Posts from the ‘McLaren Vale’ Category

2009 The Dead Arm – What I’m Drinking at the Time 23.01.14

Le Dead Arm 2009

2014.01.23 2009 d'Arenbery The Dead Arm

 

…named after the father of winemakers who was brutally punched in the arm in the first vineyard and upon seeing the deep dark purple bruise which marked his now dead arm, was inspired to create a wine to mimic its color, depth, power and intensity like none the world has ever seen…or not. Would be cool though!

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Going blackjack+1, 22 wines – what i’m drinking at the time 17.12.2011

Crazy crazy day today! Almost felt like I was a professional wine taster! Big thank you to Dan Murphies Bulleen to putting on a premium wine tasting session of 19 wines including vertical tastings of Rockford Basket Press, Moss Wood and a Magnum of 10 year old Grange. So pour self a glass, sit back, listen to this can get comfortable cos this is epic.

The world warriors:

Sriyan, Eugene, Michelle, Alex, Simon and Me

The bad boys:

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Frenchy’s Dan Murphy’s Langton’s dinner – 29.11.2011

Greetings All! Last Tuesday Nat and I were invited to a Langtons Classification Fine Wine Dinner semi sponsored by Frenchy’s and Dan Murphy’s Glen Waverley. A special mention to the guys from Wantirna Estate for donating their wines to sweeten the price. A big big thank you to you guys. It was a great night and a huge success.

Frenchy’s Bistro Head Chef Klaus Lemme, Steve Alexander Dan Murphy’s and Wantirna Estate’s Reg Egan

The Langtons classification is a “form guide” of Australia’s best performing and most prized wines based on quality, recognition and markets. The classification is revised every 5 years (currently its 5th Classification) which showcases wines in 4 categories; Exceptional, Outstanding, Excellent and Distinguished. It is arguably the most famous and widely respected wine classification outside of Europe. For more information, visit click here. I felt very lucky to sample some of Australia’s finest.

Wines of the night


Champagne Duperrey

Oysters with cucumber tea granita
Potato pancakes with mandarin vodka-cured Salmon and herb crème fraiche
Sashimi tuna with scorched orange dressing

The night started of swimmingly. As we entered, we were greeted with old friends Mr. Champagne and Mrs. Canapes. Good day to you sir’s, delightful to see you again if I don’t say so myself 🙂 30 people were invited to the dinner and I was easily the youngest and to be honest, I felt a bit out of my depth discussing these wines with experts but the champagne helped quite a bit 😛 Nat was playing with her new lens and was given the “task” of taking some happy snaps of the evening. The canapes were yummo and if they have these on the menu, I would recommend the potato pancakes with the vodka cured salmon. It was off the hook! At 7 we were all to be seated and the fun began.

McWilliams Lovedale Semillon 2005

Tyrrell’s ‘Vat 1’ Semillon 2005

Pickled Bonito with lemon and apple Tuna Tartar with tomato and squid ink Miso rice ball with Blue Swimmer Crab meat

The 1st course paired up two 2005 Hunter Valley NSW Semillon’s both from the Outstanding Classification, same vintage and both screwcap. This would be interesting!

First the McWilliams Lovedale. Sweet, ripe peaches, light fresh syrupy flavours on the nose. Attack is a bit thin but in a good way and the acidity is big on the palate. There are little touches of tannin here and there and the fruit is well integrated but the “hero of the wine” (picture Gary from masterchef here) is the acid. Finishes short and a touch dry. In a nutshell, a very refreshing thirst quencher. The fish is a great match with the wine, it melds and mixes extremely well with the creaminess and oils of the fish. 

Now to the Tyrrell’s. There was a lot of prior talk and praise with this wine and a lot of gold medals on the bottle to match (if your into that sort of thing). Bang! Butter, mineral and oak wafts into every sniff. Deep, complex and layered nose with rock salt components (the kind you get when you order oysters Kilpatrick and they serve it on a tray of rock salts). Very Montrachet like which is lovely and right down my alley. Attack is accented, uplifting and tingly with acidity, less fruit and tannins but well balanced and integrated. Smooth and creamy with a long green apple and grapefruit finish. Food increases the acidity and adds a subtle sweetness.

The food was spectacular. The tuna tartar was very soft and delicate but the main part of the dish for me was the rice ball and the pickled bonito. They were banging with flavours and perfect within the dish and with the wines. I found the Tyrrell’s a more balanced wine and powerful whist the McWilliams is more restrained and elegant and a better food wine for this dish. Both got more mineral and salty components with time.

Pierro Margaret River Chardonnay 2009

Leeuwin ‘Art Series’ Chardonnay 2008

Free range chicken and white asparagus in a light cream of roasted almonds

2nd course was a grudge match between Chardonnay’s from Margaret River WA. The Leeuwin Art Series sits in the Exceptional Classification and is always mentioned in Australian top self Chardonnay. The Pierro is from the Outstanding classification and is a long standing foil to Leeuwin Art Series and very grand cru Burgundian style wine. Both use French oak, malolactic fermentation and long battonage (lees stirring). I think Nat was too excited during this course and missed out on pictures of the chicken! Oh well, lets see how the wines went. Coming into the dinner, this was one of the wine brackets I was excited about.

The Pierro was a very aromatically challenged wine only getting hints of oak but nothing else coming through. Very woody on the attack, almost spicy and chilli in taste which I found strange. Mid palate becomes milder and incorporates more butter and oak nuances. Fruit is all in the background, sitting there looking pretty. Finish is deep, dark and woody and relatively long. A very interesting taste profile from a Chardonnay. It tasted very different with the food, somewhat sweeter. It’s great with the chicken and it rounds out what the wine lacks and brings out more acidity.

Now to the Leeuwin. Milk, cream, custard, mushroom omelette with wafts of duck? Gentle shadows of oak and sweetness. Reminds me of French whites with some brets/barnyard smells. Strange nose indeed. Initial attack is again a bit spicy and pinewood (perhaps some food from the first course is still on my palate? I did have some bread I promise). The was had an almost raw lemon rind and a touch of bitterness. Insanely complex wine with butt loads of mineral and iron ore feelings…think copper? Finish is warm and a bit creamy with some of that lemon rind in there (bitter and acidic, but a nice bitterness). Another interesting wine with lots of grapefruit and lemon components but not as much of the milk and cream you get from the nose and I found this more Burgundian than the Pierro. The food is uplifted with this wine but the finish becomes bland whist highlighting the almost almond puree of the dish. It also develops apple and pear components.

Food was again very good. The dish didn’t look like what I expected; for starters the dish came in a ramekins! There were evenly sliced pieces of chicken brest submerged in a generous serving of almond cream puree and 2 green asparagus. The almond and the chicken was a great match in flavours nad textures whist the asparagus would set you up for the next bite. Yum! The Pierro brings up more sweetness of the dish whist the Leeuwin brings up more savouriness. Amazing.

Both wines are soooo different. The group nutted out that the Perrio was more elegant whist the Leeuwin was more powerful. I’m not sure on either, what I do know is that there is tonnes of complexity and layers in both wines just on different spectrums. Tough to compare, Leeuwin today, tomorrow, who knows! Both are mood wines, thinking wines and food wines. Try them both, I’m very divided though I think I was leaning towards

Coriole ‘Lloyd’ Shiraz 2007

Best’s ‘Bin O’ Shiraz 2009

Rare roasted lightly peppered venison. Savoy cabbage and mangoes

The Shiraz matchup; Coriole ‘Lloyd’ 07 vs the Best’s ‘Bin O’ 09, McLaren Vale SA vs Grampians Vic both in the Excellent Classification and both very traditional classics and old school wines.

First up, Coriole ‘Lloyd’ Shiraz 2007. Big red cherry with a touch of heat. Green nettle and earth flavours…bugs? with some barnyard thrown in here too. That mumbo jumbo probably just means earthy, but that’s what comes into my head sooo yeah. Attack is tannic, acidic and gives you a dry mouth feel. The mid palate is a touch bitter and the fruit comes in at the finish but short lived. A dry and tannic wine, would benefit from some more time sleeping. However the food and wine paired up extremely well. The food made the wine sweeter and more balanced, simmering down the tannins.

Best’s ‘Bin O’ Shiraz 2009 is a few years older but didn’t show its age. Candy, fruit bomb nose wrapped in TV remote control plastic. Add some blueberries and water all that down a bit (came across a bit thin). Hummm…. Attack is a mix of bitter tannins, fruit and spicy apple pie and fairy floss..definately fairy floss without a doubt. Finish is like artificial sweetener, very fruity and spicy caramel pancake flavours with some crispy bacon. Not sure about the quality of this wine, reminds me of a watered down basket press. Food did the opposite to the first wine, brought up the tannins and structure and backbone in the wine.

The food was again, excellent (running theme?) The cabbage for me was the main part of the dish with the venison almost as a side note. The venison brought the texture but the cabbage brought the flavour. The cabbage was savoury and had a soy like sweetness. I looked at the food/wine pairing as cabbage/wine pairing and the Lloyds matched better with this dish hands down. The better wine, I’m not sure which is better. I’m not sure I liked either and I think both improve with different foods; sweeter meats with the Coriole (in this case, cabbage) whist more savoury BBQ meats with Bests. Still, neither wow me all that much.

Wantirna Estate ‘Amelia’ Cabernet/Merlot 2009

Katnook Estate ‘Odyssey’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Slowly cooked ox cheek. Parley coulis, sweetbreads.

This was going to be an uphill battle for the Katnook Estate ‘Odyssey’ as Reg Egan, winemaker of the Wantirna Estate ‘Amelia’ was here to talk and share his knowledge (and to present his fabulous wine today). Not blowing his horn or anything but this is a great wine, personal favourite of the night (at least top 2 or 3). This wine was made in a Medoc style with some added can franc and petit vedot. Excellent, excellent….go on. It had a dry woody strawberry and sour cherry nose with some branches and undergrowth, barky and green flavours. Wine was light bodied, well balanced, and elegant on the attack. In fact, my notes just keep saying well balanced, well balanced, well balanced! A must swallow drop. Berries, touch of dryness and acidity on the mid palate all in perfect harmony. Finish is again a tough dry and long with a hint of heat. Truly impressive, has a maturity to it and the better wine of the bracket. This sits in the Distinguished Classification and the only downside is I found the food brought up some of the alcohol in the wine. Easy fix, I drank this by itself 😛 Best thing about this wine?  Yarra Valley, Victoria, just next to the Glen. I could walk there! Check out the website map.

So, how about the Katnook Estate ‘Odyssey’? This guy sits also in the Distinguished Classification coming from Coonawarra SA. It had a candy nose, viscous, honey, caramel, sweetbreads and cinnamon kind of flavours. Attack is unsurprisingly sweet but sharp, followed by tannins and bacon bits. Transitions into a bit more sweetness on the mid palate but better balanced with the tannins and dryness. Finish is dryer and spicy – sweet white pepper and paprika. Food brings more Asian sweet spices to the wine and I think was a better food match than the Wantirna Amelia. Reminded me of the Best’s ‘Bin O’. I’m not sure about this style of wine, too sweet for my palate and a bit thin but I can see people liking it and obviously they do.

Food wise, I expected the ox cheek to be softer but it was still delicious. I do love me some snails and garlic though! The flavours brought me back to France and reminded me of a slice of Burgundy.

Cullen ‘Diana Madeline’ Cabernet Merlot 2009

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Tournedo of spring lamb with cannelloni of braised lamb neck. Swiss chard and water cress.

The 5th course was the big one. Two classified Exceptional wines from  Margaret River WA.

The Cullen ‘Diana Madeline’. One of Australia’s greatest cabernets with small portion of Cab Franc (dense and sweet), Malbec (spicy and rich) and Petit verdot (deep concentrated and liquorice). Planted in 1971 on ancient granitic soils and practices biodynamic viticulture to “achieve greater individuality of site by working with and not against nature”. Hand picked, 10-50% is barrel fermented, rest is further matured in 30% new French oak. Just had this recently (see my previous posts?) so I know it’s going to be a bomb! Great toffee and green bramble notes and earthy tones. Attack is a touch of acid with the fruit coming in and out of. Superb balance with an acid backbone and subtle tannins. Finish is long, smooth and rounded mouthfeel, again, perfect balance and long lasting. No unpleasantness whatsoever. Nothing to complain about (besides the price :P) A close close second for the wine of the night, or maybe not, I dunno, I have to try them again.

Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. One of the choicest and beautiful vineyard sites in Australia and makes one of the pinnacle cab savs in Australia. Unirrigated and widely spaced on NE slopes with sandy loams and gravelly red/brown loams over clay. Big on terrior and sustainable viticulture but not fully biodynamic. Also adds cab franc, petit verdot and merlot and longer skin contact during ferment. De stemmed into open tanks and hand plunged 4 times a day and 24 months French oak aging. Another bad boy I was looking forward to try. Vanilla and sweet oak wood notes on the nose. Attack is mellow at first,  then sharp and acidic and complemented well with vanilla a fruit flavours. A more accented and up front wine than the Cullen but still very laid back in style. Finish continues to be mellow with some acidity and lemon rind creating a smoothness but some edge.

Both are so so layered and complex. Cullen is more pleasant to drink, moss wood has slightly higher heat aspect. The Cullen is more acidic and the moss wood is, well, woodyer and earthy. The Cullen is more elegant, softer, moss wood is more powerful but gentle at the same some. I’m just splitting hairs here, they are both very special wines, sensational and just kick ass. Moss wood rounds out my top 3 wines of the night.

The dish with these wines was lamb which was a bit tough and lemony. Both wines matched in different ways, Cullen was more integrated with the taste of the food whist the moss wood lifted and accented the food. In any case, the lamb played a second fiddle to the wines.

 De Bortoli ‘Noble One’

Shadows of Blue caramelized pear
Toasted ginger bread.

Dessert! De Bortoli ‘Noble One’, from the Outstanding Classification is made from Botrytis Semillion in Riverina NSW. This is the benchmark of Australian dessert wines. Ok so I’m pretty sure I was drunk at this point. How do I know? For starters, after visiting the little boy’s room, I thought I was locked out of the restaurant. I was pushing and pulling at the door trying to get in only to find that it was a sliding door. Next, Nat tells me that she may have seen me drifting in and out of sleep or something (thank god I’m asian hey?) but the funniest part was I found two sets of tasting notes! Let’s just say I was being thorough shall we?

Notes 1: Citrus notes, extremely fresh, ginger with pears. Not very viscous, not too sweet. Thin and crisp. The blue cheese and pear matches with the wine very well, very sublime and exquisite. Also goes nicely with just the toasted ginger bread.

Notes 2: Beautiful sweetness, pear and savoury notes. Not viscous, nice balance of sweet and sour. Long finish of figs and orange peel and lovely match with the food especially with the blue cheese and pear.

So they’re kinda the same but you get the picture 🙂 In any case, it was a great desert wine which is hard to find for my palate.

All in all a wonderful night. I met lots of like minded people and made new friends! Got some numbers too (hehe) and invites to other food and wine parties which I can’t say I mind. Hope you enjoyed my wine escapades.

Until next time

Kenny

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