15th. Wine Dinner
Featuring Imports from Epicurean and The Grateful Palate
All the wines were bagged at the Wine Library and opened some three
hours in advance
of dinner. I should add that except for Gary; know one knew the identities of any of the
wines. Furthermore, the wines were set up and poured in a random, non-specific order
over a three-hour period. Everyone gave a numerical score for each wine and the
averages were calculated at the conclusion of the tasting. There were indeed many
surprises as well as a smile or two from the participants. Below are my individual tasting
notes. Finally, this was my first experience with the bulk of these wines and it was a real
treat to taste them blind. I should add that my individual tasting scores ranged from a
high of "97" to a low of "84". To my notes:
Chris Hackett Shiraz- Medium to dark ruby color. Nose of plum,
earth and spice.
Palate opens with soft earthy flavors and medium weight. Undistinguished and
overwhelmed by the others. My first tasting note, score it "87".
Penny's Hill "Specialized" Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot- Medium to
dark ruby color.
Not as deeply pigmented as some of the other wines. Nose opens with fragrances of both
red and black fruits, spice and moderate toast. Palate comes across as a bit tart and
astringent. Medium fullish on the palate with fine extract and very good "core" fruit
flavors. Slightly outclassed by some of the others but very good nonetheless. My second
tasting note, score it "91/92".
1999 Langmeil Shiraz- Very dark ruby,
almost purple color. Offers up a fragrant Licorice
and black plum scented nose. In the mouth, the wine is rich and spicy, showing dark
cherry fruit with light oak and a moderate finish. My first tasting note, score it "93".
Paxton Shiraz- Let me first say there is so much going on here
the sensation simply must be experienced to be believed! Deep, brooding ink like color.
The wine opens with a stunning Prune liqueur, fig and black currant/blackberry scented
nose that is, for the lack of a better term, a real "knock-out"! In the mouth, the '98
Paxton Shiraz offers up a medium to full-bodied texture and personality with excellent
balance, stunning extract and a wonderful mouth-feel. Finishes with a 30 to 35 second
residual sensation. My third tasting note, score it "96".
1999 Craneford Shiraz- Great color
suggesting ink and oil. Explosive nose of licorice and
full toast. Fragrant and flavorful with good core fruit flavors, fine extract and moderate
finish. Falls just a tad short on the mid palate and finish. My first tasting note, score it
1998 Scarpantoni Reserve Shiraz- Deep
tar and ink like color. Opens with a restrained
nose suggesting road tar, crushed blackberry like fruit, Licorice, moderate toast and
spice. In the mouth, the wine is very concentrated and full with layers of extremely rich,
ripe Syrah fruit and a good dose of medium coarse foreground and background tannins.
Finishes with a 25 second residual sensation. My first tasting note, score it "92+".
Oddfellows Shiraz- A wine I kept referring to a "Goodfellas".
Dense, port like
color. Nose opens with intense aromas of crushed black currants, black plum and toasty
oak fragrances. Palate comes across with a fullish concentration and an exquisite mouth
feel. The 1998 Oddfellows Shiraz is just loaded with massive amounts of extract and
black currant like flavors. Large scaled and just bursting with tremendous core fruit and
flavor. Finish must have lasted 35 seconds or so. My first tasting note, score it "97".
1998 R I Buller Magee Shiraz- Deep,
dark ruby color. Lovely nose of medium to full
toast, licorice and spicy Raspberry scented fruit. Medium fullish on the palate with good
core fruit flavors and a moderate finish. My first tasting note, score it "90".
1996 Calliope Shiraz- Opaque black/purple
color followed by a huge rush of crushed
blackberry/raspberry and sweet licorice scented fruit. The '96 Calliope Shiraz also showed
an incredible prune and port like nose and palate. Has all the components to make one an
instant fan. Gorgeous palate of sweet Raspberry/Blackberry fruit and pepper. Medium full
concentrated "seamless" flavors and superb balance make this one of my three favorites
of the evening. My first tasting note, score it "94".
1998 Brothers in Arms Shiraz- Deep
tar and ink like color. Intense nose of oak and
spice intermingled with crushed blackberry like fruit and hot tar. Would have benefited
from additional airtime. Very "Primary", but has ALL the components to be spectacular! In
the mouth, the '98 Brothers in Arms Shiraz shows plenty of power, extract and grip to go
along with a good dose of medium fullish "coarse" tannins. The wine did not show the
up-front fruit or richness of some of the other offerings, but still has a lot going for it.
Solid wine but needs time. My first tasting note, score it "91+".
1999 Scarpantoni School Block Cabernet/Merlot-
Medium ruby color. Not as deeply
pigmented as some of the other wines. Palate comes across as slightly unbalanced with
washed out flavors and a moderate finish. My first tasting note, score it "86/87".
Conclusion: The Oddfellows Shiraz, Paxton Shiraz, Calliope Shiraz
and Langmeil Shiraz
were all favorites...at least on my card.