Date/Time: 22nd July 2011, 7:00 p.m.
Place: Fantaxia Restaurant樂逍遙
d’Arenberg d’Arry Original Shiraz Grenache 2007
A classic blend, showing the roots of its consistency, even in a challenging vintage; the bouquet straddles the line of fresh red fruits and savoury Provençal herbs beautifully; the palate is generous and soft, with an underlying structure providing freshness and contrast to the sweet fruit. Screwcap.
14.5% alc. Rating 92 Drink 2015 $19.95 Date Tasted Feb 10
Winery: Nothing, they say, succeeds like success. Few operations in Australia fit this dictum better than d’Arenberg, which has kept its almost 100-year-old heritage while moving into the 21st century with flair and elan. As at last count the d’Arenberg vineyards, at various locations, have 24 varieties planted, as well as 120 growers in McLaren Vale. There is no question that its past, present and future revolve around its considerable portfolio of richly robed red wines: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache being the cornerstones, but with over 20 varietal and/or blend labels spanning the gulf between Roussanne and Mourvedre. The quality of the wines is unimpeachable, the prices logical and fair. It has a profile in both the UK and the US
that far larger companies would love to have, underlined by Wine & Spirits Magazine (US) accolade of Winery of the Year in ’09. Exports to all major markets.
Pikes Traditionale Riesling 2009
Pale straw-green; a gently flowery bouquet then a very precise, pure and penetrating palate, lime, lemon and slatey mineral notes driving through to the finish. Screwcap.
12% alc. Rating 94 Drink 2022 $23 Date Tasted Dec 09
Winery: Owned by the Pike brothers: Andrew was for many years the senior viticulturist with Southcorp, Neil was a winemaker at Mitchell. Pikes now has its own winery, with Neil presiding. In most vintages its white wines, led by Riesling, are the most impressive. Planting of the vineyards has been an ongoing affair, with a panoply of varietals, new and traditional, reflected in the 2007 plantings of an additional 4.3 ha of riesling (26 ha in total), 3.5 ha of shiraz and a first-up planting of 1.24 ha of savagnin. The Merle is Pikes’ limited production, flagship Riesling. A recent mini-vertical tasting shows just how good the wine is. Exports to Canada, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Cyprus, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and China.
Yalumba Ringbolt Margaret River Cab Sav 2008
A fine example of lightly leafy cabernet supported by vibrant pure red and black fruits, and a little olive thrown in for good measure; the palate is fleshy and focused, with plenty of gravelly tannins providing structure to the sweet fruit on offer; long and clearly defined to conclude. Cork.
13.5% alc. Rating 92 Drink 2018 $24.95 Date Tasted May 10
Winery: Family-owned and run by Robert Hill Smith, Yalumba has long had a commitment to quality and has shown great vision in its selection of vineyard sites, new varieties and brands. It has always been a serious player at the top end of full-bodied (and full-blooded) Australian reds, and was the pioneer in the use of screwcaps. While its estate vineyards are largely planted to mainstream varieties, it has taken marketing ownership of viognier. However, these days its own brands revolve around the Y Series and a number of stand-alone brands across the length and breadth of SA. Yalumba has been very successful in building its export base. Exports to all major markets.
Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Strathbogie Ranges Merlot 2008
Notably fragrant, with a savoury red fruit mix on the bouquet; there is a large volume of fruit on the palate with varietal cassis and black olive intersecting flavours; the alcohol works well. Screwcap.
15% alc. Rating 92 Drink 2016 $24.95 Date Tasted Sep 09
Winery: Plunkett Fowles is the new face for two families committed to building a prominent inter- national wine business. The co-managers, Sam Plunkett and Matt Fowles, are in their late 30s and late 20s, with both winemaking and business skills. The two families have had a long association with this dry, cool, granitic region, which has given them a deep understanding of their extensive vineyards (chardonnay, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, merlot, riesling, semillon, viognier, gewurztraminer, verdelho, savagnin, tempranillo and lagrein). They are committed to a strategy of selling wine that exceeds the expectations for any given price point. Exports to the UK, the US and other major markets.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2008
Deep colour; a fragrant burst of cherry, plum and spice on the bouquet leads into a palate that moves into more powerful black fruits and licorice, the tannins round and soft. Screwcap.
14% alc. Rating 94 Drink 2028 $20 Date Tasted Sep 09
Winery: Large-scale production has not prevented Wynns from producing excellent wines covering the full price spectrum, from the bargain basement Riesling and Shiraz through to the deluxe John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon and Michael Shiraz. Even with steady price increases, Wynns offers extraordinary value for money. The large investments since 2000 in rejuvenating and replanting key blocks under the direction of Allen Jenkins, and skilled winemaking by Sue Hodder, has resulted in wines of far greater finesse and elegance than most of their predecessors. Exports to the UK, the US and Canada.