n 2009 while sharing a bottle of 1984 Penfolds Grange with a friend I came up with the idea of putting together a number of rare aged wines from our own personal cellars and hosting a dinner. The idea was simple. Gather a number of select rare and premium wines with good provenance from our cellars. We then offered the opportunity to attend a dinner with these wines on a particular wine enthusiast forum which I had frequented for some time. We add up the cost of the wines and split it by the number of attendee’s. To make the occasion more special I decided to engage a restaurant to design a purpose built degustation meal that was matched to the wines and their respective tasting notes. The rest is history.
We will start the night in true Rare Wine Dinners style with an excellent Champagne from the house of Gosset and their 1988 Celebris. Much like our very first dinner back 2009 I have gone into my cellar and put together a collection of rare vintage Australian wines many of which i have collected over the last 5 years with this very night in mind. We will start with no other than a 1973 Leo Buring DW C17 Riesling from the Eden Valley. This will be followed by another Riesling but this time from the Barossa Valley and Orlando wines with a Gold Ribbon bottling of their Rhine Riesling Auslese from 1976. From here we move to an Australian tradition, Sparkling Burgundy or Sparkling Shiraz and a rare 1965 Seppelt Great Western 94A which was late disgorged in 1983 after spending 16 years on Lees. These wines are unique and were made in a style that has given them the right to be called one of Australia’s greatest contributions to the world of Sparkling wines.
Then we move to the reds and first up is a pair of 1970’s Cabernet Sauvignon. An Australian classic the Mildara Coonawarra Cabernet from the great vintage of 1976. I am sure this wine holds many memories for those that were drinking Australian red table wines in the late 1970’s. Then a 1978 Chateau Tahbilk Cabernet, the Bin 65 which was a special release from Tahbilk with only 5200 bottles ever made. Tahbilk at the time chose the very best Vat of Cabernet from the excellent 1978 vintage and decided to bottle it separately calling it the Bin 65.
Next is the high light of the night, a very rare 1955 Woodley Treasure Chest series Claret called ‘the Galatea’, these wines are true rarities with very few remaining today. This is quite possibly the last time one will ever be offered publicly to taste. The wine was made by Bill Redman the founder of Redmans wines for the owner of Woodley’s, Tony Nelson who also owned Wynn’s wines before selling it to the Wynn family in 1951. Quoting James Halliday, “The wines, made in the simplest possible fashion from 50-year-old Shiraz vines, are a priceless legacy of the Coonawarra of yesterday. These are legendary wines and deservedly so.”
We then continue on with more Australian Shiraz wines that cover just over 30 years of wine making including an unusual 1959 Rhinecastle Bin 120 Burgundy Shiraz and a 1973 Tyrrell’s Vat 55 Hunter Valley Dry Red. We know just how good the 1973 Hunter Valley reds can be after the Lindeman’s 1973 Bin 4810 at one of our dinners a few years back, it stood proud and tall in very fine company being served after a 1947 Chateau Lafleur which is still one of the best wines I have ever encountered. Then a pair of consecutive vintages of Penfolds St Henri 1977 and 1978 both of which have been through the Penfolds Red Wine Clinic in 2012. Then we finish our reds in style with an Australian cult wine, a magnum of 1990 Wendouree Shiraz.
With new memories made and old memories revisited we then move to a rare bottle of 1976 Brown Brothers Milawa Noble Riesling, rich mahogany red in color this should be very special. Interestingly it is also under a Gold Capsule which begs the question, were the wine makers at Brown Brothers so impressed with this Noble Rot Riesling that they chose to follow popular German wine laws at the time of designating Reserve or the very best wines with a Gold Capsule? Next a very rare treat, a 1956 McWilliams Hunter Valley Sauternes. Deep amber to orange in color its condition is magnificent and from a time when McWilliams were making wine history with the incredibly long lived wines which are some of Australia’s greatest wine treasures today. Then just because we can, we will finish on a very old bottling, possibly 1940’s Lindeman’s Raisin Liqueur Muscat and toast to 5 years of incredible wine journey and sharing.
6:30pm Saturday 3rd May 2014
Steel Bar & Restaurant
2/60 Carrington St
1988 Gosset, Celebris, Champagne, France
1973 Leo Buring, Reserve Bin DW C17, Special Show Reserve, Eden Valley, Australia
1976 Orlando, Gold Ribbon Selected Late Picking, Rhine Riesling Auslese, Barossa Valley, Australia
1965 Seppelt Great Western, Sparkling Burgundy 94A, Disgorged 1983, Great Western, Australia
1976 Mildara, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia
1978 Chateau Tahbilk, Bin 65, Cabernet Sauvignon, Goulburn Valley, Australia
‘Treasure Chest Series’ Shiraz
1955 Woodley’s, The Galatea, Treasure Chest Claret, Coonawarra, Australia
1959 Rhinecastle, Bin 120 Burgundy, Barossa Valley, Australia
1973 Tyrrell’s, Vat 55, Hunter River Dry Red, Polkobin, Australia
1977 Penfold’s, St Henri Claret, South Australia
1978 Penfold’s, St Henri Claret, South Australia
1990 Wendouree, Shiraz Magnum, Clare Valley, Australia
1976 Brown Brothers, Milawa Noble Riesling, Milawa, Australia
1956 McWilliams, Mount Pleasant, Sauternes, Hunter Valley, Australia
Lindeman’s, Raisin Liqueur Muscat, Very Old Liqueur, Australia