June 21, 2004

Old Bridge Cellar's Australian Wine Tasting at
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants

Ferry Building, San Francisco

We had three tasting rounds but took notes only at the sit down tasting. Prices of wine were not revealed until the end of tasting. We did not compare notes until after we had formulated our opinions.

Rob McDonald, owner of Old Bridge Cellars, led a panel discusson of The Main Tasting (see right). Winemakers present were: Vanya Cullen of Cullen, Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill (whose winemaking/growing philosophy is great, even though we didn't love what we tasting that day), Chester Osbourne of d'Arenberg, Justin form Leeuwin Estate, Phil Sexton from Giant Steps and Kim Tolley from Penley Estate.

An Apertif
2003 Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Riesling
2002 Cullen Ephraim Clarke Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion
2002 Leeuwin Estate Siblings
2003 d’Arenberg The Money Spider Roussane

None of these wines were standout except for the Cullen – for Jack. It sees malolactic fermentation so Joanne was not fond of it.

The Main Tasting
2002 d’Arenberg The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay $31
Ja: tastes yum. Some acids. Oak. Jo:Oaked. Syrupy Mango and Vanilla (oaked). Good but maybe not with food?

2002 Giant Steps Chardonnay$25
Ja: Maybe slightly oaked. Good. Food friendly. Jo: Character. Good acids (medium) but soft – honeydew melon with pineapple on the finish. This was the 2 nd vintage of vines. Bottles are screwtop. 2002 was a very cool year. Wine given no malolactic.

2001 Penley Estate Chardonnay $29
Ja: Acids, needs time. I like. Want food. Jo: No. Syrupy – not to my taste.

2001 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay $65
Ja: Most balanced. Jo: Very balanced. Slightly Bitter finish. Medium acids.

2002 Giant Steps Merlot $25
Ja: I Liked it but it’s so young. Jo: Fresh, young, clean. Light style. Pinot style. High acids.

2001 Cullen Diana Madeline Cabernet/Merlot $70
Ja: Dense purple. Jo: Tannic. They make 2000 cases of this.. Cullen Winery makes 18,000 total cases..

2000 Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $58
Ja: Best wine so far. A bit sweet. Tannic. Ja: Spicy! Bright red with an orange tinge. Very high acid. Very concentrated. Sweet. Cassis.

2002 d’Arenberg The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon
Ja: Wow… acids. Jo: Chewy! Maybe too much for food. Intense fruit. Long finish. Even more concentrated. Blue and black berries.

2000 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz $46
Ja: Yum! Acids. Acidic finish. Blueberry. #2 of the wines. Jo: Medicinal. Black fruit and BLUEBERRY. Good acids.

2000 Penley Estate Special Select Shiraz $65
Ja: Good acids. Good. Tart finish. Jo: Soft Cherries! Very acidic. Grassy. Tannic.

2002 Jasper Hill Georgia’s Paddock Shiraz $85
Ja: Hmm… Fruit slightly overripe. Jo: Medicinal. Very tannic. Peppery. Balanced but HARD. This tastes like a “Food” Wine.

2002 d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz $65
Ja: Wine of the night? But the hot finish isn’t appealing. Hmmm. Unique taste. Jo: Unique over the top fruit. Very concentrated fruit. Spicy. Unique taste.

Post Tasting
There were eight additional wines to taste inside Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants
2001 Cullen Chardonnay
2001 Giant Steps Pinot Noir
2001 Penley Estate Merlot
2001 Penley Estate Hyland Shiraz

2002? d’Arenberg The Derelict Vineyard Grenache
2001 d’Arenberg Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre
2001? d’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz
2003? d’Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne Viognier

Some of the d’Arenbergs we tasted weren’t available outside of Australia. Joanne recalls we liked the Ironstone Pressings and especially, the Derelict Vineyard.

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