Saturday, November 20, 2010

Half Dozen Shiraz from OZ

talian wines paved the way for my wine education, but last night my friend Eric Guido provided a detour for me: A blind tasting of six Australian wines from the famed Barossa Valley. All six were reds and either 100% Shiraz or a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The bottles ranged in price from about $20 to $100, the labels were covered with aluminum foil and the six were separated into two flights of three. Three wines were from the Yalumba Vineyard and three were picked from Erics's cellar.

Flight 1

Penfolds RWT 2003
Creamy cherry aromas with a slight indication of citrus rinds and roasted meats, on the palate flashes of raisins and ripe cherries, the alcohol is evident at first but after a few hours starts to open nicely.

Yalumba The Scribbler 2008
65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Shiraz showing aromas of oak, raw wood and ripe cherries while on the palate hints of violets, black pepper and a spicy intensity.

Yalumba Signature 2004
54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Shiraz, acute floral aromas coalesce in a bouquet of rich violets and red licorice while contrasting earth and mushrooms and even a sign of meat and oak. Flavors of candy apple, noticeably aged and fresh all at once, well balanced, long smooth finish, stylish and elegant. This wine was my overall favorite by far, and the majority of tasters agreed.

Flight 2

Yalumba Patchwork Shiraz 2008
Muted smoky aromas, eastern spices, sour cherries, cocoa, and forest floor, raspberry, blueberry and fresh finish.

Fetish/The Watcher 2006
My pick from the second flight, this shows a barnyard funk, musk, animal, vegetal, cherries, floral nuances, oak, ripe cherries and plum.

Two Hands Bella's Garden Shiraz 2008
Made from a blend of six different Shiraz wines, each sourced from vineyards located in subappellations of South Australia, minimal fining and no filtration. Aromas of oak, a balsamic edge, very fruit forward, fresh full flavors, licorice, dark chocolate, rich blackberries and ripe cherries. This week's #2 pick at Wine Spectator (out of a field of 100 wines).

I don't feel especially guilty about drinking non-Italian wines, after all we still paired the wines with (Grandma) Pizza and had Panettone topped with Shiraz Cream Fresh for dessert.

For another take on the wines we tasted see Eric's comments at The V.I.P Table.

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