Friday 5 July 2019

1998 Syrah/Shiraz - Eleven Bottles Tasted

Six of us tasted these wines on a picture perfect Sunday lunch, sitting outside in glorious weather and with some great food.

My friends tasted double blind and was forced to name their favourite in each flight before the bottles were revealed. They only knew that were 7 Aussie wines and 5 ringers, all Syrah/Shiraz.

I won´t take up time and place with the old and tired debate about Parker fruit bombs from Australia that supposedly wouldn´t last. I will just say that when cellared for 21 years - at least these bottles - no one was overripe or had gone to meet its maker, instead they delivered pleasure around the table.

Flight I
1998 Estate Shiraz, Warrenmang
A large scaled, warm, mature nose with notes of asphalt, fried rosemary, dried beef and undergrowth. Keeps it all together nicely.
The taste is big, steady and compact with notes of bonfire smoke, grilled beef and violets. There is a some fiery notes at the end, but again, keeps it together.
88p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Syrah, Stellenzicht
The winner of the flight with the majority of votes. Most guessed leaned towards Rhone. And it displayed the usual characteristics - violets, pepper, smoke and some ripe blueberries, in a laid back, elegant style. Very, very good.
The taste is tight and fine with notes of pepper, cool blackberries, bakelite and a hint of bacon fat. Finely textured tannins. Long. Really fine.
92p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Seven Acre Shiraz, Greenock Creek
Yet again, I have problems with a wine from Greenock Creek. In the past I have noted "soya sauce" and "burnt rubber" as some of the not so good attributes. This 98 shows a clumpsy, dried up nose with notes of scorched earth, rubber (not burnt this time), iodine and ink. Where is the fruit?
The taste is dry and hot with notes of diesel oil, ink, rubber and some old, wrinkled, dried up blackberries.
70p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Shiraz, Elderton
This is a restrained Shiraz from Elderton, with a fine maturity and notes of cranberries, pepper, dried flowers and violets. Very, very good.
The taste is peppery and tight with notes of dried black fruit, bakelite, iron and chrushed rocks. The finish is a bit dry. The Command is usually much more rich and outspoken, but I must say I prefer this style.
88p   (tasted 2019/06)

Flight II
1998 Hickinbotham Vineyard Shiraz, Clarendon Hills
A big and beautiful nose with notes of ripe blueberries, violets, meat and a hint of toothpaste. Deep and fine.
The taste is concentrated and tight with a fine intensity and a long finish, with notes of asphalt, violets, meat and scorched earth. Very, very good. Shared winner with the Dead Arm in this flight.
92p   (tasted 2019/06)

2000 Harys, Gillardi
From a magnum. This was a misdelivery. I ordered a magnum - presented as a 1998 - rather recently but when it arrived it turned out to be a 2000. Restitution was made but I thought I would put in the tasting all the same. But...corked ¤&%¤#"/&%!!
50p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Raymond Roure, Jaboulet
A cool, earthy nose with notes of red currants, dried herbs, a touch of band aid and overall a very fine, low keyed maturity. I like this a lot.
The taste is dry and fine-limbed with seedy notes of red currants, ripening blueberries, spices and forest floor. Medium long and elegant.
90p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Dead Arm Shiraz, d´Arenberg
Everything a Aussie Shiraz was known to be - big, bombastic, rich and sweet, with a deep nose with notes of asphalt, overripe strawberries, mint and rotting flowers. Nearly over the top but interesting enough, in this case, it works.
The taste follows the nose with broadshouldered, sweet fruit and a one minute long finish. Notes of iron, asphalt, overripe red and black cherries and lots of alcohol, but again, it works. Very, very good.
92p   (tasted 2019/06)

Flight III
1998 Syrah Les Coteaux, Andrew Murray
A fine, concentrated, meaty nose with notes of warm tiles, ripe blueberries, dusty earth and some barnyardy aromas, in a complex way. Very fine.
The taste is smoky and peppery with notes of a blueberry pie, iron and violets. Salivating tannins. Very long and fine. Perfectly mature.
93p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Mount Edelstone Old Vines Shiraz, Henschke
A deep, round, mature nose with notes of mulberries, sweet violets, moist earth and a touch of mint. A very fine maturity.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of iron, blood, ripe blackberries, thyme and chrushed rocks. A fine intensity. Very long. Really fine.
94p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Reserve Shiraz, Fox Creek
A very deep, spicy and warm nose with notes of smoke, ink, ripe blackberries, leather and gingerbread. Very fine.
The taste is tight and concentrated with notes of iodine, asphalt, blackberries, violet pastilles and toothpaste. A very fine structure. Could still be kept for many years.
94p   (tasted 2019/06)

1998 Reva Syrah, Alban
The hands down winner of the flight. I have been fortunate to have tasted this wine 6+ times and it has performed brilliantly every time. The nose is pure, tight and rich with notes of Asian spices, black pepper, meat, violets and sage. Very, very deep. Still youngish. Just lovely.
The taste is racy, tight and impressive with layers upon layers of perfectly ripe fruit, sweet violets, fresh herbs, a hint of bacon and veal stock. A long, long, long finish. Great wine.
97p   (tasted 2019/06)

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