12.5% Australian Pinot Noir

I see that newly released Domaine Chandon’s Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2012 is a mere 12.5% alcohol.  It reminds me that Coldstream Hills, back in the days when James Halliday owned it, produced some Pinots of 12.5% alcohol.  And I recall Jancis Robinson reviewing them positively and noting the low alcohol with a statement along the lines of “good on them, Pinot Noir isn’t Grenache”.

I’d encourage a few Kiwi winemakers to take note.  There are quite a few 14%+ fruit bomb Pinots coming out from the South Island.  They remind me of young Australian Sparkling Shiraz without the sparkle.

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Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 9 shiraz 1997

92 points

Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia. 12.8%

One bottle was partially oxidised. This review is of the 2nd. Both had crumbly corks but the better bottle had better fill.

Warm, deep red flavours, quite a lot of fruit sweetness. Smooth and rich but not cloying. Food friendly.

A bit more spice, even a touch of greeness would have really made thus wine. But then I can hardly accuse them of picking too ripe at a mere 12.8%. Fascinating wine.

Might have lived another decade under screwcap.

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Sandalford estate reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

88 points

Margaret River, Western Australia. 14.5%

This is a very good wine but I’m marking it down a few points because it’s just a bit to showy. The oak is obtrusive, dry and a bit raspy. And the alcohol is too high. I know it is young but I have major doubts that this will properly knit together, at least into something fine.

So breathe the wine now and enjoy it young as a showy wine. Nice flavours even if it lacks mid palate density.

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