Spitbucket Sesssions Volume 10: Mornington Peninsula

25 02 2011

Our tenth edition of the Sessions will be a little different. I’m knackered so I’m off on holiday to Perth and Margaret River. But that sort of thing doesn’t wash with spibucketeers so we have press-ganged a guest host in to help out. We didn’t have to twist David’s arm too hard though and he was dead keen to fly up from Mornington and share his time and considerable wisdom with the group.

David Lloyd has been making wine since 1977 (previously in Coonawarra and Yarra Valley) before striking out on his own when he and his wife Wendy bought the Eldridge Estate Vineyard (above) in 1995. Eldridge Estate is an 800 case vineyard and winery at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula. Immediately the Lloyds changed the vine canopy system to Scott Henry and started a grafting program to add Gamay to the existing plantings of Pinot and Chardonnay. In subsequent years the grafting program was extended to build a collection of Pinot Noir clones that perform best at the Red Hill site. The current plantings of Chardonnay is a blend of 6 clones and the Pinot Noir 7 clones. The vineyard is mostly 26 year old vines and the main varieties are based around the special clones of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on a very unique and cool 3 hectare site. Most people are surprised to hear that the wine that he enjoys the most is actually Chardonnay.

David has managed to cajole some of the very best producers on the Peninsula to provide wines for this Spitbucket installment so it should be a real treat.

Pair 1: Pinot Gris
Ocean Eight Pinot Gris 2010
Paradigm Hill Pinot Gris 2010

Pair 2: Chardonnay
Eldridge Estate North Patch Chardonnay 2009
Stonier Chardonnay 2009

Pair 3: Gamay
Eldridge Estate Gamay 2009
Eldridge Estate Gamay 2007

Pair 4: Pinot Noir
Stonier Windmill Pinot Noir 2007
Eldridge Estate Pinot Noir 2007

Pair 5: Shiraz
Foxeys Hangout Shiraz 2009
Paringa Estate Shiraz 2009

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Roof Top Bar. It is on Wednesday 2nd March. All you have to do is tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.

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Spitbucket: The Best of 2010, some of Jo Taylor’s favourites

19 01 2011

2010 was a momentous year for The Spitbucket Sessions. After travelling from Adelaide to London, then back to Sydney over the course of seven years, they found the perfect, permanent home at Coast’s Roof Top Bar. Through Twitter, Spitbucket also found a seemingly endless supply of people passionate about tasting and enjoying wine, and wineries generous enough to support the events. Along the way we all needed a bit of sustenance too and we thank Coast’s top-notch chef, Adam, and our resident meat man, Tim, for their tasty contributions too. 

We all made new friends through Spitbucket and so it is with great sadness that we said goodbye to Jo Taylor, one of the most passionate wine lovers you’re ever likely to find. Jo, there will always be a seat at the Roof Top Bar and at Spitbucket for you.

In our first session of 2011 we take a look back at some of the wines that made our 2010 sessions special.

To Start: Stonier Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2006

Pair 1:
Vinteloper Watervale Riesling 2010 (@Vinteloper)
Lark Hill Gruner Veltliner 2009 (@LarkHillWine)

Pair 2:
Golding La Francesa Savagnin 2010 (@GoldingWines)
Philip Shaw The Dreamer Viognier 2009 (@philipshawwines)

Pair 3:
Saint Clair Block 14 Doctor’s Creek Pinot Noir 2008 (@saintclairwine)
Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Pair 4:
Teusner Albert Shiraz 2008 (@Teusnerwine)
Petaluma Shiraz 2007 (@Petalumawine)

To Finish: #Giantbeers aka. Mac’s Hop Rocker





Spitbucket Sessions Vol. 5: Outstanding Adelaide Hills

12 11 2010

 

(Petaluma’s Mount Barker Shiraz Vineyard)

I was in the Adelaide Hills last week and it is looking stunning. When you wake up to a frosty, clear morning you are reminded that it’s a pretty cool climate vine growing area, so wine-wise as a (very general) rule you might expect to see more spicy, peppery characters rather than lush, luxurious fruit.

Let’s put it to the test then shall we? I’ve plumped for a pretty mixed bag, including a couple of white wine wildcards, and two red varieties that do very well up there…Pinot Noir and Shiraz.

Riesling
Petaluma Project Company Dry Riesling 2009
Petaluma Project Company 30g/l Residual Sugar Riesling 2009

Chardonnay
Bird in Hand Chardonnay 2009
Golding Chardonnay 2008

Weird and Wonderful
K1 Arneis 2010
Golding La Francesa Savagnin 2010

Pinot Noir
K1 Pinot Noir 2008
Pike & Joyce Pinot Noir 2008

Shiraz
Bird in Hand Shiraz 2008
Petaluma Shiraz 2007

We hope to get some good input on the night from @birdinhandwine, @petalumawine, @goldingwines and @K1byTheHardys.

As usual, #spitbucket is free to attend and will take place at the Coast Rooftop Bar. It is on Wednesday 17th November. All you have to do is tweet @coastrestaurant and ask to book a space before they’re all gone. More details here.





Kiwi Pinot Noir: the verdict

10 10 2010

 

Well it was a joyous evening of fantastic Pinot Noir. Everywhere you looked there was a trophy winning wine or a “Top 10…” in such-and-such magazine. The reality is there there weren’t any stinkers at all, which reflects equally on the quality of Kiwi Pinot now and also the generosity of some great wineries out there. Here are some of my very brief notes. Trying to compere and taste wines and write notes and look cool all at once was almost beyond me… 

Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2009: Gravel and cherries, smoky hint too. Light red fruit is ripe. Very approachable.

Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008: A lot more funky and complex on the nose. Mushrooms in amongst the red fruit. Velvety texture and long. Still just a baby.

Trinity Hills High Country Pinot Noir 2007: Intense funky nose with tomato leaf, black olives and ragu! Quite chunky and rich, but not subtle.

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008:  A highlight for me. Really fragrant and delicate. Complex, sappy, peppery and raspberry notes. Elegant. Feels complete and beautifully balanced.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2008: Bright red fruit and bags of juiciness with hints of peppery spice. Finish is medium length.

Neudorf Pinot Noir Tommy’s Block Pinot Noir 2008: Subtle, understated and elegant with sappy and earthy characters. Savoury. Lovely mouthfeel and decent length.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctor’s Creek Pinot Noir 2008: Pure Pinot nose, balance of red fruit, raspberry and savoury. Also a creamy element too. Tight with a sour cherry note on finish.

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2008: More open and expansive than the Block 14. Another well ballanced, refreshing Pinot with delicate red fruit and just a hint of funk. 

Wither Hills Wairau Valley Pinot Noir 2008: One of the richer Pinots with dark fruit as well as red. Silky palate wrapped around intense fruit and savoury core. Good, long finish.

Wither Hills Ben Morven Pinot Noir 2007: Some doofus left this sample at home by mistake. He has been severely reprimanded.

Greystone Pinot Noir 2008: Really earthy, interesting nose with ferrous hints (yes I did get pulled up on using such a wanky word!). Complex with tight, cherry fruit on the finish. 

Greystone Pinot Noir 2009: Richer, riper and more open than the 2008. Loads more juice and hold the mineral. Still tasty but preferred the ’08.

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2009: Great for a long lunch. Sweet red fruit up front and suitably refreshing. Not overly complex.

Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir 2008: As you’d expect feels a more serious proposition. Worlds apart in terms of complexity, class and length. Tonnes going on here, with darker fruit, bitter hints and lots of secondary characters. Deep like @mikerism101.

At the last moment, we were joined by the gang from Misha’s Vineyard, who proffered their approachable Impromptu Pinot and their more serious High Note Pinot, both from Central Otago. I’m afraid my notes had run out of steam by this point, so you can find out more about these wines here – http://www.mishasvineyard.com/

And notes to selves…in future we’re going to limit the tastings to 10 wines. This one went on a leeetle beeet too long. Hasta la proxima folks. Remember if you’d like to attend a Spitbucket Session then you just need to tweet @coastrestaurant.

(The beautiful view from the Coast #rooftopbar)

(The Gang)





Spitbucket Sessions Vol. 2: Kiwi Pinot

27 09 2010

(Wither Hills Chief Winemaker, Ben Glover, surfs the wave of Kiwi success)

After the first successful foray into the Spitbucket with Semillon, it’s time to get some reds on the go before the Sydney Summer goes nuclear and we’re all begging for white wine, bubbly and ice pops again. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is still the single biggest growth driver for wine in Australia. It’s the fastest growing grape, the fastest growing sector of imported wine and takes out the top 8 spots for Sauvignon Blanc brands by value in Australia. But do I really want to taste 12 in a row? If i’m honest…not really (tho prepared to be proven wrong!). Pinot Noir is where New Zealand’s fine wine reputation rests and there a hundreds of mad bastards there trying to squeeze the best out of this most capricious of grapes.

The French have had hundreds of years of practice in Burgundy, but New Zealand winemakers are an impatient lot and they’re trying to catch up as fast as they possibly can. There’s no doubt that nature has been kind to New Zealand and its love of this grape, but there are a lot of stylistic questions being struggled with at the moment. There is ethereal, elegant Pinot and then there is big, gutsy Pinot (or “Shiraz in Drag” as suggested by @iloveriesling). As New Zealand’s prime Pinot regions establish identities and winemaking practices to go with them, now is as good a time as any to get to the very core of what New Zealand Pinot Noir is all about.

That and…well…it tastes that bloody good frankly. Especially with the line-up we’ll be showing…

The Full Line-up of Wines (order may change)

Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2009

Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Trinity Hills High Country Pinot Noir 2007

Neudorf Pinot Noir (wine TBC – I know, we’re living on the edge…)

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2008

Craggy Range Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctor’s Creek Pinot Noir 2008

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 16 Awatere Pinot Noir 2008

Wither Hills Wairau Valley Pinot Noir 2008

Wither Hills Ben Morven Pinot Noir 2007

Greystone Pinot Noir 2008

Greystone Pinot Noir 2009

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2009

Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir 2008

With a bit of luck some of the winemakers will be joining in from across the Tasman. To chat to the winemakers live during the tasting make sure you’re following them in advance:

@saintclairwine

@GreystoneWines

@WitherHillsWine and @maxatwhills

@MVPinot

@JudyatNeudorf

Date: Wed 6th October

Time: 6.30, for prompt 6.45pm start

Location: The beautiful Coast Roof Top Bar – see full details here

Book: Tweet @coastrestaurant to reserve one of the 20 spaces

Cost: Zip