Wine Talk

Snooth User: Stephen Harvey

Latest Tasting

Posted by Stephen Harvey, Jul 27, 2010.

I would like to share my latest tasting

I entertained 40 of our corporate clients with 40 of my Partners in our Sydney Boardroomon Tuesday evening 27 July


Foie Gras on toasted brioche with apple jam

Smoked salmon latke, preserved lemon creme fraiche,dill

Torched figs, creamed goat's cheese, spiced thyme honey

1998 Pol Roger Winston Churchill v 2001 Jansz Late Disgorged

The Pol WC against the Janz was somewhat unfair but the Janz from Tasmania was a very good example of Australian Sparkling $45 v $200 the Pol was very good great depth of flavour, beautiful toasted honey finish, the Janz more fresh and slightly citrus but great depth

Pol 95

Janz 92 


First Course

Chilled capellini pasta, pickled crab meat, shaved asparagus, salsa verde, verjuice


2004 Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling v 2009 Mesh Riesling


The Mesh is a superb Eden Valley/Clare blend which is a Hill-Smith [Yalumba] Grossett Joint venture wine, wonderful lime and lemon and that sharp acid of a young riesling from a very good vintage


The Contours is the current release from the Hill-Smith Pewsey Vale stable and at 6yo represents a riesling which is aging gracefully toward that lovely rich slighly kerosene style of old riesling - stelvin seems to avoid the clumsy adolescence and ward of any unpleasant nuances from the aging - superb wine


Mesh 92 - $30

Contours 943 - $25


Second Course


Serrano & sage wrapped quail, besara, garlic chips, black olive crumble


2007 Heggies Vineyard Eden Valley Chardonnay v 2006 Faiveley Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru White Burgundy


The Heggies is a nice Barossa Chardonnay well made and with good varietal characteristics, but just not enough complexity and lacking a little in the honey and toast, whilst trying to be burgundian it was somewhat simple.  aving said that it was against very unfair competition and in isolation was a very competent and pleasant to dringk chardonnay - $25


Yes putting barossa chardonnay, hardly a genuine chardonnay region against a Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne is not fair and the Faiveley was a significant leap in depth of flavour and complexity, not over the top in honey and toast characteristics but a very persuasive wine.  Its development in the glass was dramatic and each taste uncovered some new layer of complexity. - $300


12/1 in price reflects the difference [not linear in mathematical terms but cetainly directionally]


Heggies - 88

Faiveley - 95


The mystery wine a short options game


2005 Yalumba Octavius Shiraz - very impressive wine from a reasonable and hotly debated barossa vintage.  Very heavily oaked with strong influence small american oak barrells delivering typical strong vanilla overtones massive shiraz fruit and solid alcohol


93 and $90


Third Course


Roasted eye fillet, potao & parsnip pave, eschallots, brussel sprouts, truffle butter


2004 Penfolds Grange Shiraz v 2005 Yalumba Single Site Swingbridge Eden Valley Shiraz v 2005 Jim Barry Armagh Shiraz


The 04 Grange was a perfect young Grange, more approachable than usual at this age but with wonderful blackberry fruit balanced with great mouthfeel and depth from the tannin structure, a wine with the potential to age gracefully and for a long time


The 05 Armagh is a typical big in your face Barry flagship [Pete Barry is a good friend] from Clare a massive 15.5% Alcohol matured in a combination of French and American Oak there is a strong influence of the vanilla from the American Oak but balanced with some good raspberry charateristics from I think a combination of the fruit and the French Oak.


The 05 Swingbridge is a single site Barossa Shiraz, an elegant wine matured in new [30%] and older French Oak giving a very delicate raspberry backbone to a an excellent an slightly rhoney style shiraz


Grange 97 - $500

Armagh 94 - $250

Swingbridge 95 - $60


Fourth Course


Cheese - Aged Cheddar, Blue and Sheeps milk - all Australian


1996 Chateau Mouton v 2006 Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon v 2005 Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon


The 05 Signature is a blend of 54/46 Cab to Shiraz from the Barossa and is the classic Aussie red blend, a wine of immense flavour and characer and the benchmark house stryle for a Yalumba Red, 14.5% alcohol and matured in more varities and ages of Oak than I care to write, it is a wine that takes the mouthfeel and back palate of Cabernet and fills the hole with shiraz punch.  Not massive but no shrinking violet, a wine to drink all day every day


06 707 is a beautiful multi region blend typical of the Penfolds House style, quite approachable as a young cab but with the acid and tannin structure live a long time - outstanding young wine


96 Mouton, deep brooding Bordeaux first growth from Pauillac [great to see it on the Tour time trial] Very very good wine from a good vintage, still needing time typical of the Mouton fold, hopefully I can try one when I am 60 [9 years time]


Sig 94 - $45

707 95 - $180

Mouton 96 - $shitloads


Fifth Course


Creme Brulee, cassia pear wafers, candied cocoa nibs


1997 Chateau D’Yquem 98 - $equal shitloads and worth every bit


Well - D'Yquem from a good/great sauterne vintage, I can't find words to describe in form D'Yquem.  I can only say I have tried it and I feel priveleged to be able to enjoy one of the most profound wines produced in the world


We started with Pol WC and finished with D'Yquem. The food was excellent, the company fun and interesting


I am so lucky to have these experiences



Reply by dmcker, Jul 27, 2010.

Definitely sounds like an excellent meal, with very good food and extremely interesting wines to explore, savor, what have you. Lots of pretty high scores, there--are you sure they would all have been warranted on their own, or did the overwhelming luxury and largesse of the experience create a gestalt of generosity that made you want to add more points? ;-) Nice to have corporate budgets for what otherwise would've been a feast of potlatch proportions. How many bottles of each wine?

I also like the '96 Bordeaux vintage very much. Have had some of Mouton's neighbors in the past couple of years and love them now but also think they're going to last quite a bit longer.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jul 29, 2010.

Good point on scores, the problem with the concept of 100 point scale where 50 is undrinkable is that it is really a 50 point scale.

So I see a 90 Point wine as 40/50 and therefore in top 20% [Could also debate whether rating is absolute or relative]

In my way of looking at the 100 point scale

50-75 are wines that are drinkable, usually commercial wines,  premium wines from poorer vintages, wines impacted by commercail decisions in the vineyard eg maybe due overcropping etc etc

75-85 are generally good enjoyable wines which lack some depth of flavour or that difficult to describe something to warrant a higher mark

85-90 are very good wines that are moving from the enjoyable to serious category and are definitely worth thinking about and assessing.

90-95 we are now talking something of real interest, ticks all the boxes in terms of colour, nose and palate. warrants serious thouoght and consideration and worth ddiscussing and taking the time to evaluate

96+ each point is just my assessment of something that really has grabbed me in relation to the wine

I do agree that in drinking wine in a social corporate environment makes rating difficult and fraught with the danger of alcohol inspired exhuberance so I do try to be realistic.

I see the 96+ rating as something I try to be very careful about awarding, but the 04 Grange, 96 Mouton and 97 D'Yquem I genuinely believe warrant the ratings and I have tried each of them more than once and have had close to the same opinion each time.

We had 6 bottles of each wine and Brian Walsh who is Director of Winemaking at Yalumba and a senior wine judge checked each wine for faults prior to pouring.

Unfortunately Mouton is my only 96 Bordeaux experience [even corp budgets do not go that far] but if the others are in the same form then maybe I need to try and find a way to try more.  Also Mouton seems to be widely available in Aust.



Reply by outthere, Jul 29, 2010.

Boy, you drank more dollars in one meal than I can afford to drink in a years time. Very jealous!

Reply by outthere, Jul 29, 2010.

Well, not a year, but you get my drift.

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jul 29, 2010.

Yes, I am lucky and I appreciate it.

One advantage of having a couple of wines priced in the stratosphere mixed with some more reasonably priced ones and spead over a number of people does bring it into some realm of affordability

I do some personal dinners and we try to spread 15 wines across 10-12.  You can do some pretty smart dinners for around 2-300 per head including food and its just a case of what people want/can pay to try great wines or how mmany great wines they want to try in one sitting

Reply by dmcker, Jul 30, 2010.

I believe one of your earliest posts on this forum, Stephen, was of just such a dinner. And a very nice one it looked to be.

The most recent '96 I had was a Les Forts de Latour, from a batch I picked up in Paris in early 2003. The price seemed reasonable there, then, and when I opened one at pre-Christmas dinner with a couple of close friends last December it was so good that I again dipped into the stock at the end of this spring. It shouldn't hurt the wallet as much as a Mouton, but may be nearly as good, so keep an eye out for any you might run across.


Reply by Stephen Harvey, Jul 30, 2010.

Thanks, I will keep an eye out for it - there is a 2003 currently listed on a local auction site - is it worth a look at

Yes I am planning the next dinner  - probably in mid November, I think we will look at a Cabernet theme, so might look for some advice on US Cabs

96 was outstanding in Australia and in particular the Cabs from Coonawarra are drinking very well at moment, if you get a chance to pick one up should be a good drink - much cheaper than Bordeaux 96

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