WanderCurtis Wine

Wine tastings, corporate events, reviews and recommendations

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Burgundy 2016 en primeur Tasting Notes

We are delighted to announce that Stuart Grostern has joined our team at WanderCurtis.

Stuart has an exceptional palate to match his cellar. His excellent tasting notes  and recommendations spanning 15 years can be found on the Wine Spectator Forum under BirDungy. Below is his valuable insight into Burgundy en primeur 2016.

After having to miss the entire 2015 vintage tasting due to unreasonable work responsibilities, I have rebounded to attend the annual Berry Bros and Rudd Burgundy en primeur tasting. I was fortunate to have arrived early enough to taste some but not all of the greatest wines there, notes below on approx 40 wines.

To start, I think everyone has heard that 2016 was a year badly affected by frost which drastically reduced crop size in some vineyards by as much as 90%. The wines are, therefore, harder to get good allocations of and up (again, especially coupled with Brexit GBP devaluation vs. EUR) in price. However, many of the wines I tasted were beautiful and highly expressive of their place, open to taste, and showing very well during the tasting. Against this, given the ever changing complexion of the region, many new makers are on the rise, with many established makers extending their reach beyond their typical villages. This is not always a good thing, as I found a real mix of newer names, some excellent, and some not so, to be evident from this tasting.

Reds were, in general, open for tasting, fruit driven and well-balanced. I found quite a lot of barrel influence in evidence, even at the villages levels, with some clumsy efforts made especially in those makers who either picked later or tried too hard to find an expression for their wines that didn’t always match the appellation. Some of the villages wines were excellent, and definitely represent the best value IMO. A big shout goes for Ghislaine Barthod’s Chambolle Musigny villages, easily one of the top 3 wines of the night. Morey St Denis also did well and was not very affected by frost. Clos Vougeot in the grands crus stood out. The up and coming winemaker from this tasting for me was Jerome Castagnier, whose wines were all beautiful and full of life.

I have bought across the Cote de Nuits apart from NSG (no real reason), and have not focused on whites because I just have too much white Burgundy and do feel now that some of the newer world chards from NZ (esp) and cooler climate Aussie whites are so close in quality at a fraction of the price that I just couldn’t bear adding any more.

I only tasted a handful of whites, so I don’t have a lot to say here. Colleagues of mine did taste more and liked the vintage, which is reputed to have produced good quality whites across the spectrum, more akin to the 2014 vintage.

Here are the notes:


Pommard, Clos des Epeneaux, 1er cru

Concentrated purple fruit nose, emitting strong dark grape essence. In the mouth, medium bodied, more purple concentrated fruit, grapey, with fantastic balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. Very long finish. Excellent wine, seem to have hit the nail on the head with this wine.


Santenay, Clos Rousseau 1er cru

Red fruit nose of raspberry, dried roses, and a bit of smoke. Very balanced mouthfeel, giving a real sense of elegance matching the nose. This wine is pure and honest, is what it is and represents excellent value at approx. £38/btl all in. One of my favourite wines of the tasting.

Charmes Chambertin grand cru

Beautiful light red fruit nose, powdery, perfumed with sweet flowers with an underlying concentration of fruit belying some power. A wonderful balance of fruit, tannin and acidity, with a hint of animal savoury flavour. This wine has perfect balance, and its name is apt for its charm. Excellent.


Chassagne Montrachet, Embazees 1er cru

Very strong ripe fruit nose, with vanilla essence. Very honeyed in the mouth, showing the pear and pineapple fruita but perhaps too much. I think this is overripe for my taste. Not sure how well this will age.

Meursault Genevrieres 1er cru

Very strong vanilla influence on the nose, overpowering. IN the mouth, overpowered by the vanilla essence, leaving an overly sweet cloying flavour. Again, not to my taste and not clear how well this will age.

Volnay Clos de la Cave des Ducs 1er cru

Darker fruit nose with caramel and vanilla. In the mouth, tart fruit with good concentration and acidity. Very elegant, and nicely balanced. A beautiful wine, very very good.

Pommard Rugiens-Haut 1er cru

A darker Pommard character shines out, slightly animal with purple fruit nose. The palate is lighter initially and then gives way to concentrated fruit, followed by bigger hit of acidity than the Volnay. A drying finish, and then a touch of ox that perhaps gives the sense of over enthusiasm with barrels.


Vougeot Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot 1er cru (white)

Slightly charred nose, but giving the essence of chardonnay. Sweet tart fruit, wonderful depth and concentration, perfect balance of acidity and fruit, an absolutely stunning wine. Outstanding.

Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles

Slightly ox’d nose, cloves, a little cloying. Good fruit concentration, drying tannins. This wine needs more time.

Clos de Vougeot grand cru

Very smokey nose, slightly animal, dark fruit with some perfume showing but quite closed for the vintage. Silky tannin mouth, wonderful on the palate with a good slug of wood offsetting the clearly ripe tart fruit and the acidity, leaving a very well balanced wine. Finishes with darker fruit. Very Very good.


Chambolle Musigny Les Cras

Very pale in colour compared to most other wines. Gamey with red cranberry juice, strawberry jam and cinnamon – almost not a wine nose but something from my pantry. Strawberry jam flavour, with good acidity against the fruit, but not a lot else. Not very complex. Good

Nuits St Georges Clos des Argillieres 1er cru

A bit of horseradish, vanilla, strawberry jam, with a slightly smokey edge nose. Good tart fruit, nicely balanced strawberry and cherry with some spices and tea. Mid weight on the palate, long finish, and well balanced. Very very good.


Nuits St Georges Clos de la Marechale 1er cru

Strong fruit nose, grape koolaid or juice, and very purple. Tart fruit set against good acidity with very drying tannins. Very well balanced fruit and acidity, leaving this feeling effortless. Long finish. Very very good – this wine is often impossible to taste at this stage, quite sulfuric, and needing more bottle time so quite a good showing for a long sleeper.


Vosne Romanee

Typical Vosne nose hits you straight out of the glass, cherry, tea, vanilla, earth, animal. Ripe dark fruit, a bit sherbety with real concentration and power. Chewy tannins balanced by the fruit and acidity. A very lovely wine, very very good.\

Vosne Romanee Aux Malsoncourts 1er cru

More closed than the villages with subtle cherry, roses and tea leaves. A riper fruit palate, sweet cherry with some fat, and strong concentration of sherbet powder on the very long finish. Excellent.


Vosne Romanee

Cherry candy nose with a whiff of animal. Concentrated raspberry with a strong taste presence, finishing slightly bitter with mid length – typical Grivot young wine. Very good.

Nuits St Georges, Les Pruliers 1er cru

Darker roaster nose of cassis. Taut palate with very concentrated dark fruit – a driven wine with strong acidity and a long finish. Very very good.

Clos de Vougeot grand cru

Voluptuos nose of fruit and flowers, complex bouquet of flowers and vanilla. Strong cherry fruit with some animal essence, spices, cassis, dark cherry, just bags of fruit here. A strong barrel influence for this young wine, tannins in force but well balanced, with a slightly drying bitter finish. A beautiful sweet long finish screams balance. Wonderful.


Vosne Romanee

Cough medicine and sour cherry nose, smells like it’s slightly oxidised. Same in the mouth. Bleh.


Chambolle Musigny

Sappy fruit, violets, and raspberry, with purple fruit in the nose. A darker wine than usual. Very concentrated but supple fruit, with an underlying power that finishes super long. Just a beautiful make you want to cry wine. Excellent.

Chambolle Musigny Les Baudes 1er cru

There is an extra dimension of florality on this compared to the villages that is in addition to everything the villages has, including a bit more vanilla. This is such an elegant wine, precise, long – a real wow wine with a slightly hot finish. Wow.


Gevrey Chambertin

Grape bubblegum nose, essence of grape Koolaid. Taste is similar, with concentrate grape jelly, but much weight in the mid-palate, which doesn’t live up to what the nose tells me I will get. Sweet and tart fruit, very nice balance but is this really from Gevrey?? Tastes more like Volnay to me

Gevrey Chambertin Les Evocelles

Similar nose but wutg more concentration. More fruit in the mouth, with good acidity balanced against the tannins with a bit more weight and length than the villages. Good but again, not really GC to me.


Charmes Chambertin grand cru

Very ripe raspberry and cherry nose, with flowers and earth. A beautiful nose with hints of tea. Sweet ripe cherry fruit, with strong acidity balancing it out, and tannins just so. A beautifully balanced wine. Excellent.

Clos de Vougeot grand cru

A subdued nose with a bit of horse hair, purple fruit like cassis. Super concentrated ripe fruit, tart acidity. Medium bodied, very precise and long. The tannins are chewy and balance well against the fruit and acidity. A super wine. Excellent


Morey St Denis Vieilles Vignes

Purple fruit with some animal, really sexy nose. Concentrated tart fruit, with good acidity and beautiful tannins. A really well balanced wine with a linear fruit taste profile. Very very good.

Morey St Denis Les Faconnieres

Just like the VV but with more animal essence in the nose, just a lovely wine to breathe. Dark syrupy fruit of cherry and raspberry, very concentrated with a bit of fat sweetness and a good finish. Wonderful wine. Excellent


Morey St Denis

Lifted nose of fruit, flowers and vanilla essence, concentrated grape juice and cinnamon. A beautiful fruit expression of concentrated grape juice like the nose. Strong acidity is well balanced by the tannins. A great wine. Excellent

Clos des Lambrays grand cru

Nose much more closed, with some hints of the MSD. A super charged concentrated wine, perfectly balanced between ripe tart fruit, silky tannins, and acidity, finishing slightly hot. Amazing. Excellent


Gevrey Chambertin Symphonie

Raisined nose characteristic, still a bit sulfury and a bit dirty on the nose. Concentrated drier fruit of prunes and raisins with good acidity and tannins. Was this picked too late?? Ok

Gevrey Chambertin Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes

Nose of dried fruits, cloves, raisins, with some horse hair and earth. Concentrated sweet and tart fruit, with a better palate than nose, showing cloves and spices. Very good balance and long finish. Very very good.


Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes

Overty oaky nose, over dominates the rest. Clumsy oaky wine with drying tannins that really needs a lot more time in bottle. Not knit. Clumsy.

Chapelle Chambertin grand cru

Charred smokey nose, with cherries and flowers, very pretty. Sweet ripe fruit, vanilla and spices but a bit lightweight in body. Nice concentration of fruit but more pretty than substantial. Drying finish. Very good.

Chambertin grand cru

Charred smokey nose, lots of barrel, with horse/manure, animal, earth and cloves hiding the fruit in the nose. Sweet fat fruit, fresh raspberry and cherry with good acidity enclosing the fruit. Strong tannins with a slightly hot finish,. Good balance and very long. Very very good.

Hope you enjoyed these.

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Sensational Stellenbosch. May 2017 – day 1

Our first tasting in Stellenbosch was at the magnificent  Tokara Estate  owned by GT Ferreira , situated  at the crest of the Helshoogte Pass. The exceptional location allows panoramic views over Olive Groves, valleys and Mountains from Simonsberg to Table Mountain. The  tasting room has a huge stone fireplace and contemporary architecture, there’s also a sculpture garden delicatessen and restaurant.





We were greeted by Karl the GM and Suzanne .This stunning property has 60 hectares of vineyards and was built in 1999 with first vintage in 2001. Grapes are sourced from a variety of sites including the lovely Elgin Sauvignon blanc on a site which was a fruit farm. 2007 to 2016 ten year tasting shows exceptional development of these wines Back vintages are stored in a monumental four storey cylindrical cellar hidden behind a vast cast iron door off the tasting room .

Luckily I was inquisitive enough to encourage Carl to not only give us a peek inside but also to sneak out the delightful 2006 Directors reserve Semillon.

Tokara is named after the owners 2 children Distribution is mainly in Holland U.K. Germany. ABS wines distribute in the U.K The German market is very big partly due to historical factors , the Germans colonized SW Africa.25% of  Somerset West has German owned homes


Wines tasted.

Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin 2016 Sauvignon Blanc

Elderflower floral citrus peach , crisp good length persistence balance


Tokara Reserve Collection Chardonnay 2015

Naturally fermented .15% Pineapple tropical fruit .Butter vanilla toast oak 95 points best in SA 27 % new oak .

Tokara Directors Reserve 2014

70 Sauvignon Blanc 30 Sémillon High altitude 500 m Rich barrel fermented textured .wet hay lemons musty earthy

Tokara 2006 Directors Reserve Semillon

Carl plucked from secret cellar Rich pétrolic flinty gunsmoke texture full lovely pickled lemon

Tokara Reserve  Syrah 2013

Crushed spice Violets soft tannins savoury

2013 directors reserve red

Merlot Petit Verdot others Cedar cigar box tobacco . Long lovely soft tannins Long finish

Tokara Directors reserve Potstill Brandy Another special treat from Karl

floral dry fig and raisins





Delaire Graff Estate


The high altitude vineyard on the slopes of Botmaskop was originally a lookout for boats entering Table Bay Harbour .

No expense was spared on their multifaceted property, with   a winery, two restaurants, a lifestyle boutique,a diamond store, a five star lodge and spa transformed by Laurence Graff founder and chairman of Graff Diamonds International Ltd.

The cellar is one of the most advanced and well equipped in the Southern Hemisphere the first wines made in 2008.

Wines Tasted on the terrace


Cabernet franc rose 2016

strawberry crisp fresh finish

Delaire Graff Sauvignon Blanc 2015

beautifully fresh hint gooseberry and lemon

Delaire Graff  Sauvignon Blanc coastal cuvée Olifants river 2015

3 km from sea has 4% sémillon Franschoek Textured structured great mouthfeel length gooseberry tropical fruit

Delaire Graff Banghoek reserve Chardonnay 2015

vanilla peaches toast long 10 months French oak barriques seductive nose long lingering finish

Delaire Graff Swartland Chenin Blanc 2015

Honey citrus

Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2015

Alcohol stands out Tomato leaf nose cassis soft tannins Needs another year or more




Kleine Zalze Estate


Winemaking dates back to 1695 . Now run by ex lawyer Kobus Basson with extensive renovation and modernization.The property includes an 18 hole golf course a luxury residential developments a boutique hotel and a top Provençal inspired restaurant

Terroir Dinner with Anthony van schalkwyk atTerroir restaurant

Four clearly defined ranges exist . the foot of Africa range , The cellar selection range , the vineyard range and their flagship family reserve range.

Wines tasted with dinner

Vintage 2009 Blanc De Blanc Methode cap classique.

Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2015

Family Reserve, Cabernet 2012

Family Reserve Shiraz 2012

For full tasting notes see details from our wine dinner in London with Kleine Zalze .

I highly recommend this as a destination to base yourselves in Stellenbosch, complete with infinity pool , majestic views , mountain bike trail , excellent restaurant and easy access to wineries .

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Chateau Haut Condissas – punching well above its weight!

It’s really not that hard to find great wines: go for a prestigious region, select one of the big names, just check that it has a good score from an international critic or two and bingo! As long as of course you don’t mind paying through the nose……  And in Bordeaux the wines have steadily been extracting larger and larger amounts through said nasal passage to the point at which they are now truly eye watering.

Which is why I have been a fan of ChateIMG_9919au Rollan de By for many years, it is a reliably delicious Cru Bourgeois from the Medoc, worthy of aging for a few years and sold at a very fair price.  So I was intrigued to hear that proprietor Jean Guyon (who also owns Chateau Greysac & a few others) also makes a more ambitious wine at Chateau Haut Condissas with the aim of rivalling the classified growths.

Arriving at a recent vertical tasting of the wines the very air in the room was scented with plums, cigar box and coco powder, a very promising start and the wines did not disappoint.

IMG_9922Wine maker Olivier Dauga (who used to work at Sociando de Mallet another of my favourite Medoc producers) explained that his goal is to achieve fine tannins by avoiding too much extraction, the fruit should be in the fore with the wood in a supporting role & not the other way around. His philosophy is that good grapes make good wine very good grapes make very good wines. The vineyards of Haut Condissas are to the very north of the Medoc near the Atlantic on the plateau de By close to the river bar.

These are rich merlot driven wines but have an unusually high proportion of around 20 % Petit Verdot.  This gives the wines colour & spice and extra freshness but they have to be careful as PV can give green tannins. Made without aeration or filtration in a very pure way with 100% new oak of which 10% American. The chateaux believe that affordability is important for high quality wines in the Medoc.

Haut Condissas 1999. Nice cigar box nose with red fruit berries. In the mouth medium body, fresh, light red fruit, more cedar, soft slightly powdery tannins & medium length. At its peak I would have thought but still full of life. Lifted & Refined. Very good. Returning later vegetal notes had developed.

Haut Condissas 2009. A hot year. Ripe plums, red fruit, faint cloves and smoke on the nose. Full body, medium + acid, more plums, cooked red fruit, some more cloves, coco powder, toasty, ripe soft tannin, and a long finish. 14% alcohol so a big wine but finely balanced. Excellent.

Haut Condissas 2010. Beautiful scented nose of red fruit, cedar and smoke, clove. On the palate: lovely & cool balanced, medium body, good fruit, lifted, tasty lashings of toast and spice. Very long. Excellent.  Returning later ground coffee & forest fruit compote.

Haut Condissas 2013. A Kosher wine – This is made in a different way observing the Sabbath & according to Judaism’s dietary laws.

There was a lot of rain in 2013 the wine is light in colour and intensity. More fruit driven nose with black plum & coco. Lighter body fruit, some toast and vanilla, slightly more angular tannin. Very drinkable. Very good.

Haut Condissas 2014. On the nose red fruit, some black berries, spice, smoke. In the mouth great balance, lifted and fresh, full fruit, nice spice, ripe tannin. Long a Lovely wine. Excellent.

Haut Condissas 2005.60% Merlot, 20% Petit Verdot,10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. On the nose rich ripe fruit, smoky, coco & vanilla, forest floor an intense & complex nose. On the palate: lovely texture, medium plus body, more opulent than others, developed with mature flavours, leather, loam etc. with a lovely fruit core, holt chocolate. Very complex & vibrant. Great length and good freshness.  Gorgeous! An outstanding wine.

The chateau bottled a small quantity of single varietal wines from each of the grape varieties in the 2005 blend and in a brilliant twist to the normal wine tasting invited us to produce our own blend.IMG_9921

2005 100% Merlot. Dusty coco and plum nose, not particularly intense. Gorgeous fruit pie and chocolate shake, full body, powdery coating tannins. Medium acid.

2005 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Clove, indistinct fruit on nose. Cool, refined great structure, high acid, full body, long.

2005 100% Cabernet Franc. More delicate fruit raspberries etc. Bit of smoke. Beautiful fruit, fresh, refined, long & lifted wow! Light tannin and light structure.

2005 100% Petit Verdot. Spicy slightly funky with dark and stewed intense fruit, clove & lots of tannin.

My blend: 25% Merlot 25% CS, 40% CF, 10% PV. Slightly less open than actual blend, showing the austerity of CS and lighter fruit & high notes of CF.

It was fascinating to taste each varietal in its mature state and experiment with how each component adds to the blend.  Interestingly the only wine which really stood on its own two was the Cabernet Franc & the 2005 blend was far and away greater than the sum of its parts.

The 2005 and 2010 are still available at around £30- £35 per bottle by the case which for back vintages of an outstanding wine is great value!

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Champage Gosset dinner. It’s not about the bubbles, but they help!

Ahead of our Champagne Gosset wine dinner in the club room at Fredericks Odilon de Varine chief wine maker & deputy MD talked to Kiran about his wine making approach.

There followed another memorable wine diner with each course of the menu designed to complement the wines.

Adam Wander menu.crtr

Highlights included the way the toasty & nutty notes of the Grande Reserve were complimented by the pan fried herb gnocchi with Pecorino sauce and the way the Bream, mushrooms and cream worked with the superbly refined and complex & yet fresh Celebris 2004. Matches made in Heaven!


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Wine Australia Tour November 2016 – Barossa Valley (II)

Barossa is home to some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world dating back to the 1840’s.They are typically full bodied with ripe plush tannins.The very best examples moderate this natural richness with balanced acidity and focused pure fruit character .Shiraz is the Variety of the region and occupies 50% of plantings , but there are significant Cabernet Sauvignon plantings especially in the cooler sites.Grenache is also popular either as a single varietal or blended with Shiraz and Mourvedre.

Barossa Old Vine Vineyard Visits and Tastings hosted by the Barossa Grape & Wine Association

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Langmeil winery  has the worlds oldest surviving Shiraz vineyard from 1842.Langmeil started by Christian Auricht fleeing Persecution in Prussia.

2014 Jackamans Cabernet Sauvignon 1960 planting 2 tonnes per acre low yield,Mint cassis spice length smooth lovely tannins

2014 Orphan Bank Shiraz  beautiful transplanted vines, saved from developers bulldozer,  dates  from 1858  perfumed nose,chocolate spice concentrated  finish of candied sweets

The Freedom Shiraz 2014 from 1843 vines !Smoky toasty blueberry complex herbs sage leaves dried  delicious long +++ complex savoury and herbacous  wow !! Trophy wine

The Freedom Shiraz 1998 Some tertiary leather spice herbs lighter colour

Kalleske old vine Grenache 2015 wild yeast open fermenters old oak rose floral raspberry sweets on finish soft chalky tannins beautiful finish and balance

Kalleske old vine Shiraz 2009 single vineyard from 1875 low yield unirrigated organic biodynamics open fermentation wild yeast 2 yrs barrel.Dark fruit savoury meat charm elegant length +++ amazing wines all.


Elderton vineyard  with Cameron and Allister Ashmead


Elderton 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon Ashmead 1870 cab vines.Plum spice cedar cigar box tobacco mint soft chalky tannins

Elderton 2014 cab sav  Ashmead

Liquorice herbaceous cassis hint green bell pepper soft chalky tannins length ++++ goes on and on sustaining very well made

Elderton Command 2002 single vine 1894

Mocha leather tobacco herbaceous 100 new oak French turmeric nutmeg spice floral on finish fine silky tannins

Elderton 2012 Command cassis liquorice long spicy finish pepper chocolate


Torbreck with Scott Mcdonald Winemakerimg_0630

Torbreck Runrig 2006  Shiraz viognier not coferment 2.5 yrs French oak  50% new herbaceous medicinal creosote cough syrup spice soft mouth coating ripe tannins sustained long spicy finish

Torbreck Runrig 2013 as above current release chocolate coffee black fruit liquorice complex full bodied incredible concentrated depth

Schwarz wine company

Old bastard Kaesler Shiraz 2013

Mineral plaster limestone blackberry sl lactic blueberry soft velvety ripe tannins long and complex

Old bastard 2010 1893 almost black initially closed opened up with black fruits and pepper good backbone soft chalky tannins admirable structure and balance hint of cocoa on finish.Old vine as no phylloxera.Long roots low yield

The Schiller 2014 Shiraz sl composty nose earth animal meaty savoury low tannins soft

Toby St Hallett old block 2013 made since 198o oldest 1870 up to 1906 vines.Floral sweet cherry bright red fruit seamless soft velvety tannin


Cirillo  Marco 2011 ancestor old vine Grenache   Med body red floral lifted fruits perfumed elegant nose wild strawberry raspberry rose soft silky tannins beautifully integrated long long finish balance superb oldest producing Grenache vineyards in world

1848 Cirillo old vine sémillon Sandy citrus crisp hay wet crisp acid

1853 Hewitson  Barossa Mourvèdre 2013 Med ruby,star anise spice soft silky tannins lovely balance length spice nutmeg turmeric herbal  rosemary



Jane Ferrari met us at the Cirillo vineyards and gave us a history lesson of Barossa. img_0690

Jane has great enthusiasm for the region  and explain how lots of  old plantings were initially for fortified wine to supply the  British empire.

Yalumba nursery –  We took part in Omega Grafting joining rootstock to desired cuttings.

Tasted 3 clones Shiraz made same way exactly Bvovs10 115 yr old,Bvov 60 yr old, Bvov age unknown

and discussed therole of epigenetics passing on features, changing RNA/DNA by external factors.



Heggies lunch by the lake with Peter Gambetta and winemakers-Chardonnay  and Riesling Masterclass.

Another gourmet lunch in the most serene setting. The wine selection of the highest precision and quality




img_0749Heggies Chardonnayimg_0745

2013, 2010, 2006, Reserve 2006

Pewsey vale Riesling

2016 and Contours 2011




Yalumba  Cooperage tour and Cabernet-Shiraz blends tasting.

A discussion on why blend ? Cab sav needs support /Lots Shiraz available gives mid palate richness/Mid palate depth when young.

Yalumba the scribbler 2013 Goat cheese animal soft chalky tannins simple not much length intensity

Yalumba the signature 2013 premium blend   Cassis cedar blueberry chalky tannin young

Yalumba the signature 2006 Concentrated dried fruit nose cassis prune violet floral pepper smooth long depth soft sl chalky tannins long raisin finish sprinkling cocoa powder +

Yalumba FDR1A 2012 Gamey nose blueberry tannins chalky Med plus intensity young needs time

Yalumba FDR1A 2008 Cassis chocolate violet liquorice herbal soft tannins length cedar leather,Change from densely extracted powerful dark wines to lighter style fragrant purity

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This had been a full day so far but was still in it’s infancy as we then headed North to Clare Valley and a memorable dinner with Peter Barry and family ….

Reflections on the day

Old vine wines really are worth all the hype .

Tasting wines in the vineyard adds to the experience and is a great idea.

I was surprised to see eminent wine tasters order and served coffee during a tasting.

Quality of wine is important but quality of company is more , Peter Barry is a hoot, have a box of funny hats available at dinner parties, full details to follow in the  Clare valley review…..


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Wine Australia Tour November 2016 Mclaren Vale (II)

Mclaren Vale Shiraz exhibits a range of sub-regional styles . They are typically medium to full bodied with vibrant pure fruit,blueberry, chococlate and spice . Sustainability is an increasingly important issue here especially regarding water availability . A trip to Battle of Bosworth demonstrated a trend to organic wine production.

The day started early in the Serafino Cellar room with a ‘speed dating’ Shiraz session.

Tintara with Paul Carpenter

img_0310These wines had a lovely tannin structure aided by open fermentation, basket press, hand plunging.

Tintara- Upper Tintara  Shiraz 2013

Only 500 cases made delicious sweet berry nose , 25% new oak, good  acid tannin  balance chocolate coffee blackberry

Eileen hardy 2013

112 yrs old vineyard  dead arm is a  problem  approx. $110 dollars/bottle  dark Berry complex +++





Serafino with Russell Gallagher and Charles Whish

Serafino Sorrento  3 km from coast

Their entry level shiraz, fruit forward savoury herb sage spice

Serafino Black Label

Spice nutmeg  soft fruit cinnamon , spice,  chocolate baking spice , clove length complexity +

Coriole with Alex Sherrah

img_0318Coriole Shiraz 2014  app $30 dollars soils are  600 million year limestone with just one foot of topsoil

Black berry fruit spice liquorice pepper

Lloyd Shiraz 2013

100 year old   vines planted in 1919, hand picked

Deep ++ dark spice open fermentation more oxidative piégeage  pump over.

Very complex- dark chocolate, coffee, pepper, soft lush ripe tannins , long finish,  baking spices blue berry , barrel 2 yrs French oak non irrigation, yield 2 tonnes per acre ,a few bottles per vine if you’re lucky. +

D’Arenberg with Jack Walton

The laughing magpie 2012 Shiraz viognierimg_0320

Foot treading co fermentation basket pressed app $30

Concentrated fruit, 450 acres biodynamic vineyards, coffee, chocolate, spice, blue fruits grippy tannins, fruit abundant

The Dead Arm 2013  app $60

Great balance persistence tannins,15- 20 mins foot treading at 4 Baume ,basket pressed

Brad Rey , Zontes Footstep

img_0323Chocolate factory chocolate core coffe mocha decadent

blackberry and blueberry pie star anise nutmeg.

As part of their sponsorship of Legacy club South Australia

Zonte’s Footstep donates a proportion of each bottle of Z-Force ,

in tribute to the bravery of members of the Z Special Unit



Sam Temme -Wirra Wirra

Cool climate area, boundaries Adelaide Hillsimg_0324

Catapult Shiraz 200 m above sl, fragrant  viognier french oak juicy berry perfumed aromatic style blueberries

Whaite Old Block scarce  earth programme,1975 Blewitt Springs

floral perfume tannin structure

RSW 2014  Flagship  wine named after the  original owner, grown on  sandy soils with bit of black clay

Elegance balance floral hand picked open ferment ,4 day cold soak , basket press French oak30% new,8 /9 days ferment

Blood iron power elegance  still a baby 2014.

Battle of Bosworth with Joch Bosworth

img_0327Puritan Shiraz 2016 no added sulfur,organic

Raspberries violets pretty floral purple sl reductive joven style it is filtered not natural

Battle of Bosworth Shiraz 2014

Floral elegant closed some smoke coffee

Learning points -less oak less time less new, fine grain.

Site specification leading to more elegance and  structure

Soursop weeds encouraged help  strip surface moisture.


A truly indulgent lunch with Steve Maglieri and winemakers  at Serafino’s fine winery restaurant.


Visit to  Battle of Bosworth, Sustainability session.

img_0350Location bordering Adelaide Hills , single vineyard wines

Settled 1836 first grapes 1838 lots organic viticulture the climate is ideal

Underground water  used for drip irrigation.

Sustainable , optimum watering needs worked out by hydrologist.

Also reclaimed water from Southern suburbs Adelaide  50% water for vineyard

600 mm / year rainfall

Soursop bulbs encouraged (South African weed helps aerate soils)We together with fungal hyphae


We had a live demonstration of Joch’s drone used to scare off birds and reduce reliance on netting.

Tasting of  Chardonnay , Rose Shiraz, Cab Sauvignon and some interesting varietals –

Touriga Nacional floral ++vibrant red berries   8 yrs on 30 yr old rootsimg_0367

Lovely, Med bodied Med tannins ripe soft mod acidity +++

Graciano salty savoury herbal  cherry medicinal

White boar Amarone style  dried on vine cane cut Shiraz Cabernet amarone style 2012 rich lush.

It was a very informative and informal afternoon with the lovely Louise and Joch

which was rounded off perfectly with Louise’s delicious homemade scones!



Dinner Horta on the beach at  Port Noarlunga

Just in case we hadn’t had enough calories today,we  made a trip to Hortas overlooking the Ocean with Seafood, gambas calamari  and spiced Portuguese fish.

Some of the many wine highlights included the  Clonakilla Riesling and the 2007 Tasmanian méthode traditionnelle,7 yrs on lees, and a wide range of the SC Pannell wines.

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Wine Australia Tour November 2016 – Mclaren Vale (I)


McLaren vale’s proximity to the ocean creates substantial meso-climate variation. The wide range of soils from terra rossa to sandy soils around Blewitt springs enable a range of wine styles. Shiraz is king with over 50% of total crush, whilst Cabernet Sauvignon shines in the cooler sites. Many old Grenache vines survive from the late 1800s and more recently there is tremendous experimentation with Mediterranean varieties.

First stop and our base for 2 nights was Serafino  on Kangarilla Road. This beautiful property has majestic gardens, a lake, 200 year old gum trees, swimming pool, luxurious accommodation and an excellent restaurant. Maria Maglieri kindly whizzed me over in her sporty Audi  to our first tasting.img_0256


img_0258Mark Lloyd   planted  Australia’s first sangiovese in 1985, which now comprises 10 per cent of Coriole’s estate output, beside other significant plantings of Barbera, Nebbiolo. There is a new wave of diversification of Australian wine noticeable in this region with a wide range of Mediterranean varietals being experimented.

We were treated to a selection of these wines over the most delicious lunch amidst Coriole’s lovely gardens.



Serafino Fiano 2016 lemon,pear nice texture touch of  tannin, acid crisp. (This varietal  is the one they’re  tipping, it  retains acid in a hot climate, small berries, good texture , good with Asian food and easy to pronounce!)

Angoves Fiano 2016 – Tinned fruit, lovely  texture.

Coriole Picpoule  Very crisp acid , mouth puckering , Languedoc’s white grape with distinctive character.

Olivers Taranga Vermentino  oranges ,mandarin saline (lees stirring)

Coriole Chenin Blanc 2003 +Beeswax, paraffin honey lush mouthfeel length delicious lucky Mark brought this one out .

After a  brief refreshment back at Serafino we headed to  the Angove family winery for the evening .

img_0277-1Grenache tasting at Angove

‘Grenache is our Pinot’ stated Steve from S.C.Pannel . Steve was clear about his philosophy of expressing the purity of the terroir and grape without any need for the interference of oak or fuller bodied styles. The wines tasted were light to medium bodied, lively juicy wild strawberry and rasberry scented fruit ,perfumed with a touch of spice. These wines really displayed their beauty and are very much the jewel in Mclaren Vale’s crown.



Ministry of Clouds 2015 Grenache red cherries fresh light

Noon eclipse 2015 sl cloudy perfumed rose, hint spice liquorice nutmeg turmeric changed over the hour

Angove 2014 Warboys + +beautiful,complex earth spice perfume savoury smoky

Samuels  Gorge 2014 red fruits strawberry wild lovely length freshness perfume +img_0289

SC pannel Grenache fruits but also smoky meaty savoury rust blood

Yangarra Estate sandy soil bush vines ceramic eggs keeps it cool small cap min oxidation  good tannin acid savouriness structure

Dinner followed, opposite the lovely  Jennifer of  the McLaren vale wine organisation.Another gourmet treat,with trays of sliced shoulder of lamb,pearl barley and selection of Grenache followed by local McLaren vale cheeses .

Reflections of the  day.

The Aussies are refreshingly  direct, friendly, welcoming, passionate and  innovative. They appreciate comments and being open and verbal at tastings.

Watch this space for different varietals in future especially  Fiano and Mencia .

Lighter more restrained terroir driven elegant wines  .. it’s a  young country so still finding their best sites and their feet.

My favourite wines of the tour notified by  +/++/+++