Loire, Valley, France. 12.5%
Gold colour, surprisingly advanced. Varietal aromas but with some oxidation. Nice weight. Enjoyable with food, delicious with oysters, but drying out. I suspect that this advanced maturity is due to poor handling or the cork. Bought off retail shelves in Australia recently.
90 ? points
Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux. 13%
Gorgeous aromas of complex oak and deep fruit. The wine is young, with deep fruit, a good deal of (well handled) oak, plenty of acidity. It really is too early to drink this wine. Silly me. Wait until 2008.
Heathcote, Victoria, Australia. 15.2% screwcap
Dark with youthful flashes of magenta. Dense burnt aromas with a touch of tar, quite closed. Full throttle wine, somewhat fruit pastille like, ripe to burnt but fresh. Great concentration. Quite an achievement, amazing value at $15.
Hopefully the sweetness will done down a tad with age and the flavours will open up a bit, in which case I’d rate this wine even higher. However in spite of the heroic structure I wouldn’t want to bet on aging this for long, and it drinks quite well now so its tempting not to, but rather wait for the cooler less challenging (for the winemaker) 2004 vintage.
Clare Valley, South Australia. 15%
Dark red, slightly dull. Warm to hot aromas but not porty. Hits with a wall of solid flavour, big burly, reflecting the hot vintage in 2003. Some sweetness and nice chewy balancing tannin. Good handling of a difficult vintage, but a wine to drink early in case the fruit dries out quickly.
McLaren Vale, South Australia. 14%
Dry black olive flavours are the only thing I can compliment this wine on. Hard, dried out. Commercial and plain. Reeks of added acidity – whic dominates the wine as everything else has fallen away.
Hardys is the biggest selling company brand in the UK, and this wine is not at the bottom of their brand ladder. OK it may not have been stored well, and 2000 wasn’t the greatest vintage but this is pretty ordinary industrial winemaking.
Geelong, Victoria. 14%
Dark. Funky burgundian aromas. I’m giving this wine high points for its individual style. It’s richly flavoured but with charred oak and vegetal flavours that you rarely encounter in Australian shiraz. I suspect there is whole bunch fermentation as is often done with pinot noir.
The alcohol is too high though for the style, and I’d prefer to see more mid-palate concentration and more tannin. I suspect the cool dry vintage encouraged leaving the fruit on the vine in order to gan physiological ripeness as the green flavours hung on – Geelong can be very cool/cold. But this gave the wine a fair whack of alcohol (and nice colour).
Southern Rhone, France. 14%
Les Grandes Bastides is a 2nd label for Michel Tardieu’s wines. Designed for restaurants, authentic wines with less oak that don’t need as much age. That said I think this has benefited from some age, and may even deserve another year or two. It’s very much a wine of Southern France with sun-kissed Grenache warmth, and a touch of Provencial herbs. Yes it is evocative. It’s smooth and dark, enjoyable wine. Well grown, well made.