The nice thing about having wine friends is the various opportunities to taste wines in various settings and/or line-ups. Chris (@SingaPoured) works for a prominent local wine e-tailer, and was recently able to get his hands on 3 vintages of the Elderton ‘Command’ Shiraz… so a few of us converged and had a blast of an evening, starting with a ‘mini-vertical’ of the Command. We knew we were in for a great night of fun when the gracious hosts set up their dining table in this manner:

There were fresh grapes & dried nuts to give our taste-buds some reprieve from wine tasting. Each of the wines would be poured gently into their own decanter, so we can remove sediments, and there were quite a bit of them. Each attendee would have 3 ISO tasting glasses, and a small set of notes (prepared by yours truly) to introduce the producer and the wines, with writing space for taking notes.

Before we get to the Commands, our hosts served up a beautiful English sparkling wine – Camel Valley 2008 Pinot Noir Brut (Cornwall) – to toast the jubilee of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.  Tis a really enjoyable sparkling wine made in the traditional method, fresh with crisp acidity and good fruit profile. I thought there would be some Chardonnay in it, but evidently not.

After honouring Her Majesty the Queen (as you would, especially if your hosts are English!), we proceeded to the dining table to kick off the mini-vertical.

A vertical tasting is when different vintages of the same wine (from the same winery, of course) are tasted together, which allows differences between vintages to be observed. As we only had 3 vintages available, I’m calling it a “mini-vertical”.

For tasting, we have the 1999, 2000 & 2001 vintages of the Elderton Barossa Command Single Vineyard Shiraz. The wines are made solely from the grapes harvested from the ‘Command’ vineyard, whose vines (all Shiraz) were planted circa 1894. The wines saw open fermentation, 3 years maturation in oak, and 12 months bottle age before release. Please refer to Elderton Wines’ official website for more information about the producer and the wine.

To the wines…

Elderton Barossa Command Single Vineyard Shiraz 1999 (cork-sealed)

Garnet in colour with some bricking. First whiff is met with some light VA, which blew off quickly to reveal plenty of dark fruits and some licorice. The oak has integrated into the wine. On the palate, the theme of licorice and dark fruits are accompanied by spices & Chinese herbs with some smokiness. Tannins are soft and supple, nicely integrated, I think. There are some nuances of bruised apples at the rear, followed by a med-long finish. A wine with restrained power, and some quizzical medicinal hints. We thought this wine had seen better days… I suspect the storage of this wine may have caused it, as reviews of this wines elsewhere suggest a wine with some more years to go.
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Elderton Barossa Command Single Vineyard Shiraz 2000  (cork-sealed)

Deep red in colour with youthful brightness. An explosion of dark fruits on the nose, some barnyardy notes too. It’s a nose I associate with Barossa Shiraz, but with some savouriness that I quite like. This wine really sings once you take a first mouthful – juicy bright fruits (more red than dark), some spices, sour cherries. The trio of subtle background oak, soft tannins and still fresh acid carry the flavour very well. Earthiness on the long finish. A very nice wine, indeed. When we approach what’s left a while later, it continues to shine and out-strips the other 2 in terms of endurance and depth.
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Elderton Barossa Command Single Vineyard Shiraz 2001  (cork-sealed)

Deep dark red with some medium garnet hues. On top of the dark fruits we have been getting, we detected some straws and a slight port-likeness. The nose is very alluring, more so that the previous 2. As we take in sips of the wine, 2 words just came out from almost everyone’s mouth: well-integrated. The fruits and spices intertwined with the oak and tannins, while the acid gives it some freshness. We also found chocolatey note on the palate. The wine finishes long, with lip-smacking juiciness.
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Comparatively…

It was an interesting exercise. We thought the 1999 was past its best, the 2000 was really enjoyable and continued to sing when we returned to it. The 2001 was the favourite at first, but as it slowly fell off, the 2000 took over and won our hearts at the end of the night.
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After the somewhat structured mini-vertical tasting, we turned to some food and more wines, brought along by Mr M, who is an importer of Italian wines. At this point, I did not take any notes or pictures of the wines enjoyed. (Perhaps one of the attendees can add the info in the comments below… hint-hint!)

As usual, calamity-me strikes again…

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Till next time, cheers~!