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Short notes from Coonawarra

August 14, 2016

These notes stem from a brief two-day visit to Coonawarra, 3-4 August 2016, which we drove to straight from Adelaide airport. At the peak of winter, the ultra flat landscape of Coonawarra appears barren with endless rows of vines shorn and stark naked in the cold wind. Lying 382 km southeast of Adelaide (a good 3.5 hours drive), Coonawarra is never exactly a tourist hotspot, generally bereft of attractions (the World Heritage Naracoorte caves are 20 km up north while Mt Gambier is another 50 km south) save for the wineries. But for purveyors of world-class cabernet, the sight of all the well-known estates on both sides of the single road running down this narrow 7 km strip is enough to excite the senses. I first visited Coonwarra in 2003 and every visit since has always been highly anticipated. The same names are there although Yalumba has shut its cellar door, Parker Estate has been spruced up by its new owners, and Kym Tolley has retired from Penley.

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2014 Hollick The Gondolier Barbera, tasted at the cellar door of Hollick, 03 Aug 2016. Rather medicinal on the nose with herbal overtones. Full-bodied with very good concentration of red and dark berries, laced with fine acidity.

2012 Hollick Tannery Block cabernet merlot, tasted at the cellar door of Hollick, 03 Aug 2016. Red fruits and wild berries dominate with very good concentration and balance, slightly lean, finishing with fine supple tannins.

2012 Hollick Ravenswood, tasted at the cellar door of Hollick, 03 Aug 2016. This flagship of Hollick exudes a true cabernet bouquet of red fruits, violets, sandalwood and an unusual note of glue that is undeniably attractive. Fleshy, full, and quite open with excellent concentration, very well balanced and sophisticated. Very fine indeed.

2015 Hollick The Nectar, tasted at the cellar door of Hollick, 03 Aug 2016. Nectarine, apricot and cinnamon dominate, ample and smooth with good concentration, though lacking in real complexity.

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2010 Parker Estate Terra Rossa cabernet sauvignon, a bottle at AUD55 from the restaurant list of Piper’s in Penola, Coonawarra, 03 Aug 2016. Displaying some early evolution, this wine is vibrant with plenty of red fruits, violets and plums, caressing the palate with a velvety intensity from the full concentration, structured with sophisticated tannins, finishing with traces of spice. Excellent. Worthy of mention alongside the Terra Rossa First Growth.

2015 Parker Estate Chardonnay, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Flavourful with an abundance of grassy elements, morning dew and light citrus, quite delicate without the chunky minerality and cream often seen in New Word chardonnay.

2014 Parker Estate Favourite Son, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Earthy with good grape quality, slightly austere with some prominent graphite and ferrous trace at the finish.

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2014 Parker Estate Shiraz, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Lifted notes of anise, licorice and plums, displaying great acidity and subtle intensity, somewhat lean with textures, characteristic of cool-climate shiraz. Very attractive.

2014 Parker Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Lean with dark berries and blackcurrants, slightly earthy with traces of burnt, well-balanced on the palate though not distinctive.

2014 Parker Estate Merlot, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Lovely aromas of bright red fruits and dark currants, male with supple tannins, finishing with a perfumed fragrance.

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2014 Parker Estate Terra Rossa Shiraz,tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Lovely bouquet of cool-climate shiraz, oozing mocha, chocolate and dark berries with lovely warm aromas, lively with great balance, finishing with a subtle dash of spice.

2014 Parker Estate Terra Rossa cabernet sauvignon, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Dark deep ruby, displaying an abundance of red fruits and dark currants, surprisingly mellow with good detail and some mild dusty textures from the new wood, just a tad short.

2013 Parker Estate 95 Block cabernet sauvignon, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Made from a plot containing clones of original pre-phylloxera Bordeaux cabernet cuttings, and blended with 21% petit verdot. Deep purple, this wine exudes aromas of coconut and malibu, quite full and ample and well-structured with dark fruits and sophisticated tannins at its core, softened by overtones of ash and spice with the petit verdot adding further velvety fragrance. An unusual cabernet that needs more time in bottle to sort itself out fully.

2012 Parker Estate Terra Rossa First Growth, tasted at the cellar door of Parker Estate, 04 Aug 2016. Bright purple, this flagship cabernet exudes heady aromas of ripe fruit and something akin to glue that was most intoxicating. The palate is suffused with red berries, blueberries and violets, highly supple with excellent acidity that gave the impression of a slim profile though certainly not lean, very well-balanced and linear to its finish. Very good now, but I expect it to flesh out with further complexity in another 5-7 years.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Hiok permalink
    August 29, 2016 17:33

    No mention of mata?

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