Notes from a blind tasting dinner.

2005 Tantalus Old Vines Riesling – medium colour, correct varietal nose, some nice citrus overtones, and in the mouth lots of bright acidity and the impression of sucking up a dry per sorbet with a light dusting of nutmeg. Excellent.

1986 Ch. Les Ormes de Pez – nice capsicum nose followed by some decent herbal high notes and there were ripe hints on palate. Medium length and clean finish. I keep telling people that the 86s are hitting prime time but no one seems to believe me as they have been hard and somewhat unforgiving for so long.

2003 Ch. Boyd Cantenac – medium colour with light cocoa and cedar notes, some nice dark cherry notes on palate and still showing soft tannins. It almost came across as a New World wine…

2016 Mas del Périé Cahors Les Escures – a different kind of Cahors, Malbec used to make an early drinking wine that showed a ripish cherry nose, some black pepper, medium body but lots of stuffing without being heavy, and balanced medium length finish.

2001 Black Hills Nota Bene – this BC wine was something I had drunk up awhile ago as it seemed to be getting long in the tooth, but this bottle made me wish I had kept some. A claret nose with some spice and hints of dill (the cab franc?), and on palate almost no tannin, still lots of fruit and medium length. I still think it is close to the end of its useful life, but this bottle went out in style.

2007 Sheridan Vineyard L'Orage – a Yakima wine made from cab and cab franc. Dark wine with quite ripe nose and too much heat in the nose and the mouth. Big furry tannins. This sort of wine gets big Parkerpoints and would be popular in Barossa, but failed to find a friend in me.

1989 Sassicaia – medium colour with pale edges, a claret nose of slightly capsicum tinged red fruit and black currant, very tasty and sweet on palate with a long smooth finish. Tannins are soft to absent. Nice wine near the end of its useful drinking life and people with more restraint than me commented that it faded a bit with time in the glass (glad I had drunk mine before that took place). Time to get around to my single remaining bottle.

2005 Turley Mead Ranch Zinfandel – quite dark, high toned but ripe nose of meat and hints of anise, well developed and with good length. Many of the elements seemed somewhat Rhonish.

2005 Craggy Range Syrah Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Vineyard – no sign of ageing in the dark coloured wine, an obvious syrah nose, quite Northern Rhone in presentation with meat and pepper, and that impression persisted when I tasted it – the same meaty peppery impression in the mouth, with a lengthy dry finish. I’d love to see this as a ringer in a serious Northern Rhone blind tasting!

2001 Sumac Ridge Pinnacle –claret varietals in this meritage wine which was showing American oak and sweet fruit in the nose, still significant tannin and medium length.

2010 Sarget de Gruaud Larose – a simple wine showing slightly metallic fruit in the nose and some cherry fruit on palate, finishing a bit short. Why do people waste money on second or third wines (with some notable exceptions – Pavillon Rouge, les Forts de Latour etc.) when they can buy a more modest but often better drinking wine for similar prices?

2010 Château Les Ormes de Pez – good example – this probably cost around the same as the previous wine but in terms of enjoyment it kicked that one to the curb. Still dark, right to the edges, a very good nose of currant, and pencil shavings with a bit of cedar, on palate, good concentration and flavours of currant and chocolate, quite tasty. Good length.

Bodegas Hidalgo Pedro Ximénez Sherry Viejo – wow – pass the insulin! Exceptionally sweet medium brown wine with almonds and dried apricots. Very sweet – didn’t know whether to pour it on pancakes or drink it (opted for the latter, but not really my favourite style of sticky).