Following on from yesterdays Shiraz bout (here) today we have round 2 of the Seppelt wines death match – an old fashioned matchup between two likely competitors in the Seppelt range. Man on Man, Mano a mano in a head on fight to the death.
Todays bout (and it really is an unfair fight) pits the clear cut brilliance of Seppelt Drumborg Riesling 2008 vs the reliable, full flavoured Seppelt Chalambar Shiraz 2006 . These two have been selected as they have a somewhat similar RRP ($30 vs $25) but perhaps that is where the similarities stop, for the quality gap is much greater than merely the pinkish hue of a $5 note….
Before the fight begins, both sides show off their colours. On one hand, we have the green/very light straw/greenish yellow Drumborg looking very bright and fresh, vs the dense and maroon drenched red of the bulldog Chalambar.
The ref calls start and the first blows are landed here by the warm, sweetly oaked and red fruit drenched Chalambar, its powerful and quite dense nose just hinting at the power beneath. In contrast, the Drumborg is quite reticent and hangs back, its defences all clouded up in a blast of sulphur, leaving it to just put up its dukes and let nothing in. After a short spell the sulphur cloak comes off, leaving a very tight, sherbet and talc nose of crystalline purity, if edged with the first hint of toastiness.
The bell rings & its time for the second round – the palate round -. The Drumborg starts with a
flurry of fists from the its well defined, prize fighting body, attempting to use its 45 yr vineyard history to garner early dominance. Unfortunately for the Drumborg, it can’t quite bring out the sucker punch, with a palate that is absolutely closed down, having moved from the freshness of youth into something slightly duller, lemony and acid driven. The acid backbone is quite special however, more Germanic blue slate than much of the rounder, limey Aussie loams its usually up against. Hence I’m predicting big things for this young fighter, with its natural abilities just needing some time to come together, moving through this post debut flat spot.
The Chalambar’s response is typically assertive – big, firm flavours of dark fruits, grainy oak and a trace of meatiness that runs right through to the finish. Its a very dry style that feels hard, bulky and already starting to mature, the finish bitter and slightly metallic, rescued only by the odd whisper of caramelised fruit that escapes from all that dry extract. Its all rather unappealing at present, tasting hard, meaty, oak edged and bitter. It should improve with time, but that raw meatiness tastes like early onset development to me.
So in the end, it is the purity, structure and class of the Drumborg that wins this bout on points alone, its terroir winning easily, even if its just ticked over to a bit of an intermediate stage. The Chalambar is far too hard, raw and strained, built for the future no doubt, but also far from well balanced. Another disappointment then from the celebrated Chalambar label.
I’ve got to admit that the results of this fight were bound to be skewed in the Drumborg’s favour, given my well known predilection towards acidity and Rieslings, and not forgetting the Drumborgs price difference. But in all honesty, I did expect more from the Chalambar: I spent my early wine wanker years drinking the mid 90’s versions of this label, revelling in the bloody good value they represented. Yet recent years seem harder, more forced and less stylish than previously, similarly coinciding with a proliferation of new Seppelt Shiraz labels and a rather rocky recent history with its ownership.
The final scores in this bout where thus: 18++ for the Drumborg & 15 for the Chalambar – an aforementioned distance between the quality of the two wines that simply does not translate to price….