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Bordeaux, Barossa

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Bordeaux



Maritime Bordeaux in the west of France is a large producer of quality wines. Although saying that there's a large gap between the top few who produce ultra-premium wines with hefty price tags (Lafite, Margaux, Y'Quem, Petrus….) and the rest of the field.

The Left Bank with its gravelly composition of soils is more suited to Cabernet Sauvignon while the Right Bank is made up more of clay and this is where Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominate (as they are earlier ripens and don't mind getting their feet wet). In the middle, the Entre Du Meurs provides a slew of whites and reds made for early drinking.

On the right bank outside of St Emilion and Pomerol, there are a lot of well-priced merlots made that are more for early consumption. These come from the satellite Bordeaux regions.
The English built up a thirst for the better Bordeaux reds which they have coined 'clarets'. These are often tucked away for a while in their cellars to age and drunk with a few years under their belts. But not all Bordeaux is built for aging, so choose wisely.

Styles
For whites, there are the crisp and easily quaffed whites from Entre De Meurs, or the more ambitious oak-aged Semillion Sauvignon blends from Pessac Legonan. The queen of dessert wines, Sauternes can also call Bordeaux home. French oak maturation is a common thread amongst the elite reds, whites and sweet wines.

Grapes

White:Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot

Some of the most highly rated recent vintages are 2005, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2018.

Favourite Producers
Montrose, Pichon Lalande, Poitevin, D'Yquem, Coutet,
 



Barossa

Australia’s oldest, most famous and internationally renowned wine growing region located a short distance from Adelaide, South Australia, the Barossa Valley contains the sub district of the Eden Valley, and is home to some of Australia’s, and the world’s oldest Shiraz vines. The Barossa Valley’s viticultural history extends back to the early 1800’s when English and Prussian immigrants founded vineyards, enterprises and wineries still family owned to this day. The British gentry was led by George Fife Angas (Angaston), Joseph Gilbert (Pewsey Vale), Samuel Smith (Founder of Yalumba in 1847) and William Salter (Saltram 1859). On the other hand a significantly more numerous population of Lutheran’s migrated fleeing the reformation in Prussia, pioneering viticulture and agriculture, numbering among them were names synonymous with the most established wineries in Australia including Johann Gramp (1847), Joseph Seppelt (Seppelt, 1851) and William Jacob (1854). Many of these original families continue in the wine business and own vineyards. The growers of the Barossa have weathered two world wars, drought, flood, bushfire, erratic swings in market preferences from red wine to white (1970’s), the Vine Pull Scheme of the 1980s whereby 130 year old, priceless, low yielding vines were removed due to lack of demand, to emerge stronger than ever, the one constant it’s ancient weathered vineyards and stoic population.

Principally a red wine growing region, historically the varieties planted were Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro (Mourvedre) alongside Pedro Ximenez and Frontignac for the production of fortified wine. The climate is warm and dry, with cool nights and warm to hot days. The Barossa Valley contains a complex typography of valleys, hills slopes and soils. The soils vary widely though the dominate composition is a clay loam and in areas low fertility sandy soils. Although red grapes are more pervasively planted, there are small quantities of white varieties including Semillon, which is often unwooded, with bright lemon zest notes and moderate acidity. Barossa Chardonnay tends to be richer and more generous with Melon and ripe peach notes and is quick to develop and best consumed young. Riesling which are also of a more broad and generous style, though many Barossa based wineries produce more zesty examples from Clare Valley and Eden Valley fruit. Small quantities of Viognier are cultivated, used primarily for blending with Shiraz, though some outstanding mono varietal bottling’s are available, Yalumba Virgilius in particular.

Of the Red varieties Shiraz is king with considerably more planted than Grenache or Mourvedre. Significantly, many of these vines are older than Shiraz or Syrah vines planted in Europe, the Barossa being fortunate enough not to encounter the devastations of phylloxera. Typically Barossa Shiraz is full bodied, lush with notes of blackberry, plum, medium acidity and high, but soft ripe tannins. They are traditionally aged in new oak imparting flavours of graphite and cigar box (new French oak) and coconut and vanilla (new American oak), the wines are renowned for their depth and longevity. The shift in the mid-1990s towards producing blockbuster wines that were high in alcohol fuelled by high Parker scores that then pushed the prices of the wines in America and Asia to new levels encouraged some winemakers to follow suit. The pendulum has now begun to swing in the other direction, led by a new generation of producers committed to making elegant, full to medium bodied Barossa red articulating individual vineyard character.

Many of Australia’s most famous wines are made in the Barossa and some of the most recognised producers include Penfolds, Peter Lehman, Yalumba, Wolf Blass and Henschke. The quintet of Penfolds Grange (mainly old vine Barossa shiraz aged in new American oak), Penfolds RWT Shiraz , Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz (100% single vineyard), Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon and Penfolds St Henri Shiraz) are all highly sought after wines. And Henschke’s iconic single vineyard ancient vine Hill of Grace is considered by many to be the equal of Penfolds Grange in terms of both quality and as wine investment. A recent resurgence has seen many smaller artisanal wineries producing outstanding wines on small scale, including Spinifex, Teusner, Ruggabellus, Standish, Kalleske and Head Wines to name a few.

Less pervasively planted are Grenache, Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon prefers a slightly cooler climate and tends to be better in cooler years and the use of French Oak is more common than American. Grenache and Mourvedre are often blended with Shiraz in a traditional Rhone Blend, though also bottles as mono varietal wines. Grenache from the Barossa tends toward sweet fruits, raspberry, with hints of spice and soft tannins. Outstanding producers include Spinifex, Kalleske, Charles Melton and Rusden.

Sources:
The Oxford Companion to Wine, (ed) Jancis Robinson
James Halliday's Wine Atlas of Australia, James Halliday
Australia & New Zealand Complete Book of Wine, Compiled by Len Evans
 


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  1. Peter Lehmann H & V Shiraz 2019
    Peter Lehmann H & V Shiraz 2019
    The H&V range are designed to showcase the diversity of the Barossa and in some ways challenge the views of what consumers think. The wine is a blend of mainly Barossa and a touch of Eden fruit which adds a lovely cool edge and offers great value.

    Nicel filled with plum, blackberry and dark chocolate flavours. There is a nod to 'traditional' Barossa with the use of American hogsheads. In saying that this is surprisingly elegant and wonderfully put together. Plenty of ripe blackberry conserve and a spicy, leathery lick. We are thoroughly impressed with this little number.
    2019
    shiraz
    Australia
    349
  2. Chaffey Bros Not Your Grandma Rose 2021
    Chaffey Bros Not Your Grandma Rose 2021
    It's hard to deny the scrumptious booze that Chaffey brothers are punching out of the Barossa. Daniel Chaffey Hartwig, Theo Engela & Huon Fechner have made it there mission to supply spanking wine for your drinking pleasure in an easy to access and understand package that over-delivers at every drop - nailed it!

    Not Your Grandma's Rosé is a 65% of the blend is old vine Grenache from the Lyndoch foothills and from Stockwell, which is co-fermented with 25% of old vine Mourvèdre. The remaining 10% is an aromatic blend of Riesling, Gewürtztraminer, Kerner which give it such a wonderfully spice accented top note that works so well with the strawberry, musk and turkish delight aromas. Crisp with zippy acid that penetrated the juicy red berry and strawberry falvours beautifully with mourvèdre adding a litte grip and lingering spice. Only 11.5% alcohol too with plenty of flavour under the bonnet.
    2019
    Grenache, Mourvedre
    Australia
    349
  3. Langmeil Three Gardens Viognier Roussane Marsanne 2019
    Langmeil Three Gardens Viognier Roussane Marsanne 2019
    A classic blend of three of the noblest French Rhône white varieties - Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. A fruity, rich and textural fusion bursting with stone fruit, grapefruit, honeysuckle fresh cut herb and a lemon curd zing. This is have lovely cut and nervy energy that sits beautifully within a fleshy and ripe frame. This is a real surprise and a perfect winter white with its textural body.

    In keeping with the old Barossa vignerons' name for their vineyards, the three 'Gardens' for this blend have been selected from the Lyndoch vineyard in the Southern Barossa Valley, the Marsanne from Gomersal on the Western Ridge and the Roussanne from the high rolling hills of Eden Valley. Each were picked relatively early then fermented separately at low temperatures to retain freshness. This was followed by five months' tank maturation on lees (a polite way of saying dead yeast) to build complexity and palate weight before blending and bottling.
    2019
    Marsanne, Roussane, Viognier
    Australia
    349
  4. Chaffey Bros La Conquista Tempranillo Grenache Graciano 2017
    Chaffey Bros La Conquista Tempranillo Grenache Graciano 2017

    The Chaffey boys don't own any fruit and this thoroughly works to their advantage. Being able to source the best old vine material and best plots gives them an edge over mother nature while allowing access to some awesome fruit. This is usually a blend of 65% Barossa tempranillo, 25% old vine Barossa grenache, and 10% graciano from Eden Valley.

    Lifted and bright this about pure drinking pleasure. A bit of licorice and spice with punchy fruit and pepper to the fore. Mid-weight in style with everything in its place. Perfect Wed night wine. PWS

    Barossa blend of tempranillo, garnacha and graciano.

    Great drink. Up-front with blue- and black-berry fruit flavour with lacings of peppercorn and coal. It feels gentle and refreshing and yet it’s hearty in volume terms. Bright with flavour. CAMPBELL MATTINSON, The Wine front

    2017
    Grenache, tempranillo
    Australia
    349
    Special Price $25.00 Regular Price $26.00
  5. Yelland & Papps Vin de Soif 2017
    Yelland & Papps Vin de Soif 2017
    Around 70% grenache, 25% mataro, 5% carignan from multiple vineyards with an average age of 87yo. Wild yeast-open fermented with a portion of whole bunches with some time on skins and touch of older oak to round it out.

    Its lifted and pretty on the nose that follows into a pure, plump and juicy plum and berry fruits, with a touch of sour cherry bite and plenty of spicy on the close. Sits somewhere between light and medium bodied with lovely balance and plenty of freshness. Juicy and up-front deliciousness that keeps on giving. We dare you to have just one glass! PWS
    2017
    Carignan, Grenache, Mourvedre, shiraz
    Australia
    349
  6. Izway Blue Label Mataro 2019
    Izway Blue Label Mataro 2019
    Izway is literally a bunch of mates making wine and what they make is Damn good! They have one of the only off-grid wineries in the world with a focus on best sites in the Barossa to make a range of stellar tasting wines that over-deliver and always have that something special you can't quite put your finger on.
    They are all about pure fruit and site expression un-hindered by lashings of new-oak that hide the nuance of their wines. Wine-making is a hands-off approach intervening where necessary. One to watch if you don't already know them.

    The amount of great straight Mataro (Mouvedre) coming out of the Barossa is such a pleasant surprise. There seems to be a lighter touch these days without losing any of the grape's inherent wild nature. Combine that with the talent at Izway and you have a real winner. This opens to deep broody fruits with mineral and graphite infused nose, layered with dark peppery notes. This has lovely structure and depth as you would expect but made in a style that allows the pure fruit to shine and the palate to remain buoyant and fresh. PWS
    2019
    monastrell
    Australia
    349
  7. Michael Hall Sang de Pigeon Shiraz 2017
    Michael Hall Sang de Pigeon Shiraz 2017
    ...the wines are as impressive as his experience suggests they should be. JAMES HALLIDAY

    Michael was once a jewellery valuer for Sotheby's but moved to Australia in 2001 to pursue studies and a career in winemakeing - and we are glad he did. There is nothing in his porftolio that isn't either well crafted, beautifully handled and/or speaks so eloquently of place. His work in Australia and abroad is a veritable who's who of producers including Cullen, Giaconda, Henschke, Shaw + Smith, Coldstream Hills and Veritas. In France he cut his teeth with Domaine Leflaive, Meo-Camuzet, Vieux Telegraphe and Trevallon. Wow!
     
    Hand-picked in Greenock and Stone Well, wild fermented in open fermenter and closed puncheons, 5% whole bunch, matured in French oak barrels for 21 months (10% new). Blended with 15% Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills Shiraz. PWS

    Fruit takes the front seat here, blackcurrants, note of red fruit and a dusting of cinnamon spice. Medium bodied, smooth and loaded with velvety tannin. Nothing overdone or out of place.
    95, JAMES HALLIDAY
    2017
    shiraz
    Australia
    349
  8. Torbreck The Struie 2018 375ml
    Torbreck The Struie 2018 375ml
    The Struie is a blend of both Barossa Valley floor fruit and higher Eden Valley fruit which relects the cooler side of the regions and for us has made it one of the go-to wines from Torbeck.

    The Eden fruit is sourced from vineyards sitting between 400 - 50 metres and lends a lovely focus to the fruit with a distinct line of fesh, minerally acidity, notable blue fruits and fine grain tannins. The marriage of 40 year old vines in the Eden and 80 year old vines in the Barossa off up the perfect marriage of elegance and intensity. PWS

    The Struie is a wonderfully aromatic and deeply concentrated wine produced from the harmonious combination of both regions, delivering layers of dark chocolate characters and defining structure. Nuances of plum, blackberries, violets and hidden spice characters all further enhance the natural elegance and tension of the fruit quality. The Struie will certainly age tremendously well over the next decade. TORBECK
    2016
    shiraz
    Australia
    349
  9. Rock of Wisdom Superfly White 2019
    Rock of Wisdom Superfly White 2019
    2019 is a larger than life style vintage with all the wines carrying next level aromatics and intensity. The 2019 Superfly White is our first jump into the world of white wine. Old Vine Eden Valley Riesling (planted in 1970's - Rock n Roll), fermented on full solids with a small portion fermented on skins (15%) to add depth and structure. Citrus rush in a bottle with wild flowers controlling the aromatics. ROCK OF WISDOM
    2019
    White Blend
    Australia
    349
  10. Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    Chai Saint Etienne Tradition Rouge 2016
    60% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Côt
    The Coteaux du Quercy AOC is one of France smallest wine region with only 400 hectares and less than 20 growers. It lies between Cahors & Gaillac. After the Phylloxera, the Quercy, once 50 000 hectares was almost destroyed. Roger Gisbert and his brave mates started their appellation from scratch. With high draining slopes of white clay and limestone soils, Cabernet Franc was chosen to blend with the Merlot, and off course the Cot (aka. Malbec) replanted on the rocky soils. The grapes are harvested and sorted, then fallow slow and gentle traditional fermentation.
    2016
    Cabernet Franc, Merlot
    France
    356
  11. Reed Alexia Grenache 2020
    Reed Alexia Grenache 2020
    Considering the vintage that was 2020, this wine was a silver lining for me. The seduction of Grenache is alway present but to truly find its balance takes taming and fine tuning. After 6 years of working with this variety, a true and perfect balance of perfume, acid, tannin and fruit came together and made this drop. On the nose the primary red fruits and crushed roses pull you in. On the palate the talcum powder tannins and plushness are broken up by the wines electric tang and cold black tea depth. Seamless like a Chanel jacket. SIERRA REED
    2020
    Grenache
    Australia
    349
  12. Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Mazeris Canon-Fronsac 2016
    Shows ripeness and power on the nose with ripe dark berries and volcanic salt. Full body, soft and rich tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Drink in 2022. (91) JAMES SUCKLING

    One of the best things agbout the Bordeaux 2016 vintage was the stregth of the satellite appelations - this Canon Fronsac is a freat example - situated on the right bank but with a lot of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon you could easly see this as more left bak in style - it is everything a good claret should be dense dark with chewy tannis and cool clean fruit - absoultly delicous and a great price. ALEX WILCOX


    2016
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  13. Senejac 2018
    Senejac 2018
    36 Bottles available at time of offer

    The 2018 Sénéjac has an attractive bouquet of blackberry and raspberry fruits, touches of graphite and pressed flowers. I admire the precision of this Haut-Médoc. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, well-judged new oak (25%) and a touch of dark chocolate toward the finish. This has real panache and class and comes highly recommended. NEAL MARTIN
    2018
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  14. Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml
    Chateau La Vieille Cure 2017- 375ml

    Fronsac

     74% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.

    An utterly delicious red with crushed berries, cappuccino and hints of black olives. Medium-bodied, compact and very soft. Really creamy texture. A blend of 75% merlot, 22% cabernet franc and 3% cabernet sauvignon. Hard not to drink now. So do it! JAMES SUCKLING

    The 2017 La Vieille Cure is deep, fleshy and delicious. In 2017, La Vieille Cure is a bit less dense than it often is, but it still packs a pretty serious punch. Dark red cherry, plum, cinnamon, chocolate and floral notes shape this racy, inviting Fronsac. ANTONIO GALLONI

    The 2017 Vieille Cure has a tightly-packed black cherry and cassis scented bouquet that feels as if it could be more intense once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a candied, pastille-like opening: blackcurrant, crème de cassis and vanilla, lower in acidity than its Fronsac peers but smooth as silk towards the finish. NEAL MARTIN

     

    2017
    Cabernet Blends
    France
    356
  15. Agathist Alchemy Second Wine Grenache 2016
    Agathist Alchemy Second Wine Grenache 2016

    100% Grenache, Seppeltsfield, Barossa 

    Agathist Alchemy is a label from Barossa Valley guru, Craig Isbel who is also one of the people behind Izway Wines. Here he produces two wines from a single vineyard located across the road from his family home. It is owned & farmed organically by vigneron Nick Radford. The wines are produced in small batches of no larger than 500 kilo - wild ferments. The use of sulphur is minimal with tiny amounts used just after malo and at bottling. Other than this no other additions are used whatsoever. These are compact, elegant and character driven wines from a Barossa valley expert.

    This is a cracker… A wild perfume of red berries, briar, fennel, undergrowth, old campfire. Really quite compelling. Just on medium weight, serious ‘pinosity’, if that’s a thing, light, fine, silken flow, slender grip of tannin dips into savouriness and yet the wine finds succulence in pure, red berry and rose water fruit character. Sheesh, this is fine grenache.’ MIKE BENNIE, The Wine Front

    2016
    Grenache
    Australia
    349
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