I was pleased to share some excellent wine over a couple of nights recently with some friends who enjoy drinking it, but perhaps aren’t quite as obsessed with it as I am.
From left to right:
Bannockburn Shiraz 2002 – ($50 – Geelong, Victoria): Earthy and stalky with spice and pepper, well balanced oak lending structure. Super complexity on the palate to keep things interesting. There was a touch of unbalanced acid on the finish but a very good wine regardless. Needs food to really show its best. 92 Points
Star Lane Merlot 2002 – ($35 – Beechworth, Victoria): Contract made by Keppell Smith from the cult winery Savaterre. Medium weighted, great line and length, not lacking anything in the mid-palate. Showed some cool-climate spicy characteristics on the nose and palate. Well balanced with a smooth finish. Among the top Australian Merlot predominate wines that I have tasted this year. 93 Points
Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru N.V – Disgorged Sept 2004 – ($75 – Champagne, France): Lovely golden colour with a glimmer of pink, fine bead and mousse. Pinot dominated nose. Yeasty and apple characters on the nose, but neither were overpowering. Delicious and excellent value compared to the big Champagne houses. 89 Points
Henschke Abbotts Prayer Merlot 2001 – ($65 – Adelaide Hills, South Australia): I’ve talked about this wine a couple of times before (here and here) and each time it has been excellent, this time was no exception. Impeccable structure and length. Velvety all the way across the palate. The kind of wine that you look up to find that the bottle is empty in no time since it is so drinkable. One of the few producers doing something special with this variety in Australia. 93 Points
Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz Viognier 2004 – ($30 – Young, New South Wales): From the winery that made the Shiraz Viognier blend famous in Australia comes this version priced at about half the cost of the flagship wine. Previous vintages of this wine were without a Viognier influence but this vintage has been fermented on Viognier skins and looks all the better for it. Crimson tinged with a superb, enticing floral nose with hints of apricot. Excellent mouthfeel. Strongly fruit driven at this stage of its life, but has a backing of restrained oak and the tannin structure to develop for 4 to 5 years. Perhaps a little bit angular, which should resolve itself over time, but this is such delicious drinking now that I don’t know if many will be able to keep their hands off it for that long. 92 Points