Five Canberran's hosted fellow local board forumite, Cam Wheeler, down from Sydney for a flying visit this weekend.
No tasting notes taken on the night by myself (Cam, as usual, penned religiously in his little black book all night) - just some overall impressions that may be of some interest :-
Rockford Sparkling Black (2005 disgorgement) - incredibly youthful, gorgeously pure red and black fruits with excellent mousse and plenty of potential for improvement. Just falls a tad short in the length department at the moment. About Excellent but needs time on cork to attain more complexity.
Grosset Watervale Riesling 2002 (screwcap) - infantile colour, almost white/green with just the faintest touch of pale straw. From here on, overpowering reductive characters of struck match, gun flint and hair oil dominated reticent minerally, vaguely toasty/petrolly lime with some grapefruit pith. Seemingly, the wine is developing at a snail's pace due to the excess of sulphur. Acidity is there in spades. Worryingly, after 4/5 hours sitting in the decanter the wine displayed no diminution of this "all-too-common" early problem in screw-capped Riesling's. Who will win the race? My guess on this bottle's performance - the sulphur. Very hard to rate.
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 1999 - seriously good young colour (again!) and a nose that had me in raptures with its brilliant complexity and sheer class. The palate produced the only letdown with not quite enough fruit to cover the Rolls Royce oak with the alcohol starting to poke through at the death, otherwise Excellent.
Curlewis Reserve Pinot Noir 2002 - Excellent effort and although in need of being drunk over the next year or so, displays the requisite pinosity and structure to push this label into the top echelon of the local producers and would match it and thensome with many a Burgundy. Only criticism worth voicing - the fruit became a little blowsy on the palate after some considerable time in the glass. Marvellous perfume, though.
Seppelt Great Western Shiraz 1996 - simply Outstanding wine with exemplary quality, poise and balance from start to finish. Drinking beautifully now with an incredible array of nuance on both nose and palate. Another 5 years won't go astray either. I didn't buy this at release - very poor judgement indeed. Must get some!
Penfold's Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 1998 - an Excellent 389 brimming with ripe, sweet black fruit, the classic house thumbrint of subtle tarry/vanillin oak and very well structured for the long haul. Time is on its side. Good stuff!
Penfiold's St Henri Claret 1979 - holding quite well FWII - solid colour; leathery mature integrated nose still with a modicum of intermingling, soft berried fruit. The palate offers up a silky moutfeel, low acid, resolved fruit tannin but the fruit is starting to dry out. Perhaps lacks a little soul but otherwise a Very Good drink, albeit on the wrong side of the slope.
Best's Bin 0 Great Western Shiraz 1998 - another wine whose colour belies its age; extremely youthful, powerful bouquet; assertive palate, still primary but starting to hit its straps. Plenty of tannin on a long and authoritative finish. Excellent/Outstanding. 10+ years left in this beauty. Big wine.
Giaconda Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - gorgeous deep ruby colour. Quite beautiful Bordeaux-like nose full of cedar, French herbs, cassis, graphite, briar and leafy greens. Classy, integrated oak treatment. Lovely textural mouth feel, medium-bodied but with plenty of gas in the tank, mimicking the nuances in the nose to a tee; long, expansive finish. Poise, balance, great delineation - a very fine Cabernet and a real treat! Outstanding. My last bottle.
Petaluma Botrytis Semillom "Essence" 1999 - full-throttled, heavily oaked wine that lacks finesse and elegance. Low alcohol, huge RS levels but a little volatile for me, although some of the rough edges were smothed over with airing. Very good but not a style of sticky that I'm endeared to. Drink up.