A present from my dad.
Coonawarra, Terra Rosa 1988 Parker Estate (Australia)
In the "Open Letter to W Spectat" thread, I have offered an opinion that a
great, but unfamiliar, wine can and should be recognized on its own merit,
without any necessary reference to familiar or favorite taste.
To test this "theory", we opened tonight an Australian wine that qualified at
least in the "unknown" category. This wine was claimed to be excellent by
three different sources:
- Hugh Johnson in his Wine Pocket Encyclopedia.
- Keith Latham, an Australian forumite who raved about this wine.
- My father who gave it to me (he lives in Sydney and is very wine-literate).
According to the label, the wine is a 'First Growth' meritage of Cab Sav, Cab
Blanc and Merlot. It was aged in French and American new oak small barrels,
and the vintage was less than 1000 cases. It also claimed to be in the 'Top
100' in the 1991 International Sydney Competition (whatever this is).
COLOR: Very deep dark-red, almost totally opaque.
NOSE: Immense and dominant UNFAMILIAR bouquet. Not fruity or flowery, more
like pungent undergrowth. Not Brett, but some kind of peppery, earthy rot.
Nothing like (B) smell though. It was so strong that for a long time it masked
everything else. Only the oak and the typically 'smoky' Australian quality,
joined the dominant unidentified ingredient.
TASTE: When swallowed in mouthful, the same 'mysterious' substance dominated
the palate. A bitterish taste, though very smooth, un-tannic texture. But when
a small quantity was held in the mouth, and air inhaled through closed lips, a
whole peacock-tail of nuances kept on developing, with alcohol and acidity to
give a vibrant wholesome taste.
LENGTH: Very very long almost sweet after-taste, in full contrast to the first
impact of every sip.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Even this is hard for me to asses. In spite the austerity
and the dominance, I wouldn't call it a full-bodied wine in the sense that an
Israeli good Cab Sav or certain Cote de Nuits are. It had a very stylish
delicacy. Yet it was certainly not light-bodied wine in any sense. Alcohol and
acidity in good balance (especially when small quantities are sipped).
OVERALL: I cannot say I really liked this wine very much (Dorit liked it even
less. Well, she did not have a theory to prove...). Yet I can honestly say it
has many good qualities, and no faults whatsoever. It is certainly a well-made
complex wine. It develops beautifully in the mouth and leaves a long pleasant
after-taste. Maybe its main impact on nose and palate are of the
Dinner BTW, consisted of: salmon carpaccio in balsamic oil, sauteed zucchini,
steak Tartar with small potatoes, cheese, cherries in cream. The wine did not
go well with any of the dishes. It was always better by itself. Strange little
'great' wine, no doubt < g >.
MARK: (scratching my head...) 17/20.
Reach Me? firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.