'96 Trevor Jones "Wild Witch"
'98 Henry's Drive
’96 Random Ridge “Oldwave” Zinfandel
'97 Clarendon Hills "Liandra"
'97 Torbreck "Run Rig"
'98 Clarendon Hills "Piggott Range"
'98 Torbreck "The Steading"
'97 The Blend
'97 Wild Duck Creek "Springflat"
'98 Wild Duck Creek "Springflat"
'98 Burge Reserve Magnum
'98 Fox Creek Reserve
'95 Elderton "Command"
'97 Havens Bourriquot
'97 Veritas "Hanisch"
'98 Lengs and Cooter Reserve
'97 J.J. Hahn
Northern New Jersey- Ten die hard wine junkies got together last evening at Cafe Panache to open some nineteen bottles of Australian premium... Specifically, luxury wines of the Shiraz variety. This was my third major Syrah/Shiraz tasting in the past thirty days. As with the January 30th., and February 10th., tastings, this was another great tasting that featured some of the best wines Australia has to offer. Not only were the wines superb but the Cuisine was outstanding as well! The kitchen just kept sending out one great course after another. Of all the dishes we sampled, my personal favorites were the Rack of Lamb, Sea Bass, Sea Scallops and the Beef Wellington. It was indeed a memorable evening of excess!
Upon arrival, all the reds were bagged and served blind in flights of two and three over a three-hour period. Except for the magnum of the '98 Burge Reserve, know one knew the identities of the wines. Furthermore, the flights were set up and poured in a random, non-specific order. At the conclusion of the tasting, there were indeed many surprises as well as a smile or two from the participants. I should add that everyone voted for their top five wines of the evening. Below are my individual tasting notes. Again, the wines were served blind in flights of two or three. This tasting I actually took written notes... Unlike the last two tastings where I only took mental notes.
Mark Franks and Steve Manzi
Chris Kravitz and Craig McManus of Wine Ventures
Dan Myers with the fast talking Gary Vaynerchuk
'96 Trevor Jones "Wild Witch"- Intense nose of oak and spice intermingled with crushed blackberry like fruit, grilled meats, cola and hot tar. On the palate, the wine is medium full with good extract and grip for the long haul. Except for a high degree of acidity, this would have merited a higher number. Score it "93/94"
'98 Henry's Drive- Saturated purple and black ink like color. Nose of Licorice, road tar, spice and moderate to full toast. Gorgeous palate of concentrated but sweet Raspberry/Blackberry fruit and pepper. Medium to full bodied with excellent balance, stunning extract and a wonderful mouthful. Score it "96"
'97 Clarendon Hills "Liandra"- Undistinguished and showing a touch of Brett. Could pass for French except for the oak. Overwhelmed by the others. Score it "91"
Rig"- Lovely nose of medium to full toast, licorice,
'98 Clarendon Hills "Piggott"- Deep color of ink and oil. Restrained nose suggesting crushed black fruits, spice, oak and full toast. Palate offers up super concentrated and highly extracted, "pure" core fruit flavors. Finishes with a 45 to 50 second residual sensation. Score it "95+"
'98 Torbreck "The Steading"- Funky nose of Cola and spice. Palate offers medium to full concentration with balanced flavors and medium finish. Score it "93"
'97 The Blend- Deep purple color leading to a restrained nose suggesting road tar, crushed blackberry like fruits, Licorice, moderate toast and spice. Has all the components to make one an instant fan. Medium full concentrated "seamless" flavors and superb balance make this one of my favorites. Score it "98"
'97 Wild Duck Creek "Springflat"- Fragrant and flavorful with good core fruit flavors, fine extract and moderate finish. I mistook this for the '98 Wild Duck Creek "Springflat" . Score it "93"
'98 Wild Duck Creek "Springflat"- Opaque black/purple color followed by a huge rush of crushed blackberry/raspberry and sweet licorice scented fruit. Add to that road tar, Cherry jam and toasty new oak fragrances. The dense, port like palate impression mirrored the nose with exceptionally rich, ripe, SWEET fruit, tar, vanilla and a purity of “jammy” fruit that must be experienced to be believed. Wonderfully crafted and singing! One of my three favorites of the evening. Little did I know that I brought it. Someone tell Robert Parker that he tasted the wrong wine. Score it "98"
'97 Warrenmang- Deep, dark color leading to a tight aromatic impression. Palate shows medium fullish concentration with impeccable balance and dense, core fruit flavors. Solid wine but needs time. I guessed that it was the Warrenmang and nailed it. Score it "96"
'98 Burge Reserve- Showing a very dark ruby, almost purple color. The deeply scented nose offers up medium to full toast, licorice, coffee and sweet Raspberry scented fruit. In the mouth, the highly extracted well endowed Burge Reserve shows remarkable concentration, tremendous extract and impeccable balance. It is this balance together with a purity of "seamless" core fruit flavors that separates this wine from all others. Score it "99/100"
'98 Fox Creek Reserve- The bouquet while somewhat tight and ungenerous does offer up deeply scented aromas of crushed Blackberry/Raspberry like fruit, licorice and spice. Add to that medium to full toast and road tar. shows great power, extract and grip. I was shocked with the level of ripeness and highly extracted as well as concentrated core fruit. Finishes with a 60 second finish. I guessed that it was the Fox Creek and nailed it. Score it "98"
'95 Elderton "Command"- Shows a stunning Licorice and Raspberry scented nose leading to a super concentrated and highly extracted palate of dense black fruits, tar and heavy, toasty oak flavors. Score it "96"
'97 Best's Great Western Family- Restrained nose and palate. Searing tannins dominate the attack. There is however great extract here with a significant depth of underlying fruit. Score it "93"
'97 Veritas Hanisch- Medium fullish color showing a retrained nose and palate. Medium full with medium coarse tannins. Good depth of fruit and a long, lingering finish. Score it "94"
'98 Killibinbin- Deep, dense, black and purple color. Showing focused but tight aromatics. Palate is slightly unbalanced showing obtrusive tannins. Good fruit, but backward and undistinguished at this point in time. Score it "91"
'98 Lengs and Cooter Reserve- Restrained nose and palate. Shows significant background fruit, extract and grip. Score it "91"
'97 J. J.
1914"- Funky nose of earth and barnyard aromas. Could pass for French
for the heavy oak. Backward and a bit unbalanced. Good core fruit
and a moderate to long finish. Score it "90"
got the duke as MY personal favorite with the '98 Fox Creek Reserve
a close second.