Lindemans Hunter River Shiraz Bin 6600 1983

88 points

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.

Rockbare Shiraz 2004

85 points
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.

Langton’s classification tasting 2006

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.

Chateau D’Escurac 2003

87 points

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. 

Guy Bossard Muscadet Sevre Et Maine cuvee classique 2005

90 points

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.

Rochford Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2003

86 points

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.

Bindi chardonay pinot noir ‘cuvee V’

90 points

Macedon, Victoria, Australia. 12%
Disgorged Jan 2006, blend of 1993-2000 vintages, 4 years 3 months on lees in this bottle.

Odd wine. Not really my style. But high points for the quality and individualistic winemaking.

This is a top notch Pinot and Chardonnay producer, with a highly committed winemaker making very small batches of distinctive handcrafted wines.

This is a sparkling white that smells and tastes of red and white burgundy, if you can imagine that. Fine full flavoured complex, but odd for champagne. The acidity is nice but this isn’t really an aperitif style !

Barossa Valley Estate Ebenezer Shiraz 2001

87 points
Barossa Valley, South Australia. 13.5%

A developing warm soft rather classic Barossa shiraz. Enjoyable. Though lacks concentration and also distinctive style, so it hasn’t arrived anywhere grand and isn’t going anywhere either, hence the good but not great point score. Good for the price.

The wine’s name comes from the christian bible character (a stone), not the Dickens novel.

Claret tasting

Melbourne Street Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2003
Australia
80 points 13.5% $4

Provided quite nice perspective. Quite different from claret. But surprisingly good for the super low price – MSWC have chosen well.
Sweet forward berry fruit (ribena), fairly alcoholic. A sweet wine dolled up with added acid. Drink now, don’t age.

Chateau Thieuley 2003
Bordeaux, France
86+ points 12.5% $18

A loose knit medium bodied Merlot dominant blend. With some burnt dried 2003 flavours, but reasonably fresh acidity and nice drying fruity tannins on the finish. With breathing and food this wine improved. Pretty good for the price, and the hot difficult vintage. Drink over the next 4 years.

Chateau Patache d’Aux 2000
Medoc, Bordeaux, France
82 points 13% $20

This didn’t show well, the remains of a bottle that had been open for 24 hours. Fairly rustic wine, cabernet dominant, not charming at all, and showing oxidation. Hard to drink without food. See previous review.

Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal 2001
Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
90 points 12.5% $50

Dark, young with noticeable French oak. Fresh, good energy, concentrated, fairly deep wine. Classic Pauillac blackcurrent style with charred oak smokey background. Has all the ingredients for age yet the fruit is quite delicious now with food. Fine, modern within a classic style. See previous review.

Mitchelton Cabernet Sauvignon ‘print series’ 1994
Nagambie, Victoria, Australia.
83 points 13.5% $35

Oddly out of place, or perhaps just odd. Some people didn’t like the aged character, others noted the strange lack of development and complexity for a 12 year old wine. A hard linear style of cabernet, strong but simple. Noticeable greeen herbs.

Don Melchor cabernet sauvignon 2000
Puente Alto, Chile
87 points 13.5% $45

Closer to claret than the Australian wine. But in a more cuddly soft warm style. Very noticeable oak, though quite enjoyable oak flavours. Stood up well in this company in spite of the slightly commercial style. See previous review. Drink now.

Chateau Langoa Barton 2001
Saint Julien, Bordeaux, France
88 points 12.5% $60

This was a surprise to me. Surprisingly concentrated, even ever so slightly syrupy fruit, modern blueberry tones. Not what I expected from this less concentrated vintage, nor this producer. While it should age quite well, I’m not sure I like this somewhat souped up style.