Tag: The Wine Front

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]

Nov 11 2012

The Coming of Age of Rosé Champagne: Vintage Cellars Double Bay Champagne Gala 2012

Posted on November 11, 2012 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Wine critics’ opinions of rosé Champagne vary widely. Last year Jancis Robinson MW made the following comment: “My tastings suggest that a huge proportion of rosé champagne is a fairly cynical product that does not have any special positive attributes but merely ticks the visual box (sometimes only just) of being pink. In fact I would go so far as to say that the average quality of pink champagne is lower than that of the average white champagne, despite it being more expensive.” (Rosé champagne – the missing ingredient,.. [Read More]

Aug 08 2012

Cool Climate Chardonnay: 3 Great Examples from Australia and New Zealand

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

If you’re still in the ‘anything but chardonnay’ camp, a look at a few very fine examples of the new style of cool climate chardonnay from Australia and New Zealand are likely to change your mind!

As winemaker Andrew Pirie reminded the audience at the Tasmania Unbottled masterclass, chardonnay, the white  wine variety of Burgundy, is actually a cool-climate grape that can be very expressive of its terroir when sensitively handled in the vineyard and winery.

A recent tasting, organised by Single Vineyard Sellers and held at the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney,.. [Read More]

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,.. [Read More]

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… [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

Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir: A Profound Expression of a Very Special Terroir

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

In his review of the Bindi Block 5 Pinot Noir 2010 The Wine Front’s Mike Bennie sets the scene: “One of those holy grail sites in the Australian wine landscape – half of one hectare, quartz riddled, sits the right way for sun, angels sing, dogs howl, a single dove rests with the weight of a feather, precariously on a vine, as a rainbow arcs across the sky and a unicorn appears. That kind of thing.” (The Wine Front, 13 September 2011)

Bennie’s description of Bindi’s Block 5 vineyard in the Macedon ranges reminded me of that famous photo of Burgundy’s Romanée-Conti vineyard with the old stone Cross on the vineyard wall… [Read More]

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 –.. [Read More]

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 –.. [Read More]

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,.. [Read More]