Bendigo wine-off (Clash of the Titans)

1993 Henschke Hill of Grace (Barossa) vs 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz (Sunbury), at Whirrakee Restaurant Bendigo, Saturday July 28 2013

Last Saturday I caught up with an old friend I have not seen for about 4 years, who is now Regional General Manager & Director Projects (South West Asia) for IHG Hotels.

A special catch up between close friends means dinner at the best restaurant in Bendigo, with some special wines; since we have always between competitive, we decided to make this a wine-off.

He brought the Henschke Hill of Grace and I brought the Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz.

Both wines were decanted for about 30 minutes, but I asked for a small amount of each wine in a tasting glass beforehand.

I have to admit from the initial nose the Henschke was much better and my friend also agreed.

As we let the wines decanter we had between myself, my friend and his wife a bottle of 2009 Howard Park Chardonnay. A very crisp and fresh chardonnay with the right amount of acid, not over oaked with tropical and melon flavours which went well with the parsnip and prawn bisque.

Now for the wine-off:

Clash of The Titans.

1993 Henschke Hill of Grace vs 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz

The winner was the 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz

wine off

We ordered a mix of entrees comprising of Goats Cheese, Hare and Duck and we tried the Henschke Hill of Grace.

The nose was totally different. It did not have that initial exciting nose that we experienced. The nose had oak, berries but not much else. The palate had the same but the fruit was a little flat and the finish was quite short. Mind you the cork did fall apart when it was opened so I could see that cork taint was the result. As we kept drinking the wine my friend’s wife said it started to smell vinegary and we knew we had better drink this wine fast.

Before the first pour we asked the restaurant manager and the chef of the restaurant to try the wine and we all rated it out of 10.

Average score of 7.86.

I was disappointed as I know had amazing Henshke is and this wine did not reflect that.

Next with out Black Angus Beef was the 1997 Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz.

The nose and palate had oak, cherries, it was ripe, vibrant, depth, cloves, chinese herbs, compote, white pepper.

We were all very impressed with this wine.

It was well balanced with a long and spicy finish.

My friend commented on what a well made wine it was.

Average score from all 5 of us was 8.94.

This same wine also beat a 1996 Chris Ringland “3 Rivers” shiraz 2 years at France Soir Restaurant at the last wine-off I had and we let the Head Sommelier at the time be the judge.

Andraos Bros Grandfather’s Reserve Shiraz is an exceptional wine, and I have never found anything that has been better.