Taltarni ‘French Syrah’ 1983 (Pyrenees, Vic)
12.9%, Cork, $125
Source: Dinner guest
I often wonder what wines like this would have looked like in their youth. Sadly, I was a wide-eyed two year old when this Syrah was produced, so I can only take its current form and work backwards, attempting to deduce exactly how a 2 or 3 year old 1983 Taltarni Syrah would taste.
Given just how wonderful this red looks at almost 30 years of age, I think it would have been at least tasty. But was it? Or was it skinny, drying and minty, that lovely rich mid palate still hidden behind a forbidding wall of hefty tannins?
Regardless of how it looked then, it is now, like most of the older Taltarni reds, a delicious mature Australian red wine.
Part of the reason why this particular bottle looked so good was that it came directly from the chilly Taltarni cellars, released as part of the wineries ‘dusty bottle library’ program that sees small parcels of older wines (back to the ’77 vintage) occasionally liberated from the winery.
You can see the benefits of such assured provenance too. The cork is pristine, the label perfect. The colour is still bright dark red too. It smells of old Australian Shiraz, the warm 1983 vintage giving this a South Australian Shiraz-esque richness. Think chocolate, plum, redcurrants and brick dust. It’s obviously not inky ripe fruit, but it is generous. The palate too is mid weight and silken. Silken like old Burgundy from a warm year, though perhaps not quite as ethereal as the finest crus, but on a par with old Hunter Shiraz, everything finishing with the last vestiges of residual fruit tannins.
That silken palate, that judicious juiciness is what ultimately brands this as a beautiful wine. It’s just a delectable drink.
Wonderful old red.
Score: 18.8/20 95/100
Would I buy it? Without hesitation