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)

1997 Campbells Vintage Port 18.5%

Rutherglen, 100% Touriga, a terrific year in the district and a very pleasing result.

This a much better bottle than one tried a few months ago. The cork broke, but it was in terrific shape with hardly any travel, and a quick filter did the trick.
1997 campbell's vp
Dark ruby with some amber/bricking on the meniscus, enticing aromas of blueberries, more red berry than dark, some cocoa, spice  and liquorice add to the thrill; the palate is simply lovely, not a sweet one-dimensional style, but (lovely brandy) spirit is integrated, some dense sweet fruit allied with savouriness, fruitcake, nutmeg and intense blue and dark- red fruits. Onto day 3 and there is plenty of life left in this wine, which reveals more with each sip . By no means a blockbuster, the wine has layers of complexity. An excellent result from this grape variety, used in so many of the Portuguese VPs.

Drink to 2030, and 94 points.

1990 Campbells Touriga Vintage Port 18%

How could I resist trying this Rutherglen VP made from Touriga? Stanton and Killeen are well known for their use of Portuguese varieties in their VPs’s since 1997, but Chris Pfeiffer earlier made wines for Lindeman in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s using Touriga, Gran Noir and maybe other Portuguese varieties sourced from just over the NSW border in Corowa – I don’t know if these plantings still exist.

1990 campbells vp

For this wine, the cork has performed, and the label is retro and functionally brutal.

But I can’t discern Touriga in this Campbells’ wine, and would have punted it being Shiraz (its likely to have minor components of Shiraz and Durif). It’s sweet but well within normal bounds for the style. It’s a dense red colour with some trivial bricking on the meniscus. The (brandy) spirit is well integrated. The dominant character is dark cherry, backed with some straw/dried herb and orange peel, perhaps a touch of cough mixture and cola. It’s smooth, rich and raisiny, mellow and just what’s needed on a muggy Melbourne night. Drink over the next few years before the fruit recedes.

Drink to 2020, score 88 points

Campbell’s “1870” sparkling shiraz 14%

With a crown seal – hooray.  This was a one-off from Campbells of Rutherglen released a few years back that we paid $55 for- must have been in a good mood. (so its more serious than the Campbells $30 nv sparkling red).

The label claims its blended from vintages going back 40 years – likely Shiraz. Its vigorous in the glass, deeply coloured, lightening on the rim. It boasts an array of savoury, earthy scents – mulberry and perhaps aniseed, and old leather, with a faint touch of mushroom . The palate mirrors this, thankfully drier than most wines made in this style, with clean acidity, and welcome creaminess.  Residual sugar is difficult with sparkling reds- I think around 15 g/l is needed to balance the tannins; more than 25 is unwelcome; guessing that is around 20g/l.

nv campbells sparkling red

Another glass beckons….. yes there are wines with better QPR , but well worth a try.

Drink now- 2020, score 89 (92 with duck!)