Monday, January 3, 2011

A Red Christmas

Christmas in our family typically involves a big seafood feast on Christmas Eve, and then on Christmas Day we do the traditional roast turkey. It also involves pulling some good wine out of the cellar. The vinous highlight was to be a 1995 Grange. Sadly the cork was crap, falling apart on opening, revealing a wine that was badly oxidised. When I see all these wine people coming out at present attempting some sort of cork counter-revolution I don't know whether to get angry or just laugh it off.

Anyway, not the time for an anti-cork rant. Some highlights over the two days were

2004 Lombard Grand Cru – Absolutely loved drinking this. Could only be Champagne. Beautiful gentle acidity, nice complexity of flavour and excellent length.

2008 Grosset Polish Hill Riesling – Quality Riesling. Classic nose of citrus and bath salts, and a beautiful long palate with a wonderful sense of minerality. Perfect match for fresh seafood. A few members of my family are not typically white wine drinkers but they all came back for a second glass of this.

2008 Gembrook Pinot Noir – Same impressions as when I reviewed the wine with the addition of a twiggy, fresh forest floor scent that I didn’t pick up six months ago ( Drinks beautifully now but will get better and better over the next 5-10 years.

2008 Martinborough Vineyards Pinot Noir – Needs time though tremendous quality of the wine is evident. Cherry, musk, hints of mushrooms, and a meatiness mark it out as both a Martinborough wine and a Martinborough Vineyards wine. Not quite there on the palate yet but it’s built to last, and I think it will be great in time.

2006 Charles Melton Grains of Paradise – My kind of Barossa Shiraz. It’s undoubtedly from the Barossa and yet shows a sense of restraint being almost medium-bodied (in context). Beautiful fruit is evident with lovely flavours of plum and berries, along with some spice and a touch of chocolate. The palate finished long, without anything being overdone, all of which was underpinned by a smooth acidity. One of those wines that can be enjoyed now for its lovely primary fruit, but that also has everything in place to suggest it will age well over the next 10 years.

Now that we’re in the first week of January, I’m a few kilos heavier than I was a few weeks back, but that to me is a sign of a properly enjoyed festive season, surrounded by family, good food and great wine. Now to the gym . . .



Author: Sean Mitchell said...

You were very restrained not to rant about a bad cork on a 95 Grange! Being so old too, the chances of returning it as a faulty product are probably pretty low. Damn.

Red said...

Sean, the rant is definitely coming. Opened a 2000 Tahbilk 1927 Marsanne last night to find it mildly corked i.e. drinkable but something definitely a bit off. I'm just storing up all this stuff coming out at from present from the cork lobby and the flat-earthers who support cork.

Brown said...

.....But Red - I thought you believed the earth was flat...

Much like retailers bemoaning the rise of internet sales, the cork industry sees where things are heading and are fighting a rearguard action. As more age-worthy wines under screwcap are opened after 10-15 years, people will slowly start to see the provenance of them over cork (that is the naive hope at least!). I guess we can be thankful that in Australia and New Zealand we are already largely 'over' any suggestion that a wine under screwcap is somehow cheaper than a wine under cork.



PS - the 'Brown' Christmas wine list was very small. Driest Christmas in years!

Chris Plummer said...

Terrible shame to hear about that '95 Grange Red, especially on Christmas day :(

On 'Grange Day' at Magill Estate last year I asked the Penfolds' rep about the use of cork with Grange and its future, and was promptly told Grange would continue to brandish cork for sometime yet, or at least until the end of my lifetime.

Well, at least you won't be the last person to suffer this disappointment Red :/

Chris P

Red said...

I don't understand Penfolds approach on this issue. It would be fairly easy for a winery that has the resources that Penfolds have, to at least offer Grange under both closures. What does it say when you put your other super-premium, super expensive wines like St Henri and Bin 707 under screwcap, but not Grange.

Anonymous said...

The '08 Grosset Polish Hill is super awesome. I only tasted it for the first time a few months back, and now have 3 cellared of okay provenance with hopefully another to be found.


Red said...

Michael - Indeed it is super awesome!

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