25 August 2009

Moss Wood 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon*

A truly autocratic portrayal of this classic Margy River
The colour is breathtaking - a whimsical mixture of pigeon blood, weak orange cordial and the most alluring of Peruvian sunsets. It has the lascivious legs of a supermodel, while the bouquet suggests hints of bitumen, recently laid by perspiring labourers in overalls named Bruce and Gary. The nose then majestically unfurls with an undertone of wild fungi that has been trampled on some days earlier by even wilder boar and left to decay (3 days, maybe 4 - but no less!).

Like a virgin on prom night, the body is slightly reticent at first, but opens up quickly and latches onto the middle of your tongue as the alcohol begins to weave its wonderful effects. It is then all at once as full-bodied and warm as a Victoria's Secret model swaddled in a bear-skin rug.

The tannins show sublime suppleness and exhibit a looseness and absence of elasticity that is evocative of paparazzi pictures of Britney Spears emerging, sans panties, from a low-slung Aston Martin.

It is then déjà vu all over again, as this olfactory orgasm tangos along the back palette and blows its load in what one can only describe as the happiest of all happy endings.

Quite simply, the '06 is pornography in a glass. And, like all such things, should of course be shared generously with your friends.

Rating: 9.5/10
Drink with: Mates
Price: $100

* written with PJ

20 August 2009

Ten Minutes by Tractor 2007 10X Pinot Noir

I had heard good things about this vineyard from a friend last year, who warmly recommended the restaurant and its extensive wine list. That didn't seem much of an accolade for its own wine, but as my parents had recently brought a few bottles back from a trip to the Mornington Peninsular, I thought I should kick the tyres, so-to-speak, and take the tractor for a spin.

The name, interestingly, comes by virtue of the fact that the three "home blocks" are each ten minutes, by tractor, apart. It is certainly more interesting than had they called it say, "Half Hour by Foot" or "Two Minutes by Dirt Bike".

The label is quite trendy as well. And, in the glass, it pours as purple as a Hendrix haze. It has that revered pinot combination of light and shade - deep colour with a clear twinkle of luminosity.

Other reviewers have given this particular wine an up-and-down history over the years - a report card that reads, "Obvious potential, but needs to try harder". Well, if that is the case, this year the 10X pulled its finger out and has come in much closer to the top of the class.

It is a pinot made in the Burgundy style. And much like the other famous Burgundy (Ron), it is kind of a big deal. It smells of rich mahogany and leather bound books. And goes down as smooth as Saint Diego.

It is fruity in a suave, sophisticated way, and can get away with showing a hint of the blueberry trussed up in its well-manicured coif.

Across the board, Pinot Noir is generally one of the more expensive wines - you won't find much under the $30-mark. So, at about $35, the 10X Pinot sits near the bottom of the scale pricewise, and is half the cost of the three other single-vineyard pinots (Wallis, McCutcheon and Judd) sitting in the Tractor sheds. They are also very good, but I prefer the 10X blend, particularly at the price.

Rating: 8/10
Drink with: Mushroom risotto

11 August 2009

Virgin Hills 2001 Red

I hesitate to tell too many people about this. But you can buy this vintage direct from the vineyard now. The hard work has already been done for you. The bottles have been cellared for eight long years, slowly softening and maturing without the imminent threat of the corkscrew. For me, the waiting is often the hardest part. I am thirsty so often. And cabernet is so much more satisfying than coke.

The wine comes from the Macedon Ranges region which is where, according to legend, virgins were first created. Here, in this bucolic idyll, scores of untouched beauties tend the old vines, plucking only the ripest fruit, and gently extracting the sweetest of juices. They plainly do a fantastic job, because the result is outstanding. The wine is luminous as it hits the glass - a warm orangey-crimson, like Uluru at dusk, during the autumnal equinox.

As you pop the cork, the bouquet is all about ripe cherries, picnic blankets and a gentle whiff of Dior parfum.

And, oh, the legs! They run like pigs from a gun!

The fascinating blend of Cab Sauv, Shiraz, Merlot, and Malbec is then intensely warm as it caresses the dorsum - it seduces you with a certain sweetness, before letting slip with a cheeky wink of tannin that tells you that you are in for one hell of a wild night.

Virgins! In bottles! Whatever will they think of next...

Rating: 8.5/10
Drink with: Roasted rabbits
Price: $60

Image from: http://www.virginhills.com.au

Teusner 2006 Avatar

I have just checked and apparently an Avatar is something that computer nerds use to disguise themselves on the internet. Presumably, they hide behind these fake identities while they download pornography or tell fibs about themselves on dating websites. It is a facade. A make believe. A pretence.

So, is this wine a fraud? Hell no! This stuff is Evander Holyfield. The real deal. Big and smooth, it is a Barossa GSM that gives the big boys a kick right to the testes.

Pour yourself a glass. It blushes with genuine, redcurrant goodness - the colour of Santa's sack on a cold winter's night.

Bury your nose in the glass. The fresh scent of Benson & Hedges tobacco excites the nostril and invites you to get on with the business of drinking it. The quintessential Barossa menagerie of Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (Mourvedre) has always been one of my favourites and, in the hands of the Teusner boys, this year's Avatar is a truly beautiful collision of grapes. It is improving every year.

Big Barossa red can sometimes be like a bare-knuckle punch to the face. But the magic of a quality GSM like this is that the hard hitting tannins of the Shiraz are gently wrapped up in the silken softness of the Grenache, and then given additional layering by the complexity of the Mataro. The result is that this stuff is as suave as a silver-tongued cad on the Saturday night prowl.

So, while the name might be a contradiction - like hair on a Brazilian - the gear inside the bottle is the genuine article. No pretence. No nonsense. No nerds.

Drink it now or in five years' time - I guarantee it will always go down smooth.

Rating: 9/10
Drink with: A fancy barbeque
Price: $30

Battle of Bosworth 2008 War of the Rosé

Rosé, for the most part, is the purview of dandies and the ignorant. Usually, it is little more than the mongrel by-product you get from bleeding the vats in the creation of the "real" wine. Despite that, winemakers still manage to fob it off on the unwitting.

That said, if you are forced to buy a bottle (as a gift say, for a hypogeusic aunt who "just luuuurves it", or for your girlfriend who dunks ice-cubes in her wine), then you could definitely do worse than the 2008 Battle of Bosworth: War of the Rosé. It is, at the very least, a clever name.

But it is also one of the few that is made with the rosé being the ultimate goal, rather than simply a cast off, ginger-haired step-child after-thought. This then is a credible and well-mannered alternative that you can happily swig down in the summertime.

The McLaren Vale cabernet lends an almost masculine amount of fruit to the nose. And it has admirable acidity and dryness. You could certainly enjoy it with a couple of barbequed prawns on a sunny Sunday afternoon with friends. And at only $18 a bottle, you could probably even slip it in with the more expensive bottles on the collective table and no-one would mind too much.

Equally, the vineyard is certified organic - so your ice-cube toting girlfriend may enjoy it simply for the reason that she also conspicuously monitors her carbon footprint and pretends to be into hemp clothing, and the Prius.

Go on. You know you want to. Just pretend it’s for your girlfriend. I won’t tell anyone.

Rating: 7/10
Drink with: discretion...
Price: $18

Image from http://www.edgehill-vineyards.com.au/