Chateau Grezan Faugeres les schistes dores

88+ points

Faugeres, France. 13%

Doesn’t look 5 years old, this is concentrated stuff. A blend of Syrah, Carignan, Grenache et Mourvedre it’s very much a Southern wine. With modern (but in a good sense) winemaking, indeed this shows a lot of care. But really needs another 5 years.

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2011 an unusual vintage in France

Reports are that they are already harvesting in the Loire, strange since when I was there in August it was a damp miserable Summer. This is all because of the weather way earlier when the grapes were first forming.

What sort of wines will this bring, hot weather early on bringing forward the harvest, and then a cool damp (not heavy rain) ripening period ?

Bordeaux also will be an early harvest.  It too had a cool Summer.  But once again September seems better (so far), will some last minute sunshine do any good ?  If it rains what will this mean ?  Either way I find it hard to be optimistic about the 2011 vintage.

Yalumba The Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz 2006

90+ points

Barossa Valley, South Australia. 13.5%

In this vintage Yalumba absolutely nailed this distinctive South Australian wine blend. It makes me think all Barossa Cabernet ought to be blended with Shiraz.

It’s serious concentrated warm climate fruit yet it retains a beguiling freshness. The balance is great which given the ripe fruit and tannins delivers a seductively drinkable wine at a mere 5 years of age. Hide as much as you can in your cellars though, out of temptation’s way, because this should gain a lot over the next 10+ years.  UPDATE after tasting some older vintages, sometimes alongside this 2006 I wonder if this is worth cellaring, it doesn’t gain much with age, it softens but not much more – or maybe it can age for nearly forever.  Certainly the 2006 gives a lot of enjoyment now, so there isn’t great incentive to wait.

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Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz Bin 28 1998

90 points

Barossa Valley, South Australia. 14%

Rather distinctive Penfolds warm climate red with that greasepaint aroma of added acid mixing with dense Shiraz fruit and American oak.

Concentrated and very age worthy considering the price, especially what this sold for back when this was on retail shelves.

A ripe firm, quite powerful vintage. Penfolds did well in 1998.

Drink now but it will continue to improve for at least another 5 years.

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