Monday, April 27, 2009

Vinoteca Australia and New Zealand Tasting

I spent last Thursday evening at Vinoteca tasting their Australia and New Zealand range. The event is pretty easy to attend - you just need to call or email them and get your name on a list, and then you pay at the door (£10).

There was an interesting range of wines on show. Although it was advertised as an Australia and New Zealand tasting, there were a few Italian wines that were made by a Kiwi winemaker. Looking at my notes however it seems I didn't like any of those. They also had some Aussie wines that were made from Italian grape varieties, and I did like those. The wines that I liked (i.e. I would score them a 3 or above) included:

  • Rippon Estate Riesling 2006, Central Otago, NZ (£17.50). A fantastic off dry Riesling, just the way I like them. Complete with petrolly character.
  • Shaw & Smith "M3 Vineyard" Chardonnay 2007, Adelaide Hills, South Australia (£19.50). A wonderful wine. Creamy, spicy character from malolactic fermentation and new oak, good fruit and great depth. Excellent.
  • De Bortoli Deen Vat 10 Pinot Noir 2008, Victoria, Australia (£8.50). I was surprised that I liked this wine from De Bortoli, as I wasn't a fan of their Gulf Station bottling. It was a bit lighter in style and seemed more elegant than the Gulf Station. It seemed more Burgundian. Good price too.
  • Heartland Stickleback Red 2007, South Australia (£7.50). This wine is good value. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Grenache and Dolcetto (an Italian variety). Big ripe fruit, would be a great wine for sharing on its own.
  • Thorne Clarke Terra Barossa Nebbiolo 2005, Barossa Valley, South Australia (£9.25). Nebbiolo is the grape used in Barolo and Barbaresco in Piedmont, Italy. It's rare to see it outside of its homeland. This example I found interesting - it's obviously new world in style but retains some of that cherry and tar character that the Italian versions are famous for, as well as the tannins. Also starting to turn an orange brick colour. Probably not everyone's cup of tea, but I dug it.
  • De Bortoli Windy Peak Sangiovese 2005, Kind Valley, Victoria, Australia (£9.50). Another Aussie take on an Italian variety, this time the grape of Chianti. This one was interesting as well, with an intense, sour cherry flavour.
  • John Duval "Plexus" 2006, Barossa Valley, South Australia (£18.75). High quality Aussie "GSM" blend. A GSM blend is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, a combination also found in the Rhone Valley, France.
  • Yarra Yering "Underhill" Shiraz 2004, Yarra Valley, Victoria (£35.00). Wonderful Shiraz. Haven't had too many better than this (actually probably none). Well structured, elegant and powerful.
  • De Bortoli Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon 2005, Riverina, New South Wales, Australia (£6.95 37.5 cl). A sort of Aussie Sauternes. Intensely rich, sweet but with good acidity with a long finish. Great value.

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