Very Special Whites – d’Yquem and Leonay

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Every now and then you get to try something very special…….

1991 Leo Buring, Leonay Riesling, Eden Valley, South Australia

Tasted blind: Beautiful straw, gold colour. Glorious intense nose of pineapple, lemon, honey, and toast. Only a hint of aged “kerosene” found in aged Rieslings. And a palate to match! Very intense and opulent with honey, lemon, toast, and nougat. Long clean acid and mineral finish. This was something special and we all went back for multiple ‘tastes’ until the masked bottle was empty. We agreed this was a beautifully aged Aussie Riesling with some debate whether it was Watervale or Eden Valley. There was NO debate on the drinkability of this wine! Outstanding. 98/100. Drink now – it’s at its best.

1998 Chateau d’Yquem, 1er Grand Cru, Sauternes, France.

Tasted Blind: The moment you bring this to your nose, you know it’s something special! The nose is flooded with aromas of pineapple, apricots, marmalade, and vanilla creme fraiche. Although the botrytis character is not strong, the palate follows the nose with sweet pineapple, vanilla, marmalade and spice. Nice acid to balance. Went well with cheese and dried figs. Fairly easy for all to pick this as a top wine from Sauternes. Most agreed d’Yquem or Rieussec. 94/100. Enjoyable now but will continue to develop for another 15-20 years. The 375ml bottles ages quite quickly.

Two Awesome Blanc de Blancs

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2001 Arras Blanc de Blanc, Tasmania, Australia

Tasted blind: Light straw colour with soft mousse and fine bead. Gentle nose of lemon, grapefruit and minerality. Clean pure fruit, clearly Chardonnay with nice acid and fine persistent finish. Very impressive wine. Seemed young and well kept and clearly cool climate. I guessed a young (2004-06) Tasmanian Blanc de Blanc. I was surprised to find this was a 2001 wine! Fabulous example of what Tasmania is capable of. Lovely with prawns and yabbies. Can keep for several more year but drinking beautifully now. 94/100. Drink now to 2017.

2002 Taittinger Comptes de Champagne, Blanc de Blanc

Tasted blind: Pale straw with greenish hue, creamy mousse and persistent fine bead. Beautiful strong nose of fresh baked bread, brioche, pear, grapefruit and toast. Incredible mouth filling flavours, complexity and minerality that screamed a classy French wine. Lovely acids, delicate chalky tannins and a long, long finish. Effortless strength and depth. Definitely needs more time to evolve. A lot of discussion on high end French champagnes as to what this might be, but no one picked the Comptes, and we kicked ourselves when the bottle was unmasked! Obvious in hindsight! Great wine. 97/100. Drink now but will evolve for another 5-10 years

Lovely 2008 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre

A friend gave me bottle of Sancerre to try and what a treat! A beautiful wine from the Loire Valley, a world away from the strong gooseberry flavored NZ Sauvignon blancs. The wine opened with a lovely grapefruIt, pineapple and melon nose. The palate followed suit with great texture and richness displaying flavours of fresh pineapple, melon, soft acid and a long finish. A great food wine that went so well with summer vegetables, pasta salad and rare roasted fillet steak. Very delicious! 93/100. Drink now plus 5 years.

Horses, Fashion and Wine

 2 November 2013. It’s Spring Racing season in Melbourne Australia. A time for the glitz and glamour of the horse races with ladies fashion, great racing and hopefully a few winning bets. Today is Derby Day, one of the major race days of the spring racing carnival.
 DerbyDay13With the weather being a warm 30 degrees celsius it was the perfect occasion for dressing up, heading for the track and drinking some fine champagne. Our friends Peter and Jane bought a bottle of 2004 Dom and we bought a 2004 Grand Annee….and what a great pair of wines!
2004 Dom Perignon. Flagship wine of Moët and Chandon
 2004 Dom Perignon
The 2004 is a blend of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay from an excellent vintage in the Champagne region. The wine has a persistent bead and lovely mousse on pouring. The nose was vibrant and had lovely floral, honeycomb and citrus characters. The palate was sensational with lovely fresh acidity, a light toastiness, pear, grapefruit and hints of honeycomb. Rich, elegant and lingering on the finish. Score 96/100 with great cellaring potential. AU$150-$190
2004 Bollinger Grand Annee. Marquee wine of Bollinger
 2004 Grand Annee
This is a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay sourced from Grand Cru vineyards (76%) and Premier Cru vineyards (24%). The wine poured with a light bead and rich creamy mousse. The nose was instantly rich and intense with grapefruit, white peach, lemon curd, praline and fresh baked bread.  There was a mouth filling richness consistent with the higher percentage of Pinot Noir in comparison to the Dom. There were flavours of grapefruit, peach, honeycomb and fresh toast with a long and persistent finish. Another sensational wine! Score 96/100. Price range AU$150-200.
Preferred Wine??  Preference came to personal taste, the Dom had more acid, minerality and elegance and the Grand Annee was a richer, creamier mouthfilling style. Me, I had a slight preference for the Grand Annee, but would drink either any day of the week! The only sour note was that I didn’t win a single dollar from all my bets!! Can’t win them all…….

Halloween Special: Batard-Monrachet

2006 Domaine Bernard Morey et Fils Batard-Monrachet, Grand Cru, Cotes de Beaune, France.

2006 Batard MonrachetA special wine to celebrate Halloween! After a deluge of young trick or treaters, and running out of chocolate gifts, its time to relax with a special wine. The 2006 Bernard Morey Batard Monrachet is a great expression of a top chardonnay from the Burgundy region of France. Batard-Montrachet is one of the five Montrachet Grand Cru vineyards that remains one of the best places in the world to find Chardonnay. It’s only about 28 acres and yields are very low.

In the glass, the colour is a lovely gold with a green hue. After several swirls the nose opens with a pungent rush of grapefruit, melon, nougat, matchstick and spicy oak. On the palate the wine delivers a beautiful mineral mouthfeel with intense and complex flavours of toasty oak, rich fruit and a very long finish. Although there is a lot happening with this wine, it has great balance and harmony….and so drinkable! It went well with lightly spiced prawns and green salad. Nice finish to Halloween!

Day 2 and the wine is as fresh as day 1. The intensity of flavour and the balance of the wine made it very enjoyable on its own or with food. As usual with an excellent wine, the bottom the bottle comes far too quickly. A very enjoyable, but far too short, experience. The wine could clearly be cellared for another 5-10+ years.

Price approx $180. Score 96/100.

A weekend in the Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley in South Australia remains one of my favourite wine areas in Australia. Big bold beautiful reds, picturesque rolling hills and very friendly people. Four of us hired a little cottage called Hallet’s Hideaway. For anyone spending time in the Barossa, I strongly recommend it. In a quiet rural location, it looks out over vineyards, is immaculately kept with modern appliances and a good open fireplace. We all bought wine from our cellars which we had masked and served the wine blind. Tasting notes from wines served blind from 9-11 August 2013 follow:

2009 Corton Charlemagne – Louis Latour Grand Cru, Burgundy, France

On opening, pale yellow with golden hue. Beautiful buttery nose with hints of pear and melon. Instantly recognised as a very classy chardonnay. Unctuous, mouthfilling viscosity. Pale yellow, beautiful mouthfeel and flavour that floods the palate. A finish that lasts and lasts. Slight bitter aftertaste initially that disappeared within an hour after opening.
Day 2 – Softer, broader, still rich and mouthfilling but lacked the intensity of Day 1.
Perfect complement – Tarragon chicken.
Hommus/Cheese – not good match!

2006 Tyrells Stevens Hunter Semillon, Hunter Valley, NSW

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Bright herbaceous crisp nose, amazing bright acid, watery colour. Lifted acidic mouthfeel with hint of oak. Great intensity, but still a refreshing summer wine
Day 2 – Drinking better, softer, more integrated flavours, plush mouthfeel.

2006 Sena Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Bright red brick, perfume, blueberries, butter chocolate, velvet tannins, coffee/mocha, and hint of tobacco. Beautiful viscous mouthcoating feel. Elegant, sophicated, amazing balance – no edges. Score 95.
Day 2 – Smoky nose blackberry fruit. Earthy on palate, still a great wine.

2011 Mollydooker Velvet Glove, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Beautiful plum/purple colour. Creamy, cassis, rich mouthfilling, opulent black and red fruit, great balance but bawdy and in your face!
Day 2 – Still fresh, bright fruit on nose and palate. Softened only slightly, slight stalkiness on back palate.

Penfolds – 1996 St Henri Shiraz, South Australia

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Aged cigar/tobacco character, brownish edges, bright brick red colour. Dumb initially but opened over an hour, steely nose, mocha, oak, dusty, soft tannins.
Good food wine with beef bourgignon.
Day 2 – Dark berries, tobacco leaf on nose. Still drinking well. Secondary characters on palate, more pronounced leather, cigar. Fruit faded.

2003 Trevor Jones, Wild Witch Reserve Dry Grown Barossa Shiraz 14.5%

Fri 9.8.13 Opened (Served blind). Tight, restrained nose, light fresh red fruits, drying tannins, slightly acidic, astringent finish. Disappointing Score 87.
Re-tasted Saturday 10th – Similar to Friday
Mon 12.8.13 Amazing metamorphis!! The wine has opened. The nose has soft, red berry fruit with traces of anise, hint of volatile acidity, very complex, very appealing. Fine dusty tannins, mocha flavour with soft berry fruit. Leathery aged finish. Very enjoyable
Lost freshness, gained complexity. Very interesting to watch. Score 90.