- December 2013

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- September 2013


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Scott Ninnis
Welcome to the very best part of my job, sampling one of our world class wines and giving my thoughts on them each month.


 New review coming soon!!



December 2013

Tscharke 2012 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre

December1Yes, it's that time again fellow wine lovers!

Just in time for the New Year, December's Wine of the Month takes us to one of the very best experiences that the Barossa has on offer, Tscharke's Place.

Damien and Eva Tscharke opened their incredible cellar door in September 2011 and have been going from strength to strength ever since.

The German designed building is a unique landmark in the Barossa and well worth the visit (I might even know a good way to get there!). Just make sure you ask Damien for a look at his underground cellar, you won't be disappointed.

Tscharke's produces a number of evolving varieties such as Montepulciano, Savagnin, Graciano, Touriga and Tempranillo as well as Barossa classics such as Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The latter group is where we take this month's tasting from, the classic Southern Rhone blend and Barossa favourite the GSM, a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre (or Mataro). Although technically a GMS with a higher percentage of Mourvedre than Shiraz, we didn't let the fine print get in the way of enjoying this lovely wine.

This month's tasting was once again done with members of the elusive 'Tool Time' wine club, a group that has a waiting list of over 10 years!

Regular contributors Mark Calligeros, perhaps the world's most highly sought after and expensive lawyer; respected wine figure Uby Faddoul, a man regularly confused with famous movie stars because of his brooding good looks, and Adelaide socialite and party boy Paul Bell made up this month's tasters at one of our regular hotspots, T-Chow restaurant in the heart of China Town in the city. Guest imbiber Patrick Comerford, another 'man about town' in the Paul Bell mould was our special guest taster for the day.

GSM's by nature are fantastic food wines and the Tscharke Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre certainly did not disappoint in this regard. We paired it with just about everything on the menu from entrees such as Salt and Pepper Squid and Dumplings to mains such as Green Peppercorn Chicken, Sizzling Beef, Twin Baked Pepper Pork Ribs and T-Chow Duck, my point being that this is an extremely versatile wine that goes VERY well with many different and varied foods!

Mark described it as an easy drinking GSM with lots of flavour. We both felt it had plenty of pepper on the palate and Mark also commented on the nice berry overtones as well. He felt Grenache was the hero of the blend as you would expect but all in all, a very happy union of the three varieties.

Paul said the wine was very good...

Uby said that once again Tscharke's had produces a very well structured blend with a wonderfully fruity burst on hitting the palate that is delicately balanced.

This is a great 'drink now' wine that will also satisfy those that are patient enough to lay it down for a couple of years (I however, do not fit into this category!).

Ridiculously underpriced at only $22 a bottle, do yourself a favour and get your hands on some of this fantastic blend sooner rather that later. Even better, get up to the Barossa and go and say g'day to the Tscharke's in person.


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November 2013

Cirillo Estate 2012 Vincent Grenache

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Welcome to November's Wine of the Month.....finally!

We head back to the Barossa for this month’s tasting and to an incredible part of the world, Cirillo Estate Vineyards.

Cirillo Estate has what’s believed to be the oldest Grenache vines in the world!

Yes, you read that correctly... 

Marco Cirillo and his father before him have been the custodians of these 165 year old vines for the last 41 years and the only two that have worked the vineyard in that time (and just for good measure they have 165 year old Semillon vines, also believed to be the oldest of their kind in the world).

This month’s tasting was done with the mysterious 'Tool Time' wine club, a select group of individuals whose core mission is to 1) taste incredible wines 2) enjoy each others company and 3) talk copious amounts meaningless dribble trying to solve the meaning of life!

This group consists of Triple Olympian, Adelaide 36ers superstar and wine novice Brett Maher, regular contributor and Adelaide's finest lawyer Mark Calligeros, highly respected wine industry doyen and expert Uby Faddoul, and sports agents to the stars and wine consumer Paul 'Jerry Maguire' Bell.

November's Wine of the Month is the 2012 Vincent Grenache which comes from 80 year old vines, a relative baby compared to its aforementioned 165 year old cousin!

The Vincent was named after Marco's father, his testament to the man who has handed down eight generations of winemaking to him (dating back a lazy 350 years to their original Italian heritage) and is made in the same way as the flagship 1850 Grenache, using whole berry fermentation and basket pressing.

The wine sees 12 months in 70 year old Foudre barrels, something very different to the modern day methods currently used in the majority of the Barossa.

On the nose, most of us detected great fruit characters and a hint of pepper, with the palate being balanced with an extremely generous mouth fill and a long finish.

Mark described the wine as having a great body, a pepper accent along with a sweet Barossa finish, very drinkable, very well balanced and very satisfying.

While Brett, completely and utterly making up any comment he had ever heard about wine before described it as having undertones of blackcurrant, tasting chocolate on the back of his tongue and tantalizing his senses! He did actually thoroughly enjoy the wine though!

Paul said the wine was good...

The final word should go to Uby and I quote:

'I am in total disbelief as to how a wine produced from 80 year old vines can be so fresh, vibrant and full of life!

Historically not being a straight Grenache consumer, this is the type of wine that has the capacity of engaging people like me to believe that quality Grenache should not be blended away!

Coming into summer, this is a great wine that can be consumed on a late, lazy afternoon on its own. Alternatively, enjoy it with herbaceous and lightly spiced continental sausages, antipasto goods and mild cheeses with attitude.

I encourage you to give this wine a go!'

Absolutely ridiculously underpriced at around the $20 per bottle mark, check them out at Cirillo Estate Wines or contact me directly for more info.


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Marco Cirillo and Scott   

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October 2013

III Associates 2012 Four Score Grenache

2010-four-score-grenacheOctober's Wine of the Month is finally here and this time we venture south to the beautiful McLaren Vale to one of my absolute favourite places, McLaren Vale III Associates.

The III Associates have been receiving worldwide recognition for their fantastic wines, especially their Squid Ink and Giant Squink Shiraz.

Recent accolades in New Zealand, and the unbelievable feat of receiving the ‘Best Wine’ at the Vienna International Wine Show last year for the 2010 Giant Squid Ink Shiraz placed this small but incredibly talented winery well and truly on the international landscape (did I mention that just a lazy 11,000+ wines were entered!).

Their Shiraz has been getting the plaudits, but Grenache is where we decided to head for this month’s tasting.

The 2012 Four Score Grenache from vines planted in 1928 located outside the cellar door is the wine that we were fortunate enough to sample this month (under the guise of research of course!).

These old vines are completely dry grown and as the name suggests have been producing for well over 80 years.

The 100% Grenache spent 24 months in two and three year old American and French oak and like everything else I have tasted from winemaker Brian Light, this wine is nothing short of exceptional!

My tasting was once again done with wine connoisseur, Grenache lover and lawyer to the stars, Mark 'The Evil One' Calligeros.

The wine looks deep red in the glass and on the nose we detected berries, and possibly even a hint of vanilla. The tasting notes also mentioning spice with deep intensity combined with subtle oak maturation of the older barrels.

The palate showed berries and spice, and Mark detected a touch of sweetness at the front but with fine tannins at the finish – something backed up by the tasting notes.

This wine is very well balanced and is an incredible Grenache, a variety that is very quickly becoming my favourite and just about the perfect food match!

Even though this wine is just a baby, having being harvested in mid-March 2012, the complexity and balance of this wine will see it cellar for several years.

Overall an awesome wine from one of the absolute best wineries and cellar doors in not just McLaren Vale, but the whole of South Australia. The 'Four Score' is a bargain at $35 per bottle and definitely worth a bottle (or dozen!).

As Molly Meldrum would say, do yourself a favour and go and see the good folk at the III Associates on Foggo Road at McLaren Vale and tell them I said g'day.

Visit III Associates for more details

Until next month,



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October 2013 winemaker

 Steve Crichton, III Associates Sales and Marketing Manager

October 2013 tasting

Mark and Scott 

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September 2013

Langmeil 2011 Valley Floor Shiraz

Langmeil Valley Floor ShirazMy very first review is from one of my favourite wineries, Langmeil, a Barossa winery with origins dating back to 1843.

Langmeil is home to what is believed to be the world's oldest known Shiraz vines, the 'Freedom' vines which celebrate their 170th birthday this year, and the 152 year old 'Orphan Bank' Shiraz vines. Both are outstanding examples of the best of what the Barossa has to offer.

2011 was a challenging year in the Barossa with a very wet winter and above average summer rainfall. The conditions resulted in no 'Freedom' or 'Orphan Bank' being made in 2011 due to not being quite to the high standard that Langmeil demands. The good news is that the fruit from these vines had to go somewhere! 

The 'Valley Floor' Shiraz has long been a favourite of mine. It offers fantastic value for money at $29.50 a bottle and shows all of the characteristics of a typical Barossa Shiraz.

It sources fruit from a number of vineyards in the Barossa from vines anywhere from nine to 120 years old, and spends 18 months in a combination of 13% new American oak, 5% new French oak and 82% seasoned American oak hogsheads.

My tasting was done with close friend Mark 'Evil' Calligeros, one of Adelaide's pre-eminent lawyers and a fellow wine enthusiast.

The wine looks very inviting in the glass with a deep crimson colour. We paired it with Sizzling Beef and Salt & Pepper Pork from T-Chow in Adelaide’s China Town in the heart of the city – one of our regular haunts.

Mark and I detected plums and raspberry on the nose, while the tasting notes also mention chocolate, cedar, white pepper and spice.

On the palate, the wine shows the great spicy fruit that we were hoping for and were expecting. Mark also picked up on a hint of vanilla with his second glass.

The 'Valley Floor' is a fantastically well balanced wine with a rich, round finish with hints of pepper at the end. As the wine opened up, we both commented about it being everything that a Barossa Shiraz is known for, but also being decidedly easy to drink, even now in its infancy.

This wine's structure will see it easily cellar for another 10 years if you have the will power!

It is easy to see why the staff at the Langmeil cellar door consider the Valley Floor to be the best Shiraz in the Barossa under $30, and it is pretty hard to argue against their logic. Do yourself a favour, grab a bottle of it and enjoy a fantastic wine at an even better price.

Visit Langmeil Winery for more details



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Langmeil Cellar Door Manager







Langmeil Cellar Door Manager, Jonathan 


Mark and Scott

Mark and Scott 


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