Tasting No. 163- February 2, 2015 – Wines from Victoria and Queensland – Australia

Club del Vino

 

Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

 Australia Logo

1. Presenter and Participants

Wines presenter: Clarita Estrada y Jorge García

ParticipantsMarcello Averbug, Hugo Benito,  Alfonso Caycedo,  Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Emilio Labrada, Orlando Mason, Ítalo Mirkow, Alfonso Sánchez,   Jairo Sánchez,  Ginger Smart, Carlos E. Velez, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke.

Type of Tasting: Open

2. The Wines

  1. 2013 Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda White, Victoria Pyrenees, – Mostly Viognier with a touch of Marsanne
  2. 2012 Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier, Central Victoria
  3. 2012 M. Chapoutier Domaine Tournon “Shays Flat Shiraz, Pyrenees, Victoria
  4. 2001 Red Edge Cabernet Sauvignon, Heathcote, Victoria

3. The Menu

  1. Tegamino di Cozze (Mussel’s sautéed in a light tomato sauce served with toasted bread)
  2. Cotechino con Lenticche (Pork Sausages with Lentils)
  3. Medaglioni di Manzo (Beef Medallions)
  4. Desert or Coffee

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

 2013 Tournon Mathilda – White

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Stacks a rich parfait of spicy pear and grapefruit flavors over lively acidity, stretching the structure into a supple wrapping. Impressive for the purity and precision of the flavors. Focusing on the unique terroir of the Victoria Pyrenees, the wines of Domaine Tournon reflect the cooler climate of Victoria and exhibit restraint and nuance in way no often associated with Aussie wine. This beauty is full of expressive flavor and a great pair to many foods. Mostly Viognier [85%] with a touch of Marsanne [15%] for added depth and richness.

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Alcohol:   15 %;  Price: $

Expert Ratings: 

2012 Domain Terlato &Chapoutier Shiraz- Viognier

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The Winery. Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier combines the vision of Anthony J. Terlato, the founder of Terlato Wines International, and Michel Chapoutier, the Rhône grower and vintner whose compelling wines have been exalted by critics around the world. The origin of the Terlato & Chapoutier partnership in Australia dates back to 1998, when Chapoutier enthusiastically told Terlato about a top vineyard site in Australia. Located on an eastern-facing slope on the southern edge of the Pyrenees Hills in western Central Victoria, the region’s soil could produce “great wines,” according to Chapoutier. As Terlato recalls at the time, “When Michel asked me to join him, I found it was impossible to say no.”

The result of their collaboration is the Malakoff Vineyard, 500 acres (60 acres planted) located in the Pyrenees region of Victoria, Australia.  The estate wine that comes from there, lieu dit Malakoff Shiraz, is made in the Chapoutier tradition: unfiltered and unfined. When wine critic Robert M. Parker sampled a barrel tasting of the 2004 vintage, he called it a “lusty Australian blockbuster,” and awarded it 90-92 points.

Another impressive offering from the Terlato & Chapoutier union is the Shiraz-Viognier. It’s also uniquely blended, using the Côte Rôtie tradition of combining 5% Viognier with Syrah, which produces a spicy, aromatic wine.

“We are not interested in making wines that are anything less than beautiful and provocative,” Chapoutier says. “The vineyard is young but greatness is possible.”

The Wine.  Syrah and Viognier form an unlikely partnership (a white-wine grape and a red-wine grape), but a highly successful one nonetheless. The blend first appeared in the northern Rhone Valley, and has now spread to various parts of the New World, most obviously California and Australia. In Australia the Shiraz-Viognier blend is now very well established. It is produced widely in both South Australia (Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale) and Victoria (Yarra Valley), and is increasingly common in New South Wales and Western Australia. In these warmer climes, the super-ripe Viognier adds notes of apricot and ripe peach to the spicy, plummy, full-bodied Shiraz.

The grapes are destemmed and fermented in cement or stainless steel tanks. The maceration lasts 3 weeks in order to give the wine the good tannin structure required for good aging and stability. Some of the Viognier grapes were added during fermentation to fully integrate the flavor and tannins.  The wine is aged in tanks with micro-oxygenation. Bottled 10 to 12 months after the harvest.

Winemaker’s Notes  #98 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2014,  The 2012 Shiraz-Viognier has deep, intense ruby color and opens up to aromas of vibrant red plum and fruit wood smoke. On the palate, m mouthfilling bright plum and red berry fruits, full bodied but smooth. A spicy Shiraz from the vineyards of Central Victoria is brightened by a boost of Viognier for aroma and balance, as is often practiced in France’s most highly regarded appellation of the Northern Rhône Valley, Côte Rôtie. This wine is a collaborative effort between two renowned wine families: Chapoutier from the Rhône Valley in France, and the Terlato family of Napa Valley in California.

Alcohol:  14 %;  Price:  $

Expert Ratings: 

2011 Tournon Perenees Shiraz – Shays Flat Vineyard

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The Wine.  Grapes are harvested at maturity, avoiding over maturation Upon harvest rapes are destemmed and fermented in concrete or stainless steel tanks. A long maceration (from 3 to 5 weeks) and a gentle work on the marc allow the extraction of fine and elegant tannins.  The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. A small proportion of the wine is aged in tanks to preserve the freshness of the flavors.

Dark red color.  Complex nose of black fruits (cherry, blackberry) with hints of tobacco (havana cigar). Taste of black fruits and liquorice with supple and delicate tannins  Ageing potential: 5+ years.

Alcohol:  13.5 %;  Price: $

Expert Ratings: TBA 

2001 Red Edge Cabernet – Heathcote

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The Winery.  Heathcote is located in the center of Victoria, Australia’s southernmost mainland state, approximately 100 kilometers north of Melbourne. The climate is continental, with warm to hot and generally (very) dry summers, and cool and (sometimes) wet winters). The normally cold nights of autumn help in the retention of natural acidity as the grapes ripen (important in the winemaking process), and the dry summer/autumn climate ensures healthy grapes naturally free of disease. The vineyards are located on a slope overlooking the town of Heathcote, with a north easterly aspect at an altitude of 260 metres. Eucalypt forests border the vineyard on two sides.

Planted in 1971, the original 2 hectares of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon vines grow on a strip of 500 million year old Cambrian soil- some of the oldest earth on the face of the planet. It’s glorious, vibrantly red, deep, free-draining, mineral rich, eminently favorable to the vine, particularly Shiraz. Further plantings on adjacent blocks have expanded to 14 hectares with some other classic European varieties. The vines are all dry grown with yields of less than 2.5 tonnes per hectare. Individual vineyard wines are made from estate grown fruit only. The vineyards are hand pruned, handpicked, and the wines hand made on site in our dedicated winery.

Heathcote

Heathcote vineyrds

The Wine. 

The wines are made with minimal intervention, allowing the wine to proceed through its natural course, making sure it reflects the full expression of terroir, and as such the wines reflect both a place and a time. Partial whole bunch maceration, wild yeast fermentation, hand plunging in small open top fermenters, basket pressing, partial barrel fermentation, racking by gravity, and no fining or filtration, are all very traditional artisan winemaking strategies employed.

After picking in mid-autumn, natural fermentation on skins takes generally 7 to 14 days, after which the must is pressed directly to small oak barrels. The new wine matures in these same barrels for 8 months where it undergoes a natural secondary fermentation, after which time it is racked into clean barrels in late Spring, for a further period of barrel aging. The wines are racked again a couple of times to enhance clarity, before being bottled after 12 months. These techniques continue and build upon our philosophy of creating wines that reflect the unique Cambrian soil, aspect and climate of Heathcote, wines from a single vineyard in a premium area to equal the best of their type in the world.

Very deep red/purple, opaque colour. Bouquet of cassis, dark berries, some mintiness and chocolate. On the palate big, ripe and intense sweet fruit, chewy tannin texture.  Somewhat more restrained than the Shiraz at this stage a wine that will continue to evolve with cellaring for at least a decade.

Alcohol: 14  % ;  Price: TBA

Experts Ratings: TBA

4. Club del Vino Members Rating : 

Criterio para calificar:  Excepcional: 96-100 puntos; Excelente: 90-95 puntos; Muy Bueno: 86-89 puntos; Bueno: 81-85 puntos; Aceptable: 75-80 puntos.

Resumen: El  vino Blanco, fue calificado  como  Muy Bueno con promedio de 88 puntos; el primer tinto también  Muy Bueno con una Media de 88 puntos; el Segundo tinto fue calificado lo mismo, como Muy Bueno con un promedio de 89 puntos, el tercero y ultimo tinto, con un promedio de 92 puntos, fue un Excelente vino.  En resumen, esta primera degustación del 2015 , fue todo un éxito pues todos los vinos fueron muy bien calificados y desde luego toda una buena experiencia, como lo explican los resultados.

Vinos degustados:

2013 Chapoutier Tournon, Mathilda White,.

Calificacion Media: 88

Desviacion Estandar: 2.5

Mediana: 89

Moda: 89

Impresion General:   Este vino fue preparado con un 85% de uvas Viognier y un 15% de Marsanne que le da un profundo y rico sabor. También impresiona mucho su pureza y precisión de sus sabores de especies y pomelo. Considerado como un vino Terroir de Victoria Pyrenees por la perfección y cuidado para su elaboración, que permiten obtener como resultado un delicioso vino, muy bien aceptado , con mucho balance y sabor.

2012 Terlato y Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier, Domaine Terlato y Chapoutier.

Calificacion Media: 88

Desviacion Estandar: 3.3

Mediana: 88

Moda: 88

 Impresion General:  Presenta un intenso color rubi, con un fuerte aroma a frutas, ademas de aromas a madera quemada, lo mismo que un buen sabor a ciruelas y berrys. Resulta un vino  de elegante y refinado estilo,  balanceado y muy aceptado  por su agradable sabor.

2011 Say’s Flat Shiraz

Impresion General: Este Segundo vino tinto, presenta características especiales respecto a su preparación, fermentando los frutos en tanques de concreto o de acero con una larga maceración por 3 a 5 semanas con lo que, se logra una extracción de finos y elegantes taninos. Presenta un complejo aroma a frutas con un ligero acento a Tabaco y un color rojo oscuro. Bastante agradable y balanceado.

Desviacion Estandar: 1.9

Moda:   90

Mediana: 89

Calificacion Media: 89

2001 Red Edge – Cabernet Sauvignon , HeathcoteDesviacion Estandar: 1.2Moda: 91

Mediana: 91

Calificacion Media: 92

Impresión General: Se califico como Excelente y el mejor vino de esta degustación, prueba de esto son las calificaciones obtenidas.  Es una expresión de Terroir que en su proceso se usa la mas mínima intervención, dejándolo seguir su curso natural y aplicándole una técnica especial. Su impresión es de un sabor muy agradable, aroma especial que lo convierte en un excelente vino, muy bien balanceado y estupendo final muy especial.

5. REGIONAL NOTES

Australian Wines.  Those interested in reding more about Australian wines please click here for Tasting No. 151 and go to the end of it: https://clubvino1.com/?s=151

This section includes information on Domaine Touron as well as an overview of the Victoria and Queensland regions.

Domaine Tournon. 

Pyrenees is an Australian wine region in the south-eastern state of Victoria. Dotted with high-quality boutique wineries, the region is the source of many cooler-climate styles of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. In this way, Pyrenees mirrors the historic Grampians region lying immediately to the west. One topographical difference is that – despite the name ‘Pyrenees’ – the hills here are actually much lower and more gently sloping than those to the west, and certainly nothing like their namesake in southern France and northern Spain. The hills in question are the very western edge of the Great Dividing Range, which runs the length of Australia’s east coast and then veers westwards into Victoria.

The Pyrenees GI (Geographical Indication), created in June 2000, covers a rectangular area between St. Arnaud in the north and Lexton in the south – a distance of about 50 miles (80km). Vines have been planted in the region for more than 150 years, although Pyrenees showed little consistency as a producer of high-quality wines until the mid to late 20th century. The finer vineyards are found among the southern hills, near Mount Avoca, and sit at relatively low elevations – between 655 and 1475ft (200–450m).  See map here http://www.wineaustralia.net.au/en-CA/blog/blog/~/media/0000Apluswines%20site/Canada/VIC%20art.ashx

The climate here is much drier than in the coastal areas to the south, but it does not have the intense heat associated with Victoria’s most northerly vineyards in the Murray Darling wine region. This means that the Pyrenees growing season enjoys high sunshine intensity and duration, but without the summer afternoon burn which can cause vines to shut down entirely. Irrigation is essential as a safeguard against extended periods without rain

In 1997, true to his pioneering spirit, Michel Chapoutier set out to explore the terroirs of the oldest continent. He wanted to meet people, people like him with a passionate interest in bringing out the true character of vines. A matter of convictions, too, prompting discovery and observation. He found land awaiting its revelation. Michel Chapoutier’s aim is to invent properties, not to follow the example of others. Michel Chapoutier buys land and joins forces with major winemaking families, playing on their complementary know-how and experience The result is exceptional Shiraz wines, displaying great elegance and mineral purity. In 2002 he joined forces with Ron and Elva Laughton (Jasper Hill) in central Victoria, and at Heathcote, north of Melbourne, on a very unusual, early Cambrian soil. He has also worked with Rick Kinzbrunner on the Giaconda vineyard at Beechworth, in northeast Victoria, on a granite soil. After a brief experimental joint venture with his US importer (Terlato & Chapoutier), Maison M. Chapoutier bought two other Australian vineyards (Shays Flat and Landsborough) in the Victorian Pyrenees and set up the fully owned Domaine Tournon.

The Qeensland and Victoria Wine Regions – Australia

Queensland australia-wine-regions-map

Queensland has about 1500 hectares of vineyards throughout the State. The majority concentrates in the southeast corner of the State. Queensland’s wine industry was not very important until he late 60′s when Ballandean Estate was established in what is now the State’s best known wine growing region, the Granite Belt. The Granite Belt, with altitudes of 700 to 1250 meters above sea level, has a similar temperature range to central Victoria and can produce snow in Queensland. Several Queensland regions producing wines are Brisbane and Scenic Rim, Darling Downs, Gold Coast, Hinterland,   North Burnett,  Somerset Valley,  South Burnett,  Sunshine Coast  and Western Downs and the famous Granite Belt,

 Granite Belt Region. Queensland was considered too close to the tropics and too hot to produce quality wines. But perceptive grape growers and winemakers noted that in the higher altitudes of the ranges running inland, there were cooler climates and rich volcanic soils. The Granite Belt region, being 700 to 1000 meters above sea level does have a significant cooling effect and allows the production of some stunning wines as the grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Viognier grow through warm springs and summers and relatively cool autumns.  The region is called the ‘Granite Belt’ due to the nature of the terrain. Large granite boulders pepper the landscape, sometimes causing problems during planting. The region’s Geographical Indicator as a wine region in Australia was formally registered in 2000. This area encompasses the high plateau of granite based soils in the southern downs of Queensland.

  • The soil is very porous; sandy and grey-brown in colour with light clay at depth.
  • The drainage is good and the soil is reflective due to the quartz content.
  • The Granite Belt altitude creates distinctive seasons with cold frosty winters and warm summers. The Granite Belt is one of the highest vineyard regions in Australia.
  • The area has a mean January temperature of 20.6 degrees Celsius, and a cooler ripening period ideal for the growing of premium grapes.
  • The region’s Heat Degree Days (HDD) reading of 1703 is similar to the Barossa Valley (South Australia), Margaret River (Western Australia) and better/warmer Bordeaux vintages in France, for example 1990 and 2000.

Victoria

In the 1880’s Victoria was Australia’s largest wine producing state. Phylloxera outbreaks put a temporary halt to production in many areas, which subsequently saw a resurgence of interest in the 1970’s. Victoria is the second smallest state but is home to more individual wineries than any other state in Australia. It also has the greatest diversity of regional climate, which allows for the production of virtually every imaginable wine style from fine sparkling wine, high quality Pinot Noir, savoury Shiraz and the historic fortified wines of Rutherglen.

With over 600 wineries, Victoria has more wine producers than any other Australian wine-producing state but ranks third in overall wine production due to the lack of a mass bulk wine-producing area like South Australia’s Riverland and New South Wales‘s Riverina. Viticulture has existed in Victoria since the 19th century and experienced a high point in the 1890s when the region produced more than half of all wine produced in Australia. The phylloxera epidemic that soon followed took a hard toll on the Victoria wine industry which did not fully recover till the 1950s. Single varietal wines produced in the region include the Australian mainstays of Shiraz and Chardonnay as well as Viognier, Pinot Noir, Graciano and Tannat. The style of wine ranges from full body red wine to Madeira-like fortified wines such as Liqueur Muscat.

Early in Victoria’s wine history, most of the wine industry was settled in the cool southern coastal regions around Melbourne. At the turn of the 20th century, focus began to move to the warmer northeastern zone around Rutherglen. The region began to establish a reputation for its sweet, fortified wines made from late harvest grapes that are shriveled to near raisins and then spend several months (or years) aging in oak barrels stored inside a hot tin shed that acts like an oven. The unique nature of these Liqueur Muscat and Liqueur Tokay helped sustain this part of the Victoria wine industry till the country wide wine renaissance of the 1950-1960s. 

Since the 1960s, Australia’s labeling laws have centered on an appellation system that distinguishes the geographic origins of the grape. Under these laws at least 85% of the grapes must be from the region that is designated on the wine label. In the late 1990s more definitive boundaries were established that divided Australia up into Geographic Indications (GI) known as zones, regions and subregions. The wine zones of Victoria are Central Victoria, North East Victoria, North West Victoria, Western Victoria, Port Phillip and Gippsland.

Gippsland. Is one of the newest and least developed wine regions in Victoria. Serious planting did not begin till the late 1970s. Located to the east of the Mornington Peninsula, the region is current dominated with Pinot noir and Chardonnay plantings. Sparkling wine has shown some potential here with the Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes showing a bit of spiciness that adds complexity to the wine. 

Central Victoria. The region is known primarily for an Australian Shiraz-Viognier made in Victoria through a collaboration with Terlato and Chapoutier. It includes several sub–regions:

  • Heathcote is known for its temperate climate and 500 million year old Cambrian soil that seems particularly well suited for producing deeply colored, rich Shiraz wines with alcohol levels around 14-15%.
  • Goulburn Valley, with its sub region Nagambie Lakes, is the oldest continuously producing Victorian wine region and has been producing Shiraz, most notably at Tahbilk, since 1860. Marsanne, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are also widely planted.
  • Strathbogie Ranges is one of Central Victoria’s cooler wine region and more closely resembles the North East Victoria regions of Alpine Valley and Beechworth. The region is known primarily for its Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot gris and Viognier. 

North East Victoria. Includes several important sub-regions:

  • Glenrowan & Rutherglen are known for their full-bodied red wines made from Shiraz and Durif as well as their sweet fortified wines. The continental climate of the area is marked by very warm summers and moderate evenings. Rainfall is very low and spring frost pose a viticultural hazard. Closer to Mount Buffalo, the vineyards located in nearby Ovens Valley receive more rainfall and cooler temperatures. The first record of plantings in this area date to 1851 and by the 1870s, this was Australia’s largest wine producing area.
  • King Valley is known for its wide range of planted grape varieties including Graciano, Marzemino, Mondeuse, Petit Manseng, Sagrantino, Saperavi and Tannat.The region is located on more mountainous terrain and receives varying degrees of rainfall depending on the location. The Brown Brothers Milawa Vineyard was established here in 1889.North West Victoria. The North West Victoria zone is the most similar Victorian wine region to South Australia’s Riverland in that generous irrigation sources provides for high yielding production. Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay was first produced in this region, and it produces some of the grapes for Yellow Tail.

Western Victoria. The geography of Western Victoria covers flat pastures and granite escarpment. With low annual rainfall, the area relies heavily on irrigation. Springtime frost is a significant viticulture hazard as is ripening during the cool summers. Winters are normally cold and wet. The far southwest of the west has more of a maritime climate.

  • Henty has a cooler climate than the Grampians and produces more white wines and a little Pinot noir. The main varieties are Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, and Sauvignon blanc.
  •  Grampians, with its sub region Great Western, is generally a cooler climate red wine producing region known for jucy berry fruit Shiraz and Cabernets with distinctive eucalyptus and spice. The area has experienced some success with Riesling and sweet sparkling wine.
  • Pyrenees is known for its Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon that are similar to the wines produces in Heathcote and Bendigo. Sauvignon blanc from this region has a distinctive flinty dryness that is found underneath layers of tropical fruits. Sangiovese, Viognier and Pinot gris have started to expand plantings.

Port Phillip.  The Port Phillip zone includes the five regions clustered around Melbourne. The climate of this more closely resembles Bordeaux than in other Australia wine regions yet it is more thoroughly planted with Burgundy wine varieties like a Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Other areas are planted with Shiraz. This region incudes several Goegrafical Indications (GI):

  • Yarra Valley is a cooler climate sub-region and is known primarily for its Chardonnay and Pinot noir. The area has been cultivating a reputation for quality wine for over a century. In recent times, the sparkling wine industry has started to take notice with Moët et Chandon opening up Domaine Chandon Australia and producing wine under the Green Point label.The first vineyards were believed to have been planted here in the late 1830s and by the end of the 19th century, wines from the Yarra Valley were winning gold medals at European wine competitions. In the 1970s, the region experienced it own renaissance and has leveraged its close location to Melbourne to become a tourist destination for wine. The warmer climate of the Valley has shown itself suitable for Shiraz and Cabernet and has shown promise for Roussanne, Marsanne, Sauvignon blanc and Pinot gris. The Yarra Valley is home to more than 80 wineries, ranging from small, family-owned operations to large estates. The region is renowned for producing Australia’s finest pinot noir and sparkling wine, along with a range of other cool-climate wines. It was Victoria’s first planted wine region back in 1838.
  • Macedon Ranges is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines.The area sits on predominately granite based soils that has shown some promise for the sparkling wine varieties of Pinot noir and Chardonnay. Some Shiraz wines from this region have developed cult status due to their reputation for powerful fruit, spice and soft tannins.
  • Sunbury is located north-west of Melbourne and has been producing Shiraz since 1872. Is known particularly now for its Shiraz-Viognier blends that are more terroir driven than New World.
  • Geelong is heavily influenced by nearby Port Philip Bay and has been achieving international recognition for the quality of its Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Viognier. As one of mainland Australia’s most southernly wine regions, vineyards in the Geelong enjoy a long growing season influenced by maritime conditions. This helps the grape develop a complexity of flavors and depth in character for the resulting wines.
  • Mornington Peninsula is located south across Port Philip Bay from Geelong and shares a similar reputation for Pinot noir and Chardonnay but has been developing its plantings of Pinot gris. The area has a marginal climate that is influenced by maritime conditions across the hilly terrain. There are five “unofficial” sub districts on the Peninsula-Dromana, Main Ridge, Merricks, Moorooduc and Red Hill. The region is known for its medium bodied, dry wines and sparkling wines that show structure and complexity. The still wine versions of Chardonnay reflect a diversity of styles, all typically unoaked, from more citrus to more tropical fruit flavors.
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