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How is it Ageing ?

1997 Australian Shiraz Tasting Notes

By Mark Wickman

13th April 2005

This is the second in a series of tasting notes that will attempt to give a personal view of how a number of Australian wines are ageing. This particular article is my notes from a recent tasting event. A group of Adelaide wine enthusiasts known as 'The Blacktongues' meet on a regular basis throughout the year and taste their way through a line-up of premium wines. The wine is served blind, and the group of 14 to 17 persons have an hour to decide on their favorite, least favorite and two other wines that would come in at second and third place.

My personal tasting notes and the voting results of the panel are listed below. As a comparison I have added respected wine critic Jeremy Oliver's scores and drinking windows where available. I have also included the current price these wines fetch at auction (before commission) as this can also be a good (but not accurate as other factors influence demand besides quality) indicator on how the market views these wines.

Jeremy Oliver Scores and drinking windows were obtained via the Onwine website at http://www.onwine.com.au/

1997 Majella Shiraz, Coonawarra
A nice purple color with some lightening at the edge. An excellent nose of sweet chocolate and blackberry that fairly leapt out of the glass. A medium bodied, elegant wine with with complex nuances of berry, plums, nuts and lovely spices. Good length and tannins.
Personal rating: 7/10
Blacktongues panel: 2nd
Jeremy Oliver: 94 2002 - 2005+
Current Auction price: $30

1997 Summerfield Reserve Shiraz, Pyrenees
Good fruit intensity and body, sweet berry and sage with elegant, nicely complex flavours on the finish.
Personal rating: 6/10
Jeremy Oliver: Not available
Current Auction price: $30

1997 Scarpantoni Block 3 Shiraz, McLaren Vale
Quite a suprise, this is coming along just nicely, good fruit intensity with some chocolate and berrys on the palate and nicely integrated tannins. Good mix of primary and secondary flavours. This is great quality for about $15 on the secondary market.
Personal rating: 5/10
Jeremy Oliver: 87 2002 - 2005
Current Auction price: $15

1997 Bowen Estate Shiraz, Coonawarra
A nice nose of dusty chocolate but the finish had a slight bitterness,unbalanced and starting to dry out a bit. Still a pleasant wine on its own but its faults showed up in the company of the other wines.
Personal rating: 4/10
Jeremy Oliver: 88 2005 - 2009
Current Auction price: $20

1997 Lengs and Cooter Old Vine Shiraz, Clare Valley
A lovely, well defined nose with nice fruits and tannins, but the palate was a bit hollow in the middle and seemed to finish a bit short.
Personal rating: 5/10
Jeremy Oliver: Not available
Current Auction price: $30

1997 Pirramimma White Label Shiraz
This was my second favorite for the night and the clear winner from this selection. Dark opaque purple. An elegant nose that opened up gloriously over time with complex aromas of dark chocolate, leather and blackfruits. Mouthfilling, intense fruits with redcurrant, chocolate and some leather on a long elegant finish.
Personal rating: 6/10
Blacktongues panel: 1st
Jeremy Oliver: Not available
Current Auction price: $15

1997 Saltram Mamre Brook Shiraz, Barossa Valley
A nice nose with some pronounced secondary aromas of shoe leather, chocolate and tobacco. Good fruit intensity, dominant barossa chocolate, with some underlying tobacco/apricot nuances. A firm backbone of grainy tannins, good length and finish.
Personal rating: 5/10
Blacktongues panel: 3rd
Jeremy Oliver: 95 2005 - 2009+
Current Auction price: $15

1997 Sandalford Shiraz, Mount Barker
This wine stood out as a more polished shiraz. A nice elegant nose, following through on the palate with pleasing fruit intensity and nice complexity although with a finish that seemed to fade and taper off too quick.
Personal rating: 5/10
Blacktongues panel: 4th
Jeremy Oliver: 82 1999 - 2002+
Current Auction price: $15

1997 Leconfield Shiraz, Coonawarra
A lighter color than the rest with a wiff of seaweed on the nose. Flavours were ok but finished abrubtly and without much flavour in the middle palate.
Personal rating: 4/10
Jeremy Oliver: 92 2002 - 2005
Current Auction price: $20

1997 Water wheel Shiraz, Bendigo
Good fruit intensity on entry and lovely rich chocolate, licorice and berry flavours that unfortunately finished somewhat short.
Personal rating: 5/10
Jeremy Oliver: 90 2005 - 2009+
Current Auction price: $10

Copyright ©2005 Mark Wickman, All Rights Reserved
About the Author
Mark Wickman is the owner and manager of Wickman's Fine Wine Auctions. You may reproduce this article providing you credit the author, email the author with the details of where it will be published and and add a link to the authors website (http://www.wickman.net.au )

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