Dinner at a friend’s house, some notable wines.

The Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Grand Cuvee 1998 introduced the evening well. Very mushroomy nose, and a palate that shows perhaps slightly excessive dosage for my taste, but brilliant intensity and drive. Citrus notes and acid clean up the entry’s sweetness and whisk everything away to a dry finish. A wine with real presence and decent complexity.

A bottle of Clonakilla Viognier 2006 was good for a few “oohs and ahhs,” as it’s a very assertive style. Showed in line with my previous note. Nice wine, I struggle with food matching though.

The highlight was almost certainly a good bottle of the 1972 Penfolds Bin 128. There’s still some blackberry fruit in there, but it’s mostly the flavours of bottle age, deliciously complex and funky, that dominate the wine’s profile. Powerful tobacco, walnuts, minerals and sweet leather. Tannins still provide noticeable structure and dryness, so it’s not going to fall over tomorrow, but I can’t see why one would wait longer to drink this. Just excellent.

To accompany trifle, we had a 1955 Rivesaltes fortified. A very interesting wine whose best feature is an astonishingly long palate to rival our better local fortifieds (although notably different in style from them). Surprisingly delicate fruit flavours that are complex but revolve around bright candied citrus peel. A fresh and well balanced sweet wine that we all found extremely easy to drink.

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