Wild Rock the underarm syrah 2004

89 points

Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay, NZ. 14%

The name refers to an infamous cricket event that reflected poorly on Australia and further fuelled trans-tasman rivalry. What has this to do with wine? Well Australia has more Shiraz than anywhere else, and as far as kiwis are concerned Oz has long been synonymous with Shiraz while NZ thought too cool to ripen the grape. But over the past 20 years great strides have been made. I personally never thought I’d see a wine like this.

It’s labelled syrah to indicate a style closer, far closer, to France than Australia. Anne found the black pepper off-putting but I really enjoyed this wine particularly the lack of overt new oak.

Rich yet medium bodied. Very enjoyable now. Honest wine in spite of the ‘marketing Dept’ label/name.

Chateau Malescot St.Exupery 2004

90 points

Margaux, Bordeaux, France. 13.5%

A dense, almost chewy, black fruits sort of claret some oaky tannins and a touch of sweet (almost American) oak flavour on the finish. It’s a very good wine with a long future, but what I miss is the Margaux elegance and touch of green. I certainly have no need for claret to be richer or riper than this – yet the 2005 vintage of the same wine is 3 times the price (crazy).

Best left for 4 years, should last 20 years in a good cellar.

This is what others said of the wine (tasting in barrel):

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Robert Parker: 91-93 points outstanding “Over the last fifteen years, Malescot Saint-Exupery has possessed a classic Margaux fragrance, a racy, stylish personality, beautiful purity, and a combination of both power and elegance. The deep ruby/ purple-tinged 2004 boasts sumptuous aromas of blue fruits, black currants, a whiff of acacia flowers, and a hint of truffles. This medium-bodied Margaux possesses wonderful sweetness, excellent concentration, impeccable balance, and admirable length. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2018.”

Stephen Tanzer: 89-92 points excellent to outstanding“Saturated medium ruby-red. Like a coulis of fruit on the nose, with suggestions of coffee, licorice and nutty oak. Dense and chewy in the mouth, with crunchy black cherry, blackberry, licorice and mineral flavors showing some youthful austerity today.
Tightened up in the glass and showed a very firm spine, but there’s excellent fruit here. A rather powerful, persistent wine that came across as denser and longer than the 2002 in a side-by-side tasting.”

James Suckling [The Wine Spectator]: 89-91 points. “A solid wine with lots of good fruit. Reminds me of an outstanding Burgundy, with mushroom, berry and earth character. Medium- to full-bodied, with fine tannins and a long, long finish. Well done. Really balanced for the vintage. Jean-Luc Zuger said that he made this wine to be drunk and he certainly has.”

Stephen Spurrier [Decanter] ★★★★
highly recommended [17 points] “Fine deep colour, concentrated small berry fruit, floral and very good intensity and balance, quite firm tannins, but elegant finish. Drink 2010-25.”

Revue du vin de France: ★★★★(★) ”Full in the mouth, beautiful and suave, nicely spiced, long, charming, fresh. Very Margaux. Beautiful success.”