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)


1985 Gould Campbell Vintage Port 20%

Gould Campbell is a less-renowned part of the Symington group. I am alert to wines that outperform their putative status, which may be available for reasonable prices. Langtons auction site records recent sales of this Portuguese Vintage Port for a respectable $110 (plus buyers commission).


No photo of this wine in a glass alas, as the lunch group merrily consumed the wine. The cork was wizened and soaked, but had performed its duty over 30 years. The white smear on the bottle is the chalk mark (or splash mark) showing the upper side of the bottle in its cellaring state. I let the bottle stand for several days, opened it (with an ah-so), and carefully decanted to the remove the sediment that had settled.

The colour was a dark ruby; the aromatics were blueberry and cream, with some complexing licorice, fig and almond. The wine was very approachable, lively and rich, with mocha and cocoa dust making an impression; clean acidity and a warm, and long mouthfeel completed the picture. The spirit was deliciously integrated with the fruit.   It seems to be at the sweeter end of the Portuguese drier-than-Australian vintage port styles, but no shame here.  It’s a wine in a delightful drinking window, with no danger signs of decrepitude. I was very happy with this wine’s generous flavours, and impressed with its delightful performance at the lunch.

Drink to 2030; 95 points.