Tuesday 28 June 2011

A "Mother..." of a Best's

In my house, the wine racks have a class system. There’s one for cooking wine, one for midweek (or cheapies for late into a big night – show me someone who can taste the difference after 5 bottles! Really)! And there’s one for nice bottles that need drinking, but are a bit better than quaffers.
Anything that requires cellaring is kept offsite – it’s the only way to safeguard its longevity!

Similarly, I have certain records for certain times. For example there are morning records, driving home from work records, cooking dinner records, Friday night ‘too many bottles of red’ records...
In there are a few mainstays, the ‘I don’t know what I feel like hearing” records are on high rotation on Mondays and Tuesdays. One of these happens to be Danzig!

It’s early in the week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t open something off the good rack! In fact, this one didn’t even make it onto a rack! (And if another bottle happens to come my way, it may have to go offsite!)

The Best’s Great Western Bin No 1 Shiraz 2009 was a very pleasant surprise. First time in a long time that I’ve had something so well balanced. There was nothing in too great a proportion that it overshadowed anything else.
Sweet mocha oak, luscious blackberry fruit and smooth tannins.
Great deep colour must be the Crimson Highway from Twist of Cain!

Nice simple packaging on this one too. Gotta love a black label with Silver trimming – simple yet effective.

It’s all there, this one’s a keeper! A “Mother“ of a wine!
Monday 27 June 2011

Oooh Crikey.... It's Bobar!

Ever looking for something different? Enquiring minds look no further. The Bobar Yarra Valley Syrah 2010 is not like anything else I have tasted, at least not in Australia!

This wine is an example of throwing conventional winemaking practices out the window. It is minimally handled, so what you get is the raw product, no excess chemicals to enhance the good, or mask the bad. Minimal Sulphur Dioxide addition pre-bottle makes this more preservative free than some others claim to be.

The perfect drinking companion to this wine was a touch of Lawnmower Deth! Yep, The Return of The Fabulous Metal Bozo Clowns! A little bit brutal, a little bit funny.

There was something going on in the glass that I couldn’t quite put my finger on... verging on microbial, but strangely alluring at the same time!
A little bit wrong, like "Paranoid Polaroid", but you have to keep listening, ‘cause it’s a great song!

There was a bit of green–ness in there, which is bound to happen with whole bunch ferment. But it wasn’t particularly stalky or offensive. A hint of black olives gave a certain savoury element.

The Bobar reminded me of Sangria. This probably had something to do with the little bit of spritz it has going on... It would work well chilled in Summer. Though could leave you “Drunk In Charge Of An Ugly Face”!
Tuesday 21 June 2011

Haunting The Chapel Hill

The 2001 Australian Slayer Tour was memorable for me, as one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.
I’ll never forget Tom Araya doing his thing, talking to the crowd - specifically the female contingent, and introducing “Captor of Sin” by saying “You’re all Harlots From Hellllllll!” Damn! I wanted that on a t-shirt!

This brings me to the subject of female winemakers. The likes of which I’ve heard called far worse than “Harlots From Hell”! They are notoriously difficult to work for, but for the most part particularly good at their jobs.

1998 Chapel Hill Shiraz. This particular wine was made by Australia’s pioneering female winemaker, Pam Dunsford. Not only was she the first female accepted into Roseworthy Ag College in 1972, she was also the first female to hold a winemaking job in a big company, first woman wine judge, first female consultant winemaker, wine educator, etc. You get the drift.... Let me just say, you don’t get that far without showing the horns and standing your ground every now and then!

The wine industry can be an unscrupulous business. There is no room for the meek and mild. Most female winemakers I have encountered have their own brand of “Chemical Warfare”, and certainly don’t feel a need for niceties. Many go out of their way to make themselves heard. Whether this be to get ahead in what is still a male dominated industry, or just to get ahead. Who can be sure?

How others may perceive their methods becomes irrelevant when the wine produced is this damn good! This much we know; this wine was made by a very accomplished woman. When Pam Dunsford was “Haunting the Chapel”, some pretty classy booze was the result.

The nose reminded me of the smell of a proper old-fashioned toffee-apple, with the clear, red toffee on the outside, with a colour to match!
A perfect balance of sweet and sour, similar to tamarillo jelly, or maybe sour plums. It had an elegance, which reminded you it came from fruit, without slapping you in the face like so many of the obvious fruit-bombs that come out of McLaren Vale now.
It had an amazing length of palate. Dry, but not drying.

This wine was one of the finest aged Australian reds I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. If Slayer use 36 Marshall Stacks.... this is a 38!

Friday 17 June 2011

Lustau Anaesthesia Kills ‘Em All

Brush up on your sherry basics to know where this one is coming from...

NO. Sherry is not just what your Nanna used to drink and Mum used to cook with.
Perhaps some of the crap we have in Australia could be deemed less than perfect, but there’s a whole crazy world of Jerez (Sherry) out there!

The Palo Cortado (in this case the Emilio Lustau) is the accident of Jerez. It occurs when an Oloroso barrel spontaneously grows a Flor (usually confined to the Fino barrels). So you end up with a half way point between the dryness of the Fino and the richness of Oloroso.
The term “Cortado” refers to the “Cut” or cross made on the front of a contaminated barrel by the winemaker.

The “Cut” is very final. That barrel can no longer be destined for where it once was...
Much like one of Heavy Metal’s biggest accidents, the death of Cliff Burton.

We hereby pay homage to Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) from Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All, with one accident, to another.

I never really liked Sherry until I tried the Palo Cortado, just as I was a late convert to Metallica. It was Kill ‘Em All that won me over.

This wine is salted toffee in a glass. It’s dry up front, then it lingers with an oaky, bready, cookie-dough finish (the wino’s may call it “rancio”), warmed up by the 19% alc/vol.

Biggest tip – serve it chilled. Not cold, just enough to take the edge off.

A little sombre, I know. But sometimes it’s just gotta be done.

Raise a glass to Cliff.


Tuesday 14 June 2011

Kaesler and the Pope of Satyricon

There is no denying that Kaesler wines are the quintessential Big, Bad, Barossa Monsters – Diabolically Big!

They are not for the faint-hearted, more often than not weighing in at a hefty 16% alc/vol. (It’s worth noting here, that label laws in Australia give 1.5% leeway on what the label says, 0.5% for export, so 16% could actually be 17.5%..... Rutherglen Durifs, you know who you are!!).
Let's just say, you know that you’ve had one by the headache that follows!

What better music to accompany these beasts but some solid Black Metal?!

I was quite reminded of Satyricon’s “Now, Diabolical” whilst enjoying a 2007 Kaesler Avignon last week.

Avignon, the crowning glory of the Rhone region in France, has the Palace of the Popes – the Rites of a very Different Cross, but significant religious connotations nonetheless!(and if you ever get the chance to try a Chateauneuf de Pape – DO IT!! The “K.I.N.G.” of Rhone reds!)

The Avignon is a GSM, a Grenache, Shiraz and Mouvedre blend (also typical of the Rhone). But in this case, we’ll call it Great Sounding Metal!

This 2007 wasn’t as fruity as I remember the Avignon being (though the last one I had was younger, hence fresher). Granted, it is Grenache based, which can be quite a savoury and dry component. And the Grenache here was very prominent. What fruit shone through was very juicy blackberry, backed up by fresh licorice. Yuuuumm!
You cannot fault the colour, even after four years, “That Darkness Shall Be Eternal”!

Satyricon just have that certain something.... a solid, trancey, FULL sound. Simple, yet effective!
So too do the Kaesler wines adhere to this formula. Great, old-vine fruit, tampered with, very little. Recipe for success!

Monday 13 June 2011

3D and Magic Decanters..... it's all good!

You know when you are driving along, listening to some awesome public radio station (RRR, PBS, 3D) and all of a sudden, one of your favourite songs comes on, that you haven't heard for SO long it could quite possibly be years? It's always when you least expect it, and you think to yourself "I really must pull that vinyl out and give it a play!"
I love that familiar feeling! It's about as warm and fuzzy as good radio should get!

Strangely enough I have had that kinda warm fuzzy with some wine paraphenalia!! (oooh, that could go anywhere!)
Check out the Magic Decanter if you get the chance!

I don't usually go for these things, but play a bit of a before and after and see what happens! It can turn your tight, closed, tannic and harsh red into something far more approachable and even drinkable! Would've been good when learning to drink red!

This really is up there with my delight at tuning into 3D radio 93.7fm in SA at 7am on Thursday for the Sound of Muesli show, and being treated to a touch of Slayer or perhaps Morbid Angel!! www.threedradio.com

Who could ask for a better start to the day?!

Wednesday 8 June 2011

1977 Ch√Ęteau Musar meets Motorhead Kiss of Death

Having been down this path before, only to be severely disappointed by a corked bottle... I’ve given this wine the benefit of the doubt and tried it again. Lucky huh?! I know these things aren’t easy to come by.
I had it on good authority that it can be an absolute cracker! And you know what, it was!
My choice of music for this interesting acquisition is Motorhead’s Kiss of Death.

This wine began its life in precarious circumstances, being produced at the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War, apparently in between air-raids! So fitting to hear Sword of Glory “Soldier, Soldier”... Yes! Lebanese! I know it may appear at a glance to be somewhat French.... but no, a great cover version, just like Whiplash!
So too, this wine ends  life in precarious circumstances;  The cork fell apart when trying to extract it, so under sufferance we decanted via a small sieve.
Best described as a grumpy old man with a bit of a stink on, this bottle was poignantly matched to God Was Never On your Side. Very smooth, but with a gruffness there, leaving you with the thought that things may be on the decline...  Lemmy’s not getting any younger, and this bottle was (in my opinion) past it’s prime. Though still fascinating and most drinkable!
Amazing deep ruby colour for something that was put in a bottle over 30 years ago. Still rockin’ out after all this time!
As for the stink... this wine hadn’t seen fresh air in over 30 years (and if the nicotene stains on Lemmy’s fingers are anything to go by, neither has he!). It mostly blew off with the decant anyway.
A very savoury wine, so not to everyone’s taste. Nonetheless a classic wine to be enjoyed with such a classic record.