Wynnsday 2011 Wynns Releases
|Wynnsday Sydney party|
Today is Wynnsday, the one Wednesday of the year when all things Wynns are celebrated. No matter what you think of Wynns themselves, it’s not hard to appreciate the continuity of this annual Wynnsday celebration and the history and prestige of the label itself, though whether it’s always been managed like it should be is an entirely different prospect.
From where I sit it seems that Treasury Estates (owner of Wynns) though are placing more attention on the wines than ever before, with extensive mainstream Wynnsday print and digital advertising, plus no shortage of expense dropped on the live events today.
Here in Sydney that meant hiring out a sizable room Pyrmont’s Doltone House and inviting 120 trade guests (independent retailers and restauranteurs mainly) to taste the wines, eat hors d’oeuvres and watch a live video linkup direct from the panel tasting in Coonawarra (where the likes of James Halliday, Jeremy Oliver and Peter Bourne tasted the wines with winemaker Sue Hodder and viticulturist Allen Jenkins).
Given the scale of the tasting, and considering that similar tastings were simultaneously taking place in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide (with Hong Kong to follow), there was little questioning the commitment to the Wynnsday concept
All this pomp and ceremony amounts to naught though if the wines don’t perform, especially given that a few of this wines come from the problematic 08 vintage (so dangers abound) in particular. Wits were thus kept…
The best thing about this tasting though was just to look at the wines in a proper, back-to-back lineup. Nothing like sitting there with a glass of 09 Black Label, 08 Riddoch and 08 Davis Cabernet in front of you to truly deconstruct the range. Wine geek heaven. Kicked up some interesting results too.
Broadly speaking this is a solid lineup of wines, even if not all of them are strictly to my tastes, with the only real obstacle being that of extreme youth. Plus signs are super important in this context.
The wines (notes in italics come from the winery):
Wynns Coonawarra Riesling 2011
Stainless steel maturation, 12% alc. “Crisper than we’ve seen in the last couple of vintages” Sue Hodder. RRP $23
Looks very fresh and very clean this year. Purity plus and looking more ‘cool climate’ than ever. It’s limey too, very limey, with much more lime juice and talc than usual. Achingly fresh even. Dry and brisk palate is rather natural and crisp, if still a fraction too ill-defined for big love. Certainly the best Wynns Rieslings in some time though and will only get better with bottle age. Unquestionably drinkable. Drink now – 2015+. 17.3/90+
Wynns Coonawarra Chardonnay 2011
One third matured in seasoned French oak and the rest in stainless. 12.5%. RRP $23
Another achingly fresh white, this looked rather disjointed too, with nutty (oak chip?) oak sitting on top of everything. Beyond that it’s peach and melon fruit over a rather sour, melon and white peach palate. Texturally stunted, the acidity is prominent but the wine falls very short and sharply, it’s freshness the only redeeming feature. Simple and so ridiculously backward, this looked far far too young. Drink 2012-2015. 15.8/86++
Wynns Shiraz 2010
10 months in French and American oak. 14%. RRP $23
Very pulpy, ripe and purple fruit nose, it’s a fraction volatile but also so very juicy, open and fluffy. In fact, it looks very un-serious considering the heritage of the label, with a cavalcade of round peppery fruit on parade but little else. Open knit tannins don’t really help things either. Strictly speaking it’s too young to pass judgement, yet coming back to this at the end it looked just a fraction simple, forward and lacking in tannins. There’s still plenty of ‘Coonawarra’ in it though, which bumped up the score. Drink 2012-2017+. 16.5/88+
Wynns ‘The Siding’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
12 months in new and seasoned French and American oak barrels. 14%. RRP $23
Apparently this ‘green label’ can be found for $14, at which price it’s quite fair Coonawarra drinking. A very purple coloured red, this smells of brambly, red earth tinged blackberry fruit. In fact the only key thing it lacks is that deep cedary Coonawarra varietal/regional thing, instead looking much plumper and a bit too sweet through the grainy finish. Still pleasant drinking on a budget. Drink 2012-2015. 16.8/89
Seriously good pen too!
Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Matured for 15 months in both old and new French and American oak barriques. 54th release of this wine. 14% RRP $35
Immediately more redder and darker than the Siding, this looked the real deal. Smells it too. There’s a big does of slightly gluey, caramel oak on the nose which can be a bit distracting (and why are they still using American oak for this?). Underneath it’s proper dark chocolate and dusty choc/mint leaf Coonawarra goodness though. I like that. I like how dry and ‘typical’ Black Label this is, even if it’s a slightly skinny, sweeter wine than some vintages. What really seals the deal though is the finish. It’s long, regal and very Coonawarra, looking even more ageworthy and proper when compared to the rest of the Cabernets in this lineup. Buy with confidence. Every time I came back to this I liked it more. Drink now-2020+ 18.1/93+
Wynns V & A Lane Shiraz 2009
Matured for 15 months in 70% new and 30% one year old French oak. 13.5%. RRP $50
Very sweet. Lavishly sweet and oaky from the get-go. It’s bound to seduce but I think this is a slutty, sweetly shallow wine that is very ripe, cherry ripe-ish and fat, the fruit profile showing strained overripeness and a skinny finish, the acidity particularly pointed on the finish. I’m not a fan but I can see why people would like this. Plenty of scope for improvement in the bottle though. Drink now-2016. 16.5/88+
Wynns V & Land Cabernet Shiraz 2009
70% Cabernet, 30% Shiraz. Matured for 15 months in 67% new and 33% one year old French oak. 13.5%. RRP $50
That overt juiciness of the above wine drags this down in my books, marring the darker, drier Cabernet fruit underneath. I think this might well come good with some time in bottle, as the Cabernet component looks rather fine. Drink 2012-2020. 17.5/91++
Wynns Davis Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Sourced from a vineyard that was planted in 1957 and ‘renovated’ in 2003. One of the oldest blocks in Coonawarra it is located in the centre of the strip just south of the winery. Matured in 50% new and 40% one year old French oak. 14%. RRP $50
Marked with the thumbprint of the vintage this one, of wines that seem to have been pressed off skins a little earlier and left with more residual sugar than in previous years, leading to finished products that don’t have the same tannins or firmness of the best vintages.
In this case it transpires as a quite jammy and overripe wine (on the nose at least) with that under/over mixed ripeness character of the year. Raspberries and leaf. Surprisingly, it looks much fresher, tighter and attractive on the palate though. There’s a freshness and openness of the palate that is also a vintage character, a real open ‘fruity’ character that is appealing but also not quite classic. I can again see the appeal here, though it’s ultimately a more simple and less satisfying wine than the more rugged, less polished 09 Black Label. Drink now-2018. 17.1/90+
Wynns Michael Shiraz 2008
Matured for 14 months in 60% new and 40% one year old French oak. 14.5%. RRP $90
Time to crack out the big boys! A much less oaky wine than some previous Michaels this too. It’s layered with creamy oak sweetness still, coffee cream oak along with red cedar fruit. Seriously structured and masculine, the only real downer is the sweetness. It again carries the openness of the vintage, with just a little fat in there (that should settle down) and not quite the tannic length. Perhaps too sweet for immediate drinking, though will settle. Nice wine, if not in the realm of the Cabernets. Drink 2014-2020+. 17.6/92++
Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Matured for 22 months in 53% new, 40% one year old, 7% two year old French oak. 14%. RRP $90
So interesting to see this next to the Black Label and to move back and forward between the two. This, for a Riddoch, looks almost pretty and quite open, imbued with a vintage derived plushness to the whole package. Indeed it’s really quite red fruity on the nose, generous and fleshy without those gritty tannins of most previous releases. If anything it’s not gritty or structured enough for me, looking sweet next to the less plush 09 Black Label. Still, I think it’s got the legs for at least medium term cellaring and no doubting that it’s still classy. I’m hanging out for the 09 though based on that Black Label…Drink 2014-2022+. 18/93+