Drinking earlier this week commenced with a 375ml bottle of Trimbach Pinot Gris Vendange Tardive 1990
- glowing yellow/gold colour; still very fresh, powerful, spicy "gewurtz"-like bouquet full of rose petal, lychee, honey and tropical fruits. Reasonably sweet, exotic, viscous palate resplendent with the descriptors mentioned above followed by a long, slightly oily finish with enough acidity to maintain equilibrium. Seriously good, but somehow I don't think this will get much better. Larger formats might still have a little way to go.
The next night I opened the brilliant Freycinet Chardonnay 2003
. More "Chablis"-like than any of the other bottles opened thus far, this wine rates up with the best examples Australia produces. From the extraordinary bright infantile colour, to the seductive mealy, spicy, melon and grapefruit nose with a subtle but exquisite input from lightly toasted new oak. In the mouth it displays laser-like precision, is light on its feet yet delivers an impression of restrained underlying power and a rare class. Abounds with tight grapefruit/melon/white nectarine flavours intermingling with superb minerally acid and complex "mealy" oak that all follow through to a distinguihed crisp, "peacock tail", thoroughly satisfying, lengthy departure. This bottle rates as the second best Aussie Chardonnay I've drunk in the last 12 months
. Only the '02 LEAS (Leeuwin Estate Art Series) rates a point higher. The 1987 LEAS would be third. If only all the bottles were as good as this one. None have been less than Excellent, it must be said. On this week's bottle/showing this should last and improve for at least a decade.
Next up was a cheapie VP I picked up at auction. The McWilliams 1972 Vintage Port
was made from Riverina Cabernet
. It won a swag of gold medals and a few trophies at Australian wine shows (so what!) between 1976 and 1985. A very dark mahogany red colour, complex rum 'n raisan chocolatey nose with a tarry/boot polish top note and a little volatility from the brandy spirit poking through. After extended breathing, dusty blackberry, something akin to an "old leather lounge in a cigar room" and a little prune join the mix. The palate offers an elevated sweetness of liquered blackberry and licorice, rounded texture, some pleasant astringency from the spirit and a long smooth finish. At least Very Good and probably closer to Excellent the more I sipped. Still hanging in there tonight with little degradation, 50 hours after being opened. Damn it, Excellent
it is! Drink now.
Finally, tonight I cracked my unopened timber box of the Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage "Les Varonnieres" 1999
- a profound, virile, plump, juicy Syrah revealing a very deep ruby colour, gorgeous old-vine creamy nose of blood plums, spicy new oak and new leather with hints of blackberry, licorice and a subtle floral top note. Plush but suave and relatively easy to drink, the palate offers up a slightly less inspiring replica of the bouquet's constituents with a dash of cherry thrown in for good measure. There's a good whack of acid and the savoury oak is yet to quite fully integrate with the ripe fruit. Only medium-bodied this wine finishes dry and long with great persistence of grainy tannins just overpowering, at the minute, classy savoury/berry flavours. Bordering on Outstanding
, I'm now "over the moon" I opened my first bottle tonight. Expect superior drinking over next 5-8 years, once the wine fully matures on the palate. This Syrah almost compares (just a notch below) with the best Crozes-Hermitage I've ever tried - Paul Jaboulet's fabulous 1990 Domaine Thalabert (just remember, I haven't tried that
So what's the go in your neck of the woods this week, people?