Notes and impressions from an Australian tasting - Saturday, Oct 28, 2000, at the Wine Exchange in Orange, CA. Twenty-three wines were poured for a tasting fee of $25.
The wines, in the order tasted:
2000 Grosset Riesling Polish Hill - Clare Valley. $24.99.
Light lemon color. Citrusy - mostly lemon scented nose, along with
hint of raisin. Light body and mouthfeel, with a slightly tart lemony
flavor to the fruit. Doesn't seem very Riesling-like, and seems
more like an enjoyable quaffer, at a non-quaffer price.
1998 Kings Creek Chardonnay - Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. $18.99.
Light yellow color. Nose of citrus fruits, apple, and oak.
Slightly sweet mouthfeel, with flavors of oak, sweet apple, pear, and
lemon. So-so nose, but I like the candied edge to the fruit on the
1998 Rosemount Traditional - McLaren Vale. $19.99.
Very dark ruby garnet color. Nose of licorice, tar, blackberry,
shoe polish. Tasty mouthfeel, if a bit on the acid-edged side, nice,
but uncomplicated long finish. Blend of 75% CS, 15% Merlot, 10%
1998 Elderton Cabernet Sauvignon - Barossa. $19.99. Very
dark garnet ruby color. Mouth full of buttery, vanilla-laced, and
slightly oaky fruit. Big fruity mouthfeel, with a toasty long finish.
Well made, and though not very complex, it's a very likable wine in a
more lush style. Want a Cab that drinks like a Merlot? This
is your ticket.
1997 Canabolis-Smith Alchemy - New South Wales. $29.99.
Dark garnet ruby color. Herbaceous nose, with aromas of leaf, stem,
pine and oak. Although a bit one-dimensional, the wine is quite
chewy and has substantial mouthfeel, with lots of cassis fruit and obvious
oak. Blend of 70% CS, 15% Shiraz, 15% Cab Franc. Here's a
wine that seems to have all the right ingredients -- it just lacks some
1998 Yarra Yering Red Wine #1 - Yarra Valley. $42.99. Very
dark ruby purple color. Nose of cassis, oak, toast, and grilled cheese,
with a bit of eucalyptus/mint. Slightly sweet mouthfeel, toasty
cassis fruit, long slightly off-sweet finish.
1997 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon - Margaret River. $45.99. Dark
garnet ruby color. Herbaceous nose, with a bit of oak and stem.
Very oak-driven mouthfeel, with big body, yet moderate fruit. The operative
word here is "wood."
1998 Clarendon Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Hickinbotham - Clarendon.
$39.99. Dark ruby garnet color. Beautiful dense nose of mocha, toast,
butter, and cassis. Full mouthfeel, with black cherry/cassis fruit,
long and toasty finish. Slightly more impressive in the nose than
1998 Parker Coonawara Estate Terra Rossa 1st Growth - Coonawara.
$64.99. Dark garnet ruby color. Complex nose of cassis, must,
sawdust, chalk, oak, and toast. Semi-sweet fruit, medium mouthfeel,
long off-sweet finish. Nice nose, but it sets up some disappointment
for the surprisingly light-weight in mouthfeel.
2000 Torbreck Juvenilles - Barossa Valley. $36.99.
Medium dark violet ruby color. Nose of sweet floral notes, with
aromas of blackberry, toast and vanilla. Smooth, moderate mouthfeel,
slightly soft fruit, long finish. The nose is lovely, but the mouthfeel
seems a bit light and soft. Blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre.
1998 Rosemount GSM - McLaren Vale. $19.99.
Dark violet ruby color. Nose of smoky blackberry fruit, slightly
caramelized aroma. Chewy body, sweet and toasty taste, with long
finish and nice aftertaste. Blend of Grenache, Shiraz, and
1997 Henschke Keyneton Estate - Barossa.
$39.99. Dark ruby garnet color. Toasty, slightly oaky nose of
cassis and hard woods. Oaky, off-sweet mouthfeel, with medium body,
and long finish. Blend of Shiraz, Cabernet, Malbec.
1999 Hope Estate Shiraz - Hunter Valley.
$9.99. Medium dark ruby color. Fruit bomb alert! Big and
fruity nose of blackberry, tar, licorice, and vanilla. Off-sweet
mouthfeel, lots of lightly complex boysenberry fruit and toast notes.
Surprisingly nice wine; incredible price.
1998 Craiglee Shiraz - Sunbury, Victoria. $28.99.
Medium dark violet color. Nose of blackberry, dill, toast, green
olive and cassis. Moderate mouthfeel, light toasty oak,
somewhat long finish. Though not prototypical shiraz in the nose,
it was very interesting, in a funky sort of way.
1997 Passing Clouds Shiraz - Bendigo, Victoria. $22.99.
Dark ruby garnet color. Nose of blackberry, oak, toast, and mint.
Off-sweet, slightly tart fruit, moderate mouthfeel, long finish.
1997 Katnook Estate Shiraz Prodigy - Coonawara. $47.99.
Very dark garnet ruby color. Complex nose of blackberry fruit, with
background aromas of dill, earth, tomato, soy sauce, and a bit of green
olive. Substantial mouthfeel, earthy and meaty flavors, with a toasted
grain quality to the blackberry fruit. Despite this list of ingredients
from the pantry, the nose definitely grows on you -- like Katnip!
Very nice stuff.
1999 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz - McLaren Vale. $26.99. Extremely
dark, nearly black-ruby color. Complex ripe, reduction-sauce-like
nose of earth, soy, tamarind and spices. Very concentrated mouthfeel,
big chewy and jammy fruit, along with earthy spices, and a long toasty
finish. Wow, I don't know where these guys have been hiding, but
here's a super McLaren Vale Shiraz that would cost a lot more if it said
1998 Larrikin Shiraz - Barossa Valley. $19.99. Dark ruby
color. Nose of toast and blackberry, with a hint of shoe polish.
Tasty, moderate mouthfeel, with a long complex toasty/spicy finish.
Nice stuff; reasonable price.
1997 Kaesler Wines Shiraz Old Vines - Barossa Valley. $19.99.
Medium-dark garnet color. Nose of blackberry, dill, pine, mint,
with a hint of vinyl. Initially very nice mouthfeel, but the wine
develops a big hole at mid-palate, leading to a moderate, but tasty finish.
1999 Branson Shiraz Highway - Barossa Valley. $26.99.
Black purple color. Deep, floral nose, with aromas of blackberry,
blueberry, graphite, and toast. Dense mouthfeel, toasty, huge and
chewy body, fruit moves from blackberry to blueberry through long finish.
1999 Burge Family Shiraz Draycott - Barossa Valley. $33.99.
Dark ruby color. Nose of toast, blackberry/grape jelly, and oak.
Young and still tight in the mouth, has off-sweet fruit, big and chewy
body, and long finish. Still quite young, this will probably show
better in a few years.
1998 Glaetzer Shiraz The Bishop - Barossa Valley. $29.99.
Dark garnet ruby color. Moderate nose of blueberry, blackberry,
and floral notes. Lots of blackberry fruit, the spicy aspects seem
more toned down than most Aussies, leaving a very CA Syrah-like quality
to the taste and texture. A little more pizzazz in the nose would
make this really nice.
2000 Mount Horrocks Riesling Cordon Cut - Clare Valley. $18.99.
Light lemon color. Light citrus and raisin aromas. Nice
balanced mouthfeel, lightly spicy, with a crisp sweet finish.
Overall impressions: for the quality/price, the Oliverhill is fabulous, and is very approachable right now. Ditto, the Branson, which is similar in structure, though less approachable and not as earthy. of the two GSMs, I preferred the Rosemount GSM just slightly over the Torbreck, primarily for its more substantial body. But stylistically, the Torbreck is more like a fine CdP. The Katnook was also a beautiful wine, with its saucy appeal and fine-grained tannins. And, I'm always a sucker for the ripeness of fruit that shows up in the Clarendon Hills Cab.
The Yarra Yering was very good, but somehow I expected a little
more out of it, given the vintage. I also liked the Parker,
but expected a whole lot more from it. Maybe it's
taking a slumber.
Here is my order of preference, listed in order and by tier, of the wines tasted:
1999 Oliverhill Winery Shiraz - McLaren Vale. $26.99.
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