Tag: Chris Ringland Shiraz

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.” (Wine and Astonishment by Andrew Jefford, andrewjefford.com, May 2012)

As an ex-smoker from way back, I can still remember the delicious smell of tobacco – a descriptor often used to describe an element of the bouquet of some mature reds – but I wonder whether young people today are still familiar with it? Ditto for eucalypt, which is used to describe a distinct aroma of some Australian cabernet sauvignon. I’ve seen American wine writers replace menthol for eucalypt, which makes sense because the vast majority of Americans have probably never seen, let alone experienced the smell of a eucalypt forest.

No wonder wine scores are so useful!  While most of us can differentiate over 1,000 aromas, not everyone has the same vocabulary or library of smells to draw on. Wine scores help us to cut-through the jargon. 90 points typically indicates that a wine is very good but 100 points signifies that it must be exceptional. And since wine is very much a sensuous experience, we can feel confident that imbibing a 100 point wine will in all likelihood be quite a remarkable and memorable experience. Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to try one of the 100 ‘Parker Point’ wines listed below:

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Dec 12 2010

Australia’s Old Vine Wines

Posted on December 12, 2010 | By merrill@cellarit.com

The list of acclaimed wines made from old vines in Australia are many and would include, to name a few, such renowned names as Henschke Hill of Grace, Rockford Basket Press Shiraz, Torbreck RunRig, Wendouree Shiraz, Chris Ringland Shiraz, Clarendon Hill AstralisD’Arengberg The Dead Arm and Yalumba The Octavius Barossa Old Vine Shiraz.

So what makes old vine wine so special? Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator addressed this very question in his article If it Says “Old Vine,” Will You Buy?: The benefits of old vines are debatable, particularly to those who don’t have them, 15 June 2010.  “Of all the many ambiguities of wine”, Kramer said, ” ‘old vines’ seems to be one of the more troublesome. Every grower I’ve met, everywhere in the world, who has old vines insists that older vines are better. Yet I’ve met a fair number of growers who suggest that “old-vine admiration” is, if not bunk, then certainly overstated and overrated. Not coincidentally, these same scoffers are not in possession of old vines.”

Before launching into a discussion about the merits of older vines over their younger counterparts, here’s a few points about old vines that are beyond dispute.

Old Vines are Fairly Unique

Wine-making is thousands of years old but surprisingly old vines, or at least the really old vines of 60 to 100+ years, are in fact not that common. Their scarcity is due to a number of factors, but most importantly is a consequence of the damage caused by the vine destroying Phylloxera louse, which at the turn of the 20th century wiped out vine stocks throughout Europe and especially in the wine-making centre of France.

Fortunately, Australia was spared the full force of the Phylloxera curse. Phylloxera hit Victoria and New South … Read the rest