Poor attendance at the Sydney Good Living Wine Show late last month meant that the master classes that were going to cost from $25 to $75 were opened to those who did attend, at no charge. I went to this Champagne tasting, the Shiraz class led by Huon Hooke and a tasting by Buller of their range of fortified wines (up to the Calliope Rare Muscat and Tokay) matched to a range of handmade chocolates.
Gauthier "Grande Reserve" Brut NV
A subdued nose of pear, plum and a hint of yeast and toast. The palate is easy to drink and shows good balance between fruit and acid, but it finishes short and lacks character and depth.
Gauthier "Special Bottle" Brut 1999
The nose is again fairly subdued with lime, apple and floral notes initially and some honeyed aromas with a small amount of time in the glass. The palate has better intensity and slightly more depth than the NV bottle but still really lacks the character to make it a great wine rather than a good wine.
Lanson Black NV
This bottle lacked the vitality and freshness on the nose that was enjoyed in the last bottle that we had at the Cullen and Moss Wood tasting. The nose is soft and gives off scents of yeast and some apple. The palate is crisp, light and driven by acid.
Lanson Rose NV
Reserved nose of light strawberry and rose petals. There is a slight rounded sweetness to the palate that follows all the way into the medium length finish. No excitement and no real depth of flavour, but it is easy to drink and many would find it delicious.
Lanson Gold Label 1996
The first wine that exhibits layered aromas on the nose - grapefruit, lime, toast, light honey and some florality. The palate is concentrated with satisfying mouthfeel and a core of acid driving the wine into a finish with excellent length. Drinking well now, but I think it will get better with time.
Lanson Gold Label 1990 (from magnum)
Much better than the bottle we had at the Winestar Lanson dinner last year. Some honey, yeast, gingerbread and brioche as well as acacia flowers. Lovely palate depth and length with acid that is restrained but carries along the whole length of the wine into the long finish. Seemed as though it is drinking at its peak right now.
Lanson 1976 (from magnum)
A very fine bead. An intriguing nose of honey, walnut, figs and citrus peel. Brilliantly complex palate with depth, balance, intensity and a stunning core of fresh acidity providing focus and structure. Superb.