Chateau Petit Bocq 1999

87 points

Saint Estephe, Bordeaux, France. 13%

Nice, solid claret with some minerality.  Another reminder of the value of the under appreciated 1999 vintage.

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Chateau Meyney 2003

89+ points

Saint Estephe, Bordeaux. 13%

Some dry, ripe 2003 aromas but this turned out to be quite fresh.  Rich, young but not a study tannic St.Estephe, (quite approachable with food) now.  If it were sweeter I might have mistaken it for a top Western Australian cabernet.

Judging purely from what’s in the glass now I don’t have any reason to doubt that this wine might live for a long while, but I also don’t see much need for aging it a long time.  The benefit of 2003 claret is that it drinks early.

Pikes Shiraz 2002

89+ points

Clare Valley, South Australia.

This is a modern concentrated French oaked Clare shiraz, though I don’t want to make too much of the ‘style’ as the vineyard stamp still retains a link to classic Clare. OK it’s more sweet and syrupy than I’d expected, or like, it’s less savoury (less black olive Clare tannin) but also it thankfully doesn’t reek of tartaric acid like many wines of 10+ years. ago.

With another 4-8 years I believe it become more savoury and table friendly. In which case it will be a very very good drink.

Cave de Tain l’Hermitage Hermitage 1999

note: this is a review of the white Hermitage

84 points

Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France. 13.5%

This bottle is far more oxidised than it should be. But the wine itself still shows through, mellow and complex. A rich soft wine, where alcohol flavour, which I normally don’t like at all, is a small part of the character.

A Marsanne and Rousanne blend and enough to remind me that old Marsanne can be really very interesting.

De Bortoli Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier 2004

88 points

Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia. 13.5%

Nice to see a winemaker refusing to follow the syrupy, ultra concentrated, high alcohol style that seems to have become the Australian norm today.  A ripe wine but with some attractive green tones. The Viognier is apparent but not over the top as so many are – I still don’t see the point in Australia of adding Viognier, it’s not as if our Shiraz lacks fruitiness.

Bindi Composition Chardonnay 2005

91 points

Victoria, Australia. 13.5%

There are chardonnays that taste of ripe fruit (and the sunny vineyard location, some that taste of pulp and skin contact, some that taste of winemaking (oak, lees), and some like this that taste of the soil – or rather rocks.A ripe wine with mineral flavours and racy acidity. Certainly not ‘run of the mill’. Complex, with identifiable individual components, yet it is drinking well now (and over the next 5 years).A reminder of the breadth in styles of Australian chardonnay today.