Chateau d’Armailhac 2001

87 points

Paulliac, Bordeaux, France. 12.5%

Dark colour. Quite big but with some green notes. Plenty of French oak, not in any way sweet though. Robust. Compared to the 2002 this wine is rustic, the fruit doesn’t sing, the whole structure is less pristine and fine. Good wine, but it really highlights to me how well they did in 2002.


Seppelt 2004 Chalambar Shiraz

88 points
A very tannic Shiraz from Bendigo and the Grampians. Overall too young to drink enoyably now, but has good signs for 4-5 years down the road. The nose was pretty tight even after a couple hours, but there was a bit of cinnamon and certainly black pepper. The fruit was a bit on the plum rather than berry fruit side, but the acid seemed pretty much on target and the aftertaste was fairly long. A good wine for $15.

Devil’s Lair chardonnay 2003

82 points

Margaret River, Western Australia. 13.5%

Part of the Fosters wine group, and inexplicably discounted (hence the purchase). Lots of French oak, some nice acidity, but the fruit is a bit out of step being a bit flabby. A premium Australian chardonnay but not really fine, robustly flavoured. Drink with food. Will age for a year or two.

Chateau Poujeaux 2002

89 points

Moulis en Medoc, Bordeaux, France. 12.7%

Lovely clear fruit in the style of the vintage. Quite juicy, some complexity (I don’t want to suggest that this is a simple fruit wine), a bit soft though – the Merlot shows (2002 wasn’t strong for Merlot). Drinks well now though a few more years of age would still benefit it. Rather nice wine but not as exciting as some 2002 around this price level.

Chateau Berget 2002

86 points

St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France. 13%

Disappointing for a Grand Cru, reflects the vintage which wasn’t good for Merlot particularly on the Right Bank. It’s nice wine, medium bodied, drinks quite well without food. At a third the price it would be a fine stylish wine and worth buying.

Chateau Haut-Bages-Liberal 2003

88 points

Pauillac, Bordeaux, France. 13%

Big hit of new oak on the nose.

This is atypical for HBL or for Pauillac, it’s a big ripe merlot-ish wine. Very 2003 but without baked flavours, just a big wine, low acid, soft tannins, a bit burly – it lacks the fruit purity and sophistication of recent vintages. But it is interesting to see how the winemaking team obviously reacted to the changed vintage conditions and made a different HBL than usual. Sort of New World like, but not sweet, nor simple, but available for early drinking (in spite of the oak).