Some long-lost notes from a dinner early last year.

1979 Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill Champagne
A tarnished gold colour with very fine bead evident. Initially the nose gave off some oxidative, varnishy burnt almond characters, but these came around to mostly caramel, mushroom, apricot and nuttiness. A wave of flavour envelops your mouth on the first taste. The palate is fresher than the nose would indicate, it is pure elegance, superbly balanced and had awesome texture and length. Ready to drink now.

1995 Erich Salomon Kremser Kogl Auslese Riesling (Austria)
Nose has strong floral scents as well as slate, lime and maybe a touch of botrytis. The palate has intense sweetness but also a good level of balancing acid. Lovely to drink and I think that it is right at its peak.

2002 Domaine Raveneau Premier Cru Butteaux Chablis
There was something a bit off about this bottle. A slight funky element on the nose as well as some sulfur and some grapefruit and under-ripe pineapple. The mouthfeel is creamy and shows some class but there is some unsettling bitterness on the finish. Should have been better.

2000 Bannockburn Chardonnay (Geelong)
Nose is rather shy with some mineral characters as well as some nutty, caramel hints. The palate exhibits very good structure and style with a solid, focused core of acidity. I tried the remains two nights later and I thought it was much better, the nose had taken on some appealing butterscotch and honey characters while retaining the structure and focus of the palate. The score is a balance of the two evenings (89/91).

2000 Domaine Cordier Pouilly Fuisse ‘Vers Cras’ (Maconnais)
Waxy and pink fairy floss to the nose with some slightly oxidative notes. An interesting creamy texture to the palate. Lacks intensity and depth.

2000 Domaine Servin Grand Crus Blanchot Chablis
The backup bottle to the Raveneau. An austere, ungiving nose with hints of pear and stonefruit after some time in the glass. The palate has good balance and good structural acidity but probably needs more time resting in bottle before it is enjoyable.

2004 Castagna Ingénue Viognier (Beechworth)
I think I was the one at the table who liked this the best. Light apricot overtones with pineapple, citrus and rose petals. A fresh palate with good intensity. Lovely length and the alcohol didn’t stand out to me like other straight Viognier based wines often do. A well made wine that it seems won’t appeal to everyone.

2002 Domaine Hervé Sigaut Chambolle-Musigny
Nose is light and straightforward with aromas of wet earth and cherry. Apart from a bit of acid that stands out on the palate, it is pretty drinkable but without real points of interest.

2000 Château Roc de Cambes Côtes de Bourg
A bit of varnish initially that blew off to show aromas of florals, cherry, stalks, earth and lots of black olives. A bit of a let-down with the medium bodied palate that finished short and I don’t think has the tannin structure or fruit quality to improve much with further age.

1992 Petaluma Coonawarra Red
The nose really lept out at me with strawberry, tobacco, mushroom and leather. I had high hopes for the palate but they were not met – the fruit has almost entirely dried up and all that was left was acid. A shame.

1990 Jasper Hills Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz (Heathcote)
Initially quite a nice nose with some blackberry, sweet red fruits and floral notes but these are soon swamped by bretty horse hair and mouse fur. Palate quickly declined as well.

2003 Château Montus (Madiran)
Made from the Tannat variety. Aromas of ink, herbs and tobacco are difficult to discern under over the top oak. The story is the same on the soft palate with the oak flavour showing up a serious lack of fruit.

2004 Ravensworth Shiraz (Canberra)
Pepper, spice, ripe fruit and some floral hints on the nose. Palate is simple and lacking in depth and length. Drinks alright, but not in the same class as the rather enjoyable 2005 from the same producer.

1998 Henschke Noble Rot Semillon (Eden Valley)
A nose of apricot, nuts, honey and botrytis. Palate shows a medium level of sweetness. Enjoyable, but without a great deal of complexity. The declining acid leads me to believe that it is at it’s peak now.

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