Showing posts with label Jip Jip Rocks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jip Jip Rocks. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2016

Que Syrah, Shiraz. Southern Style.

Que Syrah, Shiraz
Southern Style

Bilancia Syrah 2004 (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand), 13.5%, €25.18 (was 31.50) Karwig Wines.
Before we even get to the contents, there are two things to note here. The grape is called Syrah and the closure is screw-cap. Don't think I’ve ever twisted a cap off a wine as old. In France, the grape is called Syrah. Elsewhere this ever popular grape is known as Shiraz unless the winemaker, as here, is aiming for the more restrained French style.

A small amount of Viognier (c. 2%) has been used here. The term for this, according to Grapes and Wines, is co-fermentation and says it “gives not just perfume but some extra silkiness of texture”. Syrah itself is, of course, a great blender, most famously in the Rhone where it mixes so well with Grenache and Mourvèdre (shorthand: GSM).

This Bilancia (balance) has a purple colour, aromas of ripe fruit, a little pepper. There is a gorgeous elegant mouthfeel, flavours (mainly plum) and spice; lives up to its name with perfect balance and harmony, good finish too. Highly Recommended. 

The Leheny Gibson mentioned on the front label refers to two people, winemakers Lorraine Leheny and Warren Gibson who first released their wines in 1998.

Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz 2012 (Padthaway, Australia), 14.5%, €16.75 Karwig Wines

This juicy vibrant wine is Shiraz rather than Syrah. Purple is the colour and there in the aromas you'll find ripe red fruits and some spice too. Juicy and vibrant on the palate, fine tannins, oak well integrated, well balanced and easy drinking. Excellent on its own, great too, they suggest, “with food and friends”. Highly Recommended.

Jip Jip Rocks is one of three Bryson family vineyards in the area; the others are Morambro Creek and Mt Monster, who also produce Shiraz. By the way, Jip Jip is well known too for its sparkling shiraz. Quite a few Australian vineyards produce a sparkling shiraz.

David Bryson told me in Cork a few years back that this still Shiraz is their main seller. It is a 100% Shiraz, 100% Padthaway wine with “a lot of vineyard character..a bottle of serious fun…,approachable”.

The Jip Jip rocks have existed for 350 million years and the striking outcrop is sacred to Aboriginal beliefs.

Pielow’s Shiraz 2012, (Tulbagh, Western Cape, South Africa), 14.5%, €17.95 Karwig Wines

Colour is a deep purple, dark fruit aromas plus oak. Quite a lively palate of dark berry fruit flavours, and vanilla; tannins well rounded. No shortage of power here yet it is well balanced with a decent finish. Juicy steaks, barbecued meats and spare ribs are suggested as matches. This is very much a New World Shiraz and is Recommended!

Colin and Teresa Pielow, formerly chef proprietors of two Irish restaurants (including one in Cobh), came to to South Africa a few years back and settled in the beautiful Tulbagh valley in the Cape Winelands. The property where they established and planted their own vineyard has produced this Pielow's Shiraz which is still in their ownership. They have returned to Ireland and opened Pielows Restaurant in Cabinteely where, of course, you may enjoy this fruit-driven Shiraz!

Pielow’s wines are available from:
Pielow's Restaurant, 2 Main Street, Cabinteely, Dublin 18, Ireland
Tel: 01 284 0914 Email:
Karwig Wines, Carrigaline, Co.Cork.
Tel: 021 437 4159 Email:
Mitchell & Son, Glasthule, 54 Glasthule Road, Glasthule Co. Dublin
Tel: 01 230 2301 Email:
Avoca Food Market, (stocked by Mitchell & Son), Kilmacanogue. Co. Wicklow
Tel: 01 274 6900 Web:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chardonnay Rocks. All Over The World

Chardonnay Rocks

All Over The World

Chardonnay is the best known white grape. It tolerates a wide range of climates and is loved by winemakers as it is easy to grow and very versatile. Sometimes it is let down by the winemaker. It has its detractors, of course. Ironically, quite of of them love Champagne in which Chardonnay is a key ingredient. Below are a few that I like, all available online.

Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay 2011, Pathaway (Australia), 12.5%, €18.30, Karwig Wines
Colour here is a very pale gold, hints of green. White fruit aromas greet you. On the palate it is smooth, extended lees contact adding texture and complexity. Fruity too, notes of citrus and melon. Light and fresh with lively acidity and a medium finish. Perfect for seafood and quite good solo too. Loved this unoaked beauty and it is Very Highly Recommended.

Chateau de Maligny Chablis (AOP) 2013, 12.5%, €22.55 Karwig Wines
Again colour is very pale, very clean. Citrus in the aromas. On the palate, it is crisp and clean, citrus flavours too; it is light and fresh with excellent acidity and there is a good finish. No sign of oak here as “the to preserve natural character..without any foreign intervention”. Excellent with grilled fish and seafood and Highly Recommended.

El Grano Chardonnay 2012, Chile, 13%, €14.45 Le Caveau
This one does get some oak, 20% of it is fermented in French oak. It is made organically in Chile’s Curico valley by French winemakers Denis and Gregoire Duveau and is Very Highly Recommended.

This well balanced beauty scores on the palate with its engaging natural freshness, absolutely engaging sip after sip, glass after glass. Medium bodied, fine flavours too plus a long finish. Colour is a pale yellow, aromas (peach and exotic fruits) are not overly strong but the character shines through on the palate. Nice wine, nice price.

Domaine de Rochebin Chardonnay 2012 Macon-Lugny (AP), 12.5%, €15.50 Karwig Wines

There is a rich honey colour here, with micro bubbles clinging to the glass. Clinging to it myself as well as this is a good one, aromas are lovely, if a little muted at first. It is fresh and light, refreshing fruit flavours (apple, pear). It has an excellent body, good acidity too and a long finish.

The fresh and fruity style is a direct result of vineyard policy. It has spent 4 to 5 months on fine lees. No oak is used for this gorgeous Chardonnay (popping up in a quite a few restaurants) which is Very Highly Recommended.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jip Jip Rocks the Opposition

Jip Jip Rocks the Opposition
David Bryson, General Manager of Morambro Creek, the South Australian home of Jip Jip Rocks and Mt Monster, was in town at the weekend and wearing a big smile as he met the punters at a tasting in the Ballymaloe Wine Shop at Brown Thomas.

I’m sure David, accompanied by Marcus of Karwig Wines, is in good form all the time but he was really well pleased with a report in the latest edition of Winestate, the Australian/New Zealand equivalent of Decanter. The magazine was reporting on what it called the world’s greatest Syrah/Shiraz challenge where no less than 582 were tested.

What made David so pleased was the fact that the 2012 Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz, which sells for 19.95 dollars, scored 4.5 stars in the tasting. Contrast that, as he did, with the well known Penfolds Grange Shiraz 2008, which sells at €785.00 dollars, and scored a measly three stars. "You can see where the value for money lies!"

While you are waiting for the 2012 to come, check out Karwig Wines in Carrigaline where you may buy the 2010 for €16.80. That’s the one we tasted with Ballymaloe’s Colm McCan at BT and the multi-award winner in the 2011 Sydney International Wine Competition sure came up trumps in Patrick Street.
Yours truly with David (Left)
The Jip Jip Rocks sparkling Shiraz rightly caught much of the attention at BT and it sells steadily and well. “The sparkling is a little quirky. It has an elegant style and a good dry finish”, David told me. “But it is the still Shiraz that is our best seller.” Must say I’m not surprised.

We also got to taste the 2011 Jip Jip Unoaked Chardonnay, the fruit of "the wettest, coldest summer" but the weather helped this one, said David. And so too did the intervention of winemaker Ben Riggs who asked why not make a great wine better and did so by including ten per cent Sauvignon Blanc "to give a lift on the nose". Delight in a glass for sure and worth seeking out. This is another medal winner and the 2011 will cost you €16.80 at Karwig’s.

The tasting concentrated on the Jip Jip Rock vineyard but I also managed a sip of the Morambro Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, another medal winner and indeed quite a superb wine. It is selected from a small number of outstanding barrels each vintage. Traditional wine-making and minimal processing feature strongly in the making of “this Cabernet derived from our estate vineyard”.

Padthaway, on the Limestone Coast, is the area in which you’ll find the vineyards that David and his brothers, Paul and Andrew, look after. Their parents, Clive and Elizabeth, built the wine business up over the past half century before handing over to their three sons. Since 1851, five generations of the Bryson family have been involved in agriculture in the area.

Paul, David and Andrew Bryson.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Click to enlarge


Brad Rey, Brand Manager at Morambro Creek, the home of Jip Jip Rocks and Mt Monster, was at Karwig Wines in Carrigaline last Wednesday and oversaw one of the most fascinating tastings I’ve ever been at.

And it wasn't just because of the wines, which included a few surprises for this punter and were all of outstanding quality, that I’ll remember Brad. It was mostly for his convictions about wine and his common sense.

The Canadian born and raised Brad brought a breath of fresh Rockies air to the proceedings.
 “Most of New World concocted crap.”
“Oak shouldn't be the dominant characteristic. Wine is made from grapes and should taste of the fruit.”
“The earth is like a tea bag. All that grows in the vicinity...elephant fennel, wild rosemary..eucalyptus..finds its way in.....and ends up in the glass.”
“Don't wash your wine glass with water (fluoride in Ireland!). Wash it with wine, maybe bottled water.”

There were three sparklers on the table. A Mt Monster brut, an easy drinker, something like an “Aussie Cremant” was the first. Then came the Jip Jip Cuvee from 2009. Very pleasant indeed and again easy drinking.

Brad maintains that Aussie sparklers are on the up and up. They were up too, many moons ago. They’ve been making them since 1890s and they were extremely popular in Oz in the early 1900s, then seemed to lose their way but are now on the firmly on the way back.

And the third sparkler seemed to confirm this. It was Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz, a medium bodied mouth friendly wine. A very pleasant surprise indeed and Brad recommended using it with pork or duck or “anything you’d use Pinot Noir with”. Must try that.

After knocking much of the New World Chardonnay, Brad opened his own bottle. “I try to let the fruit speak, let Mother Nature do the job.” And this unoaked bottle spoke the fruit. Gorgeous and refreshing with a little richness added through limited contact with the lees, perhaps another lesson from the Loire which Brad knows and likes.

And France was in his mind too when making the Jip Jip 2009 Sauvignon Blanc. Citrusy and soft, fresh and clean and well balanced, made that way because Brad doesn't like high acidity.

He was delighted with his Mt Monster Shiraz of 2008. “Good, the way I want to see it. Very minimal oak. May be served slightly chilled. It is light fruit, blueberries and raspberries and the tannins are fruit tannins. This is about balance and reminds me of the joven I used to make in Spain.”

Then we moved on to a more traditional Shiraz, the 2009 Jip Jip, a multi medal winner that has spent quite a while in 2, 3 and 4 year old French oak. But the oak doesn't dominate. “Drink it on its own; it is easy drinking.”

He was quite proud of the next one also as it has been his “first go” at Morambro Creek Shiraz. This 2008 had been in 20% US oak but from now on it will be 100% French barriques. The annual spend on oak is now massive, well over a million Australian dollars. Good wine, though!

The finish was a beautiful Mt Monster Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. No oak, lovely and bright, not heavy, tannins enough and easy drinking, according to Brad who admitted to being “chuffed by that”. Remember, Brad hasn’t seen most of these wines for a while as they are long gone from Morambro.

The fennel is in here, fresh mint, cassis, blue and red fruits, all in a rich texture with velvety tannins. It has been getting a great reaction.

Morambro is certainly a name (three names really) to watch out for and to make it easier, you can get all three at Karwig Wines.