Pizzini 2010 Sangiovese – On Shaky Ground

It has been a good week of passive research, I have discovered two things so far. One; drinking red wine makes you immune from the effects of an earthquake, for I didn’t feel a thing and I was all prepared to jump into the bathtub, I am assuming that is what you should do. The second discovery being my Riedel Vinum series wine glass is officially rated to 5.3 on the Richter Scale. She handled it like a dream; impressive engineers those Austrians – the bullet proof vest, Me-262 engine, designer glassware, and then a small annexation spoils the party. Now for me you only truly know who your friends are when they break your fancy stemware, and you still talk to them. This is a difficult task for me, I feel it comes from the ‘wrongness priority disorder,’ that I have inherited from my father, symptoms being; take the car for an afternoon joyride, no worries son, high school girlfriend in your room, nice one, elusive  pea falls on the floor at the dinner table, now you will not be leaving the house for a month. The thought of throwing ‘breakees’ off my balcony does in fact cross my mind, that or threatening them with the broken stems, enforced wine-floor licking, dispensing super glue, but I smile, get up, and pass the banister broom, and walk away, this is Zen glassware.

I love a big glass, I like swirling it, I like watching the legs erotically flow down, how a wine develops, and most importantly I can fit my nose in them. All the better to smell things with, and well this week I have had a craving for ‘dirt’. Bearded Wine Man was a bit light on in the Spanish and Italian departments, so I went for an Italian in Australia. My first dalliance with Sangiovese was the Primo Estate Shiraz/Sango and it was time to take another spin on the merry go round. The King Valley seems to be ground zero for Italian varietals in Oz at the moment, and really, why grow apples, when you can make wine; and lose money.

Pizzini 2010 Sangiovese

The European styles really lend themselves to enjoying with food, and to be honest, the drinking of wine as a standalone entity is really a ‘new world’ philosophy. Hence we go for the big, flashy fruit driven styles, though I see this changing, and wines like this, for me are leading the charge. The nose has a dusty, developed fruit character that just sucks me in. There is still a ping of zippy primary fruit to keep it vibrant; dark mulberry, and cherry, cedar box / cigar old French oak, minimal vanilla. The overall effect as described by an old fellow hospitably worker  as ‘dusty, strawberry jam,’ and you are there. I often think there are wines that taste as they smell, and this is most defiantly one of them, she has an interesting mix of savoury characters, with the ripe fruits punching through on the palate. I could maybe want for more tannin from the older oak, but then I am a slut for tannin, but I am none the less left wanting. The possible oxidative handling techniques have maybe stripped the primary fruit characters, at the expense of a weighty feel on palate. There is a textural feel to the wine, the palate is defined and structured, but this is a wine designed to enjoyed with food, and for my money snacks are required reading on this one.

If you are going to take your Australian drinking hat off for a second, then this a one to have a look at. This is a Sunday afternoon conversational cheese wine with friends, some pâté, sour dough, capers, smoked salmon, and at 13.1 % alcohol you will respect yourself in the morning. This is not a light weight wine, but I feel she is best enjoyed with friends, and with compliments, plenty of both really for maximum effect. She is a nice introduction to her more chalky tannin European cousins, the gateway wine so to speak, and I like that an Australian Vineyard is moving in this direction.

So it’s a relaxing book and bath wine, or getting together with friends by the lake, with overly tame ducks stealing your crackers. I like that she is a vehicle to take you somewhere, and that you just might remember it afterwards.

6.5 / 10 Sipps
$23-27 RRP



Farfalla 2008 Pinot Noir – The Reckoner

Same, but different –  there are certain similarities to the Melbournites and their often disowned Western cousins. There are also things that we can’t decide on, and lets face it the 2750 kms between us has done plenty to enforce that. Take for example that we couldn’t decide on what which railroad gauge would be the best to use, we also tried once also to secede from the federation; the Easterners decided that would not be a good idea also, truth be known we owed the Crown oodles, and were up to our wellingtons in debt, how times change. We both play cricket, football, and have an affliction to Queenslanders. But I will say there is one thing, or prhase that sets us apart, ‘you reckon’. Now for my money ‘you reckon’ does not exist in Perth,. It may in Bunbury, but not in general Perth society, not on St George’s Terrace, not in Fremantle. ‘You reckon’ is a staple in Melbourne, for me it is the phonetic equivalent of grown men on scooters, you see it, but just look away, but it will find you anywhere, spoken out of the mouths of people whom moments earlier you had a glowing opinion of. Now I am no grammatical elitist, you should see the list of people this blog goes to before it is published, but just  how the ‘reckoning’ happened surely has a PHD in there somewhere, and someone should get onto it, ASAP bru.

I only discovered the true extent of my infection when on the phone to mother, and it was out before I could stop, you could almost hear her heart sink, all of that private schooling, the after school tutors, had amounted to a sketchy wine blog, and menial bike building abilities. Now you reckon, you would think that all is lost, but now while there are great differences, there are those of which to be thankful for, Western Australian for my money cannot make midrange priced Pinot Noir if its life depended on it; what exists is a cesspool of strawberry boringness, green tight tannins, jamy fruits, or stuck ferments.

Farfalla 2008 Pinot Noir

Let’s not mess about, Pinot Noir is a fickle mistress, I remember a story from a winery back home, Old Kent River, once made a gold medal Pinot off a block of one year, that the next didn’t even go into budburst. She makes you earn it, far more fickle than her Burgundian sibling Chardonnay, Pinot knows what it likes, and won’t put out till she knows you’re going to stick around. The demand for a long ripening season, low temperature variation, low yielding soils, massive vineyard canopy management, massive disease susceptibility, that makes for an interesting vineyard expedition back west. Hot vintage? Pinot don’t like. Next door’s vineyard got bugs? Pinot don’t like. Backpackers don’t turn up to trim, Pinot don’t like. Accidently irrigate the wrong block, Pinot grapes explode. So you can see that the fact that all of this is not coming to you in a $25 bottle, all of the time is not overly surprising. But occasionally you will find one, and you should tell anyone that will listen. Now I must admit I initially purchased this wine for the Freudian butterfly like label, but maybe that was just me.

This is an inviting varietal wine, it has the Mornington cherry, strawberry nose, but there is something dirty about it, not the forest floor nonsense, but I really get a ‘funkiness’ from this wine, and I like that in Australian pinot, a wild ferment, yeasty portion blended back into the mix at a guess. It’s delicate and poised on the nose, and this transfers onto the palate. It has every indication of being a savoury delight, and does not disappoint, I enjoy the balance of fruit and acid, she is cleansing and refreshing. I could almost want for more fruit depth, but I enjoy that tease of savoury tannin, and deep cherry fruits. The only trick being is to rip it out early, and dazzle your guest with this heavy hitting featherweight, or wait and partner with your cheese selection. I would opt for the latter, it needs be discussed, and dissected. I want to throw her in with some Kooyong, Port Phillip, Paringa Pinots, taste blind, and see what comes out on top, she is trouble for $40 Victorian Pinots.

This is not your fleshy Otago dinner destroyer, nor an old world replacement, but certainly an enjoyable postcard from Burgundy, and at a fraction of the airfare.

7.0 / 10 Sipps
$21-25 RRP


p.s If you are having a hard time finding her please send me a message.

Hugel 2008 Gewurztraminer – Everybody Should Want You

It was all going so well, I had all of the pieces of the puzzle, sourced from all of the right places, the finished product was sure to be a fine one, all you had to do was put them all together. I stood there with my brother ‘ Doctor Who’ (DW), we were in the process of making the replacement to my recently stolen fixie, dubbed ‘White Lightning’, only problem was it was just not going together, everything looked great on the ground, but all it was doing was starting to look like a wounded Voltron character, the car Voltron, not the crazy one made of lions, which in my mind was completely unrealistic.  Things are always tricky when you don’t understand all of the components, or for that matter have bought them of numerous eBay sites, exploiting the what was then weak American dollar. There was no doubt that littered on DW’s living room floor was quite a pretty spectacle of bicycle componentry, but all in all a conceptually non-working product.To Hugel Site Click

Now this for me is how most large scale wineries marketing departments must feel about Gewurztraminer; on paper it has every piece of the puzzle, it is for my money one, if not the most versatile wine in a sommeliers arsenal. You can hold it up your sleeve, and devastate a degustation, or be liege your friend’s dinner party. She is your trump card, the slightly akward girl at high school you wished you talked to more, who rocks up at the ten year reunion fresh from the runway in Milan. You can not for the Life of Brian give the stuff away, trust me, I tried. The masses just have not quite switched on to this variety, it has everything you should want, and yet don’t take. I feel it suffers from Viognier Syndrome (VS), she is phonetically challenging, and thus sits in most restaurant fridges on the account of embarrassment. Maybe it is need of a rebrand, the German Translation contextually meaning “perfumed”. This was the first French wine I ever tasted at a Negociants Tasting back in South Perth, I had up till that point not seen anything like it, and she still gives me goose bumps.

Hugel 2008 Gewurztraminer

“Boom” that is about the first thing that will hit you when you put your nose in the glass of this wine, if you ever have someone tell you that white wine doesn’t have enough body for them, Fed Ex them a bottle of this to rectify the issue. Some may find her characters a bit much, but I enjoy them, Gewurztraminer and her southern Rhône cousin Marsanne, for me are the white wines for red wine drinkers. Once they warm up in the glass they will assault your senses, your nose, and your palate, will experience favours enough to make you double take. So lets have a look at this often reclusive wine, “its like an onion.”

The dead giveaway, not that it’s a big leap, for Alsace Gewurztraminer, is that that the second you put your nose into the glass, you are transported to a tropical oasis, complete with an onsite fruit market. It is an amazing feat that such a smell could come out of an appellation with a mean summer temperature of 18°c. It is lychee heaven, with a side of ripe loquats, it is a perfume to rival the real thing, and for me surpasses the original, the lifted notes just keep on coming to an almost confectionary character, a sherbet like experience. I really can’t exaggerate enough that this wine will give you a ‘smelling’ experience that you most likely have not had in your lives, the ethyl compounds in this wine are a gift from mother nature.  The palate just continues the onslaught, there is body here beyond belief. This isn’t sweetness, this is fruit weight at her finest, it reaches all across, and the tropical, dense flavours of loquats, paw-paw, lychee, continue in what can only be called a siege upon your senses. The true secret of this wine is its ability to enhance Asian, especially Thai cuisine, I cannot over estimate the extreme amount of chilli this wine can compliment, she wants for coriander, ginger, chilli, anything you can get in the pot, my preference is whole Red Emperor stuffed with all of the above, you will not be disappointed.

Very few times in life do you get to experience something truly out of the box, this wine for me is the Universe’s way of telling us she has more up her sleeve, I know it’s all just chemicals reacting with other enzymes on my tongue, but well, I’m all in, and to be honest there is a little part of me that is happy that everyone else is not.

8.0 / 10 Sipps
$33-37 RRP