WanderCurtis Wine

Wine tastings, corporate events, reviews and recommendations

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Rockford Basket Press 2000 Barossa Shiraz

It had been 10 years since I last saw Dr Mike Fay.
The last time we met he very generously produced a bottle of Rockford Basket press 2000 Barossa Shiraz from his suitcase, having crossed the globe from Australia.
It was in great condition and was one of the few highlights of my time recovering from spinal surgery. Very much the catalyst to recovery I believe.
A decade later he turned up in Byron Bay a mere 10 hours drive North this time.
With great delight Mike delivered another bottle of Rockford Basket press 2000 Barossa Shiraz. It had been carefully maintained in his self built cellar.
This is one of my all time favourite wines, to get the chance to taste a 20 year old bottle, to share it and catch up with great mates from Junior Doctor jobs at the Wairau hospital was a treat I really never expected.
It didn’t disappoint. Ben, my son’s first reaction was of amazement, ‘what’s this? I’ve never tasted anything like it before’
Mike and I had to keep the bottle closely guarded and rationed it out with great care.
What a nose! Polished saddle leather, tar, lilies, savoury, hint of smoke and still some black fruit, though fading.
On the palate it had the most silky fine tannins a lovely mouthfeel and slipped down too easily.
The perfume developed over the next 15 minutes.. that’s how long the bottle lasted.
Thanks Mike…looking forward to 2030!

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Yalumba Wines of the Barossa Region with Chief Winemaker , Louisa Rose – October 5th

Following Adam’s two week wine tasting tour with Wine Australia in November, we chose some of our favourite wines for this dinner.

Barossa in South Australia is one of Australia’s oldest and greatest wine regions .

We were hosted by Yalumba’s Chief Winemaker Louisa Rose who is  one of Australia’s most experienced and talented winemakers. Her name is synonymous with Viognier in Australia.  In 2014 ‘The Age’ named Lou Australia’s Best Winemaker. Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family-owned winery founded in 1849 and unusually has it’s own cooperage and nursery.

Wines Tasted

Jansz Tasmania Vintage Cuvée 2011

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier

Yalumba The Virgilius Viognier

Yalumba The Scribbler Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz

Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz

Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz

Yalumba The Octavius Shiraz

Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier


Salt & pepper squid, chilli sauce
Pan-fried duck breast, baby vegetables , broccoli & wasabi purée
Chocolate mousse

The Viogniers particularly shone through. The Eden Valley Viognier full of fresh ripe apricots with a lovely texture and finish.

The Virgilius was outstanding. Almost Burgundian with depth texture smokiness long finish and beautiful balance.

This will age well for 10 years.Scored 96 points in a recent Decanter review by Matthew Jukes.


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Wine Australia Tour 2016 – Barossa Valley (I)

There is a strong history and legacy of fortified wine production in Barossa , made in much smaller quantities today.Tawny styles are most common but a full range including sherry styles exist . Seppeltsfield produces stunning examples,their 100 year old para liqueur is world class. A visit to Henschke in Eden Valley and the world renowned Hill of Grace Vineyard one of the oldest single vineyard sites in Australia revealed some of the finest wines of the tour.




Seppeltsfield was established in the Barossa Valley by Joseph and Johanna Seppelt, emigrants of Silesia, just 15 years after the European settlement of South Australia. It was family run until  1984  and returned to private ownership under Warren Randall in 2007. Wine production started  again in 2010




A fascinating tour of the estate included evidence of their own distillery ,vinegar production,Italianate gardens with rows of tropical Phoenix Canaries date palm trees , gravity fed winery built in 1888 with  120 open fermenters,the centennial cellar img_0426with an unbroken lineage of Tawny, every vintage from 1878 to current year.It’s only winery in the world to release a 100 year old single vintage wine each year.We also explored  the vast solero nursery cellars containing a whole range of Apera.




img_0437Tasting notes

Dp 117 dry flor apera aged 7 yrs green  olive salty mineral nutty bone dry hay Long. palomino

DP 116 aged flor apera 16 yrs amontillado style med sweet 24 g/l salty savoury nuts walnuts  biological and oxidative palomino

DP rich rare apera 18 yrs 3.6 Baume all oxidative palomino Grenache citrus walnuts long finish sl lower ph


Para grand tawny GSM 10 yrs brandy spirit fortified small oak smooth sweet long toffee coffee raisin 9 Baume

DP57 grand tokay 10 yrs min muscadelle small oak ageing lovely nose tea leaf++Toffee sweet smooth raisins long  picked 18 Baume fortified high strength neutral to 17% luscious 230 g/l

DP63 Grand Muscat brown Muscat 10 years min,aromatic rich fruit cake

Next the highlight of the morning, a visit to the Century cellar …

We chose the barrel with  our birth year, unhappily giving away my age I crept to the

1968  Port Prune raisin toffee thick viscous luscious coffee fruit cake img_0452

clove antique stoor smell rancio spice

1916 100 yr old port wow very viscous tar like rich Cardamom,

clove ,antique furniture, leather, spice, luscious coating glass

Lunch followed at Fino in the gardens surrounded by  the most alluring aroma of orange blossom.



Visit to Henschke,  Eden Valley.

Eden Valley is higher than Barossa valley at 400-500m, the ripening  is one to two weeks later, the wines may exhibit more distinctive varietal flavours and  higher acidities

img_0468Tasting in Julius room with Stephen Henscke

Julius Riesling  2016 from 1952 plantings

2016 drought year crisp lemon lime blossom

Julius Riesling 2004 wow,petrolic nose lemon, lime intensity palate rich texture and persistence

continentality, diurnal variation keeps aromatics lime character Eden may have greater ageing

Croft Chardonnay 2015

Restrained pineapple, subtle citrus pear, apple hint vanilla from 25% new oak sl more texture Adelaide hills higher cooler good acid core

Giles Pinot Noir 2014 Adelaide hills1/3 new oak.Beautiful nose wild strawberry and raspberry compote floral rose Lilly herbaceous fine soft tannins long focused finish

Henry’s seven 2015 Mix Shiraz Grenache Mataro Viognier, cherry spiced plums dried marjoram herbs pepper floral violets elegant lighter style fine silky tannins

Keyneton Euphonium 2013 cab sac Shiraz merlot cassis blackberry menthol eucalyptus sage cedar liquorice pepper spicy black palate same long fine silky tannins

Cyril Henschke 2012 78 cab sac 15 cab franc 7 merlot blackcurrant Leaf cassis cedar cigar box floral violets long silky fine grained tannins length persistence rich texture great +++

Cyril Henschke 2002 75 cab sav, cab franc and merlot .Double decanted pronounced  smell as poured .powerful aromas cassis violets floral savoury meat blood long +++ wow

Mount Edelstone Shiraz 2012 100 % 100 yr old Shiraz vines pronounced nose cassis menthol blueberry ripe plum bay leaf cedar black pepper long velvety tannins soft textured length opened 24 hrs ago

Hill of Grace 2010  App 700 dollars per bottle  100% shiraz pre phylloxera from mid 1800’s. 65% new 35% seasoned hogsheads for 18 months.Dark complex spices pepper 5 spice exotic liquorice sage cedar crushed herbs  bay leaf menthol long silky fine grained tannins

We drove out to the  Hill of Grace Vineyard , single vineyard shiraz ancestor Vines dating from 1860’s.

We were allowed entry only after our  feet were dipped in anti-phylloxera mixture. Prue is responsible for the meticulous, innovative viticultural management incorporating organic techniques , biodynamic composts , native grasses ,flower gardens and an insectaria.


Evening party hosted by  John and Jan Angas at Hutton Vale Farm.

In attendance Prue and Stephen Henschke , Kin Teusner (Teusner) , Peter schell (Spinifex),Brett Grocke (Esperosa)

Ben Radford (Rockford)

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Branson Coach House Shiraz Greenock Barossa Valley 2005 South Australia

bchFull on , massive , you can almost chew it.

If you enjoy a blockbuster Barossa Shiraz this is for you. Along the lines of an Amarone.

Delicious , lovely more unidimensional than hoped for but great body , length , intensity which

make it a worthy New Year 2014 wine of the month , though lacking in complexity.

Available via Exelwines and Cellarlink