Matthew Jukes’ Top 100 Australian Wine Tasting Review

Last Thursday one of the most anticipated nights of my busy working year so far finally arrived – Matthew Jukes’ 100 Best Australian Wine Tasting. Organised by Corks Out, the award-winning wine and spirit specialists chose the swanky 4* Park Royal Hotel near Warrington to host the next leg of Matthew Jukes’ 100 Best Australian Wines Roadshow.

But who is Matthew Jukes?

Well this is probably the best description of the man himself, taken straight from his website:

“With over 9 million Daily Mail readers a week, Matthew has the most keenly followed wine column in the UK. He also writes a weekly piece for MoneyWeek and occasional articles for The Week and Decanter.

Matthew was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK in 2012 by the Australia Day Foundation. He was also voted the most influential wine writer in the UK by OLN in 2011.

He has won the highly prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Trophy for Wine Communicator of the Year. He is the wine buyer for Bibendum Restaurant, the Masala World group of Indian Restaurants (Chutney Mary, Amaya & Veeraswamy), all in London, and the private wine club Quintessentially Wine.

He is the author of thirteen wine books and the Founder and Patron of Touch Wine & Wine Rules – raising money for homeless charities in Australia.”

So he knows a thing or two about wine, so with nearly two months in the making, and even the first to buy a ticket, I turned up with an open mind and eagerness to try all 32 offerings (including sparkling wines, dessert wines and of course red, white and rose), laid out over two long tables. A Dartington crystal red wine glass was to be our snifter for the evening, and I headed straight for number 1 in the list.

The range of Australian reds available

The wines were laid out in numerical order in the way that Matthew Jukes recommended them to be tried, so below I give you my tasting notes on each with its RRP.

NV Jansz, Tasmania – £15.99

Noted as a ‘party glugger’, it has citrus and sweet strawberry notes on the nose, with a balance of crisp ripe fruit and tangy acidity on the palate to create a light ending.

NV Pirie Estate Brut Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Tasmania – £20.99

A distinct biscuit like nose with a fresh green fruit flavour blending well. Lots of lemon on the palate, with a good dose of digestive biscuits with a moreish effect.

2011 Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills SA – £19.99

The nose encounters fresh grass aromas with hints of apple and lime following soon after. Bold crisp acidity, yet smooth on the palate, with a slight dryness at the end.

2010 Vasse Felix Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Margaret River WA – £14.99

A great burst of green fruits on the nose including apple, lime and lemon which propels over to the palate, with the added addition of lemon grass. Theres a little sweetness as it lingers on.

2010 Hart & Hunter Oakey Creek Semillon, Hunter Valley NSW – £22.95

A clean, refreshing nose, with hits of lemon zest and lime. A sweet taste on the palate with a tang of the citrus creating a short offering.

2010 Tower Estate Semillon, Hunter Valley NSW – £18.95

A clean nose with a subtle lemongrass and apple aroma, whilst the palate enjoyed a fresh, crisp with lots of fruit flavours dancing around and a small hint of spice.

Turkey Flat Rose 2011

2005 McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, Hunter Valley NSW – £10

A bold acidic nose with slight notes of passionfruit slowly making an appearance. The palate has flavours of strong citrus, but softens with a waxy texture on the tongue that leads to a dry aftertaste.

2010 Yalumba Y Series Viognier, SA – £10.50

Chosen out of 4 possible Viognier candidates, it has a slight sweetness on the nose with the combination of fresh ginger and honey. The sweetness carries over to the palate, with a slight boldness of pineapple that leads to a smooth finish.

2010 Fox Gordon Princess Fiano, Adelaide Hills SA – £15.99

A ripe, bold offering of pineapple and grapefruit on the nose, with tropical fruits and peach combining well to create a sweet, smooth aftertaste with a slow dryness.

2010 Pewsey Vale Riesling, Eden Valley SA – £12.75

A slight oily scent on the nose, mixing with rich fruit. Very ripe on the palate that also has noticeable favours of lemon and lime.

2010 Skillogalee Riesling, Clare Valley SA – £18.50

Hints of garden orange on the nose that develops into more citrus flavours than orange on the palate, with a hint of blackberry. A great lingering finish.

2005 Peter Lehmann Reserve Wigan Riesling, Eden Valley SA – £18.50

Stong on the nose with lots of flavours of lime and citrus. Subtle lime on the palate however, with honey flavours combining well for an easy drinker.

2010 Chapel Hill Unwooded Chardonnay, McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills SA – £13.99

Clean citrus, with subtle flavours of fresh grass on the nose, with a slight tangy acidic flavour on the palate.

2010 Innocent Bystander Chardonnay, Yarra Valley VIC – £13.50

A fresh note of dried grass with a slight blend of hazelnut coming through. A bold palate venture of strong lemon with a slow hint of lime freshness on the aftertaste.

2010 Ocean Eight Verve Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula VIC – £24.50

Lots of delicate notes of fresh nuts, with light cloves mixing well on the nose. A very fresh enjoyment for the palate, with lots of grapefruit and lime flavours creating a slight dryness on the aftertaste. Very drinkable.

NV Jansz & NV Pirie Estate Brut

2008 Giant Steps Tarraford Chardonnay, Yarra Valley VIC – £25.99

Notes of oak and a small hint of vanilla on the nose, with a silky, dry mix of pear and hazelnut on the palate.

2009 Shaw & Smith M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills SA – £29.99

Butter flavours on the nose with a dominant lemon note on the palate that has a subtle oakness on the finish that follows with a slight dryness.

2011 Turkey Flat Rose, Barossa Valley SA – £12.99

On the nose there are flavours of watermelon, cherry and raspberry that combine to create a sweetness that carries over onto the palate. The cherries and raspberry dominate, with a crisp and slightly dry aftertaste.

2010 Riposte by Tim Knappstein The Dagger Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills SA – £18.50

Red meat aromas come along strong, yet smooth out over the palate with plum and dark cherry flavours combining well to create a silky offering.

2009 Devil’s Corner Pinot Noir, Tasmania – £12.99

Lots of black cherry and violet aromas on the nose. Soft cherry flavours on the palate that results in a smooth yet dry finish.

2008 Paringa Estate Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula VIC – £65.99

Unbelievably smooth on the nose with a mixture of dark fruit and oak. Fresh spice, oak and fruit blend very well on the palate that leads to a mouth-watering aftertaste.

2009 Willunga 100 Cabernet/Shiraz, McLaren Vale SA – £13.99

Dark plum with an earthy aroma combine in the nose for a bold experience. Rich, dark berries lie on a tangy palate with the dark plum flavours that creates a very dry offering.

2007 Tahbilk Shiraz, Nagambie Lakes VIC – £12.50

A smooth and creamy blend of plums and blackberries on the nose, whilst the palate encounters earthy notes that is slightly harsh and bitter on the finish.

2009 Mitolo Jester Shiraz, McLaren Vale SA – £18.50

Smooth aromas of dark fruits on the nose, with licorice and dark chocolate laying like velvet on the palate.

Jim Barry, The Armagh Shiraz 2006

2009 Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz, Barossa Valley SA – £31.50

Fresh herbs and nuts dance in the nose with hints of dark fruits, while ripe, crisp fruit flavours create a slight dryness on the aftertaste.

2007 Paringa Estate Peninsula Shiraz, Mornington Peninsula VIC – £25.50

Floral aromas mix with blackberries and spice to create a slight creaminess on the nose. The spice moves onto the palate and culminates in a smooth offering with a slight dryness.

2006 Jim Barry PB Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley SA – £31.99

Black fruits and plum aromas on the nose become sweeter as it enters the palate, with a hint of spice on the finish.

2006 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz, Barossa Valley SA – £40.99

Notes of chocolate and plums create a smooth, creamy aroma on the nose, with a very smooth offering of the dark plums which creates a slow dryness on the palate.

2006 Jim Barry The Armagh Shiraz, Clare Valley SA – £110.00

Awarded 20/20 by Matthew Jukes, there are lots of blackberry flavours on the nose that combine well with flavours of cinnamon and rosemary to create a smooth finish.

2009 Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora, Victoria – £8.50

Aromas of strong orange, citrus and spice on the nose create a heavy biscuit flavour, combining on the palate to offer a rich, sweet and zesty finish that is rather short.

NV Campbells Classic Topaque, Rutherglen VIC – £19.75

An intense sweetness of treacle and toffee on the nose with a fantastic combination of toffee and oak on the palate. Creates a long-lasting aftertaste.

There were some absolute stunners available, with the Ocean Eight Chardonnay, Yalumba Y Series Viognier, Peter Lehmann Riesling, Jim Barry Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon and Campbells Topaque being personal favourites.

Seeing and tasting only a snippet of Matthews Top 100 list, I could see why he is one of the most respected in the business. He had fantastic charisma as he twice stood at the top of the room to explain the offerings we had in our glasses, with some fascinating facts, reasonings behind particular wines, and how to enjoy others. Two hours flew by, and i just managed to try the two dessert wines before the Corks Out staff were packing away, ready for Matthew to make his way to his next roadshow destination in Scotland.

This was an amazing insight into Australian wines, and if you ever have the chance to sample or purchase any of the above bottles, I can highly recommend with confidence that you will not be disappointed.

Go on, give Australia a go.

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To see more photos from the wine tasting, as well as bottle images, click here.

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© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Porcupine Ridge Viognier Grenache Blanc Tasting Notes

On my last visit to Majestic Wine’s in Sale (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/10/01/majestic-wines-tasting-notes/), I purchased a bottle of South African Porcupine Ridge and their Viognier Grenache Blanc (14.5%). Recommended to me, I was looking forward to cracking this open, and to be honest, trying one of my first South African wines. I’m more a South American lover if I were to choose a region, but as a common theme in my job role, I never say no to trying new things!

I digged out a bit of research into Porcupine Ridge and they are a brand underneath the brand Boekenhoutskloof. Located in the Franschhoek valley just North-East of Cape Town, French settlers occupied the land in 1776 and made use of the ideal soils and Mediterranean climate. In 1993, they started using Viognier grapes and combined with the idea of the local Porcupine population, Porcupine Ridge was born. They use fruit from dryland vineyards from Malmesbury and Citrusdal to give flavour and structure. Extended ripening of the Viognier develop the spicy floral aromas while the early harvesting of Grenache Blanc delivers natural acidity and minerality to the blend. Its matured in French oak to give silkiness to the product.

Porcupine Ridge Viognier Grenache Blanc

So with all this in mind, here’s my tasting notes on the 2010 version –

Aromas of wild flowers and ripe apricots mix well on the nose with spicy aromas powering closely behind. The palate is more crisp with a sharp edge to begin with.  A soft finish that lingers nicely.

A great wine to enjoy, with Majestic Wine’s suggesting vegetable stir-fry or chicken kebabs being a perfect accompaniment.

Give it a go!

To purchase a bottle, click here

Check out the Boekenhoutskloof website here – http://www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za/

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Majestic Wines Tasting Notes

Swung by my local Majestic Wines looking for a bottle of wine to take away with me and to try their open sample bottles that are available daily. Currently they are promoting their range of South African wines and below are my tasting notes on the six that were available –

Reds 

Robertson Winery Pinot Noir 2011

On the nose it gave off fresh strawberry and raspberry flavours with hints of gooseberry that came more apparent as it hits your palate. A good medium-bodied red wine with a slight dryness on the after-taste.

Available for £5.99 with their 20% off South African wines deal (£7.49 normally)

Rasteau Domaine Notre Damn des Pollieres 2009

A strong mix of wild berries on the nose but becomes smooth and soft on the palate. A slight kick of spice hits the after-taste.

Available for £12.49 or buy two and save £5

Vergelegan Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

On the nose the aromas of the dark fruits of plums and blackcurrants instantly hit your senses, whilst on the palate you receive a slight kick of spice to add to the experience that softens out as it dries a little.

Available for 20% off at £13.59 (usually £16.99)

Whites

Boschendal Sauvignon Blanc 2011

A ripe gooseberry flavour on the nose that has hints of olive oil mixed in. On the palate the gooseberry mellows out into a smooth and very soft wine with a slight tingle on after-taste.

Available for 20% off at £6.99 (usually £8.74)

Bernard Series Hand Picked Viognier 2010

On the nose there’s instant aromas of sweet peach, tropical fruit and a small hint of litchi that blend well onto the palate to create a sweet and rich yet smooth finish.

Available for 20% off at £8.79 (usually £10.99)

Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2009

A good mix of fresh green peppers and gooseberries on the nose that give a smooth, fresh, ripe flavours on the palate. A great medium South African.

Available for 20% off at £9.99 (usually £12.49)

The Bernard Series Hand Picked Viognier 2010 was personally recommended by Matt and what a wine! Perfect for my sweet tooth so a bottle was bought!

Sign up to my e-mail subscription to receive the latest wine tasting notes from Majestic Wines as and when I come across them. Not to be missed!

You can purchase all the above wine here – http://www.majestic.co.uk/

Estampilla de Genio Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes

Estampilla de Genio Sauvignon Blanc

I’m rather lucky at the moment because my selection of wine on my wine rack is rather varied. An Italian Amarone lies next to a Tapiz Torrentes from Argentina and a favourite of mine, Chablis Premier Cru. But recently I cracked open a bottle of Estampilla de Genio Sauvignon Blanc (12.5%) from Chile, a wine that made the  list at Casa Tapas Bar & Grill.

It gives a pale citrus green colour once poured and aromas of citrus and lime dominate the senses. A slight floral scent lingers behind that gives a rather ‘clean’ smell. On taste, the palate enjoys a short, crisp citrus flavour that mellows out with hints of herbs being pushed through upon after-taste. The finish is a rather well-balanced white wine which would go well with a range of sea food dishes like Calamari or King Prawns.

I’m a sucker for Chilean and Argentinian wines at the moment, with the Estampilla de Genio range (a Merlot is also available) being a contributing factor when I was first offered the chance to sample. This is a great wine to have on both your wine list and your wine rack at home, although unfortunately it’s not widely available to the public. 

If you would like to stock the Estampilla de Genio range, please e-mail me at flowgomanic@yahoo.co.uk 

 

Corks Out Review

Corks Out is an independent wine and spirit merchants who base themselves in the North West. A couple of years ago they opened a store in Timperley and I use to frequent there to purchase that something special. Both wines and spirits have been bought including Licor 43, Goslings Navy Seal rum and Martin Millers gin, Old Tom ales and various wines from different countries.

Me and my flat-mate made a recent trip there a few days ago to purchase for him a bottle of gin for a friend’s birthday. As ever the staff were very knowledgable and helpful in choosing the best gin for our price range (he opted for Martin Millers London Dry), a selection that also included Chase Williams, Blackwoods and Haymans.

Montes Pinot Noir 2009

We had also heard about Corks Out new seating areas that they have recently introduced where you can have a glass of wine or champagne. We decided to go for their corkage deal where you can purchase any bottle of wine for over £10 and pay only £3.50 corkage! We opted for a Chilean Montes Pinot Noir 2009. An easy drinking medium-bodied red wine that had wonderful red berry and raspberry aromas. On the palate, it gave off an intense flavour of strawberries and vanilla with a savoury character which gave it a long lingering after-taste. At only £9.95, this was a bargain, and to be able to drink it surrounded by what literally can only be described as a wine cellar on street level, it can even beat having a glass of wine in a local bar.

Theres stores in Alderley Edge, Chester, Stockton Heath and Heswall so if you’re near, pop in and take a look at what I can safely say is one hell of a good range! I may even see you there myself!

Check out their website at http://www.corksout.com for deals and details of there wine tasting sessions that they offer every month. Don’t forget to sign-up to my drinks blog (available at my home page) for reviews of the upcoming tasting sessions as and when they happen.

 

The Briton’s Protection Review

The Briton's Protection

Classed as Manchester’s best bar for whisk(e)y, The Briton’s Protection has got it all. On the corner of Great Bridgewater Street, the outside decor gives it a traditional pub feeling, and with hanging baskets from every window, it oddly doesn’t look out-of-place nestled in Manchester. Once you step foot inside you enter the long bar area where your greeted with a smile by both barman and customers. On my most recent visit, I of course opted for a whisky, but they do have other varieties available including Guinness, Staropramen, Strongbow and Carling on tap, and a range of spirits including the new Kraken spiced rum and Monkey Shoulder. Wines are available as well as ales including Tetley, Beartown and Angel Tears.

The Whisk(e)y range

As mentioned, my most recent visit I opted for a whisky. You are handed the whisk(e)y menu (something that has never happened to me before!) and can browse through their quite stunning selection. You can scan there backbar that includes the Scotch Glenfiddich range and Johnnie Walker, the Irish Jameson’s as well as American Jim Beam, Makers Mark and Knob Creek but the menu indicates some little gems that you can miss. Their selction also includes a Czech and Welsh whisky which im going to have to go back and try. I went for a Dalmore 15yr (check out my tasting notes on the Dalmore 15yr here – https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/dalmore-whisky-masterclass-review/ )

Whilst sipping on The Dalmore, I couldn’t help but notice they have a certificate hanging predominantly on the bar with the words ‘Whisky Bars of the World 2011’. I couldn’t agree more! With nearly every whisk(e)y available, you will surely find something that will take your fancy, and if not, the barman seem more than capable in offering you their advice which although probably mandatory in the job description, always makes you feel a more welcomed.

If your ever in the Manchester area, this is one of the must-see places on your to-do list and when you can pick up a Glenfiddich 21yr for just £7.50, even Jamie Milne, the Glenfiddich UK Ambassador, is pleasantly surprised!

 

Las Corazas Macabeo Tasting Notes

The Las Corazas Macabeo is the sister white wine to the Spanish Tempranillo (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/las-corazes-tempranillo-tasting-notes/) and I cracked open the bottle to accompany some fresh river cobbler.

Las Corazas Macabeo

From the Castilla la Mancha region, this 3-year-old white gave off a subtle golden-yellow colour once poured. On the nose it gave off small amounts of floral extracts, an almost summer garden feeling. A buttery taste slowly hits your senses once you sip, with that floral sensation being slowly released as a gentle after-taste. It gives a slight dryness to your mouth after an initial watering sensation, and its relatively low acidity (the wine is marked at 12.5%) doesn’t give any harsh tones to the overall quality.

This is a great wine to have as both with a fish or seafood platter or as a social drink to share with friends. It’s relatively cheap (around £4 for a bottle) and wouldn’t look out-of-place on your wine rack.

There is a Tempranillo Rose available (unfortunately my bottle has been well and truly drunk over a year ago now).

I had the 3 Las Corazas types available as the house wine in the Spanish restaurant Casa Tapas. They accompanied a wide selection of dishes that we served including chorizo, seafood and meat paella, fried manchego and serrano ham. They were always a popular addition to any event that we organised and had some great feedback from customers. Give them a try!

Las Corazes Tempranillo Tasting Notes

I thought i’d finish off a bottle of red tonight as i cooked myself a rump steak – the Spanish Las Corazas Tempranillo. A 3yr old red from the Castilla-La Mancha region

Las Corazas Tempranillo

A dark ruby colour awaits you and on the nose it gave off a significant blackcurrant and a slight hint of vanilla, followed with a taste that emphasised both flavours just right. It gives a soft, smooth and an almost velvety texture which gently brushes open your taste buds to leave you wanting to finish the bottle! It gave a slight dry after-taste and an almost non-existent harshness to the overall experience.

The rump steak fitted well with the wine, not a lot of change in taste, and i would recommend something similar if you dine out and after something fairly inexpensive.