Notes from a dinner I hosted two years ago some of you may be interested in. Glassware was poor and Rockford bottle variation a problem- considering I’ve had many of these wines on multiple occasions.
I was fortunate to host this dinner last week for the Hong Kong Wine Society. It was held atop of one of the famous banks with unobstructed views of the so called Fragrant Harbor.
The wines were from my personal collection. Straight from Cellar Door and into professional storage. I have had Basket Press very well received with HKWS membership prior. I was just hoping tonight for a couple of open minds amongst the sterner of Old World bigots…
Anyway. It’s a wine I have always loved sentimentally as it captures a pioneering Australian spirit. And it is an easy going, food friendly Barossan.
So here goes-
Basket Press 1996-(14.5%) Was good but certainly not the best 96 I have had. Bottle variation in Basket Press problematic. Came with the raspberry red fruits and new leather. All class and with exceptional length.
SVS Flaxman Valley 1996- (14.5%) Oh this is good. I love good Eden Valley shiraz and it has generally been an exclusive Henschke forte. There is a cool restraint to the wine. Licorice, dark fruits, fine tannins and goes on for a country mile.
The Steinert family who own the vines ( other vineyard Chris Ringland ) are dairy farmers through and through. They told me they once considered getting rid of their vines to make room for more cows. Thanfully the red wine boom came along…
SVS Moorooroo 1996- ( 13.5% )I’ve read on the forums that this has been disappointing. It was quite impressive tonight. Bitumen, blackberry, malty oak. Layered with licorice strap like fruit flavors, nuances of menthol and dried herbs. The wine has well and truly peaked so is very soft finishing and easy drinking. Earth and spicy, red fruits linger.
SVS Hoffmanns 1996- ( 14.5% ) This wine leapt from the decanter. It has some of the most concentrated blackberry notes of any shiraz according to the Rockford notes. It sure does! It’s an immense wine and behind the voluptuous, rich and ripe blackberry flavors is a second layer of pruney, dark fruits. Vintage port like in a positive sense. Loved it. A medicinal cloud drifted over as I was on my second, marking pass and I scored it down
Basket Press 1998- (14%) A bit light weight in regards to previous bottles. It had 30 minutes aeration, double decanted, time in the glass etc- but still seemed all wound up. Cherry-water, smokey, with match stick and flint notes. Seemed much lighter than the WMR below. Atypical experience for this vintage!
Basket Press Winemakers Stock Release 1998- ( 14% ) Everybody felt this a different wine despite what a personally signed letter from Robert O’Callaghan said stating the contrary! Riper, in a kirsch-chocolate spectrum. Full bodied wine, more muscular and bulked up in comparison to the above.
Someone suggested the difference could be cellaring provenance- mine being cooler than Rockfords?
SVS Flaxman Valley 1998- ( 13.5% ) A step up in firepower compared to the 96. Blackberry buzz on blackstrap like dark fruits. Choc-licorice and some nuances of spice, menthol and bracken which I note in Mt Edelstone.
Pressings 1998- ( 13.5% ) This is another monumental wine. Its balance is staggering considering it leads with rich, ripe powerful fruit notes of licorice all sorts, dark chocolate with a nice, supporting run of vanilla and anise. Pure, black shiraz! Striking stuff.
Basket Press 1999- ( 14.5% )When I decanted this wine during the afternoon, I had a sense of dread. The nose was muted and the cork smelt like it was tainted. It was fine according to one Old World bigot.
Anyway, sadly, considering the nature of the tasting I have no doubt ( as with many others in the group ) that the wine was scalped with cork taint. A rich and powerful wine absorbing a lot of it: leaving a few thinking it wasn’t.
**SVS Flaxman Valley 1999-**Big, black and spicy. But with a feminine touch. Beautiful wine I didn’t get to concentrate on due proceedings.
SVS Helbig 1999- ( 15.4% ) The biggest wine of the evening but it didn’t come in overblown. The intensity got me and others in the group. Super concentrated shiraz fruit with whisps of cocoa and espresso. Gobsmackingly full of flavor but balanced at the other end with an even finish.
What a bugger to share this wine. I think I have more.
Pressings 1999- ( 14.3% ) Bit of an odd ball. Sweet blackfruits, menthol and Island spice. Long, long wine filled with intriguing herbal-spicy flavors.
Vine Vale Riesling “1886 Vines” 2009- Excitingly received by the group. Super nose, warm and tropical. Let down on the palate where the hedonism of nose not matched. Reminds me of some modern Italian dry whites coming into vogue.
Basket Press 1995 Magnum Format - This hasn’t changed in a decade. Top notch result for the vintage. Sweet, licorice, X-Mas cake like fruit with interwoven cedar-spice.
Basket Press 1997 Magnum Format- Was a good wine a few years ago so I thought the magnum would hold the wine in good stead. It’s layered on both the nose and palate. Blackfruits and undertones of prune-berries. Ready to go! Don’t hold out. Structurally I don’t think much is holding the wine up.
Someone did their homework and stated that the superb wine that is Basket Press is better as a blend than as individual sub-region wines. I don’t know. I like the BP style. But some of those SVS wines were outstanding in their own right.
Considering the fact that my Rockford’s wines are hand caried carefully from CD to professional storage, that seepage/saturation of cork a modest result in these magnums!
Wines were decanted and aerated for around 30 minutes prior to rebottling into cleanesed bottles- lost of crust needed cleaning!
Crap glassware- nice paper work from Rockford.
1 Queens Rd Central, Hong Kong Island. With views toward Kowloon side.