First post for the new year! I’ve been tasting a battery of different styles in preparation for the Master of Wine exams, and will now up the posting. This is a sound tempranillo from producer Bodegas Valparaiso and the Ribera del Duero appellation. Deeply coloured in the glass, its aroma is restrained and savoury, reminding of cedar and spice. The palate is full bodied with ripe fruit, tannins and chocolatey overtones and some heat through it. Overall, this is a good value Ribera del Duero that is typical in its style. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $20+. Website: bodegasvalparaiso.com.
The Mr. Mick rosé is made by Tim Adams in the Clare Valley and from the unlikely combination of sangiovese, tempranillo and mourvèdre. In the glass, it has a pink/purple hue, fresh acidity and is very fruity and finishes dry. Overall, this is a pleasant rosé that is low in alcohol and keenly priced. Rating: Good. Abv: 10.5%. Price: <$15. Website: mrmick.com.au.
The wine inside this bottle is more appealing than its garish label, for me. From tempranillo sourced from Geographe in Western Australia, this rosé is European in styling, with a savoury aroma, medium body and fresh acidity. Rating: Good. Abv: 12.5%. Price: $20. Website: www.vinaceous.com.au.
Topper’s Mountain’s Bricolage Rouge is an unorthodox blend of tempranillo, nebbiolo, tannat and shiraz. Ruby in colour, its aroma reminds of red fruits, smoke and minerals. The palate is medium bodied, with some chalky tannin and good length, and flavours reminding of red fruit, with a savoury, almost Italianate sour cherry aspect. The winemaker sure can blend, as these are not obvious blending partners. This is an enjoyable and very good wine that is ready to drink now. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 13.5%. Price: $30. Source: Sample.
A slightly garish label, this wine is another from the BWS/Woolworths stable. It opens to ripe and fruity aromas of cherry and jam. The palate is full bodied, has seen some wood and presents as fruity and flavoursome, suitable for current drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 14.0%. Price: $18. Source: Sample.
|The vintage shown in the picture is the 2015. This review is of the 2016 vintage.|
A 100% tempranillo from the Orange region, this wine from Angullong in the Orange region opens to aromas of red fruits and leather. The palate is medium bodied with chocolate and cherry characters, mid weight tannins and some well judged cedar influence. It resembles a modern Crianza style of tempranillo and is recommended. Rating: Good to Very Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $26. Source: Sample.
There’s a lot of value to be had in red Rioja. This Rioja crianza is 8 years old and an 80/20 blend of tempranillo and graciano. It saw 18 months in barrel and is from an organic vineyard. In the glass, there are aromas of game, cedar, leather, spice and red fruits. The tannins are softening, the length is good, and this wine is entering its best drinking window. A lot for $30. Rating: Very Good. Abv: 14.5%. Price: $30.50. Source: Sample. Read more: bordeauxandbeyond.com.
A second Spanish wine review, also from the same producer. I wasn’t initially entirely taken by this wine – a Rioja Reserva. That said, drinking it now a couple of days after opening, I am enjoying it. For this reason, I would suggest a long decant. It has a caramel and cedar driven nose, with a mid range intensity of colour. On day 2, it is more spicy. The palate is between medium and full bodied with sour cherries and a dark chocolate overtone. Pleasant drinking. Rating: Good. Abv: 14%. Price: $30.
This tempranillo from Topper’s Mountain in New England has a certain likeable exuberance to it. Its aromas remind of sweet cherry, game and plum and are almost pinot noir like. The palate is balanced with gluggable sweet ripe fruit. Like. (Region: New England, Rating: Good, Drink: now, Tasted: July, 2017, Source: Sample)
Other vintages reviewed:
Portugal is among several regions that I taste from sparsely. This is mostly a function of geography and access, rather than intent: Portugal is not a weekend trip from Australia. These two wines illustrate the diversity on offer. The first is from Dao which is inland, and south of the Douro. Alvara Castro is reputed as a leading producer in the region. It has an elegance that called to mind Burgundy. This is either a very pleasing development because Dao wines are substantially cheaper than Burgundy, or a very negative one, were it to be the case that I had tasted Burgundies that were in fact from Dao. The second wine is a dry table wine from Port house, Niepoort from the Douro.
Alvara Castro Dao 2009
A blend of alfrocheiro, touriga nacional and tinta roriz. Alfrocheiro? It’s a red grape variety that produces deeply coloured, balanced wines and has its home in the Dao. I have not seen it planted in Australia, although if you have, please chime in. Tinta roriz is the name for tempranillo in northern Portugal. And touriga nacional is the Port grape variety. Well, technically one of many, but a critical one. I imagine the typical Australian wine consumer (cf. wine nerd) searching for a nice red has long since tuned out due to an absence of any recognisable names. The 2009 vintage of Alvara Castro’s Dao is in fact very good. As mentioned, it has Burgundian pinot noir like aromas of cherry and rosemary. The palate has a nice balance of acid and length and powdery tannins. I’d buy this again.
(Alc: 13%, Region: Dao, Portugal, Rating: Good to Very Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? Yes, Drink: now, Tasted: July, 2017)
Niepoort Il Vertente Douro 2013
This is a very different style of wine to Alvara Castro’s Dao. It’s big. A deep saturated purple colour in the glass, it has aromas of vanilla, butter, baking spices, plums and jam. The palate is full bodied, with long length and an impression of woodiness. I would give this some time in the cellar, and a long decant for the wine to show its best. (Region: Douro, Portugal, Rating: Good, Would I buy it based on this tasting? I’d drink it, Drink: now, Tasted: July, 2017)