A couple of steals - Printable Version

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- Joe Schmoe - 02-14-1999 07:00 AM

Hey! Great website. Discovered it yesterday. I've a feeling that I'll be visiting this place quite often.

Last night I drank the last bottle of two wines that I thought were sensational bargains when I originally purchased them. The food combination may have been the magic ingredient, but here goes...

The Lindemans Padthaway 1994 Chardonnay was a recognised dragon-slayer and multiple trophy winner when it was released a couple of years ago, but last night, along side a porcini and marjoram risotto, with a healthy dose of parmesan, it was electric. Wonderfully intense and complex barrel ferment aromas kept on growing for the duration of the meal. A nose redolent of spiced rum, fig, melon, and creamy lightly toasted oak.
The palate shocked with its subtlety - cool, white peach fruit at first, followed by a mouthwateringly crisp mouthful of ripe melon and pineapple. The finish was very long with a seamless transition into youthful, lightly astringent oak flavours. Unashamedly Australian in style, but with tremendous complexity. I have never waxed so lyrical about a chardonnay that cost me less than $13 before! Without doubt the best value Ozzie Chardonnay to have passed my lips. Greg Clayfield, is one of the true large scale masters of the art. Incidentally, there has been a winemakers reserve, since 1995, largely, I think, due to the phenomenal success of the above wine. Why do I think that the basic cuvee will never be the same again? Here's hoping....

With the main, (Chargrilled rack of lamb, marinated with garlic and thyme) I drank a Cosme Palacio 1995 Rioja. This is a wine that has has tremendous success here in England over the past couple of years. It is unusual for the following reasons.

It costs Reserva prices, but is not even a Crianza. It is made under the watchful eye of the great Michel Rolland (I don't care what anyone else thinks. He has revolutionised winemaking practices wherever he has gone.) It is made entirely from 45 year old Tempranillo vines. It is aged for 10-11 months in NEW French (Limousin) barriques and is made the Rolland/Bordeaux way - malo in barrel etc.
After many years of experimentation, it is accepted that if the wine is left in wood for the year (allowing it Crianza status) it is too oaky.
Anyway, a super-complex nose of pure Tempranillon - wild mushroom, leather, a faint hint of strawberry and bing cherry, with a sexy overlay of toasty, buttery oak. Believe me, so called lesser vintages (1991/2/3) are delicious now, so I am sure this will get even better in a couple of years. Over here the price was (are you ready?) £6. That's less than $11. Seek and buy with confidence.