By John ~ October 5th, 2011.
During the summer, the Wine Peeps team hosted our fourth Digging into the Cellar Party for about a dozen of our closest wine loving friends. For our first DITC Party last year, the theme was Rhone-style wines. For our second DITC Party, the theme was Red Blends. For our third DITC party, the theme was Washington Syrah. For this party, the theme was Australian Shiraz (mostly). I say â€œmostlyâ€ because we slipped one Washington Syrah into the lineup of ten wines from the 2005 vintage to see how it would stack up with the Aussies and to see how many of us could identify the Washington Syrah in the blind tasting. We bookended the blind tasting with a 1998 Dutschke St. Jakobi Shiraz from Australia and a 2005 Fielding Hills Syrah from Washington State, the first Washington wine that we ever gave a 5-star quality rating. For both Australia and Washington State, 2005 was an excellent vintage so we were excited to see how these wines were doing and determine which ones we thought still had a lot of life left.
We found that all but one of the wines were drinking very well, and we believe that many of them have a number of good years still ahead of them. Although this was not a serious, take-copious-tasting-notes event, each attendee was asked to turn in the sack numbers of their three favorites so that we could get a composite favorites list. With this group of wines, which were very good, it was a difficult task.
After unveiling the sacked bottles, the consensus favorite of the group as well as Kori and my personal favorite turned out to be the one Washington Syrah in the lineup, the 2005 Sequel Syrah made, interestingly enough, by the famous Australian winemaker John Duval. However, only one person in the group correctly identified it as the Washington wine. Other favorites included the 2005 Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz [a terrific value year after year at less than $15 retail] and the 2005 John Duval Entity Shiraz [yes, the same John Duval].
While the two bookend wines were not tasted blind, they received considerable praise from a number of the attendees. The 1998 Dutschke was still very good at age thirteen, and the 2005 Fielding Hills was also drinking very well, although we wouldnâ€™t give it quite a 5-star rating today.
All in all, it was another wonderful evening with great friends and spectacular wine. Weâ€™re looking forward to doing it again.
Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Activities/Events