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Wine Reviews

Wendouree Shiraz Malbec 2015

Wendouree in the Clare Valley is legendary in local wine circles for their quixotic mailing list practices and very high quality wines. I sometimes wonder in which order. I opened a bottle of their shiraz malbec here from the 2015 vintage. It immediately identifies as a high quality wine. Its aromas remind of warm spices, red fruits, pepper and earth. “Crushed ants” came to mind, but I think spicey and peppery is better understood. The palate is medium bodied with a pleasing and layered complexity, medium to firm but finely textured tannins and sublimely handled oak. Chocolate characters occupy the background and the finish is towards long. This is an excellent Wendouree that seeks to express itself in multiple dimensions. It is not yet in its drinking window, and will reward medium to long term cellaring for a decade or more. Rating: Very Good. Website: None. Tasted: July 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Warramunda Estate Liv Zak Malbec 2018

I can’t recall tasting a single variety malbec from the Yarra Valley. It’s a good example. In the glass, there is a flinty, red fruited aroma. The palate has high acidity and firmish tannins. Suitable for drinking now and over the next few years. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $35. Website: https://warramundaestate.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: February 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Golden Grove Estate Granite Belt Malbec 2016

I tasted a series of wines from Queensland’s Granite Belt back in 2013, with some mixed results. Golden Grove had one of the better wines on that tasting and this same producer has fashioned quite a pleasant and stylistically typical malbec here. Dark fruited, chocolatey and full bodied, this is a good example of a malbec and is approachable now. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $28. Website: https://www.goldengroveestate.com.au.

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Wine Reviews

Zuccardi Q Valle de Uco Malbec Argentina 2016

Valle de Uco is southwest of Mendoza in Argentina, and is favourably regarded.  This particular malbec provides a contrast to the Cahors rendition just reviewed.  Quite deeply coloured in the glass, it has an aroma of sweet cooked fruit, herbs and oak.  The palate is jammy and savoury, with overlays of baked spices and meats, fresh acidity and a full body.  Ready to drink now, this is a fruit driven and approachable wine.  Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $27. Website: na.

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Wine Reviews

Château du Cèdre Héritage Cahors Malbec 2015

This is a good malbec from Cahors in south western France.  Less deeply coloured and fruity than its equivalents in Argentina, it has restrained aromas of red berries, earth, herbs and oak.  The palate is earthy and savoury, with liquorice overtones.  Some mid weight tannins and good length complete the picture.  This wine can be approached now and represents good value at this price.  Rating: Good. Abv: 13%. Price: $28. Website: https://www.chateauducedre.com

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Wine Reviews

Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin Okanagan Valley 2014

This is the best Osoyoos Larose that I have tasted to date.  From Canada’s Okanagan Valley, it is a Bordeaux style blend that is serious in both intent and impression.  The 2014 vintage is a blend of 68% merlot, 11% cabernet franc, 8% cabernet sauvignon, 8% petit verdot and 5% malbec.  There are typical “cabernet” blackcurrant and leaf characters that are very restrained, youthful and elegant.  The length is long.  A first class release that can be consumed now, but will benefit from a decade in the cellar.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: ~C$45. 

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Wine Reviews

Valle Las Acequias Malbec Oak 2011

I’ve reviewed the 2010 vintage of this wine previously.  The label of the 2011 vintage tasted here persists with describing its wine as “Malbec Oak”, which strikes me as an unusual description.  Unexpectedly then, I felt the 2011 vintage of this wine didn’t stylistically feature much oak influence.  In the glass, the 2011 is rather simple, with an expression of blackberries and currants.   (Region: Mendoza, Argentina, Rating: Acceptable, Would I buy it based on this tasting? No, Drink: now, Tasted: Jan, 2017)

Read more:
NA

Other vintages reviewed:

Vintage Rating Review
2010
Good
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Wine Reviews

Layer Cake Malbec 2015

The 2015 vintage of Layer Cake’s malbec presents as very ripe in style, with distinctive fruit cake aromatics.  The palate is primary in expression, very sweet fruited and somewhat unconvincing.  (Region: Mendoza, Argentina, Rating: Acceptable, Would I buy it based on this tasting? No, Drink: now, Tasted: Jan, 2017)

Read more:
layercakewines.com

Other vintages reviewed:
Nil

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Wine Reviews

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and Nicolas Cantena Amancaya Gran Reserva Malbec Cabernet 2013

This wine from Mendoza in Argentina is made by a joint venture between Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and the Catena family in Mendoza.  It’s a resounding success.  The blend is 60-70% malbec and 30-40% cabernet sauvignon, and sees a restrained 20% new oak.  In the glass, the wine is full bodied, with blackcurrant aromas and flavours, a gorgeous texture and long length.  Yes.  (Region: Mendoza, Argentina, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2027)

Read more:
www.lafite.com/en/the-domaines/bodegas-caro/the-wines/amancaya/

Other vintages reviewed:

Nil.

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Wine Reviews

Back at the desk; Clos de los Siete 2013

Well, I’m back at the desk having returned from a couple of weeks abroad in British Columbia in Canada.  It was not a wine trip, but naturally I could not help wanting to look in on some of the wines of this remarkable continent, north and south.  I’ve written on these pages previously in praise of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, and my high level observation remains that these wines continue to surprise with their quality and value.  I also stumbled across more diversity in styles from Mendoza in Argentina, with some wines missing the mark through undue austerity (chasing the trend?) or simplicity, while others seemed to have reached a new level of refinement.

The first wine is the 2013 vintage of Clos de Los Siete from Mendoza.  I did not record proportions and their website is silent on this current release, but I expect it is a malbec dominant blend, seasoned with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and petit verdot.  In other words, a Bordeaux blend in concept applied to what suits Mendoza.  Smart really.  In the glass, the 2013 vintage presents in a very classical style – a claret like wine, with a medium bodied expression.  The palate is nuanced by cherry flavours and some grip.  A yes from me.  (Region: Mendoza, Argentina, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now to 2023)

Read more:
www.closdelossiete.com

Other vintages reviewed: 

Vintage Rating Review
2011
Good to Very Good
2009
Good