About Me

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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.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Landmark Masterclass

Yesterday, Tuesday 3rd November, Wine Australia hosted a Landmark Masterclass at which I was asked to present a range of wines which represented Landmark for me. In all, we had 18 - so it was a pretty severe selection from the 578 tasted in Australia!
The Masterclass was held in the Constitution room of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin - a lovely setting for the event. The selected guests included those who had applied last year as well a handful of journalists.

I have to say a great big "thank you" to John McDonnell, of Wine Australia Ireland, as he put in a huge amount of work getting the wines I requested, organising the hotel, the guests and, let's face it, everything - all I did was turn up and talk! As you can see in this video:

We started with Brown Brothers Patricia 2004, a lovely zingy sparkling wine from King Valley in Victoria; though zingy, it had real depth of fruit and autolysis on both nose and palate and was as good here as I thought it had been there.
This was followed by three rieslings (two in the end as one is still on the high seas!) - anyone who knows me knows that riesling is my favourite white grape. We started with the Mount HorrocksWatervale Riesling 2005 , from Clare. A yummy, crisp citrus-flavoured riesling. Then the 2002 Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling from Eden. More floral in style but with great depth and elegance. The no-show, unfortunately, was the 1980 Pewsey Vale Rhine Riesling, chosen beacuse it had real wow-factor when tasted in Australia and also because of the whole stelvin history of the brand. Louisa Rose mentioned last week that the decision to use screwcap for this wine back in the 1970s nearly killed the brand!
Then one semillon and, apologies to Iain Riggs, from the Barossa! The Peter Lehmann Margaret 2003 which was lovely - 11.5% abv but still rich and round and with some toasty characters.
Next, two big chardonnays - the Leeuwin Estate Art Series 2003 from Margaret River and the Penfold's Yattarna 2006. I love these oaky styles but it's worth noting that both of these wines have tremendous depth and elegance on the palate as well.
The reds (Hmmm, note that we had no sauvignon blancs - I wonder why? LOL) started with three pinots noirs. For me, one of the big lesson of Landmark was how much improved Australian pinot noir was, and quite a few of those present were equally pleased by these wines. The first was the juicy, fruity yummy Yabby Lake 2007 from Mornington, then the firmer, deeper Tarra Warra MDB 2006 from Yarra followed by the stunning Bannockburn Serre 1997 from Geelong. For me, this bottle was even better than the one tasted in Australia and was simply gorgeous.
Three cabernet sauvignon wines followed - surprisingly for me as it's not my favourite grape - each showing particular styles. The first was Cape Mentelle 2004 from Margaret River - classy, leafy cabernet, very elegant; then the Henschke Cyril 2002 from Eden - a rich, luscious and wonderfully smooth wine, almost sweet!; then a real treat, Wynn's John Riddoch 1990 - classic minty black fruit on the nose (even at 19 years of age), with a rich, ripe cassis fruit palate, some toasty oak notes, very elegant mid-palate with a juicy, clean fruit finish.
Two shiraz then, a surprisingly low number given my prediliction for the grape. First, the Mount Langhi Ghiran Langhi 2006 from Grampians. I love this wine as it is really elegant - quite ripe fruit but with a restraint from its cooler climate origin, still primary even after three years, firm-ish tannins, and a long life ahead. Then, one of my favourite wines of landmark, the Brokenwood Graveyard 1998 - just gorgeous: ripe red fruit style on nose and palate, still youthful, but with lovely evolving fruits, smooth supple tannins and a lovely elegant middle palate. Long, clean and yummy - one taster compared it very favourably to Rhone syrah in style.
After lunch we had two fortified wines and one last glass of fizz. A Morris Show Amontillado to start which went very well with the blue cheese and was a real star for most of those present. This was followed by the Grant Burge 20 Year Old Tawny, rich and luscious, very elegant. Finally, the only wine that divided the room - I loved the Seppelt Show Reserve Sparkling Shiraz 1994 in Australia and loved it here but, I think, I was in a minority of one! Then again, I usually am in that position!!
A very good day and, I hope, one that inspires others to apply NOW for Landmark 2010.

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