Winebat Tales: Australia

This was my first Winebat blind tasting since I started coming off of the cedar fever, and at the end of the night I didn’t think I was really 100%, olfactory-wise. Damon really Brought It as far as wines in this tasting, and none of them really blew me away.

Since we were tasting wines from a region, rather than a single varietal, we did a flight of whites and a flight of reds. This was a neat exercise in blind tasting to detect varietal, and I did medium-OK considering my nasal handicap. Wines listed in order of preference within each flight:

d’Arenberg “The Hermit Crab” Marsanne/Viognier 2006 ($16): Musky, tropical aromas (almost a moldy pineapple smell) with mango and peach notes. I spotted the Viognier in this right away. On the palate, there was good viscosity, with mineral and quince/pear flavors as well. Good tartness & length. This is a winery I love very much; their long family history in the business and traditional winemaking techniques result in consistent quality that never fails to wow me. I’ve never had a bad bottle of d’Arenberg. Evidently this was also one of the Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2007.

Trevor Jones Virgin Chardonnay 2006 ($23): White grapefruit, apple, canteloupe and white flowers on the nose. Palate is musky again, with lemon this time, as well as peach and a solid mineral backbone. Acidity accelerates the flavors here. Refreshing, with a sweet-tart finish. This is one of those unoaked chardonnays I’m liking so much from Australia these days. Kellermeister Wines makes this lovely white, which Parker gave a 90 pt score to, and they’re located in the Barossa Valley.

Devil’s Lair Margaret River Chardonnay 2005 ($30): Buttery oak & vanilla, accompanied by intense clove and some cream notes, are all over the nose here. All I got on here was oak, oak, and more oak, which thoughtfully allowed some apple and over-ripe pear flavors to squeak through on the long finish. The Spectator review must have had a different experience, as they gave this bottle a 91 and described it as having finesse and elegance. I could very easily have been handicapped by my recovering nostrils, but I did not enjoy this wine at all.

Winebat table settingAnd the reds:

Zonte’s Footstep Shiraz-Viognier 2006 ($16): Up-front blueberry and blackberry aromas here, with a sprig of mint on the side. Nothing fancy, just fruit, fruit and more fruit. On the palate, things got more complicated, with coffee and mocha and muted black currant flavors. I like wines that have a lot of contrast between the nose and the palate, I’ll admit. I also adore Shiraz-Viognier blends, though I did not spot this as having Viognier in it; I didn’t get that lifted quality on the nose that I’m accustomed to. For the money, this is a kick-ass value, though.

Glaetzer Godolphin Shiraz-Cabernet 2005 ($60): Plum, blackberry, vanilla and herbal aromas, with some spicy components as well. Spicy and peppery notes dominate the palate, with a core of sweet raspberry jam. Great texture of mouth-coating glycerin and tannin, and the raspberry flavors persist on the long finish. This was excellent with the veal & mushroom sauce over gnocchi. I talked about Ben Glaetzer once before, when reviewing his Mitolo GAM Shiraz. Parker loved this wine to the tune of a 93 point score, calling it a “beautiful marriage of power and elegance.” The name for this wine changed to Annaperenna in the 2006 vintage.

DeLisio Quarterback Meritage 2005 ($22): Eucalyptus, tobacco, currant, and vanilla on the nose. On the palate, coffee, tar, Sour Patch Kid cherry, crunchy pot soil and vanilla. When it opens up, though, the herb disappears, and the wine gets flabby. This interesting blend is comprised of nearly equal parts of Shiraz, Grenache, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, hence the name Quarterback. Another big scoring wine that ravished Parker’s palate and left mine cold. Am I an Alice Feiring-in-training? Maybe if I study hard and eat all my vegetables…

0 comments

  1. That’s funny — I just read a WS blog post about that Devil’s Lair, and they went on and on about how amazing it was (and what a value). I’m sure your tasting notes are closer to the mark (butter…) and now with the two dissenting voices I’m curious to track this down!

  2. I guess we’re in step on the Footstep. It was my favorite red of the night also, and at $16, a solid value to boot. Sorry about the puns, I really get a kick out of them.

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