Frog Rock Rosé 2009 ($A15, sample)
A Mudgee rosé made from Merlot. Alas, not my preferred style of rosé. The nose is quite restrained, with muted aromas of dried cranberries, undergrowth and sweet basil, curiously attractive but lacking the level of expressiveness I would have liked to see. In the mouth, I’m not convinced by the balance of residual sugar and intensity, the former being too high and the latter too low. The acid also seems restrained, such that I find this wine lacks the essential quality of refreshment I seek in a rosé. The back palate is a little dryer than the mid-palate, which seems to tighten the latter part of the wine’s line to good effect.
I’m not sure if I’ve been let down by the wine or my expectations of it; it’s certainly clean and would no doubt taste good at cellar door after a hard day’s sampling.
Tahbilk Chardonnay 2008 ($A15, sample)
Fruit seems on the riper side, with a nose of Golden Queen peaches and a savoury, almost minerally, note too. It’s pretty rich and nostril-filling, if not overly refined. That savouriness translates on the palate as a steely, slightly hard acidity that seems at odds with what is quite plush stonefruit. If the two halves never quite meet in the middle, they nevertheless achieve a wine of decent flavour and refreshment. In particular, the wine moves quite briskly through the mouth, retaining liveliness while offering decent weight and generosity too. I’m liking this more and more as it sits in the glass. A bit jingly jangly, but in the end not bad at all.
Charles Melton Nine Popes 1996 ($NA, retail)
After a moment of mustiness passes, masses of tobacco and sweet, pure fruit. Indeed, this seems to be drinking well at the moment. I last had a bottle of this over two years ago, and at the time I remember thinking it still relatively primary in some respects. And although there’s plenty of fruit left, the wine seems more resolved than at last tasting, with a cleaner mouthfeel and greater complexity. Lots of savouriness whirls around that core of brilliant red fruit which, while simple on its own terms, is a nice foil to leather-like bottle age and general maturity. Very enjoyable.
Curly Flat Pinot Noir 2005 ($NA, gift)
Wow, a big mouthful of complex Pinot. This wine has a lot of impact and is a dense, chewy expression of the variety. A fair bit of chocolate oak, but the fruit’s character and intensity make the wine, showing a range of moods from mineral and sous-bois through to dense plum. So it’s not the most subtle wine; sometimes, a big smack in the face is exactly what I need. Quite a masculine style while retaining sufficient Pinot elegance throughout. Yum.