Bass Phillip Premium Pinot Noir $75
Phillip Jones's pinots are rare, exotic creatures, handmade without compromise from a tiny vineyard in a corner of south Gippsland. The result is a range of magical wines that encapsulate the mystery and allure of this fickle grape variety. -- R.K.P.
Craiglee Shiraz $30
Craiglee at Sunbury was a famous vineyard in the great age of Victorian wine last century. Now in its second incarnation, it more than lives up to its illustrious history. The shiraz is a rich, spicy red wine of great elegance and longevity. -- R.K.P.
Eyton on Yarra NDC Reserve 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon $40
Newell David Cowan (NDC) bought the Yarra Vale vineyard at Coldstream in 1992 and transformed it into a multimillion-dollar showpiece, renaming it Eyton on Yarra. He died in 1996, aged 84, but his memory lives on in a beautifully understated cabernet sauvignon that deserves greater recognition than it generally gets. Classy blackberry fruit, a daring dash of American oak (an unusual combination with cabernet but it works), and smoothness combined with a clean herbal finish, puts it in the must-try category. -- J.P.
Mitchelton Goulburn Valley 1997 Marsanne $14
Decisions, decisions. Should I choose the Mitchelton marsanne or the viognier (also on tasting at the Exhibition)? While Mitchelton is still coming to terms with viognier, it remains a master of marsanne. The Rhone Valley white grape is putty in the hands of wine maker Don Lewis. The Goulburn Valley wine - spring in a glass with honeysuckle/jasmine richness - is not the heavyweight that the company's super-premium Victoria marsanne is (sadly, not on tasting), but it still does the grape variety proud. -- J.P.
Seppelt Rutherglen Show Muscat DP 63 $26
DP 63 is the dazzling jewel in the crown of Seppelt's Victorian wine portfolio. Or at least it's one of them (the show tokay DP 57 is also on tasting). DP 63 is an incredible mouthful of raisin and toffee flavors, sinfully luscious and a real treat for the tastebuds. Long after it has slipped down, it's still there on the tongue. -- J.P.
Campbells 1995 The Barkly Durif $38
The Barkly is a great introduction to one of the North-East's most underrated red grape varieties - durif. The variety can be intimidating (oh, those tannins) as well as shy to show its charm straight away, but with its modern use of clean new oak, The Barkly is just a bit more approachable. Bags of ripe fruit, high alcohol, high-ish tannins, loads of body - it's all there. A blockbuster red with attitude. -- J.P.
De Bortoli Yarra Valley Chardonnay $26
Yarra chardonnay can be among Australia's best and the top wines can be expensive drops.
De Bortoli's version is one of those better wines. It's complex, rich and smooth, yet it's not as expensive as most of its peers. -- R.K.P.
Leydens Vale 1997 Shiraz $17
The star of the Leydens Vale range has always been the shiraz. It's textural, soft and peppery and definitely falls into the cooler-climate category. Leydens Vale is a second label under the Blue Pyrenees Estate brand, but don't expect it to feature fruit only from the Pyrenees. The '97 shiraz has a fair dollop of Mornington Peninsula material. -- J.P.
Mitchelton Victoria Chardonnay $24
Mitchelton wine maker Don Lewis deserves to be better known for his way with chardonnay. His is a full-flavored wine of lovely balance that's rich, creamy-textured and satisfying. -- R.K.P.
Stanton and Killeen Jack's Block Shiraz $22
A quiet revolution is taking place in north-eastern Victoria. The red table wines are shedding their old-fashioned porty personalities in favor of something more modern. Jack's Block is one of the best; still big and ripe, but better balanced and much more stylish. -- R.K.P.
Prices are approximate retail.
THE WINE AND JAZZ APPRECIATION SOCIETY NEWS, VOL 5, NO 29, 31/8/99
The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet. Edward Thomas
So, having read The Age’s recommendations for the best wines to taste, it was off to Jeff’s Shed to tackle to task. Not an overly large crowd fortunately, given that I had only 4 hours and there were 500 wines on tasting. Lots of other cool stuff too - exotic glassware and other wine accoutrements (a handy corkscrew at only $750 - isn’t it Fathers Day soon?). Some interesting foods too - smoked meats from Cobden, cheeses from Milawa, bread using wine lees as the rising agent. But no time for dallying around the food, what about a blind tasting? Made a fool of myself first up - couldn’t pick a cabernet from a shiraz! Ah well, it must be Jeff’s tasteless influence.
So many wines, what to do? I spy some people of stern discipline sticking to rieslings tonight, followed by chardonnays tomorrow. For me there is no tomorrow, so I try the rieslings and the chardonnays, and the shriaz and the cabernets, and so on - and before I know it, it’s time to go. Whee, jovially and almost steadily, to Bennetts where the Tim Wilson Quartet is holding court. Reviewed as a trio by Jules last week, the Quartet has Glen Cannon (guitar) offering variety and some cool dexterous chords. I make notes but later lose them - I know I enjoyed their playing?
I have mentioned Diana Kiss at Mayfields before, and after a noisy dinner at Kuni’s, it’s to drugland I head. Unaccosted in Smith St and mildly disappointed, I join a good sized crowd moving languorously to the rhythms of Diana Kiss, abetted by the impossibly basso profundo growls of Ross Hannaford. Great sound, insinuating all manner of illicit Caribbean pleasures, the music is much appreciated by the crowd (inc. me).
Sad to hear that Ruby Reds is struggling, and reportedly only prepared to pay bands half the former fee. Paul Williamson has finished his residency. Pity, as another work do was planned there for the near future.
Upcoming New Orleans pianist, Jon Cleary Mon 20 September at The Continental; also Little Charlie and the Nightcats (same place 30/9), Hoodangas at The Corner Hotel, Richmond (Mid September).
Winewise, the Exhibition of fine Western Australian wines at Le Meridian in Collins St Thurs 9/9 should be outstanding, with 39 wineries represented. So much to do, so little time!
A little joke about commitment (thanks, George).
A few months ago, there was an opening with the CIA for an assassin. These highly classified positions are hard to fill, and there's a lot of testing and background checks involved before you can even be considered for the position. After sending some applicants through the background checks, training and testing, they narrowed the possible choices down to 2 men and a woman, but only one position was available.
The day came for the final test to see which person would get the extremely secretive job. The CIA men administering the test took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun. "We must know that you will follow your instructions no matter what the circumstances," they explained. "Inside this room, you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her."
The man got a shocked look on his face and said, "You can't be serious! I could never shoot my own wife!" "Well", says the CIA man, "You're definitely not the right man for this job then." So they bring the second man to the same door and hand him a gun. "We must know that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances," they explained to the second man. "Inside you will find your wife sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill her."
The second man looked a bit shocked, but nevertheless took the gun and went in the room. All was quiet for about 5 minutes, then the door opened. The man came out of the room with tears in his eyes. "I tried to shoot her, I just couldn't pull the trigger and shoot
my wife. I guess I'm not the right man for the job." "No," the CIA man replied. "You don't have what it takes. Take your wife and go home."
Now they're down to the woman left to test. Again they lead her to the same door to the same room and hand her the same gun. "We must be sure that you will follow instructions no matter what the circumstances. This is your final test. Inside you will find your husband sitting in a chair. Take this gun and kill him."
The woman took the gun and opened the door. Before the door even closed all the way, the CIA heard the gun start firing. One shot after another for 13 shots. Then all hell broke loose in the room. They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls. This went on for several minutes, then all went quiet. The door opened slowly, and there stood the woman.
She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, "You guys didn't tell me the gun was loaded with blanks! I had to beat the son of a bitch to death with the chair!"
James Halliday's tasting notes
Value special: Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
It's up to you Will Taylor Hunter Valley Semillon 1998
Worth having Briar Ridge Stockhausen Shiraz 1997
Off the beaten track Phillip Island Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
Simply the best Seaview Pinot Chardonnay Méthode Champenoise 1995
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Rating: 94 Best drinking: 2001-2011 Price: $22.00 Drink with: Roast beef
Background Given the volume in which this wine is made (said to be over 40 000 cases) it has to be the most important cabernet in Australia, a powerful testament to the synergy between Coonawarra and cabernet sauvignon. Another dyed-in-the-wool classic with a magnificent history.
Tasting note Medium to full red-purple; the bouquet is extremely attractive, with an array of cassis, blackberry and mint fruit characters, the palate elegant and stylish. Instead of succumbing to the temptation of extracting every bit of character from the wine, it has been allowed to express itself in an unforced fashion.
Will Taylor Hunter Valley Semillon 1998
Rating: 87 Best drinking: 2000-2004 Price: $19.50 Drink with: Light pasta
Background Produced from Pokolbin semillon grown in one of the rare dry Hunter vintages. Stainless steel-fermented and relatively early bottled (in September of the year of vintage, along with the riesling and sauvignon blanc).
Tasting note Medium to full yellow-green; the bouquet reflects the vintage, with a mix of buttery and more minerally aromas, perhaps fractionally advanced. The palate has abundant soft, ripe semillon, with hints of butter and banana; good back palate and finish.
Briar Ridge Stockhausen Shiraz 1997
Rating: 87 Best drinking: 2000-2005 Price: $24.00 Drink with: Braised lamb shanks
Background Named in honour of veteran winemaker Karl Stockhausen, who spent decades with Lindemans in the Hunter Valley, commencing his winemaking career there in 1960. Now a consultant to Briar Ridge, and brings his vast experience into play.
Tasting note Medium to full red; the bouquet is complex, with lots of Hunter Shiraz varietal character supported by well-integrated and balanced oak; quite impressive. The palate seems then to go off on an entirely unexpected direction of its own, with an unusual mix of flavours including slightly green raspberries, balanced by more conventional spice and cherry. Lots of oak also present in a Janus-headed wine.
Phillip Island Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
Rating: 86 Best drinking: 2000-2004 Price: $25.00 Drink with: Roast veal
Background This is the first Cabernet Sauvignon to be made from grapes grown on Phillip Island's estate vineyard, and is of exceptional interest for this reason alone. Interestingly, the label simply says 'Product of Australia', which might lead one to believe it is a blended wine from many regions - which it is not.
Tasting note Medium to full red-purple; lifted, leaf, mint and cassis aromas, ever so slightly sharp, are followed by a palate of some elegance. The flavours are gentle, in a cassis spectrum of moderate intensity, and supported by appropriately soft and subtle oak.
Simply the best
Seaview Pinot Chardonnay Méthode Champenoise 1995
Rating: 94 Best drinking: 1999-2000 Price: $12.95 Drink with: Oysters
Background A very complex blend of pinot noir and chardonnay sourced predominantly from Coonawarra, Padthaway and the Eden Valley in South Australia, but with small components from the New South Wales alps, Strathbogie Ranges of Victoria and Adelaide Hills. It spends two years on yeast lees before disgorgement.
Tasting note Medium yellow-straw; the bouquet is subtle, but with complex bready/nutty characters. The wine has excellent structure and particularly good length and finish, featuring a subtle array of citrus, bread, cream and brioche characters.
In addition to the wines for which full tasting notes are provided, I inevitably taste a large number of additional wines which are either not of the same quality or of the same interest. For the sake of completeness, I list these (and publish the points) under the heading 'Also tasted'. Typically, these will be wines which receive 80 points or less, but there is no hard and fast rule about this. Lower-pointed wines which are inexpensive may well get reviewed; conversely, more expensive wines which just scrape past 80 points may not be reviewed.
Vintage Wine Rating
1993 12 Acres Shiraz 78
1997 12 Acres Merlot 78
1996 12 Acres Cabernet Sauvignon 80
1998 Arlewood Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 81
1997 Arlewood Estate Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 84
1997 Arrowfield Show Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 80
1998 Barossa Velley Estate Spires Chardonnay Semillon 78
1998 Bethany Wines Riesling 85
1997 Bethany Wines The Manse Wh Generics 80
1997 Bethany Wines Chardonnay 81
1998 Bethany Wines Select Late Harvest Riesling 84
1997 Bethany Wines Shiraz 84
1998 Bethany Wines Grenache Pressings 81
1996 Bianchet Semillon 85
1997 Bianchet Chardonnay 87
1997 Bianchet Pinot Noir 73
1996 Bianchet Shiraz 75
1996 Bianchet Merlot 76
1995 Bianchet Merlot Cabernet Shiraz 76
1998 Birdwood Estate Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 82
1992 Bloodwood Estate Riesling 85
1997 Bloodwood Estate Chardonnay 84
1996 Bloodwood Estate Chirac Corked
1998 Cassegrain White Pinot 80
1997 Cassegrain Hastings River Cabernet Merlot 83
1998 Celtic Farm The Gridge Corked
1998 Chain of Ponds Pinot Noir 83
1997 Chatsfield Chardonnay 83
1998 Chestnut Hill Sauvignon Blanc 75
1997 Chestnut Hill Chardonnay 77
1997 Chestnut Hill Shiraz 81
1998 Ciaveralla Chardonnay 79
1997 Ciaveralla Cabernet Sauvignon 80
1998 Clonakilla Canberra Distrinct Viognier 80
1997 Clonakella Canberra District Cabernet Merlot 85
1998 Coolangatta Estate Chardonnay 84
1998 Coolangatta Estate Chambourcin 83
1998 d'Arenberg Last Ditch Viognier 82
1997 d'Arenberg The Dry Ram Riesling 84
1998 d'Arenberg The Dryland Sauvignon Blanc 80
1998 d'Arenberg White Ochre 79
1997 d'Arenberg The Olive Grove Chardonnay 83
1997 d'Arenberg The Other Side Chardonnay 84
1997 d'Arenberg Red Ochre 79
1997 d'Arenberg Twenty Eight Road Mourvedre 84
1997 d'Arenberg The High Trellis Cabernet Sauvignon 82
1998 De Bortoli Sacred Hill Rhine Riesling 73
1998 De Bortoli Sacred Hill Colombard Chardonnay Corked
1998 De Bortoli Vat 7 Chardonnay 78
1998 De Bortoli (Victoria) Montage Chardonnay Semillon 79
1998 De Bortoli (Victoria) Windy Peak Cabernet Rosé 80
1998 Deep Woods Estate Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 79
1998 Deep Woods Estate Margaret River Verdelho 80
1997 Deep Woods Estate Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 69
1998 Dromana Estate Garry Crittenden Schinus Chardonnay 84
1998 Dromana Estate Garry Crittenden Merlot 82
1998 Dyson Wines Chardonnay 83
1998 Five Oaks Vineyard Riesling 78
1995 Five Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Merlot 77
1997 Five Oaks Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 84
1996 Gembrook Hill Pinot Noir 83
1998 Gilbert Chardonnay 83
1997 Glenguin Chardonnay 79
1997 Glenguin Individual Vineyard Shiraz 84
1998 Grant Burge Summers Eden Valley Chardonnay 83
1997 Gralyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 78
1998 Haan Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 81
1997 Haan Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 83
1998 Hamilton McLaren Vale The Slate Quarry Riesling 83
1997 Harewood Estate Pinot Noir 83
1998 Henschke Cranos Eden Valley Chardonnay 80
1998 Henschke Julius Eden Valley Chardonnay 83
1997 Henschke Giles Pinot Noir 84
1997 Hickinbotham Pinot Noir 81
1997 Hickinbotham Shiraz 75
1996 Hickinbotham Cabernet Merlot 79
1997 Hillstowe Udy's Mill Lenswood Pinot Noir Corked
1996 Hollick Wilgha Shiraz 82
1997 Hollick Shiraz Malbec Cabernet 79
1997 Hollick Cabernet Merlot 80
1998 Honeytree Estate Semillon Chardonnay 77
1997 Hugo McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 81
1998 Hugh Hamilton Unwooded Chardonnay 82
1996 Hugh Hamilton Shiraz 76
1996 Hugh Hamilton Cabernet Sauvignon 84
1997 Idyll Vineyard Geelong Chardonnay 85
1998 Glenguin Individual Vineyard Semillon 81
1997 Jingalla Great Southern White 84
1998 Jingalla Verdelho 84
1998 Jingalla Cabernet Rouge 74
1996 Jingalla Reserve Shiraz 70
1997 Jingalla Great Southern Red 78
1995 Jingalla Cabernet Sauvignon 82
1996 Karl Seppelt Springton Chardonnay 83
1996 Karl Seppelt Langhorne Creek Shiraz 79
1997 Karriview Chardonnay 84
1996 Karriview Pinot Noir 83
1996 Karriview Pinot Noir 83
1995 Karriview Pinot Noir 84
1998 Katnook Estate Woolshed Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 83
1997 Katnook Estate Woolshed Coonawarra Chardonnay 82
1997 Katnook Estate Woolshed Coonawarra Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 81
1998 Kings Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 84
1998 Kings Creek Vineyard Pinot Gris 83
1998 Kings Creek Vineyard Unwooded Chardonnay 79
1997 Kings Creek Vineyard Chardonnay Corked
1996 Kings Creek Vineyard Chardonnay 82
1997 Kongwak Hills Riesling 70
1997 Kongwak Hills Shiraz 80
1997 Kongwak Hills Cabernet Malbec 77
1998 Kulkunbulla Nullabor Chardonnay 83
1996 Lindemans (Hunter Valley) Steven Vineyard Bin 9225 Shiraz Corked
1998 Marribrook Marsanne 79
1996 Marribrook Cabernet Merlot 78
1998 Matilda's Meadow Semillon 79
1997 Marilda's Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 77
1994 Mc William's Mount Pleasant Phillip Shiraz 78
1998 Meerea Park Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 79
1998 Meerea Park Alexander Munro Chardonnay 83
1998 Miranda The Pioneers Raisined Muscat 83
1998 Mount Avoca Vineyard Chardonnay 81
1998 Mount Avoca Vineyard Rhapsody 74
1998 Mount Langi Ghiran Riesling 82
1997 Mount Langi Ghiran Billi Billi Creek Grenache Shiraz 81
1997 Munari Chardonnay 82
1997 Munari Schoolhouse Red 85
1998 Narkoojee The Rose 82
1998 Neudorf Vineyards Moutere Late Harvest Riesling 85
1998 Oakvale Peachtree Semillon 78
1997 Oakvale Peachtree Semillon 76
1998 Oakvale French Oak Chardonnay 75
1997 Oakvale French Oak Chardonnay 79
1997 Oakvale Peachtree Chardonnay Corked
1996 Passing Clouds Shiraz 84
1996 Passing Clouds Graemes Blend Shiraz Cabernet 86
1997 Passing Clouds Angel Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 86
1997 Paul Osicka Shiraz 80
1997 Pizzini Blanco 79
1997 Pizzini Cabernet Sauvignon 83
1998 Reg Drayton Wines Lambkin Semillon 82
1997 Reg Drayton Wines Pokolbin Hills Chardonnay 79
1998 Riversands Sauvignon Blanc 77
1997 Riversands Ellen Meade Merlot 77
1997 Salisbury Estate Milburn Park Cabernet Sauvignon 78
1998 Seaview Sauvignon Blanc 79
1998 Spray Farm Sauvignon Blanc 81
1997 Stringy Brae Clare Valley Shiraz 81
1997 Stringy Brae Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 78
1998 T'Gallant The T'Gallant Chardonnay 85
1997 T'Gallant Lot 2 New Address Chardonnay 83
1997 T'Gallant Lyncroft Pinot Noir 86
1998 Tamburlaine The Chapel Reserve Chardonnay 81
1998 Tamburlaine The Chapel Reserve Red 85
1996 Tuck's Ridge Chardonnay 85
1998 Tuck's Ridge Altera Pinot Noir 82
1998 Wairau Peak Wines Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 78
1998 Wairau Peak Wines Gisborne Mendoza Chardonnay 82
1997 Wilderness Estate Reserve Chardonnay 85
1996 Wilderness Estate Shiraz 79
1996 Wilderness Estate Cabernet Merlot 78
1998 Wilmot Hills Muller Thurgau 73
1998 Wilmot Hills Pinot Noir 75
1997 Willespie Chardonnay 83
1997 Willespie Shiraz 82
1998 Woodstock Limestone Coast Verdelho 77
1997/1998 Woodstock Blended Vintage Botrytis Sweet white 84
Please note: All wines are rated out of 100 points, corked wines are marked accordingly and have not been rated.
Copyright © 1999 HarperCollinsPublishers / James Halliday
THE WINE AND JAZZ APPRECIATION SOCIETY NEWS, VOL 5, NO 30, 6 /9/99
Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914).
The Tom Hanssen Trio comprises three very experienced Melbourne musos - Tom (piano), Geoff Kluke (bass) and Mike Jordan (drums). Brought together at short notice due to the inability of Tony Gould to make it to his own gig, the presence of the trio was a surprise to some. As it eventuated, it was a very pleasant surprise too. The dominance of standards, such as Stella by Starlight, and No Greater Love, was probably due to the absence of opportunities for band rehearsal, and could have led to a ho hum evening of unchallenging and predictable music.
It was great to see Geoff Kluke again after a year or two - his bass playing is a constant source of interest, as is his demeanour. He appears to become enraptured by his instrument, coaxing it with ever-changing head positions and body position. At times, he pointedly looks away from the bass as if to defy it to misbehave; at others with eyes closed he gives rein to a succession of intense facial expressions - surprise, perplexity, delight can be discerned among them. The sound from the bass was beautifully defined - clear upper register and well formed lower tones. The bass was quite forward in the sound picture, Tom and Mike playing with sufficient quietness to enable it to be continuously on show. When the world’s greatest bassist, Neils Hennig Orsted Pedersen, recently played in Melbourne it was Geoff’s bass he played (his own having been shunted off to airports unknown). Perhaps the aura of the master’s hands helped to drive the wonderful bass sound on this night.
Mike presented the picture of the drummer who listens. His playing was understated though very tasty, especially his brushwork. He clearly enjoyed the opportunities provided by the jazz trio format, looking as comfortable in this setting as he does with the more up-beat Paul Williamson group. Tom’s playing was elegantly melodic with the occasional unexpected twist. A touch of humour here and there, swinging music, some contemplative tunes - all in all, a joy!
Many are predicting that the 9th of September 1999 will create at least as many computer problems as Y2K, because some computers are designed to click back on that day rather than on 1/1/2001.
In fact, the 9th September is a much more interesting date on the whole. With 5 digits the same (five x 9s in 9.9.1999) it is amongst a handful of dates with so many similar numerals. Excluding the common 1 and 2 numerals, there have been less than ten such dates in the last two thousand years and the next will not occur for another 334 and a half years!
Given such a rare event, it only seems logical that there should be a significant celebration! And there is!
On the evening of the 9th of the 9th, 1999 there is the wonderful Exhibition of Fine Western Australian wines at Le Meridien at Rialto in Collins St. At 9 pm on 9/9/99, there will be fine music at Bennetts Lane - what more could one desire?
Why else is the 9th September so important? Read on!