Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Victorian Wine Tasting: Supporting Victims of the Aussie Bushfires

Last week I attended a fundraiser for the Victorian bushfires which devastated southern Australia recently, destroying many homes and lives. And in true Aussie style with good spirit and outgoing support, we all donated money and collectively consumed some pretty amazing donated wines from the Jug Shop. I've always respected fellow wine blogger Ed over at Wino Sapien, who not only blogged about this disaster but has been constant source of inspiration for great Australian wine - so I dedicate these notes to him and his fellow Aussies. Since I tasted so many wines I will provide only brief writeups for the few that I felt were particularly interesting or unique in some way (my favorites are asterixed). Off we go to the Yarra Valley...

Yarra Valley

Tin Cows Pinot Noir 2004: poopy, very tart, very balanced, excellent integrity. Very Good+
Yering Station Pinot Noir 2005: very earthy and savory with subtle fruit. A nice easy drinker. Very Good.
*Yeringberg Pinot Noir 2000: I've been impressed with Yeringberg before and this is no exception. A really fantastic pinot with barny, strawberry-rhubarb notes, but also a distinct coolness, and almost mintyness, to the fruit. Very smooth and long in the mouth. Killer texture. Excellent.
Stathewen Hills "Patterson Lake" Shiraz 2005: A very herbal and savory wine, with distinct notes of menthol. Very restrained shiraz with almost no residual sugar or sweetness. Very Good+


I seem to really enjoy this region.
Balgownie Cabernet Sauvignon 2005: chalky tannins, menthol, woody, very long. Very Good+ to Excellent
*Passing Clouds Reserve Shiraz 2005: killer shiraz - baking spices, wood, blackberry - real power but also real restraint and a beautiful tannic structure. Absolutely wonderful. Excellent.
Water Wheel Memsie White Blend 2007: Sparkly rich with a big orchard-fruit mid-palate. Mouth-filling off-dry fruit. Very Good.


Occams Razor Shiraz 2005: a very solid structural wine that is dusty and spicy. Fruit is restrained, but will show more with a bit more bottle age to soften the tannins. Very Good to Very Good+
Redbank The Anvil Heathcote Shiraz 2003: spicy nose, a long drawn palate that is incredibly consistent from nose to finish. Very Good+
Two Hands Max's Garden Shiraz 2005: A bigger style than the others, but not at all a fruit bomb. Very fresh and bright with an extremely solid core of acidity. This freshness keeps the wine from cloying and will probably allow it to fully integrate within a few years. Could become special. Very Good+.


*Terlato & Chapoutier Malakoff Shiraz 2006: Pretty. Very elegant and lovely. Spicy and meaty too with impeccable balance. Excellent.

Western Victoria

Mt. Langhi Cliff Edge Riesling 2008: Very different from most Aussie Riesling. Off-dry rather than dry. But, sharp and steely with intense peachy and pear-like orchard fruit notes with hints of citrus. Enjoyable and easy drinking, but I prefer the Clare Valley style. Very Good.

Those were my favourites of the show, very few of which I had even heard of let alone tasted before. What struck me about the wines was their tendency towards savoryness and restraint on the fruit. Not at all your typical Aussie wine that you see in the North American market. I was consistenly impressed. My heart goes out to all the families who have suffered in this tragedy and I hope this little event made a touch of difference.


Edward said...


Thanks for the mention. It sounds like a very diverse tasting. Victoria has always been my favourite wine state in Australia, such diversity and individuality combined often with history (Yering, Yerinberg have very long histories).

When I first started drinking pinot - cow poo was the first thing I found in what I was drinking. I think it was the time (mid 90's), since then most wineries have moved on from making intentionally smelly stinky wines and wines of more grace.

Shea said...

It is a pretty amazing region given that tasting. I definitely felt the two cows was too stinky. But the Yeringberg was beautifully elegant - I recommend giving their pinot a go if you have not already (not to mention their brilliant cab blend).