jamie goode's wine blog

Monday, January 11, 2010

Brilliant Aussie Nebbiolo: Arrivo 2007

Really enjoying this wine. It's an Australian Nebbiolo, produced by Peter Godden of the Australian Wine Research Institute, from grapes grown in the Adelaide Hills. Nebbiolo is a difficult variety that rarely performs well outside Piedmont in Italy, but Peter seems to have found the knack of working with it. As well as this wine, he also produces a rose, and a high-end bottling called Lunga Macerazione (the 2006 version of this was one of the wines in the Landmark Tutorial - it was fantastic - and I have another bottle of this in the tasting queue).

I'm sure Peter wouldn't claim that Arrivo has fully arrived yet; but if this is what he's able to achieve at the outset (2007 is the fourth vintage), then future wines look set to be incredible. The Arrivo website is here.

Arrivo Nebbiolo 2007 Adelaide Hills
14.5% alcohol. This is a beautiful wine, and it's just a baby: as such, it benefits from decanting, and tasted on the second day it shows even more complexity and elegance. Pale cherry coloured, it has a sweetly aromatic nose of ginger, herbs, warm spices and sweet cherry and plum fruit. The palate has intensely spicy sweet cherry fruit with firm tannins, but with some air settles down a bit to show complex, elegant savoury, subtly earthy fruit. Nice smoothness and purity of texture here: a really interesting Australian take on this difficult but beguiling Italian grape variety. I think this will be great in five years time, and it will be interesting to see where it gets to in a decade. 92/100

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A busy day: Chile, Australia, Germany

A brief post at the end of a busy day. It began at China Tang in the Dorchester (fabulous, amazing toilets here - the best I've yet seen, perhaps with the exception of the futuristic pods at Sketch). This was for a tasting lunch celebrating the 20th anniversary of the wonderful wines of Shaw & Smith from Australia's Adelaide Hills.

Then off to the Wines of Chile annual tasting (pictured). Consistency is the key to Chile's success, but I also found excitement with two producers: Vina Leyda and Matetic. This was followed by some socializing over beer at a post-tasting party.

Then it was off to The Mercer in Threadneedle St to have dinner with Lenz Moser and Donatus Prniz von Hessen from the Rheingau. Fabulous mineralic, precise Rieslings here from this now revitalized estate. More later.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A duo of Sauvignons: Aussie meets Kiwi

Two Sauvignons this evening. Quite interesting.

Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc 2008 Adelaide Hills, Australia
Pale coloured, this is a really impressive Aussie Sauvignon. It's crisp and super-fresh, with herbs and minerals on the nose, and a palate of lemony, herby fruit with a slight tropical lift. Minerally acidity keeps this lean and refreshing, with a lovely transparency to it. 88/100 (8.99 Majestic, reduced to 5.99 until 28/04/09 - at which price it's a bargain; 13.5% alcohol)

Ara Resolute Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Marlborough, New Zealand
This isn't your typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. It's a concentrated, mineralic style with less of the tropical flourishes you might expect from the region. Instead, the focus is on concentrated, tight, herby, citrussy fruit with a distinctly savoury green pepper character on the palate. Great concentration and minerality; this really needs food to show its best at the moment. 89/100 (13.99 Majestic; 13.5% alcohol)

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday night thoughts

Had a day working from home today. A bit of a late start, but then some serious work on Brettanomyces, that most complex and interesting of wine 'faults'. Found out that the theme for my next Sunday Express column has been changed at short notice - this goes with the territory. Forgot to do some much-needed invoicing (I'm not the most financially motivated of writers). Walked the dog twice.

Then I took elder son to play golf at what turned out to be a really nice nine-hole course in Ascot called Lavender Park. Good greens, bunkers in good nick, thoughtful layout - ideal place to learn how to play. Finished off by watching a rather dud film, Charlie Wilson's War. There was just something deeply wrong with the idea of a comedy about such a serious subject as the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and its aftermath. And casting ultra-clean Tom Hanks as a playboy congressman was simply absurd. Philip Seymour Hoffman is a serious actor who was also incongruous in his role, although he pulled it off well. Then a chance to catch the latest episode of Peep Show, which is a fantastic comedy. One of the best.

So, wine? Yes. Bonterra Rose 2007 Mendocino, California is pretty good - savoury and bright, a fusion of cranberry juice and red cherries, with some grassiness, too. It's very hard for a rose to be serious or really exciting, but this is rather nice. But, at 9.99 from Waitrose, it isn't cheap: I wonder whether it's ever necessary to pay 10 for a rose. Shaw & Smith Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2006 is pretty impressive. It has a fantastic peppery, cool-climate Syrah character, with some meatiness and raspberry fruit. There's also a darker blackberry fruit character, and some spicy oak in the background. At the moment this is quite tight-wound and tannic, but I'm very impressed by the freshness and definition. This is pretty serious, and I'd rate it at 93/100. But perhaps this should have been labelled 'Syrah', to better reflect its old-world leanings, rather than 'Shiraz'?

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sauvignon is (mostly) boring

Sauvignon Blanc is a really boring grape variety.

Of course, this is a generalization, which needs a qualifier: we actually drink quite a bit of Sauvignon chez Goode. It's a variety of great utility: well made Sauvignon is a really useful wine. But it rarely makes really interesting wines.

It sounds like I'm backtracking here. I'm talking about a grape variety that's successful, makes wines that are useful, and which I drink quite a bit of. Why bother with the criticism?

It's because I love interesting wine. Interesting wine is what got me into this hobby, which then became a living. Interesting wine is life-enhancing, intellectually stimulating and culturally rich. Sauvignon Blanc is rarely any of these things.

But last night we had a good one. It is the Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Adelaide Hills. There's interest here: a really vivid grapefruity zing providing counter to richer, almost melony fruity notes. It ranks near the top of the Sauvignon tree, I reckon. While I'd say it stops a little short of being a truly serious, intellectually or hedonically inspiring wine, it tastes really nice.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Adelaide Hills on Flickr

HPIM1604, originally uploaded by Jamie Goode.

I'm posting this picture directly from Flickr. It's one of the latest batch I put up - a set of pictures from a visit in October 2005 when I was the guest of Brian Croser. Budburst has just occurred.

Note added later: posting straight from Flickr doesn't work because the image size is too large for the page design. I've had to go in later and re-input the image manually. Worth a try.

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