From the Cellar: Delas Les Bessards Hermitage 2003 – $$$+
In the world of wine there are many famous ‘bumps’ in the landscape from which superlative wines are produced. You can think of the Pomerol plateau from which Petrus hails, or the hill of Corton. There is the grand cru hill bearing Les Clos in Chablis, the hillsides of Barolo in Piedmont, and even NZ’s own Te Mata peak. But few are more famous than the hill of Hermitage on the left bank of the Rhône river in France. And on that hill, there are few more famous vineyards than Les Bessards.
I was fortunate to secure a bottle for the Pool Room, and it proved yet again why I drink old wine.
Dark carmine colour, browning on rim. 14% alc.
Gorgeous developed bouquet. Dark fruits, oak and vanilla. All soft and sensual and savoury. I could sniff this wine all night.
To drink the wine was deliciously smooth and rich and full of ripe fruit. There was engaging heat at the back, and it showed perfect fruit weight. There was acid and supple tannins in perfect balance. A superb food wine, and so rewarding as an aperitif.
I double-decanted this wine, and it hit the ground running. Superb.
Exceptional 99 points.
Off Topic: Yann Chave Hermitage Rhone 2003- $$$+
Deep ruby crimson colour. 14 % alc.
Smokey on the nose, funky, soapy, dusty, redolent of wooden-floored halls and dry grass. So much going on! It continued opening up gloriously in the glass – all tertiary character, developed dark fruit, dried blackcurrant, pink roses, lavender and pencil lead. Such exotic gorgeousness!
Opens with still primary fruit in the mouth, flavours of dark cherries, and lovely acid balance. Fine tannins. Huge length. Fat, rich and opulent, and a pure, mimeral seam throughout. A profound Rhone, just amazing.
Exceptional 98 points
From the Cellar: Escarpment Pahi SV Pinot Noir Martinborough 2010 – $$$
G came around tonight for dinner with L and I. As promised, I cracked a bottle of Pinot Noir from the cellar to match the bottle he bought for our wedding last year. It was, alas, not up to the occasion…
…Vegetal, stalky, angular & thin. A true cool climate example, but showed light fruit, less than ripe, certainly not luscious, and showed green. A MAJOR disappointment. I do recall, at the 2012 tasting from which I bought this wine, that I was charmed by the floral femininity of the wine, but that I was the only one in the room thus charmed…therefore; lesson: note the ‘ wisdom of crowds’ in future…
Te Mata Woodthorpe Vineyard Syrah Viognier Hawkes Bay 2003
G supplied two bottles for dinner, ex an auction he had recently bought at. What a treat!
This wine was savoury and spicy, with white pepper notes, sweet ripe fruit, balanced tannins and fruit. Yum. A total delight!
Te Mata Woodthorpe Vineyard Merlot / Cabernet Hawkes Bay 2006
An upfront nose of vanilla and baking spice. Balanced fruit, structured tannins, licorice and cocoa. Dense and flavoursome.
Hammer Time: Palliser Estate Martinborough Pinot Noir 2003 – $$$
Hah. I had been looking forward to this one, ever since I bought it at the Dunbar Sloan wine auction late last year. Wanted to compare it with the excellent 2005 L and I had a while back.
I love it. 13%. Pinot ruby colour, browning at the edge a little. Gorgeous nose, all shroomy with floral violets. To drink, it is smooooth, with buckets of red cherries and spice. An excellent balance of age and fruit. 4.5
What am I bid? Dunbar Sloane Auctioneers ran another fayne wayne auction last week, and I won a few lots.
Other bidders were after the Chateau Haut Margaux Rothschild Latour and other French filth, but I only had eyes for Olde Kiwi.
New Zealand wines back in the day typically came off relatively young vines and were made for drinking rather than keeping. There are of course exceptions, but this is as I understand it. I therefore suspected that some of the ‘second-hand’ wines on offer at the auction might well turn out to be really second-hand, so I was not prepared to pay more than $14 each.
I missed out on a few really early examples that were bought for $16 and $18 and more. Shame. I would have liked a Coleraine from the mid-80s but not at the prices they went for. The audience must have been drinking. And what was going on with those old Cornerstone’s selling for $60 a bottle…!
When no-one was looking I scored a 2003 Palliser Estate Pinot Noir for $14; two Palliser Pencarrow 2009 Chards for $10 each (forgetting that I dissed said wine from my cellar only a short time ago – I’m hoping [hoping!] these will be better…) and two Te Mata 2005 Awatea cab merlots for $$$ (I couldn’t resist)…Not as old as I’d hoped, but there is always another auction around the corner.
I’ll put one of the Awateas away in the Pool Room for next year, but everything else will go south over the next month or two and I’ll write them up.