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Steve Kubota

Steve Kubota

The Armagh

Jim Barry Wines The Armagh Shiraz 2006

South Australia, Australia
1591 days ago

Steve scored this wine: 97/100

JIM BARRY WINES, South Australia ‘The Armagh’ 2006 Shiraz I enjoyed tasting three wines from Jim Barry at an industry tasting promotion showcasing Australia’s First Families of Wine. There is more information on Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) available at the end of this review. I feel fortunate to have met Peter Barry at the AFFW event. Peter’s passion, knowledge and charisma all shine brightly. He is as engaging as the wines I tasted were. Needless to say I enjoyed speaking with Peter during the speed tasting round and visiting with him to taste a museum wine he brought with him as well. I wish I could have spent much more time with him, learning about the history of his family and the stories behind the scenes. From the Winery: Jim Barry Wines is a family winery based in the Clare Valley of South Australia. The company was founded in 1959 by Jim and Nancy Barry. The company is now owned and managed by Peter Barry, a second generation family winemaker. Jim Barry Wines is home to some of Australia’s favourite wines such as The Armagh, The McRae Wood, The Benbournie, First Eleven, Pb, The Cover Drive, The Lodge Hill Shiraz, The Barry Brothers, The Florita, The Lodge Hill Riesling and Watervale Riesling. Jim Barry Wines’ philosophy to winemaking is very simple: own the vineyards to develop the best fruit flavours possible and retain these flavours during winemaking. We firmly believe that great wine is made in the vineyard. Over our 55 years, we have worked to establish a mosaic of vineyards across the Clare Valley, each unique in site, soil and aspect. In addition to this, we have two vineyards in the Coonawarra region, where we grow Cabernet Sauvignon on the famous Terra Rossa soils. The Armagh Shiraz has achieved extraordinary success and is regarded as one of Australia’s highest quality wines. The vineyard was named after the adjoining hamlet of Armagh, established by Irish settlers in 1849 and named after the lush rolling hills of their homeland. Jim Barry planted the 3.3 hectare vineyard in 1968 with Shiraz grapes. The vineyard is planted on its own roots on grey sandy abrasive topsoil over clay subsoil and receives an average rainfall of 600 millimetres per year. Such is The Armagh vineyards suitability that minimal intervention is needed to maintain yields below 4 tonnes per hectare, which produce rich and concentrated fruit of the rare quality required to produce wines with ageing potential My Tasting Notes: The Armagh Shiraz represents some of the best Shiraz from Clare Valley and Australia. It was one of the top three Shiraz and top five wines tasted at the AFFW event. This vintage has scored very well and for good reasons. Nine-years after bottling, the wine still shows great depth, dark rich colour and balanced. There is also a feeling of refinement, oak and tannin structure. It is still full of fresh and vibrant blackberry, licorice and plum flavours. This vintage is perfect now and for the next 10 years or more. Varietal Composition: 100% Shiraz Appellations: The Armagh Vineyard, Clare Valley Vintage: 2006 Alcohol: 15.6% Total Acid: 6.8 g/L pH: 3.37 Sweetness Level: Dry Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW): AFFW together represent seventeen wine-growing regions across Australia and forty-eight generations of winemakers. The inaugural twelve-member alliance includes Brown Brothers, Campbells, Taylors, DeBortoli, McWilliam's, Tahbilk, Tyrell's, Yalumba, D'Arenberg, Jim Barry, Howard Park, and Henschke. Howard Park Wines is the only representative from Western Australia to be included in AFFW. The aim of Australia's First Families of Wine is to showcase a representative and diverse range of the best of Australian wine with a focus on regional and iconic drops. The collective is working to engage and educate consumers, retailers, restaurants and the wine industry across the globe about the real character and personality of Australian wine, and about the unique characters and personalities behind it. The 2006 Jim Barry Armagh Shiraz was tasted on May 28, 2015 in Vancouver, BC. You can follow me on twitter: @stevekubota

Abercrombie

Howard Park Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Margaret River, Great Southern, Australia
1594 days ago

Steve scored this wine: 95/100

BURCH FAMILY WINES of Western Australia Howard Park Wines 2011 Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon Howard Park Wines is one of Western Australia’s leading boutique family owned wineries, responsible for brands Howard Park, MadFish and Marchand & Burch. They are also Western Australia’s largest boutique family-owned winery producing a range of handcrafted fine Australian wines from the state’s premier grape growing regions of Margaret River and the Great Southern. I tasted three wines from Howard Park at an industry tasting promotion showcasing Australia’s First Families of Wine. I was not familiar with Howard Park prior to this event and I did not know what to expect before trying their wine. Needless to say I was very impressed and am now a huge fan. There is more information on Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) available at the end of this review. From the Winery: ‘Abercrombie’ is the definitive Cabernet Sauvignon of Howard Park Wines. Since the first release in 1986, a multi-region five-vineyard Western Australian blend, this wine has been a true reflection of the best fruit chosen from a selection of the oldest vineyards in Western Australia’s Margaret River region and cool climate Mount Barker and Porongurup sub-regions of the Great Southern. Produced from the top 1% of available Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and then only in the years when grapes of extraordinarily high quality are available. Named after Jeff Burch’s Great-Grandfather Walter Abercrombie, this Howard Park flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is noted for its outstanding structural complexity and exceptional elegance. It combines the austere dusty earth and blackcurrant aromas from Mount Barker, with the classic rich fruit and chocolaty palette of Margaret River. Together they produce an elegantly balanced cabernet sauvignon with mature ripe tannins backed up by quality French oak. Careful long term cellaring will realize this wine’s full potential. In Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine, the Abercrombie has an ‘Excellent’ rating, spanning back since Classification III in 2000. Winemaking: All grapes selected for Abercrombie are handpicked, destemmed and sorted before fermentation in a mix of small static fermenters and open stainless steel vats. The grapes are hand-plunged and pumped over as required to balance the extraction of colour, tannin and flavour. Each fermenter is basket-pressed to French oak barriques for 18 months of maturation to achieve thorough integration of oak and grape tannins. The wine is minimally fined then filtered prior to bottling. My Tasting Notes: The Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon was one of the top five wines tasted at the AFFW event. This Cabernet is old-world, Bordeaux-esque in its display of dark berry aromas with integrated ripe blackberry and currant fruit flavours with an herbaceous element in the finish. There is also a feeling of refinement, tannin structure and balance that also remind me of pricey left bank Bordeaux alternatives. This wine will reveal more layers of flavours and minerality, the benefits from additional time aging in the bottle. The winery suggests drinking the Abercrombie from 2017 and can be cellared for more than ten years. Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon Appellations: Margaret River (30%) – Leston Block 8, Block 29 Mount Baker, Great Southern (70%) – Abercrombie Vineyard Vintage: 2012 Alcohol: 14% Total Acid: 6.5 g/L pH: 3.53 Maturation: 18-months in 70% New French Oak Sweetness Level: Dry Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW): AFFW together represent seventeen wine-growing regions across Australia and forty-eight generations of winemakers. The inaugural twelve-member alliance includes Brown Brothers, Campbells, Taylors, DeBortoli, McWilliam's, Tahbilk, Tyrell's, Yalumba, D'Arenberg, Jim Barry, Howard Park, and Henschke. Howard Park Wines is the only representative from Western Australia to be included in AFFW. The aim of Australia's First Families of Wine is to showcase a representative and diverse range of the best of Australian wine with a focus on regional and iconic drops. The collective is working to engage and educate consumers, retailers, restaurants and the wine industry across the globe about the real character and personality of Australian wine, and about the unique characters and personalities behind it. The Abercrombie Cabernet Sauvignon was tasted on May 28, 2015 in Vancouver, BC. You can follow me on twitter: @stevekubota

1571 days ago

Steve scored this wine: 94/100

TYRRELL’S WINES, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia 2010 VAT 1 SEMILLON I enjoyed tasting wine from Tyrrell’s at an industry tasting promotion showcasing Australia’s First Families of Wine. There is more information on Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) available at the end of this review. Established in 1858 by English immigrant Edward Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s Wines is one of Australia’s pre-eminent family owned wine companies with vineyards extending from their historic home in the Hunter Valley to the Limestone Coast (SA) and Heathcote (VIC). Headed up by fourth generation family member Bruce Tyrrell, Tyrrell’s is home to some of Australia’s most awarded wines including the iconic Vat 1 Semillon. Since 1971, Tyrrell’s has been awarded over 5,000 trophies and medals and in 2010 was named “Winery of the Year” in James Halliday’s Australian Wine Companion. With the fifth generation, Chris, Jane and John, involved in the business, Tyrrell’s will continue to remain family owned with the simple philosophy of producing high quality wine that people love to drink. From the Winery: Vat 1 Hunter Semillon epitomized the benefits of patient bottle ageing that transforms this unoaked wine into a masterpiece. First produced in 1963, the Vat 1 is fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks before it quietly spends a few years 'resting' in bottles. It is a classic Hunter Valley Semillon showing a tightly structured palate with considerable length and breadth of citrus fruit flavours. This wine is only just beginning to evolve and show a hint of toasty, bottle aged complexity. An iconic Australian wine from what is a classic vintage for Hunter Valley semillon. My Tasting Notes: The 2010 Vat 1 Semillon has enticing, youthful aromas of lemon, lime and grass as well as pink grapefruit. It has excellent concentration of citrus and mineral flavours and a lengthy finish. The wine has very good structure, is very crisp and dry. Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon is very good on its own, for pairing partners I suggest pairing it with large shrimp (10-16/pound) baked lightly on coarse sea salt or, with creamy species of oysters on the half shell. This vintage is perfect now and for the next 15 years or more. Varietal Composition: 100% Semillon Appellations: Short Flat, Johnno’s Vineyards Vintage: 2010 Alcohol: 11.0% Sweetness Level: Dry (00) Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW): AFFW together represent seventeen wine-growing regions across Australia and forty-eight generations of winemakers. The inaugural twelve-member alliance includes Brown Brothers, Campbells, Taylors, DeBortoli, McWilliam's, Tahbilk, Tyrell's, Yalumba, D'Arenberg, Jim Barry, Howard Park, and Henschke. The aim of Australia's First Families of Wine is to showcase a representative and diverse range of the best of Australian wine with a focus on regional and iconic drops. The collective is working to engage and educate consumers, retailers, restaurants and the wine industry across the globe about the real character and personality of Australian wine, and about the unique characters and personalities behind it. The 2010 Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon was tasted in May, 2015 in Vancouver, BC. You can follow me on twitter: @stevekubota

Flint Rock

Howard Park Flint Rock Chardonnay 2012

Great Southern, Western Australia, Australia
1595 days ago

Steve scored this wine: 93/100

BURCH FAMILY WINES HOWARD PARK, Wines of Western Australia Howard Park Flint Rock Chardonnay Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay Appellation: 85% Mt. Baker, 15% Porongurup Vintage: 2013 Alcohol: 13% Total Acid: 7.0 g/l pH: 3.2 Sweetness Level: Dry If you have not heard of Howard Park Wines before you most definitely will very soon. Howard Park is one of a collective of twelve multi-generational family-owned wine producers that comprise Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW.) I tasted three of their wines at an industry tasting promotion showcasing Australia’s First Families of Wine. Howard Park is one of Western Australia’s leading boutique family owned wineries, responsible for brands Howard Park, MadFish and Marchand & Burch. I did not know what to expect or anticipate before trying their wine but I came away floored and a huge fan. I was very fortunate to meet Amy Burch, the general manager and marketing director at Burch Family Wines. Amy’s love and passion for wine is inherent the moment you meet her. Amy’s energy and enthusiasm is catchy and you are drawn in by her magnetism. From the Winery: Howard Park Wines is Western Australia’s largest boutique family-owned winery producing a range of handcrafted fine Australian wines from the state’s premier grape growing regions of Margaret River and the Great Southern. The Flint Rock Chardonnay is an annual selection from individual vineyard blocks and clones grown on our Mount Baker and Porongurup vineyards. These vineyards are located on both south and north facing ridge-tops with elevations of between 285 to 370 meters (925’ to 1,200’.) The landforms of the region are some of the oldest in the world. Winemaking: The individual vineyard blocks that comprise Flint Rock Chardonnay (85% Mt. Baker/15% Porongurup) are vinified separately. Each batch is hand-picked, cooled and sorted before pressing to extract the free run juice. Fermentation and malolactic occurs in a combination of older French oak and stainless steel tank. The temperature of fermentation is between 18ºC to 22ºC and the lees are stirred from the end of fermentation and throughout the malolactic. After 10 months on lees, the wine is blended to tank and held for two-months prior to fining, filtration and bottling My Tasting Notes: The Flint Rock Chardonnay was one of the best at the AFFW speed tasting event. This Chardonnay circle high above, elegantly singing richer, fuller flavour notes and all the while soaring effortlessly (good lengthy finish.) The first thing that stands out with this 100% Chardonnay is its generous and pleasing citrus and stone fruit aromas. The wine exhibited excellent balance and felt full and rewarding. This is a Chardonnay you can enjoy with or without food, it’s that good. Very pleasing indeed and at approximately $26 on the BCLB store shelves a genuine bargain. The winery suggests drinking the Flint Rock now and over the next four-years for best enjoyment and pleasure. Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW): AFFW together represent seventeen wine-growing regions across Australia and forty-eight generations of winemakers. The inaugural twelve-member alliance includes Brown Brothers, Campbells, Taylors, DeBortoli, McWilliam's, Tahbilk, Tyrell's, Yalumba, D'Arenberg, Jim Barry, Howard Park, and Henschke. Howard Park Wines is the only representative from Western Australia to be included in AFFW. The aim of Australia's First Families of Wine is to showcase a representative and diverse range of the best of Australian wine with a focus on regional and iconic drops. The collective is working to engage and educate consumers, retailers, restaurants and the wine industry across the globe about the real character and personality of Australian wine, and about the unique characters and personalities behind it. The main criteria is that the family-owned companies need to have a "landmark wine" in their portfolios as listed under Langton's Classification and/or 75% agreement by group that a wine is considered "iconic". Others are they must have the ability to do at least a 20-year vertical tasting, have a history going back a minimum of two generations, ownership of vineyards more than 50 years old and/or ownership of distinguished sites which exemplify the best of terroir, commitment to export and environmental best practice, appropriate cellar door experience, and be paid-up members of the Winemakers Federation of Australia. The Flint Rock was tasted on May 28, 2015 in Vancouver, BC. You can follow me on twitter: @stevekubota

Nautilus Cuvee Marlborough

Marlborough, New Zealand
1601 days ago

Steve scored this wine: 93/100

NAUTILUS CUVEE MARLBOROUGH NV BRUT Varietal composition: 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay Region: Marlborough Harvest: Non Vintage Alcohol: 12% Sugar: 7.0 g/l Acid: 7.0 g/l pH: 3.02 Winemaking and Viticulture: Three vineyard sites are managed to produce fruit for Nautilus Cuvee, giving us a range of flavour influences. All grapes are hand picked and whole bunch pressed with only the finest free-run juice reserved. The individual base wines are fermented with a selected champagne yeast and left on lees until undergoing malolactic fermentation in the Champagnoise style. Blending typically occurs in September, and at this stage a portion of reserve wine is introduced to add complexity and character to the Cuvee in a traditional non vintage style. Typically between 5% and 15%, the reserve wine, consisting of base wine held back from previous vintages, is used. The blend is then bottled and undergoes a secondary fermentation before being aged for a minimum of 36 months prior to disgorging and release. My Tasting Notes: I had tasted the Nautilus Cuvee Brut along with two other non-vintage and three vintage sparkling wines from New Zealand. The Cuvee was my favourite of the three non-vintage sparkling wines. The first thing that really stood out for me was its creaminess and depth. I found pleasing nuttiness and yeast aromas offset by the fresh ripe apple and stone fruit flavours that are balanced by its creaminess and acidity. There is also a nice, persistent finish of note that lingers on. It is ready to drink now and best before 2018. Tasted on May 14th, 2015

Steve Kubota

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