I have not posted many tasting notes here for quite a while now. What follows below is what I have opened over the last month or so. Hope you enjoy the read.
With a good friend coming over for dinner on Friday night (15/03/13) , I decided to take a bit of a punt (against the prospect of premature oxidation) and open one of my last bottle's from Francois Raveneau - perhaps France's most famous producer of Chablis - the 2002 Montee de Tonnerre. And what an absolute corker it was. Still a healthy and bright youthful colour of very pale straw gold; engrossing flinty aromatics of minerals, citrus, pear and a faint nuttiness (perhaps hazelnuts) from a kiss of quality oak followed by a strikingly beautiful palate that holds the most immaculate, lengthy line, possesses sublime steely fruit (suggestive of crushed salty, calciferous rocks, pear and lemon/lime juice and nutty oak) and amazing purity and breed throughout. Considerable drinking window possible if this bottle was representative of the marque - 94 points. Why can't all top French Chardonnay remain in as good condition as this? Paired almost perfectly with Tassal Tasmanian smoked slamon served with sour cream, chives, capers, cracked pepper and a simple fresh green (from our) garden salad with red onion and drizzled with virgin avacado oil.
This was followed by a disappointing Hubert Lignier Morey-St-Denis 1999 1er Cru Les Chaffots. Colour still excellent with a strong core. Nose was akin to a dirty duckpond. Almost unsniffable at first but did "breathe" off somewhat with swirling and air time but never completely left the wine. Startlingly, the palate was excellent, almost fully resolved with a graceful, rounded mouthfeel, attractive sweet plum and cherry fruit with some nice complexing contributions from gamy meats, truffles and pinot sap. Unfortunately the nose killed this wine. Hard to score - probably something like 74 from me. Unacceptable wine. My peking duck pancakes went down a treat, though.
Other wines opened during the week included a stunningly good bottle of Grosset's 2010 Picadilly Chardonnay - top of the tree quality from go to woe here and made in the savvy new wave style that should prove successful for mid-term cellarability. 93
Cracked one of my last bottles of Petaluma 1996 Coonawarra Merlot. I bought a small stash of these quite a while back for not a whole lot more than 20 bucks a bottle (IIRC). Last night's bottle exhibited everything a mature local Merlot should be - soft, plush, plummy with aging mulberry and blackberry with traces of cedar/biscuity oak, a slight earthiness and hints of spice, herb and dried tobacco leaf. It's got nowhere to go but downhill from here, methinks, and should be drunk in the near/very short term. 90
Week ending 10/3/2013 - with a simple but delicious sweet and sour pork dish, I opened a 2000 Tyrrell's Vat 1 Semillon. If you have any, this wine's in cruise mode - lemon gold colour, classic mature Hunter semillon aromatics of honey, lemon butter, toast, nuts and honeydew melon with the last vestiges of hay and lanolin hovering around the periphery. The palate offers up bucketloads of mouthfilling rounded fruit aka the nose, is relatively soft and attractive with with just enough enough lemony-tinged acidity for cut and interest. It has good persistence but overall, I would recommend this should be drunk over the next couple of years. 90 points. Forgetably bad, crumbly cork, 11.2% A/V. Postscript - Looked invitingly better the next night.
Hermann Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Auslese 1998
Category: Germany, Nahe, Riesling
375ml, 8.5% a/v and sealed with a top quality branded cork. Without a doubt, one the great drinking experiences of the last year or more. Holding a most attractive bright burnished yellow gold colour, followed by a bouquet of almost infinitesimal nuance ranging from apple skin, Packham pear, toffee-coated waxy apple, yellow nectarine, white and yellow peach, spiced apricot, ripe redcurrant, kaffir leaf, slate, salty minerals, all wrapped in a shroud of gorgeous honeyed goodness! Think instant replay for flavours on the palate. Layer upon layer of immaculately textured, gorgeously flavoured juice races around the mouth with scintillating and profoundly well-wrought minerally acidity seamlessly cutting the fatness and intensity of this amazing wine akin to the skilled surgeon performing an intricate and delicate operation. This exceptional riesling lingers like the proverbial overzealous parking inspector who receives renumeration by performance-based ticketing only. A true vin de garde, this wine is at an extremely good place now, but will reap the benefit of at least another 10, perhaps up to 20 years cellaring. I’m just over the moon with its performance tonight. 95 points.
Postscript - Left a little in the bottle (375ml, BTW) and came back to it next day - still holding together but lost some of the 'dimension' and 'greatness' of the night before but with an added strong orange marmalade character.
Week ending 3/3/13 - Some variable wine's opened including an impressively youthful bottle of Mount Horrocks Riesling 2002 that holds good reserves of lime, slate and a classy minerality, a developed 1999 Richmond Grove Watervale Riesling that also displayed too much phenolic character for me, a very tired bottle of Orlando 1988 St Hugo Cabernet and a very sound and satisfying bottle of 1990 Lindemans St George Cabernet.
Also opened a 1988 Wynns John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon the other night that just rocked. Great provenance, high fill level, excellent cork, low alcohol. The bouquet straight out of the bottle invoked thoughts of violets, blackcurrants, lead pencil, dried herbs, sweet freshly turned earth, cedar and cigar box turning a little more savoury and leathery with extra air time. The palate delivered a wonderfully smooth persona, blessed with gently sweet curranty fruit, integrated cedary oak with perplexing traces of red soil, mushroom and old saddle leather. Exemplary texture, fully resolved tannin structure, melting acidity and a resolved, lengthy finish complete the picture. 92 points. Drink now - 2018.
Seppelt 2004 Drumborg Riesling .... simply first-class, still primary with pithy citrus, white florals, a strong minerality, redcurrants, some calciferous chalkiness, abundant crisp acidity, great length and impeccable breed from start to finish. About 93 from me. Drink now (just) but better in a few years until the cows come home (say 2024+). Screwcap. Low alcohol. Top wine.
Been working my way through a bottle of 2002 Yalumba Hand Picked Eden Valley Riesling and blow me down if this thing is ever going to die. At least one glass a day since Monday night and Thursday afternoon another tipple and it’s probably got better every day since being opened. Fascinating green gold colour. Lots of oily, petrolly stuff day one that does blow off with air but never fully retreats. Underneath you have loads of pithy citrus fruit with plenty of honey and toast as top notes and a strong river pebble, mineral and lime undercurrent driving the whole operation. Lashes of redcurrant and dried herb also add to the wine’s overall complexity. The palate holds true to what precedes it with refreshing acidity holding the fort while the beautiful fruit gushes through to the back of the mouth like a small mountain stream. The finish if juicy, almost crunchy with terrific persistence long after swallowing. A near faultless aged riesling unless you’re intolerant of trimethyldihydronaphthalenes. And as my three day experiment proves …. plenty of petrol in the tank. An exceptional white and an easy 95 from me. Drink now - 2025+. Screwcap. 12.5% A/V.
1997 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhauser Herrenberg Riesling Auslese #89
February 21st, 2013 | Category: Germany, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Riesling
I ventured into my cellar to grab one of my Von Schubert numbered Abstberg Auslese’s from 1995, but noticed a weeping cork in this bottle in the same box, so, as is my policy, leakers always get drunk first.
Garnishing a spectacularly bright, burnished pale gold colour, this outstanding wine offers a smorgasboard of aromas that includes freshly cut crispy green apples, mango, peaches, apricot, cream, honey, redcurrant, lemon merangue, lime and salty minerals. The palate’s a virtual rehash of the vast array of exotic flavours that were noted in the bouquet. Lavish and compelling in nature this decadent riesling swells into the mid-palate with gusto than settles with smoothness and great resolution from deftly-judged acidity on the dramatic and lengthy back end. These great German white’s are almost enigmatic given their incredible extract and lusciousness yet are almost always light on their feet and just so easy and delightful to drink by themselves on a very warm summer’s afternoon. 93 with a drinking plateau of at least 10, perhaps even 20 years.
Seppelt Vintage Port 1979 GR151/153
February 18th, 2013 | Category: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Vintage Port
Colour is remarkably deep with a dark ruby core and mahogany in the outer edges with drizzling legs slowly making their way down the side of the glass. The nose throws up a sensational melange of integrated nuance including licorice, sweet freshly picked raspberries (I kid you not!) and dark plums adorned with flicks of prune, chocolate, sweet earth, old leather, clean spirit, brandied christmas cake, caramel and raisans. The spirit that so dominated the bouquet at first has now receded to the background. The palate is equally impressive, mouthfilling with abundant fruit flavour similar to the nose but without as much complexity. The predominant flavours are of licorice, sweet plum and prune within quite a fat mouthfilling texture and aided by plenty of grip from the quality spirit on a long and inspiring finish. The sweetness of the palate plays the perfect counterbalancing role to the astringency found in this top Aussie fortified. I’m totally floored by this wine’s performance and as the Aussie women cricketers plough on into the wee hours of the morning here in the World Cup final, I’m having no trouble refilling my glass as the game reaches its conclusion. 94 points. Drink now - 2024+. 20% A/V. Barossa/McLaren Vale blend. No other information on the bottle.