Sunday, March 11, 2007

WINE: PRIMO ESTATE Joseph Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 1989

Type: Red wine
Origin: Mclaren Vale
Approx cost: $40 - $60

I bought this wine on auction a few months ago as I thought it was an absolute bargain for $40. Considering current vintage of this stuff sells for around the same price I thought it'd be interesting to try one that's nearly twenty years old.

What's special about this particular wine is the way it's made. The winemaker, Joseph Grilli, uses the tradtional Italian (Valpolicella) Amarone method which involves laying freshly picked grapes out on straw mats to dry. This aims to give the fruit a "unique style and exceptional depth". Jospeh wines are also built to last, which is why I snapped up the opportunity to get hold of it.

Assuming it was going to be well and truely tainted/fucked when I opened it, I was surprised to to see the cork remained in fairly good shape (even though it was removed with one of the shittest bottle openers I've ever seen) and there was an absolute bucket load of sediment which required the help of a decanter. I poured a dash into a glass to find that the wine had held up quite well, the nose was quite musty and almost smelt like a port. The fruit was definately still there and the oak had softened into a nice cedar flavour. Although it was well passed it's prime, it was still very interesting and it really opened up in the glass revealing fruit flavours ranging from rasperry to dark currents. It displayed really good length and depth and would have gone winderfully with a nice hearty game dish.

I really enjoyed it and I was totally surprised to see it had held up so well. I suspect it had some favourable cellaring considering the appearance of the label. I'm definately keen to get hold of a few current vintage Joseph Amarones and put them away for a few years.

p.s.> I just read Halliday's review of the '02 "Moda" which is the same wine. It sounds like I've ripped a few lines out of it, but I promise I didn't. It looks like Joseph Grilli is maintaining a fairly steady ship producing a well refined style.

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