All I need is a cigar, a signature and a fine dry red….

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Quick recap and moral of the Pewsey Vale The Contours vertical story: Great wines, great ageability and great QPR. Buy, cellar and enjoy!

Moving on to the Yalumba reds it’s time to check out six quite different wines spanning from a young and seductive 2008 The Cigar to a fully mature 1974 Fine Dry Red 1A. The tasting session also included a vertical; 4 vintages of The Signature.

1974 FDR 1A

The Cigar is a newcomer to the Yalumba portfolio and the grapes, entirely Cabernet Sauvignon, comes from the company’s Coonawarra estate, The Menzies. Vines planted 1975 and 1994. For the Cigar the younger vines are mainly used. No, this is not a perfect match with a cigar. The name simply comes from the cigar shaped strip of terra rossa soil in the Coonawarra region.

The Signature is for me synonymous with Yalumba. Created in 1962, the wine is a blend of Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz fruit. Has proven to age beautifully which is confirmed in this tasting.

As a special treat, from Yalumba’s very own cellar, Louisa pours a great summing-it-all-up-wine; the first vintage of the FDR 1AFine Dry Red. What kindness. I’m honored!

Short notes from the tasting session

2008 The Cigar -Sloe and blueberries. Christmas spicy (cinnamon, clove), dust, a floral scent, smoke and generous toasty oak. On the palate its offering a more restrained style, good tannin structure, vanilla, dark chocolate, blueberries and a minerally finish. Young, but so delicious! (90-91 p)

2006 The Signature – Not released yet I thought Louisa said. This is a monster Signature which needs a decade to calm down. Blueberries, cream, vanilla, coffee, spices but in all that a quite classic BDX-feeling hiding. Compact tannins, enormous fruit, yet a dry feeling. Toasty oak at the moment. Long, intense. Please come back in ten years! (92-93 p)

2004 The Signature – Black olives in the first attack. Then cedar, scorched earth, blackcurrants and mint. Sun drenched red berries in the taste, oak starting to integrate, fine restrained structure, a positive green note and long finish. Elegant. (91-92 p)

2000 The Signature – More maturity to this one and also the weakest vintage of the four tasted. Cedar, wet wood, tobacco, slightly stalky, blackcurrants and licorice. Elegant and mature taste with currants, humus, cedar and tobacco. Nicely integrated oak. Drink soon is my suggestion. (90-91 p)

1991 The Signature – Fantastic wine! Elegance in a glass with soy sauce, leather, blackcurrants, humus and lead pencil. Complex almost Medoc like bouquet. Mature taste with fins silky tannins and still fruit left. Leather, licorice, tobacco and red berries. Complex taste in a medium body. Long, pure finish. Will keep a few more years. Coonawarra Cab in this one. Was that the trick? Wonderful wine! (93-94 p)

1974 FDR 1A – Nothing I am honored to taste every day. First vintage produced of the rarely seen Fine Dry Red. This is mature, oh yes, but keeping nicely together. Impressive. Soy sauce, mushrooms, dried leather, a bit floral and sun drenched red berries. No cracking up bouquet. Nuanced palate with more obvious signs of age; slightly volatile but never reducing its drinkability. Actually a harmonious mouth feel with sweet licorice, tobacco, mint and old wood. Elegant. 36 years old – would love this next to a similar aged BDX! (92-93 p)

Food with the wines? How about a charcoal grilled tender sirloin steak served with a rooster liver terrine, Blenheim apples, marrow and a red wine glace? A treat especially with the 1991 Signature beautifully demonstrating what wine is all about – accompanying great meals!

N.B. I was invited to participate by the Swedish importer of Yalumba, Vingruppen.

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