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.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back to the land of Oz

Well, well - Diploma hits Oz, home of Landmark, Skippy and lots of realy great wines - even if the DipStuds did seem underwhelmed by them at times! My colleague and fellow Spurs fan, Martin Moran MW, led the way and gave the students a good review of what is too big a subject for the paltry one day it gets. As always, stockists/suppliers in parentheses, details at the end.
The idea behind the wines chosen for this lecture was to show the range of styles, quality levels available in Australia along with showing the real regional variations that arise. We started with two lovely rieslings, Pewsey Vale Riesling, Eden Valley, 2008, (CA) €15.75 - classic Eden with a floral and citrus note, more lime than lemon, then Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling, Clare Valley, 2006, (CA) €17.50 - more lemon than lime and some minerality. I firmly believe that top-end Australian riesling is among the world's finest white wines and these wines were really good examples.
Then two semillons, Peter Lehmann Reserve Semillon, Barossa, 2001, (CO) €20 or so, a lovely, slightly toasty white, with real class and elegance, and then the classic Tyrell’s Vat 1 Semillon, Hunter, 2000, (BF) €33.80 - lighter in alcohol but showing really well and only just beginning to develop.
Next, two Rhone varieties - Tahbilk Marsanne, Nagambie Lakes, 2006, (CO) €12.40, quite peachy and floral, with a hint of apples, round yet elegant, and the lovely Yalumba Y Series Viognier, South Australia, 2007, (CA) €12.80, a real bargain at the price with lovely peaches and apricot character, good depth and length.
Then Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia, 2008, (OB) €9.15, a wine I think is really nice and probably underestimated by many. Snobs always forget that if wines like this didn't exist, none of us would have a job - nor would there be much fine wine to buy either! This was followed by the superb Penfold’s Yattarna Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2005, (DL) €60.00 - I love this wine because, although made by Penfold's (big, big wines) it is quite a classy chardonnay - new French oak and all the trimmings yet subtle and well-balanced.

The afternoon tasting started with Stonier Reserve Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, 2005, (GL) €31.20 - a little on the full-on side for me, but quite good. I don't think its representative of what i saw at Landmark last year but it's good for all that. Then the super Cape Mentelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, 2004, (DL) €37.95 - really classy cabernet - clean, fruity, elegant, long. This was followed by one of my favourite Australian wines Wynn’s John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, 2003, (GL) €75.00 - this one split the room! Martin and I loved it, the students didn't, and didn't see why you'd pay so much for it. For me, it was still young and needs more time in bottle, but I reckon it would do well as a ringer in a tasting of Medoc Crus Classes. Maybe I'm lucky to taste enough wines to see this but I had hoped the students could spot quality. Hmmmmmmm.
Finally, a flight of shiraz starting with the world's favourite, Casella [yellow tail] Shiraz, South Eastern Australia, 2008, (GL) €10.35 (although available at anything from about €8 if you look around). Sweet, jammy but not bad. Then a slightly bretty Tyrell’s Vat 9 Shiraz, Hunter, 2001, (BF) €27.85 - classy red Hunter fruit style but just a bit dull and drying on the palate. Shame. Then a seriously dysfunctional, if not oxidised Rosemount Balmoral Syrah, McLaren Vale, 2000, (DL) €49.25 -  a real disappointment, but then Riosemount has been for a good few years now. Brow colour, smelled like Bovril and tasted awful.
Anyway, on to better things - the classy and ancient Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz, Nagambie Lakes, 1999, (CO) €64.80 - really good Victoria shiraz - not red like Hunter, not big like Barossa, but deep, peppery and ripe elegant fruit. Love the stuff! Look out for Best's Great Western and Mt Langhi Ghiran as well - all good, as well as Bailey's of Glenrowan.
Then two beasts - Penfold’s RWT Shiraz, Barossa, 2004, (DL) €82.00 - wow! Big, yet elegant, very young and with loads of time left. Finally, partly because it's one of my all-time favourites but also because Hill of Grace would have blown the entire class budget on one bottle, the superbly elegant
Henschke Mt Edelstone Shiraz, Eden Valley, 2004, (CA) €74.50 - this is one f those wines which just takes you by surprise. It's no shrinking violet yet with all its power, its the elegance and finesse that really get to you - long, clean, superb. Can't wait for next year's lecture LOL!

The stockists are BF = Barry & Fitzwilliam, (CA) = Cassidy's, CO = Coman's, DL = Dillon's, GL = Gilbey's all wholesalers who can only sell to retailers, OB = O'Brien's.

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