Library Tasting – The 1975 Vintage – Bordeaux, Australia, New Zealand

1975 tasting 1

Another tasting event/treat for those of us who love OLD wine: Geoff Kelly opened his cellar and invited us to sample some of his collected wines from the 1975 vintage…

This was billed as “1975 Vintage Part II (modest)”, as usual hosted in the upstairs tasting room at Regional Wines. An earlier tasting, 1975 Part I, contained a number of highly esteemed (and priced) French reds, but that tasting was priced out of my reach. This one priced at $40 a seat was irresistible.

Geoff welcomed L and I into the room and said we brought a “positive vibe” to the proceedings. Nice.

Geoff writes in his tasting notes, “[1975] almost reluctantly emerges as perhaps the second-best vintage of the 1970’s after 1970 itself. It was a stern and tannic year, which is not so appealing to modern palates, but the tannin has enabled the good / rich ones to live.” In a flight of 12 wines; much to look forward to then…

We poured the wines ourselves, blind, passing the bagged bottles around the tables, and measuring ourselves pours of 30mls, so that 22 participants could share a single bottle. Once all poured, we set about to review, nose and taste the assembled wines…*

*All the wines presented in various shades of browning, tawny red wine colour, and that is all I will say. I report my thoughts below, and those of Geoff and the audience:

1975 tasting 2

Ch. Liversan Haut-Medoc Cru-Bourgeois 1975 – original price $9.28. Geoff’s ‘sighter’ for the tasting – lightly, nicely aromatic. Astringent in the mouth (although as our palates adjusted to the wines, and we re-tasted this later; it showed better). Hint of lollies, hit of acid, light fruit, elegant finishes well. Quite full. Fragrant through the palate. Nice.

Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Private Bin 1975 (NZ)– from Hawkes bay/Waimauku/Gisborne. Original price $3.20. A modest wine at release. I saw it as developed, light bodied, high acidity, with barnyard and seaside aromatic characters. There was some fruit weight, but predominant capsicum and green leafy-ness. The first of the New Zealand wines. It didn’t suck.

Ch. Moulinet Pomerol 1975 – Rare to see Pomerol’s in NZ at that time. Bouquet of aniseed, sticking plaster, tomato sauce – a nice fragrance. Complex flavours of old fruit, wet wool, moss, underbrush, quite delicious. We are getting into the tasting now. The ‘gentleness’ is pleasing.

Stanley Leasingham Cabernet / Malbec Bin 56 1975 (Australia) – Perfumed, florals, lifted, fruity. Looks youthful in the present company. Deepest colour in the glass. Stunning wine – full, rich. I love the choc and cocoa. Others saw mint and eucalypt, and liked the generosity of fruit. A modern wine. My second favourite. 4+

Elliot Oakdale Dry Red Private Bin 1975 (Australia) – Meaty aromas ( a positive), tomato sauce, acid nose, thin. Tasted meaty too, like casserole. Leathery, slightly burnt flavours. ‘Mousy-ness’ as well.

Montana Cabernet Sauvignon Gisborne 1975 (NZ) – Grapes grown in an improbable area for quality Cab Sav. Release price $3.20. Tomato sauce on the nose again, eucalyptus too. Red capsicum. Light fruit, receded., thin and gone, acid to the fore. Shows underripe Cabernet. My least favoured wine. Duh.

Ch. Cantemerle Medoc Cinquièmes Cru 1975 – Aromatic, with cassis and dried fruit. Good flavours of ripe fruit, plenty of acid to the fore, others saw it a little green and stalky. A tasty wine.

Ch. La Tour Carnet Haut Medoc Quatrièmes Cru 1975 – A surprising nose of apples/bobbing apples, fragrant. Nice fruit flavours with integrated tannins and good fullness. A lovely wine. My third favourite. 4

Nobilo Cabernet Sauvignon Huapai 1975 (NZ) – Tomato sauce & herbaceous nose, vanilla and tobacco. Tasted great with developed fruit flavours and integrated tannins and acid. The lightest colour. The best kiwi red.

Richard Hamilton Cabernet Sauvignon McLaren Vale 1975 (Australia) – A ‘hard to come by wine’ even then. Vanilla bouquet, baking aromas, biscuit dough. Sweet in the mouth and full of flavour. Butterscotch and salted caramel. It presents as a delicious dessert wine, funnily.

Wolf Blass Grey Label Cabernet Sauvignon Langhorne Creek 1975 (Australia) – This was a bottle bought, in it’s day, to impress the ladies. A bit flash. Gorgeously perfumed, smelt rich and inviting. All class, bags of flavour and body. Perfect tannins. Mouthfilling and coating. My favourite wine, far and away. 5

Ch. Talbot St Julien Quatrièmes Cru 1975 – Light nose, lanolin. Acid, with backward fruit. Some sharpness, and a step backward from the Wolf Blass. Geoff thought it showed lovely balance and elegance, and finished on fruit. But he may have been swayed by the label and old-times-sake.

*                                         *                                            *

A stunning tasting. Really interesting and informative. Not a dud wine amongst the collection, if the intention was education and appreciation of mature wine.

I offer my sincere thanks to Geoff for sharing some of his collection with us. Check out his website at







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s