Tasting Notes: The New Australian 250

By Jancis Robinson
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Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards, Mclaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards, Mclaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia

In the next part of our series covering Jancis Robinson's tasting notes on The New Australian 250, she enjoys a pinot from Henschke, the winery that never disappoints her palate, and is impressed by the range of styles in the range of single vineyard chardonnary bottlings from Kooyong on the Mornington Peninsula.

The majority of these notes were taken at the Australia Day tasting at the Emirates Arsenal stadium in London in 2008, but they are supplemented by notes on the more distinctive Australian wines tasted over the last few months.

Southern Sisters Reserve Riesling 2005 Clare Valley
16
Drink 2008-10
Heath Wines produces three ranges: Lizard Flat (entry level), Southern Roo (middle tier) and Southern Sisters Reserve (top range) but I tasted only the last of these. Lemon/lime intensity. Dry, crisp and concentrated, just a hint of bitterness at the end, which brought the score down. 13%

Southern Sisters Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Adelaide Hills
16.5
Drink 2008-09
Remarkably fresh for 2005. Fresh green pea and grassy, non-pungent, style. 13% 

Southern Sisters Reserve Old Vine Cabernet 2005 Barossa Valley
15.5
Drink 2008-10
Slightly odd (wet dog?) aromas at first, then better fruit definition on the palate. The fruit is fresh but has a slightly cloying ripe finish. Firm juicy tannins help but do not redeem the slight oddness.

Henschke, Giles Pinot Noir 2005 Lenswood
16
Drink 2007-08 
This is a thoroughly admirable old family company. If you like the sort of wine I do you wil never find a disappointing Henschke wine, even if their Hill of Grace has reached frightening price levels. The Giles Pinot Noir was quite dark and rich for a Piont Noir but some comforting sweet, gentle bottle ages aromatics and a slight syrupiness. Slight hole towards the end of the palate. 

Henschke, Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2004 Barossa
17
Drink 2007-11
Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot blend, the old Keyneton Estate, that’s mellow with an attractive dry finish and some obviously top quality oak. Lovely now though very vigorous still. Dense but not sweet. Slight hint of dustiness – attractive. 14.5%

Hentley Farm, Fool’s Bay, Dirty Bliss 2006 Barossa Valley
16.5
Drink 2008-10
This label is owned by the Hentschke family – no relation to the more famous Henshckes. This mainly Grenache blend with 20% Shiraz reminded me of a Châteauneuf with a little beef extract blended in. It’s got the same light colour and perhaps just a bit more framework. But it’s also impressively fruity and round for the money. A name worth looking out for.

Hope Estate Verdelho 2006 Hunter Valley
16
Drink 2008-09 
Wine from Hope Estate’s three vineyards in the Hunter (NSW), Donnybrook (Western Australia) and Kyneton (Victoria) are made at their new Hunter Valley site. Fruit is trucked in refrigerated vehicles – automatic cold pre-fermentation maceration. The verdelho was peachy and soft, not bone dry (2.3 g/l residual sugar). Good intensity. 13% 

Hope Estate, Yellow Rock Chardonnay 2005 Hunter Valley
16.5
Drink 2008-10
Part barrel fermented. Ripe, slightly buttery nose and still quite marked by oak but with a fine structure and balance peeking through. Toasty finish. 12.5% 

Hope Estate Shiraz 2006 Hunter Valley
16.5+
Drink 2008-10
Fermented and aged in oak. Bright peppery fruit, very peppery. Fine, just firm, tannins. Quite elegant. Rich but fresh. 13.6%

Hope Estate, Victorian Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Victoria
16.5+
Drink 2008-11
This is the first vintage of this wine. Lovely dark chocolate aromas and pure peppery fruit with a cedary freshness. and tight fresh finish. 

Hope Estate, Victorian Shiraz/Malbec 2006 Victoria
16.5 Drink 2008-10 Another first vintage. Sweet, slightly floral and citrus nose then plenty of cassis on the palate. Silky and fine with mouthwatering freshness. (JH) D

Hope Estate, The Ripper Shiraz 2005 W Australia
17
Drink 2008-10
Fermented and aged in 50/50 US and French oak. Sweet cassis fruit but also a little leafy. Silky, fresh and elegant. 14.5%

Kalleske, Clarry’s Red 2006 Barossa Valley
16.5
Drink 2008-10
Kalleske winemaker Troy Kalleske was recently crowned Barossa Winemaker of the Year. Grenache/Shiraz blend. Somy and perfumed and surprisingly light on the palate (in this context) – perhaps more refined than light. Soft cherry fruit. 14% 

Kalleske, Greenock Shiraz 2005 Barossa Valley
17
Drink 2008-12
Made by Tony and Troy Kalleske, sixth generation of Kalleske growers, in Greenock. Average 50 year-old vines. Powerful sweet spicy archetypal Shiraz aromas. Rich, soft and full and beautifully rounded. Alcohol is high but not intrusive. 15.5% 

Jacob’s Creek, Johann Shiraz Cabernet 2001 South Australia
16.5
Drink 2008-12
Not much nose but very solid palate impact. Dry and a little short. 14.5%

Jacob’s Creek, Centenary Hill Shiraz 2003 Barossa Valley
17+
Drink 2006-10
Very opulent and flattering – spreads across the palate and has very rich tobacco flavours, and immense sweetness. Should stand up well to food, 15% 

Kay Brothers Amery Shiraz 2004 McLaren Vale
17
Drink 2007-11
From one of McLaren Vale’s classic top quality wine producers with enviable access to old vines and a great tradition (though one of the first into screwcaps). Excellent value. Full, sleek and tarry. Deeplyu satisfying already. Soft and ready and very natural (no obvious added acid for example). Admirably long. 14% 

Kay Brothers Amery Block 6 Shiraz 2004 McLaren Vale
17++
Drink 2009-15
Tiny production from ancient, low yielding vines that gets 24 months in new American oak usually. Very intense, chewy and claret-like – despite the alcohol level and predominant grape variety. The finish is still dry. Keep this one. 15%

Kay Brothers Amery Hillside Shiraz 2001 McLaren Vale
17
Drink 2009-13
Sweet, round and easy. Very comforting, although it doesn’t yet seem quite ready with its dryness on the finish. Serious wine. 14%

Clonale by Kooyong Chardonnay 2006 Mornington Peninsula
17
Drink 2008-10 
Sandro Mosele’s Pinot and Chardonnay specialist with an emphasis on single vineyard bottlings representing different clones. There is certainly a massive difference in style between the Kooyong chardonnays tried. This one was very lively and fresh with a distinctly burgundian savoury quality. Slightly smoky but not excessively so. Bravo! £14

Kooyong, Estate Chardonnay 2005 Mornington Peninsula
16.5
Drink 2007-09
Milky, buttery, round, Fully open with no shortage of acidity. Less sophisticated than the Clonale bottling above. £18

Kooyong, Faultine Chardonnay 2005 Mornington Peninsula
16.5
Drink 2006-08
Sweet, rich, ready, powerful and long but not for long-keeping. £25

Kooyong, Farrago Chardonnay 2005 Mornington Peninsula
17
Drink 2009-12
Delicate yet lively with green fruit flavours – a sort of Chablis style. Very sophisticated but still pretty tight. Wait. £25

Kooyong, Massale Pinot Noir 2006 Mornington Peninsula
15.5
Drink 2008-09
Rather smudgy, indistinct blend of what’s left from the single vineyard bottlings. Not the most glorious. £na

Kooyong, Estate Pinot Noir 2005 Mornington Peninsula
16.5+
Drink 2009-12
Transparent, distinctive, very aggressively dry – possibly too dry? Still embryonic. £18

Kooyong, Ferrous Pinot Noir 2005 Mornington Peninsula
17.5
Drink 2008-13
Rounder and fruitier than most Kooyong Pinot. Brisk, tingly, full of energy and complete on the palate. Could broach at the end of 2008. Very different from othe other Kooyong Pinots. £25

Kooyong, Haven Pinot Noir 2005 Mornington Peninsula
17
Drink 2011-14
Round and smoky with more than a hint of mushrooms (i e very burgundian!). Very dry and even slightly austere on the palate. Taut. Could do with just a tad more juiciness. Though it is certainly pure. £25

 

 

Reproduced with permission.  © Copyright 2000-2010 Jancis Robinson

 

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