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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, May 23, 2011

Barossa beauties

On a day of high winds, US presidential visits there were two excellent tastings in Dublin. The first was the Wine Australia A+ tasting, held at Croke Park. The quiet hour was good and I tasted some nice wines but then the Nowhere Man arrived and, as I cannot stand him and wish never to meet him again I decided to skip off early. However, help arrived from an unexpected corner: Mr James Marsh, formerly Landmark wine-elf (along with P J Charteris) and he allowed me to sneak into the tutorial room where a venerable range of Barossa beauties was lined up for a later tasting.
If you are one of those who think Australia only produces big, jammy, drink now wines then this was a tasting to really get into. Starting with an Orlando Eden Valley Cabernet Shiraz 1980 the 10 wines finished with a First Drop Fat of the Land Greenock Shiraz 2008 - so 18 years of shiraz!
The Orlando Eden Valley Cabernet Shiraz 1980 was fading somewhat - very brown in appearance but with some nice fruit to it; drink up soon, but enjoy the fact that at 31 years old it's still decent! The Peter Lehmann Dry Red Shiraz 1981 had more depth to it, garnet colour but with a lovely mature fruit nose and some sweet fruit on the palate.
We then jumped 10 years to a beautiful Henschke Mount Edelstone 1991: fading beautifully it was a bit herbaceous on the nose but had lovely plum and chocolate notes on the palate and is still gorgeous. The St Hallett Old Block 1992 was typical of the estate - big, rich, jammy prune fruits, still a bruiser!
Another Orlando, the Centenary Hill Shiraz 1995 was very youthful, being peppery, powerful but with juicy plum fruits and very long. Lovely wine with a very modern label - I loved the old label on the 1980 and would love to see more like that!
Then an unfortunately iffy Rockford Basket Press 1996: the first bottle was noticeably volatile being all floral, the second was better with more plums, prunes and spice. Classically rich and uncompromising and still going well (allowing for an odd bottle LOL!).
Then into the noughties with a Langmeil The 1843 Freedom 2004 - juicy, luscious, plums, sweet prunes, dates and spice, a really gorgeous wine. An Amon-Ra 2005 was very young, big and rich; the Barossa Valley Estates E & E Black Pepper 2006 was really good (formerly Hardy's for those of you who remember the wine); finally the youngest wine First Drop Fat of the Land Greenock Shiraz 2008 which was good but overshadowed by its illustrious predecessors!
Go to the Barossa Vintage website for some excellent information; the book given out at the tasting is an excellent source of historical information about the Barossa and our own Redmond Gavin and Jacinta Delahaye are even pictured therein!

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