Tag: Huon Hooke

Apr 04 2014

What’s Making Wine News

Posted on April 04, 2014 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Robert Parker on the kinky wine world of 1978Â
Richard Jennings provides an excellent summary of Robert M. Parker Jr’s recent address at the Professional Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowbrook in the Napa Valley. Here’s a great Parker quip about what the wine world looked like when he just started out:

When I started in 1978, the greatest wine in Spain, Vega Sicilia, wasn’t even imported to the United States. The alleged greatest Australian wine, Penfolds Grange, wasn’t imported to the United States. There were no by-the-glass programs. Sommeliers were intimidating. They had kinky leather aprons with a lot of chains. They looked like they were working in a sex club.

One of the best Margaret River cabernet sauvignons you’ve never heard of!

Huon Hooke wrote a really interesting article for the SMH’s Good Food magazine about a boutique Margaret River winery in the sub-region of Wilyabrup called Cloudburst. Run by American Will Berliner, Cloudburst burst onto the Australian wine radar late last year when the Cloudburst Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 won trophies for Best Cabernet Sauvignon, Best Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Best Red Wine of the Show at the prestigious Margaret River Wine Show.

The tiny, hand-tended vineyard is biodynamically farmed and most of the cabernet sauvignon vines were planted in 2005 and 2006 from Cullen and Moss Wood cuttings. (Berliner does much of the weeding by hand himself!) And up until recently the winery’s small production of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay was only available in top US restaurants like Blue Hill and Eleven Madison Park. Hooke describes the wines are “exceptional, and rare, and very expensive.” But, according to Berliner, he doesn’t cover costs.

Greater scientific understanding of ‘terroir’ is starting to emerge

People think of ‘terroir’ as that sense of place you can find in a glass that immediately distinguishes Burgundian pinot noir from say a Central Otago pinot noir. But how exactly is terroir imparted in the wine?

The most recent issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine (April/May 2014) discusses a fascinating study conducted by University of California Davis’s famous oenology department… [Read More]

Aug 08 2012

Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot: A “Hall of Fame” Bordeaux Blend

Posted on August 08, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

In an article on Australian Bordeaux blends for the May edition of Decanter Magazine, the Voyager Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot was among 15 wines to make Huon Hooke’s “Bordeaux Blend Hall of Fame.” (Aussie Bordeaux Blends by Huon Hooke, Decanter May 2012)

Its inclusion on such a prestigious list, which included other Margaret River greats like Cullen Wines Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot, the Vasse Felix Heytesbury and the Brookland Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, should come as no surprise… [Read More]

Jul 07 2012

Woodlands ‘Margaret’: Sharing the Pedestal with the World’s Top Bordeaux Blends

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

Australian wines don’t often feature on the cover of the prestigious British wine magazine Decanter. So to see the Woodlands ‘Margaret’  grace the cover of the May edition, and to be placed in the company of the acclaimed Ridge Monte Bello from Santa Cruz and Pomeral’s celebrated Château Clinet, is a good sign of the high regard the rest of the world has for Australian Bordeaux blends. Indeed, in the introduction to the feature article, ‘New World classics to cellar,” Stephen Spurrier writes that “The banks of the Gironde aren’t the only places to find quality,.. [Read More]

Jun 06 2012

Margaret River Chardonnay: A Look at the Clones!

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

In a recent article for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Living section Huon Hooke had nothing but praise for Australia’s new generation of chardonnay: “For the past decade, I believe, Australia is second only to Burgundy in chardonnay. We have pared back the fat, oaky, buttercup-yellow, oily, alcoholic chardonnays of yesteryear and we’re making finer, more balanced, more drinkable and age-worthy wines than ever before.” (Cool, calm and respected by Huon Hooke, Sydney Morning Herald 12 June 2012)

The article highlighted the best of the top tier chardonnays,.. [Read More]

Jun 06 2012

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvigon: Taking Margaret River Cabernet in a New Direction

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

In the June/July 2011 edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine, wine critic Nick Bulleid MW offered the following summary of the general style of Margaret River cabernet sauvignon:

Stylistically I see Margaret River cabernet at its best as intensely varietal, with blackcurrant and other dark fruits plus hints of capsicum and herbal overtones often describes as “bay leaf” or “seaweed”. While some drinkers weaned on cabernet from hotter areas regard capsicum and leaf characters as under-ripe, I disagree: they an essential part of high quality cabernet, with one proviso –.. [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]

Apr 04 2012

Cork versus Screwcap: Penfolds re-ignites the debate!

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

On the Cellarit Facebook page, I noted that Huon Hooke reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that Penfolds will now give people a choice of cork or screwcap. According to Penfolds’ chief winemaker, Peter Gago, “cork is a barometer of care.” It’s a better indicator of bad handling, heat damage or poor storage conditions, because the cork will leak or, if affected by heat, slightly push up into the seal. (Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2012)

David Hawkins of One Aussie Wines responded to my Facebook post with the following comment: “Peter Gago may be correct,.. [Read More]

Dec 12 2011

Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio? Great Value Summer Drinking!

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

I’ve been to a few Xmas functions recently where the white wine on offer was a pinot gris?  Have you had the same experience? One of the reasons for this trend, I think, is that a growing number of Australian producers are making great pinot gris or pinot grigio (more on the differences between the two in a moment) at very affordable prices. You can buy excellent quality pinot gris for around $20 a bottle!

Last Friday night, for example I really enjoyed Mount Majura Vineyard’s Pinot Gris 2010 $23[Read More]

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… [Read More]

Nov 11 2011

Wynns Coonawarra Estate: A Back to the Future Approach to Quality Improvement!

Posted on November 11, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Coonawarra, with its famed terra rossa soil on a prized limestone base, has been recognised for decades as one of the world’s best regions for producing cabernet sauvignon. But understanding how to optimise the terroir to produce the best quality fruit has not always been easy.  Coonawarra cabernet sauvignons of the 1980s and 1990s, for example, were often criticised for being too herbal or green in character. Paradoxically, as wine critic Huon Hooke explains, they often tasted herbaceous and overripe at the same time! (Coonawarra on the March by Huon Hooke,.. [Read More]