Category Archives: Wine Reviews

Jun 06 2016

Do you write wine reviews?

Posted on June 06, 2016 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Don’t know about you, but I never book accommodation without checking reviews on Tripadvisor or buy a book without having a look at what people are saying about it on Goodreads. But I can’t say that I’m very good about checking consumer reviews on wine. And I’m starting to wonder why not?

I’m in the fortunate position of being able to attend quite a few wine related events where I meet lots of interesting wine lovers, many of whom possess a staggering amount of knowledge about wine. Perhaps, we have a general reluctance to broadcast our thoughts about a great wine we’ve discovered because we fear others might snap it up and (oh no!) encourage the producer to jack up the price!

But a recent article by Huon Hooke in The Real Review, Winemaker criticises paid wine reviews, has got me thinking about whether consumer reviews should play a greater role in our wine purchasing decisions? Hooke mentions that winemaker Michael Glover, previously Bannockburn’s famed winemaker, and now working at Mahana in the Nelson Region, has taken a stand against the practice of ‘paid for’ reviews. He wants greater transparency for wine consumers. As Hooke notes, the practice of paying for a good review is fortunately not as prevalent in Australia as it is in New Zealand, but it should worry us nonetheless.

As a subscriber to quite a wine review websites, I am very impressed by the integrity of Australia’s top wine critics. Hooke recently teamed up with wine critic Bob Campbell MW to create The Real Review Alliance, which they describe “an alliance to promote and differentiate our approach to wine reviews.”  Tellingly, they are “taking a stand for even-handed, transparent, ethical and independent reviewing.”

The team at The Wine Front, led by Campbell Mattinson, Gary Walsh and Mike Bennie, are also strong and independent voices. They have a knack for encouraging prolific contributions from their subscribers, whose opinions are often equally as insightful as the reviews themselves,.. [Read More]

Jul 07 2012

The 20 Australian Wines with a Perfect 100 point Robert Parker score

Posted on July 07, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

After writing my last post, Can you guess how many wines have received a 100 ‘Parker Points’, I was thinking a lot about the usefulness of wine scores.

I came across a really interesting quote from Decanter critic Andrew Jefford about how “the language of wine is, of necessity, highly metaphorical and hence puzzling: these are not plain words.” He was speaking to the Wine Communicators of Australia, and he urged his audience to “not just think about wine with passionate intensity, but about language too.”.. [Read More]

Jul 07 2012

Can you guess how many Australian wines have been awarded 100 ‘Parker Points’?

Posted on July 07, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Wine Scores: What they’re all About?

Before I reveal the magic number, a few observations about wine scores. British wine critic Jancis Robinson MW, who uses a 20 point scale, has commented that she’s “not a great fan of the conjunction of numbers and wine. Once numbers are involved, it is all too easy to reduce wine to a financial commodity rather than keep its precious status as a uniquely stimulating source of sensual pleasure and conviviality.”

Robert Parker Jr invented the 100 point scale for wine

Her view is definitely not shared by Robert Parker Jr,.. [Read More]

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,.. [Read More]

Feb 02 2011

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon: Art in a Bottle

Posted on February 02, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Leeuwin Estate is one of the icon wineries of the Margaret River. Its Art Series Chardonnay is considered on the best in country, but the Art Series Cabernet Sauvignon is also winning high praise from critics and consumers alike.

Of course, when it comes to the Art Series, opening the bottle to taste the ‘art’ inside is not a decision you make lightly. The idea of tossing the empty bottle with its distinctive one-of-a-kind art label into the recycling bin almost seems like a crime… [Read More]

Feb 02 2011

Making Sense of Bordeaux

Posted on February 02, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

When most people think of the great French wine region of  Bordeaux, a few images usually come to mind: magnificent estates with gloriously grand white stone mansions; wines of unattainable status with lofty prices to match; an intransigent 19th century classification system; and a seemingly impenetrable network of negociants who sell the wine en primeur when it is still in the barrel.

But take a closer look at Bordeaux and a more complex and fascinating picture begins to emerge. While the region has been shaped by centuries of tradition,.. [Read More]

Sep 09 2010

Writing Great Wine Reviews

Posted on September 09, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Alkoomi Wines was pleased to report that a wine review submitted by Mike Zittritsch, a team member of Fine Wine Wholesales, Alkoomi’s Western Australia’s distributor, won a tasting note competition on James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion website.

Here’s the winning entry for his review of Alkoomi’s Frankland River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2009:

“Alkoomi 2009 Frankland River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc

The first release of Alkoomi’s Frankland River Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is a refreshing spin on what is fast becoming a homogenised brand of Western Australian SSBs... [Read More]