Monday, January 16, 2012

Tahbilk 2009 Riesling

 Recurring themes recur because, by and large, there's something about them, and there's definitely something about Tahbilk's ability to consistently produce well made wines that make for interesting drinking and deliver them freight free to the Little House of Concrete in that $10-$15 price range.

This one's no exception to an exceptional rule of thumb.

Sure, it's not quite up there with the quality Clare and Eden Valley drops I've come to know and love, but we're talking something that arrived as part of a $75 multiple vintage six pack rather than a Grosset $31 Springvale or $42 Polish Hill.

When it comes to an everyday drinking style with a bit of bottle age (Halliday rated it 89, noting a strong fruit platform for medium term development) for a notional $12.50 you could do a lot worse.

Tahbilk 2009 Riesling (4* $n/a) Ticks all the right boxes from the pale straw colour, fresh aromatic citrus notes on the nose through the varietal characters across the palate. Well made, easy drinking style that had me veering between 4 and 4.5 on the rating scale. Eventually rounded down since it's not currently available. Whack it back in the Web Specials section of the Tahbilk web site and Hughesy may well be interested. Very good everyday drinking. Excellent value for money.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pfeiffer 2010 Pinot Noir

The conventional wisdom would appear to suggest Pinot Noir is strictly a cool climate proposition.

 If you accept (not that I necessarily do, but the suggestion has been floated in my presence) that the best areas for Pinot are Burgundy, Oregon, New Zealand and Tasmania, all of which would be cooler climes than, say the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and the Adelaide Hills, areas that would, in turn be considerably cooler than Rutherglen.

So you'd reckon Pinot wouldn't work in northeast Victoria but, for some strange and unaccountable reason, when it passes across Hughesy's palate it seems to work in ways that limited exposure to wines from other more highly rated areas don't.

That's almost certainly my palate rather than the wines themselves, but this one, yet again worked nicely with last night's pasta with a cream, proscuitto and mushroom sauce.

Pfeiffer 2010 Pinot Noir (4* $23.50) Crimson in the glass, fragrant through the nose with earthy berries, cherries and earthy notes I assume equate to forest floor across the palate and a lengthy finish. Soft rounded style that's very easy to drink and could be included if we were heading into reorder territory. As I don't think we will be, rounded down rather than up. Very good.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Rockford 2011 Alicante Bouchet

I've noted a couple of not quite favourable references to the old Rockford Alicante Bouchet recently, and on every sighting I've scratched my head and remarked that the person making the criticism obviously doesn't live in our neck of the woods.

Hell, if I lived somewhere close to a half way decent independent wine merchant in an area where there restaurants had interesting wine lists with extensive by the glass options I might get a little sniffy about wines like this.

But, for good or ill, I live two hundred kilometres away from a Dan Murphy's in a town where all the liquor outlets are tied to a major chain (ad I can understand the reasons why they would be, the locals tend to buy on price). Pub and restaurant wine lists tend to feature the usual big name corporate suspects and Kiwi savvy blanc.

So if you want something interesting to drink you have to buy it in, don't you?

And when you've started to find things that suit your purposes you're going to stick with them, aren't you?

So the reasoning behind the annual Alicante Bouchet reorder in these parts probably don't apply to the people who posted those recent comments. Low alcohol, lunchtime, fridge friendly, and if you've got more than two people on site when it's opened there's always the option of opening something else.

Suits me.

Rockford 2011 Alicante Bouchet (4.5* $18) Bright translucent red in the glass, attractive fruity bouquet and the usual low alcohol refreshing palate, a degree of sweetness lurking there but it's well in the background. Your mileage may vary but this one almost invariably works in a North Queensland summer environment. That opinion, by the way, has been almost universally mirrored by those I've inveigled into sampling a glass. Excellent under the right conditions.

Pfeiffer 2010 Ensemble Rose

Summer in the Little House of Concrete brings the annual restocking of fridge-friendly regulars, which basically ends up coming down to Riesling and Rose.

Left to myself I'd probably be happy to stick with the staples, and one of them is the Pfeiffer Gamay, which I would happily consume by the unbroken case, but the annual question about the composition ofthe box invariably brings a request for some Ensemble Rose.

In circumstances where I didn't have boxes on the office floor, I could have gone for two cases, one straight Gamay and a mixture from the rest of the range, maybe even going as far as half a dozen Ensembles in the interests of domestic harmony, but I thought there'd be phone calls and offers I couldn't refuse.

So I went for anine-three mix in a single case didn't I?

And those phone calls and offers I couldn't refuse?

Thin on the ground. Maybe when they get back into the swing of things after New Year.

Pfeiffer 2010 Ensemble Rose (4* $16 C2 $14.40) Shiraz dominant (that's if you call 44% dominant) blend with a fair chunk of Merlot, 13% Gewurztraminer, a bit of Cabernet Franc and a dash of Tempranillo. One to avoid if you're looking for varietal character, but as a chilled summer drop this makes for refreshing berry laden drinking, with the requisite berry and watermelon characters through the nose and across the palate goes down a treat. With what we've got on hand there's no chance of a reorder, so pressed to choose between 4* and 4.5 I rounded down. Very good summer drinking.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bloodwood 2011 Riesling

A few words I don't expect to be able to peck out very often.

We tried this at the winery when it was just out of fermentation and were rather impressed then (not that we had much prior experience to compare it with, you understand).

Now, just on seven months later, the first sample of the finished product is almost certain to have us lining up for more. We're talking a classy Riesling with acharacter that sets it comfortably apart from the familiar Clare Valley styles we tend to go for, but at the same time is just as impressive.

Bloodwood 2011 Riesling (4.5* $28) Pale green-tinged straw in the glass, understated but rather complex floral notes with a smidgeon of talcum powder through the nose and a bright, complex citrus-centric palate that runs along nicely and finishes very nicely indeed. We'll be having more of this one for sure.