Sunday 29 November 2015

Wine of the Month - November 2015

How on earth to keep track of all the Penfolds wines? They have the Cellar Reserve Range, Koonunga Hill, Bin Wines, Luxury Wines, the list goes on and on. Fortunately, one thing Penfolds excels at is communication. Every Penfolds tasting that I have attended has had eloquent, passionate ambassadors with in-depth knowledge of the wines, who could explain the technical differences between the RWT Shiraz and Magill Estate Shiraz. A Penfolds event is truly a sybaritic feast, a line-up of voluptuous, sensual wines that leave you giddy with delight. No need to tease out subtle flavours here; the wines are unabashedly rich, proudly Australian and compellingly pure. It would be easy to select Grange or Yattarna as the WOTM - these are fantastic wines, but the breadth and quality of Penfolds is such that there are many gems to be found within their collection. One wine that I enjoyed recently was the Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz, first introduced in 2008. Made from Barossa Valley fruit, this wine is matured 16-18 months in new and seasoned American and French oak.

Wine: Penfolds Bin 150 Marananga Shiraz 2013

Tasting note: This new-ish addition to the Penfolds portfolio displays the classic richness and ripe fruit one would expect from the Barossa Valley, but what elevates this wine is its enticing cornucopia of spices - a mix of clove, mint and caraway seeds. Plush, gorgeous and refreshing, this is a wine to uncork when you want to make an impression.

Monday 23 November 2015

Comparing Apples to Apples to Apfelwein

Producer: Obsthof am Steinberg

For those who are only interested in wine, you may want to skip this post. Although if you are in Frankfurt, spiritual centre of apfelwein, you certainly shouldn't deprive yourself of the opportunity to try this local specialty. Made from pressed apples and fermented to produce a beverage with alcohol in the low-to-mid single digits, it bears more than a passing similarity to wine made from grapes. Vintage apfelwein? Check. Use of different varieties, each which contributes its own flavours? Check. Ability to improve with age? Check (well at least that's what I was told).