Seppelt 2004 Chalambar Shiraz

88 points
A very tannic Shiraz from Bendigo and the Grampians. Overall too young to drink enoyably now, but has good signs for 4-5 years down the road. The nose was pretty tight even after a couple hours, but there was a bit of cinnamon and certainly black pepper. The fruit was a bit on the plum rather than berry fruit side, but the acid seemed pretty much on target and the aftertaste was fairly long. A good wine for $15.

Laurus Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2000

This wine is produced by one of the largest producer-negociants in the lower Rhone valley, Gabriel Meffre. The Laurus brand is an attempt to create a line of wines made from the range of styles available in the Rhone under one name. They have everything from Chateauneuf du Pape to Condrieu and wverything in between, including this slighty fortified Muscat.

I worried that 6 years might be a bit long for this fresh-bottled light Muscat, but just smelling the open bottle, fields of lavender-honey blossoms opened up. The texture was thick but not cloying with more lavender, honey and a bit of nutmeggy spice. The finish is clean with spicy acid aftertastes. Yum Yum, both as a glass for an appertif and after the meal with dessert.

La Voulte Gasparets Corbiere 2000

This is a wine from the southwest of France at the border of Languedoc and Rousillon. The Corbiere is a rocky hilly dry region of wild rosemary and thyme and ruined Cathar castles with lots of small plots of grapes, mainly Grenache (Gris, Rouge, and Blanc), Carignane, and Shiraz. I visited this place with a French friend in 2004 and bought this wine, which had just been released. The small family winery has been there for almost 100 years and on the wall of the stone-walled cellar are awards going back to the early 1900s and up to until recent times.

When I opened it, there were intense aromatics of licorice and thyme with a hard edge. When we tasted it, there was a harsh rush of tannin and then a long dried fruit palate of excellent length. Now, after being opened (and decanted) for about 2 hours, the nose is milder, more herby than spicy. The palate has more cinnamon like tannins but very drying with a long and spiced berry flavours. I think I will wait several more years before opening the next bottle.

Leasingham 2000 Bin 61 Clare Shiraz

91 points

This wine surprised me in that it wasn’t over the top in alcohol and wood as I expected. A ‘cellar release’ from Dan Murphy’s it had the right combination of Shiraz starting to develop layered complexity, almost a Bordeaux-like leafiness with the Shiraz berry (not pruney or cooked fruit). I am going to go back and buy a few more at $25.

Domaine de la Grange des Peres 2001

88 points

A wine from Aniane near Montpellier in the Languedoc made by one of the ‘new’ vineyards. A richly flavoured wine, but lacking some complexity. Ripe Grenache and Carignane spiciness with balanced alcohol (14%) given the fruit. Also lacking some of the thick tannins I like in these wines, but a very nice change from Australian.

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2001

87 points

After Byron’s post regarding a pretty poor bottle of Chapel Hill blend, I found this one on the shelf. I am not sure what the price is, since I think it was a gift. I found the wine to be very drinkable and not so overt in added acid. The nose is a bit too rich in American oak for my taste but after an hour or so it was much less pronounced. The wine itself is rather tannic without being too extracted with a long finish. It is not as big a wine as many from McLaren Vale. It didn’t have the chocolatey overtones- much more a berry-based wine with only 13.5% alcohol.