2003 ‘Special Release’ Tempranillo

‘Uncorked – The wine guide’. Sally Gudgeon and Ralph Kyte Powell,
The Age Sunday Life, 12 November 2006

This wine showcases Australian Tempranillo at its best. A complex array of black pepper, tarragon, shoe polish and cola greets the nose. In the mouth the concentrated fruit is backed with fine, grainy tannins.

Food Roast squab.  Ageing Drink now to 2010.

Jamie Goode, The Wine Anorak, February 2006

Very appealing spicy berry fruit on the nose leads to a concentrated, full, spicy palate which shows good freshness and smile oak Influence. Delicious. Very good+ 89/100

Wine In The City Newsletter, November 2005

As it is still an unusual variety in Australia, the tempranillo drew some remarks from members, as to its “different” flavour.  Dominic explained he had selected it for its consistency across seasonal variation.  Certainly the straight varietal had a huge intensity of flavour, mouth-filling savoury complexity and a bone dry finish.  The tempranillo was one of the most talked about wines of the evening.

Reid Bosward, The Advertiser  Review. November 5, 2005 – 97 points

NOSE:  Heavy, measured and perfect.  Not giving an inch but you sense that this wine will gently reveal it’s secrets over the next few years.
TASTE: You can drink it now and rely on it being satin in texture, and impressive.  The structure is thick and rich, with rolling sets of flavour.  Quite unique and special.  It doesn’t need food – it is food.  Any lover of Durif and richer Shiraz will connect with this wine.

Philip White - Australia’s Top 100  Wines–93 points
The Adelaide Advertiser , 23 November 2005

“Pleasant fruits, like blackberry, plum and cherry, open the vibrant bouquet of this Bendigo babe.  Then comes the palate with its abrupt rise of aggro tannic phenols and oak.  But as it airs, it oozes more fragrant aromas and gradually releases more fleshy, moody twists of this and that, as if it has distemper.  Bung it in the cellar for five years.”

James Halliday 2006 Wine Companion– 92 points

“Deep purple-red; extremely concentrated, powerful and rich; drought exaggerated, perhaps, brooding black fruits and cherry.  Like Tempranillo (Cencibel) from La Mancha.  Drink 2023.”

Huon Hooke 100 Top New Release Wines, – 95 points, 5 stars  Gourmet Traveller WINE  Oct/Nov 2005

“A serious Tempranillo of great intensity and structure.  Dried bayleaf and walnut aromas; deep-set cherry flavours on palate, accompanied by lashings of ripe tannin.  An impressive effort.  Cellar 8 years+”

Huon Hooke, Good Weekend The Age Magazine, 8 October  2005

“Tempranillo is a fringe grape that’s seen on more and more labels in this country.  Popular in Spanish regions such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero, and also Portugal, where it’s known as tinta roriz, tempranillo is climatically well suited to many Australian regions.

Dominic and Krystina Morris, who met while working at St. Hallett in the Barossa, have both made tempranillo in Portugal – Dominic still works each vintage at Quinta do Crasto in the Douro Valley – and their own Pondalowie Vineyards is something of a tempranillo specialist.  The Pondalowie Special Release Tempranillo 2003 ($42) is one of the most exciting I’ve tasted.

The Morrises and their extended family have two vineyards at Bridgewater on Loddon, in the Bendigo region.  Bridgewater has just a handful of vineyards and their neighbour is Waterwheel, noted for heroic reds.  They planted two vineyards between 1996 and ‘99 so they’re still young, which makes the outstanding quality of the wines all the more impressive.  They don’t buy any grapes and expect to remain limited to their own 10 hectares.   Pondalowie makes only red wines and quantities are small.  But every single ‘03 is a ripper: the tempranillo has walnut, dried bay leaf aromas and powerful structure… All are screw-capped for consistency and freedom from cork taint.  Cork is one thing the Morrises didn’t want to adopt from the Iberian Peninsula.”

Nick Stock, The Adelaide Review, September 2-15, 2005

“Of all Australian producers playing with this native Spanish variety, Pondalowie’s Dominic and Krystina Morris have made some of the most expressive and authentic tempranillo.  Their unwooded ‘MT’ cuvee captures the fragrance and tannic power that seems to elude most other attempts at the grape.  This is their first Special Release bottling and here they’re looking to create a more age worthy tempranillo with some structural support from oak maturation.  It’s rich, ripe and intense smelling, strong Chinese five spice and roasted game meats, liquorice, hints of smoke, chalky mineral notes and big steeped black cherry aroma.  The palate starts out all smoky and throws dark cherry flavour ahead of savoury spices and smoked BBQ meats.  It’s ripe all the way through.  Still a bit knees and elbows, the quality is stamped at the finish as the fruit flavour sails out the back of bristling tannins, trailing pure dark cherry and plum skin.  91+ points.”

Ralph-kyte-powell – The Age Epicure, Tuesday 9 August 2005.

“Pondalowie’s Dominic Morris spends part of each year in Portugal, where Tempranillo is known as Tinta Roriz.  His experience with this grape shows in this powerful Bendigo example.  A concentrated mix of cherry and blackcurrant fruit with complex touches of new shoe leather, briar and spice, it’s full-bodied and long with a savoury grainy feel.  Age 3-15 years.  Food ideas; Braised oxtail; cheddar.”   4 ½  STARS, $$

Peoples Choiceaward winner– Federation Square Bendigo Showcase, July 2005.