Angullong, Chapel Hill, Caillard, Grant Burge, Pfeiffer & All Saints

The saying goes, ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’, I don’t know about that, but believe me there is more than one way to taste a wine. Reviewing requires lining up a range of wines - say 10 shirazes - and comparing them. Optimally the wine reviewed can be hidden in bags so the taster is not influenced by the maker. This is the ideal but it’s not always possible, so often I know the wine I taste. The important questions are therefore: Am I influenced by the label? Do I know the maker? Is he/she a friend that I am unlikely to say a bad word against? It’s a possibility and I accept all criticisms.

Many believe the role of wine as an accompaniment to food is an important characteristic. I may disappoint here, but, simply matching food to wine is (in my opinion) such rubbish. It must be about the whole: good food, top wine and fun company is the essence. As soon as some boring bugger starts on about the merits of a certain wine with this or that dish, I am off!

Below is a range of wines that I took to my mate Norm’s birthday lunch. The wines were tasted beforehand and these notes were already written, but the full enjoyment was in the drinking of them with good friends and good food, intelligent conversation and heaps of fun.

Think on it and enjoy your wine; don’t waffle on about it.


Angullong Orange Region Chardonnay 2011:

The wine looks good in the glass (green/lemon), it is a clean and defined chardonnay on the nose, and has a simple, pure, beautiful chardonnay character from the lips and right across the palate. At just $17 a bottle, grab a case and don’t tell your friends. 94 points.

Angullong ‘The Pretender’ Central Rages Savagnin 2012:

Savagnin is slowly moving across various Australian regions and, from what I have tasted, it is finding a home in many of them. This is just the third release from Angullong and the vines still need more age on them to give a fuller texture to the finished wine. Meanwhile, this has a very slight sherbet lemon fizz and taste as it travels across the palate, which I find enchanting. It ends well and has good aftertaste. 93 points and worth the $22 asked.

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale ‘Bush Vine’ Grenache 2011:

Very earthy on the nose this wine really fits the description “forest floor” that wine writers are fond of; slightly stinky is a cruder way of putting it. It enters with the same bite as the nose suggests; rather like the difference between a straight cheese and a blue vein. Many flavours reveal themselves but all are on the dark side. It is a lovely wine, but one for grown-up tastes. 94 points and I think well worth its $35.

Caillard Barossa Valley Mataro 2011:

Andrew Caillard starts his description: “Fragrant, pure and sinuous…” I can go with that. I also enjoyed the complexity that went deeper as the length stretched across the palate. It has the textual feel of reaching the finish while part of the wine is yet to start the journey. Moving to pictorial imagery, it brought to mind a long caravan winding its way across a desert of pure white sand. There was a beautiful, bitter plum bite on the very end. 94 points and possibly a couple more to come as it ages. It’s not cheap at $45 but worth it for those who are really into their wine.

Grant Burge “Meshach” Barossa Shiraz 2008:

One cannot help but be overpowered with the intensity of this wine. Recalling previous vintages, I often commented on the oak, but not with this vintage. The oak is doing what it should - sitting in the background and supporting. I’m lost for words because I don’t want to go into overdrive. I haven’t tasted the 2008 Penfolds Grange but I should think this would give it a challenge. $180 is a lot of money but this has a very long life ahead and it’s a wine with a global standing of which all Australians can be proud. 98 points.

Pfeiffer Rutherglen Muscat:

Light for muscat, but that’s not an issue. Post tasting, I popped an ice cube in a glass of it and it was lovely. This wine only carries an average four years of age, which accounts for its lightness, but it has been made with skill from quality material. 91 points and worth its $20 (500ml).

All Saints Grand Rutherglen Tawny:

Incredible, fantastic, out of this world. Take your pick. It’s damn fine wine; and there’s no more to say on the matter. 97 points and well worth $35 (375ml).


Tony Keys