The most elderly first. The mail out said 52% Shiraz and 48% Malbec from 1898 Central and 1919 Eastern vineyards. Youngest vines are now centurions, happy birthday. Like the best 2000s Wendouree vintages this took a while to unfurl. That unmistakable mossy, minty and eucalypt menthol lift with dark cherry and berry fruit and a puff of lemony oak. Builds on the tongue as Wendouree does do with more Clare dark cherry and an anchor of fair but firm skin tannin and natural ripe acid. There’s also something wine gum dark and mysteriously spicy too. Beautiful grapes and place no mucking about.
13.50% alcohol. Cork. $48 from the mailing list.
Now the younger. 65% Shiraz and 35% Mataro from 1893 Central and 1920 Eastern vineyards. The first Wendouree vintage sealed with screwcap, a posh Italian one too. If the mid 2000s started to show a bit less extraction, then by 2009 things are becoming positively elegant! Fragrant with menthol, anise, cherry and dark plum. Just a seasoning of nutty oak. Probably just imagination but this seems so fresh and pure, could it be the change to screwcap? Fine mid weight wine in the mouth that once again builds and then builds more flavour as it travels through. Fruit as above plus some earthy tar broods darkly. Such different poise and balance compared to Wendouree from last century. Must say I’d like a Tardis to try those young vine ones from before and between the world wars. Still very positive tannin but perhaps finer and more melting? Do enjoy telling those not aligned to Wendouree who ask how to join us to check out the Brady’s extensive social media presence. Rude cheek of a grumpy old man.
13.80% alcohol. Screwcap! $50 from the mailing list.
Very subdued on opening. It seems to take a few hours of airing for mid 2000s Wendourees to feel the need to talk, shy and reserved. Surely less extraction and fresher than those from the last millennium. Slowly that unmistakable mossy Aussie bush scent and deep fruit emerge. Sings confidently but not brashly in the mouth with bright berries and darker purple, iron black flavour. Beautifully settled, natural acidity seems to set Wendouree apart from some of its local peers. Quiet power and grace. Sense of place. Now all they need is an Instagram account.
13.50% alcohol. Cork, roll on the 2009s and following vintages with screwcaps. About $45 from the snail mail list.
Tastes change and develop but some fancies last and generous, amazing value Clare Riesling is a constantly comfortable cushion. This is as rich, full and dry as it should but has a sinuous swerve from lime drenched fruit to sweet herby mineral savour and back. Lovely, comforting and a bargain. Must have a dally in the shade of their Peppertree Shiraz soon.
13% alcohol. Screwcap. $20.
When it’s a sweaty fan forced summer day a glass of Clare juice is just the salve as the sun at last reluctantly sinks. Lime and toast as expected but something waxy and damp chalk like add depth and intrigue. Good weight of fruit and a crisply engineered structure with fresh but not abrupt acidity. Extra flavour of almost greenish mango as well. Lots of cooling depth to wallow in. 2012 is a delicious vintage, innit.
12.80% alcohol. Screwcap. Around $24 at the end of 2012.
More Thai food and another Riesling from the pile of cartons. Nice balance of toasty development with a bit of petrol and some fine and rich, linear, lime fruit. Some crisp but not chunky acid carries it along with just a touch of residual sugar maybe or is that just dense, ripe fruit? Polish Hill River seems to sometimes combine the fat of Clare and the lean of Eden. Pauletts do this with style and little fanfare. This blows their trumpet pitch perfectly.
12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. Was about $20.
Thai nosh and limey Clare Riesling, there’s a match. This Eldredge is gently resolving with lime marmalade on toast, a hint of green mango and enough richness to stand up to a curry. The acidity is nicely firm but not hard. Good Thai by Melbourne standards and byo is one of life’s affordable joys.
12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $20 in 2013.
Some toast but few if any petro chem smells. Fine citrus, touch of white peach and beeswax. Pure and delicate with a rainwater like gentleness and beautiful mouth watering acidity. Properly dry, refined and relying on balance and definition rather than raw power. Held up superbly over two days. Graceful. Will sail on for a few more years yet and could even get better!
12.50% alcohol. Screwcap. About $20 I think six years ago.
94 polished Polish Hill River points.