Tag: Macedon

Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2017

Credit: Curly Flat. Lyre trellising shown.

This is a delicious pinot noir from Curly Flat in the Macedon Ranges and the 2017 vintage. It has an attractive aroma of black currant, cherry and bacon. The palate has great length, cedar, considerable balance and a savoury, enjoyable mid palate. It actually reminds of a Côte de Nuits villages wine from a warmer vintage such as 2015. In terms of comparative pricing, it presents as a bargain and will suit drinking over the next 5 years. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.3%. Price: $52. Website: https://www.curlyflat.com. Source: Sample.

Wiliams Crossing by Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2016

Williams Crossing is Curly Flat’s entry level pinot noir offering.  From the 2016 vintage, it’s a lot more restrained than its (2015 vintage) sibling tasted next to it and reviewed here.  The latter is more obviously the star of the show.  Nonetheless, it presents with elegant rhubarb and spice characters that calls to mind a Bourgogne rouge in styling.  This wine will provide enjoyable current drinking that, in some ways, gives a quite insightful glimpse of this cool region.  Rating: Good. Abv: 14.1%. Price: $29. Source: Sample.

Curly Flat Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2015

This is a very good pinot noir from Curly Flat in the Macedon Ranges north west of Melbourne.  In the glass, it is immediately appealing, with cherry, earth and rhubarb aromas.  The palate is balanced with cherry and herb undertones and long length on the finish.  The 100% whole bunch fermentation and new oak are not prominent and well judged in context.  This wine can be approached now, but should improve with a few years in the cellar.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.2%. Price: $52. Source: Sample.

Mitchell Harris Sabre Vintage Sparkling 2013

This is a pretty serious sparkling wine from Mitchell Harris.  From the 2013 vintage, it is made “properly” (aka using the traditional method), is a blend of 75/25 chardonnay/pinot noir and spent 40 months on lees.  The fruit is from Macedon and the Pyrenees.  In the glass, the aroma is clean and reminds of lemons.  The palate is very dry in impression with a classic and fresh expression of lemon supplemented by coffee biscuit.  (Alc: 12%, Region: Macedon and Pyrenees, Victoria, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now, Tasted: August, 2017, Source: Sample)

Read more:
mitchellharris.com.au

Other vintages reviewed:
NA

3 excellent Victorian chardonnays: Mount Mary 2005, Gembrook Hill 2005 and Bindi Quartz 2005

This was an impressive showing from three Victorian cool climate chardonnays, all tasted blind and all from the 2005 vintage.  They will appeal to those who enjoy Burgundian styles and perhaps open some eyes to the reality that these wines would be comfortably comparable to their French counterparts.

Bindi Quartz Chardonnay 2005, Macedon
Aromas of honey and bread and a fully mature impression.  On the palate, this is a compelling wine with long length, fresh acidity, a linear character and a honeyed edge.  A compelling wine in its drinking prime.  (Region: Macedon, Victoria, Rating: Outstanding, Drink: now, Tasted: Mar, 2017)

Read more:
www.bindiwines.com.au

Other vintages reviewed:
Nil

Gembrook Hill Chardonnay 2005, Yarra Valley
Lighter in colour than the Bindi Quartz, this wine has Chablis like aromas of green apples, lees and a sour, stoney note.  The palate is also linear and framed by very racy acidity that verges on being a little hard.  Early picked or vintage?  Overall, this is a well made wine that will please.  (Abv: 13%, Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now, Tasted: Mar, 2017)

Read more:
www.gembrookhill.com.au

Other vintages reviewed:
Nil

Mount Mary Chardonnay 2005, Yarra Valley
A honeyed aroma.  The palate is linear, with stoney characters, racy acidity and towards long length.  A bit muted, but well made and in a nice place.  (Abv: 13.5%, Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now, Tasted: Mar, 2017)

Read more:
www.mountmary.com.au

Other vintages reviewed:

Vintage Rating Review
2003
Good
2002
Good to Very Good
1999
Good
1996
Very Good


Granite Hills TOR Syrah 2006

My impression was that the appearance en masse of the word “syrah” on Australian wine labels was a relatively recent development, but here’s one from nine years ago.  From the cold Macedon region, this shiraz (whoops, syrah) from Granite Hills has cooler climate aromatics of cedar, tomato stalk, clove and pepper.  Its medium bodied palate is framed by high acidity, and its flavours remind of plums and pepper.  Overall, a pleasant, cool climate syrah style.  Good

Abv: 14.5%, Price: $45, Vendors and website: http://www.granitehills.com.au, Tasted: 2015

Granite Hills Riesling 2013

This riesling is from the Macedon Ranges, one of Australia’s colder wine regions.  James Halliday describes Macedon as “a windswept and at times bitterly cool region (even in summer)” in his 2015 text entitled Varietal Wines; the region is more beautiful than this description evokes, but equally the description is accurate.  So returning to the wine, it is no surprise to find a relatively austere riesling fashioned here.  The 2013 vintage of Granite Hills’ riesling has aromatics that remind of stones and minerals.  I don’t think I’m allowed to say mineral anymore, but minerally this wine is.  The palate has expressions of lemon and lime, and is bound together by high acidity.  Stern, but good.  Good.

Abv: 12.5%, Price: $25, Vendors and website: http://www.granitehills.com.au, Tasted: 2015

Hanging Rock Cuvée XII Brut NV

This sparkling wine from Hanging Rock proved to be an outstanding bottle.  Disgorged in September 2009 after 6 years on lees, it is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay with fruit sourced from vintages from 2001 back to 1987 in the cool Macedon Ranges.  It has a very complex aroma, reminding of honey, yeast, biscuit and lemon.  The palate is equally complex, with fine and persistent bubbles, a delicate mousse and biscuit, yeast, brioche and lemon flavours to the fore, framed elegantly by high acidity.  It’s the sort of wine that puts Australian sparkling wine on the map.

Rating: Outstanding, Abv: 12%, Price: $40s, Vendors: http://www.wine-searcher.com/, Website: http://www.hangingrock.com.au/, Tasted: 2014

Domaine Epis Chardonnay 2004

Domaine Epis is a small producer in the Macedon Ranges, and the 2004 vintage of Epis’ chardonnay was made by Stuart Anderson of Balgownie Estate fame. The Epis is a good wine and remarkably still presents quite youthfully.  A little cloudy in the glass, it has a pale intensity lemon colour.  Its aromatics are initially of sulphides, tinned apple, pear and herbs.  The sulphide aromatic took quite some time to resolve itself.  The palate is dry, the acidity high and the flavours remind of lemon, bread, pear and cedar.  The finish is towards long.  This is good to very good release from Domaine Epis due to its long length and the complexity of flavours evident.  I would have liked the sulphide aromatics to blow off a little sooner, but I am aware that some appear to have different sensitivities to such aromas, and it did resolve to a lovely wine.  Good to Very Good

Abv: 12.9%
Price: na
Vendors: Check http://www.wine-searcher.com/
Website: http://www.domaineepis.com.au
Tasted: 2013
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Langtons Classification Tasting: September 2013

The Langtons auction house classification tasting has quickly become one of the “must attend” tastings on the Australian wine calendar.  The Langtons classification is a ranking of 123 of Australia’s best wines in the categories “exceptional”, “outstanding”, “excellent” and “distinguished”.  To make the grade, the wine must have at least 10 vintages, and a judgement is formed (by Langtons) as to track record and reputation measured through market presence, consistency, volume of demand and price.  There are few Australian wines of repute that are not on this list.

The tasting involves taking a glass and wending your way through the melee of Australian wineries pouring their classified wines (generously, I might add) into said glass.  To have the benchmark wines of Australia (think Penfolds Grange, Hensche Hill of Grace, Bass Phillip Pinot Noir, among others) all  freely available within metres of each other makes for an extraordinary event.

To follow are my impressions of the wines tasted.  I have not offered gradings on the basis that in a huge tasting such as this, out of a single glass, it seemed more accurate to note down impressions and glimpses, rather than a serious study of each wine.

My wine of the night:

Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir 2010, Gippsland
I don’t often say this, but wow.  And wow again.  Aromatics of game, smoked meats, cherry and dried herbs.  On the palate, opulent cherry, long length and game and bacon characters at the edges.  The obsessive Phillip Jones at Bass Phillip has nailed this wine.  Simply outstanding, and the wine of the night.

Three wines of great interest:

Penfolds Grange 2007, South Australia
I preferred this to the 2008 Grange.  Similar aromatics to the 2008, except with dried herbs more evident.  On the palate, the length was long and the balance and depth of plum fruit outstanding.  A complete and outstanding wine.

Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1 2008, Yarra Valley

Very left bank Bordeaux like, with medium intensity aromatics of blackcurrant and cedar.  Very likeable.  On the palate, blackcurrant, a touch of leather and medium to long length.  Impressive.

Penfolds Grange 2008, South Australia
This is the fabled “100 point” Wine Advocate wine.  It attracted much public interest – whether it was because it received 100 points, or was simply because it was “a Grange”, is probably moot.  A medium to pronounced intensity saturated purple in colour.  Aromatics of vanilla, plum, cedar, black brooding mulberry.  The palate has medium to long length, with plums and a touch of stalk, and yet is full flavoured with the dash of cabernet sauvignon used to good effect.  A little more austere than expected.  Needs time.

And many more wines of interest:

Jim Barry Armagh Shiraz 2008, Clare Valley
Aromatics of dried tea leaves, ripe plums and a medium intensity expression.  The palate is soft and plush, with between medium and long length, and plum flavours dominant.  I found this wine quite attractive already, with the expression almost merlot like.


Henschke Hill of Grace 2005, Eden Valley
Bottled under screwcap.  Unusually for someone writing about wine in Australia, I am a screwcap agnostic.  This particular Hill of Grace has some odd aromatics that might be attributable to its screwcap closure, as its expression is quite reductive, with strong notes of herbs and asparagus.  The palate though is outstanding, with long length and lovely plum and Christmas cake flavours that run deep.

Yalumba Signature Cabernet Shiraz 2009, Barossa Valley
Aromatics with a touch of menthol, bay leaf and blackberry.  The palate sees licorice, aniseed, black olives and unresolved chalky tannins.

Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir 2010, Macedon Ranges
Bramble, stalk and cherry aromas in an alluring expression.  Restrained cedar.  On the palate, medium length, maybe a little more, and flavours reminding of stones and cherry.  The palate seems intermingled with a mineral edge with acidity at the sides.  A good wine, maybe even impressive.

Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir 2000, Macedon Ranges
From jeroboam.  Now, I don’t say that too often.  Its aromatics are of game, smoked bacon, receding cherry, spice, dried thyme and herbs.  Quite complex really.  The palate has supple resolved tannins, and a quite ripe expression of cherry.

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008, Margaret River
Quite austere aromatics of capsicum, bay leaf and blackberry.  The palate tastes youthful, with some plushness, medium to long length, bay leaf, and quite savoury.  A good wine.

Jasper Hill Emily’s Paddock Shiraz Cabernet Franc 2006, Heathcote
Aromatics of pepper and peppermint.  The palate is brooding, with notes of mulberry, plum, dried herbs, “Heathcote” peppermint and medium to long length.  Of interest.

Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz 2006, Heathcote
Quite muted in expression, with plum notes.  A structured palate with perhaps bitter tannins and plums to the fore.

Cullen Diana Madeline 2011, Margaret River
Dried herb, blackberry and some unexpectedly bright fruit by way of aromatics.  On the palate, bay leaf, blackberry and fine tannins.  Good without being outstanding.

Domaine A Cabernet 2006, Tasmania
Aromatics of mushroom, earth, leather and game.  Some brett?  A Bordeaux like expression of blackcurrant and dried herbs on the palate.

Dalwhinnie Eagle Series Shiraz 2010, Pyrenees
Aromatics of plums and dried herbs.   High acid on the palate, and seemed to thin out a little.  But otherwise pleasant.

Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet 2010, Coonawarra
Licorice, iron and blackcurrant aromatics.  On the palate, medium length – maybe a bit more, with notes of blackberry and licorice.  This is an intense but closed wine at this point in time.

Kaesler Old Bastard Shiraz 2009, Barossa Valley
I’ve said this before, but what’s with South Australian wine labels?  Aromatics of bright red juby fruit.  The palate also speaks of red juby fruit and medium to long length.  The wine felt quite taut and pulled against the edges, reminding of a southern Rhone blend.

Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir 2008, Gippsland
Aromatics of dried herbs, cherry and thyme, presenting in a restrained fashion.  Smoke, cedar, cherry and spice.  This is a good pinot noir, but the 2010 is stunning.

Vasse Felix Heytesbury Cabernet 2010, Margaret River
Austere aromatics of bay leaf, cedar and blackcurrant.  The palate reminds of French oak, cloves, blackcurrant, and is structured and closed with medium to long length.  Early days.

Clarendon Hills Australis Shiraz 2008, Barossa Valley
Fruity aromatics of ripe plum.  The palate is all about primary fruit purity showing plums with long length and full flavour.  It’s a bit obvious in what it does but it nails the brief.

Penfolds RWT Shiraz 2010, Barossa Valley
Thyme, dried herbs by way of aromatics.  The palate has medium to long length and a dense plummy expression.  A bit broody at this point, but certainly fruit driven.

Grange

Yarra Yarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Yarra Valley
Aromatics of leather and blackcurrant.  A leathery palate, with soft pleasant blackcurrants.  Brett?

Balnaves The Tally Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Coonawarra
Ripe blackberries by way of aroma.  On the palate, medium to long length, structure and firm tannins.  Of interest, but too young to drink.

Wild Duck Creek Springflat Shiraz 2011, Heathcote
My question as to why Heathcote’s star didn’t to me appear to be shining quite as brightly as it should be was parried away with denial.  Aromatics of peppermint, plums. The palate shows eucalyptus, peppermint, plum, high acid and some structure.

Giaconda Shiraz 2010, Beechworth
Aromatics of clipped herbs and cloves.  Quite pungent green/herbal aromatics.  On the palate, this is a mean, lean and green shiraz.

Disclosure: I attended this tasting as a guest of Langtons.

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