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On theVine Spring 2010

Ends 30th November 2010

New Season : New Look On the Vine Premium Wine Buying Guide

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inside: Imports are booming Spring into whites New shades of Red All panel selected

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We l c ome What a winter! Mostly dry, bitterly cold, lots of seasonal illnesses, it was enough to turn anyone to drink. If you feel inclined and while we still have a few chilly days around, there are some great red wines in our Spring newsletter. A stylistic change, however, is happening in Australian red wines. The bruising high alcohol oaky reds that have been popular in the last couple of decades are being lightened off by some of our winemakers. Greater attention to vineyard management, earlier picking (less sugar), less extraction and the judicious use of oak are the techniques being used. The new style is easier to drink, far more food-friendly and more interesting, as it is not dominated by fruit concentration, hot alcohol and sweet oak. For consumers who still prefer big oaky rich reds, don’t despair as there are winemakers out there who love them as well and won’t be tempted to change. Our panel, hopefully, will continue to offer you a diversity of style. In the meantime, check out this list of wines that we have put together over the last couple of months, you’ll find many to your liking. Cheers! Rod Properjohn

The Panel Rod Properjohn

Steve Perry

Alex Michelly

Rod began in the wine industry 35 years ago as a Wine Advisory Officer for the Wine Industry Association of WA and gravitated from there into lecturing at the Association’s Wine Education Centre, in which he is still involved. He also ran wine classes for Technical and Further Education. He was a wine columnist for the Western Mail and Daily News papers and later on with the magazines West Coast, Scoop, WineState, Spice, Menu and Cravings. He is also a Regional Wine Show judge and the writer of our newsletter.

Steve has been expertly advising and educating Perth’s western suburbs since 1985. He was a director of legendary Cottesloe Wine Store - John Coppins until 1997 and now leads the team at fine wine storeSwanbourne Liquor Barons. He has travelled extensively around the wine-growing regions of Australia and NZ and has been the Chairman of the Panel for over 10 Years.

Alex hails from a winemaking background and brings much technical winemaking knowledge to the panel. Since 2002, Alex has worked 9 vintages in 5 countries, completing vintages with Amberley and Cape Mentelle before heading across the Tasman to make wine for St Clair in Marlborough. Alex has also worked vintage in Portugal, California and Canada. When not making wine, Alex has worked in fine wine stores in Boston and Perth.

Peter Bradbeer

Michael Dickson

Thomas Rick

Peter has been in the wine industry for over 30 years, always tasting and assessing wines for sale and for his own drinking. He has been Wine Show judging and consulting to a major Australian wine company. Being on other professional wine panels gives him a broad view of what is out there, but it is always changing. Peter’s view is you never stop learning.

Paul McArdle Paul is currently the CEO for Fonty’s Pool winery in Pemberton. He is the wine consultant for ‘Must’ wine bar/restaurant in Perth (since 2004). Paul is regularly involved in both trade and consumer wine education and passed the UK based ‘Masters of Wine’ (MW) tasting exam in 2003.

Paul (Ed) Edwards Ed joined the wine trade in 1998 and has managed fine wine stores in London, Sydney and Perth. He led Hyde Park Cellars to win the NSW Liquor Store of the year Award in 2001 before moving to the historic cellars- ‘Averys of Bristol’, to study for the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) diploma which he passed in 2005. In 2008 Ed was the WA representative in the national final of the prestigious, Negociants ‘Working with Wine’ Fellowship.

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For Michael wine started as an interest, then became a vocation and after 20 years in the wine industry as both a retailer and wholesaler, remains a passion. What keeps that passion alive is the increasing range of new and interesting wines from grape varieties and regions around the world that are becoming available to us.

Thomas is our late starter to wine appreciation and as the youngest member of the panel his accreditation may not read as long as others. But with a sensitive palate and a good nose for what is truly outstanding wine value, he is always looking for the next fine wine bargin for the customer.

Peter J. Semmens Pete has been apart of this industry for over thirty years on both sides of the counter. Noel his father, introduced him to the finer things in life, including food and wine. He readily admits to having a “punters palate” and loves to de-mystify wine by stating, “A good wine... is a wine you like”.

Basil Giglia Basil has been involved in the liquor industry since 1983. Besides a good drop of wine he can not pass up a cold beer, a good malt whisky or a silky fortified. Basil enjoys selecting wines to compliment the diverse range of foods on offer today. What more is there? Good food, good wine and stimulating company and enjoying life.

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I m p o r ts The buoyant Australian dollar has seen an influx of imported wines at good value lately and our customers are buying these wines, especially the reds, and enjoying the difference. The reds are mainly from Italy, Spain, France, Argentina and Chile and are decidedly lighter and more savoury than Australian red wines and are cool in the mouth because they generally have less alcohol. They are best served with food whereas the Australian fruit-bomb style of red wine is very enjoyable as a social drink and it can sometimes fight with food if the accompanying dish isn’t chosen wisely. We enjoy all styles of red wine but offer you here a small selection of well-priced imports which we think are worth considering.

999

1499

$ Sol Amante 2009 Malbec-Merlot (Arg)

each by mixed 6pk

Malbec, the principle prestigious grape variety in Argentina, is blended here with some merlot and makes an attractive bright ruby-coloured wine with good length. It is medium bodied and has a structure of sandy tannins, red fruits and drying astringency on the finish. It has a distinctive savoury taste and is best served with lighter beef dishes. Sealed with a plastic supremecorq and is 13.5% alcohol.

$ Rocca 2008 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (It)

This is made from the montepulciano grape grown in the Abruzzi region in the middle-south of Italy. A mid-red in colour, it has a fresh lively spicy aroma and a balanced palate with savoury fruit, silky textures and an injection of the earthy character that the grape is known for. Serve it with a plate of antipasto. For drinking now and the alcohol is 12%, so you can pour yourself a decent glass without any guilt.

1299

1499

$ Colonia Las Liebres 2008 Bonarda (Arg)

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$

each by mixed 6pk

Bonarda is a late-ripening red grape variety that is widely grown in Argentina and usually makes a generic dry red table wine of good average quality. We think this is better than that, as it has a dense red colour and lots of ripe tannins, blackcurrant, chocolate and spice. It is unoaked and also unfiltered and therefore may release some sediment in the bottle. An Argentinean would probably eat a half a cow with a bottle of this, you’d probably settle for a T-bone. 13.9% alcohol.

each by mixed 6pk

Poggiotondo 2008 Rosso Toscana (It)

each by mixed 6pk

Named by the growers, the Antonini family, after the neighbouring hills in Tuscany, this very quaffable young red is a blend of the region’s internationallyfamous sangiovese grape and some merlot and syrah to give it a modern twist. It’s light and lean with a tannic grip and suits any number of Mediterranean foods. Try it with pasta or pizza. Not for aging. Alcohol is 12.5% by volume and it has a screw cap, hooray!

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Spring 2010 “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party” Robin Williams

Whites 1199

1399

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

each by mixed 6pk

Plantagenet Hazard Hill 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

Tassell Park 2009 Chenin Blanc

Another attractive wine from these two varieties, a blend that is a market leader here in the west. It has all the ingredients consumers enjoy in a white wine nowadays – tropical fruit aromas, freshness, good flavour, zesty citrus, a smidge of sugar, length, drinkability and a crunchy acid finish. And there won’t be many grizzles about the price. Enjoy!

Although there’s not a lot made, this Margaret River wine is becoming a benchmark style for modern chenin blanc in WA. It’s unoaked and beautifully fresh with loads of apples, honey and passionfruit flavours and has a zesty palate with residual sugar and acid to balance. It impresses now and like a young chenin from the Loire Valley in France, should develop with age. We’ll watch with interest.

1799

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

1899

each by mixed 6pk

Forest Hill Vineyard 2010 Riesling

Wild Rock 2009 Sur Lie Pinot Gris (NZ)

Straight from the stainless-steel tank, this Great Southern youngster has the colour of a sun-shy infant and is just as precocious. It has a lively talcum powder aroma with hints of lemon and lime and a light dry palate with a distinct minerality on the finish. Still very much a baby, it needs time to settle down and develop a personality of its own, that will take a few months and it will then develop well over a decade or so.

Made from grapes grown in Otago, the beautiful and chilly alpine region in the south of NZ. Sur Lie is French for ‘on lees’ which simply means the wine was allowed to rest on the sediment after fermentation where it has picked up a light creamy texture. Add to that, poached pear characters of pinot gris, a dash of residual sugar and refreshing acidity and you have an intriguing young white to enjoy over summer.

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Spring 2010 “An optimist is the human personification of spring.” Susan Bissonnette

1899

2399

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

each by mixed 6pk

Vavasour 2009 Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc (NZ)

The Yard 2009 Kalgan River Riesling

Proudly Marlborough sauvignon blanc with buckets of those fresh tropicalfruited aromatics the region is noted for and it has a long well-balanced palate of light grassy flavours and discerning acidity. Best consumed in the next twelve months or so, as a pre-dinner drink or with light foods. It also works well with a spicy seafood Asian stir-fry.

The winemaking is a little out of left field for a riesling, but Larry Cherubino, the grape treader, finishes up with some exciting flavours in this wine. He uses native yeasts, no sulphur and stirs the fermentation solids before cleaning the wine up and bottling it. The result is a riesling packed with flavour, a limey sweet-fruited richness, creamy texture and really good length and acidity. Outstanding, so much so, we would drink it all right now.

2499

1999

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

each by mixed 6pk

Capel Vale 2009 Pemberton Semillon Sauvignon Blanc

Shaw and Smith 2010 Sauvignon Blanc

One of the Regional Series of Capel Vale’s wines, this is a lovely harmonious blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc, highlighting the attributes of the two varieties and also the suitability of the cool Pemberton region in producing this style. There are floral and herbal notes of sauvignon blanc, the lemony flavour and middle-weight palate of semillon and the length and racy acidity that the region’s climate contributes.

The winemakers were blessed with a near-perfect vintage in the Adelaide Hills and are very pleased with this wine. Spankingly new, there is the freshness of pink grapefruit, a lift of herbal characters and a tiny dollop of residual sugar in this to add weight and flavour to the palate. The acidity is lively. Australia’s most popular and successful sauvignon blanc for many years and for good reason.

1999

2699

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

each by mixed 6pk

Mandala 2008 Chardonnay

Stella Bella 2008 Chardonnay

The panel is very impressed by this Yarra Valley wine, a relative newcomer here in the west. It is restrained in the modern chardonnay way with very subtle oak, lovely light peach and nectarine fruit and a lingering clean crisp minerality on the finish with a citrus acidity. Drink with a cold collation of white meats and salads over the warmer days ahead. Delightful!

A clear pale gold/green colour, this has distinctive stone fruit on the nose intertwined with oven-roasted nuts and offers a full flavoured palate of citrus and oak stretching to a long firm drying finish. Already a quadruple gold medal winner, but we are putting a few bottles away to integrate further and the wine will be a knockout in twelve month’s time

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Spring 2010 “In springtime, love is carried on the breeze. Watch out for flying passion or kisses whizzing by your head.” Emma Racine deFleur

Reds 1499

1299

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

each by mixed 6pk

Bleasdale The Broad-Side 2006 Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon

Forest Hill Vineyard 2008 Boobook Cabernet Merlot

Here’s some nostalgia, a traditional style of Australian red made from our two classic red varieties grown in the Langhorne Creek region of SA at the old Bleasdale winery. It scrubs up well with an aged tarry oaky nose and a sweetfruited palate of plums and spice with caressing tannins, good length and velvety textures. For those who love a big old style of red. 14.5% alcohol.

A young mauve/red in colour, this modern cool-area red blend from the Great Southern is bursting with black fruit and kitchen spices. You’ll also see a light French oak influence and secure tannins in a medium-weighted package. Drinks pretty well now and yet will cellar for another four to five years, if you wish to do that. 14.0% alcohol.

1599

1899

$

each by mixed 6pk

$

each by mixed 6pk

Smith & Hooper 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Jr. Jones 2008 Pinot Noir

Wrattonbully is on the Limestone Coast way south of Adelaide and although it may not be that well known, the cool maritime region produces pretty good wines. Here’s one, a deeply coloured blend with lovely blackberry and plum fruit with a little anise spice, balanced oak and ripe tannins. It can be cellared for a few years, but drinks well now for those who can’t resist. 14.0% alcohol.

From the Mornington Peninsula, a renowned southern Victorian region for pinot noir, this youngster has punnets of red berries, appealing light earthy funkiness and a long palate of medium weight that stretches to a firm dry finish. A youthful style that will develop in the bottle over the next couple of years. 13% alcohol.

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Spring 2010 “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” Anne Bradstreet

2499

2699

$ Kooyong Massale 2008 Pinot Noir

each by mixed 6pk

Mid mauve and vibrant this has varietal characteristics of cherry, earth and some sweet body odour complexity that elevates it above the run-of-the-mill pinots. The palate is bone-dry, long and has a grippy finish. Will develop and round out with a little more bottle age. Excellent with duck or spring lamb. 13% alcohol.

$ Chapel Hill 2008 Shiraz

each by mixed 6pk

Beautifully balanced, round and generously concentrated McLaren Vale red with loads of ripe plums, dark chocolate, chalky tannins and toasty nutty oak bundled up in a package that you can tear open and enjoy right now. It’s seamless and seductive and drinks so well, we can’t see any reason for aging it further. Top quality wine from a very warm SA vintage. 14.5% alcohol.

3299

2499

$

$

each by mixed 6pk

each by mixed 6pk

Hardy’s HRB/D637 2006 Shiraz

Evans & Tate 2007 Redbook Shiraz

From a classic vintage with focused winemaking and excellent blending. The richness of Clare shiraz is tempered here by the lighter weight of Adelaide Hills shiraz and the result is a medium bodied red that has bundles of spice, pepper and minty characters with texture, chalky tannins and clever oak handling. The balance is exemplary. A lovely drink now, or for medium term cellaring. 14.0% alcohol.

Very focused in the in the winery, E&T has done the job lately and here is another cracker of a wine. A bright deep ruby colour dovetails with a spicy plummy nose and then a long middleweight palate of red fruit, mint, dry tannins and integrated oaky finish. Don’t be afraid to buy a few extra bottles for maturing in your wine rack. Multi-gold medal winner and 14.5% alcohol.

2499

3299

$ Hardy’s HRB/D636 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

each by mixed 6pk

New Hardy’s label, inter-regional blend, skilful winemaking, modern style of red – it’s all good. The peppermint and blackcurrant of Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon is married here to a smaller percentage of leafy Margaret River cabernet (from a very cool vintage in the west) and the result is a mediumweighted wine of fine-grained tannins, great palate mouthfeel and quality oak. 13.5% alcohol, that’s cool.

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$ Vasse Felix 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

each by mixed 6pk

From the original pioneering vineyard of Margaret River, this shows the benefit of old vines and a complementary warm vintage. It’s a classical Margs cabernet with a wealth of cassis fruit, ripe tannins, mocha, eucalypt and cedar oak. Drinks very well now but has the structure to age for another five or six years. Has more accolades than you’ll see in an Australia Day Honours list and is a must-buy for your collection. 14.5% alcohol.

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