Monday, June 26, 2006

Syrah versus Shiraz - The Rematch

Since Matt Gant of St Hallett beamed down to Bibendum HQ a month or so back, armed with some great examples of his favourite grape from a variety of sources, we have been itching to host another, slightly more scientific, comparison between the noble Syrah of the Rhone Valley and its Shiraz descendants around the world.
Step forward, Robin Tedder MW, Baron Tedder of Glenguin, a transplanted Scot who has made his home (and some damn' fine wines too) in the Hunter Valley. Tedder wrote his MW dissertation on Syrah, and knows a bit about making wine from it.
The lineup of wines was thus: Nine wines, from four continents were served. We knew what was in the lineup but the wines were served blind. This always produces the most interesting results.
Stars on the day? Tedder's own two Shiraz wines, Schoolhouse Block and Stoneybroke, both showed incredibly well, and given their price points, and the lofty company, they certainly stole the show for TJ. In fact Stoneybroke 2002 (rrp £10.41) was mistaken by more than one taster (blush blush) as the mighty Penfolds Grange (rrp > £100)! Tedder clearly knows how good his own wines are to subject them to this kind of comparison, and all TJ can say is - go and try them for yourselves! You can buy Glenguin wines here.
Turkey of the tasting? The Cornas from Verset which smelt to this nose like 'salad dressing' and was, according to Tedder, absolutely overcome with brett. It sure didn't smell like a Rhone wine. Most classic? Would have to be Hermitage Le Meal, with fantastic structure and years of development ahead of it. Other wines tasted were:
d'Arenberg Dead Arm 2003, De Trafford Blue Print Shiraz, Katnook Odyssey, Morgan Syrah 1996 (yes, '96, and probably 3 years past its best), and Grange 1999. A great tasting.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Finally the floodgates have burst, and the trickle of wines being offered from Bordeaux has turned into a deluge of blue chip chateaux with prices to match. One thing is quite clear: Bordeaux 2005 is not a cheap date. You may have to sell your car, outbuildings and possibly less important members of your family to afford the wines you want. And then there’s the question of allocations. Never in history has a Bordeaux negociant felt so loved, looked after and generally needed. For it is in their hands which merchants will have wine to sell – at all – and which will leave the primeur table empty handed. Nevertheless people are not being put off; as this truly is a great vintage in the making (and everyone says it is), even battle-hardened Bordeaux regulars are dipping their toes in, selling vital organs and generally get caught up in the melee. It is funny to think of the wines themselves, as yet not fully formed or blended, slumbering in their expensive lairs, perhaps blissfully unaware of the fistfuls of cash changing hands in their names. Theirs is a heady future indeed, with expectations hopes and a large amount of cash invested in their future.