Following my recent cellar investigation, my last bottle from this producer turned up – it was the youngest I ever owned – a 1999.
During the late 1990s the doyen of British independent wine-retailers was Oddbins, and whilst they made as much money selling beer and cigarettes as they did wine, they had a treasure trove of small and interesting producers side-by-side with walls of the latest Shiraz on special offer – here is one such example. Such a shame that the shops that currently wear that name bear no more than a skin-deep resemblance!
Anyway, back to Kent! I bought this cuvée from the 1996 to 1999 vintages, inclusive, and enjoyed them all, but it was nearly 10 years since my last bottle. Along the way there had been other interesting bottles from Kent; the Ramsey Petite Syrah and a 1996 Ramsey Reserve Napa Valley Syrah – the latter could have been sourced from Berry Bros.(?) – but back to my first love: As it was an ‘older bottle’ I chose the screwpull – my lever-action ‘tool’ has a habit of snapping the older corks in two – well in this case the cork simply disintegrated, erupting into a heap of bits. Fortunately very little ended up in the bottle-neck. Frankly there was a little oxidation to the aromas, dovetailing with a little vanilla and plum, but the fat, flavour and texture of this wine was still remarkably lovely – I’d probably be bemoaning a lack of acidity if it came from the Côte d’Or, but regardless, it seems that this one was drunk in the nick (maybe 2-3 years too late?) of time!