Yalumba The Signature 1993

92 points

Barossa Valley, South Australia.  13.5%

A classic Australian 50/50 Shiraz/Cabernet blend that should be more famous than it is.  This vintage is heavily oaked in a Penfolds style.  This calms down with a bit of breathing, but it’s still a weighter more forcefull wine than some other vintages which show more elegance.

The Cabernet provides an extra flavour dimension to the Shiraz, but it is the latter which contributes the complexity that age can deliver.  Quite a few years ahead of this wine.

Oakridge Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2010

90 points

Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia. 12.8%

The epitome of modern Australian chardonnay… so well crafted. Nothing forced, nothing over-the-top. Complexity at such a young age, as chardonnay can do. Not enough intensity or acid to perhaps last too long, but then this is not a super premium wine.

Very flash. I know that great wine is made in the vineyard, but it can be stuffed up in the winery… here the winemaking is to be praised.

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Schild Estate Barossa Shiraz 2008

83 points

Barossa South Australia. 14.5%

Surprisingly mellow and unconcentrated. Bland. Reflects its price, not the stellar ratings that Wine Spectator gave it.

In spite of the back label talking of “wine that speaks of honesty” Schild Estate were caught bottling a 2nd different (bought in) wine under this label after selling out due to the Wine Spectator review. I was assured that this was the first bottling (the 2nd was given a note on the label – after they were caught).

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Houghton Gladstones Shiraz 2001

91 points

Frankland River, Western Australia.14.5%

Classy wine with some high quality fruit, but the volume is turned up a little too high, too much oak, too much concentration. Perhaps all it needs is more time, but I’m sure they could have picked a little earlier, extracted a little less, used less new oak and achieved a finer more elegant wine. Nevertheless it has style and depth – very good wine.

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Chateau Villa Bel-Air 2003

89 points

Graves, Bordeaux. 13%

At it’s heart this seems a simple wine with almost commercial flavours but it has gained surprising complexity, as I’ve encountered with a number of the 2003s – a very odd vintage that produced wines that age far earlier than usual, but in a good way. Drink them up – they have turned out in a surprising way and better than expected.

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