Tasting Notes for Rote Kappelle

(118 notes on 116 wines)

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Red
10/16/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Decanted, note made about an hour after opening and scored as excellent on Cellar Tracking point scale. I could have rated this a little higher as a value for money proposition, because I think it is outstanding on that measure.

Not a well known maker, but they have deep roots in the region, going back over a century. They are fastidious in their viticulture and make their wine in a style that lets the grape and region speak - i.e. they are not heavily extracted or oaked.

The colour is medium garnet, still quite bright.

The first thing that you note when you open the bottle is the wonderful Nebbiolo aromas that come wafting out of the bottle. Great 'typicity'. Tar and roses it is, though more roses and red fruit, with the tar/smokiness/earth a pleasing accent. There is some sweetness to the fruit aromas.

The palate is vibrant and the tannins, though plentiful are quite fine and seem ripe. This wine is young, yet in keeping with the vintage it is surprisingly approachable. I love 2013's for this reason. I doubt they will mature into classical Barolos, but they give you something delightful whilst the 2015's come around. The palate is very long and intense and the flavours are as per the nose. This would just love to be matched with a huge T-Bone or Ribeye on the Bone and that is just another thing to love about Barolo - it loves Beef and so do I.
Red
10/15/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
Clape Cornas is a real go to for me. I understand why people don't like Clape and I am glad, because it means more for me.

I didn't decant this and the note is made at about the 6 hours open mark. Early on it was marked by strong olive characters and plum fruits, plus a bit of trademark Clape stink. The olives largely disappear after about 2-3 hours and around 5 hours the wine is really starting to open up and boy is it humming. Now we have earthy, leathery elements (some will hate this), dark plums, pepper, a hint of orange zest and even some floral elements. The nose is Nirvana.

The palate probably doesn't quite deliver to the level of the nose. There is a slight sourness and some slightly bitter tannins - again, some people will find themselves unable to get past this. I love the complexity, the mix of orange zest, plum and pepper with hints of leather.

Ultimately, this is a slightly flawed wine, yet it doesn't really matter to me because what is good is so good. You won't easily get this level of complexity in any wine. Being a lesser year it also represents really good value for money. A real delight.
2 people found this helpful Comment
White
10/12/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Wonderful Mosel of great refinement and purity. It is a bit more pricey than some of its rivals but there is no argument about quality. Well worth trying.
White
10/12/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
The review by Jeremy Holmes nails it in my view, so I will only add that this has wonderful textural elements and it is even more delightful on day 2 - so resist guzzling it all on that first night! This is well worth the extra few Shekels.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
10/8/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Under cork (why, oh why?), not decanted, note made after about 6 hours open.

Colour is light-medium deep garnet with some bricking – more noticeable when one tilts the glass. There is a concentration of colour to the rim. Expect power.

Nose is a pretty heady combination of lifted red fruits, but with a hint of something a bit darker – this isn’t some kind of raspberry cordial- alcohol, Kirsch, Chinotto and spices (for me it is cinnamon and sandalwood) and some polished leather. I love this kind of nose.

The palate is very intense, there is really good length and the tannins are present, but supportive rather than prominent. The finish is quite fresh and clean. This tastes like mature wine, but not tired wine. It is in a very good place now and will probably hold (the vagaries of cork aside) for some years yet, but I think the odds now are in favour of it being in its peak drinking window, where there is the complexity of age combined with fruit that has not entered the tertiary stage.

This is not a straight Grenache, but it is pretty close. Of course even a few percent of other grapes can produce a discernible difference and I wonder if the 2% Mourvedre has contributed to some blueberry elements as well as some of the tannin. I will lay my cards on the table, as being essentially a Grenache sceptic. I love it as a part of a blend, but there are characters in the grape that I am not in love with. I struggle a bit with the high alcohol, the raspberry and strawberry lolly tendency and what I find to be a lack of balance; if there was more depth of fruit the alcohol would be less of an issue for me but, of course that would really describe a Shiraz. If there were some more dark fruits I would be very happy with the sweeter red fruit characters – that really describes a blend. I think it is important to put this up front in any review. If you are like me, then this is a really enjoyable Grenache and you should try it to see what a committed and talented maker can do with Grenache. One cannot live and die by Shiraz, Pinot and Cabernet alone (or so they say). If you like Grenache then you really must get your hands on this maker’s wines, because you will be in a Grenache Nirvana. Eperosa Grenache does challenge my scepticism. Let’s also remember how boring it would be to just chug away at the same red varietals. Kaiser Wilhelm II may have given the same style of hat to his wife for her birthday every year, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t sometimes long for something different.

This wine is 15.4% ABV and it is there as a presence, although I think it holds it well.

My thanks to a very good friend, with a much better palate who nailed the Chinotto and Kirsch elements - he is spot on.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/26/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under cork, decanted and the note made over about 8 hours. There has been very significant development in that time, all for the better. This is not that good when first opened and it only came into its own around the 6 hour mark.

Colour is quite deep, garnet with perhaps a tinge of brick.

Nose is sour cherry, redcurrant more than cassis to me, hint of cedar and tobacco and cinnamon. Elegant.

Palate is supple, very good length, reasonable intensity and a hint of darker fruits than on the nose. A quite lovely, almost delicate wine, very much in the Bordeaux groove and might well pass for a solid 2nd or 3rd Growth, probably more left bank than right.

The issues with this wine are that it is very expensive for a winery with little real history and it is not the blockbuster that many consumers will expect and want when they pay this sort of money. I suspect European or well educated American palates might be less troubled. For me, their standard Cabernet delivers enough that I find it hard to justify the massive additional cost and compared to other Yarra Valley reds with more history, it is really way over priced - for example it is nearly double the price of Yarra Yering or Yeringberg, it is also about $30-$60 more than Mount Mary. So, a quality wine, but the asking price is stiff.
Red
2019 Wendouree Cabernet Malbec Clare Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/26/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
95 points
A very good friend poured a (large) glass for me. It had been open a day by that time. I echo the very fine review by the previous reviewer of this vintage of this wine. Outstanding. Beauty and the Beast. There is tremendous power in this wine and it purrs like a big cat. However, there are some quite pretty berry/floral elements as well and it never ends up being just about power. I could have scored this higher but I am cautious about being 'over the top'.
3 people found this helpful Comment
White
9/26/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
My first Haart wine. Note made after tasting over two days. Scored as outstanding on the Cellar tracker scale.

Lovely bright, gold colour.

Nose is a heady mix of lemon, lemon curd and butter, tropical fruits. I think I am going to pass out - this is like catnip to me.

Palate is rich, intense and very long, but for all the richness it is taught and there is some minerality. Tropical fruits come through and the mouthfeel is almost unctuous before the acid comes in to finish ever so clean and dry. Have they used some skin contact? If so, it is beautifully handled.

The only thing I will note that might be seen as a negative is that this is a fair bit more expensive than the Clemens Busch Marienberg GG's, they are similar in style (not the same) and I think the Busch' offer every bit as much (and maybe even a little more). However, this remains a superb wine and cheap compared to White Burgundy or Chablis of equivalent quality and complexity. Great stuff.
White
9/26/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Agree with the other reviews. A superior everyday drinking style that delivers quality above its price range. Only the Robert Weil Rheingau Trocken at this price offers more in this style and even then it is close. Great stuff. Pop and pour if you want - it delivers immediately and then keeps going for ever.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/25/2021 - Rote Kappelle wrote:
85 points
I am sorry to cast a discordant note in the otherwise strongly positive reviews of this wine. It is possible that my bottle was a victim of the strangeness that is cork (and I am not talking of TCA - the wine was not 'corked'). Note made by a generally sympathetic reviewer after 8 hours open and decanted with samples throughout. My rating is 'good' using the Cellar Tracker scale. In truth, I don't like the wine.

Colour is deep, some brick.

Nose is a little murky, with quality oak, some spice and charcuterie. Where is the fruit?

Palate is similar, with some intensity and length but there is nothing to make this wine stand out. I have been disappointed by other older Craggies and I suspect that winemaking skill conceals fruit that is not up to the same standard. When younger this is not so noticeable. Noting other strongly positive reviews, I concede I may have simply had bottles affected by the variability of cork as a closure but, frankly, I wonder if this isn't a case of marketing and skilled wine making concealing so so fruit. Better options for your money.
Red
This is a difficult note to write, as I am a fan of the makers and this wine, as a rule. I am rating this on the Cellar Tracker scale as being barely average. This is very poor wine, however, when considering the vintage was marked by being one of the hottest summers on record in Oz and the harvesting period was not rain affected, yet there are unmistakable signs of under-ripe Grenache. This is not good to drink, yet it is a relatively expensive wine. Bottle under screw cap and note made over 2 days, wine not decanted.

Colour is medium deep garnet - so far so good and the nose has some pretty floral and red berry aromas.

It is in the mouth that this wine really disappoints. The good side is there is body and substance and some intensity. However, the finish falls away quite quickly (which may be a blessing) and the flavours are a little muddied and there are quite hard tannins, and there is something rather tough about the feel and impact in the mouth. A friend with a far more educated palate than my rather rustic organ suggested it was marred by grainy stalk tannins that were not balanced by the (under ripe) fruit. I think he nailed what I was searching for in my discussion with him.

In fairness, my filthy Kiwi chum thought it might come up with time in the cellar. My own view is why take the risk and why bother when better vintages of the same maker can be had. I am always very cautious about cellaring wine with under-ripe characters showing strongly on release; it is unusual for these to get better, or more balanced over time. Generally you have more chance of having a compost smelling slop in 5-10 years. For the incurable optimists only.

I can only guess that the maker, worried about the heat and the tendency of Grenache to accelerate from about ripe to way over ripe and porty, got the timing wrong and picked a little too early. Winemakers tell me Grenache is very unforgiving and moves very fast at vintage.

I will try this maker's 2021. Other years are too good for one off year to make me write them off. I am not an optimist, but I am stubborn (or if you want to be kind, loyal).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/20/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Confession - I really like this wine in most vintages (though I was less enamored of the 2015). Under screw cap (bless you), note made after about 2 hours decanted. Rated 'Excellent' on the Cellar Tracker scale.

Colour is medium deep ruby, quite bright.

Nose is of Cherry, hint of plum, some dried herbs and some forest floor. Fantastic.

In the mouth the wine is intense and powerful, yet still elegant. This is a wonderful textural experience. the flavours are as per the nose and the fresh acidity promises long life. Tannins are firm and plentiful but ripe. By Jove this is good! It will be even better in about 5 years as it beds down. I have little doubt it will develop and prosper over many years beyond that.
5 people found this helpful Comment
White
9/20/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
89 points
Under cork, opened and notes made at about one hour and next day. Scored this as very good using the Cellar Tracker scale.

I enjoyed this wine, though I think there is better quality available for less money from makers like Weil, Haag, Thorle, Dr Bassermann-Jordan and even JJ Prum. My inclination is to go straight for the Keller GG Rieslings, which are pricey but great.

Apple, lemon, lime blossom fruit, but the fruit seems to lack intensity and presence. Perhaps it will come up with time. There is some fairly bracing acidity and minerality - indeed, for me it is the structure that is the star here but the fruit isn't up to the job. Pleasant drinking but better value and more enjoyment at this price point to be had elsewhere.

By the way, I am pleased to say I got no 'rubber' elements on this wine, thank goodness, as that would be a serious fault. I certainly could see no conceivable way to score a wine at 92 with a sulfur fault of that nature, unless it blew off quickly. Although a hot year could see reductive pongs, this wine does not have the fruit character I associate with a hot year - either they picked earlier, or their sites weren't as heat affected as others. I am not attacking the note maker who did this (this is a fan site, after all), but we do need to try to find consistency and if we like a wine a lot despite a fault (and that can happen) that still needs to be articulated so that the score is something that is meaningful.
2 people found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
9/19/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
91 points
Well, what a splendid surprise this was. I don't generally expect much from Langhe Neb and opened this on a Sunday as a cheap and cheerful. Under cork, no decant, opened about 2 hours when note made and no major changes 24 hours later,

Colour is ruby, bright and light-medium depth.

Nose is tarry/earthy, with cherry and dried herbs (Thyme to me but I won't quibble if you had a different herb in mind). I didn't get roses. There is a tiny whiff of candied fruit. Charming.

Palate is surprisingly intense, very long and fresh, with flavours as per nose. There are plenty of fine tannins to remove unwanted enamel from your teeth, so this should be one recommended by your local dental association. Is this Barolo standard? No, but it isn't a huge way off and represents tremendous value for money. Sensational with food.
White
9/18/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
I bought two bottles of this at auction for next to nothing, merely as a curio.

I drank the first bottle in 2018 and was amazed that it was not just drinkable but was actually delightful. 1998 was a pretty warm vintage, although Eden Valley has some elevation to moderate the heat.

The wine was under cork. It poured a burnished gold colour, but surprisingly bright, suggesting it might not be way past its best- despite the mildly alarming colour.

The nose would cause conniptions a in a blind tasting. There's a hint of pineapple, apricot, a whiff of kerosene, ripe lemon and buttered toast. Your head would say 'botrytis' but it smells dry.

In the mouth the wine delivers the same flavours, together with a really intense, powerful and long finish. It is bone dry. And fantastic. I found it hard to stop drinking this.

I am not always a fan of Oz Riesling, including aged ones. The acid can be a bit coarse and the kerosene can get overwhelming in the older wines. This wine avoided those problems. Fantastic. Leo Buring have a wonderful history in Oz and they make a range of superb Rieslings from South Australia, at a range of price points (though always pretty cheap given their expertise) and they are a good bet to cellar. This is a budget wine, which makes it all the more extraordinary. The Leonay range typically yields very safe cellaring bets and some of the most wonderful white wine moments I have had have been with Leo Buring Leonay. Do try these wines and taste some history.
Red
9/18/2021 - Rote Kappelle wrote:
90 points
This note is made second day after opening, no decant. Bottle is under screw cap.

Medium depth of colour, crimson and bright - looks 7 years young.

2014 was regarded as a very good Yarra Valley vintage - in other parts of Oz it was a bit up and down.

The nose yields red fruits, quite prominent cedar aromas, smoky oak, a hint of greenery. Smells quite powerful.

The palate delivers as per nose plus fine tannins, long finish and plenty of intensity.

I have to say that I don't much like the oak. It is a little prominent on the finish and the wine has a slightly coarse texture thanks to the oak. Will the smoky element settle or will it outlast the fruit? Opinions will differ on this, depending on tolerance for oak. The wine is clearly very well made and it is reminiscent of a young Pauillac, or Haut Medoc.

This has a long life ahead of it - over two days it didn't change much and there is plenty of fresh acid to keep things in line. If the elements integrate it will be terrific but right now I am not really feeling a lot of love. I would leave this for another 5-10 years (depending on closure - if cork then go the shorter period suggested).

Red
9/11/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under Stelvin, note made a day after opening, no decant and using the Smeller Whacker scale.

I must confess to a lack of objectivity here. This is wine that always puts me in mind of two things I like a lot - pirates and Stormy Daniels. Well, Stormy isn't a thing, more a sort of goddess/object/fetish.

At any rate, we move on. Deep red/purple colour belies 8 years of age and speaks to power that you know will always come from this winery. I swear I can hear the Harleys opening up as I look at this wine.

The nose is rich, porty and jammy, blackberry jam in layers, with some pepper (or alcohol) and Christmas cake and wood. Think Bachman Turner Overdrive's song 'Not Fragile' or Black Oak Arkansas' 'Fighting Cock'.

The palate is a dive down Stormy's cleavage; deep, soft and intoxicating. When you come back up for air you will think 'intense, man' and the road goes on forever. Did I mention porty and jammy?

Ultimately this is wine for when your mind is playing Nina Simone's 'Feelin' Good'. At one level it is disgraceful, but there is no pretense here and there are times when I want wine that is as exuberant as I feel. You have been warned. And, yes, if pirates drank wine, they would drink this. Aaaaarrrrh. Get a bottle for September 19, which is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
White
9/11/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under Stelvin, note made a day after opening, using Smelly Tracker scoring system - I rate this as an excellent Riesling.

Colour is very pale, white gold and bright.

On the hooter, one gets lemon blossom, a hint of lime, lemon.

In the mouth the wine is intense and has good length. It is not as sour, or eye wateringly acidic as many Tasmanian Rieslings can be. Flavours a per nose. Very attractive to me. There is some suggestion of minerality. Most enjoyable, though not as riotously so as it was on release. This will cellar forever because of the high acid level, but, really, it is good now, so why muck about?
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Charles Melton Nine Popes Barossa Valley Red Rhone Blend (view label images)
9/11/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
91 points
Under screw cap, note made about an hour after opening, no decant, using Cellar Tracker rating system I score this as excellent.

Colour is deep, brick red but more towards the red end of the spectrum.

Nose is speaking of Grenache component - warm, hint of confectionary (a character I dislike, but here it is in balance), a touch of strawberry. There are other sweet dark fruits in the mix and I wonder if there is some Mourvedre, as I feel I detect some blueberry. The oak is well integrated and is more detectable on the palate, by texture than vanilla etc.

Palate is lovely, very intense and still very much alive. Finish is extremely long. This is the better wine, technically, than his Cabernet, which I opened at the same time. However, I like the Cab a little more - the subjective element and maybe a case of less is more? However, I can't agree with the reviewer who described this as port. It is rich and ripe and exuberant, but so are most Chateauneuf du Papes. Don't come to it if you don't like bold, rich wines. If you a Southern Rhone drinker, think Vieux Telegraph or Clos St Jean in style. However, this is wine is 'in the style of', but I don't think you would call it as Southern Rhone in a blind tasting, unless perhaps it was a very hot year, like 2003. This wine has better acid than many Southern Rhones from 2003, by the way.

This wine needs strong foods. It is very ready to drink, but I have little doubt it will hold for many more years. I don't see any benefits to be gained in cellaring - it is very approachable and in a perfect window for drinking. I enjoyed this. You need to be in the mood for a big wine, but if you are, well, it puts a smile on the dial.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
9/11/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under screw cap, note made about an hour after opening, no decant. Using the Cellar Tracker scale I rate this an excellent wine of its type. Don't come to it looking for a Bordeaux style wine - it ain't. This is Barossa first, although it is varietal.

Colour is brick red but more at the red end of that spectrum. Deep in colour.

Nose is a nicely integrated mix of cassis, a hint of warm earth, some supportive oak. On the palate it is the same. It is very long on the finish, gentle but intense, with fine but not fully resolved tannins. The thing I like about Melton is the freshness and good line they have. I don't think I have had a Melton that has been baked, or jammy, or suffered from 'dead' fruit. This is in a great space now and there is no need to cellar further. However, I think it will hold as is for perhaps 3-5 years before starting to decline. A really enjoyable wine of its style.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
9/4/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
91 points
Under the disgraceful cork. Decanted and notes made about 5 hours after opening. Scored on the website's system rather than some opaque, idiosyncratic 'system'.

The first thing to note is that this is absurdly young to open a Brunello, but 2016 does offer that opportunity.

Colour is fairly deep red-brown with some redder hues. Typical Brunello.

Nose is of smoke, dried herbs, roasted soup bones, dark fruits and a lot of power.

Palate offers more fruit than the nose, but this wine is still pretty well locked up. Picking up some suggestion of oak (not quite vanilla, but partly texture and partly a smoky element - I will probably find out that this wine has never seen so much as a shaving of an old oak barrel!). Quite intense and very long, this wine is really on the very first steps of a long journey and I think it will put on body over the years. A lot of promise.

Scored 89 for drinking now, but could easily end up at 95-97 with about 5-10 years. 91 reflects a combination of where it is at now and where it is heading.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2018 Holm Oak Cabernet Merlot Tamar Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/4/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
86 points
Under screw cap, note made after 5 hours decanted, using Cellar Tracker scale.

Colour is a deep cherry/ruby red and bright.

Nose is quite perfumed, cherry, a hint of red berry and wine gum, cedar and an element that always puts me in mind of sour cream (combination of high acidity and some yeast esters?). There is also a slightly smoky element that blows off fairly quickly.

Very fresh in the mouth, flavours as per the palate, quite noticeable sour cherry element that may really divide opinion, yet the fruit is also ripe and there is a hint of wine gum. Reasonable length and intensity.

I understand that this wine has no time in new oak and I certainly don't detect any oak. Tannins are supportive and not intrusive.

A pleasing food style that cuts through the fattiness of lamb very nicely. You could score this a few points higher depending on your view about the sour element and how far you weight value for money (this is not expensive wine). Very much not your typical Oz Cabernet. This winery is doing good things. I hope I am not speaking out of turn, but a really top notch viticulturist and winemaker could probably turn this maker into something very special. At present they are very well made wines, but perhaps lacking that 'x' factor that comes when you have someone with a touch of genius running the show. The potential is there.

A lovely spot, by the way, worth a visit (he says without any hint of irony - we won't be locked down forever, will we?). Nice staff and scenic location.
Red
9/4/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
97 points
Under cork, but it survived the Russian Roulette. Decanted and drunk out of Riedel Bordeaux glass. My notes reflect drinking across a 24 hour period. Scored as 'Outstanding' on the Cellar Tracker scale. Not sure what scale some other reviewers used, as the (otherwise excellent) reviews suggest the numbers should be higher.

Colour was cherry and brick red hues. Perhaps a little more dense than many Barolos.

Nose was alluring and provoked an emotional response from me from the start. Almost classical tar and roses, you could make a call for Lavender and well, also dark cherry.

Palate showed well resolved, quite fine tannins (but there is still enough to support more years), sufficient acid to retain freshness and great length and intensity. I adored this. Some truffle and dried herb elements came through on the palate and nose towards the end of the 24 hour drinking period, though the fruit remained. This is ready to drink, but will probably hold for many more years. A really stunning wine.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
9/4/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under cork, but none the worse for it, thank goodness. I am using the Cellar Tracker scale not what too often appears to be some random number generated by reference to an unstated scale idiosyncratic to some reviewers.

The wine is brick-red, deep in colour, reflecting a wine that is fully mature. The colour suggests a typically robust wine to come.

The nose is blackberry, dark plum, a touch of herb and mint (though the mint is not as pronounced as it seems to have been in some reviews - I had to look for it) and, to me, some pretty stiff vanillan oak. It is this that is the point of controversy for me. If your tolerance for oak is pretty high, then this wine is worth a higher score than I have given it. I have rated it as very good, but pulled it back because the one element I am not truly happy with is the oak. If i liked plenty of (good) wood, then I would score this as excellent and award 91-93.

The palate delivers as per the nose, it is very long, intense and surprisingly fresh. Make no mistake, I think the wine is fully mature, but it may well hold for another 2-5 years. Over 24 hours this held up very well and the fruit continued to come up, swallowing a fair proportion of the oak I found intrusive the day before. Having said that, I still found the experience a touch too oaky, though much less so on day 2.

A big Oz style Shiraz with some cooler climate elements. You get massive banh for your bucks and only those who simply don't like Oz big style Shiraz will not really enjoy this. Despite my reservations about the oak, I really enjoyed this, overall.

If you get the chance the winery is good to visit, giving you a fine sense of place and 'terroir'. The staff are authentic country Oz, helpful, friendly in a reserved, dry Oz way and the wines are very reasonably priced, regional and distinct. The winery generally also has back vintages, which i think is fun.
White
8/27/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
92 points
Under screw cap, thank Gawd! This note made on second day open, though there has been very little change from day1.

Colour is a bright, white-gold.

Aroma of white peach, but restrained and there is some iodine salinity.

Palate is very long and intense, crisp and there is chalkiness and minerality aplenty. This would be a knockout with Oysters, a nude woman, or both. This note was made before I got to the point where I couldn't tell the difference. Flavours as per the nose, but with a hint of wild honey fragrance as well.

This has a long future and I think may develop into something quite sensational. As it is, right now it is a very good, regionally and varietally correct wine.
Red
8/27/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
95 points
Under cork, of course and God knows how that crappy closure has impacted the wine. Decanted for about 3 hours. Scored on the Cellar Tracker scale, perhaps unlike a lot of the reviews on this site, where one sometimes wonders what scale they were using.

Colour is brick red and pretty deep. As this is a Grenache dominant wine (with a dash only of Shiraz), I have to say the colour is deeper than I would expect.

Nose is intriguing. You could easily think there was Mourvedre in here because I am getting some blueberry notes. A strike against me. There is a distinct note of alcohol and i note it is 15% ABV. Some medicinal and iron filing notes, appealing fragrance of lavender and raspberry. Fresher than the colour would lead me to expect.

In the mouth the wine is really developing. Do NOT pop and pour and do decant for a minimum of 2-3 hours. At first this had an unappealing sherry character that has now come right off, thankfully. The mouthfeel is the hero here - layers of almost sweet fruit, tannin, mocha and bitter herbs. I am taken to Rayas comparisons. There is tremendous length, drive and intensity here.

There are things I don't like about Grenache and they are present here - the combination of high alcohol, a certain cloying element and some oddly burly tannins. However, the sum of the whole is far greater than the parts and even a sour old Grenache sceptic like me can't help but admit that this is really a very impressive wine that engages the mind as well as the heart.

The winemaker at Bekkers put me onto this and I have to say that there are textural elements that I see her wines having in common with this.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
8/27/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
96 points
French wine maker, native son vigneron from McLaren Vale and a fantastic site. I'm listening to Robin Trower, whose textural guitar work matches the textural focus of this wine.

The wine has a functional seal (i.e. Stelvin) and this note is made after about 2 hours open and decanted. The points score is using the Cellar tracker scale, combined with my reluctance to use the highest bracket. I could easily have scored this wine 98 and i think it will end up there as it opens up in years to come.

Colour is medium dark cherry heading towards purple-red, minimal fading to rim as you tilt the glass. Promising power and elegance. The colour is quite bright - suggests fresh acid and maybe some aromatic lift to come?

The nose is still evolving as I make this note. There is some smoke and a hint of bacon, presumably from oak and, maybe, yeast. There is a potent aroma of plum and a hint of blackberry, as well as a lifted perfume element. There is a lot happening here.

The palate is still pretty tightly wound, fresh and very intense. The finish is extremely long. There are firm but ripe tannins and they are fine. At the same time there is an almost creamy, multi-layered texture - again, I think some very clever work with oak that draws in the lush fruit characters (blackberry seems more prominent in the mouth, but definitely not blackberry jam). I think this is a wine that will release the fruit over a long time in the cellar. I want to emphasise that oak is not dominant here - there's no vanilla, or coconut and the texture isn't the thick, gelatinous mass you sometimes see from crude use of wood. The oak is working in harmony with the fruit and this is a wine that could be quite mind blowing in 10 years, or maybe a little more.

This is a world class Shiraz that invites the kind of contemplation that I usually only experience from Barolo or Cabernet. Every time you look at it, you will find a different element.

I am torn between wanting to beg you to try this wine and wanting you not to, so there will be more for me. It is a lovely winery to visit and the Bekkers and staff are great hosts.
White
8/25/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
97 points
Under cork, this wine evolved beautifully over a few hours and then held up without issues over 2 days.

The colour is as expected with Clemens Busch - it looks a bit more golden and deeper than many other German kabinet Rieslings. The nose and palate evolved from almost Chablis like restraint when first opened to the usual Clemens-Bush GG riot of tropical fruits (even a hint of pineapple), stone fruits and, to me, a note of ginger/ginger flower. The texture is magical - lush but finishing crisp and clean and very, very long.

I confess that I struggle for objectivity with these wines - they really move me and have an incredible emotional impact that few wines do. For example the Keller wines, which are simply magnificent and expressions of Riesling purity don't move me like the Clemens Busch GG's do. I regard these wines as cheap, given what you get.

My score reflects the Cellar tracker scale - outstanding wine.
Red
8/21/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Under the Russian Roulette of cork, but this bottle is fine. Not decanted.

Colour is verging on inky purple black (or Dark Purple Blues if you like your Black Oak Arkansas - and you should, damn you!).

If you don't think Crozes-Hermitage can produce top notch wine, you should try this. The exuberance may make you think it lacks profundity - Mozart v Schubert, but in that case you should think again. Because under the enticing smokey, plum and blackberry, there is a serious structure and more complexity than one has a right to expect from Crozes.

I won't push an argument that this is as good as Hermitage or Cornas, though I think an argument could be made. What I will say is that this combines gravitas with hedonism and that, my friends, is what wine is about.

I am pleased to note that the unwiped bum elements in the 2015 Alberic Bouvet are missing from this wine, which makes me wonder if my concerns about Brettanomyces in that wine were wrong. The naughty yeast would almost certainly have infected everything from this maker.

I must add a note about the structure and texture of this wine. The tannins are fine, ripe and only really come in on the finish, where they support the wine. There is fresh acidity that keeps everything in line. This combination really lifts the wine into a special category, for me.
Red
8/20/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
There may have been some batch variation (which can certainly happen with large production runs like this) to account for the rather varied reviews of this wine on the site. This is a well made cool climate Australian style pitched in the commercial, 'restaurant' market.

It was once a flagship style, but that was a long time ago - the early 1980's would be the latest one could have said that.

However, from time to time this wine transcends its style. 1986, 1990 are two vintages that come to mind.

On release, in 2014 I recall it getting very good reviews and tasted at the time I thought it might be fun to grab one and give it some years. The issue with 2012 in Coonawarra is that there was a fair bit of rain at different times and it was a cooler year, so some makers fell foul of slightly under-ripe tannins in their Cabernet, especially. As always, oak treatment can be an issue.

Under a working closure (screw cap), rather than cork (a closure with all the performance characteristics of the Alfa Sud).

Brick red, deep and little fading to the rim.

Nose speaks of cassis with some herbal hints (dare I say it, a hint of green pea), cedar and it really is promising of good Cabernet.

The palate is long with excellent intensity and flavours as per nose. Tannins are firm but fine and really only come on at the finish. The wine is pretty fresh, more so than the colour might suggest. Drink now - it's in a good place. This is equivalent to many Third Growths in quality and given my own views that Bordeaux has been buggered by Parkerisation since the early 1990's it offers a better expression of the grape than them and at a fraction of the price. Not a special occasion wine but a really enjoyable drink with some class beyond its price point.
White
8/20/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Under the wonderful screw cap (Northern hemisphere take note damn you!). 2012 was a splendid vintage in most parts of Oz, after a vile, wet and cold vintage in 2011. An issue with some cooler climate Oz wines (mostly reds, though I have seen it in some whites) from this vintage is that it was on the cooler side and there was rain. Clare should have been fine.

Being an Oz Riesling with some age, will there be 'kero' elements on the nose, what will the acid be like and will it take any prisoners? Clare is a region with strong affinity for Riesling and Pikes have fine vineyards, tradition and feel for the variety. Lovely people, too.

Green gold, still quite bright. For an Oz Riesling colour speaks to some development, but not an old wine.

The nose has hints of kero, but no more than a whisper (for me this is good as I have limited tolerance for this character). Lemon curd, lime and smells fresh and intense.

In the mouth this is intense, with a long finish and the acid is not as rustic as it can be with many Oz Rieslings. This is delicious. it is still very fresh and could easily develop for another decade and hold well beyond that. Flavours are as per the nose. Oz Riesling doesn't get a whole lot better than this and for the price this is outrageously good value. Pikes must be true friends of the working man (or woman, if you are one)!

This has the same relationship to German Riesling as Oz Chardonnays do to White Burgundy and Chablis - same grape but very different expression. Drink this with some photos in front of you of the wide open country around Clare (Oz, not damp Ireland), Paul Kelly, Men at Work, Shane Howard and Australian Crawl on the stereo and you will be in the right space. A few Tom Roberts paintings/prints would also help, as would Russel Drysdale's 'The Cricketers'. Fill yer boots, moit! Throw another prawn on the barbie.
Red
2005 Domaine Pierre Gelin Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru Pinot Noir (view label images)
8/13/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
After wrestling my way past a disintegrating cork, I decanted this with the aid of a strainer. I hate cork as a seal.

The good news was that the wine was worth the fight with the cork.

Colour is deep brick red, speaking of a potent, mature wine. A little turbid, but that doesn't seem to have shown on the nose or palate, thankfully.

On first opening, the power of this wine was apparent as the aromas of dark plum and some earthiness came up from the decanter. In the glass, aromas early on included roasted beetroot on top of plum and earth. About an hour later the beetroot retreated, to be replaced, surprisingly, by violet perfume. I was so surprised by this i decided to do some research to make sure I wasn't sniffing something else. Sure enough violet is noted as an aroma to be found from this appelation, so I am sticking with it. 8 hours later it is still there and this wine is enticing.

The flavours are as per the nose, the mouthfeel is velvety, with tannins well resolved. Is there a hint of oak lurking on the edges of this wine, or is it merely an 'old' character? This wine is fully mature, but that is not code for past it. The finish is long and sumptuous. This is worth hunting down and it is worth the coin. I was put in mind of the rather athletic, sensuous singers in the band 'Devil's Daughters' and this is a very good thing, indeed.
White
7/19/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under cork, note made within an hour of opening.

Vibrant, gold colour. Speaks of a ripe year.

Nose shouts Chardonnay, but also Chablis. Restrained stone fruits, a hint of melon and flint and chalk.

Palate is a delight. Flavours as per nose but flint comes through strongly on the finish. The wine is intense and finishes long. This is excellent in giving the impression, or the overall sense of Chablis from a riper year - but it retains discipline and restraint. What is missing, of course, is the detail of Chablis. For that you have to go to the Premier Cru sites; which is why they exist. In terms of value for money I would score this much more highly. In this vintage, the Mont de Milieu is my favourite and it is worth the extra outlay, but if you want everyday Chablis, or if your purse is limited, this gives everything you could ask for. Enjoy it. It is really good.
White
7/17/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
91 points
Under cork, note made day after opening, no decant. This wine has become much better integrated in the time open and it has opened up, although I think it is the real cellaring prospect from this maker's 2019 line-up.

The colour is a vibrant green-gold, a touch deeper, perhaps than the Mont de Milieu.

The nose is still quite tightly wound, nougat, stone fruit (white peach?) and the palate is much more classical Chablis than the 2019 Mont de Milieu - more minerality, more sea spray and oyster shell. The Milieu is the one to let rip with right now, this is the keeper. The warmth of the vintage aside, I think this might be a wonderful wine in 5-10 years.

My score reflects the wine where it is now - I would score it significantly higher on potential.
Red
7/17/2021 - Rote Kappelle wrote:
88 points
Under stelvin, note made 24 hours after opening. The wine had not changed greatly, so it likely has good cellaring potential.

I was really looking forward to trying this wine. Somehow it did not enthuse. Make no mistake, it is well made and very good, but I get no magic. My score reflects the Cellar Tracker scale, so don't dismiss the wine because of the numerical score.

The colour is medium deep ruby-garnet, but not vibrant and that, I think, is the key to my sense of dissatisfaction.

The nose is fairly simple, on the sweeter Grenache spectrum, not quite jammy, or baked but heading that way.

The palate is quite substantial, but dominated by astringent tannins and flavours that, whilst enjoyable enough, fall away a bit quickly and seem a little hollow. A fairly simple wine. I won't give up on this winery, but this hardly wins me over.
White
7/17/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under cork, sadly, note made about 6 hours after opening (though it had not altered in that time).

A typically bright, gold hued wine from CB.

The nose immediately alerts style police everywhere. Clemens Busch might be one of the more polarising wine stylists in Germany. The nose is of grilled pineapple, apricot, a touch of apricot kernel and ginger and it is hard not to think of botrytis, but the wine smells bone dry.

In the mouth this wine is intense, finishes dry and long and the flavours are as per the palate. I find myself wondering if there are not some bitter phenol compounds coming from skin contact that, for me, detract slightly from what is otherwise a really good wine that carries its idiosyncracies well. However, I think I would go straight for the GG's in this maker's lineup - they are truly extraordinary wines.
Red
7/17/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
90 points
Under cork, of course, so who knows what the next bottle will be like. Opened and decanted about 8 hours before this note.

Colour is deep, brick red, with some fading at rim, as you tilt the glass.

On first opening this wine seemed quite oaky and there was some rich fruit, in the prune spectrum. Now, the wine smells well integrated, fully mature, dominated by aromas of truffle, earth, baked beef bones, some prune elements and a slightly sherried note.

In the mouth the wine delivers flavours dominated by prune, truffle and earth, with oloroso sherry to finish. Tannins remain quite plentiful on the finish, fairly fine but certainly not resolved. This works well with lamb backstrap in a red wine reduction sauce. You might score this a little higher, or a bit lower, depending on how you feel about a wine that is fully mature and how you perceive the tannins and that note of sherry at the end.
Red
7/15/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Screw cap, note made after drinking over 24 hours, no decant.

This wine is a vibrant purple in the glass, deep and almost inky.

The aromas of blackberry fruit, pencil shaving and vanilla oak come at you out of the glass like the barbarian hordes crossing the Rhine in the winter of 406 AD. Makes me think of Bachman Turner's 'Not Fragile' album.

The palate is huge. On opening, there was, however, just a hint of over-ripeness and a certain hollowness that sometimes comes in hot seasons when the grapes have got a bit too ripe; in 2020 there was savage heat, then some rain and cooler weather - does it show in the wine? Next day, this wine has filled out and that issue has receded, though not entirely gone. There is a little leafiness to be found but overall it is ripe fruit and oak. It is impressive and not jammy, or baked, but I am not quite won over on style grounds. If you like big Oz shiraz with a touch of finesse, then this is for you and my concerns are irrelevant.
Red
7/15/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
92 points
Under stelvin, note made after about 6 hours open, no decant.

Medium deep cherry/ruby, intensity of colour to rim as glass tilted.

Nose is a lush mix of strawberry and raspberry, a hint of earth and, possibly, a touch of oak derived spice?

Palate is luscious, with good length and intensity and finished by very fine, ripe, supportive tannins. The mouth feel is a real star here - velvety, yet there is just the right amount of tannin and acid to ensure the wine doesn't seem dead, or baggy. Flavours as per the nose. Fruit forward in style but none the worse for it. You will want to guzzle. I could mark this higher, although I would want a little more complexity for that. However, this is outstanding drinking and they deserve praise for making such a delightful wine.

I guess this might cellar, but why bother when it is so good now?
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
7/13/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
I am a miserable bastard, unlike this wine, which has the joy, elegance and breeding that I so conspicuously lack.

This is from a screw cap, so no Russian roulette with TCA and all the other bugbears associated with the ridiculous cork. Note made about 5 hours after opening, no decant.

Colour is vibrant dark cherry and only a little fading towards rim as one tilts the glass.

Nose is of ripe raspberry fruit, a hint of wine gum and something a little spicy. Fear not - no lolly water elements here.

Palate is wonderfully alive, intense, long and potent. Flavours as per nose. There is something here that reminds me of the final scene in the movie 'Casablanca'. Perhaps this lacks the complexity of the 2019, although it is not a simple wine. By God it is gorgeous. If you don't respond to this you are probably dead, or may as well be.

This wine is perfect for hedonists everywhere.

Straight Grenache is not an easy thing - it has a tendency to go from nearly ripe to over-ripe and porty in a heartbeat and the tannins can be tricky. The tannins here are superbly handled.
Red
2020 Paralian Grenache Shiraz McLaren Vale Grenache Blend, Grenache (view label images)
7/13/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
This is an exciting producer in the newer McLaren Vale style that looks to keep the sweet, ripe element, but also to introduce a bit more elegance and aromatic lift.

The bottle is under a sensible, reliable seal, not cork. Opened about 6 hours, undecanted, when I made this note.

Colour is deep, magenta and cherry, alive and with a little fading towards rim as you tilt glass. The colour speaks of power and depth to come.

The nose is a wonderful mix of Grenache raspberry and Shiraz blackberry, with a hint of greenery, pepper and smoke for complexity. Is there also a quiet note of vanillan oak? There is almost a fruit pastille element here. Don't mistake this for lolly water, however.

The palate is vivacious, succulent, svelte, intense and long. I think this is exceptional at the price and damned good at any price. Tannins are supporting this wine; they are not assertive but are ripe, well regulated and will support cellaring. There is enough acid to ensure that the wine is unlikely to end up tasting tired or baked if you do cellar it. Flavours are as per nose.

I love this. Grenache is a tricky bugger, especially as a single varietal. I love what it can do when blended with Shiraz or Mourvedere. This wine was from a real bastard of a summer in Oz, but the cooling sea breezes that come in the afternoon at McLaren Vale seem to have tempered the excesses of the summer. If you want a glass of bottled sunshine, with elegance and poise then get this. It really is worth finding.
White
7/13/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
This wine is under cork, note made about 5 hours after opening, from bottle, no decant.

Colour is light gold, no green tints and it is more gold than I would consider normal in so young a wine. It speaks of a warm, dry vintage. There is clarity and the wine looks lively, not flat (worth noting when one speaks of gold colour in a young wine).

The nose has opened up over time, as expected but remains quite restrained, tight but suggesting ripe Chardonnay characters of melon and white peach, with a hint of flintiness and gun-powder.

The palate is enticing. It is rich by Chablis standards but taut, long and intense. Flavours as per nose. The texture is attractive - starting supple but finishing with a twist of acid and flint.

So, a really very fine, even superb Chardonnay, but how does it stand as Chablis? This takes us to the issue of typicity, surely as vexed a matter as the Trinity in the Christian religious cult. As a Chardonnay I could easily score this at 95-96. As a Chablis, the issue is that this is more ripe and more like a White Burgundy than I think of when the name Chablis is spoken. However, this also assumes that a region has little vintage variation. There has to be an argument that this is a wonderful example of a warmer year in Chablis, but that it retains some of the desired salinity, flintiness and taut structure that are characteristic of Chablis. I guess it really comes down to what you are looking for. Regardless, it is really very good wine, maybe even more than that. Try it and see for yourself.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red - Fortified
7/11/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Half bottle, under screw cap, note made about 20 mins after opening, not decanted.

The Frasier fans amongst us (Hail cork master!) will appreciate the line that came to mind as I poured this into the glass "Why did you do it, son?"

I have committed infanticide here. Whilst I loathe the offspring of the human form, vinous infanticide is a crime most heinous. As soon as I poured this, the bright purple-red colour told me I had been naughty.

It is important to understand that Oz 'port' styles are generally bigger, bolder and bouncier than their Portuguese forebears. I like both styles.

Whilst the 2011 vintage was generally a real swine in Oz, in the west and the Hunter/Mudgee areas, it was a very good year. It is about 1000 kilometers from the Hunter to the areas of SE Oz that had the horrors in 2011 and WA, of course is about 3 times as far away. Always worth keeping in mind the vast distances in Oz when looking at vintage.

The colour is inky, dense and a vibrant purple-red. The nose is recognisably Shiraz- blackberry, Satsuma plum, a little liquorice. There is no evidence of age and the wine, now, is not that complex. Alcohol is not an issue - the fruit swallows it up.

The palate is rich, intense and long, but also more vibrant than in many Oz port styles, where the fruit can be a bit baked and dead. There is good acid here and the palate is closer to Oporto than the nose.

The negative, right now, is that the wine lacks complexity, but this is (I think) a reflection of its youth - I feel confident that given time it will develop complexity and this will become a superb fortified, probably 4-5 points higher than my current rating. Well worth finding and putting away for at least 10 years, probably 20. My apologies to this wine for so rudely interrupting it.
White
7/10/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
This wine comes under the wonderful screwcap, so no concerns about the spiteful TCA. Note made after 3 hours open, no decant.

The first thing that I have to say is what tremendous value this is. 2019 is a very highly regarded vintage in Germany and it shows. My score would be higher again if one was looking at what you get for the price.

Colour is surprisingly clear, suggesting some discipline to come (own up, gentlemen, you love it).

Nose is exciting - hints of lemon sorbet, some tropical fruit, salinity and ginger flower.

Palate is intense, long and wonderful. Flavours as per nose, but this wine has real refinement and whilst it is a flavour bomb, it stays taught and trim and terrific. Get a case minimum and guzzle for sheer joy of living and hunt down the Turmberg, Grafenberg etc. but make sure you leave some for me, damn you.
Red
2018 A. Rodda Cuvée de Chez Beechworth Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
7/10/2021 - Rote Kappelle wrote:
90 points
This note made a day after opening, no decant. Score is based on the Cellar Tracker system and indicates a wine on the cusp between very good and excellent.

Beechworth and Cabernet strikes me as potentially high reward, but also high risk - the grape ripens later in the season and I always feel it needs a lot of things to come together to get the grapes and, especially, the tannins ripe. I love Cabernet, but the tendency to lean and mean and green has to be respected. Last night my sense was that that this wine had come up trumps on this score. Tonight I have just a small note of hesitancy.

Colour is magenta, a wonderful purple-red. Very deep, bordering on inky.

There's a wonderful fragrance and lift to this wine on the nose. Violets, something bigger and sweeter - raspberry and dark red roses, a note of liquorice, some herbs. Complex and attractive.

The palate delivers sweet berry fruits, almost compote, along with liquorice and alcohol slipperiness. Intense and very long. This is great value. I could easily score this 3-4 points higher and, depending on your own preferences you might. I really like this a lot, but something is holding me back - perhaps the strength of the liquorice/medicinal element in a wine so young? The tannins seem supple enough, but I wonder if there might be a bitter element that becomes distracting over time in the cellar? On the other hand, drunk now it is slurpable and great. This is a really interesting wine and I encourage you to find it and try it. Get one of his Chardonnay's while you are at it and have a night of hedonism. See for yourself whether my hesitation is merited; you will enjoy the journey, regardless of whether you agree with me, or not.
Red
7/10/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
Note made about 4 hours after opening and decanting.

Colour shows some of what I regard as characteristic Barolo bricking (you can see it in quite young Barolo and it doesn't mean the wine is starting to enter its later stage of life), with a deep garnet centre, fading as you tilt the glass with a noticeable clear edge.

Wonderful, arresting nose of plum, strawberry, candied peel, something slightly medicinal (some people might find this off putting - I don't) and a hint of dried herbs. Heaven.

Palate delivers on the promise of the nose and in spades. This wine has great intensity, tremendous length and drive and the tannins are fine and ripe, albeit plentiful. This is drinking pleasure. What on earth was I doing drinking a budget price Pinot last night? Clearly dabbling in social democrat tendencies, when I should have gone the full Partisan and stayed with my Brigate Ross roots. If this wine doesn't have you wanting to belt out 'Ciao Bella Ciao' then you must be dead (or deserve to be). Dare I say it, this is damned near better than battery and far less exertion.

There was a moment of serendipity here as Neil Young's 'Pocohontas' came on my sound system as I was gargling and the ethereal elements of this wine sat nicely with the whimsical and even dream-like elements of Young's Pocohontas.

Sarmassa tends to develop a bit more power than Cannubi and you see it in this wine. The 2013 vintage delivers yet another really good, relatively early drinking pleasure. A vintage worth hunting out whilst you wait for the 2010's to really develop.
Red
7/9/2021 - Rote Kappelle wrote:
86 points
From screw cap, undecanted, about 30 minutes open in a Riedel Burg glass.

The numeric score reflects the Cellar tracker rating system, so it means I think this wine is very good and noting the price about as good as one has any right to expect.

For a budget Pinot, you are getting good quaffing. I don't like the oak treatment, which provides too much smokiness/char and some distracting (to me) pencil shaving, as well as some oak derived 'lift'. This wine has just been released and with a few months it may settle down and integrate more. The palate yields a bit more fruit than the oak encased nose- dark cherry and there is admirable persistence and intensity. How you feel about oak will determine how you feel about this wine, at this point at least. I will add that I have been accosted by plenty of Burgundy that is of Village level or higher that is no better than this (but a damned sight more expensive) and is just as reliant on oak and extraction to cover for fruit of moderate/quaffing wine quality.
Red
6/26/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
94 points
Under the hated cork, this note made about 4 hours after opening, not decanted (I plan to drink most of this tomorrow), from Riedel Bordeaux.

The colour is a shade lighter than the 2009 that I am also drinking at this time (it's a dirty job but someone's got to do it), brighter than the 2009 and no indication of bricking.

The nose is as fresh as the colour would suggest; extraordinary really for a 13 year old wine. Dominated by primary characters of red cherry, perhaps a hint of Kirsch, a glace cherry element, some dried herbs and a hint of tar. Glorious!

The palate is already approachable but I have to say that this is a wine that could clearly lap up more time; I think you win either way. The flavours are as per the nose, this is more elegant than the 2009 and, arguably, better for it. No issues with length and intensity - top notch. Tannins are a strong presence, of course, but they are ripe and more fine than in the 2009. I am in love.

One has to be careful about who one opens Nebs for. I opened a beautiful Paolo Scavino 2007 Bric del Fiasc for some of my more bovine drinking companions and it was as though I had served up a particularly malodorous turd in a glass for them. As I age I become more and more of the view that there are people who for all their good qualities are, essentially, Hobbits, fiercely resistant to anything that smacks of broadening one's experience. Just give them what they know and pick your audience for the more nuanced or 'out there' experiences, including Barolo and Barbaresco.
4 people found this helpful Comments (3)
Red
6/26/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
Under the ridiculously archaic cork; why not make the bottles from hand blown glass, or hand made clay amphoras as well? In the 21st century using a seal as bedeviled with problems as cork is simply idiotic and/or mulish. Much better options are available. It seems quite clear looking at the notes on this wine that the significant variation is down not just to the idiosyncracies of the various contributors but to the poor quality of cork as a closure. Here endeth today's rant.

This note made about 12 hours after opening and decanting. I use Reidel Bordeaux with Neb, having found it works better than other shapes.

The wine is of medium depth, garnet and a fair amount of brick, a little on the turbid side and with some fading to the rim as one tilts the glass. As Nebs often head to brick hues fairly early I am usually cautious about assuming too much from the brick in the colour. The slight murkiness is another matter.

The nose is dominated by smoky tar and some anise/liquorice; secondary characters consistent with the colour. Then comes some attractive dark cherry.

The palate is potent, long and intense. The palate has the same elements as per the nose but the fruit is more present and there is even a hint of prune and plum. It is a complex wine with robust tannins that are now coming into better balance with the fruit. Earlier, the tannins were verging on Stalinist. I have read one writer assert that 2009, although very warm, often resulted in somewhat under-ripe tannins, as the vines shut down too often for the tannins to ripen fully, creating a disjunct with the very ripe fruit. I think there might be something in that with this wine, but how this impacts your enjoyment of the wine will depend on your tannin tolerance. I have to say that I love this and the tannins are not an impediment; as with many great things, one sometimes has to look around the odd flaw, or slight imperfection. The sum here is really very good indeed. The wine is also now freshening up, compared to earlier, when it seemed slightly tired.

I am tempted to say that this wine probably has a long life ahead of it, but the issue is bottle variation because of the crappy seal. A bottle I had a year ago was far more fresh and even after a day decanted was clearly still too young, whilst this bottle is in a really nice spot now. I could easily have scored this at 94 - it is on the cusp.
3 people found this helpful Comments (4)
Red
6/25/2021 - Rote Kappelle Likes this wine:
93 points
From a bottle with a functional closure, note made after about 3 hours open, no decant.

Before proceeding I will own up to a sentimental fondness for this winery. I think most would admit that time and place and occasion can sometimes be as important as objective criteria when it comes to wine. We are both emotional and intellectual creatures. My visit to this winery came as a pleasant break in my first year running my own legal practice and the sense of release was tremendous. The winery staff were pleasant, the building and setting most harmonious and my wife (a splendid person), on the brink of divorcing me (as it turned out), was in a kindly mood. So, I may not be as objective as I should otherwise be.

This is not an expensive wine, at all. I think a review should reflect that. What one expects in a $500 wine is very different to a $25 one. I think there is great value for money in this wine but if you put it up against top notch Temps from Rioja it may not be a happy night for the family from the Barossa.

Colour is medium deep garnet and there is noticeable bricking. When you tilt the glass there is discernible fading to the rim. So, I am not expecting a blockbuster.

Nose is of Plum, sarsaparilla, a hint of cinnamon, some leaf, a mineral character and iron. Attractively savoury and that is unusual from the Barossa, where sweet, often chewy and jammy fruit tends to be the rule. There is more volume here than the colour would lead me to expect.

The palate has surprising intensity and very good length. the tannins are largely resolved but the wine still has some structure. There is a strong raspberry element that I don't pick up on the nose, that is attractive, whilst the savoury elements come through strongly on the finish. I really like this wine. It went very happily with steak and fully vindicated my decision to give it a few years to soften. This would stack up nicely against the mid rank of Rioja's.

2012 was a cooler Barossa year, with a wet Spring. It is regarded as a classic Barossa year, because the sometimes over the top ripeness was kept in check. I encourage you to check this winery's stuff, but if your spouse seems to be cutting you more slack than usual, it might be worth consulting your lawyer and moving some assets. On the other hand, it may presage a civilized divorce (partly because of the wine?).
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