Every Grape has His Day

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Grenache (or Garnacha) is the most exploitable of grapes, fitting comfortably into many different blends. Most commonly it is found lurking in Chateaunuef du Pape and other Southern Rhone, blends, red wines from Languedoc and Spain and has even escaped over the seas to Australia.

 Actually, it is usually happier in a blend than going solo – but that does not prevent producers from making it as a lone varietal. On its own Grenache has wild, unexpected flavours, roasted nuts, leather, black currants,  black cherries, pepper, coffee, spices, even tar and black olives.  Young Grenache tastes of strawberries and raspberries as well, and may well be why in begone years it was used to beef up weedy Pinot from Burgundy.

It’s time to give credit to the world’s most planted red grape variety and hardest working grape variety. So lift a glass to Grenache!!!



Some Scribbled notes from the Yalumba Tasting

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Two weeks ago we held a tutored tasting with Jane Ferrari. We tasted 8 wines on the night, and I’ve just gotten around to typing up a few tasting notes on the wine.

But first a wee bit about Jane, She is more than a simple Yalumba employee, Jane’s a wine crusader for Australian and particularly Barossa wine. There’s no fakeness about Jane – you realise that she’s doing what she’s doing because she’s passionate about wine. She gives  the distinct impression that she wouldn’t waste her breath on anything she didn’t believe in herself. And i think every one present on the evening throughly enjoyed the night and Jane’s unique insight. Below are a some short tasting notes on the wines tried with Jane.

 1). Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache 2007

Sourced from low-yielding 30-70 year old bush vines. Sweet plums, liquorice and spice complement a velvet soft mid palate texture and long opulent finish. Almost everyone’s surprise wine of the evening!

2. Yalumba ‘Habermann Vineyard’ Barossa Grenache 2005    

From the Habermann vineyard,  this block of Grenache was planted in 1972. A wine of great richness, texture and complexity. Aromas of red berry fruits and floral aromatics.  The palate is fuller and denser with sweet fruit, a complex, textured wine.

3. Running with Bulls Barossa Tempranillo 2008    

Traditionally a Spanish variety, Yalumba have given Tempranillo a home in the Barossa. A juicy but savoury wine with subtle influence from oak, and flavours of raspberry, dark cherry, tar and liquorice. Succulent tannins add structure and length to the wine.  

4. Yalumba Hand-Picked ‘TGVBarossa 2007

 By blending Tempranillo with Grenache and Viognier, a rich, savoury wine has been created.  For the 2007 vintage 88% Tempranillo with a dash of the Barossa stalwart Grenache (7%) and Viognier (5%) were used. This wine is deep garnet red in colour. The aroma is floral displaying rose petals and raspberries with a hint of nutmeg. The palate has gravely tannins with long black cherry flavours that are silky.

5. Yalumba Barossa Patchwork Shiraz 2006   

The Patchwork Shiraz sourced from several high quality yet vastly different Barossa Vineyards.  Excellent depth of colour, richness and complexity. Elegant and restrained rather than brute power, this wine has a supple, silken texture and fine grained, earthy tannins.

6. Yalumba ‘Hahn Farm’ Barossa Shiraz 2005

This  wine comes from the Hahn family vineyard, on the
Barossa Valley floor. This Shiraz is sourced Block D, which was planted in 1970. A wine with excellent depth of colour, richness and complexity. This wine is deep, dark purple-red in colour with a black cherry and dark choc-mint mix nose displaying distinct aromas of coffee, mocha, plum and spice. The palate is complex and intense, yet showing subtlety, elegance and fineness.

7.  Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’ Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2008

Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’ Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz is a youthful embodiment of ‘The Signature’. Select parcels were hand picked.  Dense crimson purple in colour with a very appealing nose, displaying excellent concentration of dark fruits, spices, liquorice and dark olives. Fresh aromas of violets and lavender are present. The palate is silky and elegant, tasting of sweet blackcurrants and blueberries. A Real favourite on the Night.

8. Yalumba ‘The Signature’ Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2004

The grapes for ‘The Signature’ are sourced from vineyards within the Eden Valley and Barossa Valley regions. From Old vine Cabernet and Shiraz. Lifted redcurrant, warm exotic fruits and dark chocolate combine with subtle eucalypt flavours. The wine has a generous yet stylish palate, showing dark plums, cassis, chocolate and long fine tannins giving a wine structured for ageing.

The Judgement of Paris


Hands up who has seen Bottle Shock- lets see… so that’s am 1, 2,…. NONE OF YE! Ya that’s what I expected- why do I ask this question? Well because I have and also it deals with, I wouldn’t say major turning point, but certainly a point  in wines evolution- the blind tasting in Pairs in 1976 in which Californian wine took on the  might of the French wine and won! Now there has to be nothing I love more than a good underdog story- point in case Rocky movies are my all time favourite movies! So naturally you would think that this movie amazes me- its got everything an underdog, wine and Alan Rickman (the ultimate Die Hard Villan!) But you know what… it just didn’t really come together… and well you know it was crap! But that’s not important… but while I’m on the subject Sideways is crap too! There I said it!

Anyways- away from the movies and back to real life, the event itself was pretty significant! It represented the distance that New World wine had come… but was it really the glorious defining moment that the movie made it out to be? not really… you see the movie depicted what rocky’s 2,3 and 4 depicted the underdog coming through to win outright! But what really happened was more like Rocky 1 or 6 (I never speak of Rocky 5!) the outcome didn’t matter because the underdog went the distance and proved to everyone that he deserved to be there! You see what the movie would have you believe that it was every wine for itself and because a Californian Wine won both the red and white section then it won outright (Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay, and Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon) but if you view the results for red and whites overall- ie America Vs France- then it works out as a bit of a tie!

So it wasn’t really that big of a moment then… well actually it was! I mean Rocky didn’t win the fight in Rocky 1 but the movie won 3 Oscars! So you see really you look at it from an unbiased view point it was a draw… but they went the distance! And in the end isn’t that what it’s all about?

Organic Wine

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Organic wine… hmmm… the best  place to start is well the power of suggestion! Yes the Placebo effect- from the latin for “I will please”. Basically there have been several experiments carried out to test the efficacy of the placebo effect- and guess what? it’s a real thing! Don’t believe me?? Well then let’s have a look at one of the more famous Placebo experiments!

The year is 1987- a young upstart band named U2 have just released the “Joshua Tree” and The Simpsons make their first appearance on tv… yes for all intense purposes 1987 was a year of very little to report! Except for Henderson and Goldman decide to conduct a little experiment on the placebo effect and alcohol! Basically they gave half the people in the experiment alcohol, and the other no alcohol but told them it was alcoholic (a placebo!). And just what do you think happened?? Yes even though it wasn’t alcohol, a significant number of people started behaving as though they were drunk! So what does this have to do with Organic wine?? Well its a blog I’ve been meaning to do for a while now and every time I start I read about how they don’t use pesticides and there’s also this thing called bio-dynamic farming… and it sends me to sleep straight away! Basically because I don’t really care whether or not its Organic or not- for me it’s just a different style of wine! But because we get so many people in saying its the only wine that doesn’t give them headaches I listen and keep my opinion to myself! But the most curious thing happened the last day… we got this Spanish wine in that’s 50% Graciano and 50% Grenache, but that’s also Organic! Now we tried it the night before and I loved it so I was telling someone about it! Once they picked up the bottle and saw the Organic Wine tag, they put it straight back down… So we went on to some other wines (I think they eventually went for a French Grenache!) but when i was putting it through the till I asked them why not the Organic wine… “It gives us the worst hangovers ever!!”

Ahhhh now my point about the Placebo effect is starting to make sense! But what’s really interesting is that a lot of wine makers are actually technically organic… but they couldn’t be bothered putting it on their wine…. Why???? Well because it doesn’t make a difference! It’s a different style of wine granted… but this whole thing about headaches with or without Organic wine is really all down to the Power of Suggestion! But what happens when I suggest that it doesn’t matter whether or not its Organic… does everyone get headaches or does nobody…..