The final tasting was a good one indeed.
We started the evening with a drop of bubbly. Domaine Chandon Brut NV. I've never actually had a California sparkler.. but there has to be a first time for everything.
A simple straightforward bubble. Pale straw colour, with lemon/citrus, green apple and light toast aromas. It had a good body, quite full, with a light sparkle and a fresh lemony finish. All of a sudden, I was craving smoked salmon.
Let the festivities begin.
Onward to the 2005 James Hardwick Riesling. A pale wine, leaning toward the green end. Lovely and light. With potential as well. Hold-onto-your-hat turkish delight filling the glass along with faint rose petal and I got a light pencil shaving on the nose as well. The sweetness (15g/L residual sugar) is there but it is still balanced and refreshing.
The Chardonnays were next. We tasted the 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and the 2004.
The 99 was a deep golden colour. Buttered toast and old wood. Still full in the mouth and teetering on balanced but definitely tasting a little tired. The 2000 was also golden and an absolute blast of biscuity/mealy aromas. Warm buttered brown bread and buckwheat honey. Wheew. Full and oaky and subtle baked fruit and custard apple lingering. Still solid, I'd be drinking it up on these summer nights.
The 2001 and the 2002 are the first Muddy Water Chards under screwcap. Both are unfiltered and there was a 5% drop of oak used in the progressive years. The 01 was a light yellow. All grapefruit and smoke on the nose. Even with full malo, there is a lively acidity happening and it is a little hot. The year was a warm one so consequently, there is alcohol abound. The 02 was a light straw yellow with a very involved bouquet. Faint almond cream perhaps? Very pleasant on the palate, I got the craziest, yet still subtle, flash of 'Werthers original'. Nicely balanced acidity. Pegged to be one of the favourites of the night.
The 2003 and 04 vintages were different beasts again. Both a relatively pale straw colour, the 03 had shortbread dough, cream and subtle nuttiness on the nose along with a little faint sweet grapefruit. Quite lively acidity as well. The 2004 has a story. One I won't tell here (that's at the discretion of the winemaker) but a good one indeed. All I have to say is that perhaps it is rewarding those sleepless nights. Of course, the wine is the fruitiest of the lot. Soft pear and custard on the nose. A rich wine with a substantial mouthfeel. It is slightly more balanced than the 03 but still warm from a good level of alcohol.
Down the list for me, the 2000. A yummy wine (and also because I can't stand to see a wine go past it's prime, it should be gone by then) showing age but that of a life well-lived. The 2002, 2004, 2003, 2001 and the 1999. Verticals are so interesting so a thank you to whoever suggested this for the night. I have only participated in a few verts and most of those with red wines so this was a treat. Especially with Belinda leading all the Vintages save for the 99.
The Pinot Noir was next.. and as usual, I am going to try another bottle. My first impression is that I liked it. Bottled in August, this was heavily scented.. some argued sulphur, but I think that was hasty. It did dissipate after a few minutes in the glass. I got that distinct band-aid smell, but I don't mind that if it softens with a bit of time. Wild berries, rhubarb and dried herbs, green capsicum, olive and faint earth perhaps? This garnet hued wine was full on. Lovely at the same time. Perhaps a vertical of these next year? I'll have to suggest that.
The 2004 Pinotage was another big wine. Maybe I had adjusted by the time this got poured. One whiff and all I wanted was a beef, red wine and mushroom pie. See the "Who Ate All the Pies?" post for that description. Maybe it was the munchies setting in but this ruby wine full of savoury aromas and pepper ("..was there some funk?" -overheard), priced a little high for just any old pie, still sang out for just that. A nice drop as well.
Not being able to deny the song. I stopped by the bakery this morning and bought a pie to have with it tonight.