Posts Tagged ‘Margaret River’

Australian Wines With Acidity

Jenn and I recently tasted through a slew of Australian wines.  John likes some age to his Semillon and of the three that I tried, the 2008 Kaesler, Old Vine Semillon was the most interesting and it is still young.  I would cellar it a few more years.  I found more to like with the red wines.  The 2010 Shadow Chaser, Red Wine is a good buy at $13.  The 2011 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Shiraz proves to be another satisfying vintage and one I could drink by the case.  The 2010 Tournon, Mathilda Shiraz from Michel Chapoutier is evocative of the Northern Rhone.  It really is a good wine which I would age for a year.  It is also only $13 so grab several at a time.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2010 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Semillon, Barossa Valley – $16
Imported by Wine Creek LLC.  This wine is 100% Semillon with fruit from the younger vines fermented in stainless steel and the older vines in used French barriques. Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light straw yellow.  The nose revealed tart pear and ripe lemon aromas.  In the mouth there were pineapple flavors which were a touch more ripe than the other Semillons.  The wine had a pebbly texture with berry and tooty-fruity flavors near the finish.  It showed some grip.  ** Now-2015.


2008 Kaesler, Old Vine Semillon, Barossa Valley – $17
Imported by Epicurean Wines.  This wine is 100% Semillon sourced from vines planted in 1961.  It was aged for seven months on the lees.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light straw yellow.  The nose was slightly rich with Semillon aromas that stepped out of the glass. Perhaps a little toast as well.  In the mouth there was acidity with tart white and light yellow fruit.  There was plenty of acidity for the gravelly, citrus flavors.  There was a ripe lemon texture and dried herbs in the finish.  In a sense this is still very young.  ** Now-2018+.


2007 Henschke, Tilly’s Vineyard, South Australia – $20
This wine is a blend of 57% Semillon, 24% Sauvignon Blanc, and 19% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a light yellow with a gold tinge.  The nose was subtle with dried herbs and flowers.  In the mouth there was richer fruit driven by acidity which promptly expands to reveal drier, lighter, and very lively flavors with underlying mature notes.  The white fruit brought a little focused citrus note in the back-end.  ** Now-2017.


2012 Shadow Chaser, White Wine, McLaren Vale – $13
Imported by Epicurean Wines.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from four vineyards with vines 11 to 34 years of age.  The fruit was fermented in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts and underwent partial malolactic fermentation.  5% of the wine was aged in French oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The color was a very light straw yellow.  There was toasty fruit on the nose which had some grip.  In the mouth there was focused, ripe white fruit, a good mouthfeel, and lots of integrated acidity.  It took on fine pebbly spices.  **  Now-2014.


2010 Shadow Chaser, Red Wine, McLaren Vale – $13
Imported by Epicurean Wines.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from two 40+ year old vineyards.  The fruit was fermented and aged in stainless steel.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a good nose of fragrant berries.  In the mouth there were fresh ripe berries, black and racy fruit, and a savory and weighty personality.  The flavors were drier in the finish where it was a little rough, or furry as Jenn put it.  The acidity was supportive from underneath with firm minerals towards the finish.  There was a nice mineral texture.  ** Now-2015.


2011 Torbreck, Woodcutter’s Shiraz, Barossa Valley – $19
Imported by Wine Creek LLC.  This wine is 100% Shiraz which was fermented in stainless steel, cement, and wooden vats.  It was basked pressed then aged for 12 months in used hogsheads and foudres.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a medium black cherry.  There was a tart start with young, complex fruit with good depth.  The wine was a little chewy and sappy with a tautness from youth.  With air spices and black minerals came out in the finish.  *** Now-2018.


2010 Michel Chapoutier, Tournon, Shiraz, Mathilda, Victoria – $13
Imported by Fruit of the Vine.  This wine is 100% Shiraz which was vinified and aged in both concrete and stainless steel tanks.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose was lifted with aromas of smoke and some meat.  After a few hours the wine opened up with tart red fruit, tart black fruit, and some citric tannins.  It remained a little tart and grapey with minerals in the finish.  A good wine which needs a little time.  *** 2014-2019.


2010 Ring Bolt, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River – $17
Imported by Negociants USA.  This wine  is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon which was aged 10 months in American and French hogsheads and barriques.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The nose bore greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the flavors were not too tart with red and black fruit.  The wine was dry with the mouth following the nose.  It was rather focused the first night but showed more ripe fruit the second night.  ** Now-2015.


2010 Pyren Vineyard, Broken Quartz Shiraz, Pyrenees – $24
Imported by Vine St Imports.  This wine is 100% Shiraz which was aged for 10 months in used French and American barriques.  Alcohol 13.6%.  The nose was good with fresh aromas of exotic flowers, herbs, and pepper as if from cool fruit.  In the mouth there were very tart flavors of citric red fruit.  It was a little pebbly on the tongue time and certainly vibrant.  Interesting but I found it hard to drink.  ** Now.


Animals to Grapes: 1998 Rosabrook, Abattoir Block Shiraz

I first drank the 1998 Rosabrook Estate, Abattoir Block Shiraz at ten years of age (Please see my post Inaugural Aussie hammers and Abattoir).  Around the same time I also drank the 1998 Maxwell, Grenache, McLaren Vale (Please see my post Six Aussies Including the Tasty 1998 Maxwell Grenache).  These were much different from the rich, ripe, and alcoholic Australian wines I often tasted.  I do remember taking the Rosabrook to Shane’s house for a blind tasting.  It was particularly earthy and meaty, people thought it was an Old World wine with most not liking it.  But we did.  From my emails I see that we bought more of each.  The common thread between these two wines is that they were imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  Twelve years ago Peter Weygandt imported both French and Australian wine with the later represented by twenty different wineries.  Today the portfolio is still heavy on the French wine but only one Australian winery is still on the list, that of The Gatekeeper.  So if you see his older wines in a store it might be worth the gamble.


Rosabrook Estate was founded in 1980 with Simon Keall the winemaker for the wine featured in this post.  The early wines were produced using fruit from a 7 hectare vineyard planted with nine different varietals.  The cellar door was Margaret River’s first commercial abattoir built-in the 1930s.  The James Halliday Australian Wine Companion books list “Slaughterhouse Block” so “Abattoir Block” might have been the American name.  The winery relocated its vineyard in 2007 so this wine is no longer produced.  Last week there were three bottles of this wine left.  If you are at all curious then I would grab one right away.  It is still drinking really well and is ultimately a satisfying, flavorful drink.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


1998 Rosabrook Estate, Abattoir Block Shiraz, Margaret River – $39
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Shiraz aged in both American and French oak.  Alcohol.  The color was a medium garnet-cherry which shows its age.  The nose was a little scented with spices, roast, red, and blue fruits.  In the mouth there was still a core of ripe red and blue fruit.  It mixed with woodbox flavors which were perfectly balanced by the acidity.  There were spices, a hint of tobacco, and a little smoke which nicely set off the blue/black fruit.  It eventually revealed meaty flavors with air and a little, tangy orange citrus.  It maintained its acidity throughout.  *** Now-2018.


Inaugural Aussie hammers and Abattoir

I drank a lot of Australian wine a year or so ago but much less this year. It could be that I found the 2004s to drink well on release and prefer my 2005 and 2006s with some age. I only had one Maxwell wine before, the 2004 Ellen Street Shiraz which my wife and I really liked so I was eager to try the Silver Hammer. The Winner’s Tank Velvet Sledgehammer was mentioned in the Garagiste thread but I thought I’d include my note; it is tasty but more loose and flamboyant. The Rosabrook was reviewed on the board a year ago and is still drinking well. I drank one earlier this year at the normal price then bought a few more at MacArthur’s Aussie sale. In order of preference: Rosabrook, Maxwell, Winner’s Tank.

2005 Maxwell, Silver Hammer, Shiraz, McLaren Vale – ~$30
This is the inaugural vintage of the Silver Hammer. The medium-dark color is red with purple. There are blue fruits on the light, young nose. In the mouth there are blue and dark fruits and a bit of minerals. There is ripeness and roundness to the fruit, but it comes across as balanced. There are very fine tannins in the aftertaste. It is drinkable now but I’d give it a few more years in the cellar. As a point of reference, I drank this alongside the 2006 De Lisio, Quarterback. The Quarterback came across as having more blue/red fruit, a bit sour in tilt, and less definition.

2006 Winner’s Tank, Velvet Sledgehammer, Langhorne Creek – $20-$25?
This too is the first vintage of the Velvet Sledgehammer. It is aged in 35% new French barriques for 16 months. It comes from specific parcels within the same vineyard used for the regular Shiraz. It is a rather opaque ruby-purple color. There is a light nose of roast, red berries, and raspberry. There is immediate, rich, mouthful of flavors that echo the nose. The wine is not quite creamy but rather a softness that picks up ultra-fine tannins. I think it is preferable to wait a few years on this one.

1998 Rosabrook Estate, Abattoir Block, Shiraz, Margaret River – $32
A medium-opaque garnet in the glass. A fresh nose of wooden box and red fruit. In the mouth there are immediate, round, mouthfilling mature/earthy flavors with some mintiness. There is good acidity, and a fine, thorough finish that is still tannic. This wine is tasty, easy to drink (I sucked down the bottle), and has life left in it.