Australia, making a range of wines in the cold climate that is Canberra - particularly cold after the political shenanigans of the last week or so. :shock: The Shiraz Viognier is iconic - in some circles it is talked about in the same echelon as Grange. And rightly so in my view.

Tim Kirk makes this with Hermitage in mind. The viognier addition is relatively small in most years, and the wine shows its new world heritage in a polite, understated way.

Peppery licorice and blackcurrant nose. At 12 years old this is alive, and one of the more forward, vibrant Clonakilla SV's. Blackcurrant and licorice straps sprinkled in dried apricot and white pepper mark a fluid front and mid palate, and the first touches of olive tapenade and cedar give away its age. Redcurrant front-of-tongue acidity, fine and firm tannins extend the vibrancy into an elegantly framed finish of some length. Demands a hunk of lamb or goat. Entering its peak now. Is it good? Lordy yes - a priceless treasure of the Australian industry. Deserves its much heralded status and its $A100+ pricetag. Screwcap Canberra district..
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:32 pm

2015 Hoddles Creek "1er" Chardonnay

Hoddles Creek is a yarra valley maker who have garnered a reputation for outstanding value wines over the last decade. Their estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay can be found for about $A20, and punch well above that weight.

This chardonnay is the next level up - a "reserve" wine if you will. And wow is it good at $A40.

Wow, this is so Pulignyesque in its shape. Wheaty savouriness, spice, lemony acids over white peach and nectarine flavours. Some deftly used, lightly vanilla custard oak here to enhance and detail the package. Pulled taut and ready to relax with age. Length to burn. Is it a Puligny 1er competitor? Not a fair question really, but it is a nice node to white burgundy.

This is the new Australia in Chardonnay.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:58 pm

2016 Yangarra Ovitelli Grenache

Even Grenache, the good old workhorse gets some reimagination in the hands of this new wave McLaren Vale producer. Yangarra have a range of McLaren Vale reds, topped by the "High Sands" Grenache. This wine is the pick for me, it tames the ripe jaminess that grenache can get.

This is delicious, All fruit, and nothing but fruit - fermented in a concrete egg and spent some months on skins. Lifted and perfumed for sure, and oh so elegant as well. Raspberry smash, icing sugar, lightly middle eastern spiced. Lovely pulpy fruit tannins and a spicy, fired clay character to it. Fresh and lively. Get on it. Screwcap - $A63.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:24 am

Has to be Grenache day today!! Limited choices up here in Alberta but d`Arenberg is readily available.

2013 d"Arenberg Grenache The Custodian, McLaren Vale.

Cellared 2 yrs, SC, $28 Cdn, 14.5% alc. Still has a nice rich looking color. Spicy blueberry on the nose with hints of plum and oak. Initial entry is soft tannins, big and fruity. Not really my style but enjoy all wines from this winery, especially the whites. Long length, medium bodied plus, brambleberry blueberry.
"Blackcurrant" from across the table, high acidity some pepper. Plenty going on here but wonder what 2 more yrs would do?
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Jenise » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:39 am

Andrew, am enjoying your notes--you write well! The Clonakilla was a new name to me: I guess my non-Aussie ears have trouble telling the wineries with 'killa' in the name apart. I did a quick check to see if any was around--nope! But it had been, and the SV was running around $50 US.

Last week we opened this guy, a 2012 Howard Park 'Leston' shiraz. I bought it out of sentimentality. On our last trip to Oz some 15 years ago we arrived in Sidney dead tired and checked into our hotel early for a nap. It was like 11 a.m. But after lying there for an hour we realized we were too tired to sleep, if you know the sensation, so we pulled a half bottle of shiraz out of the minibar and that did the trick. It was not a 'Leston' but otherwise a very good shiraz from Howard Park, a brand we'd not seen in the U.S. and we had several more bottles during our stay. This didn't live up to the memory: lighter-bodied with some syrah typicity, but in concentration and complexity it presents at the quaffer level wine and fails at being worth the $32 paid for it.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:20 pm

2009 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

This time I have a bottle for the "with some Kiwi" part of the thread, and because i opened it last night.

Ata Rangi is based in Martinborough, at the bottom end of New Zealands North Island, east of Wellington. While they make a wide range of wines it is the Pinot Noir they are known for, and it is regularly regarded in New Zealand's very top echelon. Long time drinkers will describe rosepetals as a hallmark of this wine. However thats not the case with this vintage...

Perfumed and spiced on the nose, raspberries and an forest floor with a roast meats undertow. The palate is tomato leaf acids on the attack, and the chicken manure and moss elements blow off fairly quickly to a fruit profile that settles down to blackcurrant and plum skins, with a gentle lick of tannin that is a wee bit sangiovese like. Somehow this is still showing a fair bit of oak - quality vanilla and pencil shavings oak, but its oak.

It’s a tasty drink, albeit at the "dry red" end of the pinot noir spectrum. 14% ABV, screwcap.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Jenise » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:16 pm

Andrew, your cold must be getting better! Ata Rangi is a name I've seen a lot, but I've never had the wines--thank you for the voyeuristic 'taste'.

So yesterday it was, amazingly, sunny and clear here after a drizzly weekend, perfect for sitting out on the deck with a glass of white wine. So I opened a 2008 Tahbilk Marsanne. So it's in its 11th year. You'd think this would be more than ready, right? Wrong. The nose is effusive, quite impressive. And all the flavor's there on the palate, but my god, so is a boatload of acidity--and I love acidity. But it just overwelmed the wine--we poured it back in the bottle to taste again in a day or two.

Later, with dinner, I opened a 1998 Craiglee Shiraz which wasn't even in my inventory. I remember buying it 17-18 years ago, but I thought it had been drunk. Not so, Bucky! Interesting wine: definitely not emulating a Rhone style--there's no bacon, no tar, no garrique, but, from cool Victoria!, also beautifully devoid the alcohol and high RS sweet nose that gives away Oz shiraz in so many blind tastings. This, Andrew, is the style of Shiraz you were talking about, the one most Americans don't know exists. You might call it claret style, though I've not heard that term applied to syrah before. It's all about subtlety and nuance, and it feels as old-fashioned and comfortable as your father's wing-back chair.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:27 pm

The cold is fading, and I have my palate back :)

Thats the Shiraz style Jenise! I had forgotten about Craiglee. From a similar part of Victoria: Dalwhinnie, Mt Langhi Ghiran are established players makign this style, Jamsheed is a notable newbie, Seppelt used to be in this frame but have been mangled in the Treasury Wine Estate debacle and I don't know where the fruit goes now.
Elsewhere in Victoria there are a lot of small makers who I dont think export: Castagna is a personal favourite. A lot of good ones seem to come from makers known for their pinot noir.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:29 pm

I have to ;post notes on the 2007 Tahbilk Museum Marsanne which sure drank nicely, unlike the note from Jenise on the 2008.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Jenise » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:54 pm

Andrew Burge wrote:The cold is fading, and I have my palate back :)

Thats the Shiraz style Jenise! I had forgotten about Craiglee. From a similar part of Victoria: Dalwhinnie, Mt Langhi Ghiran are established players makign this style, Jamsheed is a notable newbie, Seppelt used to be in this frame but have been mangled in the Treasury Wine Estate debacle and I don't know where the fruit goes now.
Elsewhere in Victoria there are a lot of small makers who I dont think export: Castagna is a personal favourite. A lot of good ones seem to come from makers known for their pinot noir.


Is Craiglee still around? I know both Dalwhinnie and Mt. Langhi Ghiran, visited both in 2000 and I still have some of the 98 MLG's I brought back. Earthier than either Dalwhinnie and Craiglee, which is more elegant. Or at least that's what my memory says! And Seppelt! That was one of my major loves; discovered it on this side of the pond but again, my bottles are long gone.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:26 pm

Jenise yes Craiglee are still around, up to the 2014 vintage now. Seppelt is a tragedy. Such a good operation lost in corporate machinations.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Andrew Burge » Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:30 pm

2014 Castagna Adams Rib Red

This is a blend of Shiraz and Nebbiolo from Beechworth in Victoria, from a maker I admire very much. Their Genesis Shiraz Viognier is IMO on par with Clonakilla's, and now they have been making it nearly 20 years it is getting the same sort of pedigree as well. Adams Rib is made by Adam Castagna, Julian's son. Julian makes the main Castanga range. It is sold as being accessible for early drinking, which it is, but it also takes bottle age reasonably well. So it should for $A40...

Dark red. Perfumed and lightly spiced, a gentle top note of redcurrant and raspberry, over a bass of olive tapenade and blackberry with a slick of tar. Some forest berries bubble up with breathing as well. Beautifully balanced and elegant and has what i think some critics call "inner mouth perfume". Gently tannic and indeed it is accessible early. 13.5% ABV, Diam.
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:25 am

From the archives.

WTN: `09 Elderton Riesling Eden Valley Barossa Australia.

25th vintage, $20 Cdn, SC, 11.5% alc, opened one hour. Purchased for inclusion in this months Focus.

Color. Light straw, no green.
Nose. Kiwi, floral, minerally, lime, no gasolein.
Palate. Initial entry is dry, no r/s it would appear, slate, pure citrus fruit. Guess way too young for most here, apple peel, terrific length, medium-bodied, no ripe fruit this time around. "Very lean and steely....high acid" from across the table. Think 6-8 yrs?

Food was chicken scallopini with thai noodle salad.


Just opened the 2011 after 3 yrs in the cellar. Looks like high acidity with this one too, stay tuned!
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Re: August Wine Focus: A trip to Australia with some Kiwis

by Jenise » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:12 pm

Andrew, so glad you came out to play. You made this Focus topic so much fun!

Btw, a follow-up note on our 08 Tahbilk Marsanne: total loss. Retasted a few days later wherein it was hideously dieseled and bitter. Fed it to the camellias.

And a dream! Last night I dreamed that we discovered that a nearby hardware store was carrying Australian wines. They didn't have a wine section per se, but rather the wines were spread out around the store, this one next to the liquid fertilizer, that one over there by the Motor Oil, etc. Fairly good producers--some I knew and many I just made up for the dream--and all just $6 per bottle. I was especially enamored of a Jamely Chardonnay. No idea whatsoever where that came from as I have never heard, nor known anyone, with the name Jamely.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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