Isole e Olena Cepparello 2005

86 points

This Tuscan wine has nice weight, doesn’t seem 14% alcohol.

Unfortunately the oak is over-the-top. Dry sawdusty, not sweet. Like chewing on a plank. Oak and fruit tannins coat the mouth, though this aftertaste is quite grapey.

Still, disappointing.

Needs food. And age…. but will it ever come right?

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Tyrrell’s Wines Vat 9 Hunter Shiraz 1998 & 1991

91 & 92 points

Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia. 13.5% & 12.4%

Both flavoursome Shiraz unadorned with new oak flavours. Both mid-weight although the 98 is darker, more dense and ripe. The 91 is all the more fascinating for its low alcohol. A lovely complete wine. A good bottle.

Clean modern wines but characterful reflections of terroir (without any “sweaty saddle”). Ahead of their time.

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Willow Bridge Estate G1-10 Chardonnay 2011

89 points

Margaret River, WA. 13%

Full flavoured chardonnay. Oak well integrated. Good early drinking restaurant wine. Almost oily texture. Says only 13% on the label, thank goodness, this wine would be unbalanced if it were any higher. Although this is a lucious forward wine it does have nice balancing acidity – for now.

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Chateau Barde-Haut 2001

90+ points

Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux. 13.5%

Dark colour. Complex, savoury nose rather than pretty. A bit funky. Touch mercapten.

Rich but not weighty, nor the least bit extracted. Thankfully not a souped up St Emilion. Has some development ahead of it, enjoyable but still a tad closed. I’m pleased I bought this wine that was quite unknown to me.

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Domaine des Lises Crozes Hermitage 2006

88+ points

Crozes-Hermitage, France. 13%

From Maxime Graillot, son of Alan, famous Crozes-Hermitage producer. This vintage is quite a confronting wine. It’s not green but it reeks of stalky floral flavour. And black pepper.

It’s been near impossible to drink until now when it’s starting to calm down and put on some flesh. I find it hard to believe this wine will ever be more than characterful, but I’m optimistic.

Interesting to give to someone used to warm climate shiraz. I don’t think they would ever guess it is the same grape.

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