For the past two years I have been proud to raise funds for the Heart Foundation. To help achieve my goals I pulled a whole bunch of wine from my personal cellar and organised some customers and friends to attended a dinner at the wonderful restaurant Scopri. The end result was I raised $970 on the night. Plus an additional $485 through web donations which made a total of $1555 that The Heart Foundation received this year. This bettered my total of $1000 last year by 50%.
The dinner itself was amazing.
Scopri helped us celebrate the occasion by putting on a feast that I swear was a bit like Noah’s ark (two of everything). But at a venue of this quality this means we were faced with lots of wonderful food.
Those who came along were in for a treat.
We started with the still youthful Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 1998, the first Champagne I got really excited about. It was zesty, yeasty and floral with that classic Pol mid-weight, powerful style. Delicious but the other two bottles I have will wait in the cellar until they are a bit older.
The Whites from my cellar.
Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon Hunter Valley 2002 Is there a better value drink in the world than Hunter Sem and Liz in particular? Lovely young, more lovely old.
The Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling Frankland River 2005 showed its classy flint, steel and chalk with some restrained tropical fruit. This wine is still young. It just needs more time. I’ve drunk a 15 year old example and it was still youthful.
Baumard Clos Saint Yves Savennieres 2005 Showing minerals, flint, steel, floral and smoke with a sweet core of pure fruit. Floral on the palate, a bit grapey and hints of vanilla. Comparatively tightly wound next to the fleshier, more rich Baumard Clos Saint Yves Savennieres 2006 and its floral, mineral, green apple, grapes and smoke. Delicious.
The star of the whites had to be one of my favourite producers Francois Raveneau Montee de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 2004 Delicate, floral, textural, lean, citrusy and doughy. If I could have drunk this on my own I would have. Not that I begrudge sharing, it was just that great. Still too young though. Is this looking like a theme? Yes, I discovered when preparing for this dinner that I have a very long term focussed cellar. More on that later.
The Reds. 2005 Vintage focus
Into the reds and no better way to start than with Australian Superstar William Downie Yarra Valley Pinot Noir 2005. Smokey, red berries, herbal, pepper, sweet core of fruit, silky, hint savoury and earthy and very, very long. This is the benchmark Pinot in the Yarra in my opinion and a recent tasting of the first release 2003 confirms these are wines that not only can cellar but flourish with time.
Cillar di Silos 1500ml Crianza Tempranillo Ribera del Duero 2005 was the follow up wine to Bill’s work. After attending a ten year vertical of Cillar di Silos I became determined to replicate it in my own cellar as old Tempranillo is rather lovely. And this 05 did not disappoint. Delicate, tart red berries, aniseed, dry, firm tannins, white pepper and a clean finish. Tempranillo doesn’t really start looking old until it is over 15 years. It does often pick up some Red Burgundy type characters though.
When a young Paul Bridgeman (who later took over at Yarra Yering) was working at De Borts he kept bringing by bottles of wines he was experimenting with for me to try. While my favourite and his most extreme 100% whole bunch trial didn’t get green lighted, it did make up about half of this blend: De Bortoli Reserve Syrah Yarra Valley 2005. Spicy, stemmy, clean, tart, red and blue fruits, spice and astringent. Wonderful mouthfeel and stunning depth of flavour. Showing Australian Shiraz can be savoury and textural and dry!
Chateau Villa Belair Graves 2005 Owned by Jean Michel Cazes fron Lynch Bages and from one of the most wonderful vintage in recent times, this petit Chateau was probably a bit outclassed on the night looking a bit simple with cassis, caramel, stones, spice and herbal. Very nice but not going to cut it with a bar set extremely high.
To finish a pair of wines from my happy place.
The Mosel in Germany. JJ Prum 375ml Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2005 and JJ Prum 375ml Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2006. JJ Prum make amazing wines that live forever and embody the term complexity. The 05 was remarkably savoury and elegant, showing the benefit of time in the bottle. The 06 was more extroverted with a lot of floral notes, pristine tropical fruits and a long clean finish.
Then there was no wine left and it was time to go. A big thanks to Scopri for being so generous with their support of the event. A bigger thanks to all the people who came along for the evening and helped me raise money.