ADAM’S RIB REVIEWS
Adam’s Rib is the pet project of Adam Castagna, son and assistant winemaker to Julian Castagna at his Beechworth Estate. Adam has been itching to produce his own wine for a while now and he’s finally launched a couple – and indeed, as you would expect, they are very interesting wines. Whenever I taste the wines at Castagna, whether I like them all or not, I’m always taken aback by how interesting all the wines are; they are always wines of personality. These Adam’s Rib wines, while not being either exclusively Beechworth or exclusively from the Castagna estate, are very much in the Castagna mould. They are both wines of high personality.
ADAM’S RIB 2010 ‘THE RED’
Single varietal wines have their place but think how many great European wines are blends of two or more varieties. The greatness comes from the sum of the parts. I love this wine. Here the blending of Nebbiolo and Syrah produce a wine of structure and finesse. Chinese five-spice, leather, freshly turned earth with a hint of rose and fresh tarry black plums sit beautifully with fine tannins that rippled through the wine maintaining a sense of style and elegance. Approachable, affordable yet just so very compelling.
ADAM’S RIB 2009 ‘THE RED’
The nose is a blend of and black and morello cherry, with just a touch of plum; cracked black pepper with hints of cinnamon and clove assert themselves together with just a suggestion of violets and roses – making it very intriguing. The wine has a rich palate attack; spicy and peppery, with fine long tannins which support the fruit. It has a long finish with zippy tangy acid.
ADAM’S RIB 2010 ‘THE WHITE’
A deliciously complex and decadent wine that has sufficient poise and finesse to charm and surprise. Getting a blend just right can be a conundrum and not all blends work, but this one clearly does. Hints of fennel mix with freshly ripe apricots, lime blossom, cashews and finally a hint of oyster shell saltiness. The palate rolls along controlled, yet full of flavour, creating a complex attack across the palate. Lingering notes of apricots and cinnamon make this seriously moreish. This wine is complex and generous and yet has a fine body – absolutely mouth filling.
ADAM’S RIB 2010 CHARDONNAY
This wine has both body and soul that cries out for food. Fermented on skins this wine, which I’m sure will cause much debate, sat on gross lees for more than a year and underwent full malolactic fermentation. The intriguing and powerful flavours are well balanced by good acidity, with perfume of white peaches, fennel, lime blossom and toasty brioches notes as its hallmark; it is a wine of flavour and power.
ADAM’S RIB 2009 ‘THE WHITE’
Again, this is a blend of chardonnay and viognier. Its bouquet is of scented white flowers and ripe stone fruit with a touch of spice, giving it an almost hazelnut quality. It has a deep, creamy impact on the front palate, of white peach and nectarine, and a gentle wet stone like character on the back palate, with peach and apricot on the finish. French oak seasoning gives the wine lovely spicy notes adding a lift to the fruit. Texture and a sense of proportion make it harmonious and creamy – very interesting and very delicious.
ADAM’S RIB 2008 ‘THE WHITE’
Fermented on skins, this wine has an immediate appealing aroma suggesting a rich and bountiful fruit laden wine – Turkish delight and rose water laced with lime blossom and fresh apricots. Beneath the fruit are some very interesting funky notes and even a hint of oyster shell. A simply gorgeous bouquet, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of aromas. Gobs of fruit richness fill the palate, a little butterscotch then ripe yellow peach encased in a creamy texture drawn out by refreshing lime acidity. The wine has a rich depth of flavour and yet a refreshing acidity. It will show itself best if served at 10-12 degrees. Above all, this wine delivers flavour, and lots of it and that’s what wine should be about.
[From Campbell Mattinson – Wine front]
Adam’s Rib The White 2010
More chardonnay than viognier this release. Spicy, lively, intense. Great power and great floral/gingery flourish. Creamy mouthfeel. Bright. Has interest at every turn. Not sure why we don’t pay wines like this more attention. Super release from Adam’s Rib. Linger of exotic flavour.
Adam’s Rib Chardonnay 2010
Grown on the Smith’s vineyard, the oldest chardonnay vineyard in the Beechworth region. The first varietal chardonnay under the Adam’s Rib name. Barrel fermented. Takes some time to open up in the glass; benefits from a decant. Grapefruit and melon and almond. Touch of toasty oak. Spent time on skins and it shows in the wine’s skin-like texture. Lacks aroma but lingers deliciously on the finish. Glycerol. Will be better again in 12 months but if you’re opening now, give it some time to come around.
[Philip White – Indailty Adelaide & drinkster.blogspot.com ]
Adam’s Rib The White 2010
BOTH makers will probably dislike me saying this, but in style this is so far out there the only other horse in the race is Johnny Gilbert’s forthcoming By Jingo Grillo.
It’s about nothing smelling much like what everybody thinks grapes smell like, and letting the wine run off with its own flavour. Like it smells like wine, not grapes. Both those whites are big mature profound babies as thickset as the girls in Rubens’ room in the Louvre. This one’s got her face in a bowl of broad beans in butter and garlic. She’s just let it have another blast of pepper grinder, a grinder which doesn’t have a friggin torch in it. This is candle-light wine. Somebody’s stewing jam melon in the corner. Woodstove business. Pears, too, but creamier and more buttery than any pear I’ve yet pillaged. But it’s no dessert wine. This is cassoulet wine. Everybody’s laughing! Oyster omelette wine. Wah Hing salt’n’pepper eggplant wine. Pig belly wine. Park Lok pig tripe in chicken stock with onion, mustard seed and white pepper wine. I just drank a whole bottle thinking that up. Oh yes. It’s Chardonnay and Viognier, and don’t you worry about that. Radical blanc for hardcore sensual rouge revvos.
Adam’s Rib The Red 2010
Nebbiolo and Shiraz. Granite. Clean Beechworth air. Wild yeast. Approachable. That’s what it tells me on the outside. On the inside, add the triple-X rating. It’s like the fruit section of a bacchanale in the final movement. The jellied fruit wrestling. Where all is ripe and red and rude, and we’re rubbing it on each other in the bath. It smells deep and yearning and it wants you in there with it. The edge of it is pure smashed granite that sets the nostrils twitchin’ and itchin’. That’s just a carapace, a front, to protect and hide the rich soft within. There’s glowering, prickly anise, too. Drink. That stone-dust edge is in the palate like a vividly coloured exotic reptile skin designed, too, for protection. Which is what it will do, keeping the fruit department preserved and fresh for a long time while it scares everything else away. This has to do with Nebbiolo tannins in a great year, but it’s not much like you’d expect of either of its components. They writhe so well together you can’t pick them. There’s also really sinuous acid, which will help with the preservation. But hang on, that’s a raspberry. A pretty raspberry gel. That’s the leader. Behind that there’s a stack of much darker blackcurrant and rude blue gunbarrel fig. But that’s just because I think like that. Rub it all over me so I forget. Beautiful, elegant, intense, joyous wine for participation. As the label says. “Approachable.” Really.
Some reviews from America…
[From Vinography – Alder Yarrow]
2007 Adam’s Rib “The White” White Blend, Beechworth, Australia
Light green-gold in the glass, this wine has a wonderful nose of lemongrass and cucumber with a nice floral overtone and a hint of nuttiness with more air. In the mouth it is beautifully floral with tropical fruits, hints of melon, and a wonderful apple quality borne on a base of nice acidity that morphs to slight spiciness in the finish. An unusual blend of roughly 70% Chardonnay, 30% Viognier. Score: between 9 and 9.5
2008 Adams Rib “The Red” Red Blend, Beechworth, Australia
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a nose of cherry and dried flowers. On the palate it is soft and delicate, with a very nice floral aspect and raspberry and cherry flavors with light tannins that emerge after several mouthfuls. At first I thought this wine was a bit simple, but the more I drink it, the more I think it is fabulously subtle and delicate. Really interesting. 70% Nebbiolo, 30% Shiraz. Score: around 9
2006 Adams Rib “The Red” Red Blend, Beechworth, Australia
Medium to dark ruby in the glass, this wine has a bright floral nose of cranberry, cherry and violets. In the mouth it is juicy and spicy, with a light tannic structure and great acid. It walks the line between a light Syrah and a Pinot in a really wonderful way, borrowing raspberry and cassis from each respectively. Very interesting. 40% Syrah, 60% Pinot Noir. Score: between 8.5 and 9
[From eRobertParker.com – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW]
2008 Castagna Adam’s Rib ‘The Red’
An intriguing blend of 60% Nebbiolo and 40% Syrah, the 2008 Adam’s Rib ‘The Red’ possesses a medium to deep garnet color and incredibly fragrant aromas of violets, fresh herbs and ripe cherries plus a touch of tea leaves and anise. Concentrated flavors are offset by crisp acidity and a medium level of chewy tannins. The finish is long. Approachable now, this wine has the potential to develop over 4 to 5 years and should drink through 2020+. 91 points
2008 Castagna Adam’s Rib ‘The White’
The 2008 Adam’s Rib ‘The White’ is a blend of 65-70% Chardonnay with Viognier accounting for most of the remaining proportion. Aromas of apricots, poached pear and honeysuckle lead to clean, pure stone fruit flavors plus a nice bit of phenolic pull on the full-bodied palate. A little tropical / pineapple character comes through in the long finish. This is one to drink now and enjoy over the next 2 to 3 years. 90 points
Adam’s Rib The White 2007
Adam’s offsprung of hoarier chestnuts, Carolann and Julian. His rib’s the wishbone’s winning side. His wines, from home and other gardens, make me laugh. This mix of chardonnay and viognier’s more than a melding of two vinous curses: it’s a cannibal pot full of jokes about boiling wine missionaries. I can smell Pam Dunsford in there, and Brian Croser. Poaching together. It’s a jolly thing, like spiced mead: the sort of drink the Royal Australian Wine Show system was designed to destroy. Technically, it’s a bit hot. Emotionally, it’s hot, but cool. Fashion-wise? Red hot.
93 points – Phillip White
Adam’s Rib The Red 2006
A Classic old-school Hunter method of blending pinot noir and shiraz, this has an approachable yet savoury personality, making for immediate appeal and screaming out for food. Dark fruits, plenty of spice, some tar and dark chocolate here too. Tannins are supple yet extend long through the palate, the whole thing expanding out through the finish with a peppery aftertaste.
93 points, Nick Stock – Penguin Wine Guide 201
Adams Rib ‘The White’ 2007
I had my first bottle of Castagna in the form of the 2007 Adam’s Rib White last week and quite frankly, it blew me away. Here in the bottle was love, passion, intelligence and complexity. Cannot wait to buy and taste more.
A Brisbane Customer
Adams Rib ‘The Red’ 2006
Technically this isn’t pinot noir – or it is, but with a significant difference. It’s a blend of eighty percent pinot noir with twenty percent shiraz, inspired in some way by the great old Maurice O’Shea wines of the 1930s and 1940s. It works beautifully. It’s quite clear that more folk should be making this blend – it could easily become both as uniquely Australian, and successful, as cabernet-shiraz blends. This wine is full of grunty, grainy, grapey tannin and dark polished, kirsch-like cherry flavours, its cedary French oak admirably tucked into the wine’s fruit flavour. It’s a long structured, serious wine.
The Big Red Wine Book – 93 points
Adam’s Rib ‘The White’ 2005
It sings. It’s mostly chardonnay with a touch of viognier, though in many ways it’s more about style than variety. It’s got a creamy, glycerol, seductive feel in the mouth, and yet it’s spicy and strong and driven with leesy, pulpy, peach-and-pear-like flavour. I like this. It’s a real wine.
Drink: 2007-2009. 90 points.
Adam’s Rib ‘The Red’ 2005
It’s very easy for me to recommend this. It’s a super wine. It’s largely made off 20-year-old north-east Victorian merlot vines, though extra beef has come from Heathcote and Beechworth shiraz. Really though, its boots are filled with unmistakable Castagna personality. Roasted coffee, blueberries, cedarwood, spice, rounds of curling, fine, ripe tannin – and then an alluring bitterness on the finish. It’s balanced, delicious, and interesting. It’s a great start for the label.
Drink: 2007-2014. 93 points. Campbell Mattinson – Winefront
Adam’s Rib ‘The White’ 2005
A blend of Chardonnay and Viognier; a vortex of fruit, oak and acids swirling around or leap-frogging over each other; … racy…(with a) nervous edge.Adam’s Rib 2005 ‘The Red’: … in one sip it screams ‘I am wine, my presence shall be noted.’ Solid structure, very well crafted and not cumbersome; … Very good wine.
Tony Keys – The Key Review
We had one of Adam’s White’s the other night, and it was sensational. The ‘zesty, tangy edge that adds to the creamy textural sensation’ really is the perfect description. It just doesn’t fit the standard ‘Chardonnay blend’ … It is a fascinating wine, …it was a bargain. I’ve routinely paid $40 for much less elegant or exciting wines.
A customer via email
Interested trade customers should contact
Bertie Stevens at Havelock Wine Co
Ph: 0409 795 012
Or you can buy direct if you wish, just drop us an email with your license number and ABN and we will forward you a Wholesale Price List.