Stelvins Tasting Evening Results – Onto Bordeaux – 29th September 2012

Team Stelvins finally went to where no Stelvins had been before, the land of Bordeaux, and to once and for all silence paperbagbrandivino ‘s critisism of the rest of us being Viognier drinking wusses.

In attendance:


Wine No.1  Dark. So utterly different from local wine. Different fruit note. It’s beyond fruit. We think it is cabernet sauvignon dominant, therefore Medoc. But we are really babes in the wood. Date, savoury earthy fruit. Relatively sharp. Bigger and more tannic than expected.Visual appearance of age, but very lively. Perhaps 2000? Beautiful grip. A bit short perhaps. Round 2 – clearly a young wine from a year that is going to last a long time. It’s opened up some, more middle to it now lots of structure still, you get the sense that it will fill in and balance with more time. A very good wine, but in extraordinary company. We think now it may be younger than we first thought, but it still doesn’t look young. 

What it is – Chateau de Fieuzal 2005 – from Graves, just south of the Medoc region, near

60% Cab, 33% merlot


Wine No.2


Looks a little older. Leathery tinge. A bit fig and baby’s bottoms.Juicy, length. At least 10 years old. More like a really good old Aussie.  Merlot-based perhaps. Really astounding.Hard to find descriptors for a wine so complex and complete. Not as tannic as the first. Still presenting a lot of fruit. Coming back to this, it’s like a graceful old gent with a red velvet jacket and an enormous erection. Might be a bit older than we thought at first.

Round 2 – very very classy wine, feminine, slash camp, extraordinary length, yes he’s gay, but god he’s smart , that sort of gay – Oscar wilde, Stephen fry kind of wine gay. Deep rich juicy flavours, low alcohol, goes on forever, a bit of cottonmouth…? Noice. Really reallynoice

What it is – Phelan Segur 1996, in the upper Medoc.


Wine No.6

Deep Deep red cherry.Shot through with blue. Younger and tighter.Very high notes – acetone.Liquorice. More like the first wine. Deep, jonno loves it. Beautiful balance. Something very gamey on the nose. More Cabernet Franc or Petit Verdot than Sauvignon or Merlot.

Round 2–vanilla hints, just too young for now, and its not contending in present company.

What it is – Batailley 2008 Paullac


Wine No.3

Pamela Anderson wine. A lot on the front. Beautiful. Rose petals and violets.Really reallyreally astounding.A lot of fruit. Not a fruit bomb. Magnificent balance in the mouth. Like No.6 but with an added layer. Similar blend to 6. Incredible wine. Balance. On the front of Bil’s tongue, vibrant youthful fruit.Quite cool in the mouth. I think it’s right bank.

Round 2 – still astounding structure, it has a spark, a tweak, that is unusual. It is like no wine we have had before. It has a hum, a note, that we can’t remember. Confirmed right bank, definitely less than 10 years old, probably more like 5… Fantastic wine, might not get wine o’ the night, but is certainly a new experience, which is valued above all else in this context.

What  it is – chateau du Tertre 2007 large amount of cab, planted on gravel, since 1997, new owner revived the property which was entirely renovated


Wine No.4

Appearance of age. Stinks of claret. Sarsparilla.More cabernet, low left bank. Doesn’t have the structure of 3. Not as long. A little bit of Aussie.Older than 1 and 6. Quite old. Maybe what one might become.Same shortness as No.1.Big cabernet hole. Raisins.

Round 2 – strangely, still old, smooth, integrated, balanced, superb. Still has the cabernet hole, but now has completely fulfilled the potential of its structure and length. Beautiful. Bit of stewed/dried pear/apple, old white characters.

What it is – chateau pichonlonguevillecomtesee de lalande 1990 softer and more opulent than most Paulliac’s – has often out pointed grand cru chateaux.



Wine No.5


Formic acid. Austere. Cabernet and darker.Capsicum.  Really chalky tannin. More than 10 years old. Stonking wine. Lengthy cabernet. Such power. Finesse. Just astounding. Again,

Round 2 –  Smells like the aftermath of a forest fire, after rain. Dark and tragic, with a hint of bbq. And brisket. Has really softened off, the structure has been accompanied by some delicious licorice and fermented blackberry. Still has some sweetness, but so savoury and whole.

What it is: duhartmilon  1990 – the third rothschild property – 4t growth, but gets some buzz cause it’s a bargain. To the left of lafite, since 1983, the dirt has started to fulfill its potential.



CIAO VINO 2009 Sangiovese – Revenge of the Super Tuscans

I’ve been laying low, turning down the profile, upping the privacy settings to beyond paranoid levels, see due to a minor technical glitch, and what I can only imagine to be a wheelbarrow load of unclaimed mail I’ve reached a level of civil noncompliance  That, and you never quite know when a member of Vic Roads is among your anthill sized readership, will jump out of your monitor and wheel clamp your mouse on the pad. I’ve shaved the beard, cut the hair, bought new south-side looking jeans, found a bike with gears, and plotted the shortest route to most south american embassy’s in the greater Melbourne Area, I’m a glass of new wave Albariño away from being unrecognizable. I still managed to make it to Bearded Wine Man the Second’s Shop (BWM2), things are getting warmer here, humid, I walked in clean shaven and looked over, the Bearded ones stood there, twitching, scratching, now is the time when you earn your Hipster Stripes, that beard, once your wind breaking friend is now the wicked witch of itchiness, but hey, there are at least long necks of Coopers to get you through.

CIAO VINO 2009 Sangiovese

It was hard times all round, and none taking it more than the Italian wine industry, they have been getting it in the neck from all quarters, first us, then Spain, now Chile. That and they seem to be surrounded by countries that can’t count money. The Italian’s, like the French have been making booze for some time, Sangiovese’s roots go back to pre biblical times in fact,  and like the french they too have a stiff appellation system, making pedaling, even labeling your wine, tricky at the best of times. Something had to give, so the Italians went on a little drive north, grabbed some cuttings of Bordeaux Cabernet and Merlot, grafted over some temperamental indigenous varieties and the Super Tuscan was born, the two old world towers combined to fight the new world scourge. One strong when the other weak, together in the fight against vintage variation, and a consistent product, who knows someone might actually buy it?

CIAO VINO 2009 Sangiovese

Let’s not beat about, CIAO VINO has most likely gone to Italy, lassoed this vino for a good price, bottled it, labeled it, and sent it packing to a place where people have money to buy it, and I for one are not upset in the slightest. This is a balanced, introductory wine for those not acquainted, or maybe not previously willing to throw money at our savory wine making cousins. It can be an expensive exercise purchasing some DOC/DOCG grade Chianti, just to find that you could have found a similar experience by walking into a classroom and chewing on some white chalk. This more Vin de pays experience gives a bit of tease, without the front on palate curling assault. She doesn’t sit heavy in the glass like our local bold reds, and more of brick red transparency than our purple hues. When first opened there is the usual ‘dusty jam’ from the Sangiovese, but with some punchy fruits from the french Bordeaux connection, these soften with some air, and I would recommend some time in the glass/opened, but not a full decant.  Structure and acidity is what makes this wine smart, the palate has a great freshness and vibrancy, it’s not cluttered, or bulky, the Sangiovese brings great layers of plum flavour with punchy acidity, the Cabernets warm fruits, berries, with great curvy balance. Find a lamb, feed it some grass, pat it, hit it on the head and bring it home, it wants to meet this wine, in your mouth, tonight.

This wine excites me, she brings structured, classy Italian expression in the below $23 dollar bracket. Put it against some local fair at that price and I know where I would be spending my money. If you enjoy your Cabernet, but want to explore the idea of savory wine that doesn’t leave your palate feeling like a multi-storey car park, then this is worth a spin, and at 13% alcohol it won’t put the dinner party to sleep before dessert.

So she has made her journey all the way here, you might as well bring her home to meet your pet Australian lamb.

7.0 / 10 Sipps
$21-23 RRP