In other news: Dude, I totally scored. The fine folks at Soif were able to get me a case of the 2002 Clonakilla 'Hilltops' shiraz - and Southern Wines came through with a case of the 2002 Petaluma Hanlin Hill riesling. I am now largely done with my wine shopping; these were just about the final things I wanted to hoard from my Australian sabbatical. I still have faint hopes of a few bottles of the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, but they're not so important now that I've got damn near all of the Really Good Stuff I was hoping for. I'll probably augment everything with some Howard Park Riesling when that's available in the USA, but I'm very happy with what I've got now.
[In case you were wondering, no, this isn't for drinking right now. Most of this stuff - at least the Australian Rieslings - can in theory last up 'til the year 2025 or so. I have a real penchant for old Riesling, which is why I've been busting my hump to get five cases or so of it tucked away; I want to be able to open a bottle with friends twelve years from now and think back to when I first tried it when I was in Australia. It's partly a romantic notion - for example, the Clonakilla shiraz, well, I stood in the same room as it in May 2002, which does have personal meaning to me - and also partly a calculated guess that it's going to taste better in ten years.]
Tonight's selections are the 2001 Anfora Zinfandel and the 1999 Toasted Head Meritage. The Anfora seems to have a barely detectible problem with cork taint; either that or it's started to get too old already. I hope it's the former because there's still a case of it left. The Toasted Head is a weirdo blend, half Malbec half Petit Verdot; it's kind of interesting but not particularly remarkable. It's not remotely worth the $30 it cost upon release; even at $9 [it's on closeout at Cost Plus], it's not exactly a terrific value. It's kind of like a low end Argentine malbec, but with kind of a skanky tannic aftertaste. I opened the bottle on Monday, so it's kind of a science experiment at this point - it wasn't nice on Monday, and it didn't get better with a few days' oxygenation, just thinner and more squirelly... ah well.