More recent splashes

2014-5 doisyblanck heggies1983 vps

All served blind – it may seem premature to serve young Barsacs, but these proved wholly delicious, with enormous capacity to live and improve for many years. Cellaring estimates are conservative, but no-one is immortal.

2014 Ch Doisy-daene 13.5%
Barsac, 100% semillon 144g/l rs; The website is very detailed, and I tasted this wine a few months ago with similar notes.  Enormously aromatic; tropical fruits, pineapple rind, touch of vanilla essence, green nettle, botrytis. Exciting, fine creaminess, honeyed with lovely racy acidity, some cashew oak,  spotless.

Drink to 2030, 93 points

2015 Ch Doisy-daene 13.5%
Barsac, 100% Semillon, 136 g/l rs. A slightly greener fruit profile than the wine above, ripe pear and more stonefruit white peach (and botrytis); this wine already seems more rewarding, with impressive fine honeyed texture, greater- but still balanced-ginger-spice oak, and richer depth and mouthfeel, with supporting acidity.

Drink to 2035, 94 points (and more to come)

2005 Paul Blanck Furstentum vendanges tardives Gewurtztraminer 12.5%
Alsace, screwcap! Half-bottle, purchased at the winery, from a special site. Light gold in colour, it displays musk, roses and oiliness. The palate is moderately sweet, but its persistent, varietal with a winningly appealing citrus twang

Drink to 2025, 92 points

2007 Heggies “242” botrytis riesling 8.1%
A half-bottle located after my records showed I had none left (previously reviewed on this site). Amber/light copper coloured. The 242 refers to the amount of retained sugar, which comfortably sits at the BA level, and from a site in the Eden Valley, South Australia – where mostly dry Rieslings are produced, but often a small amount of botrytised Riesling. It’s packed with orange essence and marmalade, very decadent; on the viscous palate there are apricot and stonefruits. It’s still fresh, ultra-sweet -but still balanced-  some hardness is emerging, so drink sooner, not later.

Drink to 2022, 92 points

1983 Stanton and Killeen Vintage Port 19%
Rutherglen, and a hot dry year. A solid bricky colour, but browning only on the rim. Ripe and sweet with some raisined fruit, iron and liquorice, sweet, chalky, lively but a little warm. But it’s 35 years old, and 100% shiraz. On the evidence of this bottle, no further improvement is likely, but it’s still a satisfying and rewarding wine

Drink now, 88 points

1983 Dow’s Vintage Port 20%
Portugal of course. Paler colour than the wine above, showing a more interesting fruit expression of blue and red fruits, and milk chocolate covered almonds. The palate is fine and detailed – and medium-bodied, but also suggests the acidity will hold while the fruit recedes. At this stage, the tannin is balanced, but every bottle will be different.

Drink to 2025, 92 points

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Recent splashes

It seems I have been busy; so just a few quick impressions (of wines tasted blind) before more regular and detailed notes resume…

1988 hardys vp1965 campbells vp

1978 Hardy’s 125th anniversary Vintage Port
McLaren Vale. Raspberry jam and cherry liqueur; very sweet in style with liquorice and plum; terrific length; exceptional spirit integration – whacky bottle I’d never seen either.

Drink to 2030, 94 points

1965 Campbells Vintage Port
Rutherglen. Label clues are Cabernet and Shiraz “will improve for years to come”. Its not often I see a wine older than 50 years. It’s a very viscous, dense wine with its main impressions not fruit; mochas, coffee cream, toffee. This made its style not straightforward to discern- not the florals or richness of muscat or topaque (or acidity), not the rancio of a tawny style. Yet it didn’t look like a VP. IT seemed Australian with its relative sweetness, and brandy spirit. However it remained a lovely drink of indeterminate origin until revealed. Straightforward flavours, but its solidity and age a tribute to the style

Drink now, 91 points

1985 Gould Campbell Vintage port 20%
Despite reviewing this wine very favourably in February 2017, I didn’t identify it when it was served by a member of one of the tasting groups I frequent. Pale ruby colour and the mixed spices plus red and blue fruits indicated Portuguese varieties. Fig, almond, and the voluminous aromatics, albeit with a faint touch of rubber. Not quite as stellar as my last bottle, but still excellent

Drink now to 2027, 93 points

2005 Seppeltsfield Shiraz/touriga Vintage Port (screwcap)
Barossa (74% Shiraz, 23% Touriga, 2% Tinta barocca, 1% Tinta Cao) Abundant spices and almond character, but not the complexity of Portugal (and a bit sweeter too). Drinking well, but straightforward. My notes indicate this wine was purchased as a cleanskin for $8, and I have a few bottles in the cellar for more leisurely contemplation and reflections.

Drink to 2023, 90 points

2016 Crawford river “nektar” Riesling 12% (screwcap)
Henty, Victoria. 152 g/l rs. Very pale light lemon with green flashes, Nettles, sherbet, very sweet and viscous, mixed tropical fruits and lemon peel. Compelling length, a wonderfully realised botrytised wine where pure varietal character is not overwhelmed. Crawford River crafts outstanding dry Rieslings; this wine is still available on their website for a fair price considering its quality,

Drink to 2032, 94 points (and more when it relaxes in a few years)

Two affordable Australian muscats from Rutherglen

These bottles have been lurking, and it’s proper to assess them before they are entirely empty – in itself a recommendation. It’s entirely possible to accompany this rich wine style with foods – hard cheeses suffice – but in cool months an open fire, witty company and a sparkling comedy or “film noir” would be my preference.

These wines are made from Muscat a petit grains Rouge grapes (aka Brown Muscat) picked when ripe, fermented, fortified with neutral spirit and matured in large oak. With time, the wine becomes more concentrated, and complex. The art is again in blending judicious quantities of younger material to keep the wines fresh. Companies can make several different muscats (Morris releases 4 or 5) and the oldest can command prices of over $1000 per bottle. Considering the average age and holding time, this kind of price is not farfetched, but substantial pleasure can still be derived from more basic offerings.

Within Australia, northeast Victoria – particularly around Rutherglen –  is the epicentre of this style, with Glenrowan a significant outlier. This style of Muscat is also made in other areas such as the Barossa Valley, and Swan Valley but I am much less familiar with their wines.

Once opened, the bottles can be kept for several weeks, but its uncommon for open bottles to survive long at my home, unless placed in a cupboard and temporarily forgotten.

two muscats (2)

NV Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat 17.5%
Freely available for $25 – or under.  Bright mahogany in colour, it flaunts its raisin, roses, fruitcake and sweet spices; it’s lush, with some mocha joining the dried fruit flavours; it has a lingering finish that is bright, sweet yet not cloying, insistent on further sampling. Artfully made, with greater complexity than its price would indicate.

Drink now, 92 points

NV Seppeltsfield Grand Muscat DP63 17%
Minimum average ten years, and available for around $30. Similar colour, perhaps with a touch of green olive, and slightly deeper. Mocha, fig, toffee. Greater mouthfeel and viscosity, greater length, greater volume of decadent mocha and cleansing acidity. Another great value buy.

Drink now, 93 points

 

These are both exciting drinks that provide fabulous enjoyment with superb value. A worthwhile exercise is to try blending (bottled) muscats together in varying proportions. One useful tip is that a smidgen of little older material makes much more difference than expected.

Two (young) Sauternes from 2014

2014 sauternes

Served blind (as usual), it’s always a useful, and challenging exercise to predict the future of young wines, especially with this style where acidity, sweetness, oak, and botrytis clamour for attention. The usual balance, length and complexity assessment follows, as does the hoped-for appearance of an “x factor”- some compelling attribute that delights the senses and intellect.

2014 Ch La Tour Blanche 14%
This wine was pale in colour, displaying rich tropical fruits (especially just-ripe pineapple), a fresh, ripe, rich, bright palate bursting with citrus and stonefruits; botrytis makes its presence felt, and supportive, creamy spicy oak oak made this supple fresh wine easy to drink, but with effortless potential (82% Semillon, 12% Sav blanc, 5% Muscadelle, 130 g/l residual sugar; from the Bommes area within Sauternes). Ch La Tour Blanche has excellent QPR and I have four vintages represented in my cellar.

To 2035 and 93 points – and potential for a higher score in the future

2014 Ch Suduiraut 14%
This wine had a deeper colour, but was still a bright light gold. Here the aromas were more oak-derived, with marzipan, and a very pleasant coconut/sunscreen oil riding along with citrus and yellow peach (90% Semillon, 10% sauv blanc, 150 g/l residual sugar; from Preignac within Sauternes). This wine had greater density, richness and mouthfeel than the wine above, but will be a fascinating exercise to watch these in the coming years – or decades. Ch Suduiraut is sparse in my cellar, but now on the radar for some backfilling!

Drink to 2040, and 94 points – with potential for improvement.

What a triumph to see two quite different, very youthful, delicious expressions of Sauternes wines from estates a mere 4 kilometres apart, but subject to the botrytis vagaries of fogs on the gentle hollows, the different varietal composition, staggered picking times, and the varied winemaking inputs.

1985 Taylor’s vintage port 20.5%, again

I reviewed this wine in April 2016, and again in August 2018- and my final bottle was very recently consumed. Notes turned out to be similar!

Taylor’s is a distinguished house, with a useful, informative website.

1985 taylors vp 2019

The label was a bit damaged; the cork “almost” came out Ok, and the results from this good – albeit not outstanding -Portuguese vintage?

The wine is a solid ruby colour, with vibrant aromatics including fig. cocoa, dried citrus peel, sweet spices, and an intrigue of mixed blue and red berries; the palate is medium bodied but more substantial than expected – it shows fruitcake, hazelnut and mellow mocha characters, with some spicy, malty, almost gravied hints. The spirit and fruit are deliciously integrated with a sweet, lingering finish.

Beautifully put together, the wine provides complexity and freshness; drinking superbly

Drink to 2035, and 94 points.

 

Portuguese Vintage Ports; and cork problems so far in 2019

Many of the wines I drink are served “blind”; the wines below were briefly and typically presented as “a fortified”. The task? To describe, and determine style, age, origins and sometimes the producer. Encounters with two recent fortifieds left me confused.

I described the first as a vintage port style, showing blueberry and violet fruits, and some spicy notes. This mix of fruit aromas indicated Portuguese origins, but the relative sweetness suggested Australia, as did the spirit hotness and sweetness  The suppleness of the tannins, and a touch of chalk and almond meal however suggested Portugal. I assessed the age as 15-20 years, and the wine as very good but not excellent quality; finally the tannin descriptors made me stray from Portugal. The wine was a 2001 Taylors Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port.  Drink to 2026, and 91 points

The second wine was a 1994 Dow’s Vintage Port– “sweet, ripe, pruney” -were my first descriptors for a wine that didn’t excite me. The lack of elegance (incorrectly) pointed me to an Australian origin. This wine is from a widely declared year in Portugal, and when revealed, I expected better. Hindsight suggests some oxidation, so I have not scored this bottle. It will have another chance!

I have updated the “hall of shame” in the page “corks and statistics” For 2019 so far, issues with TCA or oxidation of wines – under cork-  that I own and have opened unfortunately reached 9.62%.

As usual, I have had no failures with wines under screwcap, diam or crown seal.

EOFY review from Hector Lannible, CEO of Stoney Goose Ridge

Our bean-counters, auditors, accountants have been shedding the necessary blood, sweat, tears, midnight oil and intellectual stringency over the financial records from Stoney Goose Ridge and its allied associated entities throughout our essential domiciles including the Cayman islands, Belize, Cyprus and numerous other tax-effective locales.

We are inflicted with astonishing amounts of taxation imposed by the unthinking, incomprehensible Governments of numerous countries. Just within Australia, these imposts include GST, payroll tax, WET, superannuation, excise, council rates, and land taxes. Taxation at federal, state and local levels! Add unavoidable costs for electricity, gas, water, telecommunications, business travel, sponsorship and contra, assorted insurance levies and fees for membership of professional bodies, personal development seminars, court filing fees, customs and so on ad infinitum. That’s before expenses on salaries, wages and commissions, materials such as grapes, grain, storage, transport, chemicals, processing, packaging, equipment leasing, advertising, promotions, printing, social media- and much more. Then add our Byzantine complex web of financing facilities, depreciation, stock adjustments etc. In passing, I will merely mention the restrictive red-tape regulative legislative compliance burden of occupational health and safety requirements, ISO6000, endless ABS surveys, and the barbarous one-sided industrial relations system. Without my ongoing supreme negotiating talents for extracting concessions, discounts, subsidies and so forth,  and our truly innovative taxation minimisation intricacies, results would be grim.

All this distraction takes away from my innate ability to grow the business of Stoney Goose Ridge – new products, new markets – thereby improving Australia’s economy, the economic and gastronomic satisfaction of our population, as well as all those fortunate consumers of Stoney Goose Ridge’s exciting production portfolio who live beyond our shores. There is, alas, insufficient underappreciated reward and recognition of our monumental achievements.

Nevertheless, as expected, as forecast, as predicted, and inevitably destined inexorably – Stoney Goose Ridge has achieved stupendous record results in all defined category sub-class matrix measurables.

It’s part of my role to have key contact stakeholders on speed-dial; to speak at social and formal meetings with relevant personnel and personalities, lobbyists and maintain my profile and A-list access. My abilities are paramount to the Stoney Goose Ridge ongoing success saga. I am a proud advocate of the healthy benefits of alcohol -in moderation, and ultimately preferably exclusively from the exhaustive array of our products.  What an exciting and challenging business- I love it! As well as beer and spirit line categories, wine is in my DNA and my blood.

Expense minimisation has not been neglected. Thanks to our stringent compliance systems, processes and procedures, I can formally announce no lost-time incidents or compensation issues, again, in the past 12 months. Similarly there have been zero unplanned absences approved for compassionate or sick leave, and all study has been compensated with time-in-lieu. Overtime payment is absent, with voluntary unpaid overtime at record  strata. Advanced facial recognition surveillance, plus inclusive computer and mobile phone software programs have ensured maximum attention to work duties. The corporate culture is especially robust. Stock shrinkage is non-existent.

Looking forward, we have increased the top talent and skills of our lean, mean agile workforce; we have carefully utilised consultants, and outsourced where we require special skills. Our punitive and restrictive contracts ensure we get spectacular efforts- and achievements- from our partners or else. We have also focussed on a variety of “softer targets” including diversity, where our assorted workforces represent a range of language, nationalities, sexes, ages, educational backgrounds, and remuneration differentials.

At your imminent performance review sessions, it’s imperative for you to acknowledge the drive, energy, insights, and assistance  from your top management, and recognise your abysmal shortcomings in execution of their vision. These critical steps may enable partial achievement of nominal bonus remuneration quantum. No-one will be rated as “unsatisfactory” – this category has already departed, and are being pursued for exemplary damages as a matter of principle. To those rated “acceptable”, as you leave we wish you well in future endeavours – if any- and encourage you to comply with the rigorous conditions of your onerous employment contracts with Stoney Goose Ridge, else litigation will be swift and certain in its effects on your mental, physical and financial well-being.

On April 1 we launched the Unicorn, our astonishingly achingly affordably rare ultra-luxury wine release. It sold out within days with the latent demand. Its USP is self-evident, and another triumphant example of the translation of my vision into actuality. And there has been luminous growth in the sales of our wine, beer, and spirit brands, attained through actual, verified, audited sales and consumption. Not by channel-stuffing the distribution chain with mountains of product. And there are plenty of upcoming launches, re-branding, corporate re-organisations, omni-channel disintermediation and tremendous opportunities for all to contribute by enthusiastically working smarter, and harder.

Our brand recognition and social media presence is stratospherically ubiquitous. My TED talks have attracted myriad views and are referenced in numerous business articles, tomes and journals. And we are continuously active with new endeavours – Project Chernobyl will soon reach critical mass and bear fruit, Pegasus will launch and Project Android is beginning to efficiently impact headcount. Succession planning with Project Iron Throne continues.

Based on strategic whistle-blowing information received, I could justly denigrate our competitors – but there is no need; our virtue is obvious. I’m sure that the leadership of our so-called rivals is full of talent – it’s merely hidden, miniscule, incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

I am proud of my achievements, and of my underlings at all echelons. Everyone knows that my scrutiny and value-addition is incisive. My PA, PR, media crew, personal legals, stylists, interns, security, transport captains, gofers and wranglers all play a role in my success. As a evangelising creative curating ideator, my endless compelling innovations ensure the long-term success of Stoney Goose Ridge, increase my lock-in bonuses and escalated golden handcuffs linked to the company’s triumphs.

Whether at the BBQ, opera. beach, book launch, dinner party or corporate boxes, you set the example for Stoney Goose Ridge. Never miss the opportunity to promote its product or praise the talents of its executives; this is another measurable observable mission-critical KPI accountability.

Throughout the coming year, strive to emulate your executives, continually exercise your diligence and energy 24/7,  and Stoney Goose Ridge’s sustained success is inevitable.

Your inspirational mentor and role model, Hector.