Monday, August 07, 2006

Penfold's Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

This wine has 13.5% alcohol and is made from grapes from a variety of regions. It is dark red with noticeable legs. There was a slight sediment. The nose exuded strong blackcurrents and burnt toast. The better-half said she could smell toast and vegemite.

The flavours were still big and full bodied and there were plenty of tannins to go around. I wonder if the tannins at the end were bigger than the flavour.

This wine will last another 6-8 years and it will be interesting to see if the flavours develop, or whether it is just a case of the tannins softening, over time. I hope it is the former as I still have 11 left.

I gave it an overall rating of 90-94/100

When I rated the wine on its individual characteristics, I came up with
18 - 18.5/20

I apologise for the range thing happening but, as I have said before, it is a confidence thing. Because I usually taste alone I sometimes seem to talk myself into and out of various notes. Did this happen to any of you at the beginning??


Blogger Murray Stiles said...

I think the generally accepted wisdom is that there is no right or wrong tasting note, a wine that is "medium bodied" to me, may be seen as "full bodied" for someone who drinks a lot of french wine for example.

I reckon go with your first impression, it is usually the most accurate.

Dont fret about the score either, you're not being paid to do a "professional" appraisal! In my own experience, wines that I rated highly one year ago would be rated more average now, since I have had the opportunity to taste a vast array of wines at different price points.

Take all that with a grain of salt, since I am an amateur myself! I would suggest with less wine experience than yourself...

9:43 AM  
Anonymous gw said...

It is not my accepted wisdom. You can't call a light bodied wine full bodied..that is just wrong... There is subjective and then there is plain wrong. If you describe a big black tannic shiraz as being medium bodied and fine then that is wrong.

First impressions are usually the best ones I think. Certainly in options games they are.

In terms of descriptors then one mans (or womans) blackberry is anothers dark cherry..and one's aniseed can be licorice..and ones earth can be leather...but it is better than nothing and communicating a style is the best we can do. i.e. big black fruited earthy monster vs delicate fragrant red fruited wine.

Then again as Muzza says. No one is paying you. You are giving of your own time and own opinion. If people don't like it they will stop listening. If they do they will continue to read...and FWIW I reckon you are well worth reading.

9:57 AM  
Anonymous Shaggy said...

What Murry said basically...

I drink a heap of spanish gear, so if I say a wine is sweet and tannic, most people would find it in the normal sweetness range but very very tannic.

My point of view on the scoring thing is that it is more important to reflect your view of the wine, and no one can do this for you. So my 91 may be your 87 and I think that is just great.

Don't sweat it, it takes time to work these things out. I'm not a big fan of points, but it is a quick reference for what you think of a wine.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Edward said...


Good on you for asking!

How much of the bottle did you drink? How fast did it disappear?
Personally, I find the 407 is a serious wine - structure, texture, lots of flavour - but I prefer a bit more fun and lightness in my wine.

Agree with Murray and GW - first impressions are (most) important.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous The Wine Commonsewer said...

Mal, I have had this wine before (pretty sure it was a 98 anyway) and I liked it a lot. My memory says that it was a big bold wine with big black fruit and pretty good balance. I thought it was a keeper and that it would cellar well. All in all I agree with your take on it and there is nothing wrong with saying that it's a 90-94. That tells me that it's a good wine. It tells me that I should consider buying some. It tells me that I might consider buying several bottles. It tells me that I might consider serving it for a special occasion. Your notes tell me that I will like it because my tastes run to big bold cabs. All of that is helpful in a review.

I chose my handle for many of the same reasons that you did. That said, I don't mind wine snobbery and pretention but I hate it when it gets in the way of telling a person what to expect of a wine. All too often that's exactly what happens.

Regualr people who want a wine for dinner with friends on Saturday night want to know the information you provided.

You know I've written and deleted three more paragraphs three different ways and I think I'll just shut up now and get back to work.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Mal said...

Thanks for all the encouragement guys!! I really do appreciate it.

Like anyone else I want my notes to be right. I don't mind being wrong as long as I can find out what was wrong, why I was wrong and what I can do to prevent the same mistake again.

Even though I have been a little unsure of how to proceed and keep second-guessing myself I am having a lot of fun! I think this is most important - espcially at this time of year when work is really consuming most of my attention and energy.

By way of a response to Ed - the bottle was drunk at a reasonably measured pace. I was smelling and re-smelling, tasting and retasting. I tasted some within 10 minutes of opening and left some decanted for an hour before trying (just the little experiments I guess some of us like to do from time to time).

Whilst I enjoyed the wine I must admit that I got more enjoyment out of elegance and structure of the De Bortoli noted in my last post. I also preferred the Yarra Yarra wines that will be the subject of my next post - 'til then!!

6:49 AM  

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