Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Mission to the Judean Hills

Another weekend of foraging in the cellar and finding some Alice in Wonderland-style bottles that had 'Drink Me' written (invisibly of course) all over them.

I last tasted the Mission Vineyards Reserve Syrah 2002 from the Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bayin autumn 2005. Then, I said 'drink up to 2009' - I was wrong. It has mellowed and is showing some leathery edges, but it's still wonderfully bright and peppery with vibrant dark fruit flavours and a spicy finish. Still at least another five years ahead of it, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it going on for another five years.

By contrast, I'd thought that the 2001 Domaine Castel Chardonnay from the Judean Hills would still be going strong at age 10. But on the strength of the bottle opened this evening, I'd overestimated its longevity.

It wasn't dead, but while there was still the minerally, almost briny undercurrent that you'll also find in the excellent red, the fruit was fading, and a slightly cheesy/oxidised edge didn't add to the pleasure. No worse than some of the prematurely oxidised Burgundies of similar age. but a slight disappointment. Tonight I'm on a terrific Valpolicella - will post on that tomorrow...

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