Love Pinot Noir and all things porcine? Well get down to Wine: Swine: Melbourne!

Wine Swine MelbourneA great opportunity has presented itself for you to look at a snap shot of the world of wine, in one afternoon.  Sunday the 11th of October from 5.30 pm join us at The Malthouse Theatre along with over 100 artisan wines from our shores, NZ and Europe. Delicious porky snacks will be served to keep your palate fresh.  Tickets are still available for $35 and can be purchased directly from Bress Winery & Cidery website: http://bress.com.au

15 Year Vertical Tasting – Part II

Back in November of last year, you may recall we posted about the 15 year vertical tasting of all vintages of Curly Flat Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dating back to our first vintage in 1998.  If you wish to know more about that initial tasting, please click here.

For the first vertical we were joined by several prominent wine writers, but with pace of the world, let alone the world of wine, it is almost impossible to organise an event like this where the timing works for everybody.

Our response to this was to host another tasting, this time in Sydney.  Here we utilised the professional tasting room of the wine man himself, Peter Bourne.  Peter’s tasting room provided us with a setting where great light and no distractions could avail, allowing for the wines to take centre stage.

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From left to right: Phillip Moraghan (CF Vigneron), Wine Writers; Huon Hooke and Angus Hughson.

For this second tasting we were thankful to be joined by wine writers Huon Hooke, Angus Hughson, Peter Bourne, Rob Geddes MW and Stuart Halliday (Tetsuya’s Manager & Sommelier).  To give the wines a voice, Curly Flat co-owners Phillip Moraghan & Jenifer Kolkka were on hand with insights and anecdotes that have been gathered over each of these 15 vintages.

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From left to right: Wine Writers; Peter Bourne, Rob Geddes MW & Stuart Halliday.

From our last tasting we learnt that outside obvious TCA taint, there was marked variation throughout the wines under this closure, which these days could surprise only the few (well at least in Australian circles).  But in the time since that first tasting, we discovered something quite pleasing. Going back to the first vertical last year, to our surprise, it seemed that the 2003 CF Chardonnay was over the hill.  We opened 4 bottles that day with each to be met with the same dull, flat experience. This was not in line with the other vintages as even the older vintages CF Chardonnays still had a pulse of acid, so that got us thinking something wasn’t right. We decided to try a magnum of the same vintage, and we were absolutely blown away.  This is the wine we remember!

This cause of this anomaly falls (again) on the shoulders of the justifiable whipping boy that is cork.  Within our 750 ml museum stock of this vintage there must be a whole batch of bad corks, explaining the alarming strike rate.  Saying that though, all of our magnums are under cork, but that too eventually, will be changed over to screw cap.  We are looking at moving towards screw cap magnums in the near future, probably starting with our 2012 CF Chardonnay which will be bottled around October.

On the whole we were happy to say we had a pretty good run on the wines under cork, with only a few (still unacceptable!) victims of soul sapping cork taint and random oxidation.  But that’s enough cork bashing for now!

The wines themselves were in fine form, as each wine has the stamp of its season also the evolution of its handling is clearly on display, with the more recent vintages showing more assuredly in terms of structure and complexity but without the suggestion of overplaying the subtlety that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are synonymous with.   This is brought about not only our continual improvement program, but of course the vines are also getting older.  But there’s still a long way to go…

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The inaugural 1998 vintages of Curly Flat Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; still standing up after 15 years…

We took notes for all the wines tasted at both events, so we’ll get them up on our website/blog in a meaningful context for those wanting a guide of how our wines are currently looking and what the drinking future holds for them.  In the meantime here are some of Phillips notes on our wines from the 1998 vintage, tasted last Thursday (14/2/13).

1998 Curly Flat Chardonnay:Mid gold, clear; generous with white stonefruit, cashews, mealy; viscous, moderate acid, good fruit and texture, lots here, nutty; medium plus finish.”  

1998 Curly Flat Pinot Noir: “Deep ruby, tanning at the edges, clear; generous lifted nose with spearmint with underlying dark fruits; still fresh & alive, mocha dusty oak; medium plus weight with viscous, lightly textured, good acid, lively and long. 

In relative conclusion, with any meaningful review, more questions are asked than answered, but we have learnt several things none the less.  Such as less extraction in Pinot Noir, can mean more in the glass.  This is found in our 2010 Pinot Noir, where we no longer use enzymes and employ a gentler cap management whilst in ferment.  We can go on, but maybe its best to make the visit out to Curly Flat where can explain the myriad of elements in context!

What we have learnt is that the journey will never end, as the term perfect is really a metaphoric castle within a kingdom of fools, these tastings announce the quality of our site, its soils and the vines that grow older and wiser within it…   Hopefully we do too.

15 Year Vertical Tasting at Curly Flat

Last Wednesday (28/11) at Curly Flat, some of the finest wine minds in Australia, joined us for a vertical tasting of all 15 vintages of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, spanning from our flagship 1998 vintage up to barrel samples of our still maturing 2012 vintage.  The wines produced so far reflect the great promise of our site, but we know we still have much to learn about its nature.  Unlocking our site true character, will take time.  For this there is no substitute, and it will undoubtedly take generations to truly uncover.  So to get the most insight out of this tasting, it made sense to invite an array of wine critics to join us in thoughtful examination of the first 15 vintages from Curly Flat Vineyard.  Below is the list of attendees in order of seating (clockwise):      

  • James Halliday
  • Ralph Kyte-Powell
  • Ken Gargett
  • Ben Thomas
  • Robert Paul
  • Jeni Port
  • Nick Bullied MW
  • Lester Jesburg

It was also great to show our guests first hand both our vineyard, and relay the passion in achieving our ultimate goal of unlocking its true voice in the wines resulting from it.      What our guests will ultimately make of there experience, and our direction, is for their consideration.  We are appreciative of them being there, as well as for the time they took out to come and visit us.

For us personally, the review of these 15 vintages had it revelations, along with some affirmations. Such as how screw cap, in our eyes at least, as a unrivaled contributor of towards uniformity of product whilst also allowing for development with longer term aging.

We used high quality natural cork in all vintages spanning from 1998 to 2002, partial screw cap was first introduced in 2003 Pinot Noir and the 2004 Chardonnay, (also trialing the composite Diam in the 04, 05, 06 Pinots) but in 2007 we became 100% screw cap, and this review seems to vindicate that maneuver. Under review in the tasting, the variation in wines under cork was considerable, especially in Chardonnay, but the bottles that were on song, truly sung.  Especially the 2002 Chardonnay, which has been identified as exceptional vintage for some time now, is still developing beautifully and in a most Burgundian fashion.

Variation from closure (although lesser) was found in the Pinot Noir, and the earlier bottles (98/99) were interesting as they were monoclonal, made entirely of MV6, a dark fruited, yet savoury clone of Pinot Noir, and the 1998 was 100% new oak! The 1998, made from a warm year, still had fruit power (blackcurrant) as well as a noticeable pulse of acid, which in itself was deeply satisfying.  The 2004 vintage was first vintage made with all vineyard blocks in production, and you can see the paradigm shift in complexity.  Over the next couple of weeks we will write up tasting notes, derived from this tasting, of the older vintages letting you know our impressions and more importantly their potential drinking windows.  Once written they will then be put up on our website Vintage Guide.

In summation we were delighted to see that the road, 15 years long, is one built of driving natural acidity.  Vine age is also starting to show its hand, especially in our current release 2010 vintage, as it achieves complexity and power, but through grace and subtlety rather than sheer force of fruit.  Also the slow ripening properties of our site were on display, as ripe fruit slowly fleshed itself out around the bones of that natural acidity. Most importantly the individual conditions of each year were also to be found in the glass.  That is also part of our job, to translate not only the site, but also the season into bottle.  Whilst there is a definite familial CF thread running through each vintage, also on display was how each wine has its own unique character, infused by the unique growing conditions of that year.

There are many obvious elements that make up a great wine, the site and it’s soils, the suitability of the varieties grown there,  the nature of the seasons and our willingness to learn from them.  The only map for our destination, is one made of patience, diligence and respect for the hand of nature, as it is the one and only winemaker.  We certainly look forward to the next 15 years of vine age and getting to explore out sites potential even further, and we hope you enjoy that journey too!

From vine to wine to online!

With our attention normally fixed in the direction of the vineyard, it was time to turn our gaze towards updating our website, so it could further reflect our story, as well as add features you now come to expect.

Now with more information such as tasting notes, we aim to add to this over time. While tasting notes for our current releases are now available, we plan to track the bottle life of our wines, to see how they’re progressing and offer our suggestions on when it may be optimal to open. Beware, we are likely to say there drinking well 10 years plus in most cases! But you are your best critic, we only want to offer more information for your own personal decision making.  There aren’t always definite answers and in part that’s what makes wine is such a great story, rich with its unique revelations, that contribute to the next experience.

We have now added the ability to order online, offering the same secure and prompt service we’ve always provided.  The online store is also a good way to see what our current releases are, which can include limited offers like our current Curly Flat History Packs.  Most of these wines are also available for tasting at our Cellar Door.

Have a look around the site, and when you can come back from time to time.  We’ll continue to update and add content such as, events, photos and information about our wines and our story.

Web address: http://www.curlyflat.com/default.asp

Curly Flat Wine Dinner at The Italian

The details of our second wine dinner have been announced!  We are pleased to showcase a selection of our wines in partnership with one Melbourne’s great North Italian restaurants, The Italian.

Headed by Chef Robert Scheriani, a five course foray into rustic North Italian cuisine will be matched with 8 Curly Flat wines, including a special preview of ‘The Curly’ a different approach to Curly Flat Pinot Noir from the 2010 vintage.

When:             6.30pm, 19th of June

Cost:               $120 p/person

Where:           The Italian Restaurant & Bar
101 Collins Street, Melbourne

All Bookings: Via The Italian (03) 9654 9499

 CURLY FLAT WINE DINNER @ THE ITALIAN

TUESDAY 19TH JUNE, 2012

Kingfish tartare

2011 Pinot Grigio

Ricotta gnocchi- cherry tomato & basil

2011 Lacuna Chardonnay

Pan-roasted duck breast- creamy yellow polenta

2010 Chardonnay

2006 Chardonnay

Slow braised Cape Grim beef cheek- mashed potato & spring onion

2010 “The Curly” Pinot Noir – pre-release, due out March 2013

2009 Pinot Noir

Selection of cheese

2008 Pinot Noir

2008 Chardonnay

Celebrate Winter’s return with Curly Flat at the Stokehouse…

As the cooling weather of Autumn returns to us and with Winter just around the corner, we find comfort and warmth in all manner of ways.  One of the most joyous manifests itself in the form of partnering great food to great wine.  We wish to celebrate this aspect of the coming Winter with you at the Stokehouse in St.Kilda, who with their relaxed chic, will provide you with the perfect culinary backdrop to explore our wines of vintages both current and old.  And whilst Pinot Noir is the natural partner to these cooler months, here we’ll also be highlighting how well our Rosé, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay does when matched with warming food. This may sound good but it promises to taste even better!  Here are both the event and degustation details:

When:             7.00pm, 5th of June

Cost:               $150 p/person

Where:           Stokehouse, 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda

All Bookings: Via Stokehouse on (03) 9525 5555

CURLY FLAT WINE DINNER @ THE STOKEHOUSE
TUESDAY 5TH JUNE, 2012

Jamondal Gran Reserva Serrano ham, Victorian olives
Curly Flat Rosé, 2011

Jerusalem artichoke soup, pickled pearl onions, swiss chard, lardo
Curly Flat Pinot Grigio, 2011

Seared Atlantic scallops, cauliflower, dukkah, caper and raisin sauce
Curly Flat Chardonnay, 2010
Curly Flat Chardonnay, 2006

King quail supreme, salted grapes, grilled treviso, beetroot, aged balsamic
Curly Flat Pinot Noir, 2009
Curly Flat Pinot Noir, 2007

Kurabuta pork loin and braised cheek, baby cos, sherry glaze, golden nugget pumpkin

Curly Flat Pinot Noir, 2005
Curly Flat Pinot Noir, 2003

Cheese served with muscatels, fig jam and walnut bread

Curly Flat Chardonnay, 2005
Curly Flat Pinot Noir, 2001

A Wonderful Union at Curly Flat

As we all know food and wine are natural partners.  But if that food is prepared by talented chef Nicky Riemer, former head chef of Melbourne Wine Room and Langtons and that wine is a selection of Curly Flat vintages both current and rare, it would be a wonderful union indeed.

Come the 29th of April that is exactly what you can experience, here at Curly Flat.   To celebrate the release of our 2009 Curly Flat Pinot Noir we have invited the team from Union Dining, led by Chef Nicky Reimer and the amiable Adam Cash, to provide you a sublime five course degustation lunch.  Also for further ambiance we are currently bringing in our 2012 harvest so you will be able to see the wine making process first hand before or after your lunch.  This will be a most memorable event, and with limited seating it is sure to sell out quickly.  See below for details and menu.

    Lunch Details:

  • When:                Sunday 29th April – 12.30pm
  • Cost:                  $140 per person
  • Transport:         Connecting courtesy bus to & from Woodend Train Station
  • Reservations:   Call on (03) 5429 1956 or email: orders@curlyflat.com 

MENU for “Union Dining goes to Curly Flat” Lunch on Sunday April 29th

 Appetiser

Pork & duck breast terrine, dutch carrots in sherry vinaigrette, grissini

Entrée

Kingfish carpaccio, pickled beetroot, horseradish cream & green chilli

Entrée

Grilled quail in a verjuice & grape “bath”, soft white taleggio polenta, oregano

Main

Abbachio of baby goat, radicchio & romesco sauce

Rocket leaves with Autumn dressing

 Cheese

Hochalpenkase & mustard fruits