Offcuts: one bottle at a time

Friday evening saw a reconvening of Brisbane’s own single bottle dinner, the first of which I wrote about back in May. Quite by chance, August’s line-up was considerably more eclectic, and I must eat my words regarding Cabernet: the wine that caused the greatest stir was clearly a 1996 Stonyridge Larose.

But first to some of the earlier wines, which also provided much pleasure. A fruit-shy, breathtakingly acidic 2010 Domaine Belluard Vin de Savoie Blanc Gringet Le Feu ushered us into the evening. Quite a mouthful of a name, so lucky for us it was first up. This wine showed a range of delicate fruit notes in a higher toned, floral spectrum. I felt it lost a bit through the after palate, perhaps a function of the acid seeming to truncate the fruit’s expression. In need of some time, maybe?

This was an idiosyncratic lead-in to perhaps two of the most conventional wines of the evening: a 2009 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Les Chaillets Vieilles Vignes and a 2007 Domaine Dublere Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées, the latter of which was my contribution. Both wines were lovely. The Condrieu was full of Viognier goodness – apricots and paw paw, mostly. I particularly enjoyed the mouthfeel of this wine. The Burgundy was all about drive and power, perhaps at the expense of some finesse, but still an impressive wine. It evolved particularly quickly in the glass.

A novelty bottle-oaked Riesling was followed by a considerably more conventional, quite delicious 2002 Annie’s Lane Copper Trail Riesling. There was some debate regarding the fruit’s intensity and whether it will outlast the wine’s structure, but for my taste this is drinking quite well now, as some aged notes are beginning to express wihtin the context of a soft, still quite primary flavour profile. A gentle, pastel wine with a fresh acid kick.

A couple of unusual reds were next, being a 2006 The Gran Cruor Syrah and a 2007 Domaine Duseigneur Antares Grenache blend from Lirac. I found the latter a bit straightforward and I think it suffered from following the Syrah. I was deeply intrigued by the Priorat’s unusual development, driven by fruit that seemed sun-kissed to the point of dessication. Not normally a compliment, perhaps, but I found the flavours attractive and moreish.

The Stonyridge was next and it just blew everything else away, as far as I’m concerned. Concentrated soy sauce and umami flavours, a luscious tannin structure and the sort of deep intensity that fills the mouth with each taste. This is a long way from Bordeaux but the style struck me as deeply coherent. Loved it and was grateful to have had the opportunity to taste it.

Ordinarily, the next wine, a 1994 Wendouree Cabernet Sauvignon, would be expected to hit some heights, and indeed it did, though in quite a different style from the Kiwi wine. This was Clare rusticity all the way, a choc-mint aroma profile leading into a wine that is both rough-hewn and quite perfect in form. I especially enjoyed the palate structure’s suppleness. It lacked the scale and luxe of the Stonyrise, but in its relatively austere way was a beautiful wine.

It’s a bit tough towards the end of these evenings to maintain focus, so a Dutschke Sun Dried Shiraz liqueur was perfect. Ridiculously rich in a slutty, rather than noble, way, this completely overshadowed our dessert and, for a dinner whose focus was a celebration of wine, I’m glad it did.

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