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.


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.

Bargain Shiraz

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the Terlato Wine Group.

I’m feeling very non-committal about my wine selections these days.  One day I’m craving the crisp whites I love, the net I want a huge red wine. Must be the weather which will not make up its mind as to weather we are still in winter or have moved onto spring.  My poor bulbs that are popping up, I hope they survive this cold snap. With that in mind, I chose the 2006 Guardian Peak Shiraz from South Africa to drink the other night.  It had a screw cap closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $11.  I know you can get the Wallaby wine for around $7 a bottle, but seriously, do yourself a favor and spend the extra $4 and get this instead.

I loved the nose on this wine.  It smelled of smoke, anise, cedar, earth, chocolate, funk in a good way, and the slightest hint of dark berries.  It reminded me just a bit of some kind of pipe tobacco.  I found the wine to be very smoky in the mouth as well.  I also got flavors of blackberries, black cherries, some  strawberry, earth, and plums.  The fruit showed as quite tart, the wine had nice tannins, and good acidity.  Serve with your favorite BBQ.

Chilean Shiraz

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the pr folks for Wines of Chile.

When I make a promise to drink more Chilean wines, I apparently deliver in a huge way.  Of course, it helps when you get sent a full case of Chilean red wines!  I chose the 2006 Ventisquero Queulat Shiraz this evening.  It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and hails from the Maipo Valley.

My first impression of the wine is that it’s really young.  I found raspberries, brown sugar, chocolate, spice, red plum, cranberry, and pomegrante on the nose.  The fruit smelled fresh.  I liked the nose.  In the mouth, I found the wine to be tannic and young. I got flavors of black fruit, cranberry, and tea.  The fruit seemed tart and darker than what I found on the nose.  The wine was sweet and the mouth didn’t deliver what the nose promised.


Winemaker, Winemaker, Make Me a Blend!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the Terlato Wine Group

Matt actually had a request for wine the other evening. Usually he pretty much leaves the wine selection up to me even though I bug him every night as to what he’d like to drink. He requested a Cabernet Sauvignon, seeing as how it was freezing out, a big red seemed like an excellent idea to me.  I picked the 2006 Guardian Peak Frontier.  This is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Shiraz, and 17% Merlot from the Western Cape of South Africa.  The wine clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a screw cap closure, and retails for between $10-$14.  The Terlato folks sent me 4 wines in that price range, and so far, they are batting two for two in wines that I would recommend as great to drink and easy on your wallet in this economy.  I’m also excited to try more wine from South Africa. Most of my experience with South African wines is with Sauvignon Blanc.

On the nose I found leather, like a horse saddle, a bit of barnyard, mint, eucalyptus, vanilla, sugar plum, slight dark fruit, campfire smoke, and pencil shavings.  A great expressive nose, though it didn’t give up much fruit.  The mouth, on the other hand, had plenty of fruit to spare! I got red fruit, blackberries, plums, black cherry jello, currants, and tart cherries.  Overall, the wine had some tannins on the back palate but also showed excellent acidity which would make it stand up to food really well.  For the price point, this is an excellent value.  Serve with your favorite steak!

Simple Quaffer

The wine for the evening was the 2004 Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz. This was a bottle my dad bought and left with us on his last visit. It had a screw-cap, clocked in at 14% alcohol by volume, and I see it’s available online for about $7.99.

The nose showed cherry, blackberry, boysenberry, chocolate, and plum. A very fruity nose. In the mouth, raspberry, cherry, spice, and chocolate showed. The mouth was much lighter and smoother than I expected.

For the price, a simple wine, but that’s about what I’d expect from this price point from an Australian Shiraz.

Homage to Pinotage

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Bottlenotes.

Or rather, to a Pinotage/Shiraz blend. I received this wine quite a while ago as a part of a blogger trial of Bottlenotes. For the trial, I was given a credit at Bottlenotes which I could use to try out any of their wineclubs. I chose the Dinner Party club, and received this Pinotage/Shiraz in a shipment along with a bottle of Petite Sirah Port that I have yet to try.

The wine was a 2006 Seven Sisters “Dawn” Pinotage/Shiraz from South Africa. It can be purchased from Bottlenotes for $14.99. It had a real cork closure, clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and was a blend of 60% Pinotage/40% Shiraz.

This wine was honestly fabulous. It’s been a few months since I drank it, but I can still remember what it tasted like, and what an incredible value it was. I’d never had a Pinotage before and I was happy to try one and was delighted to find a new grape to love. I will certainly seek out Pinotage again.

The nose of the wine was plummy and spicy. Dark black fruit shone through, with pepper and earth. Vanilla cream emerged after some time in the glass. The wine was very fruity on the nose, while being dark with smoke and earth at the same time. In the mouth I found plums, dark fruit, blackberries, and earth. The wine was tannic, it needed some time to air, but after an hour was completely smoothed out and kept evolving.

An excellent value for the price.