Sunday, June 20, 2010

The W Files: Winter, Wine, Wine Front & Walsh

Winter has hit the Barossa Ranges. It's magnificent. Rainy days, freezing nights, and the daily evening drive up to the Ranges, via Mengler's Hill, is always challenging in the thick pea-soup fog. I simply love it! This area never ceases to amaze me with its natural beauty no matter what season it is but in the winter it really puts on a show. If you are out and about early enough in the mornings, as you drive into Angaston, the gullies fill with mist and it really does look like there are oceans between the hill-top ridges. It is also the season for home-cooked farm-style meals and lots of red wines. Divine.

So it's no surprise that June is the release date for a very special book written by two passionate wine appreciators, Campbell Mattinson and Gary Walsh. Their job must be rather intense working their way through numerous tasting samples submitted to them throughout the year, but somehow they seem to survive, and come up with a terrific guide for the punters. We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Karra Yerta has an inclusion in the 2010/2011 edition. The Big Red Wine Book is available from any
good book store for around $24.95 and you can also follow the guys on their Twitter site or become a member of their website, The Wine Front.

We suggest that you grab a copy of this book as soon as possible as there are some sensational recommendations in it (more than one thousand!), but in the meantime, here is the review that Gary wrote on our newly released 2007 Shiraz Cabernet. For your information, 93 points falls into the 91-94 point category which is described as 'Excellent. Better than excellent. Hunt out a good price and buy up'.
We also featured in the Best Red Blends over $20.

Karra Yerta 2007 Shiraz Cabernet

Price: $25
Region: Barossa Valley, Eden Valley

Alcohol: 14.5%

Seal: Screwcap

Value: 4/5

Auction: N/A

Score: 93/100

Only 170 dozen of this wine produced.

2007 Release.

It's not a big wine but it's full of flavour and charm. It's beautifully made too. It tastes of chocolate, florals, menthol, blackberries and pepper spice. There's a nice clip of cedary oak too. Chewy tannins add texture and it has a long, chocolatey finish. Lovely quality and lovely to drink. Walsh describes it as 'a real elbow tilter'. DRINK 2010 - 2017.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Old wines, new reviews and other news!

Now, while I am on a roll, on the writing front, I will add an entry on two fabulous recent reviews we received, plus another snippet that is wine-related. One review is from Julian Coldrey, the other from Jeremy Pringle (both Brisbane-ites) and the final person to rate a mention, is Sydney-sider, Andrew Graham. All three of these fellows have been mentioned by me before, and again, I thank them for not only being great advocates for the wine industry, but also for their support and encouragement of small wineries. Sometimes when you are so small, as we are, it is hard to get people in the media world to try your wines, let alone get a response out of them. These three guys are totally awesome and on behalf of the entire Australian wine industry, I thank them all for their passion and integrity.

The first review was published on Julian's website, Full Pour, and featured our 2005 Karra Yerta Wines Bullfrog Flat Shiraz:

Karra Yerta Wines 2005 Bullfrog Flat Shiraz

There's a reason why I've not posted recently, and it's not entirely related to a lack of time. I have indeed tasted several wines this week. And they were all crap. Which does wear one down after a while. The point of my drinking, or so I have convinced myself, is to enjoy moments of abstract sensual pleasure. I drink wine for the same reason I listen to music; to hear, feel, disagree, discover. In other words, I drink to experience beauty. So a series of ugly wines gives me absolutely nothing to write other than tiresomely self-reflective introductions like this.

Anyway, it's Saturday night and I'm worth a good wine. So out popped this sample from my tasting pile, a wine that has been waiting a few months to be experienced. I tasted the companion Barossa Shiraz a few weeks ago and found it intensely pleasurable. So it was with pleasure that my first smells and tastes of this wine revealed a similarly characterful, regionally-driven wine. Which you prefer may simply come down to your passion for one region's flavour profile over another.

Fabulous aromas of dirt roads and crushed stone, along with warm blackberries and well-judged, nutty oak. This is one to smell through the course of an entire evening, and to watch duck and weave through its full range of expressions, including the merest hint of aged leather. To be sure, there's a lot in here, yet it's not a self-consciously difficult wine. It just is, with a sense of easy, natural vibrancy that speaks both of its origins and its intent.

Entry brings dense, liqueur-like fruit into focus at the temporary expense of some minerality, but the latter is flung back into the picture on the mid-palate, which is the wine's high point of complexity. The structure is notable at this point, with firm underlying acidity and plush tannins keeping things in shape without ever seeming like the main event. A bit of vanillan oak pokes out its head through the after palate, but this wine is and remains all about spectacular fruit character; squashed blackberries and stones and dusty summers.

What a treat. This is easily a $40 wine.

Price: $A25
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample
The second review was published on Jeremy's website, Wine Will Eat Itself, and featured our (Museum stock left only) 2005 Karra Yerta Wines Barossa Shiraz:

Karra Yerta Wines 2005 Barossa Shiraz

Barossa 14.6% Screwcap $25 Source: Sample

I've been known to swoon over Karra Yerta, so I'll warn you now; I'm going to do it again. This is precisely the sort of wine that reminds me exactly why I do what I do. A wine that created a palpable sense of excitement as I drank it.

The amount of evolution that it underwent over the course of 5 hours in a flat bottomed decanter was stunning. I enjoy the fact that wine is a living thing. It's the subtle movement of a bottle's attributes which create so much of the interest and joy I derive from this strange and entrancing liquid.

Sweet blackberry & red cherry berry fruit along with earthy notes and bottle age leather & truffle. Soft and plush yet detailed, with a velvet entry quickly being pulled into a formation of real conviction. There's a fair bit of
coffeed tannin ready to see the fruit through a few years yet. More plum and red cherry than raspberry with savoury dark chocolate adding another distinct layer of rich flavour. Some rusticity with a slightly ferrous edge. The finish seems to linger for an eternity. This is simply, seriously gorgeous stuff. The acidity is integrated but still fresh and I loved the tannin presence and chewiness. As it breathed, the wine loosened up, adding a sexy hint of liqueur cherry that offset the earthy depth perfectly, and all the complex components came together into one cohesive and beguiling identity.

It was a privilege to drink, especially given that very little museum stock of the original 64 cases remains. Look out for the next release. I can hardly wait.

Winery Website-

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Finally, not a review, but still a terrific snippet of news is that my new business, Collective Barossa, featured in an article written by Andrew Graham, in the current edition (June/July 2010) of Gourmet Wine Traveller. It's a wonderful article and describes just what the Collective Barossa shop is all about. Grab a copy tomorrow, turn to page 15 and see what Andrew so kindly wrote about us. In the same edition, there is also a fabulous article on Riesling which is one thing I always like to see:)

Cheers for now, it's time for my final effort at writing for the day - our first ever newsletter for Collective Barossa:)

Karra Yerta Wines 2010 Vintage Report

It's a lovely winter evening in the Barossa Ranges; the wood fire is going, dinner is cooking, the rain has been gently falling most of the day and I have finally managed to pin down the man of the house to get a 2010 Vintage Report. He's had a long day at the local football so is a little weary but we'll give it a shot anyway:

The first crop to come off this year, as always, was the Barossa Shiraz, which we source from a fabulous fellow in the Moppa region of the Barossa floor, and have done now for the past six years. The grapes from this vineyard are always (what I find, anyway) true Barossa shiraz flavours;
black cherry and chocolate. It was picked a little earlier this year, in an attempt to avoid high alcohol levels, therefore the style may be a little leaner than in other years, but it is still looking very good. This wine is now safely tucked away in a French Oak barrel, to do its wonderful thing; evolve.

The next pick was the Eden Valley Riesling on March 7th, from the Karra Yerta vineyard in the high Barossa Ranges. This was also picked earlier and it again shows strong terroir; river pebbles, minerality and a perfect balance of acid. We hand-picked around three tonne which will produce about 150 cases, maybe a little more. This wine will be bottled soon and released near the end of the year.

This year, when we picked our eighty-year old semillon, we decided to keep some of it for ourselves. It was picked at 22 baume, and had great acid and a wonderful, natural PH, which maintained its freshness. It had been cordon cut about three weeks prior to picking, and this is what raised the baume. This wine is also in barrel, awaiting its next stage. It may even be bottled as early as September, giving us a sweet sauterne style wine to add to our portfolio.
The photo with this blog entry is of James tasting the results of this little venture, about a month ago:)

The Eden Valley Shiraz from the Karra Yerta vineyard was picked on April 5th (a panic pick before the rain, which did indeed come only a matter of hours after we had the grapes safely out of the weather) at around 14.2 baume. The crop was about average in yield, and shows great Eden Valley varietal characters of blueberries, blackberries and stone, and has a perfect natural acid balance. This is also evolving in a French Oak barrel, and will be doing so for the next 18 months at least.

Finally, we managed to again source 3/4 tonne of fine Eden Valley Cabernet. This will be used in our Shiraz Cabernet blend, which going on the past release of the 2006, and shortly, 2007, is very popular indeed.

All in all, our 2010 Vintage has turned out really well and we look forward to being able to share these wines with you in the future. Whilst these are going to be many months wait, the release of the 2008 reds is getting closer, and that is something to very much look forward to!