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Wine Reviews

Gartelmann Petit Verdot 2016

Petit verdot suits a warmer climate and does not normally appear as a single variety in its native Bordeaux. In the glass, the aroma of this petit verdot from Mudgee is immediately rich, reminding of leather and raisins. The palate is sweet fruited with red berry flavours, medium tannins and good length. This very intense wine can be approached now and will stand up to very heavy foods. Rating: Good. Abv: 15.2. Price: $35. Website: https://www.gartelmann.com.au. Source: Sample. Reviewed: April 2020.

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Wine Reviews

Covert Farms Family Estate The Bluff 2016

This is an excellent wine from Covert Farms in the Okanagan Valley in Canada. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and petit verdot and from the 2016 vintage, its style is reminiscent of a left bank cru bourgeois Bordeaux from a ripe vintage. In the glass, there are earthy, blackcurrant aromatics. The palate has very fine tannin that builds with time. Approachable now, it will suit cellaring for 5 years or more. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.3%. Price: $45. Website: covertfarms.ca. Reviewed: January 2020.

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Wine Reviews

d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage McLaren Vale Adelaide Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot Merlot 2014

A slight mouthful of name, places and grape varieties, this wine is deep in colour with an inky nose reminding of tar and liquorice. The palate is expressive of dark plums, tannins and leaf and has a bitter finish. This wine is approachable now with decanting, but will benefit from a further 2-3 years cellaring. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $29. Website: darenberg.com.au. Source: Sample.

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Wine Reviews

Gartelmann Rylstone Mudgee Petit Verdot 2015

Petit verdot is more traditionally seen in blends rather than on its own, but it can work well in warm to hot climates and this is a very good expression of it.  From Gartelmann in Mudgee, the wine has aromas of intense black fruits, prunes, licorice and dusty cedar.  The palate is full bodied, with an intense and powerful expression of black fruits and good length on the finish.  This is a very high quality petit verdot that is ready to drink now, but may well cellar for some years.  Rating: Very Good. Abv: 15.2%. Price: $35. Website: www.gartelmann.com.au. Source: Sample.

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Wine Reviews

Mission Hill Family Estate Compendium Okanagan Valley 2014

Mission Hill have fashioned an outstanding cabernet blend here from the Okanagan Valley in Canada.  It’s a classic Bordeaux style blend of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot, 16% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot.  Perhaps more than any other wine I have tried to date, this wine showcases the region’s considerable potential and puts Canadian red wine on the map.  The colour is deep and the aromas remind of blackcurrants and tobacco leaf.  The contribution from 15 months in French oak is well judged.  The palate is medium bodied, with savoury and firm tannins, bright fruit and the length on the finish long.  36 barrels produced.  Rating: Outstanding. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $80+. Website: www.missionhillwinery.com

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Wine Reviews

Villa Antinori Rosso Toscana 2015

Villa Antinori’s Toscano Rosso continues to be a great value wine.  The 2015 vintage is quite the blend, featuring sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, syrah and merlot.  Yet it retains a sense of place, and is identifiably Italian in style in the glass.  The 2015 vintage is deeply coloured in the glass, with aromas of earth, blackcurrant and cedar.  The palate is savoury and has good balance and length. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $20+. Website: www.antinori.it

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Wine Reviews

Gartelmann Petit Verdot 2014 and Hunter Valley/Clare Valley Shiraz 2014

Here are reviews of a couple of new releases from Gartelmann wines.

Gartelmann Petit Verdot 2014, Mudgee
You don’t see too many petit verdots as a single varietal wine, although this wine also has some cabernet sauvignon in it. This is a fruity style, with aromas of strawberry jam and cedar. The palate is medium bodied with some fruit sweetness (the wine is of course dry), together with strawberry and earth overtones and some gentle tannic grip. For current drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 13.2%. Price: $30.

Gartelmann Diedrich Shiraz 2014, Hunter Valley and Clare Valley
A blend of Hunter Valley and Clare Valley shiraz, making it a multi-regional blend from regions that are certainly not close.  The blending decisions made however were good ones.  More intensely coloured than the petit verdot, it has intense aromas of spearmint, menthol, baking spices and plums, together with cedar. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, with sweet shiraz fruit, fresh acidity and firm tannins and an affinity to oak. Good length on the finish. This wine should improve with age and is a good warm climate expression of shiraz. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.7%. Price: $45.

Source: Samples.

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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

6 new release Australian reds

Following from my earlier tasting of six new release Australian whites, today I tasted through six new release Australian reds between $16 and $29, all blind. In a difficult group, there were no particular threads.
Blue Wren No716 Single Vineyard Merlot
Neither vintage nor region are clearly declared on this bottle, although my guesses are 2016 and Mudgee. Savoury, oak and smoke aromas. Smoke and spice on the palate, supplemented by sweet fruited cherries. The tannins are powdery and there is evident spritz in the glass. A bit clumsy in all (in my opinion), with an acidic finish. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13.5%. Price: N/A. Source: Sample.
Riddock Coonawarra Merlot 2015
Deep colour with restrained and savoury impression. Muted in aroma – blackcurrants mostly. Full body, spice and plums on the palate. Some evidence of oak, but not overly so. Length good, but acid impression affects the balance on the finish. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 15%. Price: $20. Source: Sample.
Craftsman Rich & Smooth Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Deeply coloured, this wine has restrained aromatics of plum, anise and varnish. The palate is full bodied and the tannins drying. Astringent acidity on the finish detracted from this wine. Rating: Acceptable. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $16. Source: Sample.
Riddock Coonawarra Shiraz 2015
This was the second best wine of the group. Pronounced aromas of mint and eucalyptus. Could only be Australian. Balanced palate with sweet, minty fruit and mid range length. A sound expression of Coonawarra shiraz, and a region/grape variety combination that is underrated. Rating: Good. Abv: 15%. Price: $20. Source: Sample.
d’Arenberg The Galvo Garage Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot McLaren Vale 2013
Deeply coloured with a sweet expression of blackcurrant, vanilla and cedar. Pronounced in expression and plummy. The tannins are drying but in all a sound wine. Rating: Acceptable to Good. Abv: 14.4%. Price: $29. Source: Sample.
Mitchell Clare Valley Mataro Grenache 2012
This wine was the best of the set. Lighter in colour, with an orange rim. It opens to restrained aromatics of cherry, earth and tobacco. The palate is towards full bodied, with fine tannins and a touch of bitterness on the finish. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.8%. Price: $25. Source: Sample.
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Wine Reviews

Lake’s Folly Cabernets 2015

This is the new release cabernets from Lake’s Folly, a producer I’ve started following more closely.  Interestingly, the 2015 vintage is quite different in composition to the 2014.  The 2015 is a blend of 76% cabernet sauvignon, 16% petit verdot and 8% merlot.  That’s, relative to the 2014, 15% more cabernet sauvignon, 6% more petit verdot, 3% less merlot and no shiraz (down from 18%).  2015 is described as a wet growing season, whereas 2014 is regarded as an excellent vintage.  Interesting then that the later ripening varieties of cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot constitute more of the blend in the wetter year of 2015.  If you know why, please chime in.

What then of the wine?  It’s a good release, although it is more sweet fruited than I recall from previous vintages.  Perhaps showing rather than confounding its warm latitude in this vintage?  But don’t get me wrong, it’s a classy wine and I’m both happy to drink and cellar it.  It opens to bay leaf, sweet plum and tobacco aromatics.  The palate has long length, a mid weight body and sweet and balanced red fruit flavours.  The alcohol is only 12.5%.  (Region: Hunter Valley, Rating: Good to Very Good, Drink: now to 2027, Tasted: June, 2017)

Read more:
www.lakesfolly.wine

Other vintages reviewed:

Vintage Rating Review
2014
Very Good
2009
Very Good
2001
Very Good