However, there are a couple of empty spots which I haven't filled just because the wines are too damned expensive [Yarra Yering] or because they haven't been released yet [Rosemount reserve stuff, for example].
One of the "too damned expensive" slots has forever been filled by the Charles Melton Nine Popes GSM; Dan and I tasted it in situ in the Barossa, thought it was damned good, but were never willing to pay the US$45 a bottle it usually costs.
However, I just got spam from The Wine Exchange, a shop in Orange County that's seen a portion of my income disappear into its coffers for a few years now.
They just dropped the price on the 2002 to $18.99.
I immediately picked up a 6-pack.
You, dear reader, should do so as well if you like Rhône-ish blends at bargain basement prices. :)
One of Barossa Valley legend Charles Melton’s "serious" red wines, this homage to Chateauneuf du Pape (hence the name "Nine Popes") is a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvedre. Made from dry-farmed vineyards, ranging in age from 30-130 years, this wine offers a nose of black fruits intermixed with new saddle leather and spice. Expressive, with gobs of fruit, this intense, chewy, yet impeccably balanced and pure wine is a thrill to drink. It seems that every year good old Charlie can mail in a 90+ score from Parker on this one and the 2002 is the best we've tasted since his glorious 1996 and 1998 vintages....... Don't miss this great bottle at a truly silly price! What you don't buy we'll drink (we're not kidding...).Update: It sold out at 2:30 PM.