Love’s top 100, Halliday on Penfolds & more

The Australian, 16 July, James Halliday

2012 Penfolds The Max Schubert Commemorative Release Cabernet Shiraz 
Wow. A 61/39% blend of Barossa shiraz and Coonawarra cabernet led to 1962 Bin 60A, Max Schubert’s greatest wine. This inherits Bin 60A’s regional/varietal blend, with extreme longevity and impeccable balance between fruit, oak and tannins. All it needs is time. 14% alc, screwcap. 98 points, drink to 2052, $450

2012 Penfolds Cellar Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 
This is Coonawarra cabernet as only Penfolds can create – the bouquet instantly communicates class and style. Cassis, black olive and cedary oak are the foundations for a wine with perfect dimensions, the tannins and French oak superbly handled. 14.5% alc, screwcap. 97 points, drink to 2052, $200

2013 Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 
I’ve been a believer in the exceptional quality and style of this wine from the first vintage. It spends 12 months in new and used French and American oak and the allure of the bouquet is immediate, as is the deliciously grainy texture of the mouthfeel, and the almost decadent well of black fruit flavours. 14.4% alc, screwcap. 96 points, drink to 2043, $80

The Advertiser, 15 July, Tony Love

During such large comparo tastings – I do them in groups of varieties and styles as well as regions – little light bulbs flicker on when you pass by a bunch of, say, 2014 McLaren Vale shiraz.

I’ve written here before about the current Scarce Earth project releases of that region’s and vintage’s shiraz, which mostly sit at the higher end of the pay scale.

The thrill of those wines was their energy and vibrant fruit display, even from what is usually quite dense and full-bodied wine. But across the board in the Top 100 selection I realised there were many more 2014 McLaren Vale shiraz in the mix, mainly because they had a wonderful thrust.

Among those which stood out were bargains through to main list wines, the Fox Creek 2014 Red Baron Shiraz for just $18 then the Dowie Doole 2014 CT Shiraz ($29), the Primo Estate Shale Stone 2014 Shiraz ($32) and the Penny’s Hill 2014 Skeleton Key Shiraz ($35).

The Scarce Earth roll includes the Battle of Bosworth 2014 Dings Shiraz ($45), the Serafino 2014 Malpas Road Vineyard Shiraz ($45) and the Coriole 2014 Old House Shiraz ($55). Full article

Halliday Wine Compendium, 15 July, Sarah Gamboni

Peter Fraser: a year in review

No one could accuse Peter Fraser of resting on his laurels. Since being named James Halliday’s Winemaker of the Year for 2016, the laidback McLaren Vale winemaker has been busier than ever, representing Yangarra Estate at events across the world and guiding the winery through a “fast and furious vintage”.

When the Halliday team caught up with Pete recently, we asked if being named Australia’s best winemaker last July altered the trajectory of the 12 months that followed. “Well, I’ve done a lot more dinners,” Pete quipped. Full article

The Australian, 19 July, Max Allen

We’re going from the sublime to the ridiculously good value this week. First up: some marvellous old wines that are worth every cent of their luxury price tags.

Just as one multinational drinks company, Pernod Ricard, decides to quit the premium fortified wine game by selling off the great old Morris winery in Rutherglen, another global booze business, Accolade Wines, has decided that premium fortifieds are worth a big, appropriately pricey push and has released a suite of staggeringly good old sweet wines under the Hardy’s Rare label. Full article

The Mercury (Tasmania), 16 and 19 July, Graeme Phillips



Grape Expectations 9 July Max Crus (Simon Hughes)

At some point in the week these reviews and article  will appear in The Daily Examiner (Grafton), Border Mail (Albury), Rotary Down Under (National) and Australian Petroleum Marketer News (National) 

Shame, shame, shame on me. I am no better than Eddie McGuire.

Although it’s likely few Collingwood supporters read this column – thanks for your support Pie Eyed Pearl – I sympathise, as with the subjects of the insightful Cathy Wilcox cartoon…”How does it feel to be vilified for being a bigot?’

The schadenfreude from watching Eddie squirm, him knowing he‘s done something bad but knowing not what, is as good as it gets. Except whenever Collingwood loses.

Should I seek help for wishing badness upon someone probably just behaving as his parents, either accidentally or actively raised him?

Should I apologise, half-heartedly at first, then more fulsomely as my advertisers, (I wish) pulled their comfortable cash from under my CEO’s couch (I wish)?

Should I deny wanting to drown him in iced-water (reward for a small donation to a charity), or attach him to an old washing machine and tow him out to sea – a la Alan Jones  – or just shoot him (or me?) for him being so rich and powerful yet so ignorant of modern sensibilities?

Or should Australians be able to vilify idiots, thus opening the floodgates for Eddie (and Jonesy) types to do likewise with women, indigenous people, or refugees, the poor, uneducated, those living with a disability or the just plain ugly?

Is this reverse bigotry, or reverse idiocy?

Worryingly, while Eddie had to avoid TV for a few weeks (holidays allegedly) for being a knob, given the rise of Pauline and Far Right Queensland (that’s the area around Rockhampton), if he’d run for the senate, say as the Good Old Collingwood Forever Party, he’d romp it in and hard-core 1950s-values parties would have more seats than the Nats!

Hmm, a tautology, but still an upside.

One positive to come from Eddie’s ignorance, however, is his sponsors, shrewdly have imposed a caveat on their donations that half must go to women’s teams and causes.

So it transpires the best thing to do with Eddies and Paulines is sit down with them, perhaps over a glass of wine, and politely explain why you think they are wrong and we are not.

Neither Eddie nor Pauline will understand – until you mention the money bit.

Lerida Estate Brut Reserve Canberra District 2006, $65 (Club members only). Everyone flocked to the Veuve in the lounge, leaving a smarter few lingering in the kitchen relishing glasses of this. Lovely, complicated stuff perfect for election parties. 9.2/10.

Lerida Estate (Canberra District) Lake George Shiraz Viognier 2015, $75 (just released). I looked at Lerida’s sexy, gorgeous, new labels featuring a ‘maze’ pattern for ages before realising it is a graphic ‘L.E.’ Those sneaky designers. Sexy and gorgeous contents too. 9.1/10.

Cumulus Six Hundred Above Merlot 2013, $27. 600 above doesn’t seem so impressive until you do it in one go. Steep enough by car, try a pushbike or hiking…or picking grapes. 8.6/10.

Cumulus Six Hundred Above Chardonnay 2013, $27. Might be a new vintage about to hit the decks so snap up this old delight to make room. Worth the climb. 9/10.

Flowstone Margaret River Shiraz Grenache 2015, $25. Red wine in long tall bottles? Makes you think it’s more sophisticated and not as bullish and blokey, or ‘McGuirey‘. It works! 8.6/10.

Flowstone Margaret River Shiraz Grenache 2014, $25. What a difference a day, or year, makes. Altogether more bodily than it’s younger sibling but perhaps the 2015 will catch up. Too late now. 8.8/10.

Decanter on Line, 21 July, Jane Anson

‘Cabernet Sauvignon has pretty much become a swear word in Victoria now,’ importer and MW student Victoria Sharples is telling a small group of sommeliers and journalists in London.

‘There are some wonderful old vine cabs still going strong, but producers all over the state are field-grafting to get away from the image of the swaggering Ozzie cab’.

We’re here for a cool climate tasting of mainly rieslings and pinot noirs from Victoria, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that poor old cabernet sauvignon is getting a mauling from winemakers who are frustrated with the one-dimensional image of Australia internationally. Full Article



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