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Wynns 24/02/2004 TNB

They may be part of the Southcorp monster but there is a lot to like about Wynns: a stable range of wines with a track record, no excessive hype or endless releasing of new bottlings, some restraint in the use of oak and a preference for elegance over size which was apparent in all the wines. Suzanne Hodder, their chief winemaker, presented the wines at an Oddbins event recently in Edinburgh.

Wynns riesling is quite citric, very pleasant and will age for at least a few years quite well I would have thought but that was the only white we tried. Of the reds, my least favourite wine was the Cabernet Shiraz Merlot blend that was in a much softer style than the others and, I suspect, directed at people who don't really like wine that much.

The main business then was the various Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines. The Estate Cabernet has been produced for 50 years and Sue was proud of the fact that they are soon going to put on a vertical going back that far. I wonder how the wines will show? I felt the 1994 was pretty good - healthy colour, plenty of fruit, but perhaps a suspicion that it is starting to dry out. It is hard to guess quite how it will go now - is it starting gracefully on the way out or might it enter an interesting mature phase? I suspect the 2000 that we tasted will also be a good drink in seven or eight years and perhaps will hold for longer. Certainly at least some older vintages of this are sought after and Sue mentioned that on the whole the 60s vintages are better than 70s when interest in red wine was not so high.

The John Riddoch is a special bottling of less than 1% of the crop and it gets rather more new oak than the Standard Class offering. A more serious wine I suppose, but tending to be a little over the top. I (and Sue, I gather) prefer the lighter, higher-toned, better delineated 1996 to the more in-your-face offerings in 1998 and 1994 that we also tasted.

And then there is the Shiraz. I thought the 1993 Shiraz was a touch more interesting than any of the Estate Cabernets and holding better for its age. Nobody who cellared this relatively inexpensive wine for a decade is going to be disappointed by it although it does need drinking reasonably soon. I expect the 2001 (even though from a hot vintage and showing that to some extent) will do similarly well. The Michael Shiraz 1997 is as about as expensive as the John Riddoch and was the wine of the evening to me, with a complex smoky nose and lovely appetising fruit.

added to Fine Wine Diary 24/02/2004   Return to top