Av Odd Rydland
MacRae Wood 98, Jim Barry
Pure fruit with some spicy oak. Good acids and quite cool fruit with some mint and pine needles. Full and rich but perhaps slightly short, and the acids are not very integrated. I find the oak too noticeable in the finish.
St Joseph Offerus 99, Chave
I found this wine quite hard and tannic on release and wondered if it would have sufficient stuffing to develop well. Well it has. Hints of violets and cherry on the slightly jammy nose, some barnyard too. Light, but well balanced in the mouth, OK length. Good tannins with well balanced finish.
Crozes-Hermitage 99, Cuvee Alberic Bouvet, Gilles-Robin
I’ve had this wine on 2-3 occasions before and loved it (last time about a year ago), finding it very Cote-Rotie in style. Very obvious nose, red berries and deep fruit with fine initial punch in the taste, bur very light in the finish with the fruit disappearing quickly. Bought and stored with my other bottles, so what’s going on here?
Crozes-Hermitage 2001 Cuvee Gaby, Dom de Colombier
I’ve also had this on other occasions, finding it impressive but slightly too sweet. Not here though, and it makes me reflect on the importance of the setting in which we taste/drink a wine. Big wine with very obvious fruit, hints of pepper (which I usually don’t detect easily) with hints of blackcurrants and rubber. Good acids and very tight and stylish finish. Very good wine.
Crozes-Hermitage 99 La Guiraude, Alain Graillot
This needed more time in the glass than the previous wines, initially it gives the impression of not being well balanced and very oaky, but as I often experience this is a question of time and air exposure. With time a very big but still tight wine occurs. Very big, slightly sweetish fruit with camphor. Impressive acids and fine tannins in a very long and impressive finish. A very good wine which I would have dismissed based on initial impressions.
Cornas 99, Clape
This wine shows the previous wine up for what they are. Good wines, even in a few cases very good wines, but still wines from a lesser appellation. Very focused and rich, many layered nose with deep sweet fruits and pine needles that keeps evolving and getting still deeper with air. Outstanding rich, concentrated and spicy taste, sweet red berries, lots of herbal components (thyme, coriander?). Beautifully balanced with outstanding length, fine fruit on the finish, raspberry and spice. Did I mention that this was outstanding?
Cornas VV 2001, Tardieu-Laurent
Hopelessly oaky, totally sawmill’ed. Sweet and tannic. Lots of chocolate. I can’t assess what’s under all this oak, it may be that there is some good wine somewhere.
Balmoral 99, Rosemount Estates
Mint and eucalyptus and the nose which I otherwise find a little shallow. Quite herbal and some sweetness in the finish, slightly too jammy for my taste. Plums with thyme if you get my drift, slightly light and some cocoa and sweetness on the finish. Not my cup of tea.
Stonewell Shiraz 97, P Lehmann
Fine nose, rich and deep with beautiful fruit, but also some toffee and fudge which I could do without. Getting more pronounced with air. Too jammy for my taste too.. But quite a lot of substance and fruit for those who like this kind of thing. Fine finish.
Edmunds St John 97, Parmelee Vineyard
Some farmyard and rubber on the nose, stylish wine with good length and fine tight finish. Definitely good.
Monnier de Sizeranne 2001, Chapoutier
Pronounced pine needles on the nose, delicious fruit with a touch of sweetness. Some pepper, camphor and blackberries too. Tight finish with good length, a light and delicious Hermitage, not at all ”masculine”.
Cote-Rotie 2000, B Burgaud
Rich fruit with a dry and tight finish. Red berries with some oak, not very aromatic for a Cote-Rotie. Some barnyard and smoked meat, good wine which could do with some more finesse.
Thomas Kiss Shiraz 2002
VERY medicinal, lots of band–aids here (also on the taste). Mint and eucalyptus. Too sweet fruit for me, and slightly loose in the finish, the wine is a little to disparate and I get an impression of the various elements not integrating too well. Fascinating nose though.
Cote-Rotie BB 98, Guigal
Slightly maturing colour here, also some maturity on the nose. Barnyard and leather, some bacon, but still good fruit. Delicately sweet and spicy fruit, slightly light mid-taste but still quite long and finely spiced finish. Some oakyness, but not intrusive, fine wine.
Cote-Rotie Les Becasses 2001, Chapoutier
Slightly animalic (wet fur), somewhat closed. Some toasty oak that needs time to integrate, but I’m nor sure about the concentration here. Doesn’t seem quite successful to me.
Cote-Rotie 99, B Burgaud
Classic C-R nose, floral and bacon-spicy. Slightly medicinal with some oak. Fresh and minty fruit with fine length, slightly coarse and rustic though, typical of Burgaud. Still very good.
Hensche Mt Edelstone 98
Some burnt rubber and pronounced truffles (truffle oil). Monumental and impressive mid-taste, very fruity and rich with truffles in the taste too. Rich and full with impressive length. Not jammy and all, undisputed great quality here, if this is your style.
Penfolds St Henry 96
Rich and exotic fruit, but slightly brown and cork-tainted. Not the only wine to succumb to the cork disease this evening….
Cote-Rotie 97, Jamet
Aromatic, spices and bacon. Violets. Elegant and very pointed, athletic style with great length. I guess this will fleshen out further with few years in bottle, no maturity in the colour. Very elegant.
Hermitage 95, Chave
Needs air in the glass to gather depth. Very impressive, rich and monumental taste. Nose with hints of exotic wood and sweet spices. Very dry and powerful, pine needles and very long. Still primary. Monumental wine.
Cornas 96, Clape
Clape does it again. Very cool fruit, medicinal, camphor. Some truffles in the mouth, very concentrated, long and cool. Not quite up to the 99, but still superb and impressive for the vintage.
Penfolds RWT 2000
Very pronounced truffles. Very acidic and good length…would have more to say about it if it weren’t for the wines preceding and following it.
The Armagh 98, Jim Berry
Incredibly deep and concentrated fruit. Some dried fruits (a la passito), minerally. Not jammy though, and little noticeable oak. Some mint and pine needles, superb balance, truly outstanding wine. With Bannockburn Shiraz and Chardonnay and Leeuwin Chardonnay on my list of most impressive Australians tasted, I’ll trade this with Grange even if this is 40% of the Grange price any time.
Hermitage La Chapelle 99, Jaboulet
Back to the ordinary (!). What is going on chez Jaboulet? Good concentration, some oak, quite Burgundian structure, accessible and hard to identify as Syrah. Some barnyard, very sweet, much more so than the Armagh. Very modern, good but no character. Not the only disappointing La Chapelle I have had from recent vintages.
Cote-Rotie 99, Ch d’Ampuis
Cote-Rotie 91, B Burgaud
Slightly barnyardy but still amazingly primary. Tight and nice fruit but then a slightly impression of that damned cork creeps in and ruins further assessment.
Cornas 90, Clape
Rich and fruity, exotic spices and woodwork, very dark but also quite sweet. But moderately long and hot finish. Very impressive as young but haven’t hold up that well, adds up to the line-up of 90s from various regions of France which I find too hot and sweet in style.
Hermitage 88, Chave
Some truffles, Christmas spices and exotic woodwork, cedar and sandalwood. Cool fruit, some barnyard., long. Superb – but I am wondering if I prefer my Syrah with more of the primary impressions still alive – call me a heretic and I probably need more experience.
Hermitage 78, Chave
Corked. Did I mention damn? (Unfortunately I’ve had it before, so I knew what I was missing)
Hermitage La Chapelle 83, Jaboulet
Brought up from the cellar in all haste as a substitute. Very Christmassy, corinths, lots of pine needles and eucalyptus. Elegant, spicy and complex. Long. Truffle oils and an overriding impression of freshly baked Christmas cake.