ed's wine page
 "Shirazathon" II
The Sequel - - The Adventure Continues...
Cafe Matisse, Rutherford, New Jersey
My Tasting Notes
Link to More Tasting Notes

March 14, 2002

     "Showboat" Steve Levy
Australian Premium Shiraz

'96  Draycott Burge Reserve Shiraz (mag)

'98  Draycott Burge Reserve Shiraz 

'96 Veritas "Hanisch" Shiraz

'98 Veritas "Hanisch"  Shiraz

'97 Torbreck "Run Rig"

'98 Torbreck "Run Rig"

'99 Kay Brothers "Block 6" Shiraz

'97 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz (Mag)

'98 Fox Creek Reserve Shiraz

'99 Standish Shiraz

'70 Taylor Port

Dutschke 25 Year Old Tawny


Northern New Jersey- Eight (count em) not ready for prime time Wine Board Junkies met over dinner last evening at Cafe Matisse to open what could arguably be called, some of the "best of the best" in luxury Shiraz. 
Lets see there were two magnum formats and nine regular sized 750 ml. bottles. Add to that a number of assorted after dinner wines. One of which I actually forgot at the restaurant. Shirazathon II was a follow up to the "original" March 1, 2000 "Shirazathon"tasting and subsequent February 2, 2001 Big Thunder from Down Undertasting that were held some one and two years earlier. 

Gary Vaynerchuk of "The Wine Library" with the magnums of the '97 Fox Creek Reserve and '96 Draycott Burge Reserve


Scott the "Enforcer" Richardson and Dan Myers

Most of the wines were opened and decanted well in advance of the dinner tasting. The flights were set up and poured "unblind" in a specific order over a three hour period. Except for a magnum of '96 Draycott Burge Reserve and a magnum of '97 Fox Creek Reserve, pours were limited to about two to three ounces per person. Because of this restriction, this tasting was strictly limited to only eight participants. 

Special thanks goes to Steve Manzi who took charge and  singled handedly coordinated the event. Great job, Steve! I should add that the award winning cuisine at Cafe Matisse was totally awesome and the food and wine pairings complemented the wines very favorably.

Steve Sharoff and Rich Byrne with the '96 Burge Reserve Mag.

My Tasting Notes:

'97 Torbreck Run Rig- Exotic nose of saddle leather and tar intermingled with crushed blackberry like fruit, grilled meats, tarry and vanilla. Add to that "gobs" of Rhone-ish like spices that make for a surreal sniffing experience. Palate comes across as medium full with a good lashing of moderate tannins. The wine does offer up great balance, richness and texture with an expansive multi-layered concentration of incredible super ripe cassis and blackberry like fruits. My third tasting note, score it "97" 

'98 Torbreck Run Rig- Even more backward than the '97 Run Rig and certainly not as expressive on nose or palate. Restrained aromatics suggesting primary core fruit fragrances, spice and oak. Palate shows a fullish concentration with impeccable balance and dense, dark fruit flavors. Solid wine but needs time. Hold for two years.  Certainly a three hundred and sixty degree about face versus the bottle I just sampled only two week earlier. My fourth tasting note, score it "98+"

'96 Veritas Hanisch- There is an initial rush of licorice and Shiraz scented fruit that is simply sensational! Add to that  spice, earth, leather and toasty oak fragrances. Fullish concentration and just loaded with massive amounts of extract and port like, black fruit  flavors. Very large scaled and massively structured but more accessible than the '98 Hanisch. Hold for one or two years. My third tasting note, score it "98".

'96 Draycott Burge Reserve Magnum- There is so much going on here aromatically that the wine must simply be experienced to be believed! Deep, brooding ink like color showing no signs of age. The '96 Burge Reserve opens with a stunning black currant/blackberry scented nose that is, for the lack of a better term, a real "knock-out"! In the mouth, the wine is extremely flavorful showing a medium to medium fullish texture and personality with loads of decadent black fruit and vanilla bean flavors. My fourteenth tasting note, score it "97"

'97 Fox Creek Reserve Magnum- Opaque black/purple color followed by a huge rush of crushed blackberry/raspberry and sweet licorice scented fruit.  Add to that road tar, dark Cherry notes, vanilla and mocha/Chocolate like aromatics. Palate mirrored the nose and shows all the components to make one an instant fan. Medium full concentrated "seamless" flavors and superb balance make this one of my favorites of the evening. My tenth tasting note, Score it "98"

'98 Fox Creek Reserve- In style and weight, the wine was not dissimilar from its predecessor, the stunning '97 Fox Creek Reserve. However, compared to the '97, the '98 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 fruit, road tar, licorice and moderate to full toast. In the mouth, the '98 Fox Creek Reserve can be a bit rough on first impression.  Would have benefited from additional air time. Aside from the slightly aggressive initial and mid palate, the '98 Fox Creek Reserve shows great power, extract and grip. Finishes with a 50 second residual sensation. Hold for two years. My thirteenth tasting note, score it "99" 

'99 Kay Brothers "Block 6"- Restrained nose and palate. Searing tannins and a high degree of acidity dominate the initial and mid palate. There is however great extract here with a significant depth of underlying fruit. Hold for two years. This is another example of a wine that has completely shut down versus the bottle that I opened some three months earlier. My third tasting note, score it "95+" 

'98 Dutschke "Oscar Semmler"- While Oscar doesn't carry the weight or finish as well as some of the other "big boys", it is certainly has a lot going for it. The deeply scented bouquet suggests ripe black fruits; licorice and toasty oak like aromas. Gorgeous palate of concentrated but sweet Raspberry/Blackberry fruit, black pepper and underlying toasty oak melt in the mouth. Add to that a strong dollop of licorice flavored fruit. The '98 Oscar Semmler offers up a medium to full-bodied texture and personality with excellent balance, stunning extract and a wonderful mouth-feel. Finishes with a 25 to 30 second residual sensation. Drink it over the next seven to ten years. My fifth tasting note, score it "96".

'98 Draycott Burge Reserve- Opened more than ten hours in advance and still a brooding giant! Deep, dark ink like color. The bouquet while somewhat tight and ungenerous does offer up deeply scented aromas of crushed Blackberry/Raspberry compote, licorice and spice. 
In the mouth, the highly extracted well endowed Burge Reserve shows remarkable concentration, tremendous extract and impeccable balance. Finishes with a fifty-second residual sensation. Hold for two to three years. Again, probably the finest Burge Reserve that will ever be made and most "Grange" like of the evening. My fourteenth tasting note, score it "100"

'98 Veritas "Hanisch"- Slightly more accessible on nose than the '98 Burge was. The bouquet while somewhat tight and ungenerous does offer up deeply scented aromas of crushed Blackberry/Raspberry like fruit, truffle, licorice and spice. Add to that medium to full toast and road tar.  The '98 Hanisch shows great power, extract and grip for the long hall. Hold for two to three years. My sixth tasting note, score it "99"

'99 Standish- This may have been a mistake serving this wine after the '98 Hanisch and '98 Burge Reserve flight. I mean, how do you follow that act?
Nonetheless, the wine showed very well. Showing  focused but tight aromatics. Palate shows a medium fullish texture with raspberry and licorice flavors and a 25 second finish. Hold for one year. My first tasting note, score it "94/95"


The '98 Burge Reserve got the duke as MY personal favorite with the '97 Fox Creek Reserve,  '97 Run Rig and  '96 Hanisch all running a close second.