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Friday, September 17, 2010


2009 Jamsheed Yarra Syrah 'Silvan Vineyard'

Sourced from a vineyard planted in the mid 90's on the deep red 'Monbulk' soils in the southern vales of the Yarra.

South facing, north/south row orientation, low cropping (4.5t/ha) PT23 clone. 100% whole bunch fermentation, 40 day extended maceration, indigenous yeast, racked to one and two year old French puncheons, sur lees for 10 months, gravity racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered with 35 mg/l SO2 at bottling. Graphite/cordite whole bunch nose with sweet brambly black cherries and violets. Licorice, black cherry and juicy high tone wild black berry fruit and game meats on entry with tight grain stem and fruit tannin. Graphite, pencil lead and campari/orange liveliness leading to a long finish.

Total production 160 dozen Alc/vol 13.0%
2009 Jamsheed Great Western Syrah 'Westgate Vineyard'

Handpicked from vines planted in 1969 from the Westgate Vineyard. 'Old Best' clone on Concongella soil profile. 100% whole bunch fermentation , 40 day extended maceration, indigenous yeast, racked to one and two year old French puncheons, sur lees for 10 months, gravity racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered with 35 mg/l SO2 at bottling.

Wild bergamot tea leaf and raspberry compote nose. Lively plum, raspberry red licorice sweet fruit on entry and succulent round tannins supported by a whole bunch perfume and meaty/gamey weight and texture. Rich mid pallet balanced by well integrated sappy tannins.

Total production 220 dozen Alc/vol 14.0%

pH 3.72 TA 5.6g/l
009 Jamsheed Great Western Syrah 'Garden Gully Vineyard'

Handpicked from vines planted in the 1950's in the Great Western region of Central Victoria. 'Old Best's' clone, 'Concongella' soil profile. 50% whole bunch fermentation, 40 day extended maceration, indigenous yeast, racked to French HH (20% new), sur lees for 10 months, gravity racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered with 35 mg/l SO2 at bottling.

Sweet spicy red 'Dutch licorice', sap and spice. Textured and layered pallet showing old vine concentration, plums dark cherries and earthiness/leatheriness. Large, chalky mouth-coating tannins and fresh herb and stem character finishing long and livley

Total production 180 dozen Alc/vol 14.5%

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Castagna is situate in Beechworth Victoria, one of the countries fasted growing cold climate regions, tucked in t the nape of the Victorian Alps. The winery site on just over 4h of Syrah, Viognier & Sangiovese  with a small pocket of Pinot noir. Syrah & Sangiovese are the masters of this stunning venture, with a Altitude of 500 meters above sea level. Castagna is one of Victoria's Premier Biodynamic  Vineyards. A vineyard in its infancy Castagna was established in the early part of the 1990's it has already had its fair share of up's and down's. Having seen devastating fires of 2003 and coming of age during one of the worst droughts that this country has ever had to endure Castagna has not only flourished but is has cemented its name one the List of Victoria's premier Vineyards. Julian has a realistic approach to his wines; 
"We make wines of terroir. Terroir is not only about soil but the whole eco-system which consists of light, heat, prevailing winds, slope of the land, length of the season and, most importantly, the organisms living and working in the soil - about a billion organisms per gram of soil. It is these micro-organisms that link the soil to the roots of the vine, strengthening and imprinting that particular soil’s authentic character."

The Castagna 2005 Un Segreto show great promise for things to come. The hue is deep with good weight and a vast depth of elegant purple, with a nose of plum, berry fruit and the always seductive savoury finesse.  The 2005 shows a agreeable balance between the new and old french oak that it was so alluringly crafted in. The principal palate shows an elegant balance of fruit and savoury notes. There is great tannin structure, the oak and fruit balancing the tannin level nicely. This wine shows some Pinot like characteristic's with its great balance of all the elements that are concussive of well crafted wine. It has a well developed length of palate and an enjoyable finish. To me this is a wine well worth savouring & stocking up on.
94 Points Drink Now Till 2018
DIAM Closure

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The All Mighty Downie

It has to be said that William (Bill) Downie is one of my favourite wine makers. He started his own label in 2003. With his previous  stint every year in Burgundy this enabled him to express his love for regional wines with the 3 Pinot's that he crafts. He uses purchased grapes from older vines on these vineyards to make his wines, carefully avoiding any use of pumps, filtration and fining. His eye catching labels were designed for him by Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything Fame) who is also know in the art world for his famous MAMBO graphics. These have help his obtain shelf space at many of Victoria's leading wine stores.
In 2007 Bill Won the "Gourmet Traveller Wine" 2006 Wine maker of the Year Awards, taking home the Kemeny's Medel for the Best Young Winemaker 2006. 

"His intention is to produce wines of purity and detail that reflect their place of origin. They are made in the most natural way possible, not pushed or shoved in any direction. They are not added to or subtracted from." (

Sourcing grapes from some excellent sources such as:

Denton View Hill, Yarra Gen in the Yarra Valley for his "Yarra Valley Pinot"
This wine is grown on only granite based soils in the Valley. There was a lot of mint, some developing meat and a touch of cherry stone. Then a complex bundle of light, vegetal, stalky cranberry fruit.  It is a well made wine, well balanced, and extremely powerful Pinot i think it will cope well with a few years left in the bottle for it brilliance to develop further.
90 Points Drink now till 2018
DIAM with Wax Seal

Merrick's Grove, Merrick's in the Mornington Peninsula for the "Mornington Peninsula Pinot"
The 2008 Mornington Pinot Noir, there is strawberry, raspberry with a meaty element coming in gently. There is a bit of grippy tannin, some spice too, on the palate but it is really nicely blended with gentle fruit flavours. A long, slightly spicy and herbal finish. 
94 Points Drink Now till 2020
DIAM with Wax seal

Berry's Creek Vineyard, Berry's Creek; Lucinda Estate, Leongatha; Followell Farm (His Vineyard), Yarragon all in Gippsland for His "Gippsland Pinot"
The 2008 Gippsland Pinot Noir.  This is an outstanding wine – period!  A light, floral nose mixing with raspberries and some sweet wild strawberries leading onto a gently fruity palate, with a bundle of cocoa powder and raspberries. 
93 Points Drink Now till 2017
DIAM with Wax Seal
In 2011 there will be another Gippsland Pinot Noir released, this time with fruit from their own property.  If the 2008 is anything to go by, I can’t wait!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Suprise Packet

This post may come across as somewhat bias, due to my association with one of the owners of this winery however due to the wine i'm reviewing i assure you its not...
Mitchell Harris is a partnership between Alicia & Craig Mitchell and Shannya & John Harris, the former the head wine maker at Mount Avoca & sparkling producer at Domaine Chandon.
So it is with good credentials that this wine is created. Using fruit bought from only Victoria's emerging Pyrenees sources this Sauvignon Blanc Fumѐ.
Many people may not be familar with the Fumѐ style of Sauvignon Blanc, so i will give you a little history lession on its birth. The Sauvignon Balnc grape traces it origins back to Western France to the Loire Valley & many of the regions of Bordeaux. The Sauvignon Blanc vine often bud's much later than many other white varieties. This Late budding feature however allows it to perform extremely well in sunny climates when not exposed to overwhelming heat. In the warmer regions such as here in Australia the grape does extremely well in cooler climates like that of the Pyrenees & the Yarra Valley. In area's where this vine is subjected to high heat, the grape will quickly over ripen and produce dull flat wines with poor flavours and poor acidity that its champions.
In the grapes home of France, it is grown in the marine climate of Bordeaux (especially well in the regions of ; Pessac-Leongnan as a dry wine, and in Sauternes as a sweet wine) and well as the continental climate of the Loire Valley, such as Pouilly Fumѐ, Sancerre & Sauvignon de Touraine. Pouilly Fumѐ Originate from the town of Pouilly-sur-Loire, which is located directly across from the Loire River from the commune of Sancerre. The Soil there is very flinty with deposits of amazing limestone which the locals believed imparted a smoky, gun flint flavour to the wine and hence Fumѐ, the French word for "smoke" was attached to the wine. This style of wine was much loved by the early wine makers of the Nappa Valley who chose to attempt to replicate the flavours of Pouilly Fumѐ, by adding a oak to there Sauvignon Blanc. This filtered out all over the world now with some uninhibited winemakers taking up the style in an attempt to but the trend of grassy herbaceous New World Sauvignon. 
So that is the story of the Fumѐ. The way that this has been achieved by the Mitchell Harris team is via 85% barrel fermentation in 300L French & Hungarian Oak Hogsheads, with the other 15% Stainless Steel Tank fermentation. The wines spent 6 months on Yeast Lee's in both tank & barrel. This Fumѐ is a stunning example of what can be done with good fruit, it provides a better length on the palate than other standard Sav's which are tight, crisp and lean with little balance and wine making skill. The 08 Fumѐ shows a soft handed used of oak and lee's treatment with nice balance of acidity and fruit.The Nose and Palate display lime, lemon and pineapple characters which a hint of that soft vanilla oak coming through.
All in all this is the first Sauvignon Blanc that got me excited about the variety for a very long time.
93 Points Drink Now till 2012
Screwcap 11.5%

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stick To What She Does Best

Judy Gifford of Darling Park is by far and away one of my favourite Chardonnay makers.
My only problem with Judy as a wine maker is her Pinot. I'm not too sure where she goes wrong but boy is her Pinot wrong. I'm not here however to rip through wine makers I am here to express my thanks for what they do well
Judy's Chardonnay offers so much for such great value. Her wine making style is one of intelligence and finesse. The 2007 Chardonnay displays a intense tightness which allows it to wrap around your whole mouth, displaying good length of fruit with a delicate acid balance. Judy's knack for seducing good citrus flavours with a tight structural balance, It shows all the encouraging signs of nectarine and the typically enjoyable melon flavours. The Influence of the barrel fermentation shows excellent wine making restraint, (unlike many of her colleges).
Judy's intelligent use of all the winemakers array of tricks such as whole-bunch pressing Malo-lactic fermentation & less contact have all made this wine very enjoyable, with several of her Chardonny's put away in my cellar i'm sure we will be enjoying them at there best in 3 to 4 years...
92 Points Drink Now till 2014

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Very Very Long Lunch

I thought i would just run you though a long long lunch that I had as a result of a friend leaving to head overseas to explore NZ.
The day was meant to be a Single bottle style lunch, each person was to bring there favorite bottle of vino and something to cook to accompany it. As you will discover via the amount of reviews that will in time appear on this blog I and a self confessed Pinot Phreak. I adore the complexity of the grape. So naturally i decided that for SJ and my contributon to the lunch would be a Jeroboam of Coldstream Hill's "Pinot Noir" (2000) to which i would cook pork belly which was filled with green apple & crumbed water crackers sauteed in burnt butter and sage, topped with pecorino cheese and trussed into a roll and baked in the oven.
The pork turned out stunning and blew everyone away and the the Coldstream Hill was a stunning with good complexity and nice acid structure. The day/night saw some amazing wines drunk. i will try to upload some of the pic's so that you can all see what we got through.
Next up I'll Start Reviewing some Vino...


Welcome, Its a strange thing when you create your own blog how do you start what do you write...
If you write something is it interesting enough for people to read it, is what your writing enjoyable to read. Well who really knows.
The idea of this blog was for me to express my view and passion about "Vino" (aka wine) i'm sure there will also be other food and alcohol related talk in here too...
Writing is not one of my strong point, however as it has been pointed out to me over the years the only way to get better at something is to do it and practice.
Wine is one of my biggest passions in life. I didn't grow up in an environment where i was exposed to it via the family situation. I developed this passion/addiction all by my self. I began working in hospitality when i was quite young, and developed a love for all things alcohol. I started by being very interested in mixology and blending flavours together, often across bounties that we previously not crossed. After working in sever of the best cocktails bars about town I met my wife SJ. I firmly believe that if it wasn't for SJ i wouldn't have developed the love for vino that i now have. It was our mutual love for going out and enjoying ourselves that fostered our interest in wine. We loved to eat at the best restaurants that we could. During this constant eating out (thankfully i was getting great tips to fund this fun) that we also naturally developed a taste for all this vino.
Over the years we have developed that passion and attempted to drink a wide variety of vino. SJ remains my favorite drinking partner as she is always keen on sharing the next bottle I have found in the back of some little wine shop of something that I have ordered off the web. However she is always the voice of reason when I'm thinking about spending my months wage on what all call the most amazing wine.
Hopefully during the course of this Vino Blog you will enjoy reading about our expereinces in wine. There wwill not be any specific structure to this blog. It will be a simple collection of my thoughts on OZ wine. It wont just be limited to OZ vino however i do think that we make some of the best vino in the world so i try to drink it over any other.
Happy reading.
Feel free to comment on anything you like and if you want anymore information on anything in the blog just me know.