TN: A Melbourne Xmas Mix Bag Lunch with a rare Moss Wood

Last tasting of the year in Melbourne was at the Pacific Seafood BBQ house in Richmond. Good food and free corkage. Pity we forgot to tell Con who initially went to the CDB

Themes was bring something special and that meant we could organise the wines to match the food. After the last tasting at my place - 15 or 16 bottles for 7 - we kept a limit of 1 bottle pp.

2014 Off Dry Riesling, Eva Lorch, Germany
First wine and immediately the rules are broken - this is a magnum. Lovely. It only has 11.5% and the sweetness is hardly noticeable - fruity is a better descriptor. There were fireworks to come, but his drank well all day and with all the dishes. The one you want to have on your table at Xmas. 3*

2016 Provignage, Cour-Cheverny, France
Henry Marionnet is the custodian of the oldest vines in France - planted between 1820 and 1850 - which are older than then ancestor vines in the Barossa. Romorantin is the grape. It used to be the main white grape in Burgundy, but nowadays it’s limited to a small region in the Loire. Very different texture and feel to the other wines. Acidity is there, but once open its full of quince and has an oily texture (typical in old vines). Good with the food, this probably needs a few years. 3.5*

2011 Heytesbury Chardonnay, Vasse Felix
One of my favourite Chardonnays, that i always order a glass of whe it’s available at wine bars and restaurants. Old fashioned really, with larger than life fruit and body. Lots of cashew and smoked pineapple. Great, but it’s a wine that needs to be shared as I don’t really need a 2nd. Expensive for the current vintage and a wine that is easy to admire, but not one I want to own. 3.5*

Onto the reds

1974 Moss Wood Cabernet
Via Con I have managed to drink a few older bottles of Moss Wood, including a fantastic 1980 and an almost as good 86. Sat though we had what must be one of the rarest – the 1974. It comes in a Burg shaped bottle, fill was around the min 4 cm mark and W.D and S.P. Pannel were the proprietors on the label.

Initially I though it was a fake – never had a Cab that was so like an old Tawny – but with an hour or so it changed and it ended up like a few older Aus reds I have had from the 60’ and 70’s. There was milk chocolate, a touch of vanilla liqueur and some bramble jam. Definitely have had better older wines, and this has nothing in common with the sublime 1980, but it was lovely to taste such a rare wine – volume would have been in the 250-500 case mark. 3.5* as a wine, but a 5* experience.

2013 Naoussa, Argatia, Greece
Poor Micheal. For some reason I kept calling him Jan in the car and as he is a fighting fit lad, he can’t swallow today as he is running a half marathon the next morning. This was his wine and it’s great to see a mature Greek wine in this tasting. I thought it had the best nose of the day, with almost strawberry fruit and a bit of Stoney minerality. Fully mature this is round and plump. Style is light, and the acidity is there to go with the food. The red you actually want at your table for Xmas. Nice. 3*

2004 Sori San Lorenzo, Gaja
Just a gorgeous wine. There were a lot of good wines today, but this stood out for its poise and balance. Lovely red fruit and I thought the oak was perfectly integrated. Only downside was that lack of absence of terroir, but sometimes you just want to appreciate a thing of beauty. 4+*

2006 Priorat, Val Llach, Spain
Wow. Nose is full of acetone and dried fruit. Smells like it’s going to be an alcoholic monster. And it is, sort of. It’s 15.5%, but while the fruit is big, it’s also balanced and this is more like a giant, suit clad King Kong, than a screaming Godzilla. We are in the dark spectrum for fruit and to be honest it’s not my style any more, but it’s a very good wine if you like them big. 3*

Of course there were extras and backups and had we been in someone’s home we would have drunk them all. As it was we left the 91 St Henri and the 96 Pichon Lalande and had the following

1990 Winkeler Hasensprung Spatlese, Prinz van Hessen
Desert was ice cream with either fried Bananna or Red Bean Paste. We didn’t have a sweet wine, so I opened up this backup - one of the wines I was going to bring here last April. I have said before that German Riesling is my favourite, with Spatlesse being my style of choice, and this shows why. It still has lots of sweetish fruit, a touch of petrol and botrytis. Its full of life and vigour, even at 34 years old, and will drink well for a few decades yet. Just Glorious. My favourite of the day. 4*

1944 Para Port
My first ever Para - something about the bottle shape kept me away. My mistake as this is actually the wine of the day. You can see why we thought that the Moss Wood was a bit porty, but once you have the real thing, the differences are clear. Con had double decanted this the night before and that meant it was open and ready for business. So silky and smooth, with nuts and flavours of xmas. Very long finish. 1944 base and sold around 72/73. 5*

And that was it. We started at 1 and had to be out by 4:30. We will try this format again, as 10 bottles between 7 was still enough to make me fall asleep on the way home, but not enough to have an effect the next day.

Thanks to everyone for all the wine and conversation over the last year. We have had some profound wines and it’s been a real education. Todays mix of styles and ages really went well as it matched the food.


I randomly bought three of the 2015’s on the cheap here in Denmark some years back. Been through two of them, and this is exactly how i felt. Not really my style, but I can certainly appreciate the quailty and enjoy a glass, but then it also becomes a bit too much for me after that glass.


Thanks for the notes on a diverse selection of wines. Love those old Moss Woods, but can’t say that i have been back as far as '74. Still have a bottle or two of the 95 though!
And the Paras are good, although the sediment can be colossal. I remember going to a reataurant in Clare 20 yrs ago and they had a cellar full of them, and sold them to us for something like $40. Had a little snooze under the table on one visit!

Con had decanted the Para Kent - there was a sizable ullage so I guess there was a lot of sediment. Will definetly look out for high fill bottles