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An excellent Burgundy and a piss-boring Australian Cabernet

We were supposed to be having a little vertical of Annie’s Lane Clare Valley Shiraz at Hawksmoor tonight. Somehow, our hosts managed to forget them when heading from horrible, horrible Woolwich to the City. Consequently, I popped into Uncorked and scored these two. One was quite delicious, the other just a woeful example of over-blown tedium.

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Auxey-Duresses Premier Cru 2006, Comte Armand

Quite a pale colour. A lovely nose of fresh, ripe fruit. The fruit character is quite complex by itself, but together with its earthy richness and extremely subtle oak treatment this is a properly pleasing nose. Perhaps not as ripe and powerful as the 2005 flavour of this wine that I’ve had a couple of times recently, but sometimes we appreciate refinement rather than power. Now that is an attractive palate. Its rigorous tannic structure is backed up with lovely, attractive fruit and a fine backbone of acidity. Again, not as powerful, nor as tough, as the 2005, but this great drinking stuff. I really like the fruit/tannin interplay, plenty to keep you interested here. There is length and complexity to the palate as well, with fruity, earthy flavours persisting for a long time after you’ve swallowed. Whereas the 05 was really asking for a bit more time in the cellar, you can extract a lot of pleasure from this right now. And we did. For £25 this this high-quality bargain Burgundy, well worth every penny.

Clare Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Blocks Road’ 2006, Kilikanoon

By arse, what an over-blown nose: heavy with dense, stewed, over-ripe fruit and a powerful alcohol burn. This smells like all that is dull and tedious about the Australian wine idiom: just because they want to harvest grapes that are ripe doesn’t mean they need to roast on the vines until they’ve been stewed to jamminess. I don’t really want to taste this, it just smells like it’ll over-whelm my delicate aesthetic sensibilities and leave me tired, shagged-out and generally bored. However, since I dropped eighteen fun tokens on this piece of over-rated rubbish I suppose some had better pass my lips. Yes, this is Cabernet soup mixed with slightly burnt jam. The tannins are over-ripe, there is no acidity to speak of and that fruit has just been cooked to buggery. I really feel offended by this wine. As Peter’s comments on another recent post suggest, this kind of Australian wine is perilously short of redeeming features: you just feel drinking it is far too much like hard work for little reward on the pleasure-front. Does anybody really enjoy these souped-up monsters? We are finding it really hard to finish this bottle even though we are heroes of the booze world who would normally require far more than two bottles of red to drink with our steaks. Clearly sub-interest; it is quite scandalous that people can sell dull, crap, monotonous wine like this for so much money. Dreadful filth. Many apologies to our hosts for supplying this bottle of tedious filth; next time remember to bring the wines you had planned!

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