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A Return to Australia


We have not drunk much Australian wine as of late.  I have become curious about the new wines John has been bringing to the store.  The Picardy is one such example from Pemberton in Southwest Australia.  This selection was both a new winery and region for me.  From the excellent 2005 vintages this was our favorite of the trio.  Perhaps this is not suprising as the winery is owned by the Panell’s who established Moss Wood.  This wine is starting to come into its own now so I recommend you give a bottle a try.  The Fireblock was a decent enough drink but not captivating.  First Drop Wines was also new to me.  John recommended I start with the Half & Half.  With a Spanish inspired label, this Monastrell blend is certainly different.  I think it needs more time.  The Picardy and First Drop were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  The Fire Block was purchased at Total Wine of Manassas.

2005 Picardy, Merlimont, Pemberton – $23
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is a blend of 53% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 23% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 14%.  The color is a medium+ garnet.  The soft nose is a little closed with tobacco and licorice in a Bordeaux manner.  In the mouth the flavors are softer and darker with wood box along with expansive blue and black fruit.  After one to two hours things loosen up a bit as it becomes a little tangy.  There are ripe, drying tannins which coat the inside of the lips.  It becomes fresh with a little softening in the finish.  The fruit is initially ripe then dries up towards the aftertaste.  Drinkable now but give some air.  *** Now-2017.

2005 Fire Block, Old Vine Grenache, Clare Valley – $16
Imported by USA Wine West.   This wine is 100% Grenached sourced from a vineyard planted in 1926 as a fireblock next to the railway line to prevent bush fires.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose and mouth are similar with cherry fruit and maturing Australian grenache (for lack of a better description).  The red fruit is supported by ample acidity.  This is a brighter wine with subtle ripe weight.  The flavors drop off a bit by the aftertaste.  ** Now-2016.

2010 First Drop Wines, Half & Half – $20?
Imported by Vine St Imports.  This wine is 50% Shiraz and 50% Monastrell sourced from 16-year-old vines.  It was aged for 18 months in seasoned French barriques.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Tasted over two nights this was better on the second night.  There is a pungent, deep fruit nose with aromas of orange.  In the mouth the flavors are tart and bright with red fruit.  There is some ripeness, cherry flavors, and wood note supports by lots of acidity.  There is a long aftertaste with some green tea.  This needs air if you drink it now perhaps best after a few more years.  ** 2014-2018.

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