Hey gang, got a clash of the oldies today, a 25 year old Hermitage from Barossa vs the slightly younger 20 year old St Emilion Grand Cru. It’s Australia vs France…whos gonna win!?

Basedow Barossa Hermitage 1987, 12.9%


Cordier Clos des Jacobins, St Emilion Grand Cru 1992, 12.5%

Basedow Barossa Hermitage 1987, 12.9%

First up, the Aussie. Basedow is the second oldest family owned winery in the region founded way back in 1896. An all Shiraz from old vines , matured in American oak.

This wine has some beautiful colour. A clear ruby red wine, light and aged. It possesses a deep red wood and plum nose with seams of  vanilla, cashew nuts and fresh steak ready for a bbq. Attack is brambly, brown and earthy with nice playful tannins backs and a thin but firm layer of acidity. This wine really reminds me of red bricks, clay and undertones of that asian dried fish/cuttlefish you get out of a packet. It  is very thin on the palate but almost chewy at the same time, firm and defined flavours. Finishes like raw capsicum and brocoli, slightly spicy with something like a dried cranberry and cherry fruits.

Chewy and tasty. I like it. This guy went down way to easy 🙂
Cordier Clos des Jacobins, St Emilion Grand Cru 1992, 12.5%

Next up, the Frenchy. A St Emilion, basically Merlot/Cab Franc and a touch of Cab Sav from the right bank.

This is 5 years younger but from the nose, you wouldn’t have thunk it. A very punchy green pine needle scent kicks up your nostrils the first time you nose it. It then develops some spiced wood, black berries, twiggy and acorns notes in a bed of damp forest floor.
Attack is….for lack of a better word, raw? It’s almost fishy, like a seared barramundi fillet. There is some dried mango but also  bits of charcoal or ash like the black bits of bbqed meats on burnt toast. In a nutshell, I’m going with a smoked eel flavour; a very strange flavour profile indeed but not unpleasant, just odd. There is a  nice balance of dried red fruits with an underlining tannin structure and getting some of those packet dried and spicy seaweed strips in the finish along with more of that dusty smokey flavour. Not peaty, defiantly like a smoked fish or eel. The finish lingers and develops a creamy texture like a side of smashed avocado, some tomatoes and humus. Odd. I find this interesting but difficult to approach and very punchy.

What we have here are two very different wines both displaying a wealth of secondary flavours. The Hermitage had lost a lot of its expected punch and spicy kick you would expect. It has more fruity characters which you would expect from a wine. Meanwhile, the St Emilion was still bouncy and kicking along with more savoury notes and character. Which was better? Today, I favoured the Hermitage but the majority of the people on the table sided with the St Emilion. Who knows what I would pick tomorrow?

I don’t care, they were both tasty 😛

Thanks for reading