Domaine du Meix-Foulot Mercurey Blanc 2006

I seem to be specialising in cheap Burgundy here at Full Pour, but it’s simply a reflection of what I can afford to drink on a regular basis. I suppose the key question at this end of the market is: am I better off purchasing local wines? And my answer is: it depends. I crave a variety of flavour profiles so, for me, questions of absolute quality aren’t so pressing. On the other hand, if value for money were my sole objective, I’d probably bet my hard earned $30-50 on a local wine, as there are some beautiful wines in this price range.

A tasty aroma profile here, with slightly funky notes overlaying solid citrus and stone fruit. Perhaps some sulfur to, though it may simply be the wine’s natural savouriness expressing itself as a sort of prickly smokiness. It’s an easy wine to like, soothing and soft without falling into the trap of being bland. There’s enough character to draw me back repeatedly, but it’s so inviting that I come away feeling happy rather than challenged.

The palate is a contradiction of sorts, as it presents a very attractive flavour profile and clean structure yet shows a degree of dilution that leaves me slightly frustrated. The flavours here are a repeat of the nose with perhaps the addition of some caramel. So, typical Chardonnay fruit flavours and flashes of savouriness, here coming across as minerality. Mouthfeel is so very approachable and, to its credit, the whole thing is balanced admirably for immediate, pleasurable consumption. The wine’s approachable structure and clingy flavours make me wonder what it could become if there were a notch more intensity, but it’s futile to judge a wine by what it’s not, especially one that is so easy to drink. Falls away a little on the finish, but by that point you’re already smiling.

Not a worldbeater, then, and no doubt better value is obtainable locally, but this wine’s flavour profile is most delicious, and its balance encourages maximum enjoyment over the short term. A fun, easy drinking white Burgundy.

Domaine du Meix-Foulot
Price: $A36
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008

Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

On the nose, dry woods and black olives. There’s also a subtle hint of lilac perfume that sneaks in past the relatively standard smell of an older Cabernet, but only just. Ultimately, it reminds me of salt caramels abandoned in the dusty hallway of a grand Swiss hotel, snowy pines just outside.

Fairly rich and full in the mouth, the taste is lithe, young, round. Barely perceptibly sweet, the wine trends upwards, increasing in brightness and freshness, ending on a bright note of soft cedar and rich bramble fruit.


Price: $20
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008


Dinner at a friend’s house, some notable wines.

The Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Grand Cuvee 1998 introduced the evening well. Very mushroomy nose, and a palate that shows perhaps slightly excessive dosage for my taste, but brilliant intensity and drive. Citrus notes and acid clean up the entry’s sweetness and whisk everything away to a dry finish. A wine with real presence and decent complexity.

A bottle of Clonakilla Viognier 2006 was good for a few “oohs and ahhs,” as it’s a very assertive style. Showed in line with my previous note. Nice wine, I struggle with food matching though.

The highlight was almost certainly a good bottle of the 1972 Penfolds Bin 128. There’s still some blackberry fruit in there, but it’s mostly the flavours of bottle age, deliciously complex and funky, that dominate the wine’s profile. Powerful tobacco, walnuts, minerals and sweet leather. Tannins still provide noticeable structure and dryness, so it’s not going to fall over tomorrow, but I can’t see why one would wait longer to drink this. Just excellent.

To accompany trifle, we had a 1955 Rivesaltes fortified. A very interesting wine whose best feature is an astonishingly long palate to rival our better local fortifieds (although notably different in style from them). Surprisingly delicate fruit flavours that are complex but revolve around bright candied citrus peel. A fresh and well balanced sweet wine that we all found extremely easy to drink.

Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny le Clou 2006

Montagny, a village on the Côte Chalonnaise of Burgundy, is a white-only appellation. Before I get to a description of this wine, it’s interesting to contemplate the role that winemaking decisions play in the character and appeal of a wine. I love the notion of terroir and cling to it as much for its philosophic appeal as anything else. It’s obvious, though, that winemaking can radically change a wine’s presentation and, ultimately, its integrity.

Tight, minerally and somewhat sulfurous aroma. Quite funky, actually, within the confines of its tightly coiled dimensions. With time, more fruit-driven aromas emerge, but are mere whisps at best. Good line from nose to palate, with the same minerally tightness as the nose, but more weight and fruit flavour than anticipated. Reasonable intensity that establishes its level early in the line and only starts to taper off in the after palate. Good freshness thanks to bright acidity, but also a pleasingly smooth mouthfeel. I can’t detect many winemaking tricks or oak here, so I presume these elements have been conservatively applied. A nice surge on the finish that brings things to a happy ending.

Not bad at all, this one, especially if you like your Chardonnay on the funkier, leaner side. There’s a question mark for me over whether such minimal treatment brings out the full character of the fruit, which is (to my taste) of considerable interest. Still, it’s good to have the opportunity to taste what appear to be raw materials in the glass.

Interestingly, it tasted even tighter the next morning, more minerally and less stinky. I might let my remaining bottles rest for a while.

Clos Salomon
Price: $A31
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008

Clonakilla O'Riada Shiraz 2007

Many enthusiasts will be familiar with the reason for this wine’s existence. Clonakilla’s estate crop was devastated by the elements in 2007, prompting the release of this wine, made from non-Estate (though still Canberra region) fruit. A small amount of Viognier was cofermented here too.

Typical Canberra Shiraz on the nose, with a big hit of spicy red fruit that projects edgy sweetness alongside more elegant, savoury notes. This really is very spicy, with black peppercorns and more exotic notes that tend almost towards potpourri. Expressive, characterful and, to me, seductive.

The palate emphasises savouriness, relegating the sweet red fruit to an intriguing supporting role. Masses of flavour immediately on entry, there’s a good deal of acidity to tingle and refresh the tongue. The fact that it’s light to medium bodied, and quite angular in structure, only serves to intensify the fruit flavours, though it also suggests some time in bottle will be beneficial. There are crunchy red fruits, spice galore and a delicious barbecued meat dimension. Tannins are very fine and evenly distributed, such that there’s considerable dryness on the finish without any obviousness of tannin. Good extension through the after palate and finish.

I really like Canberra Shiraz so I suppose I’m biased towards this wine’s flavour profile and weight. Having said that, it’s an especially good example of the breed, perhaps lighter and more acid driven than some, but with ample flavour and good typicité. Really well priced.

Price: $A35
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: November 2008

Vinoterra Saperavi 2003

I’m up in the (San Francisco) Bay Area for the weekend – tomorrow is day 2 of Bonny Doon’s annual winery festival, which sounds like it’s going to be fun – and I stopped by K&L Wines on the way to an East German restaurant. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but when I saw that they had Georgia wine that didn’t cost five bucks, I had to buy a bottle immediately and take it back to the hotel after (an alcohol free) dinner.

The nose here is strongly reminiscent of a number of rich, fruity New World reds such as Michel Rolland’s Clos de los Siete, Mollydooker in South Australia, or Boekenhoutskloof in South Africa. There is, however, something slightly different here, with a note of coffee that doesn’t really seem like it should be from oak – it’s hard to describe.

More tannic than I was suspecting, the wine has rich, dark fruit nicely counterbalanced by some very well judged (French?) oak – it really is a generic international style wine far different than the Georgian stuff I’ve had from local Russian ex-pat delis in California. I’m not convinced that there’s anything here that you can’t find in a number of other wines in roughly the same price range, but it is tasty, the bottle is attractive, and there is a subtle taste here that is unfamiliar. It might make a good change for the overly jaded wine drinkers among us.

Price: $22
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008

Domaine du Prieuré Savigny-les-Beaune Blanc 2006

Village-level white Burgundy. I’ve not tried any whites from Savigny-les-Beaune and I understand it to be an appellation that produces mostly red wines, with a mere thirty eight hectares of white plantings. So I was particularly interested to get my hands on this one.

I must admit, I’ve struggled to get a lot from the nose here. There’s maybe a little bit of nuttiness crossed with minerality. It light, delicate and powdery in character. On the palate, a lot more substantial. This wine has a very attractive flavour profile comprising light peach notes and more nutty characters. It just feels right and tastes good, even though it’s far from the last word in complexity or sophistication. Quite mouthfilling although not overly intense, this wine moves cleanly along its line and modulates continually between different flavour components. There’s a slight lack of coherence between elements, but this is not overly distracting. On the after palate, more vanilla and almond type flavours, certainly not overpowering but still noticeable. The finish is quite textural, with an almond essence twist and some astringency taking advantage of good length.

This isn’t a worldbeater but I must admit I am enjoying its flavour and easygoing structure very much. Good value for what’s on offer, I think.

Update: I left half the bottle overnight and restated at length. On the second day, an altogether superior wine, with a more integrated set of flavours and basically more of everything. I do enjoy the flavour profile very much, which is abundantly mealy without masking clean, juicy peach fruit. My kind of wine.

Domaine du Prieuré
Price: $A28
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008

Domaine Rapet Père et Fils Bourgogne Aligoté 2006

The other white Burgundy.

A clean, pretty aroma of apple skins and pears. Very fruity and a bit shy, but fresh and pleasant. In the mouth it’s more generous. Abundant and slightly hard acidity underlines full flavours of apple and baked nutty things. It struck me as a little dilute initially, and it’s certainly not an overly intense wine, but the flavour has gained some weight as the wine has warmed. The flavour profile is straightforward, simple, and tasty. There’s a nicely bitter twist on the finish, which reminds me of freshly picked herbs. I especially like the mouthfeel here, crisp and acidic, yet weighty too, with a nice sense of slippery viscosity.

There’s really not much to say about this wine other than it tastes good and is cleanly made. I’d be more than happy to down a few glasses over lunch.

Domaine Rapet Père et Fils
Price: $A23
Closure: Nomacork
Date tasted: November 2008

Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon 2005

Just checking in with a not-so-old friend tonight. They say Hunter Semillon goes through a dumb phase before emerging, butterfly-like, from its cocoon. There’s nothing reticent about this wine, not now, and I suspect not ever. It’s too juicy and generous a style.

A distinctive, waxy aroma that is already showing signs of bottle age. There’s a sheen of toast that overlays citrus-like Semillon fruit. True to style and very clean, yet weighty and exhuberant too, which is typical of these 2005 Semillons. In the mouth, an explosion of acidity and flavour. I love the acid here, it’s three dimensional and mouthfilling all on its own, if not overly sculpted. It’s also well balanced with respect to fruit flavour, which has sufficient intensity to stand alongside all that structure. More waxy citrus dominates emergent but definite aged notes of honey and toast. There’s so much going on here, it’s actually a little cluttered on the palate, but this doesn’t detract too much from one’s enjoyment.

Bloody nice. It’s still pretty young, but drinking very well now, and showing promising signs of bottle age that should realise over the medium term. I can’t wait.

Price: $A30
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: November 2008