Welcome to tranche 2 of the #MonthofAndrew wines.
I probably haven’t hit the cellar as hard this birthday with the imminent baby arrival (just over two weeks until due date), but this collection – opened at the Mecca of BYO, Golden Century on Saturday – was so good.
Satisfying also that all of these wines tasted younger than the number on the label would suggest (NV aside). A shout out to Wine Ark Chatswood and my shitty, loud, but reliable wine fridge for keeping my wines in good shape.
I was still amazed that the Stonyridge was the standout. I’ve always loved Larose, but I was taken aback by the form and vitality.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvee NV
Champagne watch out. I’ve had more Nyetimber than any other English sparkling and every year it gets better. Majestic. Biscuits lees and Pinot making itself felt. Long, powerful, sophisticated. Think prestige Champagne delicacy, but with the appley acidity of the southern downs. Let’s call it 17.7-18/20 or 93/100. 12%, £44 in a UK supermarket and likely worth it. Would I buy it? Again. And again.
Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon 2005
Not the bottle with all the trophies and gold medal stickers as I bought ex-winery. A benchmark Semillon though. Lanolin, lemon toast. Power! It’s pristine, a riper Vat 1 and expressive because of it. Grandiose, but the acid is still full tilt. At first it seems so toasty – but it’s taut and still so tight underneath. Those layers. Toast, lanolin, chewy green apple acidity. It’s powerful! Green apple citrus acidity, but fuller, lightly buttered flavours. Complexity and utter drinkability. Best drinking: Now is a good time but there’s more weight to come. Under screwcap it will be a 40 year wine. 19/20, 96/100. 11.6%, $ I can’t remember what I paid but probably $30-$45. A steal. Would I buy it? Always.
Voyager Estate Chardonnay 2012
In a funny spot. It’s almost too tart and lean, the secondary chub trying to kick in, but it’s just funk and grapefruit acidity for the moment. I had the ’10 mid last year and it’s an a much better place. Best drinking: Come back in 2-3 years. 17/20, 90/100++. 13%. Would I buy it? Not yet.
Bartolo Mascarello Barolo 2010
Yeah, vinfanticide but I wanted a look. Ruby red with a little brown at the edge. It’s a genuinely fresh and vital Barolo, but so young and tight. Tar, cedar, understatement. Acidity. That finely tannic subtlety is nice and it’s a lovely wine, but still far off the consuming window. A wine in progress. Best drinking: These 2010s are so tight. Revisit in 5 years plus. 18/20, 93/100+. 14%. Would I buy it? For the cellar only.
Stonyridge Larose 2007
Wow. So red, so exuberant. A head-turner. Cab, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc. Magnificent. Like a good young Bordeaux, even at 12. A little oak propping up the nose, along with pencil shavings, red meat, dark leathery hints, mint, ripe fruit. Ageless tannins. It’s cedary Bordeaux, but with this plump polished middle. Mid weight, cedary, plenty of acid. It’s not claret, it’s Waiheke. Energetic. Magnificent. Best drinking: Now and hey whenever. Will be a very very long term wine. 19/20, 96/100. 13.5%, $ I paid $60 or $70. Which looks unbelievable now. Would I buy it? Glad I have another bottle and some 05.
Raymond Lafon Sauternes 2009
The only Sauternes I’ve ever bought en primeur. This is the first bottle of a six pack too. A massively ripe, barely bot influenced Sauternes. Drier, chunkier and ripe wine that tends towards orange rind fruit, low acidity and warm alcohol. It’s a blunt instrument in many ways, though still classy, and these hot year wines sure pack a punch. I was looking for a little more complexity to be honest and ended up marking it down a little for that warmth. But I know how these ripe Sauternes can look long term. Back of the cellar the rest will stay. Best drinking: I’d wait for five more years (at least). 17.7/20, 92/100+. 13.5%, $68 en primeur. Would I buy it? I love Sauternes and Raymond Lafon, but this isn’t as epic as I wanted. Not like the great vintages. Worth a glass though.