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Lunch Notes - from 1965 to 2002


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Lunch this month was as interesting as ever.

1998 Devil’s Lair Margaret River Chardonnay – this one fooled many of us into thinking it was something else. Bit of citrus in the nose and some vanilla, medium body and quite crisp at the end. Not exactly what you expect in an Oz Chard.

2002 Beaucastel Vielles Vignes Roussanne – I’ve been working my way through a stash of 1993, which has turned quite dark and toasty with a nose of caramel and roses, but this example was so fresh – clean and very dry, with quite good length, some oak evident, and fairly good weight, it defied our poor attempts at identification.

2001 Antonin Rodet Givry Dom. de la Ferté – Givry often offers excellent value ind easy early drinking Burgundies. This one showed fairly light colour, a nice if simple fuir nose featuring cherries, and the wine was quite tasty with decent length.

1998 Jermann Pignacolusse (Venezia) – I’ve tasted this oddball native grape (Pignolo) only once before. Dark, with an interesting mocha component to the nose, complex in the middle, ending with good acidity.

1965 Alto Selected Cabernet – this is Cape cabernet sauvignon. I figured that it was Californian and I was guessing late 70s vintages, but nothing made me even consider that it could be earlier, or from South Africa. Astoundingly youthful (the person that brought this stated that it was dense and unapproachable when young), the nose mellow with a hint of anise, smooth middle and great acidity. This wine should last another 15 years. Why don’t they make them like this any more? Made by Peter du Toit

1990 Leoville Barton – you know it is a good week when you get to try a wine like this on two different occasions and compare them. This version was showing better than the one I had earlier in the week, being much more outgoing on the nose, with absolutely none of the spearmint I’d noted – more fruit driven. A power house on palate, with tons of flavours, lots of medium soft tannins and very long. This wine is just starting into the drinking plateau with many years ahead of it.

2002 Thirty Bench Cabernet Franc (Ontario, 500 ml. bottle) – brought back as a curiosity by one attendee – the curious thing being that this wine was treated with Canadian oak! Perhaps that accounted for the strange things we were detecting in the nose – a combination if ginger and cranberry spice and rubber. A simple wine, but interesting to taste. I doubt that the onslaught of Canadian oak availability in the marketplace has the French oak producers losing any sleep….

1992 Lindemans Pyrus – take a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc and put it in Nevers oak for 18 months and what do you get? Something that seems undeniably Australian! Dark wine with a tarry mint nose, lots of stuffing and soft tannins. The only questionable note was a whiff of volatile acidity. Nice wine, but I think they’ll have to chop down their Eucalyptus trees before they can fool us.

2000 Waterbrook Red Mountain Meritage (Washington State) – a blend of cab franc, cab suav, merlot, and petit verdot. Sweet nose with a bit of spice, in the mouth, long smooth friendly and soft. Good weight and it should continue to develop. Good buy at $39 C.

2001 Stonestreet Alexander Valley Cabernet – another one not too badly priced ($45 C.). Dark, with good length, silky feel, and what I particularly liked – quite dry at the end. Elegant and balanced.

2000 Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz – a McLaren Vale wine that was wisely kept to last. Big sweet nose featuring cocoa, and more of the same on palate – a chocolatey, over-ripe ready to drink fruit bomb. Enjoyable once in awhile, but I wouldn’t want to drink it every day, and I sure wouldn’t want the Aussie producers to think that this is the only style that North Americans want to buy, lest we be overwhelmed in a flood of sweet, over concentrated fruit bombs. Wait – I think it’s happened already…….!

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