Ten (years of) green bottles hanging on the wall

Max Crus
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Many of the great winemaking houses of Rutherglen, Victoria, are still owned and run by members of the original family

Many of the great winemaking houses of Rutherglen, Victoria, are still owned and run by members of the original family [©Visions of Victoria]

"Bewdy, a box from Penfolds”, I said loudly, trying to impress. “Could be Grange...or could be Rawson's".

"Rawsons? Cool", remarked Weinstein.

There's no accounting sometimes but 10 years ago I would have been equally impressed, indeed I was upon receiving my first ‘free’ bottle of wine, a Tyrrell’s Old Winery Semillon 1994, with an $11 pricetag.

How times change. 10 years ago 1gb of storage was the whole computer shop, 2 megapixel digital cameras cost $15,000, petrol cost 70cents per litre, John Howard said there would never, ever be a GST, Osama was a brand of light bulb, 50 percent of the population was overweight, kids rode bikes to school and mobile phones still wouldn’t fit in your pocket.

Jump to today, 80Gb is your average laptop, petrol costs $1.20, John Howard says no more IR changes (oh dear), Osama now makes downlights mostly, 60percent of the population is overweight, kids get a lift to school and a mobile (with a 2 megapixel camera built in) for their 10th birthday ...and Tyrrell’s Old Winery Semillon costs $11.

Still $11! Furthermore, it tastes as good, there’s more of it and it comes all the way from WA now. And I am still excited to get it free.

And Grape Expectations, celebrating it’s tenth anniversary, has tried every vintage in between.

Yep, that’s 10 years of uninterrupted drinking, I mean reporting, sometimes even about wine, so to celebrate this auspicious occasion, here’s a few other wines that have also gone the distance and their decadian reviews.

The first Penfolds I reviewed in 1996 was a 1994 Rawson’s red ($8, 7.5/10).

Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat Riesling 2004, $9. Rawson’s do everything now, including an apostrophe in the correct place. A pleasure to behold and drink, without being overly sophisticated, just like me. 7.5/10.

Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz 2003, $21.(Vintage 1993, $15, 8.5/10.) I had a moment of nostalgia on the first sip of the 2003, I reckon I remembered the flavour from 1993. Could have just been the grog talking however. 8.4/10.

Leo Buring "Leonay" Eden Valley Riesling, 2004, $33. (1994, $21. 8.5/10.) Shock horror, this has gone up 50 percent in 10 years, but hang on, that’s a lot less than petrol has risen and this tastes a lot better I can assure you. 8.8/10.

Jamieson's Run Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 ‘Country Selection’, $22 (1993, $14, 8/10). This must be what cow cockies drink when the sheep are shorn and the wheat is harvested, but if Jamieson’s Run think this will get me to vote Nats, they’ve got another think coming. 8.6/10.

McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Early Release Semillon 2002, $18. (1989 Elizabeth. $11.00. 7.5/10) Money can’t buy breeding, which is probably why I prefer this to the regular (slightly-aged) Elizabeth and indeed the posh (quite-aged) one too.  Even went well with the Folk Art Fairy’s stinking hot green curry. 8.8/10.

Maglieri McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003, $18. (1993, $11.00. 7.8/10) “...tonight we learn to make a curry from ingredients from your own backyard...”, the homeshow host proclaimed. “Mmmm, dirt curry, yummy”, Ms L reciprocated. Very Mac’ Vale and a delectable distraction from drab drama. 8.5/10.

Wines reviewed:
Vintages ten years apart of…
Maglieri McLaren Vale Shiraz 2003,
McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Early Release Semillon 2002,
Jamieson's Run Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 ‘Country Selection’,
Leo Buring "Leonay" Eden Valley Riesling, 2004
Campbells Bobbie Burns Shiraz 2003
Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat Riesling 2004

© Max Crus

Column celebrating ten years of Grape Expectations published week beginning March 19th 2006.

Published in Cairns Post/Rockhampton Morning Bulletin/Northern Star Lismore)/Daily Examiner (Grafton)/Wagga Daily Advertiser/Geelong Advertiser.

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