Clayfield ‘Massif’ 2009 Shiraz – Interviews With Myselves

The dynamics of house hunting, it’s a bizarre ritual belonging to the transient, and un-mortgaged amongst us, you would spend more time debating the pros and cons of crunchy verses super crunchy peanut butter, than you would choosing your prospective ‘house partner’. It is  much like the first date, the interview stage, and let’s face it, that CV contains a small amount of poetic smudging, describing just how amazingly well adjusted, and ‘chilled’ you are, your love of the outdoors, exercise, and just how do you manage to get the time between work, and that part time job as a dolphin trainer. World peace? Sure let me in your house, and this too can be yours, just don’t mention that your idea of doing the dishes is an in-house Jenga party at the end of the week. You fully realise the lack of personal continuity between interviews, swinging between aloof and mysterious, learned and bookish, loud and engaging, it’s all about playing to the crowd, exhausting? Well I just expressed an interest in tofu burgers, the things we do for underground storage.

My move will take me away from Bearded Wine Man, I dropped the news this week, I was slightly jealous seeing that his beard has been newly sculpted with muffin chops, I had shaved mine, I pretended to preen mine and that it was not bothering me. He informed me that he was taking his beard to London, I had been jealous for no reason.  I looked for something heavy to make me feel better, I had not touched a Grampian Shiraz for a while, the last being a Mount Langi 2001 Shiraz. These are for the most part concentrated wines, with depth and character, though in cooler years can get a bit ‘sappy’, a bit like under ripe Pemberton / Demark Shiraz from back home.

Clayfield ‘Massif’ 2009 Shiraz

Victorian Shiraz has a tuff gig in my opinion, the South Australians do it well, Barossa, the Vale, Clare and Eden Valleys push out some serious wines, at some very accessible price points. Many a Melbournite reaches for interstate options instead of looking in their backyard. I have always been a fan of regional Grampians booze, these are some smart wines, being accessible early, and aging with structure. Leading to the Clayfield’s Shiraz; the colour concentration leaps at you in that varietal purple hue, this 2009 vintage is still all primary fruit colours and light, and the nose follows through. I find dark fruits, and a subtle but interesting star anises character, cloves, and the usual spicy pepper suspects. Some older French oak , I was intensely searching for the vanilla hit, and I can’t say I was missing it. The palate re-enforces this, there is no railroading oak regime marching down your tongue, the fruit is generous on the mid pallet but not sloppy, with structure from the fruit tannin and older oak to round out the sensuous mouth feel. Beginnings and hints of secondary characters start to form on the pallet once the wine has seen some air, but she is by no means crumbling into a heap in front of your eyes. There is not a massive amount of acid kicking around, that being said, hit it now, or hold onto 2014.

If you can move away from the Barossa jam jars, this is a wine designed for slow cooked beef cheeks, kangaroo, or lamb shanks with potato puree, or just a simple French styled Cassoulet. The dense gamey / meat characters, with this structured finesse wine, will make for a meal, both warming and comforting, and intricate and sophisticated. I would have to say that this wine surprised me, the Mount Langi wines have more ‘punch’, but I am seduced by the subtle nature of this temptress. You will find yourself topping up for guest glasses, and your own with, surprising regularity, this is a creeper.

For me this is the sexy librarian of Australian Shiraz, understated but intriguing, passive but firm.  Maybe she needs a housemate?

7.0 / 10 Sipps
$30-34 RRP

@Sippa_Wade
sippa@stelvins.com

 

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

@Sippa_Wade
sippa@stelvins.com

 

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

@Sippa_Wade
sippa@stelvins.com
 

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

@Sippa_Wade

Cape Mentelle 2010 Shiraz – Home Is Where the eTag Is

Mail is a strange thing, nowadays it tells us less and less; no more Franklin Mint, I now have to pay my bank to get a piece of paper with how much of my money they have, it has resulted in a cesspool of Crust coupons, and strata title meetings that are not addressed to me. Though occasionally something of note arrives that sends things a tad out of kilter. It appeared much as any other slightly larger than normal packages, with a slight, “I’m important” edge to it. It was my eTag, it was quite bizarre really, but as I slowly unzipped the anit-static packaging, and I realised that it was over, license changed, old plates gone, and now this beeping plastic wonder, the jewel of the Victorian transport privatisation policy, was now in my possession, there was a pang, if only mild, for the familiar, bad coffee, limited trading hours, dry heat, overtly high beverage prices, and the awkward notion that sooner or later that day, without doubt,  you will run into your old ex-girlfriend on the street.

I launched an expedition to Bearded Wine Man (BWM), with haste, convinced that I needed to source the taste of home that would instantly cure my Westerncollia. Dreaming up in my head on the way, ideas of lashes of french oak in lively chardonnay, cassis and minty pleasures, leading to Metricup Road Cabernets. This was going to be the greatest expedition since Burke and Wills, and well, it looked just as shakey. I quickly reeled off some names to BWM, he blinked, preened his beard, I preened mine, together we preened, and as I gazed around the shop at the un-western labels, I was in a quandary. BWM walked out the back, now ‘out the back’ is always interesting at independent wine stores. Now what he brought out was quite interesting seeing as  a.) I’m not a huge fan of multinational beverage companies, b.) I’m not a huge fan of Margaret River Shiraz.

Cape Mentelle 2010 Shiraz

Colour, that’s the one thing that always amazes me about Shiraz, especially youthful examples, it’s the plundering purple that gives it away. This can be seen in blind tastings, by girlfriends, fiancés, HR Managers, its vibrant, and has an affiliation with white business shirts. This wine just ‘pops’ out of the glass, you just want to swirl it around in the hope that she lights up even more. Not since drinking some central Victorian Shiraz/Viognier, have I seen such potent hues, so yes she looks pretty, but well, we have all been there, looks great at the dinner table, but can it talk. Margaret River Shiraz can for me sometimes be disorganised, I think people are always trying to make it something that it is not, and well look at the region, Margs makes, at its best, refined, elegant wines, with well assimilated french oak, with balanced,  non over ripe fruit. We can’t make the Barossa fruit cake, or the McLaren Vale velvet hammer, and do we really have to? I think some wineries have been tripping over this equation for a while, and we have the scope to make some smart, sub regional blended wines styles with fruit from Wilyabrup, all the way south to Karridale.

This wine for me is ‘pretty’, the colour, the nose, the palate, the oak integration, the fruit is there, but not heavy. For me it almost has that Côtes Du Rhône, ‘oh there is some fruit, ah its gone again’, it’s almost refreshing in nature, find that in a Shiraz article. It has some great coating vanilla characters from the oak, lifted notes of black berries, violets, and all things nice, if it was not for the outrageous colour in the glass, you could start to wonder from whence she came. Now this shiraz is not going to be for everyone, she needs some lamb, fresh rocket, pine nuts, Roquefort, aged pear, and well for me some fetta mashed potatoes, but I am a starch slut. Its delicate, but I appreciate the effort seeing 2010 was a solid vintage ripening wise, they could have made the jammy monster but decided not to. I’m torn with this one, the fruit is almost subdued, but elegant, and there are some savoury oak characters that I would like to explore, at length.

This is a difficult dance given the talent in the Chardonnay, and Cabernets section, I would try this with an open heart, and an open wallet, she is a sophisticated monster, her legacy I feel will be uncovered with years.

6.0 / 10 Sipps
$35-40 RRP

@Sippa_Wade

 

Kooyong ‘Clonale’ 2011 Chardonnay – Design Desired

Well it was only a matter of time really, there has been something missing, a feeling really, a bit like gazing at your pet dog, while it’s licking its lips with a satisfied look on its face, and there appears to be 2 pieces of the 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle missing. You want to search, you just don’t know if you like the consequences.  I’ve been pushing it back, building bikes, riding them, playing hockey, making non chardonnay drinking acquaintances, drinking ‘other’ wines, writing about them even, but it’s there, a niggle, a faint spark. I tried to go cold turkey since the tap was abruptly shut off from whence I moved from the ‘west’, the result however, is as predictable as the flavour on my pizza shapes. I like Chardonnay; we are involved, I was ruined early though, the second the Grand Cru Montrachet passed my lips, it was over. Knowing this, take most of what I say about my beloved Chards with that in mind, I have an open heart, but a demanding one.

A woman once dear to me said you have to suffer for your art, ok, drinking wine isn’t art, but let us just run with it. It was 2005, the neo-metro’s, (let’s call them the anti-hipsters), were all practicing their pronunciation of Viognier (Vi-ohn-yay), and discovering this amazing thing called Pinot Gris. The Anything But Chardonnay Crew, had driven the movement underground, we were hosting Chardonnay wine dinners with select friends, and masquerading them as Herbalife functions on our MySpace. It was uncool, but we stuck together, huddled around the flame of devotion to the cause, and we were right – the anti-hipsters eventually couldn’t figure out their elocution, Sauvignon blanc destroyed pinot gris, and the once quiet whispers of the chardonnay birds began to return to the forest, the two towers had been silenced.

Kooyong ‘Clonale’ 2011 Chardonnay

It’s hard being a younger brother, I should know, there are expectations, boundaries, people wonder why you’re not like the ‘older’ one, things though are often closer than you think, and well, it’s just a label. This to me applies to wines as well, it can be tricky, generally you grab the second, or third tier wine, with the stars in your eyes of the big hitter.  And let’s face it Kooyong has plenty of them, whether the single vineyard series of the ‘Faultline’ or ‘Farrago’, the ‘Estate’, and then you find your way to ‘Clonale’, these are all smart wines, I remember the 2009 Estate Chardonnay in a Stelvins group tasting, mixing with well into the process with some smart 2006, Premier and Grand Cru Burgundy’s. Fair to say that I liked this wine straight of the bat, I let her warm up on the bench for a bit, I was expecting to have nostrils exploded by the usual Australian chardonnay vanilla battleaxe, but this was different. I won’t go as far as to say ‘old world’ like, but it was subtle and refined. It’s there, French oak, with toasty, nutty tones to get you interested. There is a certain elegance over her ‘western’ cousins compared to others at this price point, and let’s face it, you can throw some misguided cash at this problem, and walk out unsatisfied.

The fruit is smart with this wine, kicking in at 13%, (plus 0.5 imo), great natural, integrated acidity, and austere middle pallet, balanced with a texture malo-lactic textural feel, it has the stone fruits, ripe grapefruit, it’s all clean, almost a splash of citrus for me, which is bizarre in a malo’ed chardonnay. She is fresh, it demands some fresh fish, or seafood exploration, I’m thinking Blue Bone, with citrus brûlée blanc sauce, caramelised lime wedges, and shall we just throw some asparagus under there, with a small medallion of potato cake, to cure any starch requirements. This to me is business lunch Chardonnay in action, I like it, you like it, lets drink it, congratulate each other on the fact that we both like it, and walk away thinking that something special just happened here.

So it’s the one you meet before the big brother, but well, its younger, has less baggage, costs you less financially, uncomplicated, maybe you’ll be interested.

7.0 / 10 Sipps
$25-30 RRP

@Sippa_Wade

Schild Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – For Whom the Red Tolls

Sorry for my tardiness, life has been somewhat hectic since my last confession, weddings, and inappropriately placed car doors notwithstanding, I’m back, and moving forward. Now, It’s cold, here in Melbourne Town, lets face it, seductive Melbourne suckered me in, tempting me with flashes of sunshine, picturesque skies, culture, hidden pockets of caffeine splendour, and an endless procession of quirky bars, affectionately known as the ‘horseshoe of death’, situated up and down Smith and Brunswick Street. But like I said, all the while I was distracted, sitting like a naive baby fur seal, waiting for a pat from a passing polar bear, I’ve come to know that obvious truth, It’s freezing here, but there is something you can do about it, clunky, slurpy, Barossa Reds.

I walked down to see my Bearded Wine Man ( my single speed got stolen), we once again discussed our beards, hipsters, and big reds. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I did used to pedal Schild back in the West, Bearded Wine Man (BWM), had not stocked them in a while, and after a small fight for the last 4 Pack of Old Mout Cider with a couple of hipster girls, I said I’d be back next week, we nodded, groomed our beards, and continued to be cool.

Schild Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Now I’m first to admit Barossa, and Cabernet, are not the usual fit for something that will jump off the wine list, and demand to be ordered. It’s the wine equivalent of going out on a date with your mate’s ex, It’s fine, just as long as no-one sees you doing it. And well there is good reason for it, the noble Bordeaux variety’s are not one to take a nasty heat wave, and well that is what the Barossa has been dealing up since the cool 2006 vintage by my maths. But the news is not all bad, if you’re looking for winter warmer, and don’t feel like jumping in the full shiraz fruit cake, this wine has a lot going for it. She is a ripe little one, this is a cassis explosion, dark berries, blackberries, think overripe mulberries, on first look you almost think that it’s going to be too much, but this is where this wine is quite clever. There is some good use of some savoury oak, it’s not an American oak, white vanilla, cherry bomb, and by no means new oak, but it is there, and subtle, but pronounced. Now there is nothing to support this theory on the tasting notes, but I find a cleansing Grenache character through the mid palette, I’m not sure if there is some blended in, and hey there could be 14.9999% for all we know.

While not an overly complex drink, I think it would reward a decanter for 15-20 minutes like most Schild reds seem to do. Like a good house guest it cleans up as it goes, leaving you wanting a revisit, the 14.5% alcohol is present, but not overpowering when in the context of the overall rich flavours, and textural qualities of the wine.

She is not going to win any medals, due mostly to the lack of varietal trueness, and sophistication, but she will warm your evening, and your hip pocket.

6.5 / 10 Sipps
$18-20 RRP

@Sippa_Wade

Pikes 2011 Riesling – Return to Middle Palate

Early on since moving over from the ‘West’, I ventured on my newly acquired single speed bicycle to my closest Fitzroy wine store, where funnily enough I was greeted by a charming man behind the counter with a beard, ( a beard is man currency in these parts) Having recently grown out my designer stubble, we exchanged self approving nods, and I made my way over to the fridge, and decided to start at R.

I’ve long loved the contents of the slender bottle variety, but for a long time over ‘west’ I frolicked in a puddle of Chardonnay, it was there, so was I, it was wrong, but so right. I would take my lashing of French oak day in, day out, seldom venturing away unless slapped in the mouth by something French, or dirty and Spanish. I gazed into the frosty fridge, and spotted a familiar label, the Pikes Fish, I’d played golf with Neil, albeit badly in 2009, back in Perth, and thought this would be a starting juncture, and let’s be up front, I’ve been a fan for a while, but what I found took me back.

PIKES 2011 “Traditionale” Riesling

Now I’ve always been a bit of a slut for Watervale and Clare Valley Rieslings, but general I’d fall on the Watervale side of things, the searing acid would inevitable win me over, Clare, for all of her textural niceties, could loose her way, and trip on the mat. 2011 PIKES has none of it, first the enticing stone-fruit nose, hint of underipe apricots, splash of peach, this isn’t your kerosene monster, its subtle, but no the girl sitting in the corner of the room that won’t dance all night. What got me with this wine is the palate, instantly it has that Clare generosity, but a balanced, to over balanced ( I mean that to be complimentary), natural acid, that holds a strong position in the middle palate, careering into the back of the mouth, its tingly, refreshing, its citrus, its lime, it demands you to pick up your fishing rod, or while you still have a mouthful, driving to your nearest oyster dispensing service.

In a land of minimalist, flightless, or overblown ripples of Riesling, the positioning of the flavours of this wine, I truly, in more than one way, find this piece refreshing.

7.5 / 10 Sipps
$18-27 RRP

@Sippa_Wade