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The d’Arenberg Shiraz legacy

darenberg-footbolt-wmUnder the current custodianship of Chester Osborn, d’Arenberg has continued to flourish with new wines being introduced regularly to keep the brand fresh. While some of the newer wines have names that seem bonkers, such as The Cenosilicaphobic Cat Sagrantino Cinsault and Stephanie the Gnome with Rose Tinted Glasses Shiraz Sangiovese, the family remain respectful of their history and have made sure that the new sits amicably beside the traditional.

The ‘traditional’ includes the d’Arenberg coat of arms containing the distinctive red stripe. The ‘new’ reflects the impish sense of humour that prompts Chester’s choice of shirt and the names that appear on the labels. That distinctive red stripe and quirky sense of humour has landed the family in some hot water with the Mumm Champagne house, hence the change of name recently for their sparkling wine from Dadd to Polly. And yes, there is a great back up story for ‘Pollyanna Polly’ too.

While the family are keen to take on any new challenge as far as grape varieties, new techniques and new markets, they remain true to their McLaren Vale roots. Hence, Shiraz forms the back bone of their offering starting with the Stump Jump through to the Amazing Sites Shirazs. The Footbolt and The Dead Arm were the first Read More

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Reilly’s Barking Mad Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

reillys barking cs

Barking Mad allows the Reilly’s crew to display their fun side. The team at Reilly’s are perhaps better known for producing solid performing, classic wines from the Clare Valley. If you are looking for a good Cabernet Sauvignon, this is a good bet with its sweet Ribena ripe fruit, chocolate, liquorice and earth. Some grippy tannins and warm alcohol add to the fuller body along with some charry oak that integrates with the fruit well and adds a marzipan nuance to the finish. A wine to enjoy with a relaxed meal and a chat.

Quickie review «warm bold, fruity red ready for action, it just needs a glass»

Country of Origin: Australia   Date:  January 2015   Price: AUD$16    Drink: now   Needs food: yes   Source: tasting

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Boas Quintas Opta Dao Branco 2014

opta-dao In the northern most third of Portugal is some of the finest of the countries wine regions. The Dao region is bracketed between the Bairrada and the Beira Interior regions and is perhaps better known for its bold red wines. It is the native heartland for the red grape variety, Touriga Nacional, the focus grape for port production in the nearby region of Douro as well as elegant red table wines.

Another grape variety indigenous to Dao is Encruzado, a white wine grape which takes centre stage in the Boas Quintas Opta. Here it is blended with Malvasia fina and Cerceal branco to produce a fragrant, food friendly white wine. One that is complex and refreshing and exciting, this region is only just showing its potential to the rest of the world.

The Encruzado comes to the fore with its lime juice and rose nuances that melds with the spicy nuttiness from the Malvasia fina. The Opta Branco (Branco = white) gives immediate juicy sweetly ripe fruit mid palate which moves to a more spicy, savoury realm on the finish. An easy to drink wine that has an accommodating personality.

Quickie review « Zippy, floral, immediate enjoyment »

Country of Origin: Portugal   Date:  18th May 2015   Price: £8.30    Drink: Now   Needs food: No, but is very food friendly   Source: tasting



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Hahndorf Hill Blaufrankisch Blueblood 2013

hahndordhillBBAustralian grown Blaufrankisch is very scarce on the ground. Until recently, Hahndorf Hill was the only Australian commercial producer of the varietal.  The vines were planted in the vineyard when they purchased it in 2002. The blue hued variety that has several names in Europe; Lemberger (Germany), Kekfrankos (Hungary) and Blaufrankisch from its homeland Austria … In Hungary’s Eger region, it forms a dominant portion of the infamous Bull’s Blood blend (Ekri Bikaver – read about the legend here).

In Australia, there is not yet a legend surrounding the grape however with the team at Hahndorf Hill Winery, the producer of GRU at the helm, there is bound to be a one brewing.  There is a more entertaining history on the vines that Hahndorf Hill Winery published in their 4 May 2015 newsletter linked up here.

This vintage is ripe and peppery… cherry ripe and peppery.  With lashings of nutmeg, white and black pepper nuances to be found in the cherry and red liquorice. The soft tannins have a light grip on the long and velvety finish.

This Blueblood is circumspect initially, then the fruit intensity enriched with caramel oak hits mid palate and lasts.  A versatile fruit weight that is great without food or will work with many dishes beyond the usual suspects for red wine. Why not try tuna rubbed with spice or a grilled haloumi and dukkah salad.

Quickie review «velvety, cherry ripe, medium bodied wine that will go with anything»
Country of Origin: Australia   Date:  28th May 2015   Price: AUD$40    Drink: now – 5 yrs   Needs food: No   Source: sample

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Gramercy Cellars Columbia Valley Syrah 2012

gramercysyrah12Adorned with a simple black and white label, this purple hued syrah is sourced partly from Washington State’s Walla Walla Valley AVA as well as from the greater Columbia Valley AVA. The award winning Gramercy Cellars is the passion of founder Greg Harrington, who believes that the Rhonish red varieties are a major part of Walla Walla’s vinous future.  This is the inaugural vintage for this wine. With the success of their wines, there was a need to introduce a wine that can start filling the growing demand.

This wine is so vibrant that the fresh aromas of floral notes, blueberry, cherry, mint, chocolate and pepper leap out of the glass. The bold generosity does not translate into a bigger than life version of the grape, pumped with sweet fruit and artifice. This syrah is very elegant in its approach bringing to mind the best of both new and old world.

While there is some caramel oak and soft succulent tannins in support, it is all about the fresh ripe fruit. A wine full of character and contemplation that will continue to reward with some years under the belt. For now though, I would enjoy it with some wild boar sausages atop some truffled mash.

Quickie review «spicy, even handed oak underscores vibrant fresh fruit »

Country of Origin: USA   Date:  18th May 2015   Price: USD$40    Drink: 2 – 7+ yrs   Needs food: No   Source: tasting


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