Thursday, November 20, 2008


It's been a busy time with work, so the old treasures have taken a break. But last weekend, a big group of us were eating and drinking, and it was appropriate to add on a pair of old pairs of wines.
A look at a couple of reds at a quarter of a century of age. 1983 Ch. Chasse Spleen alongside a 1983 Cooks Private Bin Fernhill Cabernet Sauvignon. Surely the French aristocrat would be superior to the Antipodean upstart? Not so. While the claret was not old or fading, it was packed with brett. The Kiwi wine was a little unripe and greenish, but it was clean and fresh. Both were surprisingly drinkable. A pair of wines that reminded us to keep an open mind.
Then the next night, a pair of Wynns 'John Riddoch' Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignons. From two vintages which writers and critics say that they will be interesting foils to each other in the future. Both rated top years, the 1990 a perfectly ripe year which the Aussies rated better. The 1991 from a cooler, more elegant vintage, which trendy(at the time forward thinking, cool-climate espouser) types and New Zealanders liked. The 1990 was gloriously integrated with superb cedary notes. The 1991 more earthy and a touch grubby. It might have been a bad bottle, but I couldn't see how it could be better than the 1990. A pair of young ladies present preferred the 1991, 'cos it was their birth year!