2010 D’arenberg Noble Mud Pie 8%

From McLaren Vale in South Australia, this wine is a blend of 60% Viognier and 40% Roussanne. D’arenberg makes a number of botrytis wine within their immense portfolio; from different years the varietal composition of this wine changes; this year a blend of Northern Rhone varieties. I commented on the 2015 edition in November 2016.

There are difficulties making this wine style; keeping botrytis away from other grapes,  minimising errant “non-noble” rots; the fragility of grapes that easily fall from the vine; the vastly reduced yields, the difficulties pressing and fermenting. And for all the travails, it’s an under-appreciated style.

2010 d'arenberg noble mud pie

This wine has an extraordinary sugar content; around 300 g/l.  The colour is a deep copper/amber; with this degree of botrytis, varietal character is largely extinguished; there are scents of orange liqueur, stewed apricot, red apple and peppermint. The palate is very sustained and syrupy, laden with cumquat and orange marmalade flavours, with some golden honey, and typical botrytis dust and spice. There is still freshness, and enough acidity to assist with the extraordinary level of sweetness.

However, the wine would have been more exuberant, with greater interplay between fruit and development characters a few years ago.

Drink up,  90 points (with a higher score if opened several years earlier)

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Henriques and Henriques Terrantez 20% (Madeira)

I am well out of my comfort zone here, as respectable Madeiras are not easy to find, or affordable in Australia, so my tasting experience is limited. This wine was an opportunity to increase my knowledge; although retail at around $125, an extravagant exercise.

Madeira is an island of Portugal, but lies roughly 1000k south-west of the mainland, and has a Mediterranean climate.

The main variety used in making (cheaper) Madeira is Tinta Negra Mole; the higher quality varieties are Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, and Malvasia (Malmsey), in order of increasing sweetness.  Terrantez is another quality variety, but an outlier – due to its rarity. Cheaper, earlier drinking madeiras are made by heating, and cooling the wines; higher-quality wines rely on barrel aging and associated oxidation, so these wines are “sherry-like”. Once opened, they can be consumed – very slightly chilled- over several weeks.

There is more extensive detail on the internet than I expected; an excellent resource on Madeira wine is here, another from Nicks is here and a blog from a mad-keen devotee here.

h&h 20 terrantez

It’s amber in colour with a clear, almost green rim; bouquet has spices, walnut, fruitcake, curry powder, dried fruits/fruitcake, but there is a stale note too. The palate is better; medium-dry, lively with fresh almond, citrus peel, fig, coffee , abundant acidity and a dry crisp finish.

The wine will not improve after bottling, but will hold for a long time; the touch of staleness (real, or unappreciated with my naivety at the style) restricts my score to 88 points.

another Willi Schaefer

2007 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprost Riesling Auslese #17, 7.5%
94 g/l residual sugar- serious territory.

2007 willi schaefer

The wine is still a bright pale gold colour, with more “presence” than the two Kabinetts opened earlier.  There is a touch of petroleum, which does not detract from the array of white peach, white flower, ripe red apple, lemon sherbet  and flinty aromatics; the palate is sensual, with those fruit flavours melding with light honey viscosity and a twangy vibrant acidity. This wine is a parcel of delectability, and a fine example of a Mosel sweetie with some bottle development – with great prospects for its future.

Drink to 2033, and 94 points

Willi Schaefer (2008 times two)

Willi Schaefer is an extremely well-regarded Mosel producer, whose wines have been available ( in Australia) for around the last ten years through Eurocentric. Riesling is their forte, with well-sited blocks producing a wide range of excellent wines. Two wines tasted below demonstrate the cellar-worthiness of even “humble” Kabinetts, and their refreshing delivery of full flavours at modest alcohol levels.

willi schaefer 2008 x2

2008 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprost Riesling Kabinett #2 7.5%
52 g/l residual sugar. Pale lemon/gold colour, this wine shows stonefruit characters, and is an earthier, rounder, softer expression than its sibling below; the palate shows preserved lemon , but this is a delicious easy-drinking Riesling with lovely acidity. While there is no obvious cork detriment, I will not be surprised if other bottles show greater vibrancy, and look forward to testing this in the next few months.

Drink to 2023, and 89 points

2008 Willi Schaefer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett #9 7.5%
46 g/l residual sugar. Again this wine is a pale, lemon/gold colour, but slightly brighter. This wine displays a multitude of  scents- stonefruit (nectarine), minerals and drive. The palate really lights up with spices, red apple, green plum, and sweet lemon. Providing sensual approachability, this wine combines finesse with balance.

Drink to 2030, and 92 points

A Burgerspital duo

It was fortuitous that two Burgerspital wines from the same vintage were opened this week (the glass shown in the photo contains the Kabinett).

Burgerspital is a large winery with an easily-accessible shopfront based in Wurzburg (Franconia, Germany). It has a very extensive wine list, with some museum curios available for purchase. Its wines are very clean, with plenty of highlights! Franconia has many wineries, although its speciality is probably its flavoursome Sylvaners, with Riesling also widely planted.  The dumpy-shaped bottle is the bocksbeutel, but notice that tradition doesn’t run totally rampant; a screwcap seals the more expensive bottle here. A range of dry and sweet styles are made, with minimal importer enthusiasm evident by the invisibility of this area’s wines, at least in Australia.

 

burgerspital duo

2011 Riesling Pfaffenheim Kabinett 12%
A decent cork has helped- this wine has a  bright light gold colour, and shows some restrained mango, waxiness and varietally correct scents (but is relatively dry-tasting). It has light clean flavours, and a touch of phenolics. This wine seems to be drying out, and my advice is to drink up while it retains vitality,

Drink to 2021, and 87 points.

2011 Riesling Stein-harfe Spatlese 9%
It seem that I reviewed this wine in late 2015; notes etc turned out to be similar!

Pale gold colour, this wine is fresh and decadent; ripe tropical fruits abound – mango, passionfruit and nectarine; the palate displays bright citrus fruits, yellow honey, and is an excellent blend of sweetness and fresh acidity. This wine is drinking magnificently right now.

Drink to 2025, and 92 points

 

Xmas message from Hector Lannible, CEO of Stoney Goose Ridge

“It’s easy to dwell on our triumphant successes of Stoney Goose Ridge in 2018; the record growth in sales, ebitda improvements, the dizzying diverse media adulations, new export markets, the multiple launches of new product such as “Terra Nullius”, assorted prestigious wine packaging, marketing campaign and labelling awards, and my own increasing profiled notoriety. Our prolific social media optimisation strategizing continues to befuddle our opposition, with their advocates ineffectively minuscule in influence, visibility and credibility. Our SEO and SEM are bleeding edge.

But I couldn’t have achieved these profound triumphs without my subordinate employees ready, willing and able to act on my numerous compelling insights, decisive actions and time-critical unflagging guidance. Truly, my hand-picked executives owe their bonuses (if any) to my expert micro-management. Yes there is a “me” in “team”, and obviously my own stratospheric performance has been deservedly magnificently remunerated.

The sterling efforts of our team of legal, accounting and related personnel to locate further loopholes to minimise the dead hand of taxation as well as locating extra grants, subsidies, facilitation opportunities, export support and so forth – which we have taken complete advantage over- is extraordinary. The number of legal manoeuvres conducted in fiscal calendar 2018 stands at formidable record levels.

Obviously, Stoney Goose Ridge offers an increasing fan-base of loyal committed customers who continue to reap the benefit of our ever-growing over-delivering suite of labels, and enjoy the fresh taste sensations of our product brandline extension proliferations. This will continue- our data  tracking harvesting and analytics is profound; finding and exploiting any niche opportunities as well as provoking repeat purchase decisions. Brilliant outstanding excellence in customer satisfaction parameters always remains a critically important KPI priority. Our beverage facilitators must take credit for their professional competencies, that allied to my blending expertise embeds the mystique to our SKUs.

To the countless people submitting CV’s begging for consideration as unpaid interns, note that an MBA or equivalent is highly desirable; stellar achievement in multidimensional start-up  disintermediation or transnational taxation law will also meet with some approval. Few will find a position available, so I wish you well in future endeavours.

We exist in a market full of competitors, but if the Good Lord had wished them to prevail, they would have been bequeathed talent. They can only watch, and wonder “what happened?” as Stoney Goose Ridge rushes past, dwarfing their misplaced puny misguided efforts. Stoney Goose Ridge has rigorously exposed and vigorously highlighted the personal scandals, fiduciary lapses and reckless law-breaking of our rivals solely from the compulsions of our ingrained philanthropic social responsibility obligations.

On a personal note, my TED piece this year on “the China Syndrome” has deservedly been an internet sensation. It’s gratifying to be compared with Warren Buffett, Nelson Mandela and Cormac McCarthy , though I freely admit I have some distance to surpass their respective achievements, and the exultation they deservedly receive.  Plus, several of my own verbatim dictated spare-time fictional writings have been optioned by a Hollywood studio- but details are embargoed until final A-list casting decisions have been confirmed for these serial blockbusters.

There is always WIP.  Succession planning is incomplete – even mentoring my hand-picked executive subordinates has not yet seen a clear front-running pecking order emerge from the wolf-pack domain. So watch this space as we discard the dead wood in our ranks, and parachute in fresh talent eager to action my plentiful charismatic initiatives.

I particularly thank my small, lean, agile team of executive assistants, media liaison, stylists, publicists, administration support, legal services and biographers for their loyalty, and unflagging commitment to help me fulfil my entitled destiny.

Next year, Stoney Goose Ridge  will continue to unveil innovative alcoholic  beverage concepts and aggressively pursue double-digit momentum at a raw minimum. My opportunity lens is unshaken, aggressively leveraging domestic and international prospects continuously to allow Stoney Goose Ridge to double-down and move the needle forcefully.

To all our direct and indirect employees, agents, free-lancers, contractors, consultants, joint venture outworkers and partners, I wish you and your families a festively merry season, and may you return refreshed and enabled to put your best feet forward to the grindstone, offering your complete subjugation to my compelling vision.

In 2019, onwards to repetitive victories, your worthy leader – Hector”.

 

Mixed drinks, recent short impressions

2003 Joh Jos Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 8%
Very pale lemon in colour, there is an array of the usual petroleum (not kero), and faint smokiness mixed with tropical fruits of mango, passionfruit, a pull of citrus, flint and warm spices. The palate is sweet, fresh, viscous  and long-lasting. The wine got better as it sat in the glass.

Its not easy to resist the style, one of my favourite Mosel vineyards plus the combination of freshness and bottle-aged complexities. It’s a triumph of old vines and winemaking nous over the heatwave European 2003 vintage.

95 points, and drink to 2030.

2014 Chateau La Tour blanche 14%
Sauternes (83% semillon, 12% sauvignon blanc, 5% Muscadelle; 130 g/l r/s)

A great VFM Sauternes producer, and a wonderful result from an excellent vintage. Light gold in colour, the wine displayed vibrant nettle, stonefruit, pineapple rind and bright lemon icing sugar. The palate showed more barley-sugar, and some vanilla pod to add to the aromatics. Rich, sweet, balanced with much more pleasure to cover over the next ten to fifteen years.

The range of fruit flavours, the complexity and balance makes the wine a delight.

94 points, and drink to 2030 (at least)

2014 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey
Sauternes (93% Semillon, 6% sauvignon blanc, 1% Muscadelle)

Served (masked) at the same occasion as the La Tour Blanche above, this wine looked darker in colour, showed greater – and simpler- tropical fruits, and custard apple. The palate was sweet, fresh and supple, but with greater oak presence, some hardness, and some bitterness. Time may help, but the contrast did not help its cause.

87 points, drink to 2023.

1952 Saltram Pinnacle selection Show Muscat 18.8%
Barossa muscat, stored in small oak, believed to have been bottled sometime in the 1980’s.

Colour (after decanting) was a bright khaki, and the wine showed caramel, toffee, mocha. Some raisin character, and a degree of vanillan oak and rancio.

Served masked as usual, the mix of attributes made it difficult to decide style between muscat and tawny; the lushness pushing for muscat, the rancio pointing to tawny. Revealed as muscat,  the wine itself was excellent, and a nice piece of Barossa history.

90 points, drink now.

2003 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port
A devastatingly hot year in Europe, but most Port producers declared the vintage. Cork – or storage- struck; the bottle I sampled was strong, powerful in colour, but the flavour impact was tertiary mixed mocha and coffee grounds; and the wine looked plain, young, raw and lacking finesse. A hasty look at remnants from another two bottles opened showed more expected fruit flavours of violets and dark cherry, but time and the amount left conspired against further contemplation

Not rated, but I will have other opportunities!