Thursday, May 24, 2012

May #byowednesday wines

Another ace evening at last night's BYO Wednesday monthly get-together. Thanks to everyone that came, organised and played some part in making it happen. Thanks, too, must go to The Precinct for being obliging hosts, both in terms of the food (turkey wings!) and the wine-sympathetic service. It was a real pleasure to be able to taste these wines out of excellent glasses.

NEWSFLASH! Effective May 25, a great result not just for The Precinct, but for residents in Vic Park and surrounds. It might not be the small bar license The Precinct had its hearts set on, but it's certainly a step in the right direction and infinitely better than having to wait three years before being able to reapply for a license.

For those that couldn't make it, some impressions of the wines brought to the event. If you're not familiar with the event's format, the wines are covered, either via brown paper bags or foil (a trick I took away from an excellent Cape Mentelle tasting) and the guessing game begins. Hassling each wine's owner with questions usually follows. It's heaps good. Anyone interested in coming along to the next one yell out and I'll send you the events organisors' deets.

Churchview Estate Unwooded Chardonnay 2011
Juicy, fleshy, a mouthful of stone fruit. Ticks the box for gluggable Margaret River white.

Picardy Chardonnay 2008
Oak still quite dominant but it’s been matched to the oomph of the fruit. Full, round yet balanced. Fantastic length that could probably be expressed as a half-life. Is there a better West Australian producer of Burgundy's famous grape duo? I think not.

Westfield Verdelho 1992
Despite a decent amount of seepage and crumbly cork, this still held up well. Gluey, honeyed and toasted on the nose with similar characteristics on the palate. Delicious, complex drinking, says I. A nice advertisement for the longevity of dry Swan Valley verdelho.

Muddy Waters Slowhand Pinot Noir 2009
Medium-bodied pinot noir from Waipara in New Zealand. While one wine doesn’t make a region, for mine, this sat between the power of young Martinborough pinot and the straight-shooting fruitiness I associate with a lot of Central Otago material. The person who brought it (thanks Mike!) said a day’s air time did wonders for a previous bottle of this, but even straight off the bat, there’s much to like about the Slowhand’s juicy cherry profile.

Torbreck Cuvee Juveniles 2009
One of the few reds from this Barossan powerhouse sealed under screw cap (and, not to mention, vinified entirely in stainless steel) and rightfully so. Utterly delicious, dangerously inhalable and crammed with more juicy, bright red fruit flavours than any Aussie grenache-shiraz-mourvedre blend really ought to be.

Ashley Estate Pinot Noir 2009
Despite having read about this couple in the Perth Hills that only made pinot noir, I've never actually got round to seeing them as they're a Sunday-only cellar door, so it was great to finally taste their wine (thank you so much Maya!). Riper than I like my pinots and a little single-note in its delivery, but a fair drink none-the-less.

Rusden Wines Boundaries Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Warm climate and cabernet sauvignon isn’t a one-two that gets much of a look-in in Oz. Fighting out of Barossa, South Australia and weighing in around the 15% mark, this does everything it says on the box: ripe, silky tannins and awash with crème de cassis. Not quite the style I look for in my reds.

Voyager Estate Cabernet Merlot 2007
Varietal Margaret River cabernet on the nose and mouth. Plush and long yet still structured. Liked the oak work. Despite being sourced from Margaret River’s south, this has approachability going for it now yet should also pay dividends with time. Indicative of the interesting cabs hailing from Margs’ cooler ranks, a la Suckfizzle and Xanadu’s champion new Stevens Road release.

Musella Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2007
Without context, inquiring about a wine’s provenance is a lot like playing 20 questions with Riedels. I managed to luckbox that this was north-eastern Italian in origin and a DOC but that was more down to some lucky throws at the dartboard than any extensive tasting experience (and knowing that the dude who brought the wine was from Friuli). Mid-weight and driven by red savoury-tinged fruits, it’s the sort of lively, frivolously good vino rosso one might wallop in an Italian trattoria with little thought. And I mean that totally in a good way. If you’re curious, the ripasso technique involves using nutrient-rich grape must as an additional fermentation food source to ramp up the flavour, richness and general oomph of a wine. Interestingly, this wine is labelled as a Valpolicella DOC as Ripasso della Valpolicella was only recognised as a DOC in 2009. A further aside, in the same announcement, Valpolicella amarone and recioto were bumped up to DOCG status: Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita, Italian agriculture’s highest quality assurance rating and the tier above the aforementioned DOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata.

Happs Fortis 2008
Fortified. Red fruited. Rich yet tamed with just enough freshness. I won’t front, young vintage port is a tricky, mostly unfamiliar beast to me. I can’t help but reach for a (liqueur) muscat or botrytis-hit white when craving a wine match for dessert.