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Australia Fine Wine Tasting

Perth, March 12, 2015

Bailliage of Western Australia: ‘Cult v Classics’ tasting followed by a ‘Fine Wine & Steak’ dinner

If you could dream of the ultimate dinner party, what would it involve? How about a pre-dinner wine tasting of four of Australia’s top red wines, along with plenty of healthy conversation around storing, decanting, and consuming wines?

Everyone had a story to tell, from dinner host Vice-Argentier Rob Mannion who proudly highlighted the 18-seat dining table made from old Australian Jarra, recycled from the huge renovation at his residence, to Maître Restaurateur Daniel Gomer from Hippo Creek, who supplied and kindly cooked a 37-day dry-aged grass-fed piece of “gold” as our delectable one course support act to the evening.

The night’s main act was the passionate and fascinating wine tasting presentation by Vince Salpietro, Managing Director of Grand Cru Wineshop & Cellar, a specialist wine division of his family’s local liquor store, Liquor Barons in Mt Lawley.

And so the evening commenced with a highly informative wine tasting in Rob Mannion's impressive private cellar involving head to head bouts between Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz 1996 and Henschke Mt Edelstone Shiraz 1996 followed by Wendouree Shiraz 2009 v Penfolds RWT 2009.

The wines had been poured about 30 minutes before we commenced. Vince used the Langtons Classification1 scale as a barometer to where the wines for the evening would sit in terms of nationally recognized scoring, respect and quality.

The Mt Edelstone was a clear winner over the Brokenwood as a consumer preference however this took nothing away from the quality of the Brokenwood Shiraz, which is an ideal cellaring "investment" with plenty of life left in it.

There was a fairly even balance of appreciation between the Wendouree and the RWT, however it was certainly acclaimed by our host that the Wendouree was a perfect challenge to the RWT in this Cult vs Classics comparison.

As the warm aroma of beef cooked in a jarrah wood fired oven gained momentum, we reconvened to the dinner table where we entered into the second part of this indulgent evening.

Next on the agenda was a highly impressive play off:
- Mt. Mary Cabernet 1990 v Mt Mary Cabernet 2010
- Penfolds Bin 707 1990 v Penfolds 707 2012
- Henschke Hill of Grace 2004 v Hill of Grace 1984

We enjoyed some incredibly different flavours across these six wines. Whilst we tucked into our one-course delicacy we debated and challenged the line-up of the 20-year retrospective tasting.

The night was drawing to a close when Vince announced that he had generously supplied a special wine from his family cellar for an informal game of wine options, culminating in a showdown between the last two members remaining standing. Once the country and grape variety had been established, it was identified as a 1970 Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna which was still drinking beautifully!

We were all asked to vote at the end of the night on our favourite wines. The 1990 Mt Mary Cabernet fell nicely into 1st equal place with the 1984 Hill of Grace.

Reflecting on the evening as it came to a close the camaraderie of the Ordre Mondial members in Western Australia was quite evident. Furthermore, the incredible access we have to the State’s top wine gurus and sommeliers was more than apparent, as was the range of world class wines we have as a nation.

David Irvine, Vice-Échanson

1 Langton’s Classification of Australian wine is the paramount form guide to Australia’s finest wines. Entry is based on a wine’s reputation and track record at auction. The inaugural Classification, in 1990, included just 34 wines. Further Classifications followed at approximately five-year intervals, tracking the leading wines, and documenting the dramatic growth and increasing maturity of the Australian fine wine scene.