|63 Wyns Hermitage. Amazing.|
Without further ado...
(All of these were consumed over dinner, non blind (unless otherwise marked). Notes are as written on the night, with my little commentary at the end in brackets).
Flight One - Variety is the Spice of Life95% Syrah, 5% Viognier. 38 months in barrel.
Guigal Chateau d'Ampuis 2000 (Côte-Rôtie, Northern Rhone, France)
Classic lifted perfume - a floral nose of Azalia's and pea and ham meatiness. Really bright though, bright, perfumed and juicy. Lovely meaty palate is surprisingly medium bodied, if looking rather warm through the finish. Did I mention the tannins? Excellent fine grained tannins, very silky and long.
Lovely wine, if a teeny bit hot through the finish. Cherry aromatics meets dark dusty fruit. Lovely, unforced wine. 18.7/95
(Lived up to it's reputation. Group favorite of the bracket to boot.)
Dalwhinnie South West Rocks 2005 (Pyrenees, Vic)
Lovely peppermint chocolate aromas. Purple fruit, really dense and purple, with graphite, fleshy black fruit and lovely black jube/blackberry ripeness, sweet oak in the background. Light and airy through the finish, but still properly dry. Still much to give. Classy wine this, with so much elegant interest. Yes. 18.5/94
(Really surprised by this. That minerally, minty chocolatey goodness is distinctive and great)
Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2006 (Canberra District)
94% Shiraz, 6% Viognier. 3 day pre-ferment maceration. 20% whole bunches, extended warm open ferments. 12 months in 30% new French oak.
Very peachy - Viognier is really obvious at this stage, though the whole package looks very young. too young really. Palate starts dry and light, though gets thicker as it progresses. Warm finish. It's all very tight but pretty, though I also think it looks a little light and withdrawn through the tail. Ultimately just a tad too sweet perhaps? Should still be reasonably long lived. 17.8/92+
(Too young, too sweet. But no doubting the potential).
Brokenwood Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 2003 (Hunter Valley, NSW)
100% Shiraz. Famously dry vintage in the Hunter. 13.7% alc. pH 3.47
Earth. Lots of earth. Classically earthen nose that is very much in the secondary phase now. Very Hunter. Palate starts very rich and then gets meatier and drier as it travels along. Just a fraction short through the finish, capped off with drying tannins. So Hunter! 18/93
(So much to like for a Hunter wine fan here, even if it's a biggun').
Flight Two - Big, Bold, Beaut Aussies
Elderton Command Shiraz 2001 (Barossa Valley, SA)
100% Shiraz. Sourced from the Elderton Estate vineyard. 3 years in new American and French oak puncheons, transferred to older oak after the first year. 14% Alc.
Lots of chocolate, meat and Amex oak. Very Barossan, with lots of formic oak characters on the nose. 9yrs old but looking very youthful still. Sweet caramel entry, very soft palate is just faintly secondary, otherwise it looks just bottled. Very sweet, very oak, very rich, but appealing. Nice, if hardly earth shattering. 17.5/91
(Old school style here. Will live for many years yet. A sleeper methinks).
Torbreck 'The Factor' Shiraz 2004 (Barossa Valley, SA)
100% Shiraz. Marananga, Koonunga Hill, Moppa, Gomersal. pH 3.7, 14.5% alc. 24 months in 30% new French oak.
Very closed, ultra dense, ultra concentrated nose. Crammed with oak and ultra ripe, almost petrochemical glycerol fruit. Really black fruit and so much oak. A real charry oak that rides all the way through the finish. That's a shame really for underneath all that oak is top line fruit, the odd whiff of bacon fat richness just hinting at it. Potential... 16.5/88+
(I think it will look better with a few years more in the bottle, but that oak will always be overt).
Katnook Estate Prodigy Shiraz 2004 (Coonawarra, SA)
100% Shiraz. 27 months in roughly 50/50 French/American oak. 14.5% alc. pH 3.4. TA 6.4 g/l
Lots of sweet oak again. Flashy, sweet, super creamy vanilla oak over generous plummy fruit. That almost milky oak is very attractive but covers the fruit. Some good stuff underneath it. But geez it's oaky. 17/90
(Really interesting looking at this compared to the wine before. Both oak smashed, both have solid fruit at the core. This looked more varietal, but again would be smarter without the excesses of oak).
Kilikanoon 'R' Reserve Shiraz 2006 (Barossa Valley, SA)
100% Shiraz. 30 months in small new French oak.
Very sweet and very much a case of 'see my oak'. Very polished though. That fruit underneath is high quality stuff. The whole wine is just a baby. A finely polished baby. It finishes a bit short and warm, but it's attractive. 17.5/91
(Sexy oak. But wine is more than oak. Again this would look better with less, though unquestionably attractive).
Flight Three - World Tour Wine Test
Craggy Range Le Sol 2007 (Hawkes Bay, NZ)
Beautiful spread of ripe red fruit aromatics, even just a smidgen of eucalypyt, chocolate and gummy fruit. It's a little oaky but nice full weight to this style. Firmish finish. Needs years, but really rather appealing. 17.9/92
(A Le Sol that I really like is a rarity, but this looked very well balanced indeed).
Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde 2003 (Northern Rhone, France)
96% Syrah, 4% Viognier
Licorice and Asian spices on the nose. . Spicy and quite exotic even. Very nice. It's gummy and quite secondary, with all sorts of very ripe and plain exotic smells in there. Dry and mildly hammy, palate looks rather secondary. It's a good secondary, meaty Rhone with firm grainy tannins and good meaty grip, if a bit raw and dried. Lots to like here though.. 18/93
(I'd drink this for sure. Complex if a little dried out).
E. J. Durand Cornas Empreintes 2005 (Cornas, Northern Rhone)
Really secondary, hammy and sour. Deep, almost metallic palate with a real chewy end. Sour and hard.
Where's the love? It's not terrible, indeed you'd drink it, but more freshness wouldn't go astray. 16.5/88
(Why is Cornas so often a dissapointment? And why is it that Clape defies this?)
Chateau Reynella Cellar One 2005 (Mclaren Vale, SA)
Lots of chocolate, choc mint oak. Oak dominated, though it's not ugly oak. Did I mention sweet oak? There's plenty of fruit behind it but looks out of place in this context. Very sweet. But very Australian too. Chocolatey power. 17/90
(I think this has it's place. But geez it's a winemaker/oak salesman plaything when you think about it).
Flight Four - Charge of the 98 brigade
Coriole Lloyd Reserve 1998 (McLaren Vale, SA)
Lovely sweet vanilla and coffee nose. Mocha oak style. Very youthful. Sweet but coffee dry palate is still surprisingly tight. Oaky though. Long and warm and rich palate is rather delicious in the wash up. Falls away on the finish a smidgen. But still very attractive (in it's mould). 17.8/92
(Group favourite of the bracket)
Brand's Laira Stentiford Reserve Old Vines 1998 (Coonawarra, SA)
Really evolved and even haunting secondary nose. Nutty beef stock. Nicely evolved. Black pepper and tea leaf. Unquestionably Coonawarra with some spicy brackishness on the back palate. Resolved, regional and tasty. 18.3/93
(Woah. Didn't expect to like this at all. Happy surprise!)
Wynns Michael 1998 (Coonawarra, SA)
100% Shiraz. 13.5% alc. TA 7.3g/L. pH 3.43
Eucalpyt! Lots of eucalypt along with large amounts of choccy toasty, dominant oak. Clumsy oak. Underneath it's just like a shell, sour and dry with poky acid. Awkward. 16/87+
(Way too oaky, But hey, it will live).
Meerea Park 'Alexander Munro' Cellar Release Shiraz 1998 (Hunter, NSW)
Lovely full Hunter Shiraz. Grainy tannins. Very dry. Chocolate and earth. Sour finish. Classic Hunter, full and proud. Love me! Time+. 18.2/93
(I'm biased - I brought this. A good bottle no doubt helps. The youthful/agelessness of the style is really amazing).
Flight Five - In Vino Antiquis Veritas
Henschke Mt Edelstone 1995 (Eden Valley, SA)
Corny stink to the nose and looking secondary. Plum and pea. Intriguing nose with plenty to it. Light to medium bodied palate still has lots of chocolate oak now turning into a smokiness. Meaty, long and briary, sinewy even. Plenty of that black licorice edged Eden valley fruit. Long, fully evolved and just plain lovely. Slow cooked meat. I like it. 18/93
(95 - the ordinary vintage for everyone bar Henschke. Lovely wine).
Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz 1999 (Barossa, SA)
Corked. The only corked bottle of the night.
Tardieu-Laurent Hermitage 1996 (Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France)
Dirt and dog poo. Iron and meat. Stinky. Light to medium bodied. Stinky! Diversive stink. Carrion even. Underneath it's dusty and fair. But the nose is hard work. 14.5/81
Wynns Coonawarra Hermitage 1963 (Coonawarra, SA)
Chocolate, tobacco leaf, rum and raisin. Very evolved and meaty but still in good shape - tally ho! Olives, stalks and volatility. Quite sweet! Just a bit metallic through the back. Meaty. Sharp acid. Still going! Amazing. Priceless.
(I didn't rate this as it's too hard to give a score to a classic. Instead I'll say that it's great to marvel in how drinkable this wine still is. A little dried out and volatile but still impressively sweet. Still drinkable!)
Flight 6 Addendum
Teusner FG Shiraz 2006 (Barossa, SA)
Very thick, rich and decadent. Deep and fresh! Black as night. Coffee. Deepset. Very rich. Lots of serious Shiraz fruit here, integrated with serious oak. A little warm through the finish. Seriously top end style here, with so much power and glory. Wow! Very fine. I want! 18.6/95
(Like Barossa Shiraz? Get some of this. Amazing booze).