First up, from Adam S on T132, a blast from the past. 1997 Rosemount ‘Balmoral’ Syrah, McLaren Vale. Winemaker Philip Shaw was still at the helm of Rosemount when this was made, and being a flagship of the brand, would certainly have been closely involved. One of the first wines to be labelled ‘Syrah’ instead of Shiraz, an indication that he was leaning more Northern Rhône than South Australia. But the prevailing style at the time was big and oaky, and with many of these wines the fruit fades long before the oak is done. Not so here. Still drinking well, with mature notes of bacon and cured meats, and pure black plums at its core - although Adam and I both agreed that it probably only had a year or two left.

Next up, a really interesting wine from the Wild West. 2005 Woodlands Malbec, Margaret River is unusual (for Australia) in being a 100% varietal Malbec, and for being bottled with a screwcap – highly unusual for the time and style. The most complex wine of the night, with all sorts of things going on with nose and palate. Towards the end of the evening it faded a little, but hey - don’t we all?

My last wine of the night was a local effort, the 2005 Thomas ‘Kiss’ Shiraz, Hunter Valley. I’m quite a fan of this wine, having seen it evolve over the years. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it was holding up after sixteen years. These days the Kiss Shiraz is a benchmark for modern Hunter red, but this wine proves that Andrew Thomas was way ahead of the curve back in ’05. Amazing length, medium bodied with pure dark plums on the nose, a fair bit of well judged oak, all beautifully integrated. It was the wine’s length that won the day, even after hours in the decanter it was still impressive. A worthy winner.

Congratulations to Steve and Jen on T121 who brought this in. What a great wine! NSW 1, Rest of Straya 0.