St Emilion, Bordeaux. 14%
Ultra ripe fruit, not blowsy but heroic. Not charming. Very hard to drink.
Hopefully time will tame.
Margaret River, WA. 14.5%
One of Australia’s great shiraz. Distinctive style, a sort of North South Rhone mix. Opulent yet fresh.
For a good while I though the 99 superior to the 2001 but now I think this has not only improved but now surpassed the 99.
I very much anticipate the 2007+ vintages which were superb. They just need 12 years or so in bottle, if you can resist enjoying them earlier.
Margaux, Bordeaux. 12.5%
Many bottles from this case have been disappointing. A good but rather plain, obviously Merlot oriented wine. Out of company with other left-bank 96s.
But now at 17 years old it is starting to blossom. Rich but now with savoury and green hints, making a very attractive wine.
For a 2nd wine showing this sort of longevity is a surprise to me. I wrote this wine off too early. Very pleased to be found wrong.
Rhone, France. 13%
This is fine wine, effortlessly balanced. Very impressive winemaking and viticulture. This is natural, low intervention wine.
Distinctly cool climate floral notes though this is ripe, medium bodied fruit.
Very young. It will always be an elegant wine. Needs another 5 years and may last decades after that, power and extract aren’t needed for longevity.
Coonawarra Cabernet & Barossa Valley Shiraz. South Australia. 13.5%
When I lasted tasted this wine it was in Bordeaux in the company of some old claret and this wine stood out as quite a freak. Not because of the shiraz, but the American oak, the eucalypt mintiness, and the added acid.
Today a few years later and alongside a Coonawarra Cab it’s less freaky but still a very unusual wine. It’s so obviously built for long aging. Very concentrated and with lots of tannin, both grape and oak, and the acid of course.
I think this really does have the potential to turn into something dry and more ethereal, as very old food friendly table wine. But it’s 23 years old already and it still tastes manufactured, not complete relaxed wine.
Frankland, Western Australia. 12.5%
There is a French saying that there are no great wines just great bottles. If the cork gods are smiling, if the mood is right, if you open the wine at just the right age…
Other bottles of this wine were interesting. A distinctly cool climate wine with plenty of acid, low alcohol.
This bottle, my last (of course) was superb. Like a great Northern Rhone the aroma was beguiling and the taste savoury, complex, refreshing.
From 30+ year old vines, 18 months in new French oak.
Barossa Valley, South Australia. 14.5%
Terribly young but cool fruit aromas. Impressive. Shows great promise. Quite savoury.