Sunday, June 7, 2009

Best's best - A vertical tasting of Bin 0 Shiraz

I love vertical tastings. As a wine collector, it is difficult to do more than a few, and mostly only over 5 vintages or so. Otherwise, there are not many opportunities to experience them. Yet they provide the best chance to evaluate a wine or winery in a day.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an extraordinary tasting of the Best's Bin 0 Shiraz over a number of decades. We tasted 1977, 85, 90, 95, 99, 04, 05 and also the 05 Thomson Family Shiraz. 

Best's is located in the Great Western region of Victoria and is an often overlooked, very historical winery. The Bin 0 Shiraz is their premium Shiraz, which takes vines from three vineyards, planted in 1866, 1966 and 1970. My overall impression was that the wines can last a long time, but are also quite variable, depending on climatic conditions. In the cooler vintages, the wines are quite peppery, but also a little thin. In the warmer vintages, the wines show a lot of mocca and dusty, crumbly chocolate, which is quite unique and apparently due to regionality.

The outstanding wines for me were 1977, 1990 and 2004. The 1977, with over 30 years old, did not show much fruit any more, but had great flavours of mocca and chocolate, and still a good texture and a long finish. In fact, I tasted more of the wine after it had gone from my mouth. Sensational. The 1990 showed blackberry and plum fruit with some overtones of mint and a smooth, elegant and creamy finish . The 2004 tasted more of mulberry and dark cherry, it has a good structure, soft tannins and good length.

These wines are often thrown into the 'cool climate Shiraz' bucket. This tasting showed there is a lot more to them. The wines mentioned above showed great complexity and elegance. 


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