Yabby Lake Block 2 Pinot Noir 2013, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Tolpuddle Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 2013 Coal River Valley Tasmania Simple Palates Seriously

The selected tasting partner of the Tolpuddle 2013 Pinot Noir was the Yabby Lake Block 2 pinot noir 2013. Obviously quite a different wine from the Tasmanian wine, although one could see similarities in the cool climate Mornington Peninsula offering. Yabby Lake and winemaker Tom Carson are enjoying a great run with the 2012 Block 1 pinot noir taking out the Jimmy Watson trophy at the 2013 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards. At the start of 2015, this 2013 Block 2 pinot noir was recognised at the National Wine Show in Canberra with the RSN Riedel Trophy for Best Pinot Noir, the Treasury Wine Estates Single Vineyard Dry Red Trophy, the Minter Ellison Trophy for Best Dry Red Table Wine and the Len Evans Memorial Trophy for Champion Wine of the Show. That’s too much of a mouthful of awards to read out, so let’s get into this wine.

$95, though now sold out at winery. 300 dozen made from low-yielding MV6 clones hand-picked off a subsection of Block 2. Crushed destemmed fruit soaked 3-4 days in small open fermenters then pressed after 14 days into 500L French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation and maturation. Med+ to intense dark ruby colour. A complex aromatic profile with warm spiced notes, summer strawberries, unripe cherries, tea, light Asian dried plums, white florals. Smooth silky texture, palate-awakening acidity, 14% alc. The tannins are grippy, suggesting to me some amount of whole bunch press?  Good intensity of red berry fruit and strawberry essence, the flavours are rich and persistent. Long finish, dry but I’m looking for that touch of something oily to fill out the fruit. Drink now – 2025. 95+/100.

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Tolpuddle Pinot Noir 2013, Coal River Valley, Tasmania

Tolpuddle Yabby Lake Pinot Noir 2013 Coal River Valley Tasmania Simple Palates Seriously

Tolpuddle made the headlines back in May when it took out the Best Australian red wine, Best Australian pinot noir and Best Tasmanian pinot noir awards at the International Wine Challenge in London. Quite quickly, this wine flew off the shelves to the delight of Tolpuddle’s owners, the dynamic Adelaide Hills winery Smith + Shaw duo. While I’m not one to follow shows and the multitude of awards handed out, I’m still curious as to know what level this Tasmanian pinor noir punches at, given that its stable-mates of award winners include wines made for Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

$75. The 20ha vineyard was planted in 1988, and purchased when Tolpuddle was setup in 2011. Only the second vintage produced, which says a lot about the winemaker Adam Wadewitz’s ability and the good 2013 vintage. Med+ intensity with a black ruby core and watery rim. Youthful aromas of blueberries and preserved cherries, with prominent notes of 5 spice and cloves, hint of cured meat. Smooth silky texture, rich acidity, fine soft tannins. The bright fruity core is interwoven by savoury notes, reflecting a more complex wine that you’d associate with most Tasmanian pinot noirs. This is very good for only the second vintage, and I’ll be curious to see how Tolpuddle continue to maintain this high standard of winemaking. There is a certain element of ripeness at this early stage, drink now – 2020. 94-95/100.


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Radford Wines Eden Valley Shiraz 2004, SA

Radford Wines 2004 Eden Valley Shiraz SA Simple Palates Seriously

This is a bottle I found while organising my collection last week. From memory this was purchased on one of my first forays into the Barossa Valley, and has been kept very well in my stores. Sharp-eyed wineos will note the change in label design since then. What used to be called Radford Dale is simply Radford these days. This 2004 vintage might even have been the first shiraz release if I’ve got my notes correct.

The point of sharing this note is not a history lesson, but to give support to the longevity of the Radford wines. It’s a label I have no qualms recommending if you’re looking for a South Australian shiraz that isn’t ‘hot’, a wine which shows restraint, complexity, is well-priced and can be cellared for the long-term.

Still pouring a dark crimson colour, it has a fragrance of blackcurrant liquor, mulled with spices like aniseed, cloves and cinnamon. It’s fresh, but I know it’s developed beyond the opulent dark fruit which was in abundance early on. A silky texture, the acidity is still lively and vivid, and the tannins are so soft and comfortable now. There’s seamless dark berry fruit flavours with a sweet savoury raspberry coulis-sorta finish. Drinking brilliantly now, this wine could confidently take for another 7+ years. Amazing with a soft, tender steak. 95.

Looking at the Radford range, they have two shirazes: the Spice Bush Eden Valley Shiraz and the slightly more expensive Eden Valley Biodynamic shiraz. Well worth a try!

Radford Dale Wines Eden Valley Shiraz SA Simple Palates Seriously

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Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger Shiraz 2013, Eden Valley, SA

Torzi Matthews Frost Dodger shiraz 2013 Eden Valley SA Simple Palates Seriously

The brusk Domenic Torzi has done it again (everyone seems to keep repeating this line!) with yet another stellar Frost Dodger offering from the 2013 vintage. This is the 11th release of a wine which represents the best of the Eden Valley combined with excellent winemaking skills. The wine originates from a single vineyard in Mt McKenzie residing at 380m altitude. The 2013 vintage started with very average winter conditions followed by spring frosts which resulted in a reduced crop. The summer ripening conditions were relatively consistent and this allowed the fruit to develop more complex characteristics. The harvest was dry racked to concentrate the sugars and flavours in the fruit, then 35% whole bunch pressed into open top milk vats for warm natural fermentation. Matured for 20 months in 25% new French puncheons and the rest in seasoned French oak barrels.

$40 direct from winery. The wine pours an impenetrable black blood ruby. Its youthfulness is obvious, the aromas are compacted into a concentrate of prune, anise, toasted sesame, blackberry liquor and violets. It’ll be very interesting to see how this evolves over the next 5-7 years. A silky mouthfeel, intense fruit flavours with pulsing waves of rich acidity. It’s loaded with dark weighty flavours, prune and blackberry fruit, anise, fennel, the savoury pull of tannins provide an appropriate backbone. And it certainly doesn’t relax on the finish. 14.5% alc. A production of 4600 bottles, there will be no 2014 and 2015 releases so grab a couple of these 2013s to last you through the dry spell. Enjoy this with dessert, some dark chocolate or strong aged cheese like reggiano Parmesan or Gorgonzola. 95-96/100.

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Duemani Altrovino 2011, Toscana, Italy

Duemani Altrovino 2011 Merlot Cabernet Franc IGT Toscano Tuscany Italy

AUD$65 from Prince Wine Store. Duemani is owned by a husband and wife duo of Luca D’Attoma and Elena Celli on the coast of Tuscany. Their Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot vines reside on land with unhindered picturesque views of the Mediterranean Sea. A biodynamic operation producing wines of freshness tangled with very fine use of new oak, it reminds me of Vanya Cullen’s Margaret River Bordeaux blends, but the concentrated power swapped out for finesse. Duemani produces three other labels, the Duemani (Cabernet Franc), Suisassi (Syrah) and CiFRA (Cabernet Franc). The Altrovino is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, similar to the Right Bank. Pouring an intense purple ruby colour, scents of warmed blackberry liquor, cherry syrup with a hint of black olive and pinch of dried herbs. Smooth velvet texture, fine cushion of tannins, the acidity kicks in to freshen the palate revealing rich dark berry and cherry flavours. A comfortable finish leaves me wanting the next gulp and the next and the next…! Drink now – 2025. 93.

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