Yesterday afternoon I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with my "bud" Dan Phillips, who made a special promotional appearance at Zachy’s in Scarsdale, New York. Also on hand was none other than Rolf Binder of Veritas Winery. Rolf and I also had an opportunity to talk at length about his impressions of the ’98 Veritas "Heysen" and "Hanisch". Ya see, after tasting these two monumental wines, Rolf is now my new best friend! All I can say about these wines are two things. Rolf, we’re not worthy and yes, they bring tears to my eyes as well! I’ll give my take on the "Heysen" and "Hanisch" later. Right now onward.
I wanted a couple of photos of Dan and Rolf for my Web site, so on my way to Zachy’s, I stop to pick up some batteries for my camera. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get the damn camera to work. It just kept blinking “E”, “E”…well you get the picture, to bad I didn’t. Rolf came to my rescue and snapped off a couple of photos with his camera. I hope to get these pictures back from Rolf in short order and will post them up at the site. Only after I arrived home did I realize that the batteries were fine but the camera was out of film, Daaa!
I asked Dan if he thought that his wines would be even more impossible to obtain after the upcoming release of the Wine Advocate. Well, he didn’t know, but by the confident smile on Dan’s face, I’m sure that favorable reviews are forthcoming from the Jedi Master.
I was just saying goodbye to Dan when a couple of guys (Mike and Dave) walked in with two bottles of the Torbreck "Run Rig" in hand. Actually "DP" spotted the Run Rigs at one hundred paces. Even I was impressed. They generously offered to share these bottles with us, so I decided to stay a while longer. This was obviously not a tough decision. Mike and Dave were now my two best friends. The 1996 and 1997 "Run Rigs" were indeed terrific bottles and a pleasure to drink. I thought that the '96 was showing a bit better than its younger brother, the '97 but both were outstanding bottles nonetheless. To my notes:
1998 Veritas "Heysen"- Deep purple color leading to a stunning, deeply scented bouquet suggesting licorice and dark fruit fragrances. The attack is dominated by extremely rich and full-bodied blackberry and "core" dark fruit flavors. Add to that moderate to heavy toast, spice and vanilla. The wine also finishes very well. Drink it over the next fifteen years or more. My second tasting note in as many days, score it "96+".
1998 Veritas "Hanisch"- Well, let me first say that last month, I may have been a bit conservative with my initial review of the '98 "Hanisch". Giving it a score of only "98", I might have underrated the wine just a tad. After sampling it once again yesterday, I'm convinced that it's a perfect wine…at least on my card! Back to my notes: The '98 Veritas "Hanisch" is noticeably more deeply pigmented than the '98 "Heysen" is. The wine conjures up a full-throttle bouquet (very dense) suggesting blackberry/raspberry compote, licorice, road tar and a good dollop of new oak. Hell, like the "Heysen", I would buy this wine on nose alone! In the mouth, the wine mirrors the nose with exceptionally rich, ripe, "dense" core fruit flavors and a purity of fruit and symmetry that is simply breathtaking! The "Hanisch" finishes with a 50 second residual sensation and should drink effortlessly over the next twenty years or more. My second tasting note, score it "100".