Vinea Marson Syrah 2005

77 points.

Heathcote, Victoria. 14%

Dark crimson unfiltered. Strange nose marred by mercaptan. Palate also weird concoction. Oh dear, otherwise it seems very promising in weight and balance. The next day raisin flavours come to the fore – yuck.
I’d like to think this is just one bad bottle, or perhaps batch.

Puygueraud 2004 and 1998

This was a surprise.  The 2004 is the better wine, and that’s not accounting for the age difference.

The 1998 is in good condition, and is showing some influence of age but not much in the way of improvement.  It makes me wonder if this wine really benefits from age.  There are certainly many wines that do not benefit from age, but this sort of wine rarely features on this blog.  Puygueraud is serious wine, but after 4-5 years it should start to be consumed, there is little return from aging it (though it will last).  Anyway, that’s my verdict for the moment.

Reviews of other vintages – click here.

Jacob’s Creek Johann Shiraz Cabernet 2001

89-92 Points

Apparently a blend of Barossa Shiraz and Coonawarra Cabernet though the regions aren’t mentioned on the label.  14%

The top wine from the Jacob’s Creek (formerly Orlando) stable.  Very dense, hugely concentrated.  Barely opening up now at 7 years old.  Not a blockbuster it may even develop elegance with age.  There should be more shiraz cabernet blends.

It’s an interesting wine, and I expect it to gain in character but it doesn’t sing to my soul.  I prefer more relaxed elegant pure wines.

Marc Brédif Vouvray 1995

94 points

Loire Valley, France. 12%

I think I’m in love. I’m a sucker for Chenin Blanc especially from the Loire, especially with age. What a great service Brédif do in releasing aged wines from good vintages – the last (still on shelves) was the 1986, while this 1995 is a better vintage.

Gold with green hints. Gorgeous complex mingled toast, mineral and fruit aromas.

Succulent charming palate. Has the weight and complexity of a great Riesling with the more gentle but equally complelling flavours of Chenin. Superb wine, a bargain.

When prices go silly

Yesterday I was offered a bottle of Trinity Hill 2006 Homage Syrah, which I turned down, due to the $170 price tag.  “I can buy buy 2005 Hermitge (e.g. Jaboulet La Chapelle) for that price”.  “Good point” said the wine retailer “though the Trinity Hill is a nice wine”.

“I’m sure it is” I replied “but it’s very young and with no history, who knows if it will turn out as well as the wine show judges hope”.

Why the ridiculous price ?  Because it won top wine at the 2007 NZ Wine Awards and presumably it is made it miniscule quantities.  It will all sell out in the brief blaze of publicity it receives.  There is real novelty in a Shiraz topping the NZ wine show.

Beware of (briefly) famous wines – they wil never offer value.

Shiraz tasting

Larry and I organized a small tasting designed to look at the diversity of wines produced with this grape. They were all modestly priced Shiraz of about 6-8 years of age. From Australia, France, South Africa and New Zealand. Australia was most represented with wines from different states and regions.

Apart from a staggering 3 faulty corks the wine quality was very good, not a dud amongst them. There was considerable difference in style though, as was hoped. The St. Joseph stood out being savoury dry with far less syrup/alcohol characters. The Peter Lehmann Barossa was at completely the opposite spectrum, and also very good in its style. While the South African was a pleasant surprise, possibly the best wine there (if it develops as it should).

Luddite Shiraz 2001

92 points

Western Cape, South Africa. 14%

Concentrated. Sort of a Rhone Australia cross. Some smoked meats, a bit closed/dumb but optimistically this could be very good.

Impressive concentration. A bit too dense and closed now, stood out in this respect compared to other wines in the tasting.