Sunday, September 4, 2011

2009 Streicker ‘Bridgeland Block’ Syrah

A Margaret River name unfamiliar to most, although John Streicker has been turning out small volumes of wine from his Bridgeland, Ironstone and Yallingup vineyards for several years now.

Lively, purpling, blood red colour. The nose opens to bright redcurrants, violets, dried herbs and flowers; savoury meats and some smoky char. On the spicy side there’s cinnamon and white pepper – the bestest of peppers to be found in shiraz in my view. The oak starts to kick in more as the wine opens – it’s on the varnishy, yet toasty side. There’s also some intense coffee and crushed ant aromas (better than it probably sounds), and after a glass or two the nose pours out more complex, sweet and lovely perfumed aromas. Sexy.

The tannins are evident on the palate – a little powdery, but turning silky with time in glass. It’s a nice mid-weight style with beautifully balanced structure - acid/oak/fruit all in harmony. On the flavour side there’s a good balance of sweet/savoury, and a creamy brew of blueberry and redcurrant, some vanillan, pencilly oak, and a gorgeous smattering of white pepper. The finish is long and smooth.

Yep, this is very nice booze. It’s an easy drink for a 2009 at this point, but there’s an element of seriousness to it. Then when it kicks into higher gear it really starts to assert itself and become more expressive. The structure should see it cellar mid-term but she’s looking the goods right now too.
Value: $38.50 by mail order – sure is a big price. Maybe too high for some, but at least you know you are getting something quite smart, if not quite in the brilliant category.
Tasted: September 2011
Closure: Screwcap
Source: Sample

Producer: Streicker Wines – The label was established in 2002 around the time John Streicker purchased his vineyards – Ironstone (Wilyabrup), Yallingup Protea Farm (Yallingup), and subsequently the Bridgeland vineyard (Rosa Glen).
Region: Margaret River, Western Australia.
Site: Bridgeland Vineyard, south-east of the township Margaret River – a cooler subregion with longer growing season.
Winemaking: Open ferment. Matured for 18 months in French oak.
Vintage: A mild and gentle growing season with no rain, hail, or bird issues, however a Looper bug infestation did knock some vineyards about and yields were low. Generally however, this is an excellent year.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2010 Printhie Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Frankland Estate 'Isolation Ridge' Riesling, 2011 Marq Vermentino

2010 Printhie 'Mountain Range' Sauvignon Blanc
Nettley, showing a little age. Lemon and orange rind, grassy, some wild sage-bush. Lemon-scented honey aromas blend with lime, passionfruit and guava, with a little green tea thrown in. The palate is developed, as expected by now, and shows lemon curd, gooseberry, green bean and roasted green capsicum. Nice weight, texture and acid.

Following on from the outstanding 2009 vintage Savvy and maybe falling short of those heights, but still a good wine – although I would be drinking it soonish. A stylish feel, but probably lacks the oomph factor of the previous vintage. As chance would have it, I learned via Twitter that Gary Walsh (Winefront) was tackling the 2010 MCC Sauvignon Blanc on the same night and giving it big raps. I must have a crack at this wine. Stay tuned.
Value: $18 – there's good value in the entire Mountain Range.
Tasted: August 2011
Closure: Screwcap
Source: Purchased

Producer: Printhie Wines – - owned by the Swift family.
Region: Orange, NSW - the NSW central tablelands east of Sydney - a region of high-ish elevation.
Vintage: A difficult vintage with yields down across the board for many – although some excellent quality prevailed.

2010 Frankland Estate ‘Isolation Ridge’ Riesling
Minerally, slatey, flinty... There I said it. Floral aromas with citrussy lime and pear – there’s more going on here than in the average riesling flavour spectrum. There’s freshness and zing, lifted flavours and aromas. Refreshing. There’s broad flavours in the citrus and tropical sphere, and some spice and fruit blossom, but there’s also drive and length and focus. And there’s more of that flinty goodness.

I don’t care what Philip White says, if I want to call a wine minerally I damn well will, and you all know what I’m talking about. Pure and fresh. Naturally exciting. This is a very good, benchmark WA Riesling. I’ll have some more please.
Value: At $32 it aint cheap, but this is the sort of wine you can pull out at a dinner party and impress the guests. A bit wanky, I know, but that’s wine for you sometimes.
Tasted: August 2011
Closure: Screwcap
Source: Sample

Producer: Frankland Estate – 
 family-owned, established in 1988 by Barrie Smith and Judi Cullam.
Region: Frankland River, West Australia. Adjacent to Great Southern in the cooler south of WA.
An ideal vintage for the Great Southern and Frankland River regions. Warm summer days and cool nights. Hard to make a bad wine from this year.

2011 Marq Vermentino
All I can tell you about this new player in the Margaret River region is that it's the private label of Happs winemaker, Mark Warren, and a variety you don’t usually see around Margaret River. It’s light and slightly oily-textured – the flavours are in the spectrum I quite like: lime and pear, peach and apple blossom, grapefruity, floral and perfumed – neat, tidy, gently flavoursome in a restrained sort-of way.

Maybe too gentle? It doesn’t have the grunt of other vermentinos I’ve seen, nor the viscosity, but it is freshly bottled so perhaps showing some shyness at the moment. Ne'erless, it's a delightful little romp in the fields, and a perfect pre-dinner drink over spring and summer. With food? You’d be mad not to pair it with seafood – sardines, of course!
Value: Price unknown.
Tasted: August 2011
Closure: Screwcap
Source: Gift

Producer: Marq Wines –  Happs winemaker Mark Warren's own label.
Region: Margaret River, West Australia.
Vintage: A cracker vintage in the west – perfectly warm temps during the day and cool nights – fruit was ripe with good acids. A winemakers delight.