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Brokenwood Graveyard 2001, 2002 & 2003

May 24, 2012

This is a retrospective post of a dinner on 21 March 2012 where everything went wrong: the good folks at the wonderful Teochew restaurant Chao Shan could not locate our reservation, their signature dishes were not available, people were held back by last-minute emergencies at work such that some exquisite Rhone shiraz that had been promised could not materialise. The only wines available were those I’d brought along, a mini-vertical of Brokenwood Graveyard that I had cellared for several years. All wines were popped on-site and aired in bottle for around 30 minutes. Prior to this, I cannot recall when was the last time I had a Graveyard, apart from a 1994 that was hopelessly corked some 4-5 years ago.

The 2003 showed a dull purple with pronounced minty and herbal aromas that promised a spicy, assertive wine on the palate, rather unremarkable and four-square. It became less jarring over time, fleshing out somewhat but the real fruit never quite emerged from the depths and any hope of it surfacing were dashed by the alcoholic edge, which seemed more apparent than the declared 13.5%. The 2002 also cast a similar impression, a dirty dull purple with forward medicinal and herbal aromas. However, it was noticeably fuller and more layered in the mid-body with notes of bitter coffee, eventually developing a metallic, graphite-like minerality that inevitably imparted a stern demeanour to the whole wine. I had high hopes for the 2001, which I do recall being delicious and fleshy when I last tasted it at an office function some 6-7 years ago. True enough, it had the most open bouquet of the night, rosy with a predominance of red fruits, matched to a full rounded body. It fleshed out beautifully over time, gaining in sweetness and perfumed fragrance, soft and elegant in the best tradition of Hunter Valley shiraz. Lovely.

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