March 11, 2007

Tasting of Kay Brothers Wines

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My friend Paulo invited me to a tasting of wines from McLaren Vale's Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards. I have a few bottles of their top wine, Block 6, so I was happy to accept his invitation. Colin Rayment, the General Manager of the Winery, was on hand to tell us about the wines. The tasting dinner was a simple affair at Classified, a gourmet shop run by Paulo.

The menu for the night was very simple - smoked salmon, delicious jamón ibérico from Joselito, salad, followed by fondue (!) and a cheese platter. I was a bit apprehensive about having fondue with Aussie shiraz but in the end it didn't really detract from the wines.

The wines that we tasted for the night (funnily enough it was self-service, so you can do it in any order you prefer):

2002 Kay Brothers Amery Shiraz - fairly smooth and nice to drink, but nothing to write home about

2002 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz - this was much more interesting. Planted in 1982 using Block 6 cuttings to celebrate the centennary of the original Block 6, this was much more fruit-driven, vanilla and typical of Aussie shiraz.

2003 Kay Brothers Cabernet - actually pretty smooth and drinking pretty well

2001 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz - again, very nice to drink although less interesting than the 2002

1998 Kay Brothers Hillside Shiraz - this was a wine from a top vintage, has aged a few years and is now drinking extremely well.

2002 Kay Brothers Block 6 - it's easy to see why this is their top wine, made in fairly small quantities (1,000 cases in good years and 500 or so in poor years like 2007). This is much more powerful and concentrated, and the good to drink now

2003 Kay Brothers Block 6 - good but less interesting than the 2002

2004 Kay Brothers Block 6 - this was THE wine. It's just been released and obviously very young, and the alcohol is showing a little. Full of vanilla and red fruits, this powerful wine is actually approachable now with enough decanting time. Definitely should buy some and save for later.

2004 Kay Brothers Late Harvest Frontignac - a sweet wine to go with dessert. I felt that the nose was a bit too sharp and not exactly to my liking

Kay Brothers Liquer Muscat - other than the 04 Block 6, this was definitely the wine for me. It's got an amazing nose that I could smell from 3 feet away. It was very viscous and sweet, with a deep brown color and a nose of caramel and figs.

Interestingly, Kay Brothers have switched to Stelvin screw caps for their wines as they are frustrated by the quality of corks. Will see how their current production ages over the next 15 years...

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