Wine Review – John Duval Eligo 2008

John Duval Eligo 2008

Country: Australia
Region: Barossa Valley, Eden Valley
Grape: 100% Shiraz
ABV: 14.5%

Colour: Deep purple, slight clear garnet on the edge

Clean, medium+ intensity, fully developed. Plum, blackberry, blueberry, pepper, savoury smoke, oak, graphite, touch of leather

Dry, medium+ acidity, medium+ tannins, medium+ alcohol, full body, medium+ flavour intensity.
Plum, saline, black cherry, blackberry, liquorice

Finish: Long finish, pepper, integrated oak, waves of dark fruits for a good 15-20 seconds.

Score: 88/100

A great wine from the legendary Australian wine maker – John Duval, and Eligo being their flagship wine. Decanted for 1.5 hours. Fully developed, with some structure to hold onto its prime for at least 2-4 more years, would highly recommend drinking in the near future if you still have a bottle.

The nose is rather intense, showing a great balance of fruit, matured notes, and the classic peppery spice. On the palate, abundant of mellow black fruits, liquorice, and pepper, with a touch of saltiness, followed by a long finish that lingers for 15-20 seconds.

This is a very good wine, riding right on its prime. Although not as complex as a I thought it would been, the wine as a whole is well composed, from the nose, flavour, mouthfeel, and finish. Not the typical fruit bomb of Barossa, but shows a nice balance of power and elegance.

Wine Review – Pierre Sparr Alsace Gewurztraminer Reserve 2016

Pierre Sparr Alsace Gewurztraminer Reserve 2016

Country: France
Region: Alsace
Grape: Gewurztraminer
ABV: 13%

Colour: Medium- straw

Nose: Rose pedal, lychee, orange flower water, light honey, faint green tea

Palate: Touch of residual sugar, off-dry. Medium- body, medium- acidity. White flower, chalk, grapefruit

Finish: Medium finish, crushed stone, citrus zest, lemon

Score: 77/100

A rather textbook example of Alsace Gewurztraminer. The usual aromatic nose of rose pedal, lychee is definitely present, with orange flower water, light honey, and faint suggestion of green tea on the back end. The palate is off-dry, and simple, could do with more acidity, fresh notes of citrus and minerals all the way to the finish. I would drink this within a year or two.

Wine Review – Chateau La Fleur Pourret Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009

Chateau La Fleur Pourret Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2009

Country: France
Region: Saint-Emilion Grand Cru AOC
Grape: Merlot based Red Bordeaux Blend
ABV: 13.5%

Colour: Dark purple core, light garnet on the edge, showing some sign of age

Nose: Potpourri, smoke, integrated oak, plum, black raspberry, blackberry

Palate: Full-bodied, dry, medium acidity, medium+ tannins. Plum, tobacco, integrated oak, raspberry

Finish: Long finish, plum, drying

Score: 83+/100

I rather nice Bordeaux at this price point, showing signs of maturity, but still have the structure to live on and further develop. The nose is very generous, potpourri, smoke, dark fruits, with a nice integrated oak aroma weaving in and out. Drinking very well now, similar to the nose on the palate, with a nice touch of tobacco giving it extra complexity, followed by a long, drying finish. Perfect paring to a nice prime rib roast. Drink now, or hold for 3-5 more years.

Wine Review – Clarendon Hills Liandra Syrah 2006

Clarendon Hills “Liandra” Syrah 2006 [Clarendon Hills] [Wine-Searcher]

Country: Australia
Region: Clarendon
Grape: Syrah/Shiraz
ABV: 16%

Colour: Dark purple core, lighter on the rim.

Nose: Ripe black fruits (blueberry, blackberry, plum, blackcurrant jam), chocolate, raisin, bacon fat, touch of herbal, spice.

Palate: Full bodied, medium acidity, medium well-integrated smooth tannins. Plum, blackberry, metallic (iron), vanilla, clove, pepper.

Finish: Long finish, lingering metallic and spicy notes. Well-integrated alcohol.

Score: 87/100

The wine is showing very well, all the components fully integrated with one and other.

The nose was very intense, with concentrated black fruits, chocolate, raisin, bacon fat, a touch of herbal tone that I associate with aged Syrah/Shiraz, and touch of pepper. The nose overall is very balanced, allowing each component to shine through the waves of black fruits, showing a great deal of complexity.

Moving onto the taste, a wonderfully aged, full bodied Syrah. Despite the 16% alcohol, it is very well integrated, drinking more like a 14-14.5%. Aside from the abundance of black fruits, there is this metallic, iron note showing throughout the palate, with a touch of vanilla, clove, and pepper forming a long and lingering finish.

This is a very good wine, with some unusual note going on (the metallic note on the palate), overall a very pleasant tasting experience. The wine is ready, drink before 2020.

Macallan 12 Double Cask 40%


Macallan 12 Double Cask 40%

Region: Speyside
ABV: 40%
E150: Yes
Chill-filtered: Yes
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry.


Colour: Gold

Nose: Rich stewed red fruits, raisin, plum, bosc pear, icing sugar, soft oak, touch of mineral and wax.

Palate: Syrup, red grape, honey, malt, sugar, oak, cereal, pepper, baking spice.

Finish: Medium+ finish, ginger, pepper, caramel.

Score: 81/100

I went into this dram with very low expectation, since recent years we’ve been drowned with crappy NAS expression that I didn’t even bother writing up the review, despite trying everything from the Amber to Rare Cask. Here in America-Lite (Canada), we get the 40% expression instead of the 43% of our neighboring country.

Anyway, the 12 Year Double Cask performed surprisingly well. As I’ve been drinking mostly cask strength releases lately, and slowly tightening my scoring after trying more higher-end drams than I have previously. I expect this to be another watery release that I’ve come to expect from a 40%.

The nose is sherry dominant, fairly rich, full of stewed fruits, raisins notes that you expect from a sherry influenced whisky, with a touch of bourbon cask influence. Promising so far. The palate is also a big surprise, syrupy, the bourbon cask is showing more of its strength here, leading up to a spicy finish.

This is by no means very complex, but overall as a package is rather satisfying, crowd pleasing dram.

Tullibardine 20


Tullibardine 20

Region: Highland
ABV: 43%
E150: Yes
Chill-filtered: Yes
Cask Type: First-fill bourbon


Colour: Light Gold

Nose: Honey, melon, orange, peach, marzipan, sweet cereal, vanilla, ginger.

Palate: Honey, pepper, malt, bitter oak, herbal, orange peel, dark chocolate, melon.

Finish: Medium+ finish, pepper, oak, mineral.

Score: 78/100

Overall, the Tullibardine 20 year old is a rather simple whisky. Very classic bourbon cask influence, personally I think the 43% ABV is a bit too watered-down, would hope to see this expression at cask strength. Especially the given price here in Ontario, Canada from the LCBO, which cost a whopping $300CAD (~$235USD), which is insanity for something that cost 1/3 of the price over in Europe. As usual pricing does not affect my scoring.

Villa San-Juliette Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


Villa San-Juliette Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Colour: Medium+ ruby core

Nose: Cassis, red cherry, vanilla.

Palate: Dry, medium+ body, medium+ tannins, medium+ acidity. Tart red cherry, cassis, cocoa, liquorice.

Finish: Medium finish, cherry, touch of mineral.

Score: 77+/100

Fairly well-made for the price, still youthful, classic Cabernet Sauvignon, on the simple side, tannins still grippy. Would recomming 2 more years in the cellar. Drink now or hold.

Caol Ila 11 Year Old 2004 (Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength Bottled 2016)


Caol Ila 11 Year Old 2004 (Gordon & Macphail Cask Strength Bottled 2016)

Region: Islay

ABV: 59.3%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: Refill Sherry Cask 306615, 306620, 306621, 306622.


Colour: Gold

Nose: Sweet smoke, brine, rubber, ashy peat, cherry syrup, orange, almond.

Palate: Lemon oil, malt, salt, ash, pepper, red fruit jam, cola, ginger.

Finish: Long finish, earthy, salt, oily, chili flakes.

Score: 87/100

Always enjoy a cask strength, youthful Caol Ila, and this is no exception.

Welcoming sweet, smoky, and salty nose to greet, the sherry influence isn’t as strong as other refill Caol Ila I’ve had, but it lets a lot more of the Caol Ila spirit shine through.

On the palate you get an oily mouth feel, most of the notes from the nose are present, with a slam jam of peppery spice, carries onto a long, earthy and salty finish, with a kick of chili flakes in the end.
Overall, a rather enjoyable dram, glad to have bought a bottle.

Domaine de la Denante Les Maillettes Saint-Veran 2014


Domaine de la Denante Les Maillettes Saint-Veran 2014

Colour: Pale straw

Nose: Honey, peach, melon, stone, grass, white flower, light citrus, touch of oak.

Palate: Dry, medium+ body, medium acidity. Melon, citrus, mineral, honey.

Finish: Long finish, crushed stone, salt, faint nuts.

Score: 77+/100

First time having a wine from Saint-Veran, and it was a pleasant surprise. The wine throughout gives me a very rounded impression.

The nose was youthful, but rather complex, showing various concentrated stone fruits and touch of floral and grassiness, alongside a touch of oak.

It feels very rounded on the palate, but falls short on complexity, wouldn’t describe it as elegant either, just rather simple. Followed by a mineral driven finish with a touch of warm nuttiness in the very end.

Even though on the back label it says “Drink by 2020”, I would say this wine will definitely evolve with 1-2 more years of age. Drinking well now despite falling short on the palate, would hold.

I brought this wine to a blind tasting, since one of my whisky friend said him and his wife doesn’t enjoy chardonnay, and I went on a mission to find one that they will enjoy. I assumed he didn’t enjoy the new world, bold style, buttery Sonoma/Napa chard. This wine was a great success, it was a lot more to his liking and it feels good to re-introduce someone to a grape.

BenRiach 14 Year Old Single Cask Virgin American Oak Finish (Cask 2828)


BenRiach 14 Year Old Single Cask Virgin American Oak Finish (Cask 2828)

Region: Speyside
ABV: 55.9%
E150: No
Chill-filtered: No
Cask Type: ex-Bourbon, finish in Virgin American Oak.

Colour: Chestnut

Nose: Cocoa, apple, orange peel, caramel, oak, icing sugar, ash, oily honey, floral vanilla, mineral, pepper, faint cinnamon.

Palate: Pink bubblegum, malt, strong oak, banana, pineapple, almond, smoke, black tea, apricot.

Finish: Long tannic finish, salt, tropical fruit, oak, caramel.

Score: 88/100

I would describe this as best of both worlds, perfect balance between ex-bourbon cask notes, and strong powerful influence of virgin American oak. The previous virgin oak I had were frankly too oaky, bites your tongue off. This is very complex which is unusual for just virgin oak.

Fruity and malty notes, along with cocoa powder, icing sugar, ash, honey, vanilla, spices, goes on and on. The virgin oak is very apparent on the palate, smack of oak, bubblegum, tropical fruits, smoky black tea, with a long oak tannic finish. Exceptional.