Tasting Australia

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Tyrrell`s 2009 VAT 1
Fresh, racy lemon and citrus aromatics. Decent herbal spiciness and freshly cut grass join in. Thanks to the vintage, the wine is softer than usual, but still vibrant, fresh and structured for long term cellaring. A great Hunter Valley classic! Keep.

Clarendon Hills 1997 Norton Summit
Far developed, past its prime with oxidative aromatics, orange zest, dried herbs and oaky sweetness. Rather thin, yet alive and harmonious on the palate. Drink up.

Kalleske 2013 Fordson
Yes, this is a Zinfandel from Barossa Valley and it´s a beautiful one! Quite a powerhouse with great concentration of fruit and freshness. Dark aromatics of berry fruit, spices, fruit jam, minerals and earth. Inky and rich on the palate, but of cool depth and freshness. Distinct Kalleske. From a vineyard planted in 2007 this is a promising early-drinking wine.

Torbreck 1998 The Steading
Intriguing aromatics of black cherry, plums, cigar box, road tar, oriental spices and violets. Beautifully integrated tannins and delicate acidity in a smooth, but fresh and super-elegant wine. Great stuff, which is probably still at its peak. Drink soon.

 

Balnaves 2008 The Tally
From an excellent Coonawarra vintage comes this dense and rather robust Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Petit Verdot (4%). Cassis, plum, green pepper, tobacco, earth and oak describe the nose, while the palate is youthful and dark with black fruits and spices. Still looking for balance while compact tannins keep the wine tight. This is nice, but not there yet. Keep 5+ years.

Leeuwin Estate 2007 Art Series
This was the only wine from the gravelly loam soils of Western Australia´s Margaret River region. Compared to Balnaves` Tally, this wine showed rather elegant and light-weight with beautiful aromatics of cassis, stewed fruit, peppery spiciness and present oak. Rather bumpy on the palate with present acidity, while lacking density and length. Still 13% Malbec provide a dark core. Maybe caught in a bad time…

Henschke 1995 Cyril Henschke
One of two wines of the night that could have been taken for Old World if tasted blind. Even though the wine is little past its prime now, the 1995 Cyril shows very elegant, harmonious and complex. Fascinating aromas of cassis, earth, leather, little barnyard, forest floor, smoke and pepper- anise spiciness arrive vital and perfectly integrated on the palate. The tannins have softened and only little acidity shows and provides drive. Good length with dark layers and peppery spiciness. Excellent! Drink soon.

Wynns 1994 John Riddoch
Dark aromatics of blackberries and some fruit in rum, leather, tobacco, earth and violets. Sweet vanilla and present oak. Dense and dark on the palate with flavors of blackberries, cedar, dried herbs, anise and black olive. Youthful with firm tannins, while not lacking juicyness. Very good length with more black fruits and peppery spiciness. It seems that the wine is just opening up. Keep 5+ years.

Briar Ridge 2010 Dairy Hill
From Terra Rossa clays and sandy clay soils comes this Hunter Valley Shiraz. Aromas of blackberry, plums, spices, olives, road tar and fresh herbs. Arrives with cool elegance and smoothness on the palate. Finishes medium-long. Well made, but lacking fascination, yet delicious and very drinkable.

Rockford 2009 Basket Press
Ripe and sweet aromas of red and black berries, plums, cooked fruit, little herbal spiciness and present oak. Ripe, juicy and of present alcohol on the palate. Fairly broad, while lacking structure and focus. A rather disappointing classic.

Henschke 2008 Mount Edelstone
Rich, fruit-driven and spicy wine from a legendary vineyard planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas. 16ha of deep sandy loam over gravelly medium-red clay, overlying laminated siltstone create a special wine, which is always more expressive than its famous big brother Hill of Grace. The 2008 is still in its early fruity stage, but still delicious and fascinating to drink with aromatics of blackberries, plums, oriental spices, dried and fresh herbs, sage and some road tar. It´s perfectly structured dense, deep and concentrated, while fresh and long. Velvety tannins and fine acidity guarantee a long future. Fantastic!

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Penfolds 2004 Grange
From a great vintage comes this elegant, fresh and complex Grange full of finesse with fascinating aromas of red and black berries, spices, delicate sweetness, some chocolate and minerality(!). Multi-layered, fine, but solid structured and of perfect balance on the palate with dark fruit, herbal freshness, little oak and mocha. Finishes very long. A beauty in its youth.

D` Arenberg 2001 Dead Arm
The Dead Arm brought us back to reality after two exceptional wines. Nevertheless, a very good wine, but by far not as special as Mount Edelstone or Grange. Still youthful, it´s opening with aromas of ripe, dark berries, lilac, chocolate and a mix of spices. Balanced and delicious, but lacking excitement and fascination. Yet, a beautiful, distinct McLaren Vale Shiraz. Drink now or keep.

Wendouree 2000 Shiraz Mataro
Does the best always come at the end? In our case, absolutely yes! From the tiny 11,3ha of AP Birks Wendouree Cellars came the winner of the night. Starting off quite funky and taking its time to open up, the wine presented itself different than I remembered it from out last encounter. Back in June 2012 the wine was wide open, rich, deep and dark. But this time it was even better: Fresh, red fruits, a lot of cherries, ethereal freshness of herbs and pinewood, eucalypt, some licorice and wet earth. Pure perfection on the palate with density, freshness and elegance. Mostly driven by dark fruit, fresh herbs and spices, the wine is still youthful and structured for a long future. Finishes long and focused with dark berries, some spiciness as well as sweetness. An exceptional wine at an early stage of its life with finesse, depth and complexity!

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Tasting Note: Penfolds 1996 BIN 389 Cabernet Shiraz

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1. Introduction:
First made by Max Schubert in 1960, Penfolds` BIN 389 is a multi-regional blend from several South Australian appellations and, thereby, like the famous Grange a traditional South Australian wine. While the Grange is strongly dominated by Shiraz in the blend or in rare vintages even 100% Shiraz, the “Baby Grange” – that´s how the BIN 389 is often called – tends to be Cabernet Sauvignon (~60%) driven with an (almost) equal part of Shiraz in the blend. The name “Baby Grange” results from time spent maturing in oak hogsheads used by the previous Grange vintage.
From a stellar vintage, the 1996 BIN 389 consists of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Our bottle and cork are flawless. 14% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark purple with an almost black core.
Very dense, but vibrant.

3. Nose:
Dark, Ripe Fruit. Blackberry, Cassis, Cedar and Black Cherry.
Graphite, Leather and Earthy Characteristics. Some Licorice.
Present influence of Oak with Eucalypt and (sweet) Vanilla.
Beautiful aroma package! Energetic, complex and harmonious.

4. Taste:
More Dark Berries and Black Cherry.
Dark Chocolate, Leather and Earth. Little Sweetness.
Inky and soft texture in a round, juicy mouthfeel with fine acidity.
Finishes long with Powerful, Dark Fruit, Finely- Grained Tannins and the Warmth of Intense Peppery Spiciness.
Dense, rich and generous without lacking finesse!

5. Opinion:
The Penfolds 1996 BIN 389 has entered a great drinking window now.
After an amazing evolution, the wine still shines young and powerful.
Great balance, complexity and structure.
An Australian classic to drink now or to keep for another 5+ more years.

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1996 BIN 389 sitting in the glass beautifully.

Tasting Note: PENFOLDS 1983 Grange Hermitage

1983 Grange (decanted)

  1. Introduction:
    It´s always exciting to open an old bottle of wine and this is now 30 years old!
    But no need to worry, all was good:
    The capsule and especially the cork were in great shape.
    There wasn´t much wine soaked up by the cork and, thereby, the cork was faultless and nice. No faults or taints made a perfect start.
    After a slow decanting of the wine, it got two hours to breathe and develop in the decanter.
  2. Appearance:
    Deep dark red with brown edges. Still very dense and vital colors.
  3. Nose:
    Exciting and intense nose of Herbs, Dried Dark Berries, Raisins, Mocha with hints of Vanilla.
  4. Taste:
    Strong secondary characters of Dark Chocolate, Leather, Raisins, Oak, Plum and signs of Grapefruit. Firm, intense and long finish.
  5. Opinion:
    A very exciting wine which developed greatly over the years and will even improve with more years to come. The wine is still very present and fresh even though the secondary characters took over the fruit.
    Perfectly balanced and highly concentrated.
    One very special drinking experience!