Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011 Harvest Festival

After a previous post, I was tempted to try something a little more than wine, jazz & cheese. The first such place visited was Little Bridge Wines, an intriguing quadrumvirate dabbling and seemingly doing well in their efforts. I recommend the site linked above to read of their tale. It is a refreshing change to "Alfred who begot Gertrude who begot Caufield succeeded by Jiminy", if you take my meaning.

Their range includes a Vintage Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Shiraz, Cabernet Blend and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Personally, I was taken with the Riesling and the Cabernets (although the latter may have been inspired by another little Bordeaux-styled number).

It wasn't particularly the wine that drew us there, as I was embarrassingly ignorant of them, nor was it the obligatory "band & cheese" that is the apparent cost of featuring a winery in the Canberra region. The attraction of something novel is what made the decision for us, that novel thing was the opportunity to make wine.

The details were sketchy and barely made more clear prior to arrival, but true to the promise, there were freshly picked Pinot Noir grapes (reportedly of 13.4 Baume). The deal for the day was merely to see to the crushing of the Pinot and the beginning of fermentation. A simple contribution but with the promise of further involvement and ultimately some wine at the end, well worth the effort.

Some other wineries visited on the return journey were Affleck Vineyard, who offered a range of very decent drops at very approachable prices, and Shepherd's Run, who were overrun and not accommodating to our party.

I look forward to more novelty in the future of the Canberra Region.

2010 Penfolds Bin 23 Pinot Noir

For me, this was the pick of the Penfolds Bin Release Tasting. You might find that surprising, considering a previous post, but this is not inconsistent.

The 2010 is only the second release of this Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir in the Bin series. It is designed to be an approachable wine, amply achieved with confectionery on the nose. Red berries on the palate with the softest tannins.

A curious qwoffer, a great starter wine that's easy to drink now and often.

2009 Glaetzer Anaperenna

Following on from the Dutschke, is this big bad Barossan.

Swirling around the glass, it is crimson and leggy. Wafts of plum jam and tastes of red berries, chocolate and coffee. The tannins linger for eternity showing that this goddess of the new year will be lay down for 10+, but you won't be able to...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2001 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon

Nostalgia reigned supreme as I dug this one out of the cellar. The reason that I came to wine was two little Penfolds numbers 128 and 407, albeit a few vintages earlier. It was some years later that I began to be in a position to lay some down and you can be sure that the Bin 407 was amongst the first few of those.

Cracking it out ahead of the impending Penfolds Bin Release Tasting, that was to be the next day, was to be a great idea.

The wine had transformed, no longer the inky purple, now brick red and a faint taste of blueberries. A rusty colour that told of the tannins that used to be sharper but now flat, eroded and nostalgic. The wine tasted of its life, not well cared for, well-travelled transiting from Canberra, through Brisbane to Adelaide and back again to Canberra. It's trip was at an end.

Tasting the new release (2008) it came back. The gateway wine that it was for me, this easy and approachable Cabernet Sauvignon - Drink it now.