Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wines of the Week - November 17th

There's a lot to like about this week's wines, but for two of them, it's clearly the quality/price ratio. If you can get really good wine at better than a really good price, then you're a long way towards getting over the fact you're not drinking grand Cru Burgundy. Well, I am at least...

Walter Clappis Wine The Hedonist Shiraz 2009

You have to look pretty hard at the back-label to even find out the producer, as it doesn't feature on the front label. "The Hedonist" does, as does a picture of an aussieswine, so we have two things in common right off the bat. Even their website calls themselves "The Hedonist" - I can appreciate that. Walter Clappis is the winemaker, formerly of Ingoldby but now doing his own thing along with daughter Kimberly in the McLaren Vale in Adelaide's south, turning out a series of successful wines from their biodynamic winery. The 2009 Shiraz is a superb wine I picked up for well under $20, offering plenty of spicy, peppery, fruity goodness, while maintaining some refreshing acidity to avoid any fatness, while finishing with soft tannins. The wine saw 70 % new French Oak and 30% one year old American Oak for 18 months, so it has some good structure, but I doubt too many bottles will be kept. It's too yummy now.

Domaine des Heritiers du Comte Lafon Macon Milly Lamartine 2008 

A great sale offering at $20, I'm already wishing I'd bought more than three. Dominique Lafon expanded from his wildly successful 4th generation family run Domaine des Comtes Lafon to explore the potential of the Maconnais, and this is the village wine from where the wines are made. The wine offers some subtle fruit and floral characters on the nose, while the palate shows some good intensity, very clean with some nice minerality .

Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

This week I found myself with an unusual situation - face to face with a series of pretty high octane Californian Cabs. Fortunately, my Adelaide Shiraz upbringing had me prepared for such an eventuality, and I was able to overcome my foes (with the help of a more than serviceable cassoulet), and move on to a wine bar for some cleansing southern French reds. It was hard to pick out a favourite of what was a fairly healthy line up. I enjoyed the Araujo Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia Eisele Vineyard 2007 more than most, enjoying the restraint, and more food-friendly nature of the wine, but it was hard not to love the hedonism (!!) of the Caymus. Perhaps not terribly varietal, and very ripe, it offered plenty of enjoyment on a night that was made to be enjoyed. I have a bottle of the 2008 in the wine fridge, and I think it might be sitting there a few years yet. But I know i'll enjoy it when I get there.

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