20 September 2010

Tamburlaine 2007 Hunter Reserve Members Semillon

I had a big night last Friday. One moment it was 9pm - the next, it was 3am, a bell was ringing and security was turning on the ugly lights. Time flies when you're having rum.

Suffice to say I was in a world of hurt on Saturday, particularly as my twins insisted on playing their new toy drums for most of the day - at times, seemingly reaching their little bongo playing hands right inside my head and doing their best Dave Grohl impression on my frontal lobe.

That's the thing about rum - it may well get you over that bump in the road around midnight, but it inevitably kicks you back to the curb the next day.

So, when Saturday night came around, I'd learned my lesson and reached instead for something lighter. Not quite water, but it was clear at least.

Tamburlaine 2007 Members Semillon is certified organic and biodynamic - which I think means they use free-range grapes and harvest only by the light of the moon. Chanting and nudity are optional, but encouraged.

My main motivation for going green was that it usually entails the winemaker using minimal preservatives, which is said to result in a much nicer brand of hangover. Happily, there does appear to be something to this theory and, despite going solo on the whole bottle, I had not a hint of a shade of a headache the next morning.

That's all well and good, but what of the drinking?

There's a nice, bright colour and, despite being quite light on the alcohol scale (10.2%), it shows genuine substance in the glass.

The nose is much like Brynne Edelsten on Brownlow night - eager to escape its cup, but with perhaps a little too much "Careful with those things, or you'll poke an eye out!" than is polite. Still, this alacrity can be forgiven because it's still a youngster.

And while it's bound to get better with a few more years under its belt, the drinking is already showing signs of great quality. That lovely rich, silken flush is starting to develop, while its striking acidity makes it as crisp as a Samboy and as cool as the underside of your pillow. There's a very distinct flavour that is, I imagine, like licking lemon sherbert off freshly buttered toast. It's easy-drinking, but rewarding.

Like the mounted knight that adorns the label, this fellow really does keep his end up quite nicely.

Rating: 8.25/10
Drink with: Greenies
Price: $25


09 September 2010

David Franz Old Redemption X.O. Exceptionally Old Tawny

David Franz Lehmann is Peter's son. He produces a range of great quality wines on a relatively small scale. I’m a big fan.

Happily, I've been lucky enough to crack into his Old Redemption port on three occasions over the past couple of weeks, and I highly recommend it to you.

The story of this tawny starts at Saltrams in 1947. Peter helped to blend and top up the stocks over the course of the next 30-odd years, and eventually bought a portion for himself when he struck out under his own name. By that time, fortifieds were about as popular as a Pakistani bookmaker, and so he left it on the wood to cook for another 30 years. Then, after having been barrelled for the best part of 60 years, his son did what all good sons do – he knocked off the old man’s grog.

The result is what he styles as an Exceptionally Old (X.O.) Tawny.

It’s a wonderful, bright golden brown, and glows like the sun as it swims around the glass. And I reckon if you poured a tin of golden syrup onto an old Chesterfield couch, you’d be getting pretty close to the heady aroma that explodes from the bowl.

The drinking is a lot like Brendan Fevola - thick, yet revealing. Allegedly.

It’s raisined and smokey and smoother than a Brazilian’s nut. It all just clicks. The needle hits the groove. The earth begins to move. I feel like I’m breathing fire.

Pour it at the end of a meal, crack out some sharp cheeses, maybe a cigar. Everyone’s a grinner.

I asked Dave for his thoughts on how best to drink the Old Redemption, and I can do no better than quote the man,

“Mate, all you need is a beer stein and a lockable room and you’ll be happy…”.

That's advice to live by. And I intend to.

If you can find a bottle, buy it. It’s special stuff.

Rating: 9.5/10
Drink with: Your trousers down
Price: $40


08 September 2010

Peter Lehmann 2009 Barossa Blonde

The highlight of my (and, apparently, Stephanie Rice's) weekend was watching the Wallabies finally find some luck on the high veld of Sarth Iffrica. A yarpie called Flip flopped on a ruck. Kurtley kicked the winning points with a thoooousand metre penalty at the death. And I enjoyed it all in the company of a saucy little blonde.

Peter Lehmann's 2009 Barossa Blonde that is.

I wouldn't usually tuck into white wine at 2 o'clock on a Sunday morning. But by half-time, having polished off all the loose beers in my fridge, I decided I might as well also finish off the $10 bottle that had gone into the risotto earlier that evening. "Waste not, want not", my grandfather used to say.

The Barossa Blonde is a bit of a mongrel mix - riesling, chenin blanc, semillon and sauvignon blanc. It seems Mr Lehmann may be familiar with my grandfather's motto as well.

But they don't call him the Baron of the Barossa for nothing. He knows what to do with whatever grapes come his way - and for the price, this is a most agreeable drop.

The label continues PL's Queen of Clubs theme and sports an attractive little charmer. Looking a lot like a young Ita Buttrose, she's sweet and pure - and I bet her tongue nevers touches her lips either. Hmmm mmm, I think I'd like to take her out to din-ner.

Anyway...what's in the bottle? It pours almost as crystal clear as water, but is tinged with a subtle verdancy.

The nose is as green as Bob Brown, but infinitely more likable. There's some citrus action and a scrape of freshly cut passionfruit.

In truth, there's more smell than taste - but the drinking is pleasant and easy, without any touch of bite. And happily, unlike a lot of other cheap plonk, it doesn't make the mistake of trying to achieve this by excessive sweetness.

It's as nicely balanced as a good margarita - and in fact, if you felt compelled to add wedge of lime and a little salt to the rim, this little lady may well take you straight to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

But it really doesn't matter what I think.

What we all want to know is, "What does our favourite twit, Ms Rice, have to say on the matter?"

"Suck on that...", is apparently her carefully considered opinion. And something about a bundle of sticks.

I think that means we should get stuck in.

Couldn't have put it better myself.

Rating: 7.5/10
Drink with: British meatballs. And Rice.
Price: $10