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Warburn Estate Shiraz Yarrunga Field Black Label 2008

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Vintage: 2008
Type: Shiraz
Country: Australia – Barossa

This wine has nice oak hints with black fruit, chocolate, vanilla and tobacco. Still quite dark, almost purple colour. Good effort.

Some Young Punks Passion Has Red Lips 2009

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Red Blend
Country: Australia

This wine from SYP is spectacular.  Full of ripe berries, oak and vanilla with some big legs and a long finish. Highly Recommend.

Some Young Punks Riesling Monsters, Monsters, Attack! 2009

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Riesling
Country: Australia – Clare Valley

If you thought that bright, juicy Rieslings could only originate from Germany or the Alsace region, think again. This Australian beauty just bursts with fruity fragrances and flavours that make my mouth water.

The bottle is tall and slim like most Germanic whites but the label is thoroughly untraditional: it has a scene of Godzilla attacking a city and all the skyscrapers falling down. Could this be a metaphor for the Riesling knocking my taste buds out?

This went down well with a salmon fillet and oriental stir fry.

McGuigan Debuts The Shortlist

Friday, May 20th, 2011


Last week we were invited to the lovely Kensington Roof Gardens to try McGuigan Wines’ new premium range, “The Shortlist”, to have a bite to eat and to have the chance to talk to Neil McGuigan about his wines.

Kensington Roof Gardens

The lovely Kensington Roof Gardens on a great evening in London

We tried 7 wines over the evening, including a nice sparkling Pinot Noir (accompanied by canapés) to kick off the evening.  Here is a quick review of the wines that were matched to the meal:

2005 McGuigan Shortlist Riesling

This wine was quite interesting.  It had an almost oakey-petrol flavour, which was brought out simply by age.  It had hints of citrus, especially lime and nice florals on the nose. It certainly doesn’t taste like an Alsatian/German Reisling, which is not a bad thing.  Overall, it was the surprise of the evening and a great experience.

2010 McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay

First off, I’m not a huge fan of Chardonnay in general so take my review with a grain of salt.  Plenty of citrus and peach/nectarine fruit on the pallet.  I personally found the oak on this wine a little overpowering.

2009 McGuigan Shortlist GSM

This wine was a little disappointing to start with, but was probably the best wine matching with the food, which was where it started to shine.  The hints of chocolate and oak on the nose with the fruits and spice on the pallet complemented the fillet of beef perfectly.  Definitely a wine best enjoyed with food!

2009 McGuigan Shortlist Shiraz

This wine is a great example of why Shiraz is a speciality of the Barossa Valley.  Big flavours of black fruit, cherry, vanilla and leather dominate this powerhouse.   The tannins are well integrated and the finish is impressively long.

2009 McGuigan Shortlist Cabernet

This was my favourite wine of the evening.  The oak is well-used in the wine and the flavours of blackcurrant and spice are well mixed with a nice level of acidity.

We finished off the evening with some Handmade Shiraz, which was an excellent dessert wine.

It was great to meet Neil McGuigan and hear him talk about his wine and his £50 bottle of wine philosophy — though I suspect it is actually the “$100 bottle of wine philosophy” 🙂 It is nice to hear from a winemaker who is passionate about his trade and the McGuigan family’s commitment to quality.

Neil McGuigan talking about the Shortlist

Neil McGuigan talking about the Shortlist and his £50 bottle of wine philosophy

You can find the Shortlist at Majestic Wines:

I suspect that Majestic will not have much trouble selling off the entire lot quite quickly!

McGuigan Shortlist Launch Video from Majestic

Press release below:

McGuigan Debuts The Shortlist

– Majestic Lists New Premium Range-

Leading Australian producer McGuigan Wines has unveiled the latest addition to its multi award-winning portfolio – The Shortlist.

Due on shelf late May, the premium range has been listed by Majestic with an RRP of £14.99. Majestic has taken on the entire UK allocation of the limited release label in what is one of the largest orders of premium Australian wine ever placed by the retailer.

Majestic Wine Buyer Matt Pym explains: “On a recent visit to Australia I tasted through The Shortlist range with Chief Winemaker Neil McGuigan. These limited release wines showcase McGuigan’s best vineyard sites and really prove once and for all that Australia can deliver at the premium end of the market. Excited by what I tasted I immediately snapped up the entire UK allocation.”

IWSC Winemaker of the Year and IWC White Winemaker of the Year Neil McGuigan officially launched the new premium range at a gala winemaker dinner in London on 12th May. Attended by over 70 members of the wine trade, including Majestic staff, industry influencers and the media, The Shortlist range highlights McGuigan’s commitment to pushing the premium credentials of what is now the 14th biggest selling wine brand in the UK.

The five-strong regionally focused range features Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, an aged Eden Valley Riesling, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Shiraz and a Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre blend, also from the Barossa.

Commenting on the development, Paul Schaafsma, UK & European GM for brand owner Australian Vintage said: “The addition of The Shortlist range to the McGuigan portfolio is a great boost for not only McGuigan, but the Australian category in general.  The potential for premium Australia in the UK is untapped – one of our key areas of focus for 2011 is to really drive the premium message behind McGuigan and Australia as a whole.”

“We’re delighted that Majestic are have taken the entire allocation of The Shortlist, which further cements McGuigan’s standing as the fastest growing global wine brand in the UK top 20 with 62% growth in the past 12 months and annual sales of £65M.”


Some Young Punks The Squid’s Fist 2009

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Sangiovese Blend
Country: Australia

This Sangiovese-Shiraz blend from the Some Young Punks winery is quite enjoyable. The bottle is a work of pulp art, one of the winery’s trademarks.

The wine has smooth tannins with chocolate and cherries on the pallet. The finish has a nice hint of herbs, which is subtle but noticeable. Drink with a hearty fare.

<a href=””><img src=”” style=”border: 1px solid black;”></a><br><a href=”” style=”font-size:12px; font-family:Verdana; text-decoration:none;”>Hosted on Fotki</a>

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Seventy Six 2008

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Vintage: 2008
Type: Cabernet-Shiraz Blend
Country: Australia

This wine has a great dark colour – inky in nature. On the nose, there are scents full of berries and a hint of plum. On the palette are flavours of fruit, vanilla and a hint of chocolate; very nice indeed. There is a long finish with well integrated tannins. This wine will cellar well and is exceptional value at this price point.

The Opportunist (A competition)

Friday, March 4th, 2011

The Challenge

One of the companies that I have bought form in the past, Find Wine — they sell wine from Some Young Punks and the excellent Conan the Barbera to name a few —  is running a contest (details here) for the chance to be their wine critic for three months.  The contest involved reviewing a bottle of wine (which they sent to me free of charge) with 5 or more friends and posting the results.  A fee bottle of wine and the chance for even more wine from a supplier that I have been quite happy with in the past?  It was a no-brainer!

Of course getting 5 people together in London to try the wine proved quite the challenge.  Fortunately, the stars aligned on a Friday and here is the result.

The Opportunist

The bottle around the taster glasses ready to be drunk

The Opportunist group just before trying the wine

The group, just before consumption of the wine.

The Results

Like its name, this wine seeks to capitalise on the prevailing popularity of Shiraz among wine lovers.  Seeking a “crazy” description to this wine from a diverse group of professional 30-somethings was near impossible! Overall, the group felt the wine was a bit to light on the nose (“barely fragranced”), young, darkly coloured, lightly oaked, and typical for a Shiraz. Flavours of  cassis, chocolate and tabacco.   One of the group likened the wine to a White Chocolate Magnum!

Here is my review:

Vintage: 2008
Type: Shiraz
Country: Australia – Limestone Coast

The wine is a bit weak on the nose, but with a hint youth and alcohol that is typical from Australia.  A dark ruby colour with  rich cassis, chocolate and a hint of tabacco.   I would not be disappointed to be served this in a restaurant with a steak.

Remember to go to check out Find Wine’s Facebook page and Like the review!


Some Young Punks Battle Island 2009

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Vintage: 2009
Type: Shiraz Cabernet
Country: Australia – South Australia

Nice full bodied Shiraz Cabernet from Australia, displaying typical characteristics from an Aussie Shiraz – big bold fruit and high alcohol content. The tannins are still quite young and strong in the wine, which hints that it will stand up to a bit of ageing. Full flavours of cranberry and blackcurrant with hints of pepper and spice.

Jacob’s Creek Shiraz – Cabernet 2006

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Vintage: 2006
Type: Shiraz Cabernet
Country: Australia

This bottle is typical of most mass-produced Australian reds, good flavour and easy to drink without being memorable.  Nice flavours of blackberries with a layer of oak.  I would certainly order this in a bar, as it’s easy and pleasurable to drink.

Gapsted Riesling 2006

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Vintage: 2006
Type: Riesling
Country: Australia – Victoria

This was a wine that I thought was produced in Germany but only at the end of the evening did I realise it was produced in Australia.

It was a bright and zesty Riesling that complemented our Oriental dinner: chilli and soy-glazed salmon fillets on Pancit (Filipino noodles).

The wine tastes sweeter than most Rieslings that I have tasted and will prompt your mouth to water. It was a good bottle of wine.