Friday, May 12, 2006

Rhone Rangers vs. Rhone Royalty

Last night the Bibendum Offices played host to a night of the best of the Barossa against the best of the Rhone. In a quite titanic struggle led by Matt Gant of St. Hallett on one side and some serious Rhonoephiles on the other, there was no clear winner, just a lot of happy facial expressions and some sore heads this morning. TJ was across town at another do so the notes below are supplied by the inimitable 'Boy 90'. Now where are those pictures...?

1990 Rayas CNDP Blanc: Mighty morphing power ranger of a wine, light gold coloured and started a little soft and tired. After 10 mins in the glass it totally changed. White flowers, creamy coffee, stones and smokey green tea flavours. Incredible brightness and persistence, just kept getting better and better. Doesn’t taste of any fruit I can think of but so what? I’d love to try this again.

1991 Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc de l’Orée (mag): Monolithic. Nose of orange rind, earth and wet dog, tastes both clapped out and youthful at the same time. Very mineral and again very long, grows in the glass and white fruits become a bit more apparent. Not as dramatic as the Rayas.

1995 Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc de l’Orée: Lots of sweet toffee on the nose, less rich and glycerous than the 91 and seemingly more advanced. Lost out to the other 2 but maybe I should have given it more time.

1982 Guigal La Landonne: Smoking. No other words for it . Amazing nose of leather, sweet spices, mulberry fruit. Texture on the palate is fab, like running your fingers the wrong way up a velvet dress.. Waves of cocoa, tobacco and warm earthy fruit. Unbelievable definition. One of the best wines I’ve had for a long time.

1986 Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz: Much sweeter nose, much more focused on fruits. Very thick and glycerous, red fruits, buttery, and a dash of allspice. Very good but seems so simple after the guigal.

1985 Jaboulet Hermitage la Chapelle: Cutting dark fruits, iron, earth and gravelly pepper. A good wine that is definitely drinking well now. Consistent from 2bts. Not a paragon of richness but a finesse wine that remains perhaps a tiny bit austere.

1985 Chave Hermitage: CORKED! Shit – potentially was a really great wine hiding underneath it. Shame.

1988 St Hallett Old Block Shiraz: Sweet caramel and red fruits, good acidity and in all quite a reserved wine. Soft and gentle but still a little one dimensional.

1999 E&E Black Pepper Shiraz: Sweet, ribena style fruit. Toffee. Didn’t like this.

1996 Saltram No 1: Fantastic wine. My Auz wine of the night by a mile. Coffee Chocolate and brooding black fruit. Really powerful long wine but multilayered and shows considerable breeding. Real character to it. Very good.

1989 P.Lehman Stonewell Shiraz: Soft sweet fruit, nice but a bit generic. A real disappointment for me as I like these wines young.

1990 Jasmin Cote Rotie (mag): Sweaty saddle leather, flowers and dark, juicy fruits. Tannins have completely ameliorated and this is a lusicious pleasure to drink now. Really nice wine, old fashioned and a touch rustic but none the worse for it.

1990 Fonsalette Cdr Cuvée Syrah: Mahoosive! Looks like a 2yr old wine. Tastes like a 2 yr old wine. Am I drinking from the right bt? Apparently I am….enormous tannins and waves of super ripe blackcurrant fruit and chocolate. Peppery and uncompromising. It really felt like this wine was laughing at us. Potentially immortal.

1989 Penfolds Grange: Most structured so far of all the old aussies. Rich mulberry fruits and leather. Thick but definitely grown up and has some positive secondary development. On it’s own this would have been superb. Actually very good all round but the Jasmin managed to have more interest to it whilst being lighter on it’s feet.

1990 Allemand Cornas Chaillots: A disappointment for me, this was just very soft red fruits and altogether lacking any stuffing. Maybe badly stored as I was expecting good things from it.

1996 Allemand Cornas Chaillots: This is more like it. Really sweaty/sweet animal nose. Something distinctly horsey about is but it is uncompromisingly peppery, earthy and fab. Second time this year for this and I love the wine.

1991 Jamet Cote Rotie (mag): Another fab drinker, soft and sweet but with great complexity. I love the way these mix white flowers and dark cassis fruit on the nose. And all the leathery, gamey, dirt going on underneath. Not as great as the Allemand though…..

1991 St Hallett Old Block: Oily and sweet texture but complex. Chocolate, herbs and a dash of white pepper back up the very soft ripe fruits. My number 2 Auz wine of the night.

1992 Elderton Command: Enormous wine, lots of coffee and almost vicious acidity. Very dark brooding fruits but all over the place in terms of integration – leave it many more years if you’ve got it, maybe something magic might happen.

1994 Henschke Hill of Grace: Much more structure and togetherness, tannins like melting milk chocolate. Delicious wine but doesn’t floor me. Needs something extra, some lift or lightness, or a fault even? Bit too polished.

1983 Lafite: For the second night in a row. Dark blueberry fruits and earthy minerals, definitely more advanced than yesterday’s magnum and maybe the better for it. Not sure this is going anywhere special but it maybe still a little early to write it off. Nice, not great though.

1995 Chapoutier Cote Rotie la Mordorée: Gamey, lean, peppery and a bit hard. Could say it needs more time but frankly I think this lacks the stuffing to ever do anything special. A disappointment after the great 95 Pavillon yesterday.

2002 St Hallett Old Block: No note? I remember this being good though. Massive but very tasty.

1972 Seppelt Shiraz Port: Wow. Totally opaque, dizzyingly sweet and decadent. Burnt coffee and extremely powerful fruits, tastes young almost. Very good indeed but couldn’t drink too much of it.


At 8:51 AM, Blogger Jamie said...

You say 'no winner'. From your notes it sounds as if you preferred the Rhone wines almost every time. In fact, it sounds like the Rhone wines gave the Barossa wines a total kicking!


Post a Comment

<< Home