About Me

My photo
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 2

Well, it's now 7:33 and the mist is lifting. So, back to the wines because our dinner menu was amazing. To get us in the mood a superbly rich yet well balanced Pirie NV Sparking Chardonnay Pinot Noir, with Andrew himself here to dine with us. Then, three vintages of Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling - 1998, 2005, 2009. The 2009 was a tank sample but showed very good depth of fruit with fresh acidity and should be a good wine when finished. The 2005 had a lovely toasty note on the nose and was rich on the palate and was my favourite of the three. The 1998 showed remarkably little toast and was still a lovely fresh wine - really good stuff. Stephen Henschke, who was also dining with us, briefed us on the history of the Steingarten Vineyard, now sadly out of use. Apparently it really was a garden of stones and extremely windy so no surprise it's no longer in use!
Then, we had three McWilliam's Mt Pleasant Lovedale Semillons from 1998, 2003 and 2007. These are classic wines and to get a chance to taste them was fabulous. The 2007 was quite mineral on the palate but with a fresh acidity and a fragrant, floral style. the 2003 was slightly toasty on the nose, with good depth on the palate yet remarkably elegant. The 1998 was my favourite with a lovely toasty nose with a hint of rosemary, and a very youthful and fresh palate even with some lovely toasty evolved fruit characters.
These were then followed by four wines from Yarra Yering - two vintages of Dry Red Number 1 ( a cabernet, merlot, malbec and petit verdot blend) 1989 and 1997 and two vintages of Dry Red Number 2 ( a shiraz, viognier and marsanne blend) 1980 and 1994. James Halliday explained the somewhat mad background to this winery owned by his late friend Dr Bailey Corrodus. The wines were fantastic. The 1980 #2 was a stunningly gorgeous mature red with supple, sweet fruit. The 1997 #1 was, for me, the least good showing some odd characters and a slight oxtail note on the nose. The 1989 #1 was a super wine, slight green notes on the nose but a lovely rich palate. The 1994 #2 elicited some adverse comment as it had a very peppery nose but I really enjoyed it.
At this stage we had four more wines to go but I was feeling the pace and I don't think I was tasting that well. However, the Domaine A Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 from Tasmania was firm and still youthful but very good, the Dalwhinnie Eagle Series Shiraz 2001 from Pyrenees was quite nice but the 2004 vintage of the same was very good and the "save the best wine for last" All Saints Estate Museum Release Muscat from Rutherglen was just gorgeous.
Today we learn about riesling, from Jeff Grosset (who better?), Shiraz and blends with Stephen Pannell (one of McLaren Vale's top winemakers) and then we get an historical overview from Andrew Caillard MW and James Halliday. Just in case you thought we were taking it easy!

1 comment:

DermotMW said...

"The Steingarten Riesling vineyard was first established in 1962 on the Western edge of the Barossa Ranges. It is still in use today, despite the tough and challenging growing conditions it has to endure each year. In fact there has been a series of additional plantings at the site over the last 45 years to increase harvest volume to a more manageable level . A number of significant vineyard improvements have also occurred to enhance final grape quality.

The Riesling grapes from this now famous vineyard form part of the final Steingarten wine. Parcels of high altitude Eden Valley Riesling are also included to finesse the style and ensure best quality. Typically, 2-3 sites are selected at Eden Valley that have a similar altitude and share the same soil profile : 'shallow sandy loam topsoil directly over well fractured schist and shale rock'. Using sites of similar 'terroir' ensures that Steingarten Riesling maintains its classic signature style, piercing lemon lime fruit aroma with dry minerally flavours finishing with great structure and length.

Steingarten is regarded as the pinnacle of white winemaking at Orlando. As a result, the make is still very small, in the order of 3000 - 4000 cases.

It has always been, and will continue to be, a comparatively rare wine, of exceptional quality, and may not be produced every vintage." – Bernard Hickin