Rosemount GSM 1999, McLaren Vale, Australia

Appearance: Dark garnet. Brick red tinge on the rim with sediments.

Nose: Smelled of aged burgundy. Sweet dark fruit was detected, maybe blackberries? Secondary aromas were present but in a nice way. Spicy, minty and funky, though the funk disappeared after some airing.

Palate: Tasted of sarsaparilla! Fruit and tannins still intact. Chocolatey with ripe tannins. Mint and cinnamon present on the tongue. Medium finish with good acidity, given the age.

Comments: Courtesy of Ms. Ricca, otherwise couldn’t have tasted an aged GSM (50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre) from Rosemount. It’s past its prime but still very drinkable if you don’t mind the secondary aromas! Drink up now!

Domaine Terlato and Chapoutier, Shiraz-Viognier 2007, Victoria, Australia

Appearance: Dark, intense purple with a purplish rim.

Nose: Pleasant aromas of cinammon, liquorice, vanilla and blackberries with a touch of black pepper.

Palate: Fruit forward – plummy, slightly jammy with a spicy, strong peppery finish and good acidity to match. Not overly strong tannins but had sufficient grip to last for awhile.

Comments: Went down quite well with the BBQ mini ribs & potato wedges that I ordered from Al-Fresco’s, one of my favourite ribs take-out/ delivery restaurant in HCMC when I don’t really know what to have for dinner 😛 Drinking well now but can age.

Icon Lounge, Hunter Valley, Australia

Icon Lounge, Hunter Valley

Located in the small winemakers centre, Icon Lounge was the place where I first tasted the legendary 1999 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz. Well, that was not all, there’s the 2003 Capercaillie Shiraz, 2004 Mount Pleasant OP&OH Shiraz and the 1998 Meera Park Shiraz that I really enjoyed tasting.

And I was lucky enough to have the priviledge to taste a portion of the prized 1997 ILR Reserve Semillion at Brokenwood, which is just opposite the road. A little praise on the graveyard shiraz goes a long way! 🙂

My only gripe on Hunter Valley is that restaurants there generally don’t encourage BYO and they either close on weekdays or don’t allow take-out. But it was really fun to hop from vineyard to vineyard tasting different stuff, identifying the wines that I like and talking to the cellar door people. You can see how their eyes would light up and the noticeable change in warmth when you show them that you know something about wines and not just some casual visitors who don’t even bother remembering the difference between a cabernet sauvignon and a shiraz.

If you’re heading to Hunter Valley anytime soon, do check out Capercaillie, Piggs Peake, Brokenwood, Tower Estate, De Bortoli (for its dessert wine tasting) and Briar Ridge. And if you’re in the mood for bubblies, swing by Peterson’s. But I would stick to the sparkling shiraz and sparkling chambourcin though 😛

I just wished I had some perfectly charred mesquite BBQ to go with the intoxicatingly smokey, almost mocha-like chambourcin!