Alain Verset Cornas 2005

90+ points

Dark, bright, lively Cornas. With some meaty aromas very typical of Cornas But fresher acidity than expected. This has a lot going for it, in an authentic not blockbuster style. Very much a vineyard wine. Leave for another 3 years at least.

First bottle slightly corked – returned to retailer.



Chateau Giscours 2004

90+ points

Margaux. 13%

Dark, dense, sleek. Modern in a good sense but perhaps a tad extracted though I doubt thus will matter in the long run. And this has a long run in-front of it.

UPDATE (Aug, 2013) – this is really starting to develop complexity.  It doesn’t typify the vintage, it’s a little too big and extracted for that, but it’s turning delicious not just impressive.  My esteem for Chateau Giscours moves up a notch.


Chateau Rauzan-Gassies 2006

87 points

Margaux, Bordeaux. 12.5%

Raw young claret with tannin, ripe flavours but without any juiciness. New raw French oak, no caramel.

It’s not unreasonable to expect this to improve greatly but it has little charm at present. Lacks fruit.

This 2nd growth has performed below this level for many years. It’s now supposed to be improving. I don’t see anything here yet at 2nd growth level.


Ancient Barossa Tasting

So other than the curious Moorooroo white how did the other wines go?

Well, what I suspect might have been the wine of the evening, an Orlando Shiraz 1966, a sort of winemaker’s wine, an experiment, not a brand…. turned out to be corked. But still a dark robust wine, but of unknown quality.

The 1974 Orlando Jacob’s Creek, is really historic being the first or second vintage ever of this a wine that became eventually one of Australia’s most famous brands – so famous that Orlando now is called Jacob’s Creek. Some writers don’t even mention a 1974 vintage, putting the release a year later. So definitely Museum stuff. Unfortunately it tasted like a commercial wine kept too long. Plain, some acid surviving but not much else.

Far far better was the Leasingham Bin Bin 64 1975. Rich prune flavours, somewhat like a really hot Bordeaux vintage. Only somewhat though, it lacked verve and freshness. Quickly tiring the palate. But interesting wine nonetheless. This would have been made by Tim Knappstein and would have been one of the wines that made his reputation. Impressive longevity for a low priced wine.


Moorooroo White 1975

My most interesting wine event in recent times occurred when a friend opened some Australian wines from the 1970s and 60s that he inherited from his father. These were not ‘grand cru’ wines, if the concept even existed then, no Grange, St Henri, Maurice O’Shea from the Hunter.

One of the stars was a white! A 1975 white with a weeping cork and fill to the lower shoulders. A Semillon, Riesling, Trebbiano blend!!!! Orlando Moorooroo. The Moorooroo vineyard isn’t famous but perhaps it should be. I believe it is over 150 years old. Today Schild Estate’s top wine comes from there, perhaps there are others too.

This old white with failing cork wasn’t the finest white on the planet but it was a quality old wine, definitely showing its Semillion heart. Soft lanolin complexity. Even more astonishing, it lasted until the following evening after being opened!

I’m unsure what can give a wine such amazing longevity.

Did they add acid to this wine? Certainly the technology was around by then (Grange was acidified right from the first vintage). Did it taste it, no. It seemed a natural wine.


Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Cosecha 1978

86 points

Rioja, Spain. 13%

Fascinating wine. Still going strong at 33 years old. It’s unsurprisingly an old fashioned very oaked style, almost retsina like. American oak with plenty of varnishy acidity on the finish. With warmer roasted nuts upfront.

Fascinating but not profound. Greater mid palate fruit depth is needed to make this wine exciting.

And the oak influence seems to prevent the development of wonderful complex mature fruit characters seen in old bottles of Bordeaux or Shiraz.


Terrazas de Los Andes Afincado Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

84+ points

Mendoza, Argentina. 14%

I’ve long wanted to taste an Argentinian wine that had some age. I like Malbec and Argentina has a good reputation but all the bottles I see on shelves are astonishingly young. So when I spotted this single vineyard Cabernet with 6 years on the clock I bought it.

Unfortunately like the aforementioned Malbecs this is still a shiny dark colour. Black current flavours, savoury, disappointingly unable to stand up to food (not sure why). Not particularly tannic or oaky, just a bit metallic like many of the young Argentinian Malbec.

Will this ever develop complexity? Let alone charm? I’m slightly pessimistic.

Breathing the wine didn’t help (no better a day later).


Weingut Gottelmann Munsterer Chardonnay Spatlese troken 2007

83 points

Germany. 13%

An oddity, at least for me – a German chardonnay. I couldn’t resist buying it from Fortnum & Mason (who generally pick their wines well), especially as it wasn’t expensive at £15.

I found it personally fascinating, it brought back to mind flavours I’d not encountered often nor for some time – that is, it reminded me of chardonnays from the Clare Valley in South Australia. Quite intense, pear juice flavours and alcohol, flavours that are chardonnay like (at least more so than other grape varieties), yet different from other chardonnays. A bit over-the-top, but in a different way than warmer climate buttery oaky chardonnays. Today little if any chardonnay is grown in Clare Valley I think, most of its best winemakers, just as Jeffery Grosset, now source their chardonnay from the Adelaide Hills. But Clare is one of Australia’s most famous, if not the most famous riesling district… and Europe’s is Germany of course. Coincidence ? Perhaps, probably, I’m ‘drawing a long bow’ from tasting just one wine (and few Clare chardonnays too).