Archive for the ‘Wine tasting notes’ Category

2010 new vintage release

(C) 2007 Corinne McGowan

We are delighted to announce the release of the Treeton Estate  2009 red and 2010 white wines.

  • 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (SBS) displays a bouquet of gooseberry, asparagus, melon and passionfruit.  With a generous palate full of pear, melon and passionfruit, finishing bright, clean, zesty, long and engaging.
  • 2010 Unwooded Chardonnay displays a bouquet of nectarines and melon with a faint rose petal fragrance, alongside a complementary palate of nectarine and citrus with a hint of ginger spice.  The wine finishes light, clean, fresh and lingering.
  • 2009 Chenin Blanc (2009 release). This clear, bright wine has a floral passionfruit bouquet. Crisp and light on the palate with a long bright pineapple and passionfruit finish
  • 2010 Veronica.  Made from 100% Shiraz grapes, the 2010 Veronica mirrors its vibrant pink red colour with a bouquet of rhubarb, strawberry and cinnamon.  Tasting of red berries and finishing fresh and clean with a lingering tang of tropical spice.
  • 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon has a bouquet of blackberry and currant, followed by a mouth full of berries, hints of violet and soft oak, with medium tannins and a long, well-balanced sweet berry finish.  Just delicious!
  • 2009 Park Block Shiraz is the renamed successor to our very popular medal-winning 2007 Shiraz.  Defined by a bouquet of white pepper with a background of cherries and raspberries, the wine is light and spicy through the palate with soft tannins and well balanced acid supporting a clean, lingering finish.

We look forward to sharing these wines with you at the Cellar Door next time you are down at our place.

All wines are all available for purchase online, offering a 15% case discount on the Cellar Door price, plus free delivery to anywhere in Australia.

Our wines are also available through a fast-growing list of bottle shops, cafes and restaurants in Western Australia.

Ewes milk blue cheese paired with Chenin Blanc

Preparing a casual Saturday dinner for friends, we tasted Meredith Dairy ewes milk blue cheese, walnut and slices of pear with a glass of Treeton Estate 2009 Chenin Blanc.

While commonly paired with sweeter dessert wines, this beautiful Australian cheese is a perfect match with the passionfruit and pineapple finish of Treeton Estate’s bright, and highly-polished wine.

This hand made soft blue cheese is matured in controlled conditions and offers exquisite earthy but mild blue mould flavours reminiscent of the French Roquefort cheese.

Meredith Dairy (Victoria) is an award-winning on-farm family enterprise, milking year round and processing a large range of specialty Cheeses.

Meredith cheeses are brought into Western Australia by DELI Divine and sold through their outlets in Subiaco, Claremont and Kingsley.

Wine and cheese together

(C) 2009 iStockphotoLike wine, cheese is made through a fermentation process that creates a range of attributes that relate to their components, texture and flavour. Creating a cheese that may have a salty, tangy or bitter taste and a texture that can range from smooth and velvety to  hard and crumbly.  Flavour can vary from mild to sharp, subtle to intense, grassy to spicy and pungent.

The differences we discover when we taste a cheese may result from any part of the process – from fermentation to ripening to aging – but usually involves a combination of all three.

And like wine, cheese is a living thing that can change significantly during the aging process. Changes occur both as planned by the producer and later, while the cheese has been packaged for distribution.  Like wine, cheeses can range from fresh, young and simple to aged, mature and complex.

Why do wine and cheese ‘work’ so well together?

  • At one level, wine clears the palate both by a ‘washing’ effect and through tannins and alcohol increasing the production of saliva.  So alternating wine with food helps cleanse the palate for more wine.
  • At another level, the fat, proteins and acid of the cheese combine with acids and tannin in the wine to soften the impact of acid, bitter and astringent tastes on our palate.
  • Finally, the dilution of alcohol when wine is consumed with food promotes the release of more complex aromatics that stimulate our sense of smell and create a more pleasant finish to the wine.

Over the coming months, we will be working with DELI Divine in Subiaco to bring you some special (and unusual) cheeses to experiment in pairing with the Treeton Estate wines.

John Simmonds

Wine and cheese pairing: DELI Divine

(C) 2009 DELI Divine
Similar to the theory that “red wine goes with with meat and white wine with fish”, an old adage of wine and cheese pairing is that “red wines go with hard cheeses and white wines go with soft cheeses”.  But just as there are exceptions to the  “red wine with meat” rule, there are exceptions to the “cheese rule”.  Even the experts can’t agree on any absolutes in this wine and cheese pairing game.

And their is another complication.  Cheese and wine are constantly changing due to aging, vintage and processing techniques.  So our own judgements must be  a guide through this maze of matching uncertainty.

The matching affinity between most wines and cheeses allows a match to work most of the time.  But experimentation offers us the chance to get that ‘perfect match’, the ideal pairing for each Treeton Estate vintage, at the time of bottle opening.

To help us with the experimentation, we have paired up with DELI Divine in in the Crossways Shopping Centre, Subiaco (behind the Post Office on Rokeby Road).  This gourmet delicatessen is the brian-child of Michael Donald and Yvette Jones. It offers a range of the finest gourmet meats (natural and smoked), cheese (local and imported) and antipasto products and a selection of the most delicious and decadent preserves, cooking ingredients and accompaniments that you are ever likely to see.

Specialising in ‘cheese from the wheel’, DELI Divine stocks cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s millk and buffalo milk varieties.  A reputation for good advice and an enticing range  has made the shop a favorite destination for cheese-lovers.

To create a balance and harmony with our wines, we will be working with Michael and Yvette to bring you those ‘something different’ cheeses to perfectly pair with your 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon or the about-to-be-released 2009 Chenin Blanc.

John Simmonds

Tasting wine

Humans (and other animals) have evolved  three independent molecular sensors to probe their environment and to convert the detection of chemicals into specific patterns of brain activity.  And so allow us to separate a young from a mature cheddar and to take pleasure from the subtle differences between the 2007 and 2008 Treeton Estate Shiraz. 

The taste sensory epithelium (‘taste buds’) of the mouth provide an immediate sampling of the ionic, calorific and potentially hazardous properties of food and drink: the classical taste components of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami (ionic glutamate).

The main olfactory epithelium (MOE) lining the back of the nasal cavity can detect several thousand small volatile chemicals at very low concentrations.

The vomeronasal organ in the nasal cavity  is more specialised in the detection of certain complex chemical signatures called pheronomes.

As we eat and drink, chemicals released in the mouth and throat reach the nasal cavity and stimulate our sense of smell 

The result is a rapid stream of taste and smell information, which merged in the brain, generates the essential components of what we perceives as the taste of food:

 “Smell and taste are in fact but a single sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and whose chimney is the nose ….” (J-A Brillat-Savarin, 1825).

A classical model of taste discrimination has long proposed that the tongue has a coarse organisation between the five different taste detector cells.  This model has proven to be inaccurate, with each specific taste detector cell found in all regions across the tongue.

We cannot rely on our taste buds or or nasal detectors to work alone. Fine-tuned wine discrimination occurs only after information processing in the brain.  It is for this reason that we should take time to fully savor the taste of our wine.  When tasting , separation of  ‘front palate’ and ‘back palate’ does not reflect the physical location of wine in our mouth but the timing and integration of of new information received by the brain from aromatic chemicals stimulating the MOE.

So find somewhere to relax and good friends to share the experience.  Talk about the wines being tasted and learn together.

Good health!

John Simmonds

The colour of rosé

(C) 2008 Steve CukrovModern Australian rosé is a pinkish-red colored wine with a taste palate blending strawberry, blackberry, cherry and raspberry characters.   The style has a reputation for insipid, flavorless wines, marred by excessive  sugar or alcohol. 

But the best of the current offerings are dry to semi-dry, balanced with an acidity and fruit character that makes them a luxurious pleasure to drink

The colour of rosé range from a pale orange to a vivid near-purple, depending on the grapes, additives and wine making techniques. For the paler rosé wines, grapes are pressed as soon as they arrive at the winery, with the juice left only a few hours in contact with the skin. Their colours are sometimes described as as ‘grey’ (Gris de Bourgogne, Rose de Loire or Oeil de Perdrix).

By comparison with Europe, Australian rosé wines have a more limited colour palette.  While a delicate hint of apricot is acceptable, anything further will likely be penalised by the wine show judges.  Consumers have little opportunity to experiment beyond pink-red. 

We recently conducted a round-table tasting on the characteristics of several best-selling Western Australian and eastern States rosé wines.  The experience was eye-opening, reflecting the variety of grape varieties and wine-making styles employed.  Not all wines met with approval, reflecting the panel’s taste for less sweet wines. 

Two 2008 wines equal topped the panel’s list, both Western Australian: the West Cape Howe (Denmark) and the Treeton Estate Veronica.  Both wines are well balanced, sparkling clear and ranging in color from brilliant pink to a pale red almost reminiscent of the paler clarets, filling the mouth with delicious berry fruit and cherry. 

With a very light chill (not too cold), these wines pair perfectly with salmon, fish, chicken, asian-style food, turkey, or with a subtle cheese such as emmental. Or to enjoy on their own on a relaxing afternoon.

John Simmonds

Tasting note: Domaine de Cabrol, Cabardes AOC

(C) 2008 John Simmonds

A trip to Europe for a family anniversary in mid-2008 provided opportunity to visit wineries in one of France’s newest (1999) Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – Cabardes AOC.

Situated just north of the medieval city of Carcasonne, this small appellation (500 hectares) lies on the western edge of the Languedoc-Rousillon wine region, the largest area of vineyards on the planet and source of one in ten of the world’s wine.

Appellation winemakers in Cabardes are permitted to make red and rose style wines. Reflecting its unique location in the broad windy valley just north of the Pyrenees, Cabardes is the only appellation in France that is permitted to blend red wine from grapes typically grown in the Atlantic climates (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot) with those typically found in Mediterranean climates (Shiraz/Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre). The wines are termed ‘west wind’ (Vent d’Ouest) or ‘east wind’ (Vent d’Est) depending on the balance between the Bordeaux and Rhone grape varieties.

While Chateua Pellautier offered a beautiful and sophisticated tasting ambience and good quality wines, it was a visit to Domaine de Cabrol that provided the highlight. The stony soils, well-tended vineyards and rustic buildings of this iconic farm winery reminded us of Treeton.

The chance to taste the different blend styles of this highly recommended winery was facinating but it was the differences created by variability in barrel-ageing that generated most discussion. Last week, with our 2009 vintage completed and the new wines all underway, we took time out to taste two contrasting bottles of the Domaine de Cabrol’s cabernet dominant blends. The 2003 Cuvee Vent D’Ouest (1 year on oak) had perhaps not travelled as well as it could but the La Derive (2 years on oak) opened out to a beautiful balance.

Tasted against the 2007 Treeton Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, the Margaret River wines showed their quality matched the best of Cabardes

John Simmonds

Wine tasting: Brillat-Savarin (1825)

I am fascinated by how we can distinguish such complexity in a glass of wine.

I recently came across this piece from Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the French lawyer and politician who published ‘Physiologie du goût’ (The Physiology of Taste)’ in December 1825.   A lover of wine as well as food, Brillat-Savarin wrote:

And yet of all our senses, taste, such as Nature has created it, remains the one which, on the whole, gives us the maximum of delight:

– Because the pleasure of eating is the only one, which enjoyed in moderation, is not followed by weariness
– Because it is of all times, of all ages and in all conditions
– Because it recurs of necessity at least once a day, and may without inconvenience be repeated twice or three times within the same space of time
– Because it can be enjoyed in company with all our other pleasures, and can even console us in their absence
– Because the impressions which it receives are at once more durable and more dependent on our will
– And lastly, because when we eat, we experience an indefinable and peculiar sensation of well-being, arising out of an instinctive awareness that through what we were eating we are repairing our losses and prolonging our existence.

184 years ago, he said:

A man who was fond of wine was offered some grapes at dessert after dinner. ‘Much obliged,’ said he, pushing the plate aside, ‘I am not accustomed to take my wine in pills

I can understand.   Good health!

John Simmonds

The rise of rosé

(C) 2008 iStockphoto LPTravelling in France last summer, it came as a surprise to see so many diners selecting rosé to drink with their meal.

While France’s wine growers battle lower consumption and persistent overproduction, pink wine is enjoying popularity as never before.

Driven in part by the heat of summer, sale of rosé has overtaken that of white. In 2007, over one in five bottles of wine sold in France was a rosé, with the gains coming from falling sales of red.

Pink wine is in vogue among French youth as a light-hearted, festive drink to be enjoyed with scant regard for labels, vintages, grape varietals and origin. Drunk at lunch and the evening meal, rosé is seen as perfect for an aperitif and light evening drinking.

Market research confirms that rosé wine is being drunk by men and women, young and old, and from across the cultural and economic divides. In the UK, consumption of rosé by young women is rocketing.

And these are not just the sweet rosé and blush styles. Today’s more sophisticated drinkers are increasingly selecting more delicate, drier wines.

A remarkable range of varietal characteristics can be savored in a fine rosé and I will talk about the effect of production method and grape variety on colour and taste in later posts.

Blending work with pleasure after last night’s concert at Sandalford Wines (thank you Leonard Cohen and Paul Kelly for an amazing night of sublime songs and superb musicianship), the glass of dry Treeton Estate  2008 Veronica with a salad of roast lamb, fetta,sun-dried tomato and rocket at lunch was a perfect match for this summer day.

John Simmonds