The 2006 West Australian Tour Diaries
Chapter One - Introduction
It's been three years since I travelled to the wine regions of Western Australia, so this trip was overdue. When I decided to do it, I asked my good mate Brian Handreck, (aka Red Bigot and the Pie King's apprentice) if he would like to tag along, and as he is now retired and his planned house renovations had not started yet, he agreed to join me.
As age is starting to creep up on me, I cannot sustain the frenetic pace that I did in previous years, so when planning this trip, although a number of appointments were made, plenty of time was allowed at each winery so that we would not be rushed. Besides providing a more relaxed pace, this extra time has allowed more in-depth stories to be written about many of the wineries visited.
Unlike my first tour to WA, this time making appointments was far easier and the wineries seemed more receptive to spending time with me. Of all the wineries I contacted, only one did not respond, which is a great result. The majority of the wineries visited were carefully selected, based on either their reputation or feedback I had received over the years. Naturally enough, we also visited a few unknowns on spec. On these trips, time is precious and you normally cannot afford to waste it.
The reception I received from the wineries visited, without exception, was fantastic. Every single one of them gave me as much time as needed and they were only too happy to open anything I wanted to look at. Many of the wineries were also kind enough to open unreleased wines, which will give readers a heads up on what's coming down the track. I would like to be publicly express my sincere gratitude and thanks to all the wineries for their time, cooperation, and hospitality; it is very much appreciated by me, and the information gained will be an invaluable information source for Tour Diary readers.
In previous tour diaries, it has become tradition to start off with a vintage summary, which puts the story in perspective. This Tour Diary breaks that tradition and although a brief vintage summary has been provided, there is also a brief overview of the tour as well as some very pointed “myth busting” that exposes much of the marketing bovine manure surrounding this region. It's worthwhile reading the Tour Diary Summary before continuing any further.
This Tour Diary will be broken down into chapters, which will be posted in (hopefully) weekly instalments on torbwine.com. All the tasting notes will be individually uploaded in the Tasting Note Data Base for future easy searching.
As usual, the TORB Rating System has been used throughout these notes. If you are unfamiliar with the TORB Rating System, it worth spending a minute or two becoming familiar with it; click here for details. It is important to understand that I am a very tough marker.
Unlike most previous journeys when I travel with Brian, this time we got together at my place 24 hours in advance. The reason for this change was that Brian had been to Sydney for a few days and Andrea dropped him off at my place on her way back home to Canberra.
As it was a hot day, when five o’clock arrived it was time to wet our whistles, and befitting the occasion, I opened up a bottle of Leasingham1995 Classic Clare Sparkling Shiraz. I have now drunk a few bottles of this wine and all of them have been terrific. It must have been damn hot; the bottle seemed to mysteriously evaporate in record time.
On many occasions when Brian and Andrea have stayed at my place and we have driven past the local Thai restaurant in Moss Vale, Brian has always said, “we must try that place.” For some strange reason we never get there, probably because we are eating at more salubrious establishments, so this was the perfect opportunity for us to try it. Sparkling Shiraz tends to go well with spicy Thai food, so we took a bottle of Cofield 2000 Sparkling Shiraz. This wine seemed fairly simple in comparison to the Leasingham, but with the spicy food it was a reasonable match. For entrees we ordered two plates of mixed starters, which included moneybags, Thai spring rolls, Thai fish cakes, and a number of other goodies. Brian was impressed (which his high praise as he is very critical when it comes to Thai food,) and thought the Thai fish cakes were as good as you could find anywhere.
For a main course we one had of my favourite dishes; a red duck curry. Although it’s only mildly spiced, they are very generous with the amount of duck, and the flavour is superb. For the next course Brian chose a warm chicken salad (Larb Gai). Brian uses this dish as a quality indicator because apparently it is very difficult to prepare perfectly. Brian thought it was okay but it did not contain a perfect balance of sweet and sour, hot and spicy, and salt that Brian was looking for: he also felt it lacked heat, was a fraction too sweet and didn’t seem to include any Khao Koor (ground toasted rice). Nevertheless I enjoyed it and at the end of the night our plates were clean.
It was then back to my place for an early night because tomorrow was going to be a big day: just before Brian said goodnight he said “If you go to bed early, you will probably wake up at four o’clock.” Bastard! He put clappers on me because at 4.15 am I woke up and could not go back to sleep again.
Day One – Wednesday – The Trip West
We were packed and ready, and on the road just after eight o’clock. The first port of call was my shop to drop off Sam the poodle. The two big dogs were dropped off at Lynne’s place. Lynne was looking after all three of them but Sam being an obnoxious, insecure little poodle had to be left with Lynne personally.
From there it was an easy drive down to the outskirts of Sydney but unfortunately we hit slow traffic at the start of the M5 motorway, so it was just as well we left early. Upon entering the long-term car park I quickly calculated the cost of parking had increased by 50% since my last trip. I was not impressed with the greedy bastards at Macquarie Bank that lease the airport, but no doubt their shareholders are happy.
One of the motivations of getting to the airport early is to try and obtain a seat with lots of legroom, preferably exit-row seats over the wing. When we asked for them, unfortunately we were informed they were taken but there were a few spare seats available, and they would make sure that there was an empty seat left between us. When we finally got on the plane, I was surprised by the generous legroom on this particular aeroplane. It looked like it was new, but unlike most budget carriers my knees were not wrapped around my ears and there was plenty of room between my knees and the seat in front. The seating was a pleasant change. The five-hour flight to Perth was uneventful and luckily I was able to grab and hour of shut eye. We arrived in Perth and although my watch is said it was 2.30, in reality my body was telling me it was 5.30.
We took a minibus from the airport to our hotel. We had booked a two-bedroom serviced apartment in the Aarons All Suite complex which cost $190 a night of the two of us and it seemed to be reasonably value. The large bedroom contained a double bed, and the other bedroom contained two singles. In a fit of madness, Brian allowed me to have the double bed.
................ View of the WACA from our room
I don’t know what it is when Brian and I go away, but one of us always needs to go clothes shopping. On this occasion, I was in desperate need of some shorts so we decided to head downtown to find some. We went into a number of yuppie shops, jeans type shops, sports shop and boutique shops, but nothing was appropriate. Earlier on, Brian had recommended we try Myers, but for some strange reason, I was reluctant to go there. Finally after trying David Jones and a stack of other menswear stores, I relented and tried Myers. Much to Brian’s disgust, and many “I told you so’s” later, I found an abundance of shorts and purchased four pairs. We then made a beeline back to the hotel so that we could have a nap prior to going out to dinner.
As it was still warm and we were not quite sure how far away the restaurant was, we decided to catch a taxi; easier said than done even though we were in one of the main streets of Perth and it was well after peak hour. We noticed the taxis have a very cute habit in Perth, they regularly forget to turn off their for hire lights, so we kept on hailing taxis with people in them. We eventually got to the restaurant about 15 minutes late, but thankfully we were not the last to arrive.
The dinner had been organised by David Pearson, a young local Perth lad (well he is almost a year younger than I am, ) who is known as Davo by his mates. I have known Davo through the wine forums for many years, and first met him in person three years ago on my last trip to Perth. To say that Davo does not suffer fools gladly is an understatement; but Davo is no fool having obtained his medical degree as a mature age student, after doing all sorts of interesting jobs from farming to fishing. Although Davo is not a red bigot, and enjoys a glass of white wine from time to time, the majority of his wine consumption is on the darker side so it was almost safe to have him with us for a three day long weekend.
Davo had arranged for a gathering of 14 locals to join us at Romany restaurant in Northbridge. By the time we got there, the first bottle of wine had been opened and they were into it.
The first wine opened was a Houghtons 1995 Show Reserve Shiraz. It was beautifully poised; very clean with lots of plum and liquorice; it maintains fairly good length and was coming together beautifully and is probably a few years off its peak. Very classy and rated as Excellent, I was glad I tried this wine is I didn't have to sacrifice one from my cellar to see how it is progressing.
The second wine was a Peel Estate Sparkling Shiraz which was very unusual in that it has virtually no residual sweetness whatsoever. It's also a little lighter than many others. It was okay, but didn't grab me.
The third wine (served blind,) exhibited loads of earthy chocolate characters on the bouquet. The palate showed overly abundant fresh and noticeable acid, chocolate, cherry, a little mint, a touch of capsicum (which became more pronounced as the wine opened up) and cigar box. Overall it was not a bad wine and probably would have been enhanced by food. Rated as Recommended, the wine was unveiled as Woodlands 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Kevin but in all honesty, I can't say that I liked it very much. The acid overshadows the fruit and although it may last forever, I'm not sure if it will actually improve greatly although if you believe Halliday et al, it will.
The next wine, which was a Chestnut Grove 1999 Merlot was served un-masked. Considering it is seven years old, for an Australian Merlot it is holding up extremely well; the acid is still fresh and the tannins provide good length. Abundant chocolate and mulberry flavours; the wine is a little showy but most enjoyable and still has years left. Rated as Highly Recommended; the wine won four trophies shortly after release and cost $25 at that time; the current vintage sells for around $50.
Although the next wine was served blind, I knew what it was as I had brought it; it was a Jaspers Hill 1995 Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz. When the wine was opened, I was confident it was not sound as it had an unusual pong that didn't belong. Whilst I wasn't sure what it was, I suspected DMS; with a little aeration it seemed to blow off and reduce to a level where the wine was drinkable. The fruit was good, with a hint of pepper and oodles of plum; the alcohol was nicely in balance and it had a reasonable length finish. Although it was received reasonably, I was not at all happy with it and the reason became obvious after it had been opened for about an hour; the wet hessian character of cork taint started to emerge.
The next wine was very sweet and didn't have very much depth to it. It was a Dalyup River Estate 2000 Esperance Shiraz and the wine was brought along as a curio, as apparently getting grapes to ripen in this area is next to impossible. Not rated as I don't want to be rude.
The next wine had a bouquet that was all mint, liquorice and chocolate. On the palate, it was a very youthful wine with pronounced acid and whilst the fruit was not quite as pronounced, it had excellent persistence, and was well backed by very fine tannins, which were softening nicely; the wine should be very long-lived. On the palate, it seemed to be a very good wine with loads of liquorice flavour, pepper, and if I would have had to guess, I would have thought a Cabernet Shiraz blend. Rated as Excellent, this beautiful wine, which was the best wine so far, was unveiled as a Moss Wood 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon.
The next bottle of wine was almost exactly the same, what a coincidence; two people brought the same bottle of wine to an offline, however it was interesting to see the bottle variation between the two examples. The second bottle had been cellared in a warmer cellar which resulted in the wine being a lot more open with softer, rounder tannins and the fruit made the wine seem like it was older. Davo thought the second bottle was fuller and more enjoyable.
The next wine was Brian's; it had a wonderful sweet nose; the palate showed lovely, rich, ripe tannins with glorious soft fruit characteristics. Silky smooth with lots of liquorice, it was one of the best wines of the night, and from my perspective the wine of the night. It glided down the palate with consummate ease; rated as Excellent (damn near Outstanding) it was unveiled as Bests 1994 Thompson Family Shiraz.
The next wine showed an incredible amount of mint on the bouquet with abundant varietal Cabernet characters. It was lifted to the point of almost having a touch of VA and the bouquet was floral. A very youthful wine with loads of chewy tannins, it had loads of primary fruit characters and with the food, the acidity seemed to be searing and clashed with it, however without it, the acid was balanced; the persistent was excellent with flavours of musk, violets and plums. Rated as Highly Recommended, the wine was unveiled as a Voyager Estate 1994 Tom Price Cabernet Merlot.
The next wine was obviously a Cabernet or Cabernet blend, with youthful primary fruit, the colour was also bright and youthful; it showed more earthy and chocolate characters than many of the other previous wines but also showed some green flavours. It certainly had a big doughnut hole and a fair whack of acid. This wine is way too young to drink and needs a big sleep in the dark cellar, and with time it should improve. Rated as Recommended now, I was as gob smacked as everybody else when it was unveiled as another bottle of Woodlands 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Kevin.
The next wine was served un-masked; it was a Willespie 1999 Shiraz. It had a sweet candied nose, with liquorice all sorts and a touch of spice. The palate showed attractive flavours of liquorice, pepper and plum. A very youthful wine that needs more time, the tannins are still prominent. It also seems a very ripe with some residual sugar. Rated as Recommended.
As my bottle of Jaspers Hill was a dud, I served another blind wine as a backup. It was a Noons 2001 Eclipse which was brought along more as a curiosity than anything else. I also thought many of the WA people may not have had the opportunity to try the wine. It was vininfanticide but as a number of people had not tried the label, it was worthwhile.
The next wine was served blind by Brian and was finally unveiled as a Seppelt's 1996 Great Western Shiraz; so much for this being a WA Cabernet night (us interlopers from the East did state we were bringing non WA wines.) A lovely wine, the fruit was still very fresh and showing slight peppery characters, plum and chocolate; it still has a fair way to go. Rated as Excellent.
For an entree, I had grilled prawns and unlike most other restaurants that serves six small prawns, this serving had twelve fairly reasonably sized prawns stacked up. It was almost a main course in itself. The person next to me had a school of whitebait piled high on her plate and I have never seen a starter portion this large. For a main course, I had spaghetti pescatore which was terrific, but the serving was also humongous. When it came to desert, we didn't have very much choice as the kitchen had already closed, not that they bothered to warn us. I don't often eat ice cream, but love Italian Gelato and had a couple of scoops; a plumber's plunger was all that was lacking, and would have been very helpful to pack the food down into my not so little tummy. The total cost was a whopping $40.50 a head including corkage; bargain!!
The best two wines of the night were the Bests Thompson and the Moss Wood. It was great to meet so many new local faces, and reacquaint myself with a few of the people that I'd met on the last trip.
We decided to walk back to our hotel and said goodnight to Davo at the local railway station. It was meant to be goodnight and not good bye, as he was going to join us in Margaret River on Saturday morning. Time off for him was now easier for him to arrange, as he had recently sold his practice and had moved into a medical centre. Over dinner, he regaled us with stories of what he had done with his ill gotten loot; a long overseas holiday and a new Jeep which he was obviously very proud to own.
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was 11:30 p.m. local time but I was whacked as my body was telling me it was 2:30 a.m. and I had been up for twenty two and a half hours. I decided to take a sleeping pill before bed, as the last thing I wanted to do was wake up at 5 a.m. (Sydney time) which would have only given me two and a half hours sleep. It worked marvels and I woke up at ten to seven; and unheard of experience, I must be on holidays or something.
That's a ridiculously long black espresso coffee
Brian headed back to the hotel, and I walked exactly one block to pick up our car from Avis, which had by far and away the best rates. I was informed that unfortunately the car style we booked was not available, and would I like an upgrade? (Is Bugs a Bunny!) I was given the choice of a Nissan four-wheel-drive Patrol or a Toyota Tarago so I opted for the people-moving bus rather than the truck. Great, we now have a car that is big enough to have a party in. Luckily the seats fold down and are big enough to sleep on, so if Davo gets to obstreperous, we can make him sleep in the car.
The drive out of Perth was interesting because Brian was navigating and we only took two wrong turns. (Brian: I thought Ric knew where he was going; it was only three years ago he was last here! Ric: But I didn't take the same route out of town, that's why I needed a bloody navigator.) There is a freeway from the edge of the city but unfortunately due to road works, the speed limit was sixty to eighty km/h for much of the journey. Apparently they are putting a light rail system in between Perth and Mandurah, and this was the reason for the many sections where our speed was substantially reduced.
The entire strip next to the highway between Perth and Mandurah is Lego-land. Tiny little boxes heaped on tiny little boxes; which in turn are heaped on more tiny little boxes. Tiny plots of land with big houses and not a tree in sight; basically because there is no room for trees.
As I had mentioned previously, Brian was navigating, so it came as no great surprise when there was a squeal of brakes just before Mandurah, as I had almost belatedly spotted the turnoff to our first winery, Peel Estate.
Although I have not drunk a huge amount of wines from this producer, most of what I have tried had been impressive and in particular, the Shiraz is usually a very good wine. It is a fairly small winery that was started by Will Nairn in 1973. Every year, Will is game enough to host a (blind) Great Shiraz Tasting which pits his wine against 50 or 60 of the best Shiraz available. The wines tasted are all six years old and the public are invited to attend and vote for their favourite tipple. Our mate Davo never misses this one.
Peel Estate 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon sells for $30 a bottle or $24 by the case at cellar door. A dusty, varietal nose: it’s brooding with dark blackcurrant fruit, cigar box, herbs and chocolatey/vanillin oak characters. Attractive! Clean as a whistle, the fruit is savoury and off-sweet with slight undertones of sweet berry fruit below. There is a touch of capsicum, with loads of cigar box and chocolate on the finish. Fine, drying tannins, youthful acid and deep, persistent fruit combine to form a muscular-weight wine with a supple consistency, solid structure and well-developed complexity. The fruit is great and the finish persistent. Rated as Highly Recommended with **** for value (based on the case price) the wine should mature around 2008 and beyond.
They grow a superior brand of cobweb at Peel
Peel Estate 1999 Shiraz sells for $36 a bottle or $28.80 by the case. The volatile nose that seemed like it was almost oxidised; Brian thought that it was the style but the second freshly open bottle was broody, very earthy, and showed chocolate. (Oxidised wine at cellar door, ranging from a minor amount to being completely undrinkable was a major feature on this trip.) The tannins were attractive, the acid lively and very noticeable, but the fruit seemed to be a little green and unripe, although the finish was persistent. Muscular-weight with a supple consistency and solid structure, the wine is not a particularly good look and rated as Agreeable with ** for value. Come back when they release the 2000 Shiraz, which should not be far away.
Once we passed Mandurah, the road down to Bunbury was relatively good with a two lane divided road most of the way. The speed limit on this section was 110 so it is an easy drive.
We arrived at Bunbury at 12 o'clock and as it was lunchtime, and we hadn't had morning coffee, we were both looking forward to a good cup.
Unfortunately when we drove into the city centre finding somewhere for a good cup of coffee was not easy, but knowing that the Subway in Bowral has a good espresso machine I was naive enough to think the Subway in Bunbury would also have espresso coffee. Wrong! So whilst the subs were okay there was no coffee. We then walked through the facilities looking for a coffee shop and were unable to find anything, other than a greasy spoon. We inquired at the next-door shop (LiquorLand) if they knew where there was any anywhere to have coffee, and the answer was, "the shop next door sells it but we are not sure what it's like.” With a recommendation like that, we decided to give up on the coffee idea. The other amazing thing about this very large shopping centre was that there were no public toilets. Once again we asked at LiquorLand and were told the only toilet was actually located in take-away chicken shop. Amazing! I don't know how they can build such a large shopping centre and not provide public conveniences.
The town after Bunbury was Capel, and this time Brian was awake and gave me plenty of warning for the turnoff to Capel Vale. I hadn't been here before, and haven't tried many of their wines, so I was looking forward to this visit as they have a reasonably solid reputation. Started in 1974, the winery is family owned and run. Like many of the wineries in this region, it has a restaurant but although we were there during lunchtime, that section of the facility was completely empty.
The winemaking philosophy is to make intensely fruit driven, complex, powerful, yet elegant wines, from the best regions in Western Australia. The winery has a fairly large selection of wine, but as we were restricted for time before our first scheduled appointment, we only tried five of them.
Capel Vale 2003 Sangiovese sells for $16.95 and is only available from cellar door. The bouquet showed VA, cherry, earthy notes, strawberry and milk chocolate aromas which were faithfully reproduced on the palate. A lean wine with fresh acid and smooth tannins, the consistency is silky, the structure seamless and the complexity both agreeable and harmonious. A very drinkable, terrific barbecue or summer lunch wine, it is rated as Agreeable with **** for value.
Capel Vale 2003 Nebbiolo sells for $16.95 and is available from cellar door only. The bouquet is very earthy and shows volatile characteristics. The fruit is delicate, the acid fresh and the tannins silky; overall a very nice, lean wine with a supple consistency, subtle, elegant structure and an agreeable complexity. Cherry, chocolate, mushroom and farmyard flavours combine with a dusty finish; this is a very good food wine and will improve. Rated as Recommended with *** for value, the wine should peak around 2008 and beyond.
This is only half the line up of the wines available for tasting
Boof thinks he is a reincarnated hooker - either that or he is hoping to get lucky!
As mentioned above, John Casas was kind enough to give me a number of samples to try at my leisure. I shipped the wine home from WA and it arrived in time for me to sample the wines and complete the tasting notes so they could be inserted in this proper slot in the tour diary. Given that I was trying the wine at home, it afforded me the opportunity of examining each wine over a protracted period of time, which in some ways is a distinct advantage. For example, the 2001 Cabernet looked flat and ungainly when first opened but changed considerably after a number of hours of air time.
Casas 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon is a back vintage and was kindly provided by John so that I could get an understanding of the style of his label. The bouquet initially exhibited a touch of VA, which blew off; with mint/menthol, chocolate a hint of varnished oak and after some time, it blossomed with plum, spice and a touch of black tar being dominant. It was certainly more attractive with air. This wine had me perplexed; it was not at all what I expected. Medium-weight, the tannins are dusty and there is some richness to the fruit even if it does seem a tad lean. Blackberry, pepper, plum, blackcurrant, chocolate and a slight level of green bean character was not what I expected from a Shiraz; it was only after I finished drafting the tasting note that I realised it was a Cabernet Sauvignon. A well and truly drinkable wine that will be enhanced by food, it is rated as Agreeable with *** for value.
Casas 2001 Cabernets is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc and retails for $26 a bottle or $260 a carton. According to the website, this wine is still available for sale. Upon opening, the bouquet was very strange; it was completely flat and earthy but there didn't seem like there was even the slightest hint of cork taint. Likewise on the palate, it seemed flat and like it was lacking in acid but yet it was still strangely drinkable. Over time it blossomed; as well as the dark chocolate and earthy character coffee and green bean characters emerged and it started to look better and better. The tight nature of the wine and the flaccid acid character receded leaving an ample-weight wine that finished with good persistence and length. With lots of fine tannins to support the wine that are integrating well, the finish is clean and dry. It would certainly go well with spicy food. Rated as Recommended with *** of value.
Casas 2002 Cabernet was a completely different beast. The bouquet was youthful, tight and showing lots of primary sweet fruit with cherry, mocha and a touch of eucalyptus. Abundant powdery tannins are well matched to the fruit. A layered sweet and off-sweet flavour profile is made up of brambly fruit, dark chocolate, cigar box and tea leaf. The tannins are perfectly ripe and provide a supple consistency and drying finish. A very youthful wine that needs another few years, it is rated as Recommended with *** for value and the rating may improve as the wine reaches its peak. After some hours, a metallic sensation started to develop on the front of the palate which is sometimes associated with Brett. The wine was placed in the fridge for twenty four hours and it became more pronounced. Not sure if it’s a one off or not, but in all other respects the wine seemed fine.
The amazing thing about these three wines is that there is absolutely no consistency between them, yet the fruit comes from the same vineyard. According to John, he basically lets the vineyard do its own thing and tries to interfere as little as possible and the same philosophy extends to the winemaking process. In essence what he is trying to achieve is an expression of his vineyard as dictated by the seasons. These three wines have certainly achieved that objective.
Casas 2001 Shiraz retails for $26 a bottle or $260 a carton. The bouquet is interesting; showing leather, menthol, chocolate and what appears to be plastic Band-Aids. Smooth, powdery tannins and unobtrusive acid combine with distinct fruit to form an ample-weight wine that is completely off-sweet in nature. Black pepper, chocolate with a touch of green herbs finishing to black coffee; the persistence is good but is a tad clipped on the back palate. I suspect the possibility of a very minor amount of Brett. As this bottle was shipped during very hot weather, if it's there at all, it would be in the adds complexity range. A very drinkable wine, it's rated as Agreeable with *** for value.
Casas 2002 Shiraz retails for $26 a bottle or $260 a carton. Enter Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde! For the first few hours, the wine showed, deep, dumb, earthy fruit, cedar and a touch of pine on the bouquet leading to a very different palate. Plum, pepper, coffee and chocolate flavours were there with a noticeable, green unripe characters; it finished to coffee. In all honesty, it wasn't particularly attractive.
After about four of five hours of airtime, it improved out of sight. The bouquet was Boddington's Irish Moss and the unripe character completely dissipated leaving a much improved wine. Dark, earthy chocolate characters and touch of herb seemed perfectly ripe.
Also in its favour, it is ample-weight, growing to muscular weight with airtime, is well-balanced and has abundant, almost creamy tannins which provides a good mouth feel. Recommended with *** for value.
Casas 2003 Shiraz will be released around the of April and retails for $26 a bottle or $260 a carton. Youthful, fresh and clean; the bouquet shows pepper and milk chocolate; and you can almost smell the dirt of the earth that the vines were grown in; just lovely. Creamy, powdery tannins with unobtrusive balanced acid and deeply seated fruit, the wine exhibits very good balance and is well poised, finishing with good length and persistence. Plum, pepper, a smidgeon of herbs, liquorice, and chocolate, it’s eminently drinkable now but should improve over the next three to five years. Rated as Recommended with **** for value (based on the case price,) the rating may improve as the wine matures. This is the best of the line up and worth buying!
The neighbours in the bottom paddock
The neighbours to our west
Maison Bleu- a top spot and not a bad two bedroom shack
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Copyright © Ric Einstein 2006