|Autumn Newsletter June 2012|
Autumn News Letter
By Peter Rigby
2010 PICARDY CHARDONNAY
The 2010 Picardy Chardonnay is very much in the mould of the 2009 vintage, which is currently being served on Qantas First Class. It is consistent with Picardy’s trend towards finer lower alcohol Chardonnays. This vintage shows more minerality, less citrus (lemon) and more lime-blossom. The nose offers decadent smoky notes and subtle bacon aromas balanced by citrusy overtones. As ever the fruit is subtle, even understated but intense and compelling at the same time. The higher proportion of whole bunch pressing gives this wine more texture. You can almost feel the tannin. The fruit sits in the tannin giving greater length with the gentle use of oak showing through (only 25% new barriques). Length is excellent and the low ph of this wine guarantees long cellaring, or an excellent match right now with local Marron gently poached in a cream and vermouth sauce with just a hint of chilli.
Drink now to 2018.
2010 PICARDY PINOT NOIR
A light, bright ruby colour in the glass, this wine’s medium weight appearance belies a wine of great finesse and character, bursting with fresh varietal definition and mouth-filling flavour. The nose is complex with intense aromatics offering up a spectrum of cherry, rose, plum, forest floor and underlying subtle oak. The palate is immediately enlivened with beautifully integrated acid and fruit, imparting the telltale sweet and sour sensation desirable in all top-flight Pinots. There are attractive tight fruit characters of sweet cherries, raspberries, and spicy strawberry, enhanced by a pleasing savoury essence throughout. The mouth-feel is supple and fine, seamless tannins and lingering acid give the wine a wonderful long, lively palate. Slowly diminishing fruit on the finish tempts one to take another sip - perhaps a little bit too soon! Quintessential Pemberton Pinot Noir at its best.
A great match for French blue cheeses or spicy duck.
2010 PICARDY SHIRAZ
The Picardy 2008 Shiraz has been selected for service on Emirates Airlines First Class.
Pemberton Shiraz can be very distinctive, and this wine is in the vanguard. The best wines seem to be more in the Rhone mould than the heavier sometimes cloying styles from other parts of Australia, with the focus more on perfume and spice than huge extraction and fruit. Dan and Bill Pannell have worked hard at bringing the best qualities of this variety to the fore in recent years, the result being that Picardy is now producing arguably the best Shiraz in the region. The 2010 has a vibrant fruit and spice presence both on the nose and palate. It shows lovely deep crimson colour and rich perfume, with hints of forest floor, fresh bright fruit and dark berries such as blueberry and blackberry and subtle cedar oak. The palate is wonderfully vibrant with soft dark fruits - mulberry, spice, blackberry, anise and well-fused oak. The tannins are fine, long and integrated, and the finish lingers pleasantly.
With the cooler weather on the way this is a red ideally tailored for hearty roast beef or a spicy casserole.
2009 PICARDY MERLOT CABERNET
Merlot can be a tricky and frustrating variety when it comes to making great wine. However, as the French figured out long ago, you hitch the variety with the right partners in a careful blend and superb wines often result. The Picardy 2009 is just such a seductive triangulation, with 62% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc - classic Bordeaux Right Bank alchemy. This medium-bodied wine has great colour density with a dark ruby red heart suggesting plenty of fruit concentration. The nose supports this suggestion with an intensity of ripe berry fruits and a hint of spice, complemented by a cedary oak background. It has none of the leafy characters seen in some single variety Merlot, as the Cabernet Sauvignon infuses the blend with intense blackberry and currant notes, and a touch of raspberry, cassis and peppery spice drift off the Cabernet Franc. The palate is vibrant and generously supported by a pleasing acid balance and ripe, silky tannin. On the finish there is extended flavour and excellent length.
A great match for braised venison or lamb stew.
Bill and Sandra Pannell were Margaret River pioneers, establishing Moss Wood back in 1969. They now own this small 5000 case winery in Pemberton, another region in Western Australia a bit further south (and thus cooler) than Margaret River. Here they make a stunning range of restrained, relatively elegant wines, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay a key focus, but also with a superb Shiraz.
Everything with Picardy on the label comes from their vineyard, which they established in 1993, and the hand-picked grapes are vinified in the winery on the property.
It’s rare to encounter a range as consistently good as this.
Picardy Shiraz 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Initially tight on opening, this really blossoms after about an hour. A really elegant, almost Pinot-like Shiraz with smooth, sweet fresh berry and cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is fresh and a bit grippy with some spicy notes. Restrained, fruit-driven and balanced, with a hint of meatiness and some iodine notes. Very stylish. 94/100
Picardy Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc
2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Elegant and supple with cherry and blackcurrant fruit on the nose, as well as a subtle chalky edge. The palate shows real elegance with super-refined berry fruits and a subtle, grainy, chalky, gravelly tannic structure. Very attractive and balanced with potential for development. 93/100
Picardy Chardonnay 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Lively and intense with high acidity offsetting rich peach, pear and fig fruit. Pure and intense with spicy crystalline fruit quality. Textured and lively, this shows superb complexity and restrained richness. 93/100
Picardy Pinot Noir 2009 Pemberton, Western Australia
Lovely bright red and black cherry fruit nose with a fresh green, sappy edge and real elegance. There’s ripeness and freshness at the same time, with some subtle warm, spicy, earthy notes. Sophisticated and ethereal and quite old world in style. It’s a tiny bit sweet and sour, but there’s lovely complexity here. Brilliant wine. 94/100
Wines tasted 08/11
Jamie Goode (UK)