Torbreck Steading 2000 (review)

89 points

This is a Grenache Mataro Shiraz from Barossa.

Every bottle I have opens with a lot of bottle stink- very earthy funky mushroomy smells. After a while this reduces but is still evident. The now more apparent nose is Grenache Mataro- sweet fruits, earthy, tarry, spicy. The colour is showing a bit of browning at the edges- maybe more due to my lack of cellaring than the wine itself, but more red than purple. The taste is a blend of sweet fruits (Grenache) and very earthy mushroomy character. You might pick this as a Rhone wine, rather than Barossa. The tannin is evident, but soft and the length is nice, but not overly long. Really a nice wine with rich food, not overpowering at all.

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Marc Bredif grand annee Vouvray 1986 (review)

90 points

Loire Valley, France. 12.5%

It is amazing that this wine is available retail, at 19 years of age. And at about $35.

It’s also amazing that it tastes so fresh, presumably a cold Loire cellar helps.

Light gold. Gorgeous complex aroma showing just hints of maturity, and sweetness too. That light sweetness is on the palate which is fresh but soft with waxy hints. Clean. Some greenness a tad hard, but this contributes to the enjoyable whole.

Not the most concentrated Vouvray I’ve tried. Not the most outstanding, though it will probably continue to gain in flavour with age.

Imported into Australia by Negociants Australia, Adelaide.

Seppelts Chalambar Shiraz 1999

85 points

For those who like a cooler climate Shiraz with a spicy nose and extracted tannins. The acid is well-balanced, but even after 6 years, the tannins are still pronounced. The nose is red berry and white pepper; the taste is more red fruits and a bit of blueberry. I am not sure if there were added tannins or just a lot of extract. Still a nice winter red for about $15.

Te Mata Awatea 1998 (review)

91 points

Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. 13.5%

This is a special wine, an outstanding NZ red. Which we have consumed many times – this is not a one-off tasting review. Sure it is a bit academic reviewing a wine that is unavailable to buy anymore but it is very interesting to see what NZ can do in great vintages.

At 7 years of age this is so like a high quality Bordeaux. Hard to pick blind ! Seemingly higher alcohol with less concentration. Perhaps like 1999 (in Bordeaux) ie ripe but a touch dilute.

Great physiological ripeness, silky smooth palate. And super deft oak. Te Mata really is first class. Increasingly they seem to be overlooked for more high powered (alcohol and extract) wines from new producers, but I think Te Mata really is NZ aristocracy. And in freakishly ripe vintages they produce wines like this, fine elegant but with flavours into the dark end of spectrum.

This is the sort of wine that everyone who lives in the “New World” hopes for. Top quality fine wine, but at a fraction of the price (in this case about $30). Unfortunately this is all too rare with wineries of only a few years old often trying for prices that are ridiculously high.

Dopf Riesling & Gewurtztraminer 2003 Alsace

83 points

These wines are the low end of the spectrum from Dopf. A nice change of style from the typical Australian versions at about $14-$15 at Dan Murphy. The nose is extremely lifted on the Gewurtz, less so on the Riesling. Both wines have nice thick mouthfeel and good length. I found them a bit phenolic, but still enjoyable, easily varietally recogniseable and good drinking with slightly spicy chicken/fish.