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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 Dún 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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tasting delights 1

It is currently misty in the Barossa - I can barely see 100 m even at 7:07 am! Yesterday we had a fabulous range of wines to taste - given that we can expect the range to be better today we're in for a treat.
Yesterday afternoon's session was a chance to taste some fairly classic wines from some fairly classic regions. First off were two rieslings - a Clare Valley wine: Grosset Polish Hills 2008, and an Eden Valley wine, Pewsey Vale "The Contours" 2002. Both were very good although in different styles, especially age. The Grosset was typical with lime and mineral notes while the Pewsey Vale was round and supple and as close to perfection as you're likely to taste.
Next up was a fairly mature Tyrell's Vat 1 Semillon from the Hunter. What was interesting here was how little aged character it showed, being still somewhat herbaceous although there were some toasty notes on the palate. It was a really good example of the style. Nest two chardonnays, a Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2005 from Margaret River and a Petaluma Piccadilly 2006 from Adelaide Hills. These were two quite contrasting wines. The first is an "old style" Aussie chardonnay, quite big and ripe yet still very fresh and showing no sign of the 100% new oak in which it was fermented and matured. Lovely stuff and why, oh why do people persist in drinking sauvignon blanc when there are wines like this around? The Petaluma was a more restrained style and absoluely gorgeous - more Burgundian perhaps but very savoury.
Next we had a pinot noir from Geelong, Gary Farr's By Farr Sangreal 2006. This had a lovely, elegant nose and fruity entry but, for me, was slightly tannic on the finish. I gather our pinot nour flight later this week will be blind so we have some arguments ahead, I reckon!
Then two cabernet based wines, Vanya Cullen's 2001 Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot from Margaret River and Wynn's John Riddoch Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. Both were very good wines, with the merlot component in the Cullen wine giving it a slightly rounder feel. The general response to a question as to te perceived supremacy between the regions was that Margaret River was excelling currently but that Coonawarra should be better.
Then a flight of four shiraz. First, a controversial Brokenwood Graveyard 1998 from the Hunter. I found this wine poor but there was a general response that this was Hunter style. However, at dinner we had a second bottle and, for me, it was better - it still had the sort of red fruit style that Hunter shiraz is known for but was also fresher and rounder. Then a Mt Langhi Ghiran Langhi 2004 from Grampians. I was saddened at dinner to learn from James Halliday that the guiding light of Mt Langhi Ghiran, Trevor Mast, has got Alzheimer's and that he is no longer involved at the winery. The wine was a classic Mt Langhi style with subtle pepper spice and a slightly firm palate.
Then Henschke's Mt Edelstone 2006 from Eden Valley - what a wine! Supple and subtle and about as perfect a shiraz as you could want. Stunningly drinkable right now yet with a great potential to age. Then Penfold's RWT 2004 from Barossa. Another elegant style with a bit more chocolate character than the Mt Edelstone yet also drinking well despite being a great wine for ageing. Finally, a Glaetzer Anaperenna Shiraz Cabernet 2006 from the Barossa. A much bigger style than the previous two - I think this is a Glaetzer style - but with great richness and balance. A modern take, perhaps, on the big Barossa style but I always find their wines to be very good.
The last wine of the afternoon was De Bortoli's Noble One Bortytis Semillon 2006 from Riverina. Gorgeously sweet yet with a clean acid structure it was yummy.

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