Snippets, again

Maybe not thematic, but these fragments deserve a note; on the cork front, an unusual  run in the past six months yielded only 2 wines affected by taint or obvious oxidation–  a “meagre” 3.7%. Not many industries would accept this level of wastage. The degree of TCA in both wines was amazing- textbook examples.

  • 1993 Craiglee Chardonnay – replaced
  • 1996 Baileys Shiraz – no response from winery

And quick notes follow about wines that impressed

2015 Tolpuddle Chardonnay 12.5%
“Full malo” is a phrase that normally makes me run away, but served masked (of course) this Coal River valley (Tasmania) wine astonished. It’s a modern melon and smoke style- such as Oakridge or Seville Estate- cashewy oak, mineral-drenched fruit and the Tasmanian acidity powers through this utterly delicious wine.
From the Shaw and Smith stable, it’s around $60 a bottle retail – I ordered 3 bottles on the spot. Wonderful, and will hold for quite a while.

2015 Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 13.5%
This is the 60th release of this label; a few years ago, I tasted the 1960, 1965, 1966 and 1972; there is no doubting the longevity of the style; its affordability makes it deservedly popular among wine-drinkers (not just unicorn-collectors). This release is ripe, beautifully manicured and balanced; blackcurrant and other dark fruits, chalks; it flows gently, deliciously and juicily along. Lovely, with a huge future. Coonawarra, and unforced.

2012 Giant Steps Applejack Pinot Noir 13.5%
This is a wine that nearly won the notorious Jimmy Watson trophy, but there was insufficient volume. At  5 years old, this  Yarra Valley wine has time on its side. Its amazingly fragrant, with small, succulent, sweet red berry scents, plus seasoned oak. The palate shows much more ripe strawberry, and again the oak is present, somehow making a savoury impact. But where this wine stands out is for its prodigious, long-lasting, ultra-refined finish. Another 5 years at least, and 95 points

2002 Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 14%
Wonderful wine. Cork was not the greatest visual composition, but no travel.
2002 was a cool year in Victoria, and this wine is special. My records indicate I paid $35; some key notes; the colour is deep black/red, and there is no browning even at the rim; the wine is beautifully poised with vibrant, intense fruit, oak very much a background factor. Its ripeness is spot-on; blackberry, mixed spices and mocha, some very faint herbal tannin bitterness, and just powers along. Easy, hedonistic drinking, and will remain so for another 15 years – or more. Instant gold medal score, and another example of Grampians Shiraz seduction.

1995 Guigal Hermitage
From a great year in the Northern Rhone; power+, ripe +, slinky old-vine mouthfeel. Dry herb, chalk, iron filings and spices, powdery tannins, touch of bitterness. At plateau and another 10 years will not tire it. Outstanding, 94 points

 

And a few rarities from a very special dinner

2002 Bollinger RD disgorged 24/6/2014
Served at a “just right” temperature in appropriate glassware (flutes are NOT proper stemware for Champagne, any kind of tulip-shaped glass is better). It’s a light straw colour; Immediate sense of class. There are scents of pastries, fruit tingles, strawberries dusted gently with icing sugar (the Pinot dominance roughly 60/40 is felt); a touch of oak/chalk/cream, a touch of almond. Then the palate lights up with exuberance, tiny bead, and the flavours just linger on, the wine seems bone dry (4 g/l is very dry even for a prestige champagne). This is just a wonder, so sensual and so compelling- finally it just powered along with more nuances with each refreshing sip. A wine that could accompany many foods, and was not elbowed aside by a truffled croquette. 96 points.

1990 Trimbach Clos st hune Riesling 14%
Approached with some trepidation as a bottle tried in 13/5/2013 unexpectedly threw me in to delivering a perfect score.

Was I delusional? Would another bottle disappoint?This wine from Alsace has a bright clear gold colour; but amazingly, almost pungently floral. Light honey, lemon peel, bottle age, flint ripeness. Palate, silky, fluffy, candied dried fruits, flint, stone, mineral. The magic combination of richness and freshness.

Another 20 years in sight. 98 points.  (Notes were similar)

1990 Jaboulet Hermitage la Chapelle 13.9%
Everyone’s favourite in a bracket of 3 Hermitages including 1990 JL Chave and 1990 Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavilon, and so easy to love. Very dense colour, with trivial bricking; barnyard, earth, butterscotch, then the palate runs rampant with dark cherry, tar and more earth, some smoky, dried meaty aspects. Oak is entirely vanished, we’re left with a slinky vinous old-vine palate of fine, fine tannins. Memorable and contemplative – mature wines don’t really come better.
Drink to 2040, 98 points

1972 Gayfer’s (Chiltern) Durif Port

I doubt that the Gayfer’s vineyard still exists; it made way for a highway upgrade. I have not found information on the internet, apart from a passing reference to the “Roscoe’s fortified; I’ll need some serious prowling through my old books unless readers can assist.

Durif makes some very long-living, inky-coloured, robust red table wines in North-east Victoria, and I have examples from All Saints, Anderson, Baileys, Campbells, Morris, and Stanton in & Killeen in my cellar. In recent years, I think there has been more sympathetic winemaking, providing more finesse and complexity in the wines. As well as a standalone varietal wine, its colour and tannins makes Durif a useful blending component in a table wines – usually with Shiraz, and can readily be crafted into a vintage fortified, or a sparkling red. Its use as a varietal fortified is less common now, as more winemakers are enthused by fortifieds incorporating Portuguese grape varieties.

Chiltern is an outlier of Rutherglen, only 20km away, and the wine is an excellent effort from the region. Cork was pretty good – after 45 years, and this bottle had thrown a very heavy tea-leaf-like deposit.

1972 Gayfer'svp

Ruby coloured, with an amber/khaki rim, the aromas are in the mocha plus caramel plus coffee spectrum; sweet spirit is present too. The fruit and spirit combination is quite sweet, and though this wine may seem old-fashioned now, its a charming example of a mature, vintage fortified. The palate smoothly melds the mocha with some vanilla bean, rum and raisin chocolate and sweet brandy spirit- altogether this wine was just the ticket for a winter afternoon with a few ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out)  – although not everyone fitted this category exactly.

The wine will endure on its plateau for many more years, and I have not added any points for historic interest – even though tempted.

Drink to 2030, 91 points

2006 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese goldcap #9, 7.5%

This is wonderful estate, and a magnificent site (commonly abbreviated to BJS). The goldcap indicates a richer selection -other wineries may employ different colour, or lengths of capsules, or stars to show “extra”.

2006 in the Mosel was a high botrytis vintage, but as usual, better makers achieved better results.

IMAG0687

The wine itself is a bright lemon/gold, and has some – entirely harmless- tartrate crystals. The bouquet sang with tropical fruits – mango and more, plus ripe pear, apricot and citrus, and steeliness.

The palate is bursting with vitality, with more passionfruit and stonefruits – principally apricot and yellow peach. Dense, and mouthfilling, the flavours are very persistent, and the high degree of residual sugar ( perhaps 130g/l) is in harmony with the minerally acidity. Pure, fresh Riesling with a long future.

Alas, my only bottle – drink to 2032, and a well-deserved 93 points

Stoney Goose Ridge – latest releases – Emoh Ruo

Hector Lannible confesses “I’m guilty”

If bringing delight and treasured memories to millions of satisfied wine drinkers is a crime; I confess, then I’m guilty.

But my plea is for forgiveness of the multiple charges. Why??

  • Providing a range of wines to suit all budgets, and over-delivering on quality aspects – not restricted to pricing, packaging, distribution, but even the container contents!
  • Fully supporting diversity within our company, noting
    • We employ MBA’s from 27 different universities
    • 47 employees have honorary degrees (I only have 2)
    • 117 different languages are spoken by our employees, contractors and outsourced entities
    • Our employees have published numerous scholarly articles, and several novels
    • Degrees include accountancy, journalism, media, logistics, jurisprudence, statistics, commerce, advertising, engineering – even science and agriculture!
    • We operate through 14 different time-zones
    • New markets in 2017 include Nigeria, Venezuela and Cambodia
    • Our in-house courses are notorious throughout the industry
    • We are committed to family values – no meetings begin before 7am, and none commence after 6pm
    • A high proportion of our workforce is voluntarily employed on a sessional or commission basis
  • Our financial strategies are outstanding; our associated entities are located in Mauritius, Luxembourg, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and Jersey
  • Progressive policies and initiatives, including
    • Meaningful reward and recognition, including certificates; and substantive financial incentives for senior executives
    • Zero tolerance for “whistle-blowers”
    • Environmental – reducing our carbon footstamp progressively

If some bleeding-heart politically-correct mental pygmies like to attack tall poppies out of jealousy, so be it. I am proud of Stoney Goose Ridge. As previously headlined, I’m guilty of all of the above. And I’m fully prepared (along with our happy shareholders) to accept responsibility. Guilty as charged.

But today, I’m delighted to launch our newest fresh set of wines– Emoh Ruo.

“Emoh Ruo” has its origins completely shrouded in mystery; is it derived from one of the unique Aboriginal languages? Is it a relic from one of the many obscure dialects spoken by our numerous migrants? What does it mean?  Linguists and cryptographers are baffled. How has this historic phrase infiltrated across the Australian nation, from outback to suburbia? It resonates powerfully.

But whatever the pedigree, we’ve proudly adopted this memorable, essentially dinkum true-blue Aussie vernacular; for those occasions where a quality wine is mandatory but the budget has to be tempered; Emoh Ruo Wild Paddock Red; and Emoh Ruo Open Plains White fit magically into the casual Australian life-style zeitgeist. With an RRP of $7.95, Stoney Goose Ridge has repeatedly shouldered the burden to nail the mark.

Stoney Goose Ridge has monster ambitions for these brand line extensions; there are already strains on the availability of source material to match our sales targets – and we do not compromise on quality; where necessary, in export markets we may source some material from outside Australia. This will exercise my incisive marketing talents – should there be Emoh Ruo Wild Pastures? Is it Emoh Ruo Prairie? Such decisions are weighty and have a direct bearing on the quantum of my bonuses. But as CEO and in my adjunct role as Global Brand Ambassador, fortunately I have the power and insight to guarantee success.

Our striking range of support material for Emoh Ruo encompasses bunting, posters, standees, balloons, archway columns and headers, corflute signage, ticket heads, shelf stripping, inserts, pens, badges, magnets, cups and other POS necessities. Plus our usual support for YOY sales increases, incentive bonuses, shadow shopping rewards, volume inducements, multiple customer competitions, and our suite of modern social media direct one-to-one targeted pin-point marketing, As ever, I will scrutinise our SEO and SEM analytics microscopically.

I repeat – I’m heavily guilty of success, not just in sales, but in leadership talent co-efficients, concern for staff welfare, and overall brand growth munificence.

Emoh Ruo adds to the corporate lustre of Stoney Goose Ridge and slots incisively into our carefully positioned suite of beverage product offerings.

Emoh Ruo  Wild Paddock Red; and Emoh Ruo Open Plains White are available from nearly all fine wine outlets with an RRP of $7.95.

 

1986 Morris (rare) Muscat

The Rutherglen quality classifications run upwards through Rutherglen, Classic, Grand and Rare. So what lies beyond? Museum? Icon? Antique?

Brown muscat (muscat a petits grains rouge), picked very ripe, fortified with neutral spirirt, then barrel aged for as long as necessary; slowly oxidising and becoming more concentrated; freshened up with younger material from time to time. Simple? By no means, as the wines are then usually blended, which is an entire mystic art. Each year, the winemaker makes decisions about the presumed destiny (quality level) of batches, conducts blending trials, samples spirits, and much more.

I once asked a Rutherglen winemaker the secret to making decent fortifieds of this style “Start at least 20 years ago…then take your time”.

Vintage muscats are uncommon; Morris released versions from 1982, 1986 and 1988 when aged about 5 years; but this example has been aged 30 years! Morris possesses older materials, eked out into blends where a splash makes a world of difference. A good introduction to the classification of Rutherglen muscat is here.

And a recent, lively and informative article by Sean Mitchell on Rutherglen muscats complete with reviews on wines from multiple producers at the different classification levels is here.

oay morris muscat

Firstly this “money can’t buy” wine requires some coaxing before it weasels out of the bottle.

The colour is a black hole – a dark, dense caramel, and we’re truly into non-wine territory. How can gradual oxidation and concentration make this dense, but still fresh fortified wine? We have concentrated mocha, there is condensed raisin, dried fig, walnut, and a slight sense of coconut oil. The texture is extraordinary – rich and luscious are puny understatements. The (neutral) spirit is fully integrated, just one of the wine’s facets.

It’s an experience to swallow, and then wait minutes to for the flavours to subside. The freshness however insists that further indulgence is necessary. By no means painful, describing this wine is akin to bowling to Bradman in his prime- intimidating. The glass is stained with residue. Remarkable.

Drink now, and 98 points.

2002 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Eiswein 7.5%

Weingut Joh Jos Prum is one of the most renowned Mosel estates. Stephan Reinhardt’s comments about drinking JJ Prum “ is to enjoy a springtime of the heart and mind…a combination of lightness, finesse, elegance and (most of all) energy…these are gracious, charming wines”. JJ Prum wines can be a bit sulky at initially; sometimes a bit reductive.  Time, and a decant work wonders. Their longevity is extraordinary.

Eiswein is the legally-defined term that refers to a non-chaptalized wine made from grapes picked with at least 110-128° Oechsle (the minimum level depends on the region and the grape variety) at a temperature below -7°C and which has also passed a sensorial test by the authorities. Eiswein is a sweet to noble-sweet wine, with >130 g/l of residual sugar. Botrytis plays no part in the style – it is just essence of Riesling. Occasionally the harvest can extend into the “next” calendar year, but the wine is labelled as the previous year. Eiswein is uncommon, tantalising and expensive.

IMAG0002

This wine is still a pale lemon colour; the enduring mystery is how such a myriad of flavours is contained in a low-alcohol wine. There are “spinal-tap-esque” exaggerated florals; mixed tropical fruits and candle-wax, lemon essence and lime “run-off”. Then a rush of ripe red apple, and nutmeg spices. So dense, and the pure stony flavours persist for minutes, dwindling to some stonefruits and perhaps light apricot.  Eiswein is indeed rare, and the residual sugar in this wine is not known – 200 g/l? but the acidity carries this with aplomb. Fabulous.

Drink to 2040, and 98 points

2007 Domaine Stirn Gewurtztraminer vendanges tardives 12%

Gewurtztraminer is destined to remain as a minor grape variety; the wines can often have a pinkish tinge, and provide, easy, usually obvious appeal to people beginning their wine education. But it has more merit than that, especially in its spiritual home of Alsace.

Australia has some Gewurtztraminer planted, but results overall have been disappointing, with only occasional outliers from careful cool-climate producers Pipers Brook (Tasmania), Delatite (Upper Goulbourn), Lillydale (Yarra Valley) and Seppelts Drumborg (Henty, Victoria) providing flashy, memorable excitement.

When I visited the winery, winemaker Fabien Stirn (freshly off the tractor) presented Gewurtztraminer wines from Brand, Mambourg and Sonnenglanz (with his ambition on further sites) and had dry wines from these sites (Riesling too) and (blended) sweeter wines on an extensive tasting list. Plus his English was noticeably superior to my schoolday French. Notably, I failed the “terroir test” at the conclusion of the tasting.

IMAG0653This wine is a lovely golden-coloured example of the late-picked style, displaying the typically charming, exotic grapey aromas of musk, Turkish delight and roses.  The palate is moderately sweet, but definitely is a rich juicy mandarine-flavoured style with the acidity preventing any sensation of cloying. Slightly oily, and faintly chalky, this wine has been caught in its prime, and it’s well suited as an unusual aperitif, or matched to a light dessert, or certain cheeses.

A neat surprise- drink to 2018, 90 points.