Hunter, New South Wales, Australia. 13.5% Classic release in 1996.
Nice even colour, darkish. Very muted nose, disappointing. I like this medium bodied style, something the Hunter can do well, flavoursome but not weighty shiraz. This wine appears in good condition (it spent most of its life in Lindemans cellars), it has some concentration and depth of fruit yet also appears to be beginning to fade. It’s now a lovely gentle drop though with suprisingly little in the way of leathery savoury notes.
McLaren Vale, South Australia. 14.5% screwcap
Approachable in spite of its youth. This is a concentrated, high alcohol, fresh, sweet, fruit and sweet oak style shiraz. Anne said it is slightly reminiscent of flat Coca-cola – I agree though obviously fruitier with more grape/blueberry flavour. Very much a style favoured by Robert Parker.
I do wonder what these wines will come with age. Become more savoury one hopes. More complex…probably only a little.
A selection from the Langton’s classification of Australian wines.
2004 Majella Cabernet
2004 Charles Melton Nine Popes
1993 Henschke Mt Edelstone shiraz
2003 Rockford’s basket press shiraz
1997 Rockford’s basket press shiraz
1997 Elderton Command shiraz
1990 Elderton Command shiraz
The stars were the older Barossa shiraz, especially the last three. 1997 vintage showed really well, it’s an underrated vintage (as is 1999). This tasting highlighted the benefit of keeping decent Australian shiraz for 10 years or so. You really don’t want to waste your money by drinking any $25+ bottle earlier than 5 years since vintage.
The Henschke 1993 was unusual in that it was fairly hot and alcoholic but had a substantial green character – that was much more attractive than this sounds. Perhaps reflecting the wet growing season and mild (though dry) Summer. Lovely complex shiraz.
The Rockford 1997 was very classic Barossa wine. Big ripe, creamy mid-palate. Very enjoyable. Showing more development than the Elderton Command 1997 which showed a tiny seam of savoury green that was most attractive. The 1990 Command unsurprisingly showed more development. It also has less concentration than the 1997 (surprising, and not necessarily a bad thing), again a big luxurious, somewhat hot, with slight leather tones. Great power and complexity.
Loire, France. 12%
More concentrated, more minerally, more bitter than the cuvee classique. Quite confronting on first taste, but I warmed to it very quickly. Would go well with oysters. Some development ahead of it. Drink 2007 to ?? maybe 2010.
Bordeaux, France. 14%
First taste of this 2003. Lacks the verve and pristine varietal character of the 2002. Less classic. Dry but somewhat cooked flavours – the hallmark of this vintage it seems. I hope that this will gain in complexity and interest rather rapidly. It appears to be a style that can be consumed early due to the low acids and ripe (though plentiful) tannins.
Reviews of other vintages of Chateau D’Escurac.
Sevre et Maine, Loire, France. 12%
This was a revelation. I can’t remember when I last tried Muscadet, if ever, but my preconception was for a neutral dry white of no great quality.
Very enjoyable. Lovely minerality. In no way fruity. Some useful traces of bitterness – though I suspect it lacks the concentration to stand up to strong cooked food.
Combines austerity with some richness and power even, though low alcohol. Some of the characters one hopes for in white burgundy, though less concentrated. Great value.
Macedon Ranges, Victoria, Australia. 14%
A full flavoured, burnt toffee style Pinot Noir, perhaps reflecting the hot vintage (although I believe it wasn’t so hot in some of Victoria’s cooler climate areas). Lacks the concentration to stand up to much food. Nice characterful, some savoury tones, not cosmetic or sweet but still burnt toffee. I’d prefer to see it in a cooler vintage.