Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Haselgrove 2011 McLaren Vale "Verdict" Petit Verdot

For me Pirramimma have always lead the way with McLaren Vale Petit Verdot [and Australian PV for that matter] but this is as impressive as their best. A stunningly seductive inky red jampacked with a myriad of complex fruit flavours. There's something new to relish with every sip as the wine evolves. A truly exciting red that I'm confident everyone would enjoy.
Our Price: $18 per bottle by the dozen


Haselgrove 2012 Adelaide Hills Staff Chardonnay

Haselgroves, under new management, have flicked the Italian theme developed by Gordon Grant. Did you know that Haselgrove means "from near a grove of Hazel Trees"? Now there's a surprise.

I doing so they've moved on from The Adjectival Geographic Wine Naming Technique  to what I can only describe as The Sydney UpMarket Restaurant Soon To Go Broke Strategy..
One word.
No "The". Just one word and you've got a name. Or maybe it should be described as the Madonna Method.
But they have retained and achieved truly hilarious Back Label Justification that you must have realised from me knowing about that grove of hazel trees. Thankfully they spare some space to really nail this outstanding addition to their and our range.
Two lines out of ten is all they needed to describe this pretty well. "Crisp white peach and grapefruit is softened by a creamy palate and smoky spicy oak."
I would add that this straddles the divide between the 100% malo over the top buttery style and the searingly crisp high acid wines which have the traditionalists asking whether this is actually chardonnay. A beautifully crafted and constructed stylish dry white priced well below its true value.

Our Price: $18 per bottle by the dozen


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Head Over Heels 2014 Pinot Grigio

This is now the third vintage of a crisp dry fruit bomb that offers such an appealing alternative to sauvignon blanc. Pick a fruit and you'll be just about able to find everything but passionfruit and banana.
[If you want passionfruit stick to the savvys and you'll unfortunately detect banana in some overripe chardys]
This is an incredibly versatile white that would appeal to most and be suitable for all occasions
Alcohol is a sensible 12.5% and the wine has enough flavour and palate weight that you could whack a few ice cubes in the glass to reduce the alcohol kick.

Our Price: $9 per bottle by the dozen


Head Over Heels 2013 Shiraz

Don't be fooled by the price, this a serious shiraz offering an extraordinary amount of complexity for under $10.
There's plenty of everything including 14% alcohol in a mid-weight red that's in perfect balance. Very highly recommended to enjoy now or for medium term cellaring.

Our Price: $9 per bottle by the dozen


Head Over Heels 2013 Cabernet Merlot

How does Bob Berton do it at this price?

It has a midweight palate, very much fruit driven but with enough balancing acid, wood and tannins to encourage short term cellaring - if you can resist knocking it off straight away.
Alcohol is 13% and it's from that vast appellation of South Eastern Australia. I'm guessing that while most of the fruit is Riverina there may be a smattering of Coonawarra in the mix.

Our Price: $9 per bottle by the dozen

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Adjectival Geographic Wine Naming Technique

It's simple.
Sit around in the boardroom, tearoom or cellar door and get everyone present to think of all the geographic features they can. Write them on small pieces of paper and pop them into a hat. Then get another hat and repeat the process with as many random words as possible.
Draw a piece of paper out of each hat and, providing it's not been used before, whacko-the-diddlio you've got a name for a whole new range of your wines.
For the geographic second part of the name there are the usual suspects. Hill, ridge, creek and bay probably lead the way
There is only one catch.
When you choose the first word, someone must have the ability to explain the name with what I call "Back Label Justification". I've read some astonishing twaddle over the years ranging from butterflies to Dorothy Parker and gorillas. Doesn't matter what the wine tastes like, they have a compulsion to attribute their name selection to some vitally significant, recently created, aspect of their heritage.

The proliferation of whacky names has exploded in recent years with wineries producing BOB labels for Colesworths. As much as anyone Zar Brooks was a pioneer some years ago when the Osborns let him loose on their d'Arenberg labels. Suddenly we had the Laughing Magpie, Broken Fishplate, Wild Pixie, Daddy Longlegs and a serious number of etceteras.
There have now been so many.
A personal absurdist favourite was Victoria's Witchmount  nude label release of Captain Jack and the wine we had fun with, Scarlett. What a bummer that was when we ran out!

I'm confident the trend will continue. Often the same wine will be on the market under a few different labels and this will keep graphic designers and copy writers gainfully employed. Meanwhile I yearn for the days of Lindemans Hunter River Shiraz. And in those pre-barcode days you probably didn't need a backlabel.

What are your favourite wine names? Past or present.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Franziskaner and Spaten 500ml German Beers

Four new 500ml German beers have been added to the OWL list: Franziskaner Natrutrub, Franziskaner Dunkel & Franziskaner Kristall as well as Spaten Munchen.
All are $69 for a case of 20 with any instore mixed dozen wine buy. Which compares more than favourably with Dan Woolworths price of $91.

There's some history here with the Franziskaner boxes proudly proclaiming "Brewed in Munich since 1397" and "In accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516."

Franziskaner Natrutrub: Unfiltered, pale cloudy wheat beer with tropical fruit hop flavours. Light and refreshing.

Franziskaner Dunkel: Dark full bodied yet surprisingly refreshingly aromatic.

Franziskaner Kristall: Slightly smoky, beautifully balanced, clean and clear wheat beer

Spaten Munchen: Pale gold lager with pronounced hops. Smooth and creamy with a fine bitter finish.

Our Price: $ 69 a box of twenty 500ml bottles