Sydney experienced a 45° celsius (113° fahrenheit) New Years day this year, so we did what any sensible group of wine lovers would do – go ahead with the dinner anyway and celebrate the New Year with some great wine.

This was my first visit to Elio, an Italian restaurant which is based in Leichhardt and I would certainly go back for an offline in future. The food was excellent, service was very friendly and most importantly they were one of the few places open on New Years Day. Corkage was $5.50 per bottle which is about average for decent Sydney restauarants.

Krug Grande Cuvée MV – (Champagne, France): My first taste of Krug MV (multi-vintage blend) and I’m almost already a convert. Full, powerful nose of almonds, hazelnut, yeast and toast, while at the same time exhibiting fresh citrusy lemon and lime characters. Exceptional length on the palate with waves of flavour. I could easily get used to this! My favourite wine on this evening.. 95/100

Tyrrell’s Vat 47 Chardonnay 2000 – (Hunter Valley, New South Wales): Citrus, peaches and a touch of butter and oak in the background. Quite a powerful, intense palate. Not showing much development yet but has the structure to hold while secondary characters are taken on. 89/100

Suckfizzle Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 1998 – (Margaret River, Western Australia): Herbaceous, grass, tobacco leaf, tinned beans and what I thought was a whiff of disinfectant on the nose. A tangy element to the palate. I didn’t enjoy this but others at the table did. I came back to the wine later in the evening to see if my opinion would be kinder to it after some time had passed, but I still didn’t like it. 84/100

Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 1997 – (Margaret River, Western Australia): Oatmeal, citrus, toasty oak and a bit of cheese dominate the aromas. Nice creamy mouth-feel but a touch of acid sticking out disrupts the line and otherwise good length. 89/100

Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir 2000 – (Gippsland, Victoria):This may be the only wine that I come close to picking blind this year at offline and I didn’t get the vintage, but I’ll take what I can get. Would not (and did not) pick this as being as young as 2000.

Stalks, cherries, violets, some confection and a touch of earthiness. Upfront, very smooth and easy to drink but also showing good texture and structure. I really quite liked the wine, but I rather less like the price tag associated. 92/100

Domaine Jean Gros Vosne-Romanee 1989 – (Burgundy, France): Earth, wild mushrooms, sour cherries and some spicy oak aromas form the forward nose of this wine. The palate lets the wine down a little bit, with some acid poking through that I don’t think will be resolved with any further time. 90/100

Chateau Bon Pasteur 1995 – (Bordeaux, France): Freshly shaved sawdust and tobacco on the nose. Tannic and lacking fruit. I didn’t pick any obvious TCA elements but will give the wine the benefit of the doubt as one member of the table had a better bottle previously. Not Rated

Pillitteri Estates Winery Sparkling Icewine Riesling 2002 – (Ontario, Canada): An interesting and unusual experience. Only a very light sparkle to it. Lifted fresh nose of apricots, raisins, lemon, pear and ginger. The palate was very sweet on its own but was toned down slightly when having it with dessert. Acid structure is there in the background but needs to come forward a little to achieve balance.

This is the first vintage of sparkling Riesling Icewine from this winery (and apparently the first sparkling Riesling Icewine from the region) and I’m sure they’ll improve the results with more experience. 89/100

Charles Melton Sparkling Red NV (Disgorged Nov-99) – (Barossa Valley, South Australia):Cherries along with spicy and meaty notes comprise the nose. Palate had just a touch of sweetness about it. Not bad. 87/100

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