Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Archive for February, 2013

A+ Australia, Coonawarra Masterclass – the wines

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

The Masterclass at Australia House, London on 31 January with Anthony Rose and Justin Knock MW provided a wonderful opportunity to taste a range of the region’s very best wines. For my report on the masterclass see    Here are my tasting notes along with a recommended UK retail price for each wine. The characteristics of the region – especially juicy acidity, with quite firm tannins and intense fruit flavours are apparent in almost every wine.

Hollick, Ravesnswood Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (£45)

Very deep coloured, with an aroma of concentrated, sweet, cassis fruit, with a slightly minty pyrozene edge. Very crisp acidity, fresh, crunchy blackcurrant fruit.

Bowen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (£17)

Very sweetly ripe fruit, again cassis. In the mouth it is very fresh and almost mineral, with a long herby and mineral finish. The only fault is a slightly heavy hand with the oaking – (French and Russian)

Jacob’s Creek, St. Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 (£27)

Very deep coloured. Ripe, leafy eucalyptus aromas – complex and spicy. The palate shows very juicy, fresh acidity with blackcurrant fruit and firm tannins.

Lindeman’s Limestone Ridge Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (£35)

The Shiraz is 70% of the blend. It was aged in hogsheads rather than barriques. Creamy, rich aromas of chocolaty fruit – dark and concentrated; then sweetly ripe and chocolaty in the mouth – real intensity, supported by chewy tannins.

Parker Coonawarra Estate, First Growth, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2006 (£45)

Merlot makes up 30% of the blend. Very creamy black fruit aromas – cassis. The palate is huge and concentrated, with very fresh acidity, firm tannins and 15% alcohol.

Petaluma Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2008 (£25)

Fragrant and complex with spicy notes, then big and juicy, with firm tannins and spicy oak.

Balnaves of Coonawarra, The Tally, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (£81.99)

Very complex, but also very rich and very spicy – quite evolved aromas. In the mouth it showed lots of structure: big, tannic and chewy and very long. Despite the evolved aromas, one to put down and forget about for at least a decade?

Katnook Estate, Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 (£59.99)

Deep, with a very creamy, intense aroma of chocolaty fruit. Even more intense in the mouth, supported by very chucky firm tannins and new oak. In fact this wine was in part ‘double oaked’ – aged in 60% new oak for 15 months, then 77% new oak for 19 months – a real Odyssey.

Majella, The Malleea Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, 2008 (£39.99)

Cabernet 55%/ Shiraz 45%. A finer, more elegant, plummy, chocolate aroma, then in the mouth, big, rich but balanced by juicy acidity. It was partially barrel-fermented.

Wynns Coonawarra Estate, John Riddoch, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 (£55)

Deep and concentrated, it has a classis sweet cassis nose then in the mouth, fresh, juicy fruit with real concentration.

Amarone Coming soon!

Friday, February 8th, 2013

I had hoped to have a full report on my latest diggings in Valpolicella country available today, but … idiot that I am, I left my main notebook in a winery in Italy. It has been found and is on its way back to me. As soon as it arrives Amarone and all things Valpolicella will be in full swing here.