A Tasting at the Wine Gallery

Andrew sent out an email to the DGS listhost, informing us of a free wine tasting of Australian and New Zealand Wines at the Wine Gallery Saturday. I was intrigued by the vast quantity of wines available for tasting – 76!!! – and curious to visit an unexplored wine shop. A little odd though, that nobody else on the 60 strong listhost wanted to join me. No matter, Wellian and I had been trying to meet up for the longest time now, so I invited him over for the afternoon. Hehe, he isn’t that big a drinker (tried prolly a third of what I tasted), but it was fun to catch up and chat nonetheless.

Elderton Command Shiraz 2005, Australia – Hehe, when I first arrived, I was a little overwhelmed by the packed tables of closely stacked bottles of wines available for tasting (76 different wines in all), and thus tried to get a handle on my confusion by going for the label that I knew. The Elderton. Could I have this please? I asked the guy, pointing at the unopened bottle of the Elderton Command. Would you want to try the Elderton Friends bottle instead, he asked, lifting the opened bottle of Friends. I demurred, since I had tasted it before (at Seven Ate Nine with Tanya and Paul). Smiling slightly as he opened the Command, he said, woah, you’ve gunned straight for the most expensive bottle in the room. Oops. Hehe.

Oh but it was good. We really shouldn’t have started on that bottle. Almost everything after couldn’t compare. It had a beautiful inky color, with a nose that smelled almost as dense as it looked, of concentrated raisins. Super smooth in the mouthfeel with a finish that lingered on and on. Totally loved it!

The Wine Advocate writes of the wine (97 points):

Elderton’s flagship is the single vineyard Command Shiraz, a wine with serious aging potential, and one with which all other South Australia Shiraz must be compared. The opaque purple/black 2005 Command Shiraz was aged in French and American oak puncheons (500-liter barrels). It offers up a sexy/kinky bouquet of wood smoke, lavender, leather, game, mineral, black raspberry, and blueberry pie. Voluptuous on the palate, complex, and dense, it demands a decade of cellaring after which it should offer hedonists much pleasure through 2035.”

Stephen Tanzer writes of the wine (94 points):
Inky ruby color. Vibrant raspberry, cherry-vanilla and coconut aromas are complemented by candied licorice and smoky minerals. Pliant, palate-coating red and dark berry preserve flavors are perked up by Asian spices and smoky minerals. Pretty exotic but not over the top, with gentle tannins adding shape and focus to the long, sweet finish. This is downright sexy today.

D’arenberg the Laughing Magpie Shiraz Viognier 2007, Australia – Unfortunately for this wine, we tasted it right on the heels of the Command. It tasted hot, with a tinge of metal in the mouth, and wasn’t as satisfyingly smooth or full bodied. A decent wine on its on to be sure nonetheless.

Elderton Ode to Lorraine CSM 2005, Australia – I think I’m a fan of Elderton wines; would be awesome if I could visit their vineyard if I do manage to go to Barossa in September. 🙂 This one was delicious, with a nose so strongly reminiscent of Ribena that even Wellian agreed. Hehe. It also reminded me somewhat of a Maderia, with a sun burnt quality. Heh it was rated the top 16 wine of 2008. The American Singaporean (AS, we’ll call him. That’s the correct terminology for a migrated American?? Heh) standing next to us couldn’t help remarking over and over when he was tasting this wine, oh my god, this wine would do me in, it’s so damn strong. Indeed, it was, a heavy, powerful wine. He thought it would be too heavy to go with steak, I reckoned it would be a perfect after-dinner/dessert wine.

Stella Bella Tempranillo 2005, Australia – The AS wasn’t a fan of the powerful wines, it turned out. Singapore’s too hot, he said, and recommended his favorite tasting of the day, the Tempranillo (more often a Spanish wine). It was much lighter, smoother. Actually, kind of a milder version of the CSM, which I found way more fun.

Green Point Pinot Noir 2007, Australia – My best value tasting of the day, hands down. The AS was similarly enthusiastic about it as well. This light colored – almost pink – Pinot Noir was more old world style, with a huge earthy nose of truffles. Beautiful nose, and deliciously meaty body and finish. I need to stock up on this; only I’m not sure if the usual fare we eat at home would pair well with this.

Cape Mentelle Zinfandel 2006, Australia – Wellian liked this one, nice and smooth.

St Hallet Old Block Shiraz 2005, Australia – Another recommendation of the AS. Nice big nose, very full bodied wine, but not nearly as sweet as the command or the CSM.

Jacob Creek Johann Shiraz Cabernet 2001, Australia – It was smooth, not bad, but for its price (~S$126) somewhat unexciting.

Fox Creek Shiraz Grenache 2007, Australia – Not bad, quite smooth.

Mitchelton Crescent Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache 2004, Australia – Rhone style, not too bad, but otherwise unmemorable – don’t have notes on it.

Green Point Sparkling Rose NV, Australia – After the exciting Pinot Noir from the same vineyard, I was thoroughly disappointed by this. It was insipid, without a nose, and without a body and finish. Basically your kind of wafer thin model wihout any curves whatsoever. The bubbles were huge and clumsy too. Hmm, actually, I just glanced through my journal, and I have tasted another Green Point before, a Viognier from our Yarra Valley DGS Tasting. I wasn’t impressed by the Viognier then too. But I really like their Pinot.

Sileni Estate Circle Semillon 2004, New Zealand – Lemony, limestone, nice refreshing weight in the mouthfeel

Montana Pinot Noir 2007, New Zealand – Not too bad, but I much prefer the Green Point Pinot Noir in terms of aromas, smoothness, and finish. This one seemed a shadow of the Green Point.

D’arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2006, Australia – It had a meaty nose, which stood it apart from the other Shiraz I had that day, but apart from that, I can’t remember too much about it


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