Tag: Andrew Caillard MW

Jun 06 2012

Bass Phillip Pinot Noir: “Pushing the boundaries of Australian Pinot Noir Greatness.”

Posted on June 06, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In light of one of my earlier posts, Cellaring Australian Pinot Noir: How long do they last? I was interested to read that Bass Phillip’s proprietor Phillip Jones is most emphatic that good pinot noirs can last a very long time. On his recently launched website, Jones states that the commonly held view that pinot noir cannot be cellared for more than five to six years is “absolute nonsense!”

He goes on to say: “Our most enjoyable wine experience ever were the 1908 Cos de Tart Burgundy and the 1949 Rousseau Le Chambertin, both drunk in about 1990. We are still drinking some Bass Phillips from the late 1980s, and the Premium and Reserves from the early to mid 1990s are looking fresh and complex today.”

Jones, of course, is someone who knows a great deal about pinot noir. His Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir and Premium Pinot Noir have been pivotal in gaining serious international recognition for Australian pinot noir. Jones was an early pioneer of high quality pinot noir production in Victoria and, as the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown observes, he “is still leader of the Pinot pack in Australia.” (eRobertParker.com #195 June 2011)

The Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir is among only 17 wines rated “Exceptional” in Langton’s 2010 Classification of Australian Wine. Langton’s Andrew Caillard MW writes that “It is a madly rare, profoundly intense and exquisitely balanced wine which reflects the nuances of an exceptional vineyard site.”

The exceptional vineyard site of which Caillard refers to is in Leongatha, South Gippsland Victoria. After first experimenting with Bordeaux varieties in 1979, Jones closely planted (9,000 vines per hectare) the vineyard to pinot noir, releasing the first 1989 vintages of the Reserve, Premium and Estate bottlings in 1991. Today the vineyard is … Read the rest

May 05 2012

Reviews for Penfolds Grange 2007

Posted on May 05, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Reviews for the Penfolds Grange 2007 are starting to trickle in. As you may recall, the 2006 Grange was a stellar vintage. Andrew Caillard MW of Langton’s gave the wine a perfect score of 100 points, rating the 2006 Grange as the best vintage since 2004.

2006 was always going to be a hard act to follow, especially since the 2007 vintage was plagued by drought, high summer temperatures and severe frosts early in the growing season. Of course, only the best quality fruit is used for the Grange, and Penfolds has the luxury of being able to source prime material from different sites and regions. The 2007 is a blend of 97 per cent shiraz and 3 per cent cabernet sauvignon.

Grange is definitely not a wine designed to be imbibed upon release, and early reviews and scores are often revised as the wine ages. As the influential American wine critic Robert Parker commented, Grange is a wine that ages at a “glacial pace.” His Wine Advocate regularly re-tastes the wine at 3-7 year intervals, updating reviews and, most importantly, the crucial point scores.

Usually point scores and reviews for Grange tend to improve as the wine ages, but sometimes they dip and then come up again. Like a great Bordeaux, some vintages of Grange have a propensity to ‘close down’ and then ‘re-emerge’ after several more years of cellaring.

The Wine Advocate’s reviews of the celebrated 1990 Grange, for example, are a case in point. (Incidentally, this was the vintage that was named ‘Red Wine of the Year’ by the Wine Spectator magazine in 1995 – the first time it chose a wine outside of France or California!)

In his 1995 review of the 1990 vintage, Parker remarked that “The 1990 is the greatest, most complete and richest … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Aussie Wine Icons: Wild Duck Creek Estate Duck Muck

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In The Australian Encyclopedia of Wine, James Halliday recounts a funny story about how the Wild Duck Creek Estate Duck Muck came into being. In 1994, a forgotten block of shiraz in David and Diana Anderson’s ‘original vineyard’, planted in 1988, became super-ripe, was picked as an after-thought and irreverently labelled Duck’s Muck in the winery (David’s nickname is Duck). To their surprise and embarrassment (because of the name!), Duck Muck was blessed by influential American wine critic Robert Parker Jr and became an icon wine.

While serendipity definitely played a role in the creation of this opulent wine from Heathcote, Victoria, ensuring its future success has become a real art form. Special growing conditions are necessary to produce grapes with high sugar concentrations but also with enough acidity to give structure and balance to the powerful and concentrated fruit. David told wine critic Steve Burnham that “We are picking the fruit at well over 15 or 16 per cent and beyond alcohol, or sugar, content. But with an acid as if it were 12 (per cent alcohol/sugar level)…Most people that try to make big wines end up with something a bit flabby. No acid left, and you wouldn’t want to drink it.”

 

 

 

Consequently, Duck Muck is a wine that only has eight vintages under its belt in the space of 16 years and only a tiny quantity (about 200 cases) are made from each vintage.

Today, David works with his son Liam, and is in the process of converting the vineyards to biodynamic. The grapes for the Duck Muck are hand-harvested over a six to eight week period to ensure that they are only picked at optimum ripeness. The wine is vinified in open fermenters and regularly hand plunged. A home-made hydraulic basket press is … Read the rest

Jun 06 2011

Aussie Wine Icons: Reviews for Penfolds Grange 2006

Posted on June 06, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The annual release in May of the latest vintage of Penfolds Grange is always greeted with a great deal of anticipation. Most retailers’ allocations are sold out even before the reviews are written!

Now the reviews are beginning to trickle in and by all accounts the 2006 vintage is one of the best to date. Andrew Caillard MW of Langton’s gave the wine a perfect score of 100 points, rating the 2006 Grange as the best vintage since 2004. (2011 Penfolds Grange “luxury & icon” wine release Andrew Caillard MW)

James Halliday, who scored the wine 98 points, pronounced 2006 as best vintage in the past 10 years, giving it a drinking window to 2050! (Sweet Release by James Halliday, The Australian, 30 April 2010).

Campbell Mattinson of The Wine Front scored the 2006 Grange 97 points. Here’s a brief excerpt from his review:

It’s not a particularly heralded vintage, in general terms, but the way this release presents in the glass is, to me, what Grange is all about. Impeccable winemaking, pure fruit, clasps of uncompromising tannin, smokin’ barrels, and thrust. It will live for a very long time, because it’s so well designed, and because it does its thing so well. (The Wine Front, 26 April 2011)

Respected British wine critic and Daily Mail wine correspondent Matthew Jukes has published an annual list of the best 100 Australian wines available in the UK market since 2004. He declared the 2006 Grange “a 20/20, perfect wine.” It is only the third wine to receive a perfect score since his 100 Best began. Here’s a brief excerpt from his glowing review:

2006 Grange is perfect in every way – density, tannins, balance, energy, volume, aroma, weight, control, oak and length. It also has style and Read the rest