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Spinifex Papillon 2010

The vehemence with which people flick off one white varietal for another could only be considered viticultural vilification. We love them, then hate them, then move on. There can only be one white queen at a time.  Chardonnay was crucified in the name of Sauvigon Blanc … which is now falling prey to Pinot Gris/Grigio, with Riesling experiencing some sort of revival in the background.

We don’t seem to do this with reds.  They’re all in vogue at the same time.  You can choose whichever varietal tickles your fancy, and no-one pooh-poohs it as blasé.  But in recent years, I’ve been seeing a shift in thinking.  People are starting to gravitate towards more blends.

Five years ago, only the enthusiasts knew what a Rhône blend was.  Today, it seems I sell as many of them as I do bottles of Shiraz, or Pinot Noir.  So perhaps a trend is emerging … Rhône is the new red.

I have this thing about butterflies.  There’s a big blue Ulysses tatooed on my left shoulder.  Not long after having it done, I went to Noumea, and on the beach the french people ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ over my “Papillon”.  So, the other night, when a rep came in brandishing a wine of the same name, I had to give it a try.

This one’s not the usual GSM.  It’s made from old vine Grenache, Cinsualt and Mataro. Brilliantly perfumed – like the fresh frangipanis of my home in North Queensland. Delightful raspberry, redcurrant and cherry aromas, some confectionary, woody spices … and just a touch of something earthy.

As I swished the medium-bodied liquid around, I detected the very berries I discovered earlier, along with some liquorice spiciness and the earthiness again.  That was it –  cold borsch!  Suddenly I was back in Russia, and that fabulous borsch restaurant in Saint Petersburg my friends took me to.

The finish was long, mouth-watering and spicy, bedded down with drying, soft tannins.  For less than $30, this is a great wine – light, easy to drink and a great alternative for those diligent Pinot Noir drinkers.

This is a wine I will revisit, for sure.  So many delightful aromas, tastes and memories out of one bottle.

Thanks, Spinifex!

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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Wine Reviews

 

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Teusner Avatar 2004

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out some cupboards and came across TWO DOZEN reds that I packed away about five years ago and forgot!

What a find!  It was like all my Christmases coming at once!  🙂 🙂 🙂

So today is the day I start opening them all up, and first off the rank is a 2004 Teusner Avatar.  This classic Rhone blend is made up of 55% Grenache, 25% Shiraz and 20% Mataro – Grenache and Mataro from low-yielding, dry-grown 70-85 year old vines.

Toss in 16 months on French oak, and I was for sure expecting success from my careful cellaring.  [ie: sitting in a box under my bed for 2 years, resting in a storage unit for 3 years, then bedroom cupboard for 2 years]

One word: seamless.

Many words: cherries, kirsch, red berries, layered with spice, earthiness and some meaty characters – still fresh as the day the wine was born.  Age has brought about more complexity, with leathery chocolate, tobacco and liquorice intertwining with softened tannins.

Medium-bodied and silky on the palate, this succulent baby has done Kym Teusner [Young Winemaker of the Year 2007 – Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine] proud.

Talk about the rewards of patience!  You’ll probably be lucky to find this vintage hanging around your local bottle shop.  I’m so happy I saved this one so long!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Wine Reviews

 

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Jacob’s Creek St Hugo GSM 2010

I usually steer clear of mass-producing wine companies.  It’s not that they are no good, to be honest – just that I like to think of myself a fighter for the cause of the little family winery, and somewhat ‘anti-establishment’ in my thinking.  This, I know, is to my detriment – because many of those mass-produced offerings are actually very good.

Every now and then, something will pop up that surprises my palate, and humbles my bigotted attitude.  Yesterday I tried Jacob’s Creek’s 2010 St Hugo Grenache Shiraz Mataro.

The first thing that hit my nose was the joyful combination of confectionary and plums, with a touch of spice.  This followed through onto the palate, and for a second I thought that Turkish Delight character was coming from my own lipgloss. Smooth, rich and luxurious – held together with some toasty cinnamon oak, and sexy, fine tannins.

All this was done so well, I hardly noticed the 14% alcohol. They recommend cellaring another 5-8 years to realise the wine’s true potential, but I say ‘why wait?’ It’s drinking beautifully now, in my books!

It comes at a moderate price point – a little over $30 in most places – but it’s well worth it.  Certainly going on my table next time we have Kangaroo steak …

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Wine Reviews

 

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