Wine Ark (http://www.wine-ark.com.au/) had their usual tasting for their members, at the top of the Australian Museum (fantastic view! Overlooking St Mary’s Cathedral and Hyde Park). Line up of this tasting was Bannockburn (presented by winemaker Michael Glover), Larry Cherubino and Croft Port (presented by importer Matthew Quirk).
Tasting was, as usual, splendid! First, was Bannockburn, with their winemaker presenting the wines – he’s a solid believer in corks over screw-caps, and is one of the few winemakers still abiding by the traditional use of corks. Next were the Larry Cherubino wines, which are highly regarded by experience from Larry himself. Then we had our chance to try some ports of distinction from Croft Port, in which the House of Croft was founded over three hundred years ago. Wine line up:
On arrival – The Yard, Whispering Hill Vineyard Riesling – Lime and mineral nuances with good, elegant length. Great starting wine. rrp $29.
Bannockburn – presented by winemaker Michael Glover – All bannockburn wines are produced from estate-grown fruit off our 27 hectares of vines. The first vineyard was planted in 1974 with subsequent plantings during the early 1980’s, making them among the oldest in the Geelong region. Michael Glover’s philosophy is on terroir, and no irrigation of the vineyards, resulting in more concentrated berries due to the vines getting natural rainfall and nothing else, as opposed to winemakers trying to “manipulate” their vineyards by irrigating them and getting bigger berry yields – but this other method can also lose taste. http://www.bannockburnvineyards.com/
2009 Bannockburn Sauvignon Blanc – much better than the tonnes of tacky Sauv Blanc around these days, and for those who drink Sauv Blanc this is a very good wine, completely different to Marlborough NZ. rrp $28.
2008 Bannockburn Chardonnay – Serious Chardonnay, like a Pinot Noir with the soil in which it’s grown in. Texture and length very good (with 2 years on lees, which adds creamy characters). “Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove” sort of wine. rrp. $54.
2006 Bannockburn S.R.H. Chardonnay – using grapes sourced from their oldest Chardonnay vines at Olive Tree Hill Vineyard. Named in recognition of Bannockburn founder, Stuart Reginald Hooper. Also “Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove” with powerful but elegant texture and length. rrp $79.
2007 Bannockburn Pinot Noir – Definitely “Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove” with fragrant juicy berries, leather, and savoury notes and spices, overall a lovely texture and length. A difficult year for Pinot. rrp $58.
2006 Bannockburn Bruce Cabernet Blend – got to love the name Bruce for a big red wine, and this was Big. Powerful mouthwatering red fruit and strong tannins, with elegance that somehow comes into this bold wine – and great value for $25!! Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Shiraz blend, will age well for another few years. rrp $25.
Larry Cherubino – who’s one of Australia’s most acclaimed winemakers. http://www.larrycherubino.com/
2009 The Yard 24 Road Vineyard Chardonnay – Elegant with white nectarines and other stone fruits, with underlying oak. Can age well over more years. rrp $30
2008 The Yard Acacia Vineyard Shiraz – Bright colour and bright palate. Bouquet is intense with chemical notes and black fruits. Charry oak and plenty of tannin driving the palate along with berry fruits and touches of spice leaving a warm and generous finish. Would like to put this down for a few more years. rrp $36.
2007 Larry Cherubino Shiraz – Bright and fragrant with dark chocolate, raspberry and a touch of spice. On the palate good oak comes through juicy dark fruits and a good amount of tannins. Would like to put this down for a few more years. rrp $70.
2007 Larry Cherubino Cabernet Sauvignon – uplifted fragrant bouquet, concentrated on the palate blackcurrant with a slight green youngness to it and cedary notes to add complexity. Needs to age longer and would love to review again in 2 years. rrp $80
Croft Port – The Croft family played a prominent and influential role in the Port wine trade, and has an important place of distinction to to this day in the world of port. Port is a perfect accompaniment to choclate and desserts. Once opened, it does not need decanting and will stay fine for up to 6 weeks (a good port). http://www.croftport.com/
NV Croft Pink Port – I got to admit this was a little funny to me, but it does have a place, and is a great port to get into if you’re not into port. http://www.croftpink.com/ rrp $42
MV Croft Distinction Reserve Port – Red in colour with intense fresh fruit aromas and sweet but deep oaky flavours. rrp $60
NV Croft 10 Year old Tawny Port – NV (non-vintage) a blend of different years, aged for an average of 10 years in oak casks, then bottled for immediate drinking. Rich mellow fruit with a slight nuttiness in an overall concentrated palate. rrp $89
2007 Croft Vintage Port 375mL – Like grape essence syrup, but with savoury oaky tones. Rich blackcurrant and cherries, but with firmness and a good tannic structure. This wine is only created from a single vintage/year and from Coft, only in the best vintages. Cellars well for more than 10 years. rrp $80
2007 Croft Vintage Port 750mL – same as above. rrp $150+
2007 Croft Vintage Port Magnum – same as above. rrp $300+
I am now working for Wine Ark (as I said I’d declare if I’m working with a company I mention on here) and can say for myself that I’m thoroughly impressed by what they offer… A little about them: Wine Ark is Australia’s forefront for wine collectors and perfect cellaring of wines, for example with private access wine vaults any time until midnight. For wine collectors, their extensive range of vintage wine functions like an exchange market, allowing buyers to purchase directly from thousands of clients who store wine in Wine Ark’s climate controlled cellars, and giving members access to some of the world’s most sought after/difficult to obtain wines. Also by buying direct, retail mark ups are avoided. Wine cabinets (Vintec and Transtherm) and other premium wines are also available. http://www.wine-ark.com.au/