Drive Shiraz Vertical plus the '98 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz
February 24, 2002
Kinnelon, New Jersey
Well let's see...it all started yesterday afternoon with Steve and Nancy Levy and concluded (at least for me) some five hours later. The casualties of the evening were seven bottles (count em) of premium "OZ". Specifically, "SHE-RAAZ" of the premium variety. In between flights, Steve treated us to not one but two episodes of "South Park". We ended the evening with a stunning De Fargues Sauternes from the 1990 vintage. On the food side, Executive Chef Dave Klein was on hand to create a mouth watering menu which centered around a perfectly cooked filet mignon. Special mention also goes out to the executive "prep" chef who's assistance was invaluable. I should add that all of the wines showed very well and the food and wine pairings worked out very favorably. To my notes:
1998 Henry's Drive Shiraz- The '98 Henry Drive was a hit from the get go. The color was a deep purple showing no signs of age. The wine offers up a full throttle bouquet suggesting chocolate, raspberry, licorice and a good dollop toasty new oak. In the mouth, the tannins are slowly giving was to reveal an outstanding wine of great richness, purity and complexity. What was so special about the '98 Henry's Drive was the intensity, balance and huge reserves of "highly" extracted background fruit. Drink it over the next seven years. My tenth tasting note, score it "94"
1999 Henry's Drive Reserve Shiraz- Slightly deeper, darker color
than the '98 Henry's Drive was.
Nose opens with intense aromas of crushed blackberry/raspberry compote, licorice and toasty oak fragrances. Gorgeous palate of concentrated but sweet Raspberry/Blackberry fruit, pepper and vanilla bean flavors melt in the mouth.
Palate offers up a medium-full to full-bodied texture and personality with excellent balance, substantial palate weight and a long lingering finish. The wine is literally bursting at the seams with tremendous core fruit and flavor. Ripe, round tannins dominate the initial and mid palate. Wonderfully crafted and singing! This is a big, juicy, densely packed monster of a wine that is very fragrant as well delicious to drink today! Can be enjoyed now or cellared for ten years or more. My fifth tasting note, score it "94+".
1998 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz- In style and weight, the Fox Creek Reserve was not dissimilar from the 2000 Henry's Drive Reserve Shiraz. However, compared to 2000 Henry's Drive, the 1998 Fox Creek Reserve cuts a fuller more complete profile on both nose and palate. It shows a deep, dark purple and ink like color. The bouquet while somewhat tight and ungenerous does offer up deeply scented aromas of crushed Blackberry/Raspberry like fruits, road tar, licorice and moderate to full toast. In the mouth, the '98 Fox Creek Reserve can be a bit rough on first impression. Aside from the slightly aggressive initial and mid palate, the '98 Fox Creek Reserve shows great power, extract and grip. Tannins and medium fullish and the wine finishes with a 40 second residual sensation. Hold for two years. My twelfth tasting note and "Wine of the Evening", score it "99"!
2000 Henry's Drive Reserve Shiraz- I was fortunate to jump on
this wine after my first sip and proceeded to purchase all I could find.
Dense port like color, slightly less pigmented than the 1998 Fox Creek
Reserve was. The flamboyant “in your face” style of aromatics were a hit
from the get-go and only improved in my glass. The 2000 Henry's Drive Reserve
Shiraz opens with a huge rush of crushed black raspberry scented fruit,
chocolate and sweet vanilla bean . Add to that a huge blueberry component
that I have not previously associated with Henry's Drive. I continue to
be stunned with the level of ripeness and highly extracted as well as concentrated
core fruit flavors. Medium to fullish texture and personality with excellent
balance, stunning extract and a wonderful mouth feel. Tannins are medium
round with no rough edges and the wine finishes with a 25 to 35 second
residual sensation. Should hold effortlessly for at least ten to twelve
years or more. While the 2000 Henry's Drive does not quite carry the palate
weight of the '98 Fox Creek Reserve, it is nonetheless an extraordinary
wine! My fifth tasting note, score it "97+".