Tag: Campbell Mattinson

Jul 07 2012

Wine of the Week: Kalleske Greenock Basket Press Shiraz 2003 – the new Rockford!

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

In his review of the Kalleske Greenock Basket Press Shiraz 2003, Campbell Mattinson of The Wine Front referred to Kalleske as the “new Rockford:”

If the first set of Kalleske red releases were good, this release has an element of paydirt about it. From a not-so-great vintage, the statement stands true: Kalleske, from a wine quality viewpoint, is the new Rockford.

The wine it’s got a brooding, dark, slightly volatile nose, which when you sink your mouth into it seems fitting. The palate is weighty, brooding, black and intense, with chewy, strong, muscular tannins and a sandy, stony, minerally draw through the finish. Graphite, vanilla, licorice and chocolate – they have a part here, but as little more than a background echo. It’s the dry, stony finish that’s a killer. This is high quality, special-patch-of-dirt-stuff. It is a powerful wine with intense flavours of dark rose, licorice, cocoa and sweet tobacco supported by fine ripe tannins. A wine with a strong backbone and a long finish that will cellar for a long time. 94 points. (The Wine Front 1 January 2005)

The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker concurred with Mattinson’s high praise for the wine.  After tasting a barrel sample, Parker remarked that “the 2003 Shiraz Greenock appears to be a virtually perfect wine. If it makes it into the bottle with minimal clarification, it will be one of the leading candidates for Barossa’s “Shiraz of the Vintage” in 2003.” (Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #155 October 2004)

The Kalleske family have been farming and growing grapes since 1853 near the village of Greenock. In the early 2000s seventh generation member and winemaker Troy Kalleske joined forces with his brother Tony to start making wine under the family’s own label. Troy and Tony’s parents John and Lorraine have been tending the vineyards … Read the rest

Jul 07 2012

5 Reasons to Collect Wine: Collectors Share their Opinions

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

Have you ever scanned a restaurant wine list and noticed that a bottle you have in your cellar is on the list for two or three times what you paid for it?

Many collectors I know love BYO restaurants for this very reason. They can share a special bottle with friends over a wonderful meal without breaking the bank.

Here’s a few other reasons why, for some at least, building a bit of a wine collection is a lot of fun!

1. Well Made Wines are Designed to be Aged

I had the privilege recently of enjoying a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1975 and a bottle of Lindemans Limestone Ridge Shiraz Cabernet 1991. In my mind, nothing quite compares with the bouquet and taste of aged wines when imbibed at or close to their peak. In both of these wines the tannins had completely lost their original bitter sensation and were seamlessly integrated into wines that still displayed some primary fruit characteristics and had lots of body, depth and texture.

Bill Daley, former wine critic of the Chicago Tribune, said that “watching and tasting a wine go through its life cycle is one of the joys of wine collecting.” He recommends making notes as you taste the wine during its different stages of development. (How to Collect Wine by Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 29 September 2010)

2. Collecting Wine can Encourage Self Exploration 

Making a decision to start a cellar often stirs people into being more proactive about educating themselves about wine. Campbell Mattinson says that “cellaring wine can be a kind of self exploration.”

Many collectors report that over the years, as they experiment with new wines, their tastes change, and their wine collections move in new and often unexpected directions. A willingness to try new things … Read the rest

May 05 2012

Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: A Perrenial Favourite

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

This week is so far shaping up to be all about Victorian wine. On Saturday night, we had friends for dinner and opened a magnum of the Wild Duck Creek Estate Shiraz Reserve 2003. It was absolutely sensational. Delicious ripe fruit flavours wrapped in a very balanced, medium body package with superbly integrated tannins, still firm but softened a bit from bottle age. I’m sure the wine could easily handle another five to ten years in the cellar.

Last night I enjoyed another Heathcote shiraz – a wine I wasn’t familiar with, the Syrahmi Climat 2009.  Like 2003, 2009 was a dry, hot vintage in Heathcote. Adam Foster, who makes the Syrahmi range, sourced the grapes for the Climat from the Mt Camel Ranges, 45km north of the Heathcote township. It’s a wonderfully aromatic wine with well defined fruit flavours and fine tannins. Foster opted for a 60% whole bunch fermentation – a technique commonly used in France’s Rhone Valley to enhance the fragrance of their shiraz.

I was lucky to receive a sample of the Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. I’ve always been a big fan of Balgownie’s wines, and the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 certainly didn’t disappoint.

Fruit for the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the 33 hectare Bendigo vineyard, situated on a gentle slope overlooking Myer’s Creek at Maiden Gully. Here the alluvial clay soils and continental climate provide ideal conditions for low yields and a long ripening period, which helps to create wines of intense flavours and great ageing potential. Originally founded in 1969 by pioneer winemaker Stuart Anderson, since 1999 the estate has been owned by brothers Des and Rod Forrester, who have expanded the winery and added another vineyard in the Yarra Valley.

The Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman has commented … Read the rest

May 05 2012

Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz: Still the Benchmark for Cool Climate Shiraz

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

Today Mount Langi Ghiran, Seppelt Wines and Best’s Wines released a “Greats of the Grampians” Trio Pack.  The pack  includes a bottle of Best’s Bin O Great Western Shiraz 2010 (rrp $75), a bottle of the Mount Langi Ghiraz Langi Shiraz 2009 (rrp $95) and a bottle of the Seppelt St Peters Shiraz 2008 (rrp $75). It is available online for $199 from Best’s Wines.

Showcasing the distinctive character of cool climate shiraz from Victoria’s Grampians region, the pack honours the late Trevor Mast – the winemaker responsible for creating the benchmark Mount Langi Ghiran Langi Shiraz, and, as Tyson Stelzer of the Wine Spectator observed, “a visionary decades before “cool-climate” became a buzzword in Australian wine.” (Before acquiring Mount Langi Ghiran in 1987, Mast worked for both Seppelt and Best’s) (Trevor Mast, Australian Wine Pioneer, Dies at 63 Winemaker at Mount Langi Ghiran showed how outstanding cool-climate Aussie Shiraz could be by Tyson Stelzer, Wine Spectator, 14 March 2012)

Mast’s defining vintage was the Mount Langi Ghiraz Langi Shiraz 1989. With its spicy, pepper infused and floral characters, crisp texture and fine boned tannins, the wine quickly attracted international attention. In 1996, with only eight vintages behind it, the 1994 Mount Langin Ghiran Langi Shiraz graced the front cover of the Wine Spectator, sharing the stage with the iconic Penfolds Grange and Henschke’s Mount Eldestone Shiraz! ( Innovative and infectious ‘whiz-kid’ of wine industry by Ineke Mast and Gordon Gebbie, The Age, 16 April 2012)

Apparently Mast went out on a limb with his 1989 vintage. In a very wet season, he kept his nerve and left the grapes on the vine during the rain. After the vineyard dried out, he was able to pick perfectly ripened shiraz, producing an exceptional wine in what was generally … Read the rest

Apr 04 2012

De Bortoli Highlights Regional Focus of the Windy Peak Range

Posted on April 04, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Over the past 20 years dozens of new Australian wine regions have been discovered, and many of these regions are now flourishing. Just look, for example, at the success of wines from Orange, Geelong, the Great Southern and the Canberra District. Even within regions winemakers are becoming far more attuned to the nuances of terroir and how subtle differences can influence the character of the wine.

Consumers are also becoming more terroir savvy. I have friends who say they prefer the tropical fruit flavours and crisp acidity of Orange sauvignon blanc, for example, even if they can’t recall exactly which wines they’ve tried.

Family-run De Bortoli, one of Australia’s best independent producers, has re-labeled its entry level Windy Peak brand, and now the region where the wine is made is clearly displayed on the label. De Bortoli owns substantial vineyards in the Yarra Valley, Hunter Valley, King Valley, the Riverina and even has a vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand.

The move to include the region on the Windy Peak label looks like smart marketing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s recognition that even the budget-minded consumer is becoming more discerning about where and how a wine is made. Secondly, it highlights that Windy Peak is a quality product sourced from De Bortoli’s own vineyards. (Unlike some of those wines I’ve seen from the so-called critter brands – you know, the ones with the cute little marsupials on the label – that vaguely state that the wine is from ‘south eastern Australia’!)

De Bortoli launched the new label for the Windy Peak range at a luncheon in Sydney at Matt Moran’s and Peter Sullivan’s new Woollahra venture Chiswick. The setting reminded me of a stylish but comfortable Southern Highlands home. Our room overlooked a beautiful lawn and a … Read the rest

Mar 03 2012

Australian Tempranillo: Standing Tall Against top Spanish Expressions of the Variety

Posted on March 03, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

One of the delights of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s Wine Masterclass Fire in the Belly was the opportunity to compare some of the finest examples of Spanish tempranillo with their Australian counterparts.

Peter Leske of La Linea was on the panel, and I couldn’t help wondering how he felt to have his Norteño Tempranillo 2010 compared to Spanish greats like Vega Sicilia’s Pintia 2006 and the Telmo Rodriguez Matallana 2006, for example.

Vega Sicilia, of course, holds the mantle as Spain’s most prestigious producer. Its flagship cuvee, the Único, a Ribera del Duero tempranillo, is widely regarded as one of the world’s best wines. The Pintia is from a more recently established bodega in Toro. It had all the hallmarks of great tempranillo – earthy aromas, spicy, dark fruit and chocolate flavours with subtle touches of vanilla and cedar, velvety tannins and a deliciously long finish. The exquisitely aromatic Telmo Rodriguez Matallana from Ribero del Duero slowly revealed its deep layers of flavours, which were supported by ripe, firm tannins.

But what about the Australian examples? Even though the Australian wines on show were disadvantaged by being younger in vintage than their Spanish rivals, they displayed the confidence and finesse that Australia’s talented winemakers are bringing to this revered Spanish variety.

The Mayford Tempranillo 2010, from a small, family-run winery in Porepunkah Victoria that is high above the Ovens River, was one of the highlights. Like the Matallana, it is fermented with natural yeasts – a practice that many Australian winemakers are embracing as it helps to impart the sense or place or terroir in the wine. With perfumes of black cherry, earth and spice and velvety, fine grained tannins, it was a beautifully balanced wine displaying gorgeously pure fruit flavours. Incidentally, Campbell Mattinson of … Read the rest

Feb 02 2012

Bannockburn Serré Vineyard Pinot Noir: A little slice of Burgundy in Geelong

Posted on February 02, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of making wine from a single vineyard is vintage variation. Most winemakers worth their salt will decide not to make a single vineyard wine if the vintage is deemed not to be superb.

The widely acclaimed Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir is an excellent example of a top notch winemaker’s respect for the integrity of this approach. As winemaker Michael Glover explained to the Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown, “Our winemaking is reactive. You’re constantly reacting to what the season is.” (2008 Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, eRobertParker.com #195 June 2011)

The Bannockburn Serré Pinot Noir is made from a dry-grown, organically cultivated 1.2 hectare vineyard planted at Bannockburn in 1986. The vineyard was deliberately designed to match the tough conditions of the great grand crus vineyards of Burgundy. Closely planted vines (9,000-10,000 per hectare), narrow rows and low trellising force the roots to dig deep for moisture and nutrients, and limit crop yields. Apparently, in 2006 yields were so low that fruit from four vines were required to make just one bottle of wine!

Garry Farr of By Farr established Bannockburn’s reputation as one of the finest makers of pinot noir in Australia. But Glover, who took over in 2005, is taking the Serré to even greater heights. The Wine Front’s Campbell Mattinson describes Glover as “an idealist, a passionate man who’s done his time and made his mistakes and learnt the ropes – and has now been handed the keys to a set of Ferrarri-like vineyards, open licence to drive them really fast, and really well.” (From Evan to Earth, From Hands to Glover: Bannockburn by Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front 13 November 2006)

For Glover great wine is definitely made in the vineyard, and one of the … Read the rest

Feb 02 2012

Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz 2005: ‘Surprisingly’ good drinking Seven Years On!

Posted on February 02, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The reasons for America’s fading love affair with Australian wines in recent years have been much discussed. At the bottom end, the predominance of the so-called ‘critter’ brands unfairly created an image of Australian wine as cheap and cheerful. And at the high end, influential wine critic’s Robert Parker’s trumpeting of a big, rich, full bodied style of South Australian shiraz possibly inflated expectations to a point that it was hard for the wines to live up the glowing praise. As American wine critic and blogger Alder Yarrow observed, “after several years of hype over huge, extracted, high-alcohol wines from the Barossa (Mollydooker was named as a poster child for this excess), collectors were tasting these wines with five or eight years on them and realising that they were falling apart.” (Some Thoughts on Australian Wine by Alder Yarrow, Vinography, 21 May 2010)

I remembered Yarrow’s comments when I was at a dinner party on Saturday night and our friend opened a bottle of Mollydooker Carnival of Love Shiraz 2005.  I should note that our friend is a very astute collector with catholic tastes, so we worked our way through a bottle of Herzog Marlborough Pinot Gris 2006, an Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir 2005 from the Santa Maria Valley in California and a Pintia Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo) 2005, before we approached the 2005 Mollyooker Carnival of Love Shiraz.  I guess you could say my palate was warmed up, but as the designated driver, I was very careful to have no more than a couple of mouthfuls of any of the wines. So for the record, no, I wasn’t drunk when we eventually imbibed the Mollydooker!

And the Carnival of Love wasn’t just good, it was great! More than a worthy competitor in a very strong field of … Read the rest

Dec 12 2011

Reviews for Penfolds Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 2008: Australia’s most expensive wine!

Posted on December 12, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you’ve been following Cellarit on Facebook or keeping up with recent wine news, you couldn’t have missed reading about the fanfare around Penfolds official release of the Bin 620 Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz 2008 in Shaghai, China. The lavish launch was held at the opulent Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where guests were treated to a six course banquet and a spectacular light show with contemporary Chinese dancers.

The reason behind all the fuss was Penfolds’ release of a wine that was last made in 1966. “Special Bin” wines are only produced when the vintage conditions are perfect, and quantities are very limited. As former Penfolds Senior Winemaker and consultant John Bird explains: “In 2008, we tasted several rows of our Coonawarra blocks (5, 10 and 20) and realised that this had something extra, something unique. It transported me back to 1966 and the experimental Bin 620. The fruit profile is classic Penfolds. Having tasted many parcels of Coonawarra fruit it became apparent that we simply had to make this wine.”

The $1,000 price tag, of course, also attracted a fair bit of interest. It made the wine Australia’s priciest release to date, trumping Torbreck’s The Laird Shiraz 2005, which has a $700 price tag.

So, is it worth it? Well, before looking at what the critics have to say, consider for a moment its price in a global context. A 12-bottle case of Château Lafite Rothschild 1982, for example, recently sold for $US57,360 at an Acker Merrall auction in Chicago. That’s $US4,780 a bottle for a vintage of which at least 15,000 cases were made versus less than 1000 cases for the Bin 620 Conawarra Cabernet Shiraz 2008.

To date, critics have been unanimous in their praise for the Bin 620 2008. Langton’s Andrew Caillard said that it is “without … Read the rest

Aug 08 2011

The Pros and Cons of Decanting Wine

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

I recently discussed the growing trend of decanting Champagne – even the vintage, expensive stuff! (see The Benefits of Decanting Champagne! Cellarit Blog, 24 August 2011). And as a regular reader of The Wine Front reviews by Campbell Mattinson and Gary Walsh, I’ve noticed that they often come back to a wine a day or two after first opening it. In Mattinson’s review of the Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Cabernet Merlot 2004, for example, he commented that: “The longer it sat in the glass, the juicier and lengthier it became – and it drank better on day two.” (Wine of the Week: Moss Wood Ribbon Vale Cabernet Merlot 2004, Cellarit Blog, 25 August 2011).

Hard to believe then that the jury is still out on the value of decanting wine!

In fact, oenologist and Burgundy specialist Professor Emil Peynaud is completely against the idea. He argues that prolonged exposure to oxygen actually diffuses and dissipates more aroma compounds than it stimulates. Better just to pour the wine from the bottle directly into a wine glass and swirl before drinking. (The Australian Wine Encyclopedia by James Halliday, 2009: Hardie Grant Books)

In the days before wine was bottled without filtering or fining, decanting was useful because it helped to separate the clear wine from the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Today, sedimentation can still be an issue for older bottles, but if the wine is very fragile too much exposure to oxygen may cause it to fall apart.

Decanting can soften the tannins in young tannic wines like cabernet sauvigon and shiraz, but how it actually does this is also a matter for debate! Oxidation may just alter the perception of sulfites or other compounds in the wine, making the tannins seem softer.

In any event, serving … Read the rest