Posts Tagged ‘Eden Valley’

1996/1998 Aussies with French, Chilean, Turkish, and California as Well, 14 July 2008

July 14, 2008 1 comment
A group of us got together Saturday night to focus on Australian reds from the 1996 and 1998. We met up at Dave & Deniz Wetmore’s place where Deniz’s mother prepared a wonderful Turkish dinner. Thanks to all three of them for hosting and cooking all day. I must admit, I really enjoy these casual evenings tasting 6-8 wines blind.We started off with a pair of whites. Jenn and I really enjoyed the Lirac but found the Chilean Sauvignon blanc a bit to grassy. The Lirac certainly left me thirsty for the reds. I’ll leave it to William to tell us what they were.  All wines were double-decanted about 2 hours before we tasted them. They were initially served in pairs then everyone drank copious amounts to determine their favorite bottles. The Villard was the favorite, closely followed by the Henschke, and the Coriole in third.Here are the combined group notes on the wines.
1996 Coriole, Mary Kathleen, McLaren Vale
This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc that was aged for 12 months in French oak. Medium garnet in the glass with some bricking. A light to medium intensity nose of primarily black currant backed up by cherry and a minty/menthol freshness. More cherries and red berries in mouth, I found an almost salty quality to the fruit. The intensity of the fruit was a bit light but was followed by an assertive and powerful, lengthy finish. There were mild, grippy tannins.
1998 Pycantha Hills, Shiraz, Clare Valley
Medium garnet as well but with a purple tinge that looked more youthful than the Coriole. A medium intensity nose of red stewed fruit, perhaps pomegranate, some spice and medicinal aspect. With air a slight band-aid aroma developed. There was fruit with some roundness that was perhaps more jammy and flabby. The one-dimensional flavors disappeared quickly, leaving a simple, short finish. Decent acidity kept it alive and moving, with no obvious tannins for support. Most preferred the Coriole over this one but Jenn prefered it.
1999 Domaine Francois Villard, Cuvee Reflet, St-Joseph
I threw this in as a ringer. This Syrah is aged for 23 months in new oak due to the young age of the vines. Medium ruby with some slight bricking in the glass. Initially a light nose of toasted oak that developed into an expansive nose of tar with additional air. Very fine tannins are obvious from the beginning then the lighter, black cherry/red berry flavors develop. There was a nice mid-palate and strong finish, that came through in this well crafted wine. I found some fresh menthol on the nose at the end. This was the first bottle finished!

1996 Penfolds, Bin #128, Shiraz, Coonawarra
Medium garnet with brown component looks old. A sweet nose of chocolate (chocolate covered cherries), almost port-like. A soft, old wine, with very little complexity, very fine tannins in the aftertaste, this bottle was near the end of its life. Best described by William, “Like a sprint to the back of the mouth – like a skittish cat scampering from the room when confronted by strangers.” This was clearly the least favorite of the group.

1998 Wild Duck Creek, Spring Flat Shiraz, Heathcote
This Shiraz is aged in 50% French and 50% American oak. A medium intensity nose of primarily eucalyptus. In the mouth more eucalyptus combined with dark red fruits. A light to medium bodied wine, with light to medium tannins, and a light, acidic aftertaste. The intensity of the eucalyptus made the wine come across as monolithic. Dave felt it was slightly corked on the nose. William felt there was energy, quality, and vibrancy. I initially preferred this to the Henschke but then the Henschke hit its stride.

1996 Henschke, Keyneton, Eden Valley
Lighter in color than the Wild Duck Creek. This is primarily Shiraz with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot thrown in. The initial nose was of sour, red fruit but then an older, darker, barnyard nose developed. Soft, round, red fruit (cherry and raspberry) with some oak spice. I found it slightly salty. There are still light to medium tannins. This wine was the slowest to developed and grew on William and myself. Dave felt this was near the end of the drinking window. Jenn liked it over the Wild Duck Creek from the beginning. Unfortunately this was my only bottle.

We then unveiled the six bottles. In the process we realized we had completely drunk the top 3-4 bottles. Dave disappeared then returned with the following two wines:

2005 Kavaklidere, Kalecik Karasi, Anatolia
Kavaklidere is Turkey’s first private wine producer founded in 1929. This wine is made from native grapes and aged in oak barrels. I didn’t take any notes but this was well made, contemporary, and easy to drink.

2005 Zeitgeist, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Dave served this blind after a brief stint in the decanter. No one guessed what it was but it was perfect match considering what we had drunk. This came from 5 barrels of Cab and is made at Behrens & Hitchcock. It is the personal project of Mark Porembski (winemaker at Anomaly and former B&H assistant winemaker) and Jennifer Williams (winemaker at Anomaly). I had a bit of a buzz going so my notes are short. I thought it was Shiraz. There was a good nose that developed with air. In the mouth I found chocolate, dark fruit, some minerals, and salt. Definitely an interested wine and one to try again.