Lindemans Bin 9003 Hunter Valley Shiraz 1995

I tasted this alongside the Tyrrell’s 4 Acres from 2006 and, although the younger wine provided more satisfaction, it was nice to see two distinctively regional expressions of Shiraz at different points in their lives.

On the nose, intensely tertiary notes of leather, sweat, spice and the sort of fruit that has become liqueur-like moments before it vanishes altogether. The aroma profile reminds me of how confronting older wines can be; while completely sound, this smells so odd, so unlike one’s idea of wine, that it may well send some drinkers fleeing to the nearest bottle of Pepperjack Shiraz. I love, though, the distinctively leathery notes this wine throws from the glass.

The palate is harder work because it has lost just slightly too much fruit through the after palate to mask its (still quite prominent) acid. There’s still pleasure here, though. I especially like its flow through the mouth. Up front, surprisingly fleshy, with leathery, spiced flavours and that residual dark berry fruit. The mid palate shows some purity before it begins to fall apart through the after palate. Flavours aren’t perfectly integrated, and there’s some oak that, for me, sticks out a bit. But this is an old wine, on its last legs really, and one oughtn’t be too impatient with its imperfections.

A gentle pleasure.

Lindemans Wines
Price: $NA
Closure: Cork
Source: Gift

Domaine des Baumard Savennières 1995

Onwards with the aged Loire Chenin tastings. This wine should make an interesting companion piece to the 1995 Domaine aux Moines sampled a few days ago.

On the basis of the present wine, I’d say the Domaine aux Moines was excessively oxidised (though still interesting to taste). By contrast, here we have an altogether fresher aroma profile. A truly inviting mix of beeswax and cooked apple, with mineral complexity woven throughout. There’s abundant detail on the nose and the elements are well integrated. Quite singular and fabulous to boot.

The entry is fresh with tingly acid that creates a cool, almost jazzy impression. Body crescendos and delivers flavour on the mid-palate that is round without being heavy. More cooked apple, pineapple and slate intersects a mouthfeel that, contradictorily, balances lively acid with luxurious viscosity. It’s as much a tactile wine as anything else. A wonderfully sophisticated savouriness swells through the after palate and soars up to the back of the mouth. I’m not sure what descriptor is best (it strikes me as slightly sulfurous but that’s an approximation more than an accurate description); it’s distinctive and is a foil to the more obviously fruit-driven aspects of the flavour profile. Long, lingering, delicate finish.

This wine is a pleasure. I’d say good bottles could go a while longer, too.

Domaine des Baumard
Price: $NA
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: September 2008

Domaine aux Moines Savennières-Roche aux Moines 1995

A mature, deep golden colour.

On the nose, a powerful, almost off-putting, aroma of overripe fruit. Initially, oxidised characters were dominant, but the longer it sits in glass, the fresher it seems to get. The most flagrantly aged notes have receded to expose some youthfulness, although there’s no mistaking this as an older wine. Sharp tropical fruit, honey, a more savoury note (perhaps related to oxidation), but with a whole range of complexities too, floral and sherbet-like in character

In the mouth, excellent, resolved acid forms a great backbone. Although the acid is quite prominent, it is wholly in balance, and adds freshness to the flavour profile. Notes of sharp tinned pineapple vye with floral honeysuckle and a sort of waxy dimension. As with the nose, it’s complex beyond easy description. Impressive intensity of flavour, and satisfying length of palate. Mouthfeel is a highlight, being relatively full and waxy.

As with other aged wines, and aged whites in particular, this will be matter of taste. The other half took an immediate and unswayable dislike to it. I rather like it, though. It seems to be getting younger as the evening wears on. Whilst I’ve not quite come to terms with the more oxidative aspects of this wine’s flavour profile, there’s a lot to like in its complexity and structure. I’d be interested to taste another bottle and understand if this one is suffering from excessive oxidation.

Domaine aux Moines
Price: $NA
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: September 2008