Sunday, June 8, 2008

Treasures - Not! Or is it Maybe?

In a complete contrast, I thought I'd try some real old N.Z wines. What a shocker, mate! First up, a couple of Montana Marlborough Rieslings. Two bottles of the 1988 - yes 20 years old. That's Cyclone Bola year. Both gone golden, with gentle oxidative and honey notes. Still surprisingly sweet and lush. But not drinkable now. The 1989 was less oxidised, but also with less fruit. A bit acid, dryish and not much pleasure.

Looking at some 1986 Cabernet/Merlot blends, a reasonably ripe year, with big yields. Te Mata didn't fare too well that year with their famed 'Coleraine' and 'Awatea', the wines now tending weak, green and faded. What hope for the following then?

1986 Coopers Creek Cabernet Merlot - Acidic, herby and sharp, but with some tannin grip and depth. Drinkable, but not for SWMBO.
1986 Ngatarawa 'Awlyn' Cabernet/Merlot - Faded, papery, thinner and weaker, more dilute cedar and some fungal notes. Rather dried out.
1986 Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet/Merlot - 60% and 40% respectively, from Auckland and Kumeu fruit, 14 months in new 500 litre German and French oak. Lighter, fragrant cedar and green notes, the oak showing. A little dryish and lean, but OK.

Not having much joy, three more attempts at drinkability:
1986 Esk Valley Black Label Cabernet/Merlot, 60% and 40% respectively, 12 months in French oak. Light, green plain, some cedar. Commercial then, commercial now. But not worth sipping.
1986 Matawhero Cabernet/Merlot - I think of Hatsch Kalberer and Gisborne. Fabulous condition of the cork. Cedary and milky, some body and guts, a little acid, but this is in good nick! Phew!
1986 St Nesbit Cabernet/Franc and Merlot from South Auckland, aged in new oak. Tony Molloy QC was the man behind it, and it was a high flyer at the time. Expensive stuff, but he grubbed up the vines, affected by virus. Cedar and spices from the new oak, silky smooth and fine-grained tannins. Not much fruit, but a lovely oak drink.

Not an auspicious drinking night.....It shows how far we have come with viticulture.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Tribute to Robert Mondavi

With Robert Mondavi passing away recently, it was appropriate to toast the great man with his 1990 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Not inexpensive at the time at over $100 a bottle. Shared with SWMBO and friends including one who is in the employ of the big Constellation, who now own the Mondavi franchise, the wine was in good form. Big, ripe, substantial, but with plenty of brett. It must have been made from pretty darn fine fruit in its day. Good on yah, Mr Mondavi. You were and are an inspiration.

To follow it up, we had a look at a 1982 Ch. Pontet Canet Pauillac. Lotsa Cabernet fruit coming thru, tight and a litttle unyielding. Looked more meaty and complex the next day. Likewise with a 1982 Ch. Lafaurie Peyraguey Sauternes, dryish and seemingly modest on the night of opening, but with greater richness and plenty of botrytis the next day.

Gee, it's a treat to have these older wines sometimes.