Dinner in Sydney (Nov. 18)
It's hard to beat an offline gathering as good as this night's in Sydney, where a drizzly spring evening found a friendly group of nine gathering at Barmuda, a modest but excellent eatery in the Newtown neighborhood. Pictured below from left are Ted Jones, Kris Goman, Peter and Celia Callow, Graeme Gee, Robin Garr, Aaron and Miyuki Edwards. Lisa Stow is not pictured because she's behind the camera.

Group at Barmuda in Sydney

Nine of us went through somewhat more than nine wines; there wasn't a dog in the bunch, and a fine time was had by all.

Tyrrell's Wines 1986 Hunter River Riesling - Golden, nice butterscotch aromas, oxidizing a bit but still holding up well. Delicious juicy apple fruit, fine. (Note that Hunter "Riesling" of the era was actually a marketing name for Semillon, much like "Chablis" and "Burgundy" in Australia and the U.S.)

Lindemans 1968 Hunter River Riesling - Clear brass color. honey and pears, unctuous. Full and smooth, well-preserved.

Lindemans 1980 Hunter River Riesling - Clear brass. Apples and pleasant herbal scents with a hint of butterscotch. Full and balanced, au point.

Saltram 1973 Bin 73/88 Barossa Claret - Browning, but still garnet. Sweet old-red aromas and flavors. Delicate but not fragile, very much alive.

Wynn's 1991 Coonawarra Centenary Shiraz Cabernet - Inky garnet, blueberry and spice and smoke; juicy cherry-berry fruit, full and balanced.

Mount Mary Vineyard 1995 Lilydale (Victoria) Cabernets Quintet - Very dark ruby. Delicious blackcurrant aroma and flavor, structured and long.

Petaluma 1990 Coonawarra Merlot - Inky blackish-purple, forward gamey and meaty aromas, reminiscent of the Rhone. Big, structured.

Seppelt 1947 Para Australian Tawny Port - Clear dark bronze. Stone fruit and orange blossoms, strong and sweet. Full and round, layered complexity, good for another 50 years or more. Graeme says, "It's llke someone put fruitcake in a blender," and he's right.

Taylor's 1977 Vintage Port - Dark ruby, deep black fruit. Good balance, full, still quite tannic.

De Bortoli 1982 Botrytis Semillon Sauternes - Clear amber, Intense honey and botrytis aromas, open and floral. Rich and sweet, nicely structured. Honey-apricot botrytis in a very long finish.

Seppelt D.P.57 Rutherglen Show Tokay - Honey and caramel, molasses and bitter lemon. Toothache sweet with a firm acidic "grip;" complex and very long.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I accept no free samples from wineries or distributors, purchasing all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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