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Snooth User: Wineogre

Hello Snooth!

Posted by Wineogre, May 6.

Just finished tasting Ballabourneen The Stuart 2013 Chardonnay (Australian Wine Selectors Hunter Valley Series January 2014 dozen), bottled under screwcap. Supposed to have a "round and subtle biscuity finish" Well the bottle I tasted was way to subtle for me I'm afraid! I think it is due to last week's tasting of the Tapanappa  2008 Tiers Piccadilly Chardonnay, now there is a wine that is definitely not subtle. Bottled under good quality cork and cellared under climate controlled conditions with multilayered complexity, integrated oak and balance acidity, it could still be a 3 year old. So 2 1/2 stars for the Ballabourneen and 4 1/2 stars for the Tapanappa.

So I am a wine enthusiast from the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland,Australia. First exposure to wine was when I was about 6 years old and was on holidays at the grandparents shack at the coast and had a terrible cough, keeping everybody awake. My grandfather was a semi-retired radiation oncologist, but had been a GP (Family Physician) in the 20's, so he resourcefully used the cooking sherry  (as it was known then, god only knows what the politically correct name is now.)as a cough mixture. It was brilliant. One of the most exotic things my 6 year old palate had ever tasted, and after several teaspoonfuls I got rather tired and went off to sleep and stopped keeping everybody awake.

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Replies

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Reply by outthere, May 6.

Wine Ogre, what a great name! Welcome to Snooth! We miss our other Aussie member Steven Harvey.

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Reply by dmcker, May 6.

Great story, Ogre. And welcome from down under Oz.  We can use your perspective here since we're too heavily weighted at the moment with California views.  ;-)

Afraid I've also had to suffer through too many bottles that were 'too subtle for me', too.

Here's to drinking less of them, and more wines with character!

Cheers

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Reply by Wineogre, May 6.

Thanks for the welcome. I will try to keep up the tastings "down under" and report back. Our Practice Manager is retiring soon and we are going to have a fitting send off at one of his local restaurants that allows us to BYO (I f I bribe them with one of my best bottles and buy some of theirs as well.) He loves Pinot Noir and we have had many an Oz vs NZ vs France Pinot Noir taste off. Really hard to get good US Pinot down here.  Yes, very sad about Steven.

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Reply by dvogler, May 6.

Welcome WO!  Commonwealth Compatriot!  Ohhh, sorry....I keep forgetting Aussie's aren't fond of the Monarchy!  :)

My favourites from your corner of the world are Mollydooker.  The Boxer is great and here (west coast of Canada) is $29.  It's a brute.  Two Hands is great also.

What do you like?

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Reply by Wineogre, May 6.

Now that the Royal Tour is finished the Monarchy is very popular again, Greetings to you.  I have a very wide spread palate. Locally we have Shiraz and Cabernet from the Granite Belt and the South Burnett. In the Barossa I am rather partial to the Torbreck reds. Try the Steading if you can get it. My guess is it would be double the price of the Mollydooker in Canada, and double the refinement, can't guarantee you would get double the pleasure as that is personal taste. The Penfolds reds and whites may get to Canada too.

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Reply by dvogler, May 7.

We do have a great selection of Aussie wine.  My wine-drinking buddy told me some statistic about Alberta importing more Aussie wine than anywhere (per capita).  I'll have to check the facts though!  A great government liquor store near me has plenty of Penfolds and some Grange.  They had four bottles of the 2008 Grange (100 pts) for $599 cdn, a relative bargain compared to most places.  The 2006 is $499, but only 98 pts (haha).

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Reply by Wineogre, May 7.

Grange is great, however I have been lucky enough to attend tastings where it has been upstaged by better wines on the night. (in 2012 I was at a tasting of 1992 Grange out of magnum, versus Petaluma Coonawarra 1992 also out of magnum, and the Petaluma was far more perfumed,balanced, tasty and more fun. Yes Canada is the number 4 destination for Aussie wine after the UK,US and China. Those prices are cheaper than in Australia because of the WET Tax (Wine Equalisation Tax which is 29% of wholesale value) That Torbreck The Steading that I suggested may well be a lot cheaper in Canada than I thought. Another one that might get to Canada is The Sporran, made from declassified Descendant fruit from years like 2008 and 2011 which were generally regarded as awful in most of the Eastern States. Watch out for "bargains" from these years, unless it is Hunter Semillon (and Shiraz in 11 but not 08), Western Australian, Tasmanian (esp Southern Tasmanian), South Australian in 08 (but not 11) or Granite Belt,Qld in 08 (but not 11)

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Reply by dvogler, May 7.

I admit to being intrigued by cult wines and am jealous of your Grange tasting, but I'm glad to hear that there's more enjoyable wine for less money.  I know this is true.  Like when I had the Boxer on the weekend after something else (damn I forgot what), but it was so darn good.  We have the Torbreck Woodcutters for $33.  Not the Steading, but it would be more.  There was a cheapie called Woop Woop that had a shiraz that was $15 and a good daily drinker, but I haven't seen it anymore.  I also have loved the Pirramimma Petit Verdot, $29 here.  We too have exorbitant taxes, on everything, but especially alcohol.  Thank God for Australia though, because I  can't afford to drink decent North American wine everyday!

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Reply by Wineogre, May 8.

Torbreck is full of cult wines. Woodcutters  for $33 is reasonable. There is vintage variation though, 2008 was cheap and cheerful, 2009 was serious and 2010 was overoaked. The Pirramimma is good value, and again, depending on the vintage will age well, (The 2006 will do 20 years) Yes, Woop Woop is incredible value for good daily drinking. See if any De Bortoli wines get to Canada. They are often good value and good quality too. Yes, let's all drink to Australia and Canada.

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Reply by dvogler, May 8.

Haha.....I think a lot of people here would be scratching their heads!  (Why are we drinking "to Canada"?)

British Columbia makes some very good wine, but low volumes and high prices for the better stuff.  There are some decent ones that smarter vineyards have given price reductions (hopefully a trend!), like from $25 to $20 and $27 to $24 for another (both Bordeaux style blends and quite good).  Canada isn't known for wine and never will be any sort of contender, simply because of finite suitable geography and climate. The volumes will never see product get very far.  That said, I don't get much of Washington state's wine in my city (I can see Washington state across the water, 25km), or much of the California wines that the regulars here show photos of.  I'm sure there's some smaller vineyards in Australia that make some great wine that doesn't get shipped.  We just all need to travel and taste!

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Reply by dmcker, May 8.

Without worrying about whether it gets shipped to whatever foreign market, would love to hear more from you two (and anyone else with boots and palate on ground) about good wines in Oz and Canuck-land. I live in Tokyo at moment and wines I'd never expect to see appear before my eyes on certain shops' shelves, while those I might expect often do not. I'm finding decisions  on sourcing to be a fluid dynamic.

And who knows when I next might dive down there  myself. End of year is looking like a possibility, and with a wedding in NZ to attend a stopover seems reasonable--so bring on the wine TN's  and reccs!

Ogre, you wouldn't happen to know Steven Harvey by any chance, would you? Big country and all I know, but his  involvement in the wine industry and your obvious experience make me wonder...

Also, Ogre, there's a question in another thread (the one regarding 'Barbie Dolls') about Leeuwins. Please weigh in, if you have a chance...

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Reply by Wineogre, May 9.

DMCKER,

there are a couple of Steven Harvey's in Australia, however I don't know them personally. I have weighed into the "Barbie Dolls" post.

There is a lot of politics involved in Australian wine. Basically two different supermarket chains control Australian wine distribution. In my opinion you are better off dealing with an independent, or a winery direct, and pay a bit more, for more interesting, better quality wine. The Federal Goverment steps in with the WET tax and makes everything cost 29% more, and the 10% GST on top of that.

So, when in OZ you have to taste an aged Hunter Semillon, and a young one for comparison. You need to taste a Hunter Shiraz, and probably a Chardonnay, a Granite Belt Verdelho, one of the Boireanne reds from the Granite Belt, or Sirromet reds, Clonakilla's Shiraz Viognier, a Hilltops Shiraz, a Mudgee Shiraz/Cabernet blend, a Cowra Chardonnay, an Orange Shiraz, some Yarra Chardonnay &Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir, anything from Beechworth, Rutherglen fortifieds, Coonawarra Cabernet &Shiraz, Barossa reds, Eden Valey&Clare Vallety Riesling, Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir, Chardonnay et al,Mclaren Vale reds, Margaret River Cabernet/Merlot, Chardonnay and SSB, Great Southern, Riesling,Chardonnay,Pinot Noir, Tasmanian Sparkling, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay So you better stay for several weeks! (Or come back several times over several years.)

NZ is just as difficult. I took 3 weeks and barely scratched the surface.

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Reply by Wineogre, May 9.

DVogler,

we are drinking to Canada, because you are drinking Australian wine and keeping our Government from doing another "vine pull" scheme. By all means if you get the chance, come to Australia and taste.

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Reply by dmcker, May 11.

So Ogre, which wines did you like in N.Z.?  (and I hope you don't say Cloudy Bay S.B....   ;-)  )

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Reply by dvogler, May 11.

One day I certainly will come there.  Likewise, if you come to BC, I'll introduce you to some of our finer wines.  Our government did a smart thing about thirty years ago and gave money to vineyards to pull all the lambrusca and plant vinifera. 

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Reply by outthere, May 12.

Bumping the hotel spam down

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Reply by Wineogre, May 12.

DMcKer,

I am rather partial to the Pinot Noir from Central Otago(From fair to expensive) eg Felton Rd (and their Chardonnay, Mt Difficulty, Gibbston Valley, Chard Farm,Rockburn. The "Gimblett Gravel" wines from Hawke's Bay eg Trinity Hill Cab/Merlot, Craggy Range Le Sol, Te Mata "Coleraine" and Bullnose Shiraz, Waiheke Island Cabernet (Expensive) eg Stonyridge Larose ,Ironclad. Martinborough Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris eg Escarpment,Ata Rangi, Martinborough, Anything from Dry River in Wairarapa. ,Awatere valley Chardonnay eg Neudorf. Waipara/Canterbury has some good Pinot Noir eg Muddy Water, Pyramid Valley. Cloudy Bay do have a good Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Gewurztraminer, and sparkling-"Pelorus". Other Marlborough producers to visit or taste:Greywacke,,   NZ Riesling is enigmatic, often with residual sugar and knife edge acidity  eg Hunters in Marlborough, Pegasus Bay  in Waipara. There is a great App for iPhone called Swirl NZ which helps you take wine tasting notes of NZ wines.  

So, if time and budget are limited and I was landing in Auckland I would head for Kumeu River and taste their Chardonnay, a ferry trip to Waiheke Island and visit Cable Bay, and any other wineries that were open for Shiraz and Cabernet, then down to Hawkes Bay to the Gimblett Gravels for Cab/Merlot, Chardonnay, then to Wairarapa and Martinborough for Pinot Noir. After saving up the money, next trip you fly into Queenstown and do Central Otago for Pinot Noir,Chardonnay,Riesling, Pinot Gris,Gewurztraminer, then back up to Canterbury/Waipara for Pinot Noir, and thence to Marlborough for SB,Riesling,Chardonnay,Sparkling,Pinot Gris et Noir. Ferry to the North Island and go to Auckland and fly home.

There you are, only said SB once.

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Reply by Wineogre, May 12.

PS: Apologies to Wine NZ for leaving Gisborne out and not mentioning the Northland wineries.

PPS: If you are doing the two islands in a motor home (RV for our North American friends) like we did:

Rule 1: check the gas hot water system and heating is working, even if it is alleged "spring time" in the South Island as night time temperatures are still below freezing.

Rule 2: Do not run out of fuel on a Sunday in rural NZ as there are no places to refuel that are open. (I gave all my NZ money to a passing farmer who had access to diesel fuel and new how to prime the engine on our "lemon" of a motor home (RV). I did try to bribe him with wine as well, but he said he didn't drink wine!)

Rule 3: Even if your destination looks like a 4 hour drive, allow 8 hours, as the straight line on the map does not show the switchback hair pin turns, the slow traffic and the roadworks

Rule 4: If you have driven your RV up Mount Hutt for some skiing and it gets to about 4pm and the wind starts gusting and bells and whistles go off, get the hell out of there because the wind does get strong enough to blow you off the mountain.

Rule 5: Do not drive through the drive in at McDonald's in NZ as a) the RV will take out the roof of the drive through as it is too big, and b) you should be eating real food on this trip, go and order " Sex pieces of fush 'n chups (= enough food to feed a family of 4 in New Zealenglish) at the local seafood shop.

Rule 6: Us Aussies love taking the p*!s out of New Zealanders', as they do with us. We are really like two brothers or sisters in that regard.

Apologies for offending anybody, feel free to edit the naughty bits.

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Reply by Wineogre, May 12.

PPPS: You have to drive a right hand drive vehicle on the left side of the road in Aus and NZ. And obey the traffic cops.

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Reply by dvogler, May 12.

This was a great New Zealand wine I had recently.  My wine buddy (Chester) lived there for some time.

Definitely don't mix the two country's citizens up!  The general concensus is, you Aussie love taking the piss out of anybody!  When the Commonwealth Games were in Victoria in 1994, I was in the athlete's village and the Aussies were the troublemakers!  Matt White (who went on to race for Lance at US Postal) drove a security scooter off a makeshift jump through a prop (set aflame) that was used for the opening ceremonies!   But Aussies and Americans make the world a more colourful place! :)

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