Tasting No. 178 – June 27, 2016 – Wines from Australia

 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

Shiraz Grapes - Hunter Valley

Shiraz Grapes – Hunter Valley

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: Carita Estrada and Jorge Gracia-Garcia


Members: Mario Aguilar, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Jorge Garcia-Garcia, Alvaro López, Orlando Mason, John Redwood, Lucía Redwood, Jorge Requena, Alfonso Sanchez, Raul Sanguinetti, Ginger Smart, Ricardo Zavaleta, German Zincke

Guests: Carolina Herrera, Martha Kipnis, Patricia Uribe

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. The Wines  

The  main objective the of this blind tasting would be to appreciate the differences and rank three red wines in order of preference and value for money. One of the wines is a similar to Rhone blends based on shiraz, another one is 100% shiraz and finally there is a a Zinfandel.  All the wines come from the South Region and specifically from Barossa and McLaren.  The with wine is from the same region and the objective would be to rate it by itself in terms of quality and value for money.

  1. Thorn-Clarke Mount Crawford Chardonnay, Eden Valley, 2013
  2. Molly Dooker Two Left Feet, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, McLaren Vale, 2014
  3. D’Arenberg Shiraz Dead Arm, McLaren Vale, 2011
  4. Glaymond Wines, Zinfandel, Barossa Valley, 2003

3. The Menu:

    1. Mussel’s in white wine sauce
    2. Pork Sausages with Lentils
    3. Caprese Salad
    4. Beef Medallions
    5. Dessert and Coffee (or expresso instead od dessert)

4. Information on the Wines

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

Thorn-Clarke Mount Crawford Chardonnay, Eden Valley, 2013

thorn-clarke-mount-crawford-single-vineyard-chardonnay-eden-valley-australia-10471045The Wine. The wine is a light straw colour. The nose displays some complexity with citrus and stone fruits complimented by nutty barrel characters. This is a medium weight wine with peach and citrus characters balanced nicely with good acidity. The wine finishes with clean lemon like acidity.

Crushed, de-stemmed and then pressed using a membrane press. A parcel of the juice was filled to French oak barrels for fermentation, the balance was fermented in stain-less steel. The tank fermentation was slow and cool to retain all the natural flavours of the grape. The wine in tank had several weeks of lees contact post fermentation. The wine was the blended, minimally fined and then filtered

The Winery: Late ripening, high rainfall and with elevations as high as 475 metres above sea level, this 37 ha Eden Valley can easily be confused with the Adelaide Hills – which is after all just across the range. Its north facing aspect provides much needed warmth in spring and autumn and the tough mountain soil makes the vines work hard to achieve excellent flavor and acid levels.

This site was specially selected as it was considered ideal to grow grape varieties which respond to cold climate. These include Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, whilst Merlot also grows well in these conditions. The result of this careful site selection is wines which display outstanding varietal charact

Read more about Thorn-Clarke Winery and vineyards here: http://www.thornclarkewines.com.au/

  • Experts Rating: 89 Pts Intl. Wine Cellar
  • CV Members Rating:  88 Pts.
  • Price: $15

 Molly Dooker Two Left Feet, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, McLaren Vale, 2014

Mollydooker_Two_Left_Feet_Shiraz_Cabernet_Merlot-20150706115043The Wine. Winemaker Note: A generous array of bright fruit flavor with outstanding depth, gives this wine the approachable and engaging qualities it’s become adored for. Showcasing every character in our flavor spectrum, including raspberry, plum, deep mocha and licorice. All the elements interweave themselves harmoniously throughout each sip and work together in a way that achieves the subtle mouth feel of a truly delightful wine.

This wine is 72% Shiraz, 14% Melrlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon

The Winery. Mollydooker (Aussie for left-hander) Wines was established in 2005 by Sarah and Sparky Marquis. Five of their wines have been chosen in the Wine Spectator’s “Top 100,” and their Carnival of Love Shiraz has made the “Top 100” twice. The winery is on the prime Seaview Ridge in McLaren Vale, South Australia, and the vines are grown according to the Marquis Vineyard Watering Programme to give the grapes the rich flavors that distinguish Mollydooker’s wines. Mollydooker makes Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Verdelho. The Velvet Glove Shiraz, with 95%+ Marquis Fruit Weight is superbly complete and complex, with stunny beauty and power.

Mollydooker has an established reputation for producing world-class wines. For instance, the 2006 Velvet Glove Shiraz was awarded 99 points by Robert Parker. Additionally, the winery’s Carnival of Love Shiraz placed among the top ten wines by Wine Spectator for both the 2006 and 2007 vintages. In 2014, Wine Spectator awarded the 2012 vintage of Carnival of Love Shiraz the number two wine in the world.

  • Experts Rating:  WS 91 Pts.
  • CV Members Rating:  91 Pts.
  • Price: $25

 D’Arenberg Shiraz Dead Arm, McLaren Vale, 2011  

Damberg_3949918_fullThe Wine:  Wine maker Note –The Story Behind The Name Dead Arm is a vine disease caused by the fungus Eutypa Lata that randomly affects vineyards all over the world. Often vines affected are severely pruned or replanted. One half, or an ‘arm’ of the vine slowly becomes reduced to dead wood. That side may be lifeless and brittle, but the grapes on the other side, while low The Characteristics A classic Dead Arm in every sense of the word. The nose is brooding and alluring, earthy notes combined with dark fruits, fennel and baking spice. The longer this wine sits in the glass, the further it unfurls opening into notes of sweeter berry fruit laced with more of those soily, forest floor notes. The palate is dense and concentrated with a plethora of fruit characters, plum, blackberry, mulberry, earth, iodine and black olive. Despite the richness and intensity of the attack and mid palate the experience surprisingly crescendos with a lick of spicy pepper, coupled with lovely, fined grained, textural tannins that seem to persist in the mouth forever. Complex, savoury and moreish!yielding, display amazing intensity.”

Read more: http://www.snooth.com/wine/darenberg-shiraz-dead-arm-2010-10/#ixzz4Bl32OaA1

The Winery: d’Arenberg grows and sources grapes from vineyards all over the McLaren Vale region, with a focus on grapes from the north and north eastern corner. The region itself rises from sea level to approximately 220 metres above sea level in the north, on the rise to the Mt Lofty ranges. The higher areas are much cooler than the low lying vineyards and generally make a more elegant wine, particularly when sourced from the sandy soils of the Blewitt Springs region. d’Arenberg has released a number of wines that express how these environmental relate to flavours in a glass, these unique wines can be found in the Amazing Sites category.

See more about ‘dÁmberg winery here: http://www.darenberg.com.au/

  1. Experts Rating: RP: 95 Pts.; Intl. Wine cellar : 93 Pts.
  2. CV Members Rating: 90 Pts.
  3. Price: $50

Glaymond Wines, Zinfandel, Barossa Valley, 2003  

Glaymond 2003The Wine:  Well rounded with aromas of black fruits, wood vanilla and spices.  Purple red and brick colors. Nice medium to long finish of average complexity.

The Winery: Both Glaymond and Tscharke are the vision of sixth generation vigneron Damien Tscharke who is also the proprietor and winemaker for these acclaimed wines. Having worked on his family’s vineyards for over 20 years, he has developed an intimate knowledge of the vineyard sites and the unique terroir of the sub appellations of Marananga and Seppeltsfield, renowned for their prehistoric soils and Mediterranean climate. Recognised as a leader amongst the new generation of Australian vignerons and winemakers, Damien was the first producer of Albarino and Montepulciano in Australia. He was awarded the prestigious 2004 Peter Olson Fellowship for Innovation and Outstanding Performance in Agriculture and was also shortlisted for Young Winemaker of the Year in 2007. All wines are estate grown and produced. Damien is hands on throughout the process, from research through to planting the vines, vineyard management and winemaking. – Description from JasminaDragoljevic

Read more: http://www.snooth.com/winery/glaymond-wines-greenock/#ixzz4Br3oz5ax

  1. Experts Rating:  NA.
  2. CV Members Rating: 88Pts.
  3. Price: $45 

4.  CV members Rating

Rating Scale:

  • 96-100 Pts. – Exceptional
  • 90-95 Pts.  –  Outstanding
  • 86-89 Pts.  –  Very good
  • 81-85 Pts.  –  Good
  • 76-80 Pts.  –  Acceptable
  • 75 or fewer – Mediocre

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:

  1. 91 Pts. – $25 – Molly Dooker Two Left Feet, Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot, McLaren Vale, 2014
  2. 90 Pts. – $50 – D’Arenberg Shiraz Dead Arm, McLaren Vale, 2011
  3. 88 Pts. – $45 – Glaymond Wines, Zinfandel, Barossa Valley, 2003
  4. 88 Pts. – $15 Thorn-Clarke Mount Crawford Chardonnay, Eden Valley, 2013

The participants preference (by show of hands) was by far the Molly Dooker (13) followed by  wines 3 (5 participantes) and 1 (1 participant).

Best value for Money: Mollydooker Two Left Feet

5. Technical Notes

Australia Wine Regions.

Australia – Wine Regions

Australia is the world’s fourth largest exporter of wine (around 750 million liters a year) with only about 40% of production consumed domestically.

Australian wine industry is based on bulk production and processing of grapes.  Most wineries produce wines from grapes or juices produced elsewhere and often hauled long distances.  Wine making is approached more as an integrated agro-industrial operation and less as a Chateau or terroir-oriented in house wine making one.  Four large companies dominate the industry namely Southcorp Wines (Penfolds, Rosemount, Lindeman, and many others), Orlando Wyndham (Jacob’s Creek), BRL Hardy and Beringer Blass. This however should not be taken immediately as resulting in lower quality wines.  Australians have developed approaches and techniques to produce high quality and very pleasant wines at par with the best wines in the world.  Besides, there is a growing interest and production of terroir wines of outstanding quality.

The approach to wine production combined with the diversity of soil and climatic conditions require a critical role of the wine maker to find the best approach to deal with a variety of grape qualities and varietals.  Therefore, the emphasis is on gaining a full expression of the fruit flavors more than the characteristics of the places where it is grown.  Wines tend so to be fruitier and more alcoholic than those of the old world.  However, winemakers are careful in balancing those features with good tannins and acidity.

Australia’s wine regions are mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country, with vineyards located in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.  There is important production as well in the Pert in western Australia area (Margaret River), in Tasmania (and in the Granite Belt on the east (see map)

Major grape varieties are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon, and Riesling. The country has no native grapes, and Vitis vinifera varieties were introduced from Europe and South Africa in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Some varieties have been bred by Australian viticulturists, for example Cienna and Tarrango.  About 130 different grape varieties are used by commercial winemakers in Australia. Over recent years many winemakers have begun exploring so called “alternative varieties” other than those listed above. Many varieties from France, Italy and Spain for example Petit Verdot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Viognier are becoming more common.



This entry was posted in Meeting Abstract and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s