From outhouse to penthouse: 7 amazing wines to spend your end-of-year bonus on

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With the financial year nearly over and everyone checking how their KPIs went in 2018, we prepared for the worse earlier this week with wines from the outhouse – the ones you can still afford even if your bonus goes missing.

Today, it’s time for the penthouse, wines to spoil yourself and others with and celebrate the good life.

There are some real gems here to be enjoyed.

2007 Charles de Cazanove Brut Tradition Millesime
Reims, France
RRP $75

New to Australia, but by no means new to the art of Champagne, Charles de Cazanove has been around since 1811.

The “maison” has been invigorated as a result of its acquisition in 2004 by the Rapeneau family, owners of Martel Cognac. Who would have guessed they are the second largest owners of vineyards in the Champagne region and the largest family-owned producer?

Mid-lemon colour, excellent bead. Complex bouquet with notes of freshly baked butter-rich pastry, vanilla, and fruits . Lovely fine mousse which has the ripe fruit flavours well up on their toes.

The palate is delicious with notes of freshly baked brioche, cream and nougat back notes.

The finish is satisfyingly long and clean. Excellent value for a vintage champagne of this quality. Just $55 in a half dozen from Vintage Cellars.

MV Gosset Grande Réserve brut
Epernay, France
RRP $98

I’m pretty sure the first Gosset I tasted was back in the early 80’s and the wine was from the legendary 1971 vintage.

It came my way via one of Australia’s great winemakers and bon vivant’s Stuart Anderson, who fresh back from his latest Gallic peregrinations, was waxing lyrical about the virtues of this then unknown (to Australia) Champagne. The ‘71 was sublime and every Gosset I’ve tried in the intervening years from the Brut Reserve up, has never disappointed.

This latest NV/MV Brut does the line proud.

A blend of approximately 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier, this is serious wine.

Beautiful mid-lemon appearance with a persistent stream (“bead”) of very fine bubbles. The bouquet is complex, with small red fruit notes, a hint of gingerbread and a hint of freshly cut red apple.

Very lively on entry, the powerful, even, complex palate is chock full of dried-fruit notes, brioche and chalky minerality.

This will please the most demanding palates and would be superb as an aperitif and then segue into accompanying a classical first course of seafood.

2014 Bernhard Huber Alte Ruben Spatburgunder
Baden Germany
RRP $96

From vineyards in the foothills of the Black Forest mountains of Germany (sounds like a line from Rocky Racoon) comes this old vine pinot noir made by Julien Huber, who took over winemaking responsibilities following his father’s passing in 2013.

Cool, smoky aromatics of black cherry, malted milk chocolate and clean fresh mountain air. The palate immediately seduces with generous plushness thanks to the partial whole bunch fermentation.

The stylish mid palate is bursting with bright small red berry fruit flavours which continue evenly throughout and lead to a fine, long finish and with a fragrant, lingering aftertaste.

Within Huber’s quality hierarchy this is equivalent to Premier Cru (red burgundy) level and would give most of those a pretty decent run for their money.

Nice way to reward yourself if the EOFY bonus has put a new Mercedes AMG63 in the garage.

2016 Seppelt St Peters Shiraz
Grampians, Victoria.
RRP $80

A brand which IMHO, flies under the radar a little (despite being owned by Treasury Wine Estates) given the consistency with which it produces a broad range of wines of quality and interest.

Dense black crimson red colour. The bouquet is powerful and complex with notes of brooding dark berry fruits, black pepper, dried meats, tanned leather and spicy oak.

The impact on entry is impressive: intense ripe mulberry fruit flavours, dark chocolate and spice coat the palate throughout.

The lively and generous mid palate flows onto a long and elegant finish with a fragrant aftertaste of fruit and oak.

Very stylish wine and a great example of Great Western Shiraz. First rate.

2014 Wolf Blass “Black Label” Cabernet Shiraz Malbec
Barossa/McLaren Vale/Langhorne, South Australia.
RRP $130

In 1974, eight years after the inception of Wolf Blass Wines, Wolfgang Franz Otto Blass struck “black gold” when he won the Jimmy Watson Trophy for his 1973 “Black Label” red blend.

The wine was a three-way blend of varieties from three of South Australia’s wine regions, and just to show the success was no fluke, he won the JWT in the following two years of 1975 and 1976.

Seemingly overnight, Wolf Blass wines were all the rage, especially the Black Label, which was the “go to” lunch selection at fashionable restaurants for gentlemen who lunched and who wanted to impress.

Forty years later, I rarely see the label on lists, perhaps because in a hipster world of fads, the blending philosophy and the impeccable winemaking are seen as negatives. What a pity.

2014 was pretty handy for most S.A. regions, so you would expect this wine to deliver and it does so in spades. Impressively dense dark red appearance.

Powerful rich bouquet of intense ripe mulberry fruit with subtle notes of choc mint. The palate is powerful with the lively fruit saturating the palate.

Seductive fruit driven mid palate experience, richly textured, complex and with a really aromatic long finish.

Such an easy bottle of wine to enjoy now during that celebratory EOFY lunch.

2013 Roda Réserva
Rioja, Spain
RRP $110

Little doubt that the best and biggest range of Spanish wines in Australia is brought to us lucky souls by Scott Wasley, Head Honcho/Patron of The Spanish Acquisition.

This is another gem from his vast portfolio. RoDa – the contraction of the surnames of the two owners, Mario Rottlant and Carmen Daurella – wines are essentially all ‘vinos de viñas viejas’ (old vines wines).

Roda defines old vines as 35 years or more, though most of what they produce from are 50 year+.

A blend of 89% Tempranillo, 9% Graciano and 2% Garnacha, with an intense brooding deep black/red colour.

A voluminous bouquet of dark wild berries, licorice, herbs and hints of black (blood) pudding.

For all its size, this is one shapely Spaniard, as the powerful muscular palate is positively lithesome with its vitality.

The mid palate is one big ball of delicious complex red and black fruits which dance across the palate and coat the firm integrated tanins all the way to a long and deliciously finish with lingering fragrant aromatics.

Powerful, elegant stuff. Bravo.

2012 Castello Monsanto “Il Poggio” Chianti Classico Riserva
Monsanto, Tuscany, Italy
RRP $120

In 1962, Fabrizio Bianchi having established the winery as the result of a wedding gift from his parents.

Castello Monsanto became the first winery to make a “single vineyard” Chianti Classico Cru, specifically from the Il Poggio vineyard.

Made of 90% Sangiovese and 10% of a blend of Canaiolo and Colorino. Aged for 20 months in used French oak barrels, this is just flat out delicious.

An enchanting elegant bouquet of red berries, subtle notes of French oak, expensive leather (no brett) underpinned with fresh cherry-pip acid lift.

The palate seduces with the svelte, intense fruit attack on entry which continues seamlessly through the deep fruit flavours of the vigorous middle palate and its light mineral and fennel notes, all leading onto the loooong, integrated tanins finishing with great persistence and delicious aromatics.

Bordeaux lovers priced out of that market and looking for similar pleasure, would do well to try this, as it is a bargain at the price. Glorious.

NOW READ: From penthouse to outhouse: 7 wines to enjoy even if you miss out on an end-of-year bonus

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