Vintages Pre-Release Tasting—Australia 2012 Vintage and Red Carpet Ontario Awards

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Reported by Marie-France Boudreault-Champagne and Kim Inkstaker

This VPR featured the Australian 2012 vintage as well as Ontario award winners. I focused each of the flights of varietals that are specialties of Australia and Canada and/or other countries. Pleased to report that in most cases, the least expensive wine of the flight was the favourite in the room, for some, overwhelmingly!

The first flight featured both an Australian and Canadian Riesling. The Jim Barry had some mineral, vegetal and melon notes on the nose and lime/citrus and muskmelon on the palate with fairly high acidity. The Château des Charmes had notes of petrol, mineral and apple with apple, citrus and apricot coming through on the palate. It was nicely balanced with a good mouthfeel. Of the two, the Canadian Riesling got the most votes.

The Chardonnay had some wet wool, floral, honey and buttery notes, but it was sour apple on the palate. The Sauvignon Blanc had some honey and toasted nuts on the nose with ripe peach and orange on the palate. It was favoured by as many tasters as the winning Riesling.

The second flight featured Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blends from different regions. The Grapillon d’Or Vaqueyras and Dandelion GSM were tied for favourite. The Château la Bastide was vegetal, strawberry jam and violets on the nose with leather and bitter chocolate in the

mouth and medium tannins. The Grapillon d’Or Vaqueyras had notes of licorice, cherry, pepper, spice and cedar and menthol, jam licorice and chocolate on the palate. Tannins, acid and flavours were well integrated. The Dandelion had earth, berries, vanilla and toast on the nose with cherry, leather and blueberry on the palate. It was dry with medium tannins.

The third flight matched Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia, Canada and the US. The Canadian wine one with a large margin! The Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cab Sauv had bell pepper and herbs on the nose and sour cherry and herbs on the palate. The Bricklayer’s Reward Cab Sauv had toasted oak, dark berries, spices and chocolate on the nose which followed through on the palate along with some licorice and leather. The Clos du Val showed green pepper, pencil shavings and cherry on the nose with some vegetal notes on the palate. It needs time in the bottle.

The fourth flight featured the $32.95 Yangarra Shiraz, the $67.95 Samantha’s Garden Shiraz from Tow Hands and the Graham Beck The Reserve Shiraz for $19.95. The South African Shiraz got the majority of the votes! The Yangarra Shriaz was all smoked meat, black berries, chocolate and pepper on the nose with leather, licorice and dark cherries on the palate. The wine was dry with medium-high tannins.

The Two Hands Shiraz had sweet fruit and raisins on the nose with leather and chocolate in the mouth. It was dry with low tannins and some acidity. And the Graham Beck Game Reserve Shiraz showed dark sweet berries, cured meat, smoke and pepper on the nose and dark chocolate, cherry and toasted oak on the palate. It was dry and had medium tannins and some acidity— a well-balanced wine.

Special thanks to Kimberly Inksater for her tasting notes!

The wines

Flight 1

  • Jim Barry The Lodger Riesling, Australia, 262469, $25.95
  • Château des Charmes Riesling, Canada, 277228, $16.95
  • Ad Lib and Chicken Chardonnay, Australia, 297697, $19.95
  • Burning Kiln Stick Shaker Savagnin, Canada, 367144, $24.95

Flight 2

  • Château la Bastide, France, 360487, $13.95
  • Grapillon d’Or Vaqueyras, France, 981787, $32.95
  • Dandelion Vineyards GSM, Australia, 399899, $20.90

Flight 3

  • Bleasdale Mulberry Tree Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia, 661892, $17.95
  • Bricklayer’s Reward Cabernet Sauvignon, Canada, 406124, $19.95
  • Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, 325779, $46.95

Flight 4

  • Yangarra Shiraz, Australia, 911974, $32.95
  • Samantha?s GardenTwo Hands Shiraz, Australia, 67355, $67.95
  • Graham Beck The Reserve Shiraz, S.Africa, 383570, $19.95