Dinner at Sugaroom in Sydney with 4 other wine lovers –

Primo Estate Joseph Sparkling Shiraz (06 disg) :
Good mousse at first that drops away pretty quickly. Nice layered complexity to the nose – plums, cherry, earth and gamey notes. The palate has an intriguing texture and mouth-feel to it. Very good length and depth/complexity of flavour with just a lick of sweetness on the mid-palate. Shows complex character, while retaining some freshness on the palate that should allow it to improve with age.

Primo Estate Joseph Sparkling Shiraz (97 disg) :
Quite obviously of the same bloodline as the 06 disgorgement, just with some added age. Leather, earth, five spice and smoke on the nose. The palate shows more savoury spice and is drier in comparison to the 06. The real standout feature of the palate is the superb depth of flavour and excellent balance leading into an excellent length finish.

Sparkling red is generally not my thing, but these two bottles certainly were.

2003 Penfolds Yattarna Chardonnay :
Very delicate nose of lemon, light oats and a streak of minerality. Palate is elegant with great balance and focus through a tight core of acid. Young and tightly wound at the moment, but it is obviously extremely classy and it has so much potential that I would love to see it in 5 years time when it could well be excellent.

1976 Rosemount Estate Cabernet Sauvignon :
Light aromas of smoke, dust, sweet chocolate and a hint of a floral character. Fairly lightly bodied as well with decent length and quite a smoky aftertaste. Held up well over the evening and was drinkable and better than I think may have been expected from a wine that was probably not intended to be saved for 30+ years!

1981 Leoville Las Cases :
Quite an expressive nose of tobacco, lilac, cassis, cedar and earth. The palate at first lacks intensity, although the the components are all nicely balanced and integrated. Seemed to take on some extra palate weight when given some time to breath and was better when paired with food.

1994 Ridge Monte Bello :
12.7% alcohol. Primary nose of violet, blackcurrant, cedar and chocolate oak, autumn leaves and pencil shavings. The palate is primary as well with plenty of deeply seated fruit to stand up to the oak and fine tannin structure. Really good length. I think the back label mentioned keeping it 5-15 years to improve, based on this bottle I’d be extending that an extra 8-10 years.

2003 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz :
A nose that is jam packed with sweet, ripe fruit. Blackcurrant, anise/liquorice, some background vanilla oak and blueberry muffins was an aroma descriptor that I particularly liked. More intense, sweet fruit on the palate that I think will appeal to lovers of the richly fruited Barossa style. Nice length, but just a bit too ripe for my personal liking.

1981 Chateau Coutet : (375ml)
Light botrytis, lots of apricot and some burnt sugar. The nose is better than the palate, which has an initial burst of flavour followed by watered down flavour intensity on the mid-palate and a startlingly short finish. I finished my glass quickly, but others noted that the nose fell over pretty soon after pouring.

2004 Kracher Eiswein : (375ml)
The nose is perfumed and elegant rather than dense, with some floral notes, slate and lemon and orange zest. The palate is quite pure with good balance through enough refreshing acidity as a counterweight to the medium sweetness. Fairly simple, but enjoyable to drink all the same. Probably drinking well now while it is still fresh.

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