Big ‘ol wine.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for the PR firm for the winery.

On the same night we tried the Chateau Tanunda Riesling we also tried the 2009 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Shiraz.  An Australian wine night in our house.  It clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails for about $20.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) In keeping with the 2009 growing season in Australia I found this wine to be hot.

2.) The heat and tannins mellowed a bit when I went back to it several hours later, but it was still just a bit too hot for me.

3.) If you’re into big boozy black and blue fruit wines, this is for you.

4.) Definitely decant and aerate this wine for several hours before drinking.

On the nose I found this wine to be sweet and a oaky with blueberry, blackberry, black cherry, and vanilla. I got lots of sweet oak on the nose. I could also smell the heat on the wine. In the mouth I found more black fruit, similar to the nose.  After letting it sit, it opened and I got blueberry pie, nutmeg, spice, cinnamon, chocolate, pepper, and vanilla oak.


Riesling from the Outback

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR company for the winery.

I don’t drink much Australian Riesling.  Actually, I don’t drink much wine from Australia in general. No particular reason, I should really try to do so more often.  Recently we popped open the 2009 Chateau Tanunda Grand Barossa Riesling. We drank it on its own, but I’m going to recommend this as a Thanksgiving wine as well, especially if you are looking to par down your wine budget a bit. This bottle will fit the bill well. The Chateau Tanunda Riesling clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, has a screw cap closure, and retails for around $13.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I liked this Riesling as an alternate style to some of the sweeter Rieslings I’ve been drinking lately.

2.) I intend to serve this as one of my white wine options at Thanksgiving this year.

3.) The wine delivered nicely for the price point.

4.) I usually suggest Riesling as a gateway wine for the “I don’t like wine” folks, but I think this one was a bit too dry to fall into that category.

On the nose I got lemon, stone, pear, apple, flowers, spice, and white pepper. The wine smelled light and lively and dry.  In the mouth I found mostly lemon, some round pear and apple edges. The palate was light and refreshing, simpler than the nose. Overall I found it to be dry with good structure.


Nine Dollar Pinot Noir

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR folks for Jacob’s Creek.

I honestly don’t expect much from a $9 Pinot Noir. I expect even less from a $9 Pinot Noir from Australia. I tried this wine with some trepidation, having not experiences much Pinot Noir from Australia and thinking about the general Australian style with big red wines and wondering how that might translate to Pinot Noir, a red I tend to think of as lighter. Last night we tried the 2007 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Pinot Noir.  It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails online for around $9.

On the nose I found spiced rum, mulling spice, cider spice, hot cider, mulberry, and cinnamon.  I thought it smelled more like a Christmas candle than a wine. Christmas in a glass.  In the mouth I got tart red fruit, raspberry, cherry, mulling spices, and mulberry.  It tasted a bit like Christmas too. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this wine. It didn’t necessarily taste like a classic Pinot Noir to me, and as I said, I haven’t had enough Pinot Noir from Australia to make a call if this is just how Pinot Noir from Australia tastes.



Aussie Riesling

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the importer for Jacob’s Creek.

I’ve been drinking plenty of German Rieslings lately, so I thought it would be interesting to pull a Riesling from a different region from the basement. Just my luck, a box of Rieslings from Jacob’s Creek in Australia arrived recently. I chose one of the Rieslings from Jacob’s Creek’s higher priced line, the 2006 Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for around $28.

On the nose I found lemon, chalk, wet stone, coconut, tropical fruit, lime, and a hint of toast. In the mouth I got tropical fruit, pineapple, lime, citrus, and an orange aftertaste. I found the fruit to be fairly lush in the mid-palate, which transformed to a dry finish by the end.

A Different Kind of Sparkler

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Wyndham’s PR folks.

Normally you expect sparkling wine to be white or Rosé. But coming out of Australia is Sparkling Shiraz. I’ve had a couple over the years of writing this blog. They are interesting, but not truly my thing. I like them more for the interesting factor of a sparkling red wine. It’s always fun to pour one for folks who have never seen them before. In any case, a bottle of the Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Sparkling Shiraz arrived at my door the other day from South Eastern Australia. It had a traditional Champagne closure, clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, and I see it retailing for about $16 online.

On the nose I found black currants, black plums, and pine. The nose also seemed to have a waxy quality to it…like the smell of birthday candles.  In the mouth, more plums and currants, plus blackberry, and other tart berries…I want to say huckleberries.  The wine was more fizzy than bubbly, more like a soda than a sparkling wine.

Tasting Yangarra Estate Vineyard

This post, like many of my posts from my last CA adventure, is long overdue. This past summer I had to travel to St. Louis for two weeks for work. It just so happened that it coincided with my friend Al (whom I met in Kansas City on another work trip) bringing around a representative from Yangarra Estate Vineyard in Australia, a Kendall Jackson brand.  We met up in the hotel restaurant to taste through some of the current line up and for me to learn a bit about Yangarra.

Yangarra Estate totals 420 acres with 250 planted with primarily Rhone varieties. All wine produced under the label are single vineyard designates from dry farmed vineyards. I thought it was kind of cool that the Grenache they farm was planted in 1946. Total, Yangarra produces 15,000 cases a year.

2007 Un-oaked Chardonnay: Melon, pear, light citrus, peach, white flowers, white pepper, spice, peach, stone fruit, full mid-palate, great structure. Retails for $15-$20.

2007 Viognier: Slight butter oak that is fleeting, pear, stone fruit, spicy, little cream that doesn’t appear in the mouth at all, tropical notes, apple, crisp, acidic.

2007 Roussanne: Light citrus, orange, nice round mouth feel, lemon, tart, something tropical hiding, spicy nose, hint of orange cream, nice long finish, smoke.

2005 Cadenzia: My favorite of the wines. 7 wineries make wines under this name and they must be Grenache heavy to qualify. The Yangarra Cadenzia was 47% Grenache, 41% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre. Blackberry, black plum, chocolate, pepper, raspberry, really tart fruit, black cherry, nice herbal/mint/eucalyptus, red fruit, really bright, dried roses, smokey, cracked black pepper, this had a nose I could get lost in.

2007 Shiraz: Cracked pepper, big black plums, meat->grilled, crushed violets, spicy, dusty dark chocolate, herbs, smoke, concentrated black fruit, black cherry, tannins.

2005 High Sands Grenache: Big nose, perfumey, candied currants, black fruit, chocolate, berries, plums, big fruit, tannic, flowers, some red fruit.

Convicts in the House

My dad gave me a subscription to a wine of the month club several months ago. I think this is the last bottle from that subscription. I have a story to write for Palate Press coming up about my experiences with wine clubs, big box, winery direct, and other, so that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say that my club shipments from winery direct clubs are much preferred.  Tonight we tried the 2008 Convict’s Reward Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes. You read that right. 2008. It clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, comes from South Eastern Australia, and I can’t find any information on what it retails for.

On the nose I got cedar, eucalyptus, mint, spice, pepper, blackberry, and black currants. Overall I found the nose to be woody.  In the mouth I got dark black stewed fruit.  I found it to be tannic, acidic, and bitter. NMS.