A couple of 15-year-olds

Following our exploration of riesling, we hardly needed more wine, but nonetheless some reds were opened.

A couple of reds from the unheralded 1997 South Australian vintage were tasted: the Penfolds RWT Barossa Shiraz (its inaugural release) and the legendary Wendouree Clare Valley Shiraz.

I always prefer to look for the positives in wine, to find what’s interesting and enjoyable about each wine, but the RWT left me scratching my head a little.  It tasted more developed than its 15 year age would suggest.  There was discussion of possible cork taint, but I doubt it.  The wine just doesn’t seem to have stood the test of time like the best Penfolds wines should.  Arguably 1997 was not the right year to launch what is an important wine in their portfolio.  This bottle may not have been representative, but I’ve had this wine a few times and never found it to be great.

The Wendouree, by contrast, was superb and still youthful.  It was delighfully complex and balanced, with nice red fruit flavours, hints of spices, fresh herbs, and eucalypt.  It also showed some meaty and tarry notes.  Drinking nicely now but with a long life ahead of it.

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