After a recent trip to the cellar door I was quite excited to hear that TarraWarra was hosting a ten year vertical tasting showing off their flagship Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with some of their other releases.
First up was the Marsanne Roussanne Viognier blends. As a rule these blends have never excited me even in the Rhone Valley where this classic blend calls home. The 2010 was excellent, a great vintage that made a floral, peachy, nutty drink with spice and dough notes. The palate was creamy and silky quite clean with a hint of savouriness and a lanolin finish. 2009 was from a hot vintage and looked a bit cooked and bitter but the 2008 from a cooler and more elegant year showed great oystershell, spice and peach. It has a great mouthfeel with candied red fruits a hint of white pepper and good length.
Next table along provided 12 Chardonnays to taste. The entry level Estate from 2010 – youthful, minerally/flinty, nice bit of stonefruit with great mouthfeel and hint of oak and 2008 showing a lot of vibrant, rich fruits and a creamy, vanilla bean palate. The Reserve spanned vintages from 10, 08, 06, 05, 04, 02, 01, 00. It was an amazing exercise. 2010-2004 all showed amazing depth and purity, while really celebrating the vintage variation. Moving to 2002 was the first hint of real development in the wines and 2001 and 2000 looking like good old fashioned Chardonnay with some age. Finally we had MDB Chardonnay which is a selection from the best vineyards made in only the very best years. I tasted the elegant, restrained, zesty and vibrant 2010 and the Flinty/mineral, lean and clean 2006. It was seriously good Chardonnay on this table.
Pinot Noir the third table and I have to say I lost my nerve a bit. That and I was running out of time. I tried two vintages of the Estate the fabulous 2010 – so vibrant but savoury and lovely. The 2008 was deeper and dark with just a hint of bitterness. Quite enjoyable but at the other end of the spectrum. I tasted four vintages of the dark fruited, undergrowthy Estates 10, 08, 06, 04 or which 06 was the most impressive with its extra level of blood orange and meaty/olive notes. And the 2006 MDB Pinot offered the same style but with more red fruits, silky, balance and loveliness.
To wrap up the tasting was the Merlot and Shiraz. Short of time or not I intended on tasting all of these wines as I knew how good they are! Their 2009 got me excited about Australian Merlot and the 2010 takes it to the next level. These are seriously impressive wines. The J-Block Shiraz was brilliant and vibrant with depth and elegance. Great mineral notes and compelling drinking.
All in all a great tasting, surprising that the Chardonnay stood out so tall but my stars were the Merlot and Shiraz.