Wine Blog

04 Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon ($60) ☺☺☺☺

This wine must be at its peak now as we tried the 2003 a few weeks ago and my observations were that it still needed a few years.The 04 was, according to the vintage charts not such a good year but this wine produced lush mellow tannisn, loads of blackcurrants on the nose and a hint of tobacco and spice when tasted. We tasted this a the same time as an '05 and '06 neither of which was quite at the same peak as this wine.

09 James Macphail Frattey Shams ($49)☺☺☺☺

James MacPhail is some sort of wine making wizard and turned his magic wand to the vineyard known as Frattey Shams. An unlikley sounding name which you would probably associate with a Harry Potter movie but in truth this is far from a fiction as you can get. James has taken the 115 clone and produced a really full bodied wine which has great ageing potential and yet is equally capable fo being drunk young. Quite a paradox. Plums and black cherries abound in this mouthful of fruit and I doubt if you will find a better example of Anderson Valley Pinot. 

09 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel ($35) ☺☺

A lot of people shy away from Zinfandel because of its high alcohol reputation. This Zinfandel is no exception coming in at 14.5% but it is not overpowering. The wine has a great nose of licquorice and dark fruit, all enclosed by the famous Zin white pepper. In the mouth there is blackcurrant galore and a hint of plum. The long long finish and balanced tannins should hopefully mean this wine will drink for years to come. 

10 Stonegate Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) ☺☺

The problem with drinking wine too young is that it is sometimes difficult to appreciate the winemakers skill. The Stonegate 2010 has stonking tannins which at this stage almost drown the underlying solid fruit. My guess is that a lot of people will dismiss this wine and it is tempting to do so. We will take a look in a years time and see what phase the wine is going through before making a true assessment. My gut feeling tells me this is going through  a "naughty boy" phase and needs to be put in the corner until its ready to behave. Time will tell but I would advise not to drink this quite yet.

1961 Glenfarclas ($1200) ☺☺☺☺☺

This is the first whisky I have reviwed on what is strictly a wine site. In this case however the experience was so memorable that I thought I would share it with you. This Single Malt was put into a cask in 1961 then bottled in 2007 so strictly speaking is a 46 year old Malt. The colour was dark brown having leeched all the colour from the sherry cask. The inital nose of one of toffee apples and sherry christmas cake fruit. On the palate it is spicy vanilla and a great long finish. Thanks to Richard Fox for sharing this great bottle with us.

10 Becker Tempranillo ($25) ☹ ☹

The first taste from a decanted bottle nearly knocks you socks off, the nose is almost non existant and struggle to reveal much in the way of fruit. Eventually I got a hint of leather and plums. The taste and finish are both short, the tannins overpower the fruit by a long way and really this is one to avoid.

05 Sbragia Gino's Zinfandel ($28) ☺☺

At $28 this wine is a steal. it delivers great black chery and blackcurrant fruit all layered in with a good solid tannin structure. Despite being 6 years old the wine has stood up and is still very drinkable. I would highly recommend looking out for this wine in the bargain bin end sales as it is really great with a nice T-Bone !

06 Porter Creek Old Vine Zinfandel ($35) ☺☺☺

I have never seen the attraction of drinking wines really early in their life. In fact I've always erred on the side of caution and this 06 tends to prove the point. Typically wines of this price point are drunk within one or two years of purchase but this one we have kept till it was more than 5 years old. The results speak for themselves. This could easily be confused with a Cabernet, it is so dark, deep and complex. The underlying fruit is all cherries and blackberries but the distinctive Zin pepper style has mellowed and the tannius are soft and velvety. When we tasted this initially in 2007 we were of the opinion it would last as the balance appeared just right the notes were "great keeper with structure 91 points". Nice to know we get it right some times !!

© John Holmes 2014