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Wine Reviews

The new grape variety of the moment; Stockman’s Ridge Rider Savagnin 2013

Savagnin is traminer, but not gewürtztraminer or gewürtztraminer that is called traminer.  And nor just for good measure is it albariño.  These sentences unexpectedly make sense because savagnin has been proven to be the same grape variety is that called traminer in Germany, the CSIRO confirmed in 2009 that source material propagated at the CSIRO…Continue readingThe new grape variety of the moment; Stockman’s Ridge Rider Savagnin 2013

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Cabernet franc, Australian plantings, history and styles; early thoughts

Having tasted a few local cabernet francs over the past fortnight or so has rather led to a desire on my part to find out more about the history of the grape variety in Australia.  Part of this is because I’ve always wondered if there were local producers out there who are trying for a…Continue readingCabernet franc, Australian plantings, history and styles; early thoughts

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More on carignan

Only a week or so after wondering whether carignan was a sensible choice for southern Victoria or perhaps for many regions (here’s a link), a blend of grenache (55%) and carignan (45%) arrived from Priorat.  And I rather half expected that as sure as night follows day, it would prove to be an outstanding wine.…Continue readingMore on carignan

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When carignan is not carignan

I read an interesting story earlier in the week by Max Allen in The Australian newspaper.  Max is a strong supporter of carignan and thinks it eminently suited for the hot and dry conditions faced in much of Australia. In short, Max’s story is this: Shadowfax winery in Werribee in western Melbourne (towards Geelong) grafted…Continue readingWhen carignan is not carignan

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Bordeaux en primeur 2013

The 2013 Bordeaux en primeur tastings have now concluded, and en primeur prices are slowly being released by the Bordeaux chateaux.  The 2013 vintage by all reports is a poor one, so it will be an opportunity, I hope, for Bordeaux release prices to fall.  Whether they fall in Australia is traditionally an independent question.…Continue readingBordeaux en primeur 2013

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An exercise in aged Yarra Valley cabernet: Wantirna Estate Cabernet Merlot 1992 and Arthurs Creek Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1992

Though most wine press for the Yarra Valley these days appears to go to pinot noir, chardonnay and cooler climate expressions of shiraz, the Yarra Valley can produce some quite compelling cabernet sauvignon wines and blends, and this tasting rather proved it.  The more cautious among us might qualify this and say that it proves…Continue readingAn exercise in aged Yarra Valley cabernet: Wantirna Estate Cabernet Merlot 1992 and Arthurs Creek Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1992

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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…Continue readingLangtons Classification Tasting: September 2013

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Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

The Margaret River and Coonawarra are Australia’s two leading cabernet sauvignon regions, of that I have little doubt.  The Yarra Valley can be good, but my impression is that the lesser years seem to outnumber the greater, and of the red grapes, pinot noir and syrah have captured local vigneron’s imagination to a greater extent.  With a…Continue readingXanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

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Merlot in Australia: maligned or misunderstood? Or, Sir, can you spare a clone?

  Introduction Given the quality ambitions of many Australian producers, the relative underperformance of merlot in Australia has always struck me as something of an anomaly that is worthy of further thought and attention.  So what is wrong then with Australian merlot? Like all good stories, we have an alleged culprit. Locally the finger generally…Continue readingMerlot in Australia: maligned or misunderstood? Or, Sir, can you spare a clone?

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Wine Reviews

Two good cabernets and a shadow

Every now and then a blind tasting just knocks your socks off, and teaches you something too.  In this case, it was helpful to learn that a “super premium” label that I have recently had doubts about gave rise to the same doubts when tasted blind, and two prestigious labels that I am very partial…Continue readingTwo good cabernets and a shadow

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An exercise in "un" terroir in Beechworth

I recently had the good fortune to be served blind three chardonnays from Beechworth, all from the same year (2010), and all sourced from the same mature vineyard (Smith’s vineyard) situated outside of Beechworth.  The thing about blind tasting is it is just that – prejudices and biases are not able to take root –…Continue readingAn exercise in "un" terroir in Beechworth

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Phylloxera: Victoria and South Australian changes

Phillip White wrote an interesting article the other day on proposed changes to relax rules in South Australia regarding the transport of grape harvesters and other machinery and equipment from Victoria to South Australia, provided that they have come from a “phylloxera exclusion zone”. For those unacquainted with phylloxera, it is the insect that laid waste…Continue readingPhylloxera: Victoria and South Australian changes