Wine Reviews August

9 Aug

BY FARR Chardonnay 2007

Geelong, Victoria

RRP $55

The vineyard that gives birth to this exquisite white lies in Bannockburn in southwest Victoria of the Geelong wine region. It will not be everybody’s cup of tea, mind you. Sauvignon Blanc lovers beware. This is Chardonnay characterised by honeyed rock melon, malty, nutted, beeswax oak, and a heady level of tropical-scented esters. Being 2007 it is developing, beautifully so. There is a subtle translation of fruit, that melon freshness remains but on the palate it is better described as wrapped in fatty prosciutto with a distinctly silken texture followed nicely by a clean, lingering finish. There are so many things in life that we wish would just keep on giving. This does it for you in wine.

BY FARR Chardonnay 2008

Geelong, Victoria

RRP $55

There are times when a wine passes through that adolescent phase. I don’t mean that it is punked up and wearing torn stockings with hair dyed a horrid green colour. In wine I refer more to a loss of primary fruit that you normally achieve in youthful, 1-2 year old wines. This little lady is passing through her third year and with that is torn between gradually losing those more frivolous aromas to moving into the bottle-aged characters as seen in the same wine of 2007. Nevertheless, given time in the glass you detect clean white peach and lanolin on the nose crossed with some marzipan and those delightful malt o’milk biscuits I grew up eating way too many of. The 2008 is more plush in texture with a hint of almond meal and a beeswax finish. Based on how the 2007 looked a year on, I think it’s fair to say that the By Farr Chardonnay isn’t a wine that you’d have to worry about drinking too quickly, even if left in the cellar that little bit longer.

BY FARR Shiraz 2007

Geelong, Victoria

RRP $55

Winemaker Gary Farr holds the attitude that if he is able to make wine that he loves and enjoys, then why not. Mind you, that comes with the subsequent hope that others will succumb to his way of thinking and the world will once again be a very happy place. This wine is still complexing and already you find a fragrant potpourri of rose petals wrapped in tissue and tied with a leather strap. Too specific? Listen, that was the best way that I could describe it! Of course there is also some savoury, gamey flavours, lots of earthy spices, dark chocolate, really fine tannins, plus an enviable vibrancy and length to the finish. Overall, this is elegant, refined, subdued Shiraz that I would be happy to tell Mr Farr is a wine that has converted me over.

BY FARR Shiraz 2008

Geelong, Victoria

RRP $55

In contrast, this vintage has the addition of 4% Viognier stated on the label just for those of you playing at home. The alcohol is also notably a little lower at 13.5% but the 2008 is still filled with riper red raspberry fruits straight up front and an approachable toastier creamy oak threaded through the lot of it. It is undeniably fresher and more lifted than the 2007, and there is an unusual ‘ume‘ sour plum character on the finish that somewhat salivates your palate and makes you reach for just a little more. You have been warned.


Central Coast, California

RRP $46

Bonny Doon Vineyard was the brainchild of idiosyncratic “Rhone Ranger” Randall Grahm, a man present in the US winemaking scene since 1983 when the business was born in the Santa Cruz Mountains. His spirited fascination with seeking alternative, non-classical grape varieties suited to the Californian climate has seen vineyards planted to syrah, roussanne, marsanne and viognier amongst a conglomerate cast of other French varieties. While the wine regions of southern France provide the crux in a style that is core to Bonny Doon’s wines, Mr Grahm has worked fervently to ensure his ultra premium wines speak of their idyllic Santa Cruz site.

This wine is a fusion of Carignan with Grenache, Mourvedre, Zinfandel and some Petit Syrah (or what we commonly call here, Durif). The Contra aims to contradict the very definition of what is termed ‘normal winemaking’ in the modern world. It harks back to southern-French Languedoc-Roussillon blends of carignan, grenache and mourvedre in a less typically proportioned style and stands proud in its solitary glory. The carignan provides a chewy continuum, the grenache and mourvedre act as the rich, red berry carriers and together with a dense schist-like minerality to the finish wields an overwhelmingly intriguing concoction. On a side note, Bonny Doon’s flagship red is termed Le Cigare Volant and is a wine that pays homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but will exceed any preconceptions of what French-inspired American wines may taste like. Definitely worth a peek into these wines if you’re able to hunt them down at your independent wine store.

TAR & ROSES Tempranillo 2010

Heathcote, Victoria

RRP $20

This regional Victorian blend showcases some of the very best for value in Australian Tempranillo. It is fragrant and highly appealing in a cuddly and warming way with its earthen spices coiled around a plump cranberry, vanillin base. With its mid-palate weight and unobtrusive tannins, it acts as a deserving addition to the table even in these warmer winter days. 

WOODSTOCK The Stocks Shiraz 2008

McLaren Vale, South Australia

RRP $60

I really enjoy going through an entire line-up of a producer’s wines, not only for the sake of getting the overall scope on their range, but also their wine styles. This is where cellar doors come in handy or even tasting events by wine-loving organizations such as Sommeliers Australia. Today I got to try the Woodstock wines from McLaren Vale. A number of the wines were impressive, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, which sits at a mere $23 a bottle, or even his weighty mid-palate Grenache Tempranillo 2010 for $25. However it was Woodstock’s viticulturist and winemaker Scott Collett’s baby, The Stocks Shiraz 2008, which captured most of my attention. I even daringly requested an extra bit be poured into my glass. Shocking behaviour, but can you blame me? This wine is clearly the fruit of a culmination of dedication and meticulous attention in the vineyard.

 The colour is inky and the bouquet wafting scents of your grandmother’s secret silk-lined chocolate box that lay next to your grandfather’s cigar box. There is a dapper, old-school charm about this wine. The tannins grace the palate in a fine but firm manner, prolonging the complex array of scented wood, dark berry flavour that sits favourably towards the back-palate. It looked even better post an hour in my glass, which was the maximum amount of time I could last without swilling the rest. 

WARRAMATE Pinot Noir 2008

Yarra Valley, Victoria

RRP $27


Warramate is back with their seriously drinkable Pinot Noir. This one is multi-cloned and loaded with vibrant fruit intensity. With so many Pinots out on the market these days it can be cumbersome finding the right one but I was supremely impressed with how alive it looked in the glass and how seamlessly it swathed the palate in medium-bodied fresh cherry flavour.

PIERRO LTC Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010

Margaret River, Western Australia

RRP $32

As the pioneer of this blend to the Margaret River region, Pierro’s Mike Peterkin has had ample years of experience to be able to weave his magic on this LTC wine. The palate is zingy in all its pithy, citrus glory but filled out with a red apple lusciousness to complement the slippery texture. Whether you refer to the LTC on the front label as ‘Les Trois Cuvées’ or ‘Little Touch of Chardonnay’ is irrelevant. The combination of the three varieties has resulted in a wine that is at ease in its youth, yet with the definite potential to hold its weight with time.

One Response to “Wine Reviews August”

  1. grape crusher. August 9, 2011 at 10:11 AM #

    My goodness but you make the wine sound so sexy & luscious. Your descriptions are so interesting and different. You seem to combine pleasent sensory experiences & feelings with unusual but amazing tastes & smells. Your writing has a sense of the modern & is youthful & quirky.
    Love the reviews LDDV. You are a breath of fresh air!

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