Sunday, 15 August 2010

Two nice weekend wines - an Aussie white and a Spanish red

Here's a couple of interesting wines I've opened over the weekend, from a local "bin-end" supplier to the trade. I think I'll add some to the website over the next few days, so if you like the sound of them, keep your eyes peeled - neither will break the bank!

The Black Chook VMR 2007 Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia
From the region south of Adelaide which includes the McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek, this is a blend of 80% Viognier, 10% Marsanne, 10% Roussanne. The colour is a clear, pale straw/gold, whilst the nose is intensely fruity, floral and mineral. Aromas of apricot, melon and orange are complemented by some nicely integrated oak. The palate has a beautifully rich, intense, slightly oily texture and is laden with stone fruits and citrus/lime oil flavours. There’s a good deal of spice in there too, with a touch of warming alcohol, all of which is kept nicely balanced and fresh by a backbone of zesty acidity. An Aussie take on a traditional Rhone blend, it is powerful and full-bodied rather than elegant, but offers plenty of interest and is a lot of wine for the money. It would go nicely with chicken and pork dishes, especially a richly-flavoured and spiced stir fry.

Dominio de Aranleón Solo 2005 Utiel-Requena, Spain
This is a blend of Bobal, Tempranillo and Syrah, which has spent 14 months in Hungarian oak barrels. The colour is a deep, impenetrable purple colour with a tiny rim – at nearly 5 years of age, it certainly isn’t showing too much sign of age. The nose offers a heady mix of aromas including black fruits, forest floor and polished wood, with a hint of orange peel and eau de vie. It is at the same time both powerful and intriguing. The palate is quite powerful and full-bodied too, with mouth-filling flavours of stewed bramble and plum, allied to rich, chocolatey, slightly dusty tannins. That said, it is nicely balanced by ample acidity, whilst the fruit flavours are infused with some meaty, herby, savoury elements, which add plenty of interest. The result is a wine which - whilst quite modern and initially hard to pin down – shows more than a little complexity and potential. It isn’t “new world” modern (it is very definitely European) and if I were to taste it blind, I might first suggest northern Italy or southern Rhone, with its combination of sweet, sour and savoury. But my next guess would definitely be Spain. But it certainly isn’t one of those ubiquitous, souped-up, one-dimensional Parkerised wines that Spain produces far too much of, these days. Yes, it is rich and full-bodied, with a degree of warm climate alcohol, but it caresses rather than overpowers the senses and really does feel very “together”. And whilst very enjoyable to drink now, I think it has the structure to evolve nicely for another 5 to 10 years. I think I might keep a few bottles of this tucked away and watch those flavours turn all nice and secondary. It is very yummy, and is definitely one of the more interesting Spanish wines I have tasted recently. In fact, since we seem to be enjoying an all-too-rare sunny evening, I’m off to fire up the Barbie, to enjoy the rest with a piece of rump steak and some Cumberland sausage!

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