Archive for February, 2012

2009 Balnaves The Tally Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra – what i’m drinking at the time 29.02.2012

Man, have had some rough days at work recently so was looking forward to drinking some great wine. I was schedules to get into some basket press today but alas, that is for another great time. Today we are going to check out the “Balnaves of Coonawarra”.

The Tally Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Coonawarra

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alco

The Tally, flagship of the Balnaves, sits in the Langton’s Outstanding classification and regularly scores highly and sits amongst the company of Australia’s greatest Cabernets. The 2009 Tally was sourced entirely from a single parcel from Dead Morris Vineyard, handpicked for the first time to select only the best bunches and all of the blend received a long maceration on skins for a period of 26 days. Maturation was 16 months in new fine-grained Chateau barriques mostly from Taransaud and some from Seguin Moreau cooperages, before light egg fining and bottling in December 2010, under procork.

Initially the nose was extremely closed and tight. The wine in the decanter for almost 4 hours so I was extremely surprised at this. I decided to give it some more time before reviewing. Another hour later…nose is extremely fruity and oaky. There is a red and purple mix berries with yogurt aspect to this wine and there is also an egg custard thing happening. There is some spices of cinnamon and leaves you with a liquorice/sambuca finish.

The initial taste on the palate was brown sugar with a sharp orange peel scented creme brulee. It continued this trend peppered with peppery notes throughout. There is a rounded mouthfeel, though light to med bodied with a light tannin structure. The flavours linger in the finish but not very long. There were some creamy yet sour plum aspect here which is pleasant and a general slight bitterness to the wine and coca cola.

I am usually not a fan of wines from Coonawarra and this is probably the first one that I kinda liked. It’s a powerful representation of a Cabernet and I can see many new world fans clamoring for this wine. Fairly layered, rich and will develop further and improve with cellaring. Having said that, don’t think the flavour profile agrees with my palate. I usually find a chesty bitterness to wines from Coonawarra which I don’t like and this is no different.  One more thing I don’t agree with is the price. This wine retails for $80 – $90. Although you do get a better wine, I think you can get similar flavour profiles of slightly lower quality at half the price. If this wine was at the $50 mark, I would consider it.

All in all, a good solid wine, one for the new world fans and if you have had this before, please post and let me hear your thoughts!

Thanks guys

Kenny

Like it if you liked it 😛

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Sarantos Soft Press Chardonnay 2001 – what i’m drinking at the time 26.02.2012

Hello again everybody, not sure if you noticed but I got a comment the other day! Not only that, got alot of verbal “likes” from people in the real world and on facebook. Pretty sweet I must say. Thanks guys, makes Kenny a happy camper. Now if you could just throw me another bone and hit that like button on this site also it would make my day 🙂

Ok what we got on this hot and stormy Sunday…

Sarantos Soft Press Chardonnay 2001

13.0% alc

This is a South Australian wine made to match a relaxing Mediterranean lifestyle. The soft press style is done by gently pressing the grapes without bruising the skins reducing the tannins and bitterness in the wine and aiming to leave a cleaner juice for wine making.

This particular wine has 11 years on it which is a long time for Chardonnay (except for the best ones!). The age gave this wine a crazy color. A very clear, golden, clean and crisp apple juice appearance, think straw or corona’s. Very enticing.

The nose was a mix of cooked fruits, old dusty ripe peach, some hints of canned pineapple and some poached pears with a little bit of spiced lime.

Attack has alot of alco heat (not good…), some candy cane flavours and golden delicious apples wrapped in a fresh pinewood hit. The heat diffused a little towards the mid palate (but still present) and the flavours of cooked fruits spread out like a purée with a medium to heavy body adding a slightly creamy texture to your mouth.

Finish is a bit bitter and again some heat and little acidity mix. Very long and the lime kicks in here also with apple skin tannins.

Hummmm…..Ok, this wine is…ok…though I don’t think its a great wine. I suspect that this was initially a cheap wine (I’m thinking $15?). A quick search show that it retails for around $10. However, this is an excellent example of what you can get from aging wine. The years have added loads of flavours and richness to the wine but not helped balance. The fact that the wine making process eliminated the tannins of the wine didn’t help either since aging wines is ment to break down the tannin structure of the wine creating a smoother wine and hopefully adds balance. Didn’t work here. Feels like there was also alot of oak in this wine during its youth.

I would not age this wine if your thinking about it. I don’t think the extra 10+ years of waiting is worth the effort even though I think the aged wine would taste better than a young version.

Overall, didn’t mind drinking it, though I would pass on another glass. Enjoyed what I learned from the wine and understanding what aging does to the flavour profile and texture of wines.

Till next time!

Kenny

pssst…I believe there may be some Basket press next time…o yeah…. you “like”? 😉

Penfolds, Moss Wood & Mount Mary – what i’m drinking at the time 22.02.2012

Hello everybody! Welcome back to another edition of the Kenny wine show. Today is action packed! I got three wines for you today in celebration of my lovely wife Natalie’s birthday and our 10 year and 1 month anniversary. Lets go!

So we gathered at my parents house today for a lovely dinner. I was nervous because I had invited people over as a surprise. Turns out, Nat actually knew about it already…well played. sigh. Anyways, Dad went crazy over the weekend and not only has he bought out Melbourne of Cullen Diana Madeline, but it seems he has basically done the same with the Moss Wood Cab Sauv (I think there are 6 bottles left, get them now!). He also went nuts on some Penfolds cos they were on special. In any case, much joyous food and drink was had. Here are the boys:

 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Mount Mary Quintet 2007

Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2003

Drink 1

 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

14.5% alc

The first of the bunch was one of the many 07’s found in the wine fridge. I have gone over the history of Moss Wood a few times now (just do a little search in the blog) so nothing much else to say. The 07 rates slightly lower than the 08 so I am interested in how things go. It was aerated into a decanter for almost 4.5 hours. Even so, the nose was much more closed than I expected. I did get some intervals of oak sweetness, but mainly it’s some yellow plums and some dry leafs, herbs and some semi sweet sour red berries. There is also a touch of lemon rind, maybe lemon thyme.

Attack is a bit of tannins and acid mix with some roundness from the oak.  The leafy aspect comes in at the mid palate along with dried orange peel and a big hit of dark berries. Loads of non spicy ground black pepper, black leather, bark and richness like that of a reduced red wine sauce and some toasted oak, throw in some burnt wood. Medium to full body and very smooth and rich mouth feel.

Finish is dark, wooded and brings up that pleasant bitter note with a complete balance of background plums, berries and lemon rind.

Balanced wine, extremely layered, feels older than it is at 6 years. Makes me think the vintage was hot and dry and summer. I am impressed with this effort though I can see why the 08 vintage is better.

Drink 2


Mount Mary Quintet 2007

13.1% alc

Mount Mary is a great little winery in the Yarra Valley and is a winery that let their wines speak for themselves. They are very anti-publicity and is built up from word of mouth. Helps that their Quintet is a cracker wine hey? Mount Mary was started by Dr. John Middleton who has since passed away and now run by his son Dr. David Middleton and family owned. They produce four wines, 2 in the Burgundy style (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and 2 in the Bordeaux style (Quintet and Triolet). They pride themselves on quality and as such, the 07 was given out to members as a gift as it was thought to not be up to standard. The back of the label reads:

“The wine was produced from secondary fruit as a result of a devastating frost event in the early hours of October 23rd 2006 which destroyed the entire primary crop. Whist significantly different to ‘normal’ vintages it is not without merit and we have released this wine as ‘not for sale’ gift to our dedicated customers who have shared and endured the seasons with us over the years.”

We are very fond of this winery and if you get a chance, look them up and join their mailing list. They only open for tastings 2 weeks a year so clear your calendars. We aerated this wine into a decanter for about 30 mins. Idealy it would have been better if it stayed in the decanter for a full hour but glasses were empty 🙂

Nose is floral and light with violets. It is also a little bit bread and cake with some green icing. Think cup cakes!

Attack is light, some firm tannins and some sour cherry cover the mouth. Mid palate firms up the flavours and gives the wine a tighter mouthfeel. Somewhat like a semi sweet granny smith apple and equally light in body.

Finish is a touch dry, dusty tannins and again a lemon rind but much more present, maybe a little flabby. Lacks sweetness and more terroir driven with little to no oak.

Two different styles, Moss Wood definitely more new world, Mount Mary more old world. I get alot of Cabernet Franc from this wine. Difficult to say which I like more…I am leaning towards the Mount Mary, probably because I am drinking it now! Still, the better wine is definitely the Moss Wood, more complex, more layers, rich, has a better mouth feel and I dare say more balanced.

Drink 3


Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2003

14.5% alc

This wine was opened almost as an after thought, rated around the 93 mark so not to be outdone by its predecessors. Penfolds Bin 28 is a very robust and generously flavoured warm climate Shiraz. Originally named after the Kalimna vineyard from where it was sourced, it is now a multi region and multi blend from Barossa Valley.

The nose on this wine reminded me of peach Lipton ice tea, toasted sesame with liquorice/aniseed notes in the background. I am expecting a very powerful wine.

Attack is a bit bitter, that aniseed flavour comes through and brings some cloves. Not too nice. Transitions into a blackcurrant and walnut notes in the mid palate. Very unbalanced in my book and quite harsh to drink. Brunt wood and overly soaked back tea, rough on the mouth and void of richness to balance the wine’s weight.

Finish is very green, fresh mulch, dirt with the smokey burnt bitter green and black tea.

Errr…..super pass. Nothing good to report. The word stale comes to mind. Sorry guys, I couldn’t finish my glass.

Well, what a downer to finish on, but hey, we got to drink some fantastic wines and eat birthday cake so I can’t complain!

Hope you guys are enjoying the blog posts. Noticed that I got alot of hits for my Fat Duck review so a bit thank you for reading (where are the comments!?!?) I will be going to Vue de Monde in a few weeks so can I get a show of hands via hitting the ‘like’ button or better yet, a quick comment to see if it’s worth me bringing my computer to the dinner? I would love to write a review for you all but it does take a bit of effort and concentration on my part so a bit of support from you lurkers would be appreciated 🙂 Please let me know!

Till the next time, happy birthday Natty, Love you always

Kenny

2007 Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon – what i’m drinking at the time 15.02.2012

Still in WA, we are now in Swan Valley, drinking a wine made in honor of the legendary Jack Mann. Jack Mann served Houghton for 51 consecutive vintages. His determination to create wines of intensity, elegance and regional character have inspired a generation of Australian winemakers to achieve great things. The Houghton Jack Mann is recognised under the Langton’s Distinguished classification and known to be one of Australia’s great Cabernet.

Houghton Jack Mann Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This guy is a single vineyard wine from the Justin Vineyard at Frankland River. Running in at 14% alc and at $85 to $100 a bottle, one cannot go into this wine without high expectations especially following some of WA’s premier Cabernets in Cullen, Moss Wood and Vasse Felix. We aerated this into a decanter for about an 1.5 to 2 hours. Lets go.

The nose is of dried leafs, pencil shavings, maybe some tobacco leafs and some gum nuts. Very much reminds me of the dry Aussie outback. There is very little fruit and the sweetness comes from black fruits, milk duds and a roast vegetable type sweetness in the background.

The initial taste is quite mellow, balanced and a bit dusty. There are firm tannins and black olives. Initially there was also an odd cracked pepper and lime aspect which really wrecked the wine. At the second glass, perhaps after more air, this harsh sharpness dissipated and actually worked well with the tannins. The oak comes out in the mid palate adding some richness to the wine. The wine opens up a but more, showing some further complexity and red fruits, some chinese cabbage and violets. The finnish completes the wine well, very calm and restrained, not flashy at all. The acidity comes out here, think mushed strawberries with some wood chips, leaving a slightly dry mouth.

Overall, my initial impression of the wine was not great from the lime and crack pepper flavour. Afterwards, my impression changed and I think the wine became quite beautiful, very multi dimensional but not ready for drinking at this time. If you can sit on this wine for maybe another 5-7 years, it will become more polished, add more dimensions to the wine and hopefully with more time and air, you wont get the sharp unbalanced acid. The more you wait the better, it feels that this time is made more for cellering.

Now, does it gets Kenny’s stamp of approval? At this price range, I think no. I would spend my money on Moss Wood or Diana Madeline. I have a feeling that most of the people in the know who rate this wine has an emotional attachment to it and may be adding points for nostalgia. Please do not get me wrong, it’s a personal presence how I rate this wine, as it should be, but in terms of quality vs price, it if this say at $60 dollars, this tight ass would have bought every bottle in the state. It is that good (though I don’t think it’s as good as even the Vasse Felix though they are different wines). When you put the extra $20-$40 and compare it to its counterparts, it juuuuusssttt comes up short in my books.

Overall, a very impressive expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. Worthy of a special occasion.

Kenny

The Fat Duck

 

The Fat Duck

The name says it all. Heston Blumethal, 3 Michelin Stars, rated as one of best restaurants in the world. Originally inspired by the three star Michelin restaurant L’Oustau de Baumaniere when he was sixteen, Heston taught himself how to cook and in 1995, bought a quaint little pub called “The Bell” which has been transformed into what we all know today as Fat Duck. He led the way of culinary gastronomy and earned his third star in under a decade. Heston loves to question everything and push the boundaries of food and cooking bringing all the senses into the eating experience. Like a kid in the candy shop.

Read more…

Coldstream Hills Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – what i’m drinking at the time 12.02.2012

Hey folks, been awol…again, but still kicking. Thanks to everyone who’s been checking in and hitting the “like” button on my posts, means alot 🙂 so I took out a little somethin somethin tonight, a little gem from Yarra Valley.

Coldstream Hills Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Another side note, please excuse the picture today, I lost the bottle! I know, slack right? Had to scour the net for a half decent pic of this bottle and the fact that the picture changes for each vintage doesn’t make it easier. The bottle is in a bin somewhere so if I am able to source another bottle for a pretty pic, this post will get updated.

Ok, so whats up with Coldstream Hills. Coldstream Hills is a very solid winery out in the Yarra Valley originally (and maybe still) owned and opened up my James Halliday. I bought this bottle a year or two ago where we were served by a guy who we nick named “the white James Earl Jones”. Imagine JEJ saying “PEEE-NO” with that deep deep voice. Great guy. Classic.

The reserve wines are only made in the great vintages of the area. The cab sauv was first made in 1992 sourced from a 2.6 hectare block fermented in new French oak. You can pretty much find all the info you want on google for just click here.  Reserves are usually made to last for about 20 years. I made some chicken scratching on this bottle saying I can keep this till 2018. Lets go!

The nose was not as big and bold as I expected but you can still easily pick up black and purple fruits, think plums and black berries. There is also some mint thrown in there too.  The oak is not very upfront but makes it’s presence known. There is also some sour red fruits and some musk sticks – remember those lollies in the 80’s called “fags”? They are white sticks with a touch of red on one end and looked like cigarettes. There is definitely some of that in there.

The attack on the palate is lean tannins which transitions into lychee skin flavours. Randomly after the wine was all gone, we had lychee for dessert! I quickly peeled off the skin, wiped off the leftover juice and put it in my mouth. It was pretty spot on! The wine has a nice balance here because there is some ripe fruit sweetness with firm tannins and an acid backbone…and hits of dusted mint sugar? Does that even exist?

It finishes very very long, probably because the wine is so concentrated and gives the impression of a heavy wine (though it’s more medium bodied), some residual alcohol in the mouth but just heat and not the unpleasant burn. The tannins are still here and pleasantly tickling the inside of you gums. The sour fruits come in about a  minute after.

A solid, powerful and stong wine. Very ripe and very upfront with some overall softness to it also. It’s also a layered wine if you want to look for it. I think it would go great with big prominent sauces, thinking a garlic or maaayyybe a blue cheese sauce on a juicy steak. Downside is it’s $50 a bottle but it’s quite good. I’m 51% thinking that it’s a bargain buy.

Till next time, lets hope it’s sooner rather than later!

Kenny

Vasse Felix Heytesbury 2008 – what i’m drinking at the time 01.02.2012

Aaaannnnndddd were back. Hello hello everyone, I know I haven’t posted much lately but that’s because I haven’t drunk or eaten at a fancy restaurant recently. I know, how shameful of me, but thanks for still checking out my blog. Well, I hope to make it up to you all but reviewing a pretty “up there” wine today, Margaret River’s Vasse Felix Heytesbury 2008.

 Vasse Felix Heytesbury 2008

I must say, I’m been drinking a lot of Margaret River over the past few months and it’s a great place quickly becoming one of my favourite wine regions. The wines coming from that area have been sublime and Vasse Felix is its first winery way back is 1976 by Dr Tom Cullity. This is ment to be a small step down from the top end Cabernet players like Cullen and Moss Wood, but surely holds its own. It has gotten incredible scores, this vintage in particular ranging from 92 to 97 points which, by the way, are ridiculous scores.

This wine is simply called Heytesbury because the percentages of the varieties used changes from year to year. The usual varieties are barrel selections of petit verdot, malbec along with the cabernet sauvingnon, matured in French oak with limited quantity. It’s synergy and blending is very important and is basically Vasse Felix’s signature wine. This vintage has 13% PV, 10% Malbec and the rest Cab Sav at 14.5% alc.

I aerated this into a decanter for about 30mins. Straight off the bat, it’s got a very thick massive nose full of oak and so much vanilla. There is also a lot of toasted cashew nuts. There sweetness is very jammy, like slow cooked fruits almost like warm quince paste. Nothing will distract you from that vanilla and buttered toast/brioche character.

The attach is a mix of sweet blue berries with a line of acidity lemon juice running through it. The mid palate is very very strong and powerful with extremely piercing and concentrated flavours of that jammy “overcooked” fruit and that line of lemon juice. There is also a thin layer of chalk on your tongue which gives a cedar note. The finish is floral and some steams, dried green leaf and tobacco leaf (think cigars) and then at the very end, some acidity.

Initially I didn’t like it. It had a very typical flavour profile, felt like an expensive version of a Barossa wine. The more I drank, the more the flavours came out and showed the layers of the wine and complexity. Its power is the main thing about the wine and gives it an almost regal feature. Defiantly not for the faint hearted, loved by those you want to drink wine on its lonesome and full of bang. I recommend aerating this into a decanter and let it sit for a full 2 hours. This will get you into the complexity of the wine without wasting a drop.

This wine goes for around $76. It’s not a bad wine, it’s actually very good and very impressive. Having said that, you can either spend a touch more and get a better wine, or, spend almost half and get a weaker version of this wine (of course with less complexity but still full in flavours and same general flavour profile). If it was $60, I think its  great value buy. At this price, I find it difficult to not spend the extra $20 and get a better wine. Please note i’m not saying don’t drink this, please do, it’s a great wine, but you gotta think monetary wise also.

Catch you next time

Kenny