Reviews by richardstorchxxx_11097

Petaluma Croser Proprietor's Reserve Brut Disgorged 2007 Pinot Chardonnay 1997

See my review on the 1996 Vintage

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Sunday 17 February 2008 01:05 PM

See my review on the 1996 Vintage. Whilst 1997 is not seen as being a great vintage,I would not expect any great qualitative difference with this champagne.The reason being is that there has very clearly been a vigorous selection process implemented ,coupled with a very large general production for ordinary Croser vintage, to select from.In a way this also emphasises & illustrates why the Proprietor's Reserve is more than simply an aged Croser vintage. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Penfolds Grange Shiraz 1996

Has Robert Parker got it wrong?

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Sunday 23 March 2008 10:13 PM

Has Robert Parker got it wrong? With a lowly [comparatively speaking] rating of 93pts. Well here is the case I would guess as he would put it. 1/He owes nothing to no one.He is independent. 2/He calls it as he sees it,or tastes it!!. 3/That is why people read him in the first place 4/Perhaps, & this is obviosly speculation. That he calls the wine on what it is , not what it will become.Because that WOULD be speculation!!. In other words pure self rightousnes, & justification!!!. Why is it so hard for wine reviewers to embrace, or even aknowledge, opinions other than their own??. Have they no peers??.Are they so superior??. Here is the case as he would deny it. 1/ In "The Rewards of Patience" 6 international reviwers & more than 3 penfolds winemakers rated the 1996 an outstanding vintage [Red star] They awarded 18 such Red Stars since 1951. They also reached a consensus that the 96 would continue to develop till 2040!!. Jeremy Oliver [my favorite reviewer,because he usually agrees with me !!!.No,I'm kidding!!!] gives the 1996 grange a 98 pt rating,the only one he has ever awarded to a grange. Well there it is. 11 eminent opinions to 1!!!. Here is my 2 cents worth. I've been to 6 grange tastings,the last in 2007,in the Member's Pavillion of the S.C.G. ,with 10 enthusiatist mates. The vertical in Grange was 83 ,96 , & 2002.[All 'red star',outstanding vintages. All were outstanding,& all had important differences.The 1983 was well developed,but still to reveal it's ultimate potential,or peak!.There will still be viable bottles at the end of this century!.It is a wine full of contradictions. Smooth, yet still tannic.Developed, yet still slightly reductive , or closed.Aged,yet still growing.Complex,yet still without a full measure of subtlety,or finesse. The 1996 by direct contrast was a much more complete,urbane , & polished customer. It's sophistication emphasised by a contrasting absence of contradiction.The 96 is more than youthful,powerful,& masculine.There is almost a god-like transcendent quality,to it's depth of flavors,characters,& structure. The 1996 has also been oxygen deprived, if you like by the hype, & publicity of the 1998.Certainly, by the greedy rush to secure bottles, & the extraordinary prices paid on release.Parker gave the 1998 a 99pt rating,& it was hailed as the most outstanding vintage of the 1990's.Penfolds didn't mind,they just put the price of the 1999 up another $100.!!.With the accompaning justification that the wine was obviously being undersold!!![by them!!??] To me the 1998 is a quinticential Australian.A big open friendly upfront abundently fruited wine.Complete in almost every way.In no way lacking power, complexity, strength,depth,or sublety. So what does the 1996 have that the 1998 does not??. Simply this.THE 1996 also has a powerful agression ,a profoundly competitive & supremely penetrating length within itself, & exemplified in the depth of it's structure, & tannins.As the 96 matures this will not diminish,but just become more refined, subtle,& elegant.These qualities,may well serve to ensure the 1996 becomes the greatest,& most long-lived of all Granges. Anyway back to the S.C.G. After the tasting we kicked on to my mate Henry's, & he generously pulled the corks on a 1991 Magill Estate, & a 1986 Grange. This served to illustrate, or even prove several points. 1/Magill Estate in exeptional vintages is very close to Grange,[in quality]after all it is the foundation vinyard. 2/If money is no object 1986 is the best drinking Grange of all 3/The 1986 Grange is the finest of the intermediate style Granges,until the 1996 equals & almost certainly surpasses it.In a way the 1986 is already at a level,or place the 1996 will attain , & then move beyond. Historically speaking i believe the 1996 represents the ultimate expression of the John Duval Granges, & the 85+% shiraz - cabernet blend. In conclusion. a Q & A. Is the 96 the 'best' Grange?. No, but i believe it will be in time. Is it the best value Grange?. Yes, not because of what,or where it is , but what it will become.At around $100 less than 1990,& $250 less than the 1986 this is commercially, well illustrated. Is Grange the best Australian shiraz??.No.I prefer Henschke Hill of Grace, for many reasons.However Grange is wonderfull, & unique. Is Grange too expensive?.Not if you compare it to international wines of equivalent calibre.A more pertinent question is whether someone is prepared to to pay the price.Lots are.Seemingly more everyday,what does that say??. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Petaluma Croser Re-Release 2006 Late Disgorged Brut Pinot Chardonnay 1996

Croser appear to be committed to creating a classic, elite Australian Champagne

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Sunday 17 February 2008 12:30 PM

Croser appear to be committed to creating a classic, elite Australian Champagne [oops sparkling] in the Brut style.It is extremly limited, virtually extinct, i would imagine in this vintage. All bottles are individually numbered [seemingly to 5000].The succeeding vintage [ 1997] has now been named ,the 'Proprietor's Reserve'. With a kind of almost appropriate irony, a few of us had the opportunity of sampling this gem with the[Proprietor] Lord & Master of Cellarit himself,Mr Scott Witt,& his totally gorgeous wife Merril.The Croser was a great start to the evening. The verdict was unanimous,-very impressive. A worthy challenger to all but a very few, elite, Non-Vintage french champagnes[Krug,Bollinger,Billicart,maybe Roederer.].Definitly superior to the run of the mill NV,s. Whilst there are subtle differences in the character,& perhaps in style,[to french NVs] the quality is there.Croser is characterised by it's subtle elegance,softness,fine bead,great length,restrained dryness,& wonderfully clean finish.Even at 10 years it has a terrifically youthful sense in itself,like a young lean athlete,powerful though subtle,energetic yet controlled.The colour is still very pale ,indicating the potential for decades of further development. As my favorite Australian champagne,I still prefer Clover Hill Blanc De Blanc[ 100% Chardonay], however that is obviously a varietal thing. A most satisfying aspect, is that I now possess an all Australian weapon ,with which to terrorise wine snob mates,& aquantences,who insist they "only drink french"!!!. Seriously though, no one need have any apprehension of gifting this athletic aussie in preference to a flacid, fat & even flatulent french NV!!!. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Saltram Winemaker's Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2002

the first vintage of this outstanding wine.rated 97 pts by Jeremy Oliver

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Saturday 19 January 2008 05:55 PM

the first vintage of this outstanding wine.rated 97 pts by Jeremy Oliver.[note he rated penfolds bin 707 2002 96pts].i took a bottle to a dinner with afficiondo mates,who brought things like hill of grace 1978,bin707 1990,chateau lafite 1985,& so on.this powerfull,black monster overpowered our jaded palates wonderfully to conclude the evening!!.whilst it will continue to carve a swathe through taste buds for many years to come,it has much nuance of tobacco,dark chocolate,& massive black fruits.to say subtlety would be stretching it!!.the 2004 vintage is slighly more approachable & restrained,but perhaps only echoing the all encompassing glory of this uniquely australian beast.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Wynns Coonawarra Estate John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 1999

What a bargain!!.a magnum of coonawarra''s greatest cabernet savignon for under $200

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Friday 25 January 2008 02:29 PM

What a bargain!!.a magnum of coonawarra's greatest cabernet savignon for under $200.owning a bottle of John Riddoch is like doing 'hard time!!'-10 to 15 years.a magnum is 25 to life.i recently enjoyed a magnum of JR 1993 a lesser vintage,& it was wonderful.still 5 years from its peak.whenever i want to impress an overseas guest i reach for a JR.It is the finest expression of coonawarra cabernet. the upfront explosion of euclyptus,followed immediately with the more subtle notes of menthol,& mint.the piercing dry length that seems to last eons, as it penetrates your torso,& fills you with a lovely smooth warmth,through it's rich, balanced, full, dark fruit.this wine is a masterpiece without compromise.a great australian.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Wynns Coonawarra Estate Johnson's Block Shiraz Cabernet 2003

This is the first vintage of a new offering from Sue Hodder

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Saturday 26 January 2008 02:02 PM

This is the first vintage of a new offering from Sue Hodder.It fully demonstates,the enormous viticultural efforts she,& Wynns have made.Not a hint of greeness. So,where did this up & comer originate??.Did it's 85% shiraz contribute to Wynns Michael??,or the very underated 'grey' label?? A best guess is the former,in most years. However this marriage must have [like so many!!] been a troubled one. Perhaps Johnson suffered from a lack of structure,or seasonal jamminess,or over-ripeness.Like so many second marriages,the new relationship is definitly a successfull,& more harmonious one!!.Whilst Johnson is the dominant partner,the cabernet spouse is clearly the elite selection from Wynns very underpriced 'Black Label'. In my view,the comparison between blends & marriage is an apt one. In any healthy parnership the result is greater than the sum of the two individuals.this is the case in point. The cabernet delivers structure,definition,length,& contrast,with a pleasing dry finish.It supplies a foundation & enhancement of Johnson's white pepper,spice,& fruit. Is this Coonawarra's best Shiraz-Cabernet blend?? Well no,the 2004 will surpass the 2003,but not for many years. The 2003 is far more approachable.Do I hear mention of Lindeman's Limestone Ridge?? Unfortunately that is a wine losing it's way in both a viticultural & marketing sense [sadly],it has always been a favorite of mine too. At under $40 Johnson's Block represents better value,[ & perhaps even better quality],than it's peers & competition. ie: Penfolds Bin 389,Lindemans L.Stone Ridge,& Yalumba Signature.At worst,it is an intimidating,& formidable new challenger. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

It has been said [with, in my view undue malice!!] that this wine is to australian wine cellars

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Monday 4 February 2008 05:26 PM

It has been said [with, in my view undue malice!!] that this wine is to australian wine cellars,what the Holden Commodore is to the australian garage!!!: A common occupant!!.However if there is anything common about this wine, it is only that it is produced in great,perhaps even vast,quantities. This is one of many facts that make the 'Black Label',one of the most important wines produced in australia. Speaking of Commodore comparisons. There was a more devastatingly,malicious,even malevolent one,made about Princess Mary,by a former boyfriend.Very usefull for cheering up dispondent,divorced, & separated mates.The bloke said that SHE, was like a Holden Commodore :That she would go anywhere,do anything,but at the end of the day,it was all just a bit boring!!!.Horrible, I know.I apologise. I digress.Every year wine writers bemoan quality australian wine being undersold,& Black Label is a favorite example: a $40 - $50 wine being sold for 1/2 price. Every year there are rumours,of price increases,revisions. Warnings of this being the last 'cheap' Black Label. Yes things have happened,but the impact has had no overall adverse effect.continual improvements in viticulture,& winemaking practice, have resulted in an even more refined,& impressive Black Label,this decade,& within sucessive vintages. Wynns will never confirm just how large their production is.I have heard rumors of over 30,000 cases,that is a lot of red.Dan Murphy put a lot into their cold storage warehouse each year,which further confuses the issue. Consequently the sheer volume of production maintains an afordable price.[so far!]. This resource/production is also the viticultural bedrock,even guarantee of the greatness of Wynns John Riddoch.There will always be exceptional parcels for the elite wine.When the John Riddoch is not produced [ie 2000,2001,2002.]These elite parcels at least maintain,if not enhance the quality of the Black Label.The end result is that this wine is the most consistant, quality cabernet produced in Australia,& will always be so. As such,the Black Label is a crucial benchmark,& standard, by which all other australian cabernet must be compared, & measured. So who are the peers of Black Label,& how do they compare. Balnaves is a worthy contender,& it is more expensive.Zema in particular vintages,& it cannot match the consistancy.St Hugo is better in most vintages,however it is a more earthy style,& more expensive.Penley Phoenix matches B.L. only in rare vintages.Get the idea. Wynns Black Label Cabernet Savignon is one of Australia's pre-eminent wines. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Penfolds Grange Shiraz 1996

See my review on the 1996 vintage in the 750 ml listing

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Sunday 23 March 2008 10:34 PM

See my review on the 1996 vintage in the 750 ml listing.As this is a magnum I would not be thinking of drinking this until 2016 at the earliest!! Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Penfolds Grange Shiraz 1998

Find my in - depth comments, & analysis of this vintage in my review of the 1996 Grange.

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Monday 24 March 2008 01:24 AM

Find my in - depth comments, & analysis of this vintage in my review of the 1996 Grange. Without doubt this is an outstading vintage of an iconic wine.The 1998 is the most immediately approachable, & ripe Grange ever relased until the 2001 vintage. Historically it was the last shiraz-cabernet blend [97%shiraz],& the last John Duval made grange. Jeremy Oliver awarded 97 pts to the 1998. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers 93)
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Penfolds Grange Shiraz 1983

Find my in depth comments on this vintage,in my review on the 1996 Grange.

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Sunday 23 March 2008 11:45 PM

Find my in depth comments on this vintage,in my review on the 1996 Grange. A singularly individual Grange! Jeremy Oliver awards the 1983 96 pts. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

See my review on this brand on the 2004 vintage.

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Sunday 17 February 2008 04:40 PM

See my review on this brand on the 2004 vintage. I reviewed this vintage for the 750ml. Being a magnum, there is the usual effect on maturation. The common equation is to add about 40% to the predictions.I would add that the larger volume vessel will help this wine considerably,by giving it more definition,due to the suual slower maturation. Cheers W.D.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Wynns Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

See my in-depth appraisal on this brand in my review on the Wynns 2004 cabernet savignon.

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Tuesday 5 February 2008 04:24 AM

See my in-depth appraisal on this brand in my review on the Wynns 2004 cabernet savignon.The 2001 is close to it's peak.As such it may be drinking relatively better than other recent vintages right now.Wynns decision not to produce the elite John Riddoch in 2001, has certainly helped this vintage attain a high standard.I feel this vintage belongs in the company of the previous decade, in a stylistic sense,as chocolate, & more earthy characters come to prominence.In short a good & interesting Black Label,but not a great one.Considering the challenges of the vintage,a very good outcome.

  • Rating: N/A (Average for all reviewers )
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Kilikanoon Covenant Shiraz 2001

if you like Clare Valley shiraz this offering from Kevin Mitchell is hard to go past.

Reviewed by richardstorchxxx_11097 - Saturday 19 January 2008 07:33 PM

if you like Clare Valley shiraz this offering from Kevin Mitchell is hard to go past.the current vintage retails for over $40,so this must be value.i've drunk 3 bottles & i'm impressed.clare shiraz can be hard edged & slighly metallic when immature,but the covenant shows no trace,only lovely ripe purply fruit.the best thing about clare shiraz is that it is neither cool or warm climate.in a sense it can be the best [or worst !!]of both worlds.combining the ripe fruit of the barossa,with the elegance of cooler regions.whilst the 2002,2004,2005 have higher ratings,i wonder if they are drinking better now??

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