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Archive for the ‘Our Wine Critic Reviews’ Category

An Interview with Miles Corish

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Having been massively impressed with Finch’s Line Shiraz ’07 the wonderful chaps at Find Wine arranged for me to speak to Miles Corish, the winemaker behind the wine itself.

(1) What is the ultimate goal for Finch’s Line?

Finch’s Line began life as an attempt to create (or recreate) a traditional expression of Hunter Valley Shiraz. I therefore try to source old vine, dry-farmed fruit that is then handled without too much intervention other than ensuring that as much of the vintages character is maintained whilst avoiding faults.  Wild yeasts, gentle extraction (pigeage), basket pressing, and maturation in larger older oak puncheon (25% new) are some of the techniques employed. The ultimate goal for Finch’s Line is to develop sales to the degree that they support a dedicated, permanent base within the Hunter Valley.

(2) Do you think the future of Aussie Shiraz is moving away from the typical Southern Australian style?

Throughout the late 80s, 90s and early 00s, some producers of Australian Shiraz (encouraged by certain high profile wine writers) made wines that championed a super extracted, concentrated style. It was almost as if concentration rather than complexity was the key to quality and in many instances, this was at the expense of terroir. Happily these styles (a number of which were South Australian) are now evolving. Producers have become increasingly aware of how to get the best out of their sites and are less fixated on phenolic ripeness and extended maturation in small new oak. Given that our climate will, in general, limit the production of ultra delicate styles of Shiraz, producers are continuing to adapt winemaking methods to enable the creation of balanced, more complex, terroir driven wines. Techniques utilised include slightly earlier picking, placing more emphasis on fruit (less and larger oak, lower ferment temperatures), and adding less acid (slightly higher pH = better mouthfeel). In summary, I do believe that the future of high quality Australian Shiraz is to continue to evolve away from the more super-concentrated “typically Australian” styles of the past.

(3) Who do you particularly admire in the wine world?

Maurice O’Shea. I have been lucky enough to taste three wines that he made from the 40s and 50s and they remain the most fragrant, flavoursome, refined and complex wines I have tasted to date. A genius, and underappreciated.

(4) What’s your view on English wines?

From those that I have tasted, some of the whites have been interesting whereas I think reds (particularly Pinot) struggle to ripen (in terms of flavour). In contrast, sparkling wines show huge potential and for me offer the best route to prosperity.

(5) And the question everybody hates…. If you were to be one wine what would it be and why?…..

Barolo. Adaptable enough to embrace modernity yet traditional at heart – with maturity and under the right conditions, capable of developing complexity and refinement.

 


Jordan Sauvignon Blanc – 2009 “The Outlier”- £12

Friday, October 28th, 2011

There are too many wines these days which are, essentially, “wines by numbers”. This has become, in my view, a bit of a problem with entry level Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Not many winemakers seem to be going out on a limb and producing wines with that little bit of character, that certain something which makes a wine stand out. To be fair, price constraints may dictate this. They’re knocking out the standard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and you can kind of understand this. Brits in particular have been falling over themselves over the past five years to snap up anything containing the magic words of “Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc” on the label.

 

I’ve taken lately to focusing on South African Sauvignons (admittedly not helped by recently winning a year’s worth of New Zealand Wine in a competition…..) and this wine shows why it’s worth having a deeper look into what South Africa can offer from this brilliant grape.

The minute I took a sniff of this wine I knew it was not another mindless Sauvignon Blanc drone. The smell is almost quite earthy. Once you taste it you’re struck by the pungent nature of this wine, it tastes like the winemaker has left it to get on with it rather than fiddling with it for hours, days and weeks on end. It is absolutely jam packed with green pepper notes and a very nice hint of oak which is wonderfully well integrated into the wine. In short, it is an enormously character packed wine.

Do give this a try, it really made me smile and it really is just that little bit different!

Available at www.findwine.co.uk on the main buying page…do not miss out!

 


Some Young Punks- Passion Has Red Lips 2010!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Last years smash hit wine has returned to our stocks. Here is what our resident wine critic thought about it-


It’s not just any wine that manages to persuade me to break my “No wine on Mondays” rule, but then this is not just any wine!

Let’s be shallow and start with appearances; it looks spectacular. I’m quite a fan of wine labels that dare to be different and this takes it to another level altogether….. The label really leaves you in no doubt that this wine was made by people who had great fun making it and is a wine which you’ll have great fun drinking.

My first impressions having had a quick sniff and a swig were that this wine is still in its infancy but it shows massive promise. If you can bare to hold off opening it for a couple of months (longer if you’ve a heart of stone) you’ll definitely be rewarded. The cassis notes are already present in abundance and this wine is definitely going to be a silky smooth wonder. The 60% Cab Sauv and 40% shiraz are skillfully blended and it’s a wine which puts a smile on your face.

I admire Some Young Punks for their no holds barred approach to wine. It should be about having fun and it should taste great. A big tick in both boxes…..

 


Ferngrove, The King Malbec, Frankland River, Australia £17.99

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

When you label a wine as “King” it can’t afford to be a wimpy and generic wine. It should be bold, authoritative and assertive. So far so good…..

You’d expect this wine to be pretty dark in character being a Malbec and this is indeed a plummy purple colour. There’s a really gamey nose which I found appealing and the palate shows off a cascade of dark berry flavours and very subtle oakiness. Despite having spent 20 months in a mixture of French and Hungarian oak this remains only a subtle side flavour which doesn’t detract in the slightest from the slightly sweet dark fruit notes.

It’s the texture of this wine however which gives you a subtle reminder that this is a very fine wine indeed. It is velvety smooth and quite clearly very well put together. It’s also slightly more giving than your typical Argentinian Malbec.

If you want to hear your guests emitting “oohs” and “aahs” I’d suggest you save the money on a box of fireworks and buy a bottle of this instead. Long live the King…..


Lalla Gully Riesling, Australia, £9

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

A fragrant little number from Tasmania, Australia, with a playful initial spritz on the tongue. There are lovely lime notes on the palate with a cheeky hint of marshmallow. It’s not an overly aggressive Riesling and is enormously drinkable. The nose is like a passing whiff of flowers and citrus fruits rather than having your head dunked into a bucket of lime juice.

I sometimes find Aussie Rieslings a little strained in their efforts to be as lime infused as possible, and as a result this was a welcome change. At £9.00 this is a classy Riesling which will please virtually anyone you choose to offer this to. This wine treads the balance of being interesting without risking offending certain wine drinkers.

A diplomatic Aussie. Who’d have thought it……


Don Nicanor Malbec, Argentina, £10.99

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

I love my dark and dense wines though usually reserve them for the winter months when they provide comfort whilst the rain outside batters the window! However, the lovely chaps at Find Wine challenged me to try this and I wasn’t about to tell them to wait until the winter!

This wine is, as expected, a dark purple colour and the spicy plummy notes don’t wait for you to stick your nose in; they come looking for you!… The wine has a good strong edge to it with a streak of acidity. As a result it is quite a refreshing wine and one that you could happily drink whatever the season. There’s a hint of the 14% abv lurking beneath the surface which is present on the palate but this is by no means obtrusive. After about 30 minutes in the glass the wine really settled down and opened up. There’s a nice hint of caramel here too which softens things up.

All in all, this is a very good example of Argentinian Malbec which is great value at £10.99. It’s playful with a hidden dark side which is exactly what I’m looking for in a Malbec. Get this on the table next to a decent steak and the rest will take care of itself!


Les Acrobat Rose 2010

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I’ll happily hold my hand up to being something of a wine snob sometimes and Rosé, along with Pinot Grigio, has always been one of those wines which has my snob radar on full alert.

Of late though I’ve found myself warming more to the idea of Rosé wine, and the clever chaps at Find Wine have clearly picked up on this, as they’ve just sent me a bottle of Les Acrobates Rosé 2010 from the Languedoc.

 

I find that some Rosé wines leave my teeth positively throbbing due to their incredible sweetness. Happily this wine is a much more subtle effort which slides down effortlessly and instantly reminded me of holidays in Greece where Rosé was my wine of choice in preference to the local Retsina.

 

This wine is a very summery one indeed. Both the nose and palate are dominated by pleasant strawberry notes and there’s a slight creaminess to it which rounds the wine off very nicely. I’m still not an ardent Rosé fan, but if I were this is what I’d be drinking, and at £5.99 a bottle you can’t go wrong.

 


Tallarook Viognier 2008 (Victoria, Australia)

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Another review from our critic Richard Saxton

I find myself drinking a fair bit of Viognier once we begin our customary limp into Summer. I’ve always found it a suitable glugging wine for a long day spent shuffling frazzled sausages around the barbecue, and it always goes down well with guests. You expect to be greeted with a mouthful of peaches with Viognier, and this one doesn’t lack on this front. There is however an added depth to this wine with a hint of oak and butter on the nose and palate which would certainly sit happily alongside my charcoal flavoured barbecue meals. There’s also a hint of pears and apricot in the mix which all add up to a nice long finish. I sometimes find New World Viognier to be a little oily but this wine steers clear of that potential pitfall. It manages to be a rich and fairly complex wine whilst still being refreshing. Another big tick in the Summer drinking box….. I purposefully hadn’t checked the price of this wine before my first taste as I was keen to see if I could determine its cost for myself. I guessed this would sit around the £8.99 mark which would certainly be a good price for what is a very good wine. Having found out that Find Wine are currently selling this for £6.99 I suspect they might have a Summer hit on their hands. This is a wine full of personality which will definitely get your guests talking long into the evening.


Karri Oak, Semillon Sauvignon, Western Australia. £4.99

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Here is the first of our reviews from our new wine critic Richard Saxton. Find him on Twitter @grapedcrusader

And so my time as Find Wine critic begins…. First things first, this tastes nothing like a £4.99 wine. For that price you’d have no reason to complain for having your throat burnt after your first sip. This however is an absolute joy. It’s a relatively pale wine with scents of lemon peel and custard. The palate is a citrus fest with a nice zip of acidity. If I’d paid £10 for this wine I’d be perfectly happy with it.

At this time of year I tend to judge most wines on their potential for summer glugging. This one scores highly on the taste side of things, as well as scoring very well in terms of value. It’s something of a winning combination…..

There’s no noticeable trace of oak so I presume it hasn’t come into contact with any. This is a slight shame as I was planning a blinding “Karri Oaky” gag. Never mind…… My one remaining worry is if the Chaps at Find Wine will think less of me if I buy a case of the very first wine I review…. I heartily recommend this wine. A very encouraging start to my career as Find Wine critic!