Moorooroo Park ‘Lotties’ Shiraz 2016

Clear, deep, ruby with thick tears.

Clean, developing, medium+ intensity nose of red fruits, eucalypt and vanilla. Some heat evident that persists through to the palate.

Dry, high acid, medium chalky tannins, high alcohol (15%), full body, medium+ flavour intensity of blackberry, plum, cloves. Long finish, juicy, mouth-watering acid lingers. A generous and luscious palate.

This wine has little tertiary development and would benefit from aging – perhaps open the next bottle around 2030- and be sure to decant. This is a very good wine (94 points) with good (but not excellent) balance – a “blockbuster from Barossa” if you will!

Steak, roasted and barbecued red meats would be a perfect way to enjoy this wine.

Dandelion Lionheart of the Barossa 2018

Clear, deep, ruby with a purple rim.

Clean, youthful, medium intensity nose of baked plum, cranberry, sweet spice (cinnamon, clove), hint of vanilla (suggestive of used oak).

Dry, med+ acid, med tannin, high alcohol (14.5%), med+ body, medium flavour intensity of blackberry, plum – some jamminess. Med+ finish, juicy, acid lingers a little.

This is good to very good wine (93 points), mid-priced (excellent QPR in the low to mid $20’s), can drink now but has potential for ageing up to 10 years (2030). If you drink now be sure to decant!

This is a steak and three veg kind of wine, perfect for winter quaffing.

Singlefile Single Vineyard Denmark Family Reserve Chardonnay 2018

From the packaging alone you know you’re onto something special! A clear, medium, lemon (almost gold) wine with fine tears appearing.

Clean with medium+ intensity of stone fruit (peach, nectarine), blossom, a touch of oak induced toast and a hint of marzipan – developing nicely.

On the palate the stone fruit comes through with some added citrus and the restrained buttery mouthfeel provided by the partial malo.

High alcohol (14.1%), med+ acid, body and flavours with a med+ finish.

A very good wine which is drinking well now but could be cellared for over decade. A restrained, balanced and almost Burgundian example of this varietal. 95 points.

We served this with a seafood chowder – the acid balancing the fats and the restrained malo complementing the dish’s creaminess. The overall assessment – delicious!

d’Arenberg Ironstone Pressings 2014

Pleasant if not too restrained – primary fruit (cherry, plum) struggling to make an impact on the nose or palate.

Further savoury characteristics on the palate, toasted oak and fine tannins, medium acidity and a medium- finish. High alcohol but once again wasn’t evident in the body. Was expecting more for the price, just scrapes a 90, based on my love of this label.

Not sure that there is much to be gained from by leaving the rest in the cellar but I might wait another year.

Windance Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

A clear, deep, garnet wine with pale tears developing. Clean, medium (+) intensity nose, developing with black currant, cassis and dried herbs – vanilla evident from oak treatment.

Dry with medium+, firm tannins, medium acid and high alcohol (14.5%). A medium+ bodied wine with medium+ finish and medium flavour intensity of black fruit, black olive, cedar and bramble.

This is a very good wine (92 points), high-priced ($42) drinking well now, but will show improvement through to 2025.

This is a good example of a Margaret River cabernet, perhaps a little more balance between tannin and fruit would have made this a great wine. Will benefit from decanting.

Rockford “Basket Press” Shiraz 2011

A clear, deep, garnet wine with a few thick legs appearing. Medium (+) intensity nose, clean and developing with red fruit and mocha – vanilla evident from oak treatment.

Dry with medium, fine tannins, medium+ acid and high alcohol (14.2%). A medium+ bodied wine with medium+ finish and medium(+) flavour intensity of raspberry, blackberry and a hint of dried herbs and black pepper.

This is an excellent wine (95 points), high-priced ($65) drinking well now, but will show improvement through to 2022.

A restrained version of the Basket Press, perhaps due to the difficult 2011 vintage, but a lovely wine nonetheless. Will benefit from decanting.

Champagne Club November 2016

Champagne club time again, this time hosted by Nicki with resplendent views of Sorrento to boot. A reduced range of sparkling wines on offer, down to five from the six we had in March, but in line with a reduced number of attendees. It also hadn’t gone unnoticed that the ability to focus was inversely correlated to the sparkling consumed!

A similar format to last time with one Rose, one Cremant, a Prosecco and two pukka champagnes from the top champagnes houses. First up the Vetriano Prosecco which was served to guests on arrival. A delicate drop with a fine mousse and deciduous fruits (pear, white peach) on the palate – certainly one of the better Proseccos around and would be perfect for a Bellini cocktail.

Dead Soldiers
Dead Soldiers


Next the cremant, again from Limoux, but this time the L’Eglise Saint Martin. Not as good as the St. Hilaire – length a little short and the yeastiness probably not in balance with the citrus fruit. So definitely one to inflict on Christmas guests that overstay their welcome!

An Australian Rose was third, the excellent Taltarni Brut Tache 2011. Creamy texture, nicely balanced and the dosage of pinot noir (giving it that sublime salmon colour) also added subtle strawberry and rose petal aromatics. At around $17 a bottle this should be a stocking filler!

Finally two champagnes from the houses of Belle Epoque and Cristal – although sadly neither champagne was within budget. The Perrier Jouet Grand Brut was an excellent expression of a “red dominant” champagne (only 20% chardonnay) – floral and fruity fragrances with notes of vanilla and butter, and citrus, peach and apple on the palate.

However, to my palate the final champagne of the day, the Louis Roederer Brut Premier, was the pick of the bunch. This one just had the edge when it came to balance – some vegetal bouquet with mouth puckering acid and apple on the palate. A fine mousse and evidence of aging (honey and butterscotch) round this one off as arguably one of the best non-vintage French champagnes under $70.

Wine List

Oenophiles June 2016 – 1990: Australia versus France

1990 Australia versus France
1990 Australia versus France

I was lucky enough to attend a very special tasting thanks (once again) to John Jens and to the hospitality of Bob Winterbottom. The theme – 1990: Australia versus France – and amazingly all 12 wines were from Bob’s personal collection!

The tasting was divided into five flights – two groups of three and then three groups of two to finish. All flights had been designed to test the tasters and wines had been double decanted before the event. And whilst the wines were predominantly Cabernet there were a few curve balls to test the wisest of palates.

Finally, all bottles had cork enclosures – we had two faulty bottles (cork taint and oxidation) out of the twelve. Some Brettanomyces was evident in the French wines but did not detract from the overall quality of the wine.

Flight 1 included the Moss Wood (Margaret River), Mount Mary (Yarra Valley) and Chateau La Lagune (Haut Medoc). All great wines but the Moss Wood was the pick of the bunch for me – well integrated, fruit still present and displaying tertiary characteristics.

And so it continued… Flight 2 included the John Riddoch (Coonawarra), still fruit driven (blackcurrant) and more than a hint of eucalypt, as well as the Penfolds 707 – all vanilla and butterscotch thanks to the lashings of American Oak. Flight 3, the first of the two glass flights, was the curveball pitting an Australian Shiraz (Wynns Michael) against a French Grenache (Pignan, Chateauneuf-du-Pape). Both excellent with the Pignan showing lovely primary red fruit (cherry, raspberry) still but with all the benefits of ageing.

The last two flights included the Comtesse de Lalande (Paulliac), Penfolds Bin 920 (a Cabernet/Shiraz) and the Grand Vin Chateau Leoville Las Cases (Saint Julien). The more refined palates picked the shiraz in the Bin 920 but the pick of the flights (and perhaps the night) was the Chateau Leoville – subtle and restrained, beautifully integrated fruit, hint of pepper and mushroom. Just a fantastic wine!

Such an excellent night and great privilege to taste these vintage wines. And the winning country? 1990 of course!

Alkoomi Shiraz Viognier 2012

Alkoomi Shiraz Viognier 2012
Alkoomi Shiraz Viognier 2012

A clear, medium, ruby wine with thick but clear legs. Medium intensity nose clean and developing with red fruit (cherry), plum, hint of black pepper. Oak treatment very subtle (only 33% in new French oak).

Dry with medium fine tannins, medium+ acid and high alcohol (14.5%). A medium+ bodied wine (despite the alcohol) with medium+ finish and medium flavour intensity cherry, pepper, hint of blackberry and a touch of the co-fermented Viognier coming through.

This is a very good wine (94 points), mid-priced ($23) and will drink now, but will show improvement through 2017 to 2019.

The Alkoomi is a very good expression of the Côte-Rôtie style and will pair barbecued foods, pizza, beef and pork.

UPDATE: (12 April 2020) I drank one of three remaining bottles on the Easter weekend and I am happy to report that the wine has improved and is stunning – my points have increase to Gold (95 points). Tertiary characteristics really evident now, smoked meat, Viognier has receded a bit, a nuanced wine.

Dandelion Lionheart of the Barossa 2014

Dandelion Barossa Shiraz 2014A clear, deep, ruby wine with thick legs. Medium+ intensity nose clean and developing with vanilla, baked plum, blackberries and a hint of cloves.

Dry with medium+ firm tannins, medium+ acid and high alcohol (14.5%). A medium+ bodied wine with long finish and flavours of jammy plum, blackberry, sweet spices and a touch of dark chocolate.

This is a very good wine (93 points), mid-priced ($27) and will drink now, but will improve to 2025. Quite young and tight at the moment so some aeration is advised.

This wine follows good vintages in 2012 and 2013 – it will suit barbecued and roasted beef / pork as well as cured meats. Will cut through big Mediterranean dishes too but will overpower lighter or subtler expressions.