1998 Heathcote Mail Shiraz
This is the wine I brought home more bottles of than any other on our last trip to Australia. It wasn't thick, it wasn't severely extracted, it didn't exceed 14% alcohol--it was just elegant, bright and balanced, with a good bit of minerality. The winery's an old mail station on the road north to Bendigo and 1850's gold rush country (any Californian whose ever been around the Sutter Creek area of California's similarly timed gold rush will arrive in this part of Australia and go, "this ISN'T California? Bite me!"), hence the name. Anyway, it's still bright and balanced with a good bit of minerality. In fact, it's hardly budged from where it was five years ago when I bought it. I'm going to try to forget I own the rest of them for a long, long time.
1997 Morin-Her Chinon
Loire Valley, France
I believe Kriss Reed left this bottle at my So Cal house in anticipation of a Cab Franc tasting. He'd gone to some lengths to procure it, having been impressed with a bottle he had elsewhere. But when I moved, it moved with me, and then I left it alone because it was, after all, someone else's bottle, something I didn't question until last night when I was looking for something that wouldn't be too heavy for a lighter, mediterranean style dinner. Too bad I waited so long. It must have perfectly in the moment when Kriss tasted it, but it's faded since. The fruit's gone and there's little but acid and a shadow of a cab franc nose here.