January February reviews Spain, Portugal, Chile, McLaren Vale & others

Odd assortment

I have not got back into full tasting mode post Christmas, partly due to trying to clear all reviews from 2016 and partly due to the heat. Not having an air-conditioned space to taste wine, I store them cool until its more clement to taste.

The reviews this week are an odd assortment that I tasted in January and February.

Spanish trio

Not yet available in Australia any inquires contact Paddy Gilhooly, Alliance Wines Australia paddy@alliancewineaustralia.com

Palabra Pasada Navarra Graciano/Garnacha 2014: Tasted January 2017: Soft gentle wine, clean ripe plum nose and plums across the palate, very easy drinking, in fact I put it in the fridge and found it worked well chilled, what it lacked was excitement, it’s a respectable vicar, a Volvo, a bike with training wheels, but it is very well made, 90 points and OK value at $20 as it will please many consumers that enjoy a glass of wine but are not in to it

Piadoso Rioja 2015: Tasted January 2017: A blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano. I tasted this with the above wine from Navarra. They are different blends from different regions, but it was hard to spot the difference in taste. They are made by the same winemaker and he/she appears to have a format which is followed. It’s a wine to please the consumer with a better pedigree than South East Australia GI same points (90) same price $20.

Piadoso Rioja Reserva 2011: Tasted February: Also a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano (percentages 80/15/5). Ah now we have individuality coming into play, some oak and bottle age before release a earthy/savoury character underscores the fruit the wine working on both levels as it transverses the palate. 93 points and $35 is just within bounds

Red’s

Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2015: Tasted January 2017: Available from Dan’s at just $14. Often when tasting imported wine I ask why? Why import this when there are Australian wines to match in quality and value, with that in mind I tasted this, no I drank this in company of friends that like wine but are not into it as I am, ‘like this Tone’,  ‘yer good wine’ were the comments. That should answer the question. My view is people didn’t think it was imported wine but could somehow taste there was something different about it, 93 points and good value.

Zema Estate Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: Tasted February 2017: A strange word classic, to those who adore old vehicles a classic car is a machine of beauty, to others it’s an old car. This is classic Coonawarra cabernet and to me a wine of great beauty, its drinking very well now but has a long life ahead an easy 96 points and at $26 from Dan’s incredible value

Zema Estate Coonawarra Shiraz 2013: Tasted February 2017: The eternal debate of Coonawarra Shiraz being second rate to cabernet or its equal and in some cases superior. In this case it should be equal but as it falls two points behind is it inferior? Ah the reviewer caught out. Maybe. It’s not that it’s a poor wine far from it plenty of spice well balanced fruit beautifully constructed and with time to go, its difference for me being the greatness of the cabernet and how well its drinking whilst the shiraz still has a couple of edges that need smoothing out and that will take a little time so a mean 94 now and more to come $25 at Dan’s is a bargain.

Mornington Estate Mornington Peninsula Shiraz 2015: Tasted February 2017: On tasting it was room temperature and being this time of year that was too warm, half hour in the fridge and a really delightful wine emerged, medium weight a silky texture all along the journey and balanced all the way. 94 points and a bargain at $25

Blue Pyrenees Estate Sparkling Shiraz NV: Tasted January 2017: Ripe, juicy wine that for those into sparkling shiraz is pure joy, I am and it was, 94 points and worth $32

Arturo Heathcote Shiraz 2016: Tasted February 2017: From the Chalmers family vineyard, soft ripe plum nose ad soft red fruits in the mouth, well made some interesting points of flavour but overall it was lacking, 92 points and there is a lot of shiraz around at $35

Norfolk Rise Mount Benson Pinot Noir 2016: Tasted January 2017: Simple but very enjoyable, more fruit character than savoury but well made and works chilled and at the table with a pizza 92 points and value at $18

Marchand & Burch ‘Mount Barrow’ Mount Barker Pinot Noir 2016: Tasted January: Handpicked, hand sorted and fussed over all the way from vineyard to bottle, It shows. Savoury on the nose and across the palate, its what top pinot is all about, good to taste better to drink, 95 points and around the right price at $50 from Dan’s

Claymore ‘London Calling’ Clare Valley Cabernet Malbec 2015: Tasted January 2017: I wish I knew what makes malbec so attractive to me, but I don’t. What I do know when a wine has a good dollop of it, in this case 25 per cent, I really enjoy the mulberry /plum character it contributes. That aside, it’s a very good wine behind the quirky label, beautifully crafted and hitting all the right spots as it travels across the palate, 93 points and a bargain at $20

St John’s Road ‘LSD’ Barossa 2015: Tasted January 2017: LSD = Lagrein, Shiraz and Durif, It’s not a blend I’m aware of tasting before, but using this one as a benchmark I will be happy to taste more, it’s a rollercoaster ride of flavours that both excite and make one ponder over what they are tasting, 94 points and good value at $27

Patritti ‘Section 184’ McLaren Vale Grenache 2015: Tasted January 2017: It builds slowly from a easy wine with agreeable flavours to a magnificent wine of great character with the flavours intensifying as the wine travels, 94 points and worth $35

White’s

Robert Channon ‘Wild Ferment’ Granite Belt Pinot Gris 2016: Tasted February 2017: There is pinot gris and pinot gris and there is this Robert Channon pinot gris, it really is in a league of its own. It has a tinge of copper colour, is delightful on the nose enticing the drinker to linger. Once in the mouth the texture is on the rich side but not full on. Flavours roll into each other in a seamless way with each one giving joy, 95 points and well worth $30

Robert Channon ‘Wild Ferment’ Granite Belt Verdelho 2016: Tasted February 2017: I’ve not tasted a huge range of verdelho’s at one sitting but every time I taste a Robert Channon verdelho I know I’m in the presence of a master of the grape. This is simply superb from first smell to finial sip and it has some more development, seek it out buy it and enjoy, 96 points and value at $30

Fox Gordon ‘The Empress’ Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2015: Tasted February 2017: Sound Chardonnay still coming together in the bottle but one can see all the right parts in the right places, falls short of being great so 94 points and it has a lot of competition at $30

A port to finish

Cockburns Tawny Port: Tasted January 2017: This was sent for review in time for Christmas, unfortunately it only arrived a few days before Christmas so I didn’t get around to it. When I was a youngster every Christmas Harvey’s of Bristol who owned Cockburns at the time ran an TV advert featuring a famous thespian who would say, “don’t say cock, say co.” Delivered with a twinkle in the eye, believe it or not very naughty at the time. Its a winter drink but also works well over ice with a splash of soda, 92 points and worth $20

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