Here are two more Barossa wines I found on sale in September 2008.
1999 Torbreck, The Steading, Barossa Valley – $20
The color is medium+ opaque garnet. There is a light nose of gritty blue fruit that has brightness to it. In the mouth there is bright red/blue fruit with a type of tartness that reminds me of Smarties. As the berry fruit flavors fade cinnamon and spices develop. There is a restrained acidity that comes through on the finish. There are almost no tannins, a decent aftertaste, in this still tight wine. As others have remarked there is a Rhone quality to it. I opened this bottle just to see what I thought of it so I did not decant off the sediment. A solid buy at this price but not at $40+ and I felt there was plenty of good drinking life to it.
1998 Viking Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa Valley – $15
A color of medium+ garnet with an older ruby core. A light to medium nose of savory blue fruit and olives. In the mouth there is dark fruit that is sweet and weighty with some black tea flavor at the end. The flavors slowly taper to the finish. There are still fine tannins. Jenn enjoyed this wine and I can see why since she is a salt and olive fan. Great price. Drink now.
As always, I am behind in posting my notes. I am always trolling the various wines stores looking for affordable wines with a bit of age on them. Jenn and I drank the Edmunds and Clermont-Tonnerre on the same night. We preferred the Clermont-Tonnere for its nose and flavors. The Edmunds played its card tight and wasn’t captivating. The Pinede comes across as crooked in personality and while a decent wine to drink, it would be more palatable at a lower price.
We drank the Tardieu-Laurent and the Brusset on the same night. The Brusset ultimately comes across as a better made wine than the T-L but it takes hours for it to come out of its shell. So we drank the T-L first which was more accessible upon opening.
Finally, there is the Aphillanthes. I’m thinking it needs more time, which isn’t a problem, as the 2000 is drinking so well these days.
1997 Edmunds St. John, Parmalee Hill, Syrah, Sonoma County – $35
A light to medium color of garnet and purple. A light nose of blue/purple fruit, perhaps a tad hot, with air a dusty, meatiness develops. In the mouth cool and hard blue fruits. The acidity expands in the mouth with very fine tannins in the finish. On the second day, a spicy/pepper nose developed along with flavors of toasted oak, sage, and black tea. There is no rush to drink this wine.
1998 Louis Clermont-Tonnerre, Chateauneuf du Pape – $20
A light brick color in the glass. A light nose of sweet, round, mature fruit. There is somewhat round, blue fruit that develops into a rustic, gritty, chunky style that is pierced by acidity. The dark fruit finish is somewhat coarse then is followed by a long aftertaste. An absolute deal at $20 and drinking so well right now with some air.
1998 Domaine de la Pinede, Chateauneuf du Pape – $30
A light garnet color that looks old. There is a medium nose of gritty blue fruits and herbs. The mouth follows the nose in that there is a lot of blue fruit and garrigue. The fruit flavors explode then the acidity immediate comes out as the flavors fade and soften. There is a pleasing aftertaste but the nose delivers more than the flavors. Perhaps a bit pricey at $30.
1998 Tardieu-Laurent, Gigondas – $32
A light to medium ruby-garnet with brick rim. A light to medium nose of sweet, ripe fruit, and minerals. In the mouth there are dark blue fruits, perhaps a tad thin and a little hot. This medium bodied wine still has substantial, mouth-puckering tannins. It is more chaotic in that the fruit flavors explode and fill the mouth then quiet down as mineral flavors come out.
1998 Brusset, Les Hauts de Montmirail, Gigondas – $30
A light garnet-brick color. This had a tight nose that was lighter than the Tardieu-Laurent. It is definitely more structured than the flamboyant T-L. In the mouth this medium-bodied wine has dark fruit, minerals, and fair amount of fine, new-oak tannins. There is the impression of more acidity than fruit. After several hours the fruit rounds out and the aftertaste increases in length. It is a modern style of Gigondas.
2001 Aphillanthes, Cuvee Trois Cepages, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $25
A light nose of dark red fruit, spices, and slightly earthy. There are blue fruit flavors, some inky perfume, in a structured package. It has an expanding finish and aftertaste. It leaves a coarse impression that more time might be needed. My recollection is that I prefer the 2000.