A small but very eclectic tasting of interesting wines; all of them (perhaps bar the Penfolds Yattarna) have impeccable provenance.
2007 Condrieu, Pierre Gaillard
Lemony citrus on the nose, then peach skins and thick white fruits, theres a sweet waxy note about this too. On the palate its textured and quite thick, almost furry; white fruits showing, with a slight pithy bitterness at the end. Initially this feels generous but lacking focus and verve; but after some time in the glass, it really begins to open up, showing more opulent flavours; dont rush this wine. Feels fully mature though, done its aging.
1999 Penfolds Yattarna
Second bottle opened on the night, first wine was corked so badly, it was beyond even tasting. I'm really beginning to take issue with this; out of 4 bottles I've opened, two have been undrinkable. Doesnt bode well for the two I have left.
Anyway, the tasting note - quite peculiar nose, sweet and filled with tropical fruits (mango, apricot), then theres a creamy slightly gone-off butter / rancid milk notes; in all making this smell like mango yoghurt. On the palate, the acidity still holding its own; its showing citrus notes, focused and high toned acidity; decent amount of fruit carries through on palate, feels bright. In all, still good but theres disconnect between nose and palate which is slightly disconcerting.
2010 First Drop 'The Big Blind' Nebbiolo Barbera, Adelaide Hills
You never know what to expect from the First Drop boys, new vintage of Big Blind.
Red fruits, strawberry and red currants but theres an acidity on the nose, almos some vinegary notes; shows some heat / baked earth characters, peppercorn and spice; the kind of wine thats a nightmare to pick in blind tastings. On the palate, plenty of bright fruits, sour red cherries and crushed currants; theres a freshness from the acidity despite the ripe, fleshy fruit. Still a big wine, big fruit hit at the front, then gently rolls through.
1996 Chateau Gruaud Larose, St Julien 2er Cru
Old school nose here - earthy, clay and smoked tobacco; burnt cayenne peppers, even an ashen, smoldering timbers nose; then some leather too. Good fruit, ripe and rounded; black fruit, and its still quite opulent and large; everything in balance and integrated; tannins grainy towards the end. Wonderfully mature now, just reaching its peak; if drink now, give it time to open up; otherwise drink 2015-2020+
1970 Chateau Gruaud Larose, St Julien 2er Cru
All the old school nose but with an added layer of ashen / mutedness, very developed, earthy and farmyard characters showing, hints of cedar; where the '96 was lively on the nose, this was more ferral and hidden. Very soft on the palate. yielding flavours, sour red currants; the fruit is barely clinging on, its past its best but still showing its pedigree. A novelty to taste.
1988 Chateau Leoville Barton, St Julien 2er Cru
Ashen nose, burnt paprika / peppers there, leather and tobacco with pencil shavings and hints of licorice - old school but still lively. Nice fruit still showing, ripe but sour blackcurrant and blackberry, feels lush and very rounded; the acidity provides backdrop; everything feels soft and rounded, very together. This is at its peak, showing so wonderfully now; flavours are integrated yet lively, just perfect. Star wine of the night.