In 2020, Tasting Notes
  Bok's Rating:

Trio of Syrah of Penfolds Grange 1985, La Landonne 1989 and JL Chave 1985
9.75 stars
18 July 2020

I arranged this flight with the intention of them sharing the common grape varietal syrah, and see how it fared across continents, as all three wines were from top producers while the vintage wasn’t too far apart. These wines were served double blind to 10 wine connoisseurs.

Penfold’s Grange being an Australian, bouquet was expected to have a huge amount of new oak, while the next day’s bouquet turned eucalyptus and minty. Content was swayed far away from classic winemaking style of French, as it was containing menthol and slight spearmint. However, the beauty of Grange should not be ignored, as it has great purity and clean interface, making it a great pleasure to drink an aged Grange.

I placed La Landonne in this flight as it also used a lot of new oak, and it’ll perhaps throw off the wine connoisseurs. However, it was tough as the winemaking style was definitive classical. I find the bouquet a bit disturbing as I get slight band aid and pharmaceutical notes, and turned greenish later on. The palate was thick and big styled wine by any definition, with very chunky fruits, and a splash of pepper, but it did not confuse the connoisseur as a traditional classic wine.

JL Chave with it’s signature of slightly earthy, musty and dirty bouquet took the limelight initially. Content was most balanced of all three, and clean although it carried a bit of a sour note with hawthorn. However, there’s no excitement amongst all three wines being served, as somehow it does not use much oak to interfere the palate of the drinkers. Thus I think the oak play is very important in syrah wines.

The casting of the votes for preference was all over the place, some liked the Chave style most, while I personally preferred the Grange over La Landonne while Chave was too classical for me.


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