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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Love is blind

I love pinot noir and Tom Carson decided to test us by putting on an excellent blind tasting of 14 pinots. As a result of the 2001 MW trip I, and many of my colleagues, was convinced that outside of Tasania there was no decent pint noir in Australia. The wines we tasted were generally big, extracted and quite oaky. But this tasting was a real eye-opener and, probably, achieved brilliantly what Landmark is all about - it informed us of the change in styles and the breadth of quality pinot noir available here.

We had 2 flights of seven wines - the first the "Young Guns", the second the "Old Masters". As someone who is approaching 50 I regret to say that the young guns took the day, although there were some fabulous wines in the Old Masters.

A deliciously fruity and soft Holyman 2007 from Tasmania led off, swiftly followed by two equally fruity and smooth wines, the Bindi Growers Block 5 2007 from Macedon and a gorgeous Yabby Lake 2007 from Mornington. These "flighty" styles were soon followed up by the bigger hitters, Stefano Lubiano 2006 from Tasmania becoming firmer in styles, a Kooyong Ferrous 2006 from Mornington showing some muscle but well-balanced, then a superb Tarra Warra MDB 2006 from Yarra, followed by some Kiwi interloper from someplace called Felton Road. Admittedly, a bit like the hard-working P J Charteris, it was super.

Then, we had the Old Masters, a few of which were showing their age. I found the Ashton Hills 2003 from Adelaide Hills to be drying out and would, perhaps, have been better a year or three ago. The Paringa Reserve 2003 was very big and muscular and, for me, should have been tested for performance enhancing drugs. A valid style, I guess, but too big for pinot. The shocker was the 2002 Domaine de la Romane Conti St Vivant which was very old looking. But Tom had saved the best for last - a 1999 Mt Mary from the Yarra was perfectly a point and really good. The Bass Phillip Premium 1997 from Gippsland was lovely and ageing well. Then the two eye-openers: Bannockburn Serre 1997 from Geelong was remarkable. Although almost sherry-like on the nose it had a gorgeous palate and was a beautiful drink. The Coldstream Hills Reserve 1992 was just fantastic - drinking well now but suggesting at leats another 3 to 5 years ahead of it.

I put my hand up and admitted that I was wrong and that Australia really does have great pinot nor. I hope this will help with my parole board meeting later today LOL

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