Tag Archives: Germany

The Vincast Episode 084 – Walter Speller

Walter Speller embraced wine in post-Cold War Berlin, particularly from Italy and Australia. After relocating to London, he was asked by Jancis Robinson if he would be interested in writing for her website, mostly as she admired him speaking his mind at a wine event. Since then he has become the main Italian correspondent, splitting his time between the UK and Padova. He has continued his interest in Australian wines, his opinion of Italian-variety-based wines in particular improving all the time. Walter was in Australia partly as a guest of the Melbourne International Food & Wine Festival, where I sat down with him to record this episode of The Vincast.

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Walter Speller

Walter Speller

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The Vincast Episode 045 – Randall Pollard from Heart & Soil

Randall Pollard is a name in Victoria synonymous with independent fine-wine sales, having worked in the industry for almost 20 years before opening his own wine store in Geelong (Randall’s), and then importing a range of outstanding artisan wines from France and Europe (Heart & Soil). His love of wine stems from sneaking glasses of wine from the cask at the age of 15, enjoying it with cheese and bread. He shared more stories from his career on this episode of The Vincast.

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Randall Pollard from Heart & Soil Wines

Randall Pollard from Heart & Soil Wines

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The Vincast Episode 042 – Johannes Hasselbach from Weingut Gunderloch

Weingut Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen region of Germany is one the greatest wineries in Europe if you are in the know. They are the only winery in the world to have received 100 points for the same wine in three separate vintages, for their incredibly rare trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). Johannes Hasselbach hadn’t intended on running his family’s estate, until in 2010 when his father became ill (since recovered), and his sister who had been involved with the winemaking relocating to Austria to work with her husband. An intrepid philosophy led Johannes to travel and explore, and he has slowly began to introduce this into the winery since then. He joined me in the Treasury Gardens of Melbourne on a sunny morning to talk about his journey.

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Make sure to read all about my experiences working vintage at Weingut Gunderloch in 2012

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Vintage 2012 - Day 23

Johannes Hasselbach from Weingut Gunderloch working hard in the vineyard

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The Vincast Episode 039 – Tom Barry from Jim Barry Wines & Clos Clare

Someone like Tom Barry is rare indeed, as he is probably one of only a few third-generation qualified winemakers in Australia. His grandfather Jim Brazill Barry was an early winemaking graduate of Roseworthy college in 1944, the first agricultural college in Australia, and the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley. Tom’s father Peter James also studied at Roseworthy, and Tom himself recently completed the course at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide which Roseworthy merged with some years ago. Being based in the Clare Valley, one of the most important varieties for Jim Barry Wines and Clos Clare (which he and brother Sam took over a few years ago) is undoubtedly riesling. He joined me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his background, the Clare Valley, and how important riesling is.

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Tom Barry

Tom Barry

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The Vincast Episode 001 – Imported Wines in the Australian Market with Sam Hooper

On the very first episode of The Vincast I am joined by Sam Hooper, National Sales Manager for Cellarhand Wines. With a number of factors combining to make imported wines not only much cheaper but also much more readily available, Australia has seen a dramatic increase in the number of importers and the subsequent volume of imports. Working for an importer and wholesaler that has been around since 1999, I thought Sam would be well equipped to talk about this recent phenomenon that has got more than a few local producers a bit perturbed.

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Sam Hooper

Sam Hooper

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Heart & Soil Imports – 17/09/2013

Randall Pollard is pretty well-known in Victoria for his history as an independent wine retailer and merchant. He is known for sourcing a great range of interesting unique wines from Europe. He invited me to the office to have a look at a few new arrivals into the country.

Keller Rieslaner Spätlese 2011
Quite juicy lime & quince, lovely and round, generous long, some residual sugar viscosity.

Keller Riesling 2012
Crisp bright flinty citrus. Pure fine straight and fresh, mouth-filling intensity.

Keller Riesling Van der Fels 2012
Delicate subtle floral lychee minerality. On the shy side for the moment, textural minerality, fruit a little closed, will need some more time to open and express.

Keller Riesling RR 2012
Gorgeous blossomy rich intensity, very musky with rich dried citrus. Very mature character, earthiness and slight spice.

Louis Moreau Vaulignot 1er Chablis 2010
Richness density vanilla butter salty citrus. Fine broad yet focused acidity, length, dried pear and papaya, creamy texture.

Vicentini Agostino Il Casale 2011
Very savoury earthy dark spice aroma. Very mature savoury texture, some dried stone fruit notes.

Malvira Roero Arneis 2012
Lifted bright floral kiwi intensity. Fresh round dry and generous, lots of character whilst being friendly and drinkable.

Malvira Renesio Roero Arneis 2011
Dirty wild earthy wetness. Density and broadness at the same time, tasting the dilution of the overcast wet vintage. Very wet stone.

Malvira Saglietto Roero Arneis 2011
A little more feminine in nature, pretty floral candied notes. Just as mature and dense on the palate as the Renesio but more appealing fruit sweetness and roundness.

Chateau de Ségriès Tavel 2012
Bright intense cherry strawberry cream. Dry and full but fresh and long, nice balanced acidity and fruit, considering fruit sweetness it is deceptively dry and warm. Dangerous almost.

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Eurocentric Tasting – 9/07/2013

Neville Yates imports wines from Europe, South Africa and New Zealand under his Eurocentric banner. I was first introduced to him when I was the wine buyer for King & Godfree, tasting a few of the wines with him. On my journey I visited some German wineries and caught up with several more at Prowein, leading me to surmise that he has one of the best collection of German producers in Australia. His range is eclectic at times with more than a few ‘natural’ producers that come up with some interesting examples. He was showing some of the new arrivals at Pei Modern in Melbourne.

Francesco Scanavino Diamant Blanc 2008
Very classic metodo classico nose. Generous fruit, fairly simple and clean on the front, hint if creamy texture.

Lancelot-Pienne Blanc de Blancs
Fairly developed open autolysis notes, very yeasty bready. Nice oxidative citrus.

Champagne Geoffroy Expression Brut
Cleaner tighter yeast notes. Rounder more earthy savoury dark berry notes, heavier on the pinot noir?

Champagne Secret Rosé
Open generous ripe red fruit nose, but tight fine and crisp savoury texture on the palate.

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Brut
Fine pure but very complex cheesy charcuterie nose. Bold full expressive combination of red citrus and subtle savoury meats.

Benoit Ente Bourgogne Aligoté 2009
Oak dominant chardonnay style. Soft gentle vanilla creamy texture, some white peach.

Gautheron Chablis 2011
Sharp fig kiwi skin, overly leesy. Flat and dull.

Domaine Oudin Chablis 2009
Rich creamy buttery chardonnay openness. Overworked flabby lacking focus and crispness.

Domaine Arnaud Tessier Meursault Casse-Tetes 2010
Nice developed stone fruit and oak maturity integrated. Bold and generous but not heavy or hot, fairly rich and creamy from malo, but elegant and complex.

Arnaud Ente 2008 Meursault
Much more exuberant and flintier, more citrus than stone. Fuller smokier toaster, better malo integration, dense.

Dombeya Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2011
Big whack of ripe creamy juicy pineapple. Fairly soft subtle but showing that sweet vanilla pineapple crumble character.

Domaine Montvac Mélodine Vacqueyras 2011
Spicy quince apricot kernel. Open light round spice fruit friendliness.

Willi Schaefer Graacher Trocken 2011
Clean pure lime sherbet. Crisp very light pure and excellent for the price.

Schloss Lieser Dry 2011
More intense mineralic ripe deep fruit notes. More intensity and character, fuller fresher.

Emrich-Schönleber Monziger Halenberg Trocken 2011
Slightly earthy red soil minerality, subtle orange sherbet. Bold texture, generosity and density of fruit and acid.

Rebholz Kastanienbusch GG 2011
Open savoury earthy natural wild style. Subtle subdued broad. Singular.

Pierre Frick Riesling 2010
Candied oxidised pear banana caramel. Nondescript middling Alsace wine.

Grunhauser Bruderberg 2011
Intense quince floral kumquat notes. Density of viscosity and sugar, nice bite of acidic quince notes.

Emrich-Schönleber Lenz 2010
On the stripped side, de-acidified? Flat on the finish.

Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken Riesling 2009
Nice density and ripeness. Great depth and character, dry sweet well-balanced.

William Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Kabinett 2011
Spicy savoury mineral complexity, nice lively fruit profile, round and yet brisk.

Fritz Haag Brauneberger Kabinett 2011
Very quiet subtle nose, but delivering plenty on the palate, wonderful length and focus, but plenty of personality.

Rebholz Birkweiler Kastanienbusch Spätlese 2011
Wild green pepper spice fig. Generosity yet exquisitely balanced sweetness. Loving this producer.

Schäfer Frölich Halenberg Spätlese 2009
Nice talcy flinty lifted citrus floral minerality. Bold full viscous sweetness, but just a hint of complex savouriness.

Schäfer-Fröhlich Halenberg Spätlese 2005
Nice generous soft rich ripe but not heavy. Still plenty of life but looking simple currently.

Dombeya Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2012
Tight green under-ripe.

Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc South Africa 2012
Big tropical passion fruit. Delivers exactly what people want and is very good to boot.

Sebastian Riffault Akmèniné Sancerre 2008 (naturel)
Smells like pure honey. But still dry. Interesting, not sure it’s great though. Hipster wine?

Intellego Chenin Blanc 2011 Swartland
Interesting texturally. Different in terms of fruit to Vouvray etc.

Domaine de la Tournelle Trousseau des Corvées 2011
Clean sharp precise but good personality. Most certainly a food wine.

Roland Pignard Beaujolais Villages 2010
Strawberry spice. Very lovely.

Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Les Charmes 2011
Lean spicy under-ripe.

Pierre Thillardon Chenas Les Boccards 2010
Mean and lean, sharp.

Emile Ballard Le Grand Chemin 2008
Nice soft berry notes. Still on the sharp acidic side, a little aldehydic.

Scanavino Barbera d’Asti 2011
Tight brisk, great balance of dark fruits and spicy mulberry.

Domaine Des Espiers Cotes Du Rhone 2011
Bright fresh sufficiently savoury spicy but light and friendly with a touch of length.

Domaine Des Espiers Gigondas 2010
Earthy savoury spice, base of dark fruits underneath. Round soft yet fresh savoury red berries.

Domaine Faury Syrah 2011
Quite spicy and peppery. On the boring side…

Domaine Faury Saint Joseph 2009
A tad too much sweet oak.

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Euan McKay New Arrivals tasting – 19/06/2013

J. Lassalle Brut Rosé Premier Cru
Bold brisk textured generous but balanced focused and fresh. Nice delicate berry components.

Domaine Thomas Sancerre 2011
Bright fruity musky nose. Clean pure fresh safe sancerre.

Billaud-Simon Chablis 2011
Very shy flinty brisk citrus, subdued. A bit dirty but certainly has personality. Worth looking at a different vintage.

Michelot White Burgundy 2009
Classic aromatics, fresh clean and slightly fruit sweet, focused and persistent. Nice savoury texture.

Max Ferdinand Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett 2009
Open and clean, classic example of the vintage.

Max Ferdinand Richter Auslese 2007
Tight clean fresh vibrant exquisitely balanced minerality and sweetness.

Thierry Violot-Guillemard Red Burgundy 2010
Nice clean precise cherry nose, delicate. Fresh balanced long and pleasant.

Tollot-Beaut & Fils Chorey-Les-Beaune 2010
Some earthy burnt elements, a touch dirty. Old-school style, very savoury and grainy textural, good acidity. Little fruit.

Domaine de l’Ameillaud Cairanne 2010
Spicy crushed clove. Hmmm tight and a touch volatile. Not really.

Domaine de la Mordoree Lirac 2009
Nice intense sweet dark plum notes, just a hint of spice. Full juicy building texture spice and acidity. Very fresh yet broad appeal. Warmish.

Domaine Raspail-Ay Gigondas 2010
Very tight intense acidity. Exceedingly fresh and linear.

Domaine Richards Muscat de Beaumes des Venise 2011
Wonderful.

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Red + White Imports – 21/05/2013

Bianca Vigna Prosecco DOC
Nice crisp clean citrus apple, classic prosecco. Fresh bold fruit and warm mouthfeel. Super pleasant.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier
Creamy buttery autolysis, a little fat and rich bit still fresh and clean. Minimal complexity, certainly vibrant.

Louis Roederer Rosé 2007
Crisp bright citrus red grapefruit blood orange. Long and precise. A little mushroomy pinot on the nose.

Louis Roederer Cristal 2005
Quite wild and complex, nutty mushroom leesy Camembert. Extraordinarily delicate, fine and elegant, long and ethereal creaminess. A cut above the 2004.

Peramor Verdejo Rueda 2011
Quite subtle aromatically, thin and watery. Not giving much at all.

Monte Tondo Soave Classico 2012
Disappointing, suffers same problem as Verdejo.

Louis Jadot Macon Village White 2011
Subtle to say the least, fresh and clean but lacking much personality.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt RK Riesling Trocken 2011
Slightly spicy quince notes, clean and fresh but good level of mineral green notes.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling Kaseler 2011
Showing a little more concentration, density but still clean precise and fairly straightforward.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling Wiltinger 2011
Bolder still, lifting but still an easy vintage.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Josephshofer 2011
More RS texture and weight, great precision and length, some botrytis notes.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Piesporter Goltropchen Riesling Spatlese 2011
Dense creamy lanolin texture, balanced yet rich and subtle sweetness.

El Bos Tinta de Toro 2011
Spicy Black Forest plum notes, bright fresh but a little fruit and oak sweet.

Monte Tondo Valpolicella 2011
Lavender potpourri, herbal lemon tea. A little tight and weedy, lacking depth and plumpness for the tannin structure.

Mazzei Badiola IGT 2011
Focused tight balanced fresh yet bold. Is what it says.

Vietti Barbera d’Asti Tre Vigne 2010
Spicy nutmeg, black cherry red plum. Bright fresh approachable but focused.

Vietti Barbera d’Alba Vigna Scarrone 2010
Tighter leaner on the nose, density and focus. Fuller yet softer, more and longer tannins.

Louis Jadot Cote de Nuits Villages Le Vaucrain 2009
Safe. A tad hot. Serviceable.

Louis Jadot Chambolle-Musigny 2009
More depth and precision, more character and intensity. Delivers.

Pure Garrigue Cotes-du-Rhone Red 2011
Dense dark red fruits, very limited amounts of spice.

Domaine de la Renjarde Massif d’Uchaux 2010
Soft dense yet fresh and focused.

Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009
Totally against the grain for the appellation and vintage. Light fresh and vibrant rather than full soft and dark.

Chateau de Pez 2008
Serviceable but uninteresting.

Mazzei Mix 36 2008
Very international oak maceration nose. Very tight and focused but not full heavy or overworked. Focused fine yet intense tannins. Needs a lot more time for oak to blow off.

Red + White Imports

Red + White Imports

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Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt – 31/01/2012

Kaseler Trocken Riesling 2010
Very mineral and flinty nose, nice balance, very approachable, apple and pear crispness, fresh and friendly, nice purity and lines.

Wiltinger Trocken Riesling 2010
More struck-match minerality, nicely balanced, less fruit character, hints of kale and parsley, fresh and clean, great finish.

Nies’chen Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
More gunpowder, floral honeydew melon, hints of paw paw, nice dry balance, complex and full, delicate pineapple tropicality.

Juffer-Sonnenuhr Grosses Gewachs Riesling 2010
Very subdued, a little sour, reminiscent of apple juice.

Josephshofer Kabinett Riesling 2010
Wonderful integration, lovely balance, off-dry and long, delicate fruit and floral notes.

Scharzofberger Kabinett Riesling 2010
Salty briny nose, slightly different texturally, good acid freshness, wonderful finish, nice balance, ageing potential.

Scharzofberger Kabinett Riesling 2010
Richer on the palate, lovely savoury off-dry, slight Japanese flavour.

Brauneberger Juffer-Sonneuhr Spatlese Riesling 2005
Beautiful richness, wonderful balance, nice long finish.

Auslese Gold Cap #10 Riesling 2010
Lemon barley cordial apple, extremely concentrated, amazingly deep and rich, lovely and fresh, great finish.

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt tasting

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt tasting

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