Saturday, 23 November 2013

Wine Review {November 2013}

I am setting myself a little monthly challenge- to review 3 interesting wines every month. I borrowed this idea from a couple of excellent blogs, most notably  La Donna del Vino

I have been thinking a lot about improving my existence lately and a job working with interesting wine and people (not that the people I 'work' with now aren't interesting, I just rarely get to see them) is feeling like the right direction. There is a bit of upskilling to do so this is a first step to thinking more objectively about wines.

2010 Condie "The Gwen" Shiraz
Heathcote, Victoria
RRP $35                 
 I had a short break in Bendigo last year with the primary focus of trying some of the wines of Heathcote. I was working in a wine bar at the time and had a customer who would not drink anything other than a Heathcote red because of the incomparable smoothness and richness. Whilst I don't agree with his exclusion policy there is certainly something special about Heathcote reds.

I booked a day tour through Heathcote Grape Escape. Joe is great, he will adapt the tour to your interests and requests- I made a couple of requests but local knowledge always wins in the end- he took us to Condie which was the standout of the day. Richie, the winewaker and owner (together with his wife Rosanne) poured us some wine before taking us down to the vineyard where the grapes were grown. Back at his wine shed he gave us a taste from aging barrels so we could experience the difference between French and American oak. I love it when you can meet the winemaker at the cellar door and see the passion that goes into their product. We bought (quite) a few bottles of wine that day, one of which I still had in my wine cupboard cellar.

'The Gwen' has rich aromas of vanillin oak, pepper and blueberry liqueur (that would be the 14.2% alcohol). This is a 'journey in a glass' wine, the palate keeps evolving. Initially there was more blueberry and pepper with some smoky, gamey notes and quite a savoury finish. With time I also discovered leather, a slight glacé orange peel note developing into fruit mince tarts and blueberry pie. The beautifully concentrated palate revealed finely structured but mouth-coating tannins and some fresh acidity. Drinking beautifully now you could certainly hang onto it for another 2-3 years.

It sells for $35 at cellar door The 2010 is about to run out but Condie have just released their 2012 which I am very much looking forward to trying soon at the newly built winery. His 2012 Sangiovese and Kyneton Rd Shiraz Viognier are gorgeous too (I'm a big sucker for  Shiraz Viognier). You can still get the 2010 'The Gwen' through their website but I recommend emailing Richie for the current list as he spends more time growing grapes and making wine than updating the website (just as it should be:)

2012 Lightfoot & Sons Myrtle Point Pinot Noir
Gippsland, Victoria
RRP $26
What the Wine Shop With No Wine lacks in stock it makes up for in quality. The wines we (try to) stock are affordable and exceptional value. One of the little wineries we really champion are Lightfoot & Sons from Gippsland. All their wines are estate grown and having sampled almost the entire range over 3 vintages I always feel very confident recommending them to customers.

Across the board Lightfoot & Sons make wines with super-fresh crisp acidity. The 2012 Pinot is no different. A nose of wild strawberry, savoury herbs, rhubarb, sour cream and some hay-like musty earthy tones follows on to sour plums and cherries, strawberry coulis more rhubarb and some really interesting sugo tones with a nice minerality. Powdery tannins and great length round out a very good value, very elegant, very local Pinot Noir.

Available from their website or you can contact their distributor Sante Wines for stockists near you (in Victoria and Tasmania). Pick up a few of their other wines while you are there.

Pfeiffer Ensemble Rosé
Rutherglen, Victoria
RRP $16
I recently spent a weekend in Rutherglen and discovered Pfeiffer Wines whilst on a wine tour (read about it here ). An interesting little blend of Shiraz, Tempranillo, Malbec and Pinot Noir with some Gewurtztraminer thrown in to add delightful floral notes, this wine speaks of a winemaker that is prepared to play and do things a little differently.

Such a pretty colour, the closest comparison I can make is fresh strawberry and watermelon juice which also works to describe the wine. The nose is representative of my childhood- fairy floss, wild strawberries, raspberry boiled sweets and some slightly more grown up pink grapefruit. Sitting at 20.05g/L residual sugar it fits comfortably into the medium sweet category but with its zingy acidity it feels more in the realms of an off-dry to medium-dry style. A rich mouthfeel and flavours of watermelons, pink grapefruit, fresh sweet grapes and musk with a tiny bit of dissolved carbon dioxide for spritziness; I think the Bookworm had it covered with "it tastes like Summer". Be careful though, it is so deliciously easy to drink you don't notice the 13.2% alcohol- relatively high for such a scrummy fruity wine.

You can buy it at their online shop or if you can get to Rutherglen pop by their excellent cellar door. This lovely fresh wine will be best drunk now but that doesn't really need to be said- once you taste it there is no way you will not consume your entire supply in a matter of weeks and be drooling back for more.


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