Archive for January, 2012

Domaine Bernard Baudry le Domaine Chinon 2008 – what i’m drinking at the time 28.01.2012

Hello again from France! Today we are tasting a little something different, a Chinon. Nat and I had a vegan friend over tonight and veggie pasta was on the menu. I have been aching for an excuse to pull this bottle out to try this style of wine. TA DA!

Domaine Bernard Baudry le Domaine Chinon 2008

Chinon is a red wine from the Loire Valley made from 100% Cabernet Franc and known for its mouth watering acidity but can have various identities depending on the wine makers style. Bernard Baudry is one of the newer producer of Chinon and makes a few different Chinon labels. This particular bottle is 13% alc.

The reason I picked this bottle for tonight is because we were having a relatively simple dish with flavours coming from tomatoes, zucchini and asparagus. All these kind of veggies have an inherent sweetness which I think will balance out the acidity from the Chinon. Chinon is also known for its vegital flavours so again it will match well. Lets get in there!

I decanted this relatively young wine for about 2 hours before even thinking of pouring this. It has a chalky, dusty nose with fruit flavours of black currents and red cherry. There is also an aroma of musk sticks and dark chocolate and some coffee bean. Attack is an up and down dull/bursts of lemon juice (lemon twist?), then mellows out a bit into the mid palate but it’s a drawn out transition. Tannins are present here and a little fruit, but it’s really all about the acid with the tannins in the back balancing it out leaving you with a dusty feel in your mouth and a pomelo/guava mix. Finish is a lifted lemon lime mix in the back of your throat with chalky feelings all over your mouth.

Acid freaks will love this and I’m a bit of a fan! It really works well with tomato based dishes (yeah!) and gives you a smoother, less sharp mouth feel. I think it could also go with something like a lamb stew, again with some sweetness. Initially I thought the meat would overpower the wine but the acidity can be quite sharp, especially as it breathes so it could cut through the fattyness.

Nice wine, I would say its very typical cab franc so have a go if you want to experience Loire valley.

Kenny

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Chateau Fourcas Dupre 1986 – what i’m drinking at the time 22.01.2012

Bonjour readers and Happy Chinese New Year!

Today I was lucky enough to drink a wine almost as old as me.

 Chateau Fourcas Dupre, Listrac – Medoc 1986

A 1986 Listrac-Medoc. That’s pretty old! This guy comes from a red wine appellation from the Haut Medoc region in Bordeaux, meaning Cabernet Sauvignon (especially in Listrac-Medoc) but also the usual Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The area is situation on limestone and clay (rather than the more prestigious areas on gravel and clay) weighting in at 12.5% alc. Lets see how it goes!

Nose is thin, strawberries and sour cherries with a blood plum background. There is also mushrooms and some cantelope meringues. I know hey. It’s very light and whispy and doesn’t engage you but you notice it.

The attack is light, ripe slightly mushy strawberries comes to the front. It transistions into an initially bitter mid palate but immediatey the acidity and sweetnes come in to balance it out, like the flavours of strawberries dipped in dark chocolate flakes. Finishes long and warm and you can still get the alcohol. Little furry and grainy (dusty throat feeling).

It’s an ok wine, nothing especially awsome but it is elegant and has a finess to it after all this time in the bottle. Definatly more merlot in this but still Cabernet.

Great way to bring in the new year!

Kenny

Moss Wood 2008 & Chateau Lalande Sourbet 1990 – what i’m drinking at the time 18.01.2012

Waz up peeps! We got some treats today, a classic from the Margret River and a Cru Bourgeois with some age.

Moss Wood 2008 & Chateau Lalande Sourbet 1990

Had a BBQ with my folks and the in-laws tonight, both supplying the quality you see before you; my dad with the new school, in law with the old. Lets dive in!

Moss Wood

Moss Wood Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River 2008

I have had this guy at the Frenchy’s dinner here. As far as I can remember, I was very impressed and tonight was no different. Decanted for about 1.5 hours, this guy is 14.5% alcohol and as far as I know is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

This has a very “strong and silent type” nose, almost brooding with upfront bold black currents soaked in rum. There are little bits of cherry, bark and aged wood as well as some wet grainy earthy tones. It’s very faint, but way in the background is the sweetness of aromatic tea which you have to look for. If you let it breathe a little longer, it develops a buttery toast vanilla flavour which adds to it’s already rich, lush and seductive nose. Very sexy.

Attack is lean and straight away you find it to be a very balanced wine. Nothing fights it way to be heard and all the nuances work together in harmony. Then, the acidity kicks in at the mid palate and it tangos with purple fruits, blood plums. Then the tannins pull it back and adds liquorice, leather and turns the sweetness into toffee or caramel. All the while, it’s very silky and smooth, think of that feeling you get when you see oil being poured out. There is some tantalising chalky bits towards the end which diffuse the flavours and finishes long and warm. The flavours transition into crystalized oranges and “asian coffee” i.e. some milk chocolate, hint of condensed milk with a slight mix of coffee,

Expertly balanced, incredible and almost faultless, the only thing I felt was a let down is the warmth on the finish. This is a killer. It goes for around $90 but seriously, you will not be disappointed. With the complexity you get now, imagine what will develop in time. Simply stunning. It gets Ken’s stamp of approval.

Chateau Lalande Sourbet

Cru Bourgeois, AOC Haut Medoc, 1990

Label time. Cru Bourgeois is the classification for the non 1855 Bordeaux classification. It ranges from Cru Bourgeois Exceptionels, then Superieurs, then just Bourgeois. I believe that this classification only applies to the Medoc region so it should give you a hint that its most likely a Cabernet dominated blend. Both label nor Google gives me a breakdown of the percentages so you guess is as good as mine. It does tell you that its 12% alcohol so expect a lighter style, and its French.

We decanted this for about 15-30 mins, it is 22 years old so you don’t want it to fade away. The nose comes off as wet socks, concrete, chinese vegetable soup and has a musky, wet aspect. It really reminds me of a veggie that looks like morning glory but I cannot put my finger on the name. It also strangely has a canned peach or dried fruit, specifically apricot touch at the end. Initially I thought we were in for some corked wine.

The first mouthful hit me with wet stone and rocks. The mid palate developed more mouthfeel and weight, giving the wine a heavier and solid body. There is very little fruit sweetness or acidity and weak tannins are in the forefront. Loose overall structure, extremely gravely and arid in flavours – think of a peach or apricot seed that you have been sucking on for too long, gets a bit dry and bland but has some residual fruit flavours, then throw in some celery sticks and blood oranges. Finish is watered down dryness, soup bones and a hint of bitter melon.

Ok, so initially I suspected that this guy was way overdue. However, it got way better and better with larger mouthful and the more you drink. It coats your mouth better and blends in with the first, second, third sip and builds up. The flavours get more distinct. It a very mature wine and the flavours coincide with it; dusty, dried fruit instead of bags of flavours. You get to sit and almost drink time. I think that our palates were tainted by the bigger bolder flavours of the Moss Wood and it diminished the flavours of this wine both on the nose and palate. I was “desensitized” in a way. I found the experience very interesting and wondered how many times this has happened to me! Be sure to have some bread with you and some coffee beans to clean you nose and palate because I think that this is actually a pretty nice wine and something you grow to appreciate. Drink with mushroom? Actually could do this with a light cigar! Nice effort.

Still, go buy the Moss Wood, before I do 😉

Kenny

Ten Minutes by Tractor 10X Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – What i’m drinking at the time 14.01.2012

Bugga bugga bugga! Just finished this post and it didn’t save. Don’t you just hate that!? Anyways, hello (again), hope your having a great day. Today Nat and I took my father in-law and auntie and uncle to go crab fishing. Holy hell it’s fun. As usual we headed off to our usual spot down near Mornington Peninsula. We finished early so what were we going to do for the rest of the day….humm….I know, let’s visit some wineries! I mean, seeing and we’re in Mornington Peninsula and all…ya know…

So, after little to no convincing, we pack up our crabs and hopped in the CRV in search for some delicious vino.

The Mornington Peninsula is “famous” for the Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Something I learn today was that any oak used in this region is French oak. French oak is used in cold climate areas whist American and French is used in hot climates! Keep that in mind for next time. We visited 3 wineries in total, 10 Minutes by Tractor, T’Gallent (where we had some coffee and a pizza, sweet sweet pizza) and Red Hill Estate. We did some tastings with the intention to get something for our crab dinner tonight. Here’s what we got:

10X Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Crabs not Included 

We hit 10 MbT first. I always wanted to go to this place both for the food and wine and it’s had some really good reviews, recently just missing out on its second hat in the good food and wine guide. Their name comes from the fact that the original 3 vineyards used to make their wines was only…yup, you guessed it…600 seconds my tractor. Or 10 minutes. Whatever. The 10X range is an obvious play on this and its their standard wine that they will have every year, with reserves coming out on better vintages.

On to the wine! This was the first wine we had on the day The nose is of tart green apples, grass, straw and semi ripe peaches. Reminds you of a lush, thick countryside. The wine also gives off the impression that it’s going to have some weight on your mouth. The initial attack is a knitted mix of acidity and gravelly tannins which stays with your throughout the mid palate. The flavours are kind of like a granny smith apple; slightly tart, slightly sweet and somewhat powdery and chalky. There is also some honeydew melon thrown in there and it does that thing a kiwi fruit does to your tongue but only a little bit. Finishes long and leaves a med to heavy feeling on your mouth.

The other thing it did was it made me think straight away of crayfish, prawns and lobsters with a creamy fragrant sauce. My brain and tummy went straight to a burnt butter sauce. I think it’s one of the main reasons we bought this, especially because we were having crab for dinner! The crabs we had were both fried and steamed and paired with a sweet/sour/chilli asian sauce. It wasn’t ideal and didn’t mesh that well with the wine and accented the chilli. It worked better with the fried crab on its own mainly because of the weight of the wine, but not what it could have been. Still enjoyable, but I think I’m going to have to make a batch of burnt butter and crack one of these guys open.

All in all, I found the wine very linear and one dimensional, but very layered but extremely concentrated and strong in flavours with the weight to match. I think with a bit of time, it may develop some secondary flavours but I’m not sure how long it will last in the bottle, 12 months maybe? Perhaps it could be decanted? Either way, at $28 bucks, I can get behind this wine, any excuse to go crabbing amiright!?

Kenny 😛

Saltram No 1 Shiraz 2005 – What i’m drinking at the time 11.01.2012

Good evening everybody, hope you’re all doing well! Today my parents came home from their holiday so Nat and I invited the in-laws and them over for a nice dinner. Naturally, wine was to be had. I know they like their oaky new world styles so I pulled out this guy.

Saltram No 1 Barossa Shiraz 2005

Wow would ya look at all them shiny gold medals. These guys are good in providing information so you can find most of what you want here. Lowdown is that these guys are from Barossa and No. 1 is their first label started in 1859. The grapes are 90% Barossa, 10% Eden Valley and 14.5% so expect big flavours.

I bought this guy a while back before I got into this wine craze. Back in the day I bought a 2000 vintage of this for a friend’s birthday present. We drank it together 10 years later and from memory it was lovely.  Quick vintage check shows the 05 to be a very very good year and much better than the 00, though it may be still a bit young and tannic. My personal scribbles says that I should keep this till around 2015. Couldn’t wait that long so I made sure to decant this for a bit. I put it in a wide based decanter for about 1.5-2 hours and it sat in the glass for about 30 mins before anyone had a go at it so it felt ok.

The smell on this guy when I poured in into the decanter filled the room of Ribena, it was so fruity. Ok, lets dive in.

The nose had big “in your face” black berries. Some bitter dark chocolate notes followed by some sweet american oak and a tinny touch of barnyard smells and cashew nuts.

Attack is all vanilla and berries and red plums, basically typical barossan big fruit punch with a lean clean mouthfeel. Fruit gets overtaken by some bitter tannins in the mid palate which transitions in to a sharp acidity. They then mix together and you get a ginseng kind of flavour and effect with splash of bitterness from the tannins and a grippy mouthfeel. The finish is long but has some alcohol heat and it leaves you with a tingling on your tongue.

I was left a bit unimpressed, doesn’t seem young but perhaps hasn’t settled down or something. The balance is not there, very one dimensional flavours and straightforward (perhaps a bit boring?). There are accented fruit flavours but then there has to be an equal accented acidity and tannins which I don’t get. The bitterness is very noticeable and unpleasant. Not what I expected for $50. I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed. The table found similar faults in the wine, some liking the finish, some liking the start but mostly commented on its bitterness.

I left it in the glass for about another hour. The acidity and tannins blended together a better and it develops some vanilla spices but there is still a bit of heat at the finish. Still not great. In addition to all this, I tasted it out of 2 different glasses: Riedel Shiraz and Riedel “all-purpose” kind of glass. It’s startling how different drinking a Shiraz from a Riedel Shiraz glass is. I was kinda floored on how much more open the nose is and how the flavours were more pronounced. If you get a chance, try Riedel vs another glass, its crazy man.

So, final thoughts on the wine? If you do a quick google search, you will get rave reviews on this wine with very high scores. The tasting notes were similar in flavours but not in the level of complexity especially when you take into account when they tasted it vs now. Perhaps it needed longer in the decanter, or perhaps it was my particular bottle which was defunked (side note, it was screw top! no cork for my cork collection!). I don’t know. What I can say is, be sure to not just trust rating points or other people’s reviews, use them as guides. i’m pretty sure that when I bought this, I read somewhere that it was the nuts so I bought it at a relatively cheap price for its scores. Nope. Trust yourself and try it yourself.

Happy drinking

Kenny

Rice wines, Sauternes and Barbera – What i’m drinking in China and yesterday 07.01.2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Hope you all have a great 2012 with many wine filled memories. Excuse me for my lack of activity, I’ve been in China and just came back, Many thanks to everyone who has been checking out my blog since my last post.

I was looking forward to trying some Chinese wines especially since there were reports of highly rated Bordeaux blends from China. Alas I found Chinese wines difficult to source and wine bars stocked more European and Australian wines, particularly Penfolds and Jacobs Creek. Sigh. Australian wines seems to also have a serious markup over there so if you’re looking to go, be sure to try something local.

I did get lucky though and stayed in a hotel (the Dragon) which happened to have China’s largest wine cellar! Presenting, the Cantina Wine Bar.

Cantina Wine Cellar 

The wine cellar is in the basement of a restaurant and I was lucky to bump into the drinks manager who gave us access. There is a large room where you a chill out, sip some wine and eat some food on comfy couches. Beyond locked glass doors is the cellar. The cellar was a long series of concrete squares filled with bottles of wines from all over the globe based on grape varieties. On the walls hung wooden boxes with wine labels. In the middle of the room was a wine fridge with the bad ass wines, rows of champagne buckets and a bench with the glassware. To be honest, I thought it would be bigger. I had loads of fun scouring the pages of the wine menus and the rows of wine. If you get a chance, check it out.

Some of the Bad Ass Wines

Among my travels, we ate at many restaurants and tried two kinds of wines:

Yellow Wine and Mao Tai

The first wine is Yellow Wine made from glutinous rice and dates back before christ. We had this wine most of the time because the foods we had were very “cooling” to the system. Yellow wine is very “heaty” which would balance things out. The wine was served warm and the bottle would be immersed in a bucket of how water. It was very addictive, sweet but not sugary sweet and low in alcohol. definitely check this out.

The second guy is Mao Tai, made from Sorghum (a kind of plant). This guy was lot more heavy hitting than yellow wine. The guest we had dinner with loves Mao Tai so that’s what we drank (and also some beer). Mao Tai is so so fragrant and flowery, bit like shoving your face in a bunch of flowers. It goes down like a smooth vodka without the alcohol burn and warms your belly. It also has some kind of yo-yo effect and you feel the wine traveling down your body then up and then down again. Very different and very strong but also very nice.

I did get to sample some other reds whist I was in China but wasn’t planning on making any notes on the trip. The above stuff was very different to me so I thought to share it with you guys. Be sure to check it out if your ever I China!

Ok so were back in Melbourne now. Setting the scene, we just came back from our annual ritual of crab fishing with our friends Sriyan, Cathie and Eugene. As it is also customary, we sat down to enjoy our haul of crabs in curry with potatoes, beans, papadums and other tasty condiments. Bobby (Sriyan’s nickname) broke out a Petit Manseng from Chrismont in the King Valley. Being both lazy and polite, I decided to just enjoy the wine and company so no notes on this one guys! After dinner, we broke out a sticky to go with a cheesecake and then broke out another wine just for kicks! We got talking about the wines which prompted me to take down a few notes. Enter some eye candy:

Chateau de Myrat Sauternes 2006 and La Cantina Barbera 2008

Chateau de Myrat Sauternes 2006

Label deciphering time. This guy is a Bordeaux second class (Deuxième Crus) growth in the 1855 classification located in Barsac (Grionde). Brasac lies within Sauterne meaning its a sweet wine made from Sav Blanc, Semillion and Muscadelle and sits as 13.5%. Preeetty. Smells of SPC canned peaches and a thick sweet creamy nose. Palate was not too sweet, extremely pleasant to taste and a great mouth feel. Tasted like poached pears with some of that fruit cheese with apricots and walnuts. Finished off short with peach syrup and passionfruit zing. Super sick wine, will be difficult to keep for long! Checks in at $38. I can’t help comparing this to the De Bortoli Noble One which comes it at $28. It would be very interesting to try these side by side and off the top, I think that the Sauterne is lighter and has more finesse whist the Noble One is more punchy and fuller in flavours. what to do what to do…anyone for a tasting night?

La Cantina Barbera 2008

When I first saw this I was thinking that this was a Barolo (i.e. Nebbiolo) but after some help from Google, I found that Barbera is actually Italy’s third most planted red grape! Well well well….Ok so this guy is from the King Valley and is family owned family grown by Gino and Peter Corsini (check out their site). It’s unfiltered, no added preservatives, 14.5% alcohol and uses very traditional wine making techniques. Lets see how this goes.

Smokey nose, reminds me of the bacon bits you get from old school all you can eat Pizza Huts. It also has some ripe yellow fleshed plums and some earthy dusty bits in the background. Attack starts off a bit tart (lemon curd?) and it continue into the mid palate, settles down a bit but still in the forefront. There is some vanilla essence in the background and in the finish with a touch of heat. The mid palate also has some cauliflower and kale (Tuscan cabbage) flavours and evokes holly and spiked leaf images. Finishes is a bit like balsamic vinegar balanced with cream brule and caramel. Quite nice! Very interesting wine and surprisingly nice on its own for an Italian wine, probably matches well with some Italian sausages? Hungery now…

Some other remarks on the wine, Bobby says it’s very meaty on the nose and gets some bitterness in the wine, something akin to witlof and Eugene says it’s a very easy drinking wine with alot of up front fruit flavours.

At $15, I think it’s a steal. To be honest, I’ve never been that big on Italian wines (besides Sangiovese) but this is slowly turning me around. Another one to put on your shopping list.

It’s good to be back, thanks for reading!

Kenny