For my birthday celebration, I pulled out two magnums, one of which was the ’96 Musar, I hand carried it from the winery many years ago. I have two bottles of the ’98 waiting but in the meantime….Super pale red- see through, reminiscent of Pinot which it’s not with a touch of orange bricking. On the nose it’s stupendous, like aged Bordeaux. Leather, tobacco, plum and cassis- all my favorites. On the palate it is so smooth, with hints of cassis, cedar box, more tobacco and forest floor. There’s so much going on it’s amazing. Towards the mid palate I get cherry, faint tannins and a perfectly balanced acidity. The finish is awesome. So sleek with cherry juice reduction and a slightly biting rhubarb component. 93 points and 4 stars for this $75 wine. It’s not for everyone, the style is different but for this boy- it hits the right notes. Drink till 2030. Salut….
You know you’re in for a bombastic treat when the label says Shiraz and the wine comes out inky in color and very dense. The nose is delightful- full of plum, espresso, cedar plank, elderberry syrup and a vanilla hint. On the palate it is more restrained than I was expecting, more silky, smoother, with much more depth. This is indeed a powerful wine, but in a more stately fashion. It shows the dark fruits I mentioned plus a really tight knit tannic structure that couples with the acidity to give an amazing mouthfeel. The elderberry syrup component really kicks in on the mid palate, it is so silky smooth. The finish is long, and full of fruit. The tannins are perfectly in sync and do not overpower the flavors. This is a delicious wine that has aged nicely and will continue to do so for many years. Drink with pretty much any grilled meat or all by itself. Beware the well hidden 15.5% alcohol, it may sneak up! The pros went big on this wine, which was WS #3 wine of the year in 2012, I can see why. 95 points and 5 stars for this treat that comes in at $75, if you can find it. Drink till 2024 at the least. Ps. I originally bought 2 bottles, and then another six afterwards. See my other two posts on Bella’s Garden. Salut….
A few posts ago I wrote about buying up wines from a shop that was closing. I picked up two bottles of this delicious, heady Shiraz and sat on them for a few years. Turns out my timing was just about right.
Nearly black in the glass and super brooding. A nose of plum jam and hoisin with a baconny hint as well. The first sip reveals gorgeous plum reduction, violets and rich, thick blueberry pie. This wine is full on, with layers of extraction and polish. To say it is meaty is an understatement. The alcohol (15.5%) becomes evident in the mid palate, as well as the acidity. It refreshes where the tannins left off. A telltale Shiraz hint of pepper and some tar come out eventually. The finish is somewhat abrupt after a decent length of time but leaves some tannic residue on the gums. This wine begs for a Sunday roast, Lamb or beef- with horseradish. It is a fall or winter wine that will reward more cellaring but is hitting all the notes right now. Drink from now until 2026. 93 points from me but the pro’s went higher at 95. My only concern is the undeniable hit of heat on the mid palate. If you can still find it they cost $75 at retail making this a serious 4 star contender. Glad I have one left! Salut….
As you may know I am a huge fan of the Clarendon Hills winery. They make smooth, polished, refined wines that ooze class and refinement. This one was no exception to the formula. Starting with pencil lead, blueberry and oregano on the nose followed by a fresh and bright intro with young tannins that coat the mouth. Blueberry, plum and a dash of pepper make for interesting notes on the palate while star anise on the finish really pops out. This is a very young wine that has not filled out yet. 2017-2025 would be a better window unless you like a tannic monster for a juicy steak. 92 points now but the potential to go up in my opinion. This wine is extracted and precise. Priced originaly at $75, it’s most likely a Sunday roast wine rather than an everyday drinker. 4 stars. Salut….
Ps. I noticed that it had a double back label. Someone has very precisely laid the label on top of the original. I wonder if that was a labeling issue or if they needed to change it for import reasons. I tried to slice it off but the sticker merely tore in my hands, intriguing.
I bought this and several other bottles of Burgundy several years ago at a local wine shop. I have been waiting patiently for this 93 point (WS) wine and figured that now I am on Christmas break- it’s time. I opened it last night to go with some spectacular Boeuf Bourguignon I whipped up. Incidentally I used a bottle of Apothic Red to cook with that wound up in my cellar as a gracious gift…. I digress.
I figured it was time to pop this premier cru wine and was hoping for a monster worthy of it’s $75 price tag. Here is what I got.
Darker purple shades in the glass than I was expecting. Somewhat muted nose, I couldn’t quite make out any normal Burgundy or even Pinot hints. On the initial attack there were crunchy sour cherries with cranberries intermingling. I had to take note of the very juicy mouthfeel made up of acidity and a touch of heat. This wine is slightly off balance, perhaps in slumber? No earthiness or funk, kinda boring where my overall impressions although it did mellow somewhat after some air time. I have to disagree with the pro’s, this is at best an 88 point wine, and 2 stars for its price point. Lacking complexity, unbalanced and showing no sign of secondary evolution make this a major pass in my book. Salut….
If you have read any of my Clarendon posts you will know that I love this winery and can’t get enough of their subtle yet complex Syrahs, Cabernets and Grenaches. This particular Mclaren Vale offering was opened to go along with my new favorite grilled meat- Chorizo. I loaded up two giant Ribeye steaks (the butcher had labelled them Delmonico’s, all hoity toity) some onions and a half dozen of the Mexican sausages on the charcoal grill and opened this beauty to sip while I got the rest of dinner ready.
Thick purple color is always a good start for Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh blue fruits with some mint greeted my flaring nostrils- perhaps a touch of alcohol was coming off the glass. Unique plum compote and blueberry coulis flavors were my initial impression but I began to think the wine is still primal with full fruit and a whiff of heat attacking the mid palate. Moderate tannins and cutting acidity belie a still young wine waiting to mature. Eucalyptus and mulberry came into being on the back end with cassis and red fruits adding to the long finish. The 14.5% alcohol was hidden after a while, blown off from it’s early attack. The wine is structured, balanced and a joy to drink. I would imagine it could cellar for another 15 years easily. $75 and 94 points from me make this a treat of a wine that gets 5 stars for a special occasion. Salut….
I am tasting my way through the Clarendon Hills portfolio, and I’m loving it. This particular Syrah was nearly black in the glass. It opened with plums and blue berries on nose with some pencil lead hints. My first impression was powerful and juicy with delightful tannins. I noticed that the wine sports a 14.5% alcohol which is well hidden. Chocolate and figs on the mid palate added to the complexity of the blue fruits. The wine has a layered elegance and smoothness that is fabulous. I like the way this winery makes Syrah style wines, very nice and atypical. It later hit me that this wine is very plummy, probably explains the denseness and extraction. I noted ‘Tight tannins that are well integrated.’ I would give this wine a span of 2014-2025 with evolution hopefully coming through with some secondary flavors evolving. I got a good deal on this bottle but even at it’s SRP of $75 it is an excellent value for money if you have a big dinner planned, running at 93 points for me and 4 stars. Ps. I served it with well seasoned Flank steaks but this Aussie wine was made for a leg of lamb, just my opinion. Salut….
When I decided to fire up the grill and roast a leg of lamb I needed a Syrah/Shiraz to go with it. What better than a nicely aged bottle from Australia? I have become a huge fan of the Clarendon winery, they produce amazing wines in a style that I adore. This one was exceptionally good and the pairing was amazing.
It started out with Plum jam, blackcurrants, nutmeg and a touch of heat on the nose. Initially there was a dark core of black currants and plum compote with a hint of licorice. The mid palate gave way to red raspberries after some time which was fascinating. I noted ‘Extremely smooth with beautiful fine-grained tannins and an edge of acidity’. This wine rocked. It’s 14.5% alcohol was evident when the bottle was first opened but seemed to blow off with time and became a non-event. Complexity and finesse are what this winery is good at. They tend to be more Rhone-like versus typical Aussie Shiraz. I prefer the subtlety and refined approach on occasions and this wine allowed the meat to showcase it’s herbs and spices without overpowering it. The pro’s went from 89-95 on this one, but I agree with WS- it’s a solid 93-94 point wine in my opinion but at $75 is rather pricy. 4 stars however and a cellaring potential up to 2027 if you ask me. Salut….
I can’t believe that this is my 500th post. Time flies and the wines have been amazing. I planned this post out as I just had a birthday and was going to open this bottle that night. Turns out that Moxie had other plans and we went out to dinner where I ordered the amazing Barboursville Octagon 2009. The Pichon was left to settle itself properly after a decade long slumber, to be paired with some serious slabs of beef and some spicy little sausages.
As I poured this wine I was trying to remember what it was like several years ago. Young and immature? Tannic and flabby? Bordeaux from 2001 was overshadowed by the great 2000 vintage but many are proponents of its elegance and are amazed by its power. This wine originally scored 92 or better from the pros and went for about $75. It now retails at $125 or so and is nearly mature. The colors of the initial pour surprised me a bit, a little bricking on the edges and slightly orange-purple in the glass. Textbook Paulliac nose though, how I love it. Cassis, leather, tobacco. You name it, all rolled up in there. The first sip was slightly thin for me unfortunately. The fruit is fading whilst the tannins are in full force. I let it sit for a while and started to enjoy the nuances of age a little more. Plums, black currants, that telltale cassis and leather. Heaven. The wine is very juicy with a strong acidic streak to go with the fine grained tannins. I can only hope and pray that this wine is in evolution, shedding the fruit and picking up the mature nuances we yearn for in an aged Classed Growth Bordeaux. I am getting excited just thinking about the possibilities of the remaining 10 bottles I have. If indeed the fruit is fading and nothing comes of the secondary flavors I will be devastated. Perhaps I shall open a bottle every 6 months to gauge the progress? 5 stars from me and a 92 point effort, good luck finding some! Salut….
From Mclaren Vale comes this elegant Syrah that performed well with the pro’s. I must say I am enjoying a resurgence of Aussie Syrah, versus the more typical Shiraz style of making this varietal. This one started off with Asian plums and black cherries on the nose. Rich and thick come to mind when I was sipping this beauty. The 14.5% alcohol is neatly hidden to detract from it’s potency, yet the extraction is generous. This wine has a great Rhone style with good vanilla notes preempting the young tannins. Bell peppers appear on the back end with some tight black berries coming through with plums and spices for the finish. The wine is complex and layered, as would be expected from a $75 wine. The scores came in from a high of 95, to 90. I am thinking this wine is a 93 effort but it needs time to meld. I would imagine a drinking window of 2016-2024. I am really starting to like this winery, they produce high quality wines made in a style that appeals to me- finesse with plenty of complexity and depth. 4 stars if you are keen for a special wine. Salut….