Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our new "Tuesday go-to wine".....and others.....

This past Tuesday we opened up quite a spectacular bottle of wine, which has now become our new "everyday" Tuesday wine. OK I may be kidding about that last part, but if we win the lottery anytime soon, I may reconsider.

2006 Col Solare ($99.90)

We've all experienced wines that had an amazing nose, but were less-than special on the palate. This one was actually the opposite. The muted nose featured a bit of fruit and tobacco but it was underwhelming at best. I was actually a little worried about it.

Then I tasted it. Aye, carumba.

Layers of succulent fruit, medium-bodied and already complex. Tannins are polished and the finish is long and beautiful. A simply sublime wine. 96.




And some random other stuff we've consumed in the past few weeks:



Church & State 2009 Quintessential ($55.00)

Intense notes of cherry, cassis and a hint of chocolate. Well-balanced and very rich and decadent. Luscious mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish. A top-notch example of a BC Bordeaux blend. 92.







Church & State 2012 Coyote Bowl Series Chardonnay ($27.00)

Hints of lemon zest, pear, apple and honey on the nose. Just the right amount of minerality and acidity. An excellent wine at this price point. 91.








Quails' Gate 2013 Orchard Block Gewurztraminer ($21.99)

Lychee in strong on the nose as you might expect, with floral undertones. Hints of peach and grapefruit highlight the palate. Done in the traditionally Alsace style and made to age. The winery suggests this can improve up to 20 years. Part of me wants to find out if they are right, but the other part of me thinks it's so damn good now I should just drink it all. Not sure which side is going to win at this point. 91.


Tinhorn Creek 2011 Oldfield Series Syrah ($35.00)


Some notes of cold cuts, leather and white pepper on the nose. Very food-friendly with some plum and raspberry flavors showing through to the slightly spicy finish. A good example of what good winemaking can do, even with a cooler vintage. 89.






Barossa Valley Estate 2008 E&E Black Pepper Shiraz ($89.95)

Blackberry, leather and pepper on the nose and palate. Also features some plum and notes of dried herbs on the palate. Some pepper on the long finish, although maybe less than you might expect given the name of the wine. Regardless, it is absolutely superb. Pairs beautifully with a big steak. 94.






Cedarcreek 2012 Cabernet Merlot ($20.99)

Ripe black fruits, plum and vanilla aromas. Cherry and plums come through on the palate with a touch of vanilla on the finish. Another excellent vintage of this top-notch reasonably priced offering. 88.







Cedarcreek 2013 Platinum Viognier ($24.95)

Some apricot, lemon and slate on the nose. Balanced acidity and minerality. A perfect pairing for many seafood dishes and also paired beautifully with a blueberry, prosciutto and ricotta pizza last night. 90.







Church & State 2013 Cuvee Blanc ($20.00)

Gew├╝rztraminer (61%), Riesling (26%), Chardonnay Musqu├ę (13%)

Pale in colour and very aromatic. Roses and citrus on the nose and palate. A hint of white peach on the palate as well. Light and refreshing. 86.






That's enough for today, hope you enjoyed reading about the wine half as much as I enjoyed drinking it!!!! :-)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

VIVA ITALIA!!! Vancouver Wine Fest final report

Dine Italia!

Our second year at this fantastic annual event which takes place at La Terrazza. This might be the toughest ticket in the entire festival, selling out in about an hour. It's worth paying attention and getting online to get tickets the second they go on sale. It's not an event we ever want to miss.

If there is any issue with this event, it's a minor quibble: not all of the wines consumed at the lunch are available for purchase in the BC Liquor Store at the festival.

As usual, we are greeted at the door with a glass of Prosecco, an Italian favorite. It's generally pretty dry, at least in my experience; too dry for my tastes.

Anna Spinato Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG ($24.99)

Extremely dry with notes of apple and toast. 85.









Upon getting to our assigned table, we are welcomed by a little bit of wine.




Our apertif is a raw salmon dish, served in a little cone. Interesting but raw salmon isn't really our thing. The wine to pair with it was another sparkling:

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Di Sorbara ($27.99)

Notes of cranberry and strawberry on the nose and palate. Still very, very dry. 86.









Next up, our first course was a beautiful sablefish with risotto balls. It was absolutely lovely and was paired with these two wines:

Collavini 2012 Broy Bianco DOC Collio ($47.99)

Friulano (50%), Chardonnay (30%), Sauvignon (20%)

Intense notes of citrus on the nose and palate. Some hints of orange peel and yellow flowers. A truly brilliant pairing with the lemony sablefish. Would probably also be a terrific pairing with a dish like chicken picatta. 90.





Zenato 2012 Lugana Riserva Sergio Zenato ($45.00)

A muted nose of lemon and some vanilla. Mouthfeel is rich and balanced with subtle notes of peach and papaya. 88.







Although both of these were tasty and pretty similar when tasted on their own, there was a significant improvement of the first one when paired with the sablefish and risotto dish. The second one, notsomuch.


Our next course was, as my wife described it, the "best ravioli ever". Sadly this was a dish they whipped up specifically for this event and is not on their regular menu! I am trying to wipe it from my memory as I'll probably never experience ravioli in a white sauce like that again.

Three nice red wines to pair with that dish:


Rocca Delle Macie 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva ($29.99)

90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Canaiolo

Aromas of cherries and violets with a hint of earthiness. This paired well with the ravioli and improved slightly when tasted with the food. Another couple of years in the bottle would enhance. 87.





Poderi Dal Nespoli 2011 Il Nespoli Sangiovese Romagna Superiore Riserva ($22.99)

Juicy cherry and a touch of tobacco on the nose. Dusty and earthy. The palate brings leather, spice, and tobacco. An excellent Sangiovese from Tuscany's neighboring region of Emilia-Romagna. This one also paired beautifully with the ravioli and improved when tasted with the food. 89.






Damilano 2012 Marghe Nebbiolo Langhe DOC ($27.99)

Dusty, earthy nose with hints of plums and violets. I actually found this one better before pairing it with the ravioli. The food seemed to make the tannins sharper. This would probably be solved with some more aging time, as this varietal tends to improve much over time. 86.





Up next the "big reds", paired with a truly fabulous Filet Mignon dish. Three really nice reds to accompany the steak:

Monte Del Fra 2010 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso ($26.99)

Subtle notes of herbs and smoke on the nose. The palate was stronger, medium bodied and this improved much when consumed with the steak. 87.








Giusti Wine 2012 Valpolicella DOC Ripasso Superiore ($39.99)

An amazing nose and palate to match. Fruity and bold, dark cherries and a bit of leather. This was our favorite wine of the day but we've been unable to find any yet. The search continues. 92.







Tenuta Sette Ponti 2010 "Oreno" IGT Toscana ($87.99)

An intriguing blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Aged 18 months in French Oak. Fruity and delicious with a hint of violets and chocolate. Finishes forever. This is great now but another 4-5 years of careful cellaring is probably going to produce a wine of epic deliciousness. I'll let you know, we picked one up to keep for a few years. 91.



If that wasn't enough great wine and food, it was time for two more big reds to pair with an assortment of cheeses and their signature dessert, a marscapone cheesecake wrapped in phyllo pastry. Divine.

Cantine Giacomo Montresor 2011 Amarone Della Valpolicella DOCG ($44.99)

Made from 100% dried grapes. Full bodied and smooth with a big nose of violets, raspberries and peaches. Deep flavors. 89.








Farnese 2011 Edizione ($41.99)

A classic expression of Southern Italy comprised of Montepulcino and Sangiovese, Negroamaro and Malavasia Nero from different regions. The grapes are aged seperately before being combined into a wine with a big nose and expressive and long finish. 90.





Well there you have it, an absolute must-do event for us; and given that Italy is the host country at next year's event, I would imagine the tough ticket will be even tougher. Can't wait for next year!




Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wine Fest - the rest of the world!!

Part two of my reviews and thoughts on tasting at the Acura Tasting Room at last weekend's Vancouver International Wine Festival. Lots of the usual suspects there of course; I tried to avoid the Okanagan wineries that I can taste anytime, but tried some new wines and a couple of new wineries. Also got to taste my first ever wines from Croatia! In fact this was the first year that a Croatian winery came to the VIWF. Very exciting to see some less-traditional wine markets showing up.

Here we go! As with the first update, the region is listed in RED.




Argentina

Mendoza

Domaine Bousquet 2011 Grand Reserve Malbec Organic - 85












Canada

Okanagan Valley

Cassini Cellars 2011 The Godfather - 88
Cassini Cellars 2011 Grand Reserve Syrah - 87

Cedarcreek 2012 Platinum Meritage ($44.95)

Give them credit; if Cedarcreek doesn't feel the grapes are of sufficient quality to make Platinum-level wines, they just don't produce them. We haven't seen this one since 2009. It is back with a vengeance. Notes of cherry and cigar box, with loads of blackberry up front on the palate and a long finish. Very drinkable now but would definitely improve with some careful cellaring. We didn't actually buy any of these at the WineFest as we knew we had three of them on the way as we are members of their wine club. Going to put two of them away for a while. 90.



Culmina Family Estate 2011 Hypothesis - 90
Culmina Family Estate 2012 Hypothesis - 90

Inniskillin Okanagan Estate 2011 Discovery Series Zinfandel - 84
Inniskillin Okanagan Estate 2011 Dark Horse Vineyard Meritage - 86
Inniskillin Okanagan Estate 2013 Vidal Icewine - 91

Next up is La Frenz, a non-VQA winery that we were quite unfamiliar with. That changed quickly.

La Frenz 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir - 88
La Frenz 2012 Reserve Chardonnay - 88
La Frenz 2013 Sauvignon Blanc - 88
La Frenz 2013 Alexandria - 88

We tried to purchase a couple of these but by the time we got to the store they were long gone. Even the tags had been pulled from the shelf, one of the clerks said they had been sold out since the Friday night tasting.

Now, Osoyoos Larose. This was one of the more interesting experiences, as they were tasting both the 2009 and 2010 version of their flagship Bordeaux blend, "Le Grand Vin". I own a 2009 and am cellaring it, but was anxious to taste it. Interestingly, the winemaker suggested that, in time, he thought the version from the poor 2010 version would actually surpass the version from the brilliant 2009 version! It seems almost ridiculous to me, but he should know :-)

My early verdict is that the 2009 is much better now, but I bought a 2010 as well and I'll cellar them both for a while and we'll see!

Osoyoos Larose 2011 Petales d'Osoyoos - 86

Osoyoos Larose 2009 Le Grand Vin ($45)

The blend: 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec
Very dark and concentrated. Blueberries and a touch of herb on the nose. Plums and currants join in on the palate. Tannins are still firm, suggesting this still has a lot of improvement ahead of it. It's already very good, and if you are particularly impatient, decant for an hour or so to smooth it out. 91.


Osoyoos Larose 2010 Le Grand Vin ($45)

The blend: 67% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec.
Berries, cassis and vanilla on the nose. Cherry and blackberry on the palate. Quite drinkable now but will much improve with time. Will it improve to be as good or better than the '09? Only time will tell. 88.





Poplar Grove 2011 Reserve Chardonnay - 88
Poplar Grove 2009 The Legacy - 90

Quails' Gate 2013 Pinot Noir - 90
Quails' Gate 2013 Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir - 92

See Ya Later Ranch 2012 Rover - 85
See Ya Later Ranch 2012 Ping - 87

Time Estate Winery 2012 Syrah - 89
Time Estate Winery 2012 Meritage (Red) - 87

And my first ever taste of a winery from Vancouver Island! It was the only one there, and I probably should have given them a chance to taste their whites, which is their strength, but alas, I only got to taste their one red.

Vancouver Island

Unsworth Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir - 85










Chile

Elqui Valley

Vina Falernia 2010 Reserva Syrah - 85
Vina Falernia 2010 Reserva Pinot Noir - 85
Vina Falernia 2010 Number One - 88
Vina Falernia 2011 Reserva Carmenere - 89

We tried to buy a Carmenere but again, sold out.


Colchagua Valley

Vina Ventisquero 2012 Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon - 86
Vina Ventisquero 2013 Root: 1 Sauvignon Blanc - 88  ***
Vina Ventisquero 2012 Grey Carmenere - 88
Vina Ventisquero 2011 Carmenere Syrah - 88
 
Great value on all of these wines, and the Sauvignon Blanc was the steal of the entire show at only $11.98. Once again, by the time we got to the store, all gone.









Croatia

Brac

Stina 2010 Plavac Mali Majstor - 86
Stina 2010 Plavac Mali Barrique - 85











France

Languedoc-Roussillon

Chateau De Caraguilhes 2013 Domaine de L'Olivette Rouge VDP - 83
Chateau De Caraguilhes 2012 Corbieres Classique - 87
Chateau De Caraguilhes 2012 Corbieres Solus - 87
 
Perhaps not surprisingly, last year's feature country didn't send much of a delegation this year, with just Seven wineries represented.









Germany

Mosel

Weingut St. Urbans-HOF 2013 Urban Riesling Nik. Weis Selection - 88
Weingut St. Urbans-HOF 2012 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett - 90
Weingut St. Urbans-HOF 2011 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spatlese - 89
Weingut St. Urbans-HOF 2013 Riesling Old Vines - 88
 
A winery we are quite familiar with as at least a couple of these are easily available in Vancouver, and the Kabinett is a favorite. We have a 2010 in our cellar, due to come out and be enjoyed in the next year or so.









New Zealand

Marlborough

Kim Crawford 2012 Small Parcels Rise and Shine Pinot Noir ($24.50)
 
Cherries and spices on the nose. The palate reflects the nose with some cinnamon mingling in the background. Just a tiny hint of leather. An excellent value at this price. 90.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mud House Wines 2014 Haymaker Sauvignon Blanc - 84
Mud House Wines 2014 Woolshed Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc - 86
 
Sacred Hill Vineyards 2013 Orange Label Sauvignon Blanc - 86
Sacred Hill Vineyards 2014 Whitecliff Sauvignon Blanc - 84










South Africa

Paarl

Fairview Wines Spice Route Chenin Blanc - 85
Fairview Wines Nurok - 88
 
Glen Carlou 2013 Unwooded Chardonnay - 85
Glen Carlou 2013 Quartz Stone Chardonnay - 88









United States

California, Central Coast

Terravant Winery 2012 Edna Valley Pinot Noir - 86
Terravant Winery 2012 Insomnia Red Blend - 84
Terravant Winery 2012 Compilatoin Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills - 86
Terravant Winery 2012 Scratch Pad Pinot Noir Edna Valley - 85

California, Columbia Valley

Charles Smith Wines - 2013 Kung Fu Girl Riesling - 86

Columbia Crest 2013 H3 Horse Heaven Hills Chardonnay - 88

California, Livermore Valley

Wente Vineyards 2013 Morning Fog Chardonnay - 86
Wente Vineyards 2012 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
Wente Vineyards 2012 Charles Wetmore Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
Wente Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir - 86

California, Napa Valley

Beaulieu Vineyards 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 85
Beaulieu Vineyards 2010 Beaurough Red Blend - 86
Beaulieu Vineyards 2012 Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon - 85
Beaulieu Vineyards 2012 Coastal Estates Sauvignon Blanc - 86
 
Delicato Family Vineyards 2012 Irony Chardonnay - 86
 
Kendall-Jackson 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
 
Pine Ridge 2011 Forefront Cabernet Sauvignon - 86

Pine Ridge 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($69.99)

Red and black fruits on the nose and palate. The slightest note of cinnamon joins in. Finishes very long with velvety tannins. Should continue to improve with careful cellaring for a decade or more. 90.





Plume Winery 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Plume Winery 2012 Chardonnay - 88

Signorello Estate Winery 2013 Seta - 89
Signorello Estate Winery 2012 Vielle Vignes Chardonnay - 85
Signorello Estate Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon - 90

Silver Oak Cellars 2010 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 92

Silver Oak Cellars 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($149.95)

Blueberry, sage, and boysenberries on a very complex nose. Fresh fruit explodes on the palate. Velvety tannins lead to a long, beautiful finish. A terrific example of what excellent winemaking can do, even in an unusually cool Napa vintage. Will only improve with time, but there isn't much improvement necessary. 95.
 


Sterling Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay - 86



Sterling Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir ($24.99)

Wild berries and a hint of spice on the nose and palate. A tiny bit of brown sugar ads to the palate. Finishes long and elegant. Beautiful. 91.







Sterling Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc - ($18.99)

Fruity and grassy notes on the nose. Tons of citrus and balanced acidity. An excellent deal at this price point. 87.







Twomey Cellars 2010 Merlot - 89

Twomey Cellars 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($40.95)

Pear, grapefruit, green apple and citrus on the nose and palate. A touch of honeysuckle on the palate as well. A long, lingering, fresh finish. Excellent. 89.








California, Sonoma County

Cannonball Wine Company 2013 Chardonnay - 85
Cannonball Wine Company 2013 Sauvignon Blanc - 85
 
Chateau St. Jean 2012 Sonoma County Chardonnay - 84
Chateau St. Jean 2010 Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay - 86
 
Dry Creek Vineyards 2013 Sauvignon Blanc - 86
 
Francis Ford Coppola Winery 2013 Sofia Blanc de Blancs - 85
Francis Ford Coppola Winey 2013 Diamond Gold Label Chardonnay - 86

Lake Sonoma Winery 2012 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Lake Sonoma Winery 2012 Dry Creek Zinfandel - 88
Lake Sonoma Winery 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay - 88

Oregon, Willamette Valley

La Crema 2012 Pinot Noir ($38.99)
 
Notes of black fruit, star anise and violets on the nose. Lots of fruit follows through on the palate, with a touch of pomegranate and a hint of orange zest. This is La Crema's first vintage of Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley; it won't be the last. 89.






Finally that is the end! We learned an important lesson this trip, which is trying to buy wine at the very end of the Saturday night tasting is folly. Next year, we are going to try to go to the Thursday and Friday night tastings, and get all our shopping done before everything sells out.

We tasted a heck of a lot of wine, but you may notice we didn't even get to Spain or Italy. Since Italy is next year's featured country, we should make up for that, and we'll have to focus more on Spain.

One more entry to come: Dine Italia!!!




























Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wine Fest.....oh what a weekend!!!!

Our second trip to the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival was twice as long as our first foray last year, and twice as good. Two trips to the Acura Tasting Room and six hours of tasting in total (and that was still not enough). Plus, the incredible Dine Italia lunch at La Terraza. Amazing.

Australia was the featured country this year and we tried to focus as much as we could on getting through the myriad of wineries presenting their wines; the problem was, everyone else was doing that too. We did our best, but still only got to taste something from 36% of the Australian wineries. Unreal.

Upon arriving in Vancouver on Friday, we had a couple hours before check-in time at the Loden Hotel where we were staying. We went to Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie, where I had only been once before and my wife had never visited. A really terrific store which features a huge selection of wine, many I haven't seen anywhere else. We picked up two bottles there:

2006 Col Solare (which we have not tasted yet)

and, this intriguing little beauty:

Castello Di Monsanto - 1999 Monsanto Chianti Classico ($85.00)

I love me some aged Italian wine. The nose on this was fabulous and expressive. Cherries, vanilla, leather, tobacco, all intermingling with a floral background.

The palate, however, left a lot to be desired. Even after aerating and decanting for an hour, the flavors were muted and unappealing. The longer the wine sat in the decanter, there was a noticeable improvement, but it only went from "undrinkable" to "pretty good". At the price we paid for it, a real disappointment. 83.

Perhaps we just had a not-so-great bottle, as I've seen many terrific (recent) reviews of this wine online, so it's tough to imagine that it is an aging problem. This wine should have been good for many more years, but it seemed to be in rapid decline.

After visiting another boutique wine store, we headed to our hotel and checked in. We relaxed for a half hour or so before heading to our pre-event dinner at the Cactus Club next to the Convention Centre. It was actually the first time I had seen the Olympic Cauldron in person. Interesting.

So after a lovely dinner, we headed to the Convention Centre for the event. When the doors to the Acura Tasting Room opened, we joined the throngs of tasters who headed right for Australia. As with last year I won't give complete tasting notes to every single wine we tasted, but I will provide my notes on everything we bought. You'll notice we didn't actually buy a ton of wine from Australia, most of our purchases came from other countries. More on that later. Below are my notes and scores for every wine from the featured country we tasted, grouped by region (in the same order they appeared in the event program and listed in RED).

It was our intention to do red wines on night 1, and white wines on night 2. We stuck to the plan on night 1, drinking only red, but we mixed it up on night 2 since we had so many reds to still try!!!












Australia


Margaret River

Devil's Lair 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon - 89
Devil's Lair 2014 The Hidden Cave Chardonnay - 86

Devil's Lair 2012 Margaret River Chardonnay ($41.99)

This was named "Best In Show" two years in a row at the Vancouver Magazine Wine Awards, so I was anxious to try it as I never had any luck finding it anywhere. It certainly did not disappoint. Toasty hints of grapefruit and peach on the nose with a slightly oaky influence. Beautiful fruit flavors, excellent minerality and balanced acidity. A top-notch Chardonnay and perhaps the best Australian wine we tasted in two days. Definitely in the top two. We bought three of these. 93.





Barossa Valley

Thorn-Clarke 2012 Terra Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
Thorn-Clarke 2011 Terra Barossa Shiraz Cabernet Petit Verdot - 86
Thorn-Clarke 2012 Shotfire Shiraz - 89
Thorn-Clarke 2012 Shotfire Quartage - 90

We probably would have purchased each of the last two, but these are easy to find in any BC Liquor Store. We will get them for sure.

Vinternational 2014 Wine Men of Gotham Chardonnay - 86

WD Wines 2014 Peace of Eden Riesling - 84

Yalumba 2014 Y Series Viognier - 85

McLaren Vale


Angove Family Winemakers 2014 Nine Vines Rose - 86

d'Arenberg 2012 The Footbolt Shiraz - 91
d'Arenberg 2014 The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne - 89

d'Arenberg 2009 The Galvo Garage ($31.99)

A Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (15%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Petit Verdot (10%) and Mourvedre (10%). Notes of cassis and clove with a touch of mint. Well structured with firm tannins. Long and lovely finish. 88.






d'Arenberg 2010 The Dead Arm Shiraz ($65.99)

Dark fruits, baking spice and earth on the nose. A touch of that funky forest floor that can exist. Blackberries and plums mingle with a note of black olive on the palate. A hint of black pepper on the long, long, long finish. A beautiful example of Aussie Shiraz. So young, I'm putting mine away for a few years and I'm expecting brilliance. It's fantastic already. 93.





We loved all four of these. My wife absolutely freaked out for the Hermit Crab, and we would have bought some but they were sold out by the time we went to check out after the tasting. Going to have to hunt some of those down.

Serafina Wines 2014 McLarens on the Lake Unwooded Chardonnay - 85
Serafina Wines 2012 McLarens on the Lake Cabernet Sauvignon - 86
Serafina Wines 2012 Sorrento Dry Grown Granache 87

Serafina Wines 2012 Shiraz ($27.99)

Dark fruits with a touch of spice on the nose. Complex and rich on the palate with a bit of dark chocolate and vanilla. Drinking nicely now and some extra bottle time would ever enhance. A really nice Shiraz for this price point. 89.







Shingleback Wines 2013 Red Knot Shiraz - 85
Shingleback Wines 2013 Red Knot Cabernet Sauvignon - 85
Shingleback Wines 2012 Davey Estate Shiraz - 86
Shingleback Wines 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - 89

Langhorn Creek

Bleasdale Vineyards 2012 Second Innings Malbec ($15.99)

Malbec? I bought a Malbec?? Damn right. Fresh berries dominate the nose. A hint of toasty oak. The berries continue free to the palate with a touch of chocolate. At this price, it's a steal. We've already consumed the one we bought, but we'll get more. 88.







Bleasdale Vineyards 2012 Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
Bleasdale Vineyards 2012 Frank Potts Reserve Cabernet-Malbec-Shiraz-Merlot-Petit Verdot - 87
Bleasdale Vineyards 2012 The Powder Monkey Shiraz - 90

Brothers In Arms 2013 Killibinbin Sneaky Shiraz - 89
Brothers In Arms 2010 Killibinbin Scaredy Cat Cabernet Shiraz - 87
Brothers In Arms 2009 No. 6 Shiraz - 87

Brothers In Arms 2013 Killibinbin Seduction Cabernet Sauvignon ($18.99)

Intense aromas of black cherry and blackberry. A touch of fennel and spice. Blackberry and cassis on the palate. Finishes with great length. 89.

My wife thought I under-rated this, she loved it and we bought two bottles. We enjoyed one of these last night and I'm going to stick to my rating, but it's pretty close to 90. It's really terrific.




Padthaway

Henry's Drive Vignerons 2012 H Syrah - 86
Henry's Drive Vignerons 2010 Shiraz - 84
Henry's Drive Vignerons 2012 Pillar Box Red 83
Henry's Drive Vignerons 2012 Pillar Box Reserve Shiraz 84

South Australia

Hardy's Wines 2012 William Hardy Shiraz - 85
Hardy's Wines 2007 HRB Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Hardy's Wines 2012 Tintara McLaren Vale Shiraz - 86

Penfolds Bin 128 Coonawarra Shiraz - 88
Penfolds Bin 2 Shiraz Mourvedre - 86

Quarisa Wines 2012 Merlot - 85
Quarisa Wines 2012 30 Mile Shiraz - 85
Quarisa Wines 2012 Treasures Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
Quarisa Wines 2010 Treasures Coonawarra Cabernet Merlot - 86

Wolf Blass 2011 Grey Label Shiraz - 90

Yarra Valley

Coldstream Hills 2012 Pinot Noir - 85

De Bortoli Wines 2012 DB Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - 87
De Bortoli Wines 2012 Pinot Noir - 86

Hunter Valley

McGuigan Wines 2014 Expressions Pinot Grigio - 85

McWilliam's Mount Pleasant 2007 Lovedale Semillon - 89
McWilliam's Mount Pleasant 2013 Appellation Tumbarumba Chardonnay - 85

Tyrell's 2014 Lost Block Semillon - 86


That's it for Australia! As you can see, not a bad wine in the bunch, but not as many fabulous Shiraz's as I was expecting. Was pleasantly surprised with the quality of their reasonably priced Cabernet Sauvignons.

Next up, the rest of the world, and a full report on Dine Italia!