Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wines of the Week - April 19th

Rosés continue to pop up on stores' shelves as the weather warms up, while recent auction activity has left me with a few bottles of Aussie Shiraz to work through. Not that I'm complaining...

Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence Sabine

The 2011 edition of this great value-for-money Rosé from the hills around Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence is a blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. A lovely pale salmon pink despite its constituents, it is an appealing mix of red fruits and herbs on the nose, while the palate is very refreshing with well-balanced acidity keeping it crisp and lively. Named in honour of his daughter, and first made in the year of her birth, Charles Bieler has made another winner here and it looks set to be a popular sight around town this spring and summer.

Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 1994

Apparently several years ago Barossa stalwart Peter Lehmann and his Chief Winemaker Andrew Wigan nicknamed the occasional clusters of the best grapes from the area "little black jewels". Others, like Dave Powell at Torbreck have carved out extraordinary wines from tracking down the best of these jewels, and make wines with bigger reputations and prices. But Stonewell is still made, and old Stonewells pop up to remind us that once they were among the most sought after of Barossa reds. A few years back I knocked off the last of my Australian stash of the '94s as I thought they were getting tired. Perhaps mine were, but this recent auction purchase was not only a steal but a bottle in great condition. Classic Barossa Shiraz with loads of ripe fruit, but without straying close to over-ripe. Velvety soft now, it was a hedonistic pleasure to drink and a great match with lamb grilled on the BBQ.

Kilikanoon McLaren Vale M Reserve Shiraz 2004

For a winery that was only started in 1997, Kilikanoon enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence, boosted by the remarkable six (out of 7 awarded) trophies at the 2002 Clare Valley Wine Show. Aided by high marks from critics as Australia's Shiraz boom surged, Kilikanoon expanded rapidly and now boasts a vast portfolio, far beyond the confines of its original Clare Valley home. This Shiraz is from the McLaren Vale and showcases the skills that helped make the Clare Valley Oracle such a rapid success.Over two years of oak is well hidden by ripe blackcurrant, berry and chocolate notes, in an integrated, plush wine with several years of life left in it.

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