Perth Wine Century Challenge – Fifth Meet

Hi everyone,

To see what wines we have tried so far you can check out my blog posts on the first (unofficial meet) along with our second,  third and fourth meets (official meets). Back in July I caught up with some fellow Perth wine lovers and bloggers for the third official Wine Century Challenge Meet. This meet was held at the Trustee in Perth. The wines that we tasted this night seemed to have a trend of the nose and palate of the wine being very contradictory and polarised many of us at the tasting. Notes for the wines are under the categories of eye (E), nose (N) and palate (P) as usual for these tastings. For this tasting due to the low lighting at the Trustee I did not record eye notes for the wines.

WHITES

2011 Domaine Tselepos Classic, Moschofilero, Mantinia, Greece, 12%. (RRP $30)

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N: mineral, crisp stone fruits, herbs, and aromatic.

P: fuzzy, acidic, dry, and mineral.

2011 Arnaldo Caprai, Grechetto, Umbria, Italy, 13.5%. (RRP $33)

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N: oaky.

P: smooth, possible hint of oiliness, and a warming alcohol mouth feel.

2010 Abbazia di Novacella, Kerner, Alto Adige, Italy, 13.5%. (RRP $43)

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N: peach, nectarine, fruity, slight fruit sweetness, with a hint of lemon/citrus.

P: acidic, smooth, mineral with a slight residual sweetness,.

This one received a double tick on the night. I really liked this one.

2011 Filip Castelcerino, Garganega, Soave, Italy, 12.5%. (RRP$35)

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N: possibly oranges, mint, fresh summery notes.

P: dry, slightly fizzy, and mouth water inducing.

This one caused a lot of confusion on the night spurring comments such as “a lot going on” and “hard to understand”.  May have to revisit this one on a quieter night when I can give it my undivided attention.

At this point in the night we had some shared entree dishes brought out. I was not overly wrapped with the polenta, I believe it is an acquired taste and after I had tried the pork nothing would compare with it. I would like to  note that I am not a big fan of pork so for me to have gone back for seconds on the pork dish is a testament to how delicious it truly was! As we continued to nibble on the entrees we continued with the wine tastings so the following few wines were tasted with food.

2009 Marramiero, Pecorino, Abruzzo, Italy, 13%. (RRP $34)

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N: candied stone fruits, and honey.

P: fizzy, zesty, with a honey sweetened finish.

This was the other white wine of the night to receive a double tick. I would happily have more of this wine.

2011 Feudi di San Gregorio, Greco di Tufo, Campania, Italy, 13%. (RRP $43)

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N: apple, lemon, melon and pear.

P: fresh, acidic, smooth with a slight fizz.

REDS

2010 Planeta, Nerello Mascalese, Sicily, Italy, 13.5%. (RRP $50)

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N: pepper, spice, sour cherry, earthy and had a sense of warmth about it.

P: spicy with a slight woodenness about it.

this wine reminded me of a Pinot Noir in many ways. I would suggest it to anyone who loves those and is looking for a different wine grape to try without being too adventurous.

2009 Argiolas Costera, Cannonau (Grenache), Sardegna, Italy, 14%. (RRP $40)

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N: rich berries, hint of chocolate, earthy, warm with a possible hint of aniseed.

P: noticeable oak, dry tannins with a slight grippy texture.

2007 Tormaresca Masseria Maime, Negroamaro, Puglia, Italy, 14%. (RRP $45)

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N: cherry, blackcurrant, oak, and earthy.

P: very dry tannins, heavy mouth feel, acidic, and some berry flavours on the palate.

2006 Gaia Estate, Agiorgitiko, Nemea, Greece, 14% (RRP $73).

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N: blackcurrant, spice, oak, leather, cherry and an earthiness about it.

P: smooth mouth feel with a dry finish.

2008 Kir Yianni Diaporos, Xinomavro (87%) & Syrah (13%), Naoussa, Greece, 14.5%. (RRP $75)

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N: spice, earthy, and a sense of ‘oldness’ or age on the nose.

P: very dry.

This wine was believed by some in the group to either be corked or on it’s way out. Over all it was a dud wine regardless, however we should have the chance to retry it again at a later wine tasting so I hope it was just this bottle rather than the wine itself.

2009 Olivi, Pugnitello, Tuscany, Italy. (RRP $75)

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N: spice and old leather.

P: spicy and dry.

2008 San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria (Zinfandel), Puglia, Italy, 14.5%. (RRP $53)

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This wine was unanimously viewed as corked by the group. Again hoping we will have the chance to retry this wine at a later date.

To end the night we all ordered a dish each and finished off the remaining wines with our meals. I ordered the gnocchi which was very filling and up there with one of the best gnocchi dishes I have had in Perth.

Gnocchi.

Gnocchi.

A big thanks to the Trustee for allowing us to host this Perth Wine Century Meet at their Bistro.

The Trustee Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

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Wine(s) of the Week: Back at the books again… with a slight detour…

Hi everyone,

I have just entered into a month long practicum and I am hoping I will be able to find some down time to get a handle on the backlog of posts I have to put up. I attended the Vintage Cellar’s International Wine Festival in Perth roughly 2 weeks ago, being a team member for Coles Liquor I was granted free access to the event and used it as a chance to sample many new wines that I sell to customers as well as getting a chance to talk to the people behind the wines. It was, like last year an enjoyable evening and while I missed interacting with the patrons like I had the previous year when I worked the event this time around it was nicer to be able to talk to the wine makers and the reps about their products.

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I did not make any detailed notes at the event for specific wines, rather I used this event to gage what I liked and what I felt I could sell back at work. I also had the chance to speak to Matt Skinner briefly while he was in town and it was nice to finally meet the man who is the face of wine for Coles Liquor.

Matt Skinner and I.

Matt Skinner and I.

The event was segregated into two areas, one being Australia and New Zealand (with some Spanish booths) and the other being Old World. I ended up spending more time in the first area due to the stock on hand in my store, however I would have much preferred to have spent the majority of my time in the Old World section of the event – Unfortunately this is not what my current store stocks. Below are just some of the wines that I tried and thought were worth mentioning.

Australia

Dandelion Vineyard

This is the only Australian winery that I visited at the show and for a good reason – I have loved the wines from this winery every time I have come across them in the past.

Shiraz Riesling ($23.99) – The Riesling provided a nice pop of interest to the Shiraz, loved it!

Red Queen of the Eden Valley Shiraz ($99.99) – a VERY nice wine and it lingered in the mouth for a long time. Not sure if I would pay as much as they’re asking for it but it was a a treat to try this wine.

Chile

Casillero del Diablo/Cono Sur

Carmenere ($14.99) – plum and blackcurrant fruits with a toasty coffee finish. This one was recommended by a fellow wine taster and I’m glad they did, I enjoyed it.

France

Piper-Heidsieck

Brut Champagne NV ($49.99) – a fresh citrus driven Champagne. Not bad. I’m still have a soft spot for nutty and toasty sparkling wines but this one did not disappoint.

Italy

Ruffino

Prosecco DOC ($17.99) – my first Prosecco and I’m impressed! I will have to dabble with these more in the near future!

New Zealand

Blind River

This winery chose to stick to what New Zealand is known for – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Both of these varietals have been done exceptionally well by Blind River and their premier line was very nice, and consisted of a Sauvignon Blanc ($22.99) and Pinot Noir ($34.99) which highlighted why these varietals are the standouts for the region. The lady running the booth was fantastic to talk to as well!

Jules Taylor

Exceptional wines and it was nice to see a few different varietals that differed to the traditional Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. I spent quite a while here talking with the wine rep, it was interesting to go into more depth on the reasoning behind the alternative varietals as well as their struggles when it came to getting it out to a wider market due to the overwhelming popularity of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs.

Rose ($19.99) – 100% Merlot grapes and it won me over from the first sip. I will have to get my hands on some bottles of this for next summer as it will be a perfect wine to sip away on a hot summers afternoon.

Grüner Veltliner – white peach, lime and floral notes. I was hunting for a Riesling from New Zealand and this was as close as I got to one. It was not quite what I was looking for but still a delicious wine.

Robinsons

This is a line which Coles has exclusive rights to in Australia. I have always been a little wary of their wines due to this fact. I have to say that I was wrong for being skeptical and really enjoyed tasting my way though their range. I was very impressed all around and the husband of one of the children of the owners who was running the booth was well versed with the wines and a pleasure to chat with.

900 Grapes/Squealing Pig/Matua

I had a wonderful time chatting with the wine rep and wine maker at this booth. They had quite a large range of wines to try over the three labels which I ended up comparing and contrasting with as I went through.

Ranking the Sauvignon Blanc’s (and the labels overall):

1. Squealing Pig

2. 900 Grapes

3. Matua

I also enjoyed the 900 Grapes Merlot over their Pinot Noir (both $19.99) – it seems that Merlot was out to surprise me this night and was trying to convince me to give it another try after swearing off it a few years ago.

Portugal

Casa Santos Lima

This is the same people who make the wine LAB which I loved and reviewed in this blog. I went through the rest of their range that they import to Australia and there were some other gems to be found like the LAB in their range.

Bons VentosRose ($9.99) – refreshing and a great value for money rose.

Quinta Das Setencostas Red ($14.99) – Not a bad wine, I still preferred LAB to this one personally but I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of this over dinner either.

Touriz ($26.66) – complex red wine with cherries, blackcurrant and plums. Loved it!

USA

Wente Vineyard

I worked this booth at last years show so I quickly popped by to try the Beyer Ranch Zinfandel ($19.99) and the Morning Fog Chardonnay ($19.99) once more. They were both as nice as I remembered from last year and the booth was very busy so I did not linger for very long.

Chalkboard Series

This is another Coles exclusive range. One which is in the process of being added to (Matt Skinner mentioned that there will be a Prosecco out in the near future from Brown Brother under this label, which I am definitely going to be on the look out for after my first tasting of a Prosecco at this event!)

The Central Otago Pinot Noir ($18.99) was a definite favourite of many people at the booth tasting the wines. However it was the Cote’s du Rhone ($11.99) which stole my heart in this range!

Until next time!

Wino101: Like This, Try That (second instalment)

Hi everyone,

You may remember one of my earlier posts on this blog where I suggested alternatives for common white wines. In this post I will hopefully make red wine varietals a little more approachable.

Like Shiraz, Try Zinfandel

When I say Zinfandel, I am referring to the robust style seen in Australia and not the one that many Americans will think of. Zinfandel in Australia is a red wine which ranges in its body and intensity of flavours depending upon the climate it was grown in as well as the winery producing it. Below is the description for the 2010 vintage Zinfandel from Cape Mentelle in Margaret River, Western Australia which has been described to me as the Holy Grail of Western Australian Zinfandels.

APPEARANCE: Dark crimson.

NOSE: Ripe plums with chocolate, allspice, maraschino cherries, juniper berries and aged tobacco.

PALATE: Ripe mulberry, rhubarb and summer pudding with cinnamon, dark chocolate and fleshy plums. The wine is opulent and rich with savoury spicy tannins balanced by fresh and vibrant red fruits. The sweet fruit carries the entire palate contributing to length of flavour.

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Try Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a softer wine in comparison to a Cabernet Sauvignon, however it is a wine that can be overlooked if you are not aware of and looking for the finer, softer elements in a wine. Cabernet Francs are often listed as having, fine tannins, spicy aromas, peppery accents, violet nuances and an understated elegance plus lots of red and black berry (mainly blueberry, raspberry and sometimes plum) flavor.

 It is subtly fragrant and gently flirtatious rather than massively muscular and tough in youth. Because Cabernet Sauvignon has so much more of everything – body, tannin, alcohol, colour – it is often supposed to be necessarily superior, but I have a very soft spot indeed for its more charming and more aromatic relative, Cabernet Franc – Jancis Robinson

Like Pinot Noir, Try Merlot or Cabernet Merlot

Merlot is a grape varietal which bring sweetness into a red wine rather than tannins and spiciness as Cabernet and Shiraz do. If you are finding your Merlot’s too sweet as I did when I first started drinking red wine then a Cabernet Merlot may be a better wine for you to drink as your branch out in your red wine drinking.

Like Rose, Try Pinot Noir

Rose’s tend to be light bodied, fruity (think strawberries, rasberries and cherries) and can range from sweet to dry with their finish. Pinot Noir’s tend to have more body than a Rose however they are still a lighter bodied red than your Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignons. Pinot Noirs such as the Village Pinot Noir from Yering Station – review can be found in this blog – can also have similar fruity characteristics to a Rose.

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Hope this post helps and if there are any other varietals you like to drink that wasn’t included in either post please let me know as there will be more of these entries in the future!

Until next time!

Wine Varietal Challenge

Hi everyone,

I’ve stumbled across a website which belongs to a group called The Wine Century Club with the condition of membership being that you have tried at least 100 different grape varietals while drinking wine.

Demi-Membership for those who are on their way to trying 100 different varietals of wine.

The application form for the group can be found here, and on the form is a list of all the current grape varieties used in the production of wines. From this form I checked out the varieties that I know I have tried in the past and realised quickly that there is still plenty of wine’s for me to try to be able to qualify. So I have set myself the challenge of trying to tick off as many new wine varieties over the summer as I can, and I want anyone who want to do the same to join me as I am sure it will be quite the challenge to make it to 100 different varieties from the limited range available in the commercial liquor stores in Perth! Below is a list of what I know I have tried so far.

Whites:

Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewürtztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Verdelho.

Reds:

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Dolcetto, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Shiraz, and Zinfandel.

This list puts my total at 20 different varietals. If anyone has one to recommend that I can easily get my hands on a bottle in Perth than please let me know! And if anyone in Perth would like to help me finish the many bottles of wine that this challenge will lead me to consume, or even to begin adding to their own tally then feel free to tweet or comment to me and I’m sure we can arrange a tasting over the summer months!

Until next time!