Older wines in a hot climate

by Martin Field
We had a few birthdays in the family in March – always a good excuse to open some decent bottles of wine. The chosen whistle-whetter was the value for money Pol Gessner NV. There was a brilliant 2001 Penfolds St Henri. The 1997 Penfolds Bin 707 was good and black curranty but showed, I thought, a smidgin of advanced age – no doubt due to our warmish ambient cellar temperature in Noosa.
Surprisingly classy was the McWilliams 1969 “Sauterne”, a blend of Hunter Valley semillon and “white hermitage”. It opened a tiny bit tired then improved as it aired, with a fragrance of new apricots, and Seville marmalade. The palate was not too sweet, showing a hint of citrus blossom honey and just enough acid at the finish. Then, just as the wine started to lift, it started to fade – so we finished the bottle hurriedly.

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