Judgment of Singapore: Part 1 - Chardonnay and Syrah (Zeffir, Dunlop Street): This rounded up a trio of very nice Northern Rhones. The nose here staddled the Côte-Rôtie and cooler-climate Australian Shiraz, with a rich melange of black fruit and roasted meat aromas, dried earth and spice, wild garrigue, eucalyptus and a whiff of crushed beetle carapaces. Very attractive, but there was certainly no running away from the heat of the vintage on that bouquet with its ripe fruit and toasty character. The palate was quite another story though. After the rich ripeness on the nose, this was ever so clean and clear, with a lovely sense of balance and poise lent to the wine by its beautifully structured backbone of fine tannins and some very decent acidity for the vintage. There were openly delicious flavours of black cherries and blackberries seasoned with spice, cinamon and licorice root on the midpalate, yet one somehow still got the feel that this was still rather tight, and that it needed time to draw out its subtleties and more complex nuances. No complaing though, it was nevertheless a delicious wine from its fruit-kissed attack and midpalate into a long finish, where slightly powdery tannins framed more obviously 2003 notes of dried earth and dried cherry bits wrapped in a lovely halo of spicey aromas. A solid wine, and one that should continue improving with time. I would really like to try this again in another five years.
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