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Noble Wine Of The Week – Kelly Fleming Wines 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

July 25th, 2011

Reviewed by Stewart Noble from WineWithoutBS.com.au for AdrianErdedi.com

While Kelly Fleming wines have been available since 2005, the two current releases, the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and 2007 Cabernet are the first ‘Estate’ grown and made wines. The new estate winery is located in Oakville and opened in June 2010. It was such a treat to be given the full tour of this immaculate facility by Kelly Fleming and her daughter, Colleen.

The wine tunnel, or cave, which took over two years of blasting into the hillside of her property, is simply amazing and at the end of one tunnel there is a very well thought out museum (library) section where 16 cases of each vintage can be perfectly stored for ageing and enjoyment in the future. Kelly is clearly very proud of her brand new winery and she has every reason to be as it incredibly tasteful, well planned and very inviting.

For those not familiar with the difference between an estate wine and a non-estate wine, basically estate wine is made with grapes from vines owned, or at least fully controlled by, the winery and is made on site, or at the ‘Estate’. For those interested in some of the finer points on the definition of estate wines I have included a great site below which explains it in more detail.

Click here to read more about Estate Wines

The Kelly Fleming 2009 Estate Sauvignon Blanc has a few unique traits that made it stand out to me given the style I am used to having in Australia, whether it be from Australia or New Zealand. Firstly, it contains 2% Viognier, secondly it is blended from 50% French Oak treated and 50% stainless steel wine. It is also 14.5% alcohol which is pretty high for what would normally be a light, crisp, white wine.

It is light in colour and at times can appear almost clear but does have a pale straw/hay-like hue. I found the aroma to be fairly light, not at all like the the pungent Marlborough wines many would be more familiar with. There are hints of vanilla as a result of the French Oak and some noticeable fruity aromas like pear and some stone fruits.

Light fruit flavours on the palate included peach and pineapple in the after taste. The use of 50% oak is also noticeable in the flavour yet the wine is well balanced and enjoyable to drink.

Kelly Fleming Wines 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Price$30 USD plus taxes from www.kellyflemingwines.com (Currently not available in Australia)
Region - Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Final Sip - I recommend anyone travelling to Napa Valley check out this beautiful new winery and try both the 09 Sauvignon Blanc and 07 Cabernet. If you needed any more evidence of the quality of the wines then it would be worth noting the restaurants that can boast having Fleming Wines on their list include The Beverly Hills Hotel, Michael Mina and The French Laundry!


Noble Wine Of The Week – J.Lohr Estates 2009 Wildflower Valdiguié

April 12th, 2011

Reviewed by Stewart Noble from WineWithoutBS.com.au for AdrianErdedi.com

Ever since my first trip to the USA last year, where I drank nothing but American wines the entire time, I started to wonder why so few American wines are available in Australia. This isn’t about being unpatriotic, it’s about access to whatever wine I wish. I can go to virtually any large retail outlet and easily pick up a wine from New Zealand, France, Italy, Spain, Germany without having to look all that hard. However, if you want to get a wine made in the United States, and you take away the odd bottle of Oregon Pinot , you’ll have to look pretty carefully, unless you just happen to be lucky enough to live near one of the very few bottle shops that can boast some sort of USA wine selection.

I understand there are multiple reasons for this, not the least of which is the consideration from American wineries about whether Australia is a viable export market. California alone has a a population of just under 37 million, so why bother with a country on the other side of the world with just over 20 million?

Ian Lindsay, from USA Wines Direct, tells me that Australia exported over 25 million cases of Aussie wine to the US last year, yet we only imported  just over15, 000 cases of theirs! America may have a population 14 times larger than ours, but we are importing 1,666 times less wine than we are exporting. As Chris Rock would say, “That ain’t right!”

Thankfully, Ian is doing what he can to introduce American, and more specifically, Californian wines, into the Australia market and his portfolio currently boasts the biggest range of American wines in Australia. One of these wines is the J.Lohr 2009 Valdiguié, from Monterey on the Californian Coast, close to halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and just a few hours from the far more famous region of Napa Valley.

The Valdiguié grape was commonly referred to in California as ‘Napa Gamay’ and it was believed at one time that it actually was the Gamay grape, only to discover that this was not correct. Sounds a little like the recent fiasco in Australia with our Albariño turning out to be Savagnin!

This wine has a colour of deep purple and cherry red with an enticing aroma of ripe, red berry fruits. On my first sip of this completely new variety for me I thought “Wow… this is delicious!” Juicy fruit flavours and subtle natural sweetness make for an enjoyable wine that, when served slightly chilled, makes a fantastic, easy drinking summer red wine.

J.Lohr Estates 2009 Wildflower Valdiguié
Price -
$19.95 from www.usawinesdirect.com.au
Region – Monterey, California, USA
Final Sip -
A thoroughly enjoyable wine that, at $20 makes for the perfect entry level American wine experience.


Noble Wine Of The Week – Elyse Zinfandel

August 23rd, 2010

Review by Stewart Noble for AdrianErdedi.com

One week back from a trip to the United States that included two days in the country’s most famous wine region, Napa Valley, and I knew before I left that a Californian Zinfandel had to be my first review upon my return. You’ll have to do a bit of searching to find Australian Zinfandel’s, yet in California, Red Zinfandel sits just below Cabernet Sauvignon as the area’s staple red wine accounting for around 10% of all vines planted in the state.

I got a number of recommendations for good Zinfandel producers in the area from a great Sommelier at one of Napa’s  best restaurants, La Toque, so I had every confidence that the wines I was going to be trying during my visit would be high quality. First stop on my trip was a small producer called Elyse that started in 1986 with the first wine ever produced being a red Zinfandel from the Morisoli Vineyard. Now considered the labels signature wine I purchased a bottle and brought it back to Australia to share my thoughts on this classic Californian variety.

The wine has a lovely colour of both plum purple and cherry red with a nice aroma of spicy red fruit and just a hint of oak characters. Immediately smooth and enjoyable to drink the flavour follows the aroma with ripe fruit and tiny amounts of spice and oak. All of these components seem perfectly in balance and the finish is pleasant and actually a tiny bit savoury.

Elyse – 2007 ‘Morisoli Vineyard’ Zinfandel
Price – $37 USD from Elyse Tasting room/Cellar Door
Region - Napa Valley, USA
Recommended? Definitely, if you can get it! Unfortunately Elyse is not available in Australia but for any of our US readers or anyone travelling to Napa in the future I hope you can make time to stop and see the great guys at Elyse and experience what a high quality Zinfandel, made in the region that its famous for, is all about.