In the glass this Merlot shows a slightly paler purple than I was expecting. The nose, after I performed the ‘Shake‘ exhibits gorgeous black berry and cinnamon notes. On the palate I am greeted with a really smooth dose of Ribena, some meaty notes, and a fresh ensemble of tannins that are ever present but not cloying. The wine is full flavored, make no mistake- but it does so with a very gentle build-up. Extraction is at its fullest and with that comes a well hidden 14.5% alcohol. The mid palate is somewhat muted after the initial uptake, the finish is where it’s at. More dark berries emerge as well as a blueberry pie component. I hate to say it, but this wine needs a touch more oak. Yup, I said it. Not lashings, but a tiny more vanilla, perhaps a little more tannic bite. At one point I’m sure the wine had plenty of it, perhaps just fading at this point. The structure is good though and the wine is balanced. I would drink up as the wine is at peak and there is not much in the way of tertiary flavors. It is relatively easy-going and will do well with a variety of dishes. I am going with 90 points and 4 stars for this $28 effort. Salut….
I have written about the Mollydooker Two Left Feet 2012 vintage before. I sat on this bottle for an eternity and since we are moving house, it’s time to drink up. I have not read my old review so as not to taint this one.
I must say, all Mollydooker red wines appear dark and very purply in the glass. This one is no exception. Extraction is the key to their success methinks. It has a nose of plums, sarsaparilla, fig. I already performed the Mollydooker Shake in case you were wondering. The palate gives up super smooth flavors of blue fruits. Blueberry, plum, currant jam, that root beer thing again and some super ingrained tannins. Like, so smooth and barely detectable. The astringency hits on the finish, but the wine drinks beautifully with nice, if somewhat restrained acidity. The mouthfeel on this wine is sublime, extracted, rich and smooth. The finish shows a faint trace of the well hidden, monstrous 16% alcohol. Beware…
I am pairing it with pan seared Flat-Iron steak that I coated with Santa Maria rub, plus some sautéed mushrooms, a tomato salad and edamame to boot. 91 points from me for this $25 offering. 5 stars for this blend of 69% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet, 15% Merlot. Salut….
I drank the 2011 Parson’s Nose a while back, enjoying it so much that I saw this vintage and had to try it. It is inky black in the glass. It smells of coffee, anise and plums. It tastes of black berries, anise and espresso. The coffee flavors are really hitting me today. The wine has a great mouthfeel, very smooth, inviting and it hides the 14.5% alcohol very deftly. The mid palate has more berries, but now more on the blue side, with ever so slight tannins making an entrance. They build into the finish and leave me with a nice dryness on the gums, not too much. The whole package is really tasty, not over-extracted like so many Aussie Shiraz’s can be. I paid $18 for it but it looks to be on sale for under $14 online. Folks- this is a 91 point wine in my books and for that price, they may not have much left after I get done. 5 stars. Salut….
This was the second Sigston Swift bottle at our tasting, the other being the Aunt Prissy Tempranillo. This Reserve Shiraz has a bit of bottle age on it and is drinking well. A nice purple color that leaves a sexy set of legs on the glass and introduces you to a nose of gorgeous black and blue currants. I’m missing the telltale white pepper notes associated with Mclaren Vale Shiraz, but they are replaced with some vanilla that I’m really liking. On the initial attack I get black berry torte, some blueberry pie and a touch of cinnamon. Mid palate wise it just flows on from the front end. The wine finishes with perfume, some slight tannins and black cherries. I think this wine is worthy of 87 points and 3 stars for its $15 price point. Drink now-2018. Salut….
A friend brought this to the tasting, and I was impressed. I was not expecting a Tempranillo from Australia, nor one that was this delicious.
Dark purple, with lots of extraction. A full on nose of black currants, a hint of earth/dust and possibly some eucalyptus. A super smooth intro of Ribena, black olive and spice on the palate. The tannins are very integrated and there is a nice touch of acidity. The mid palate gives black fruit and an interesting note of bell peppers. This wine drinks well now and will drink nicely all by itself or perhaps with some charcuterie. It may have some cellaring capacity but the structure calls for pop-n-pour. It closes with a sour cherry note and a mid length finish that I enjoyed. I’m not sure if much oak influenced this wine but the relatively low 13% alcohol makes it a treat to drink. I really like this wine and look forward to it becoming more widely available. A very respectable 88 points from me and 4 stars for its $15 price point. Salut….
I have had the 2008 Dead Arm from Mclaren Vale before and thoroughly enjoyed it. This bottle has been sitting longer in the cellar and comes with very lofty ratings from the pros. I decided it was just what I needed with the Sunday Roast. It was a perfect pairing. I found myself wondering about this wine and how best to describe it. My thoughts are this- it is pubescent. Not young and primal anymore, yet not fully blossomed into that full blown creature it has the potential for. It is at a crossroads in its evolution. Stick with me…
A hazy purple in the glass with a nose of mature plum, star anise and cocoa.
Super smooth entry with blueberry, damson and oak. Levels of flavor lead to a somewhat complex wine that is primarily fruit driven right now but I could see evolution into secondary flavors. Still quite tannic with opposing acidity make this a young and balanced wine that will age gracefully. 92 points, 2014-2025 and for $50 make this a 4 star wine worthy of cellaring. Here’s the kick: RP gave it 95 points with a drinking window of 2018-2036 while on the other side of the fence WS gave it 91 points with a drinking window of 2009-2016. Very opposing views of aging capacity and technical merits. Five years after their initial write-ups and I am in the middle of both parties as to the ratings and aging potential. Perhaps provenance and cellar conditions will be the greatest influence from here on in. Either way, bang for the buck you can’t go wrong with this polished Shiraz from down under. Salut….
If you have read any of my Clarendon posts you will know that I love this winery and can’t get enough of their subtle yet complex Syrahs, Cabernets and Grenaches. This particular Mclaren Vale offering was opened to go along with my new favorite grilled meat- Chorizo. I loaded up two giant Ribeye steaks (the butcher had labelled them Delmonico’s, all hoity toity) some onions and a half dozen of the Mexican sausages on the charcoal grill and opened this beauty to sip while I got the rest of dinner ready.
Thick purple color is always a good start for Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh blue fruits with some mint greeted my flaring nostrils- perhaps a touch of alcohol was coming off the glass. Unique plum compote and blueberry coulis flavors were my initial impression but I began to think the wine is still primal with full fruit and a whiff of heat attacking the mid palate. Moderate tannins and cutting acidity belie a still young wine waiting to mature. Eucalyptus and mulberry came into being on the back end with cassis and red fruits adding to the long finish. The 14.5% alcohol was hidden after a while, blown off from it’s early attack. The wine is structured, balanced and a joy to drink. I would imagine it could cellar for another 15 years easily. $75 and 94 points from me make this a treat of a wine that gets 5 stars for a special occasion. Salut….
Every once in a while I come across a score that I totally disagree with. This one is definitely in that camp. The wine was a dark purple in the glass which was a good start. On the nose I coaxed fruits of blue and red currants by swirling like crazy. Once I tasted the wine I wrote ‘Picture blue plums’. That’s all I could muster. Bracing acidity with mild tannins made for a rather boring drink that I was trying to pair with some Hanger steak. Two of the reviews gave this McLaren Vale Shiraz 93 points and WS gave it 88. I’m going with 87 personally and for the $20 retail price, it gets 2 stars. Salut….
From Mclaren Vale comes this elegant Syrah that performed well with the pro’s. I must say I am enjoying a resurgence of Aussie Syrah, versus the more typical Shiraz style of making this varietal. This one started off with Asian plums and black cherries on the nose. Rich and thick come to mind when I was sipping this beauty. The 14.5% alcohol is neatly hidden to detract from it’s potency, yet the extraction is generous. This wine has a great Rhone style with good vanilla notes preempting the young tannins. Bell peppers appear on the back end with some tight black berries coming through with plums and spices for the finish. The wine is complex and layered, as would be expected from a $75 wine. The scores came in from a high of 95, to 90. I am thinking this wine is a 93 effort but it needs time to meld. I would imagine a drinking window of 2016-2024. I am really starting to like this winery, they produce high quality wines made in a style that appeals to me- finesse with plenty of complexity and depth. 4 stars if you are keen for a special wine. Salut….
It’s Sunday, March 16 in Northern Virginia, a few days before spring. It’s snowing outside, I’m listening to the BBC radio from England and drinking this amazing Mclaren Vale Shiraz from Australia….
We promptly lost all electrical power at 6 pm and finished our evening sipping this purple nectar whilst playing Pay Day with two of our kids by candlelight.
The evening started with me sending this young bottle of Shiraz through my Vinturi and into a large Riedel decanter for about an hour. I figured this wine would need coaxing to get it going at such a young age. It has just recently been released and WS gave it a whopping 98 points. I have had numerous wines from Mollydooker and have grown accustomed to their style and sort of know what to expect with respect to the profile and tastes involved. I did not know to what level and depth this particular cuvee was capable of…. I’m jumping the gun.
I decided to grill some Cornish hens after marinating them in garlic, herbs and lime. The sides included riced cauliflower and sautéed spinach with goat cheese and pine nuts. I figured this melange would be able to stand up to the wine and vice versa. It worked a treat. Now to the wine.
I first poured off a half glass to make room for the ‘Shake’ prior to decanting. My initial impressions: Dark and brooding in the glass with a nose of tar, licorice and black fruits. On the palate I got an intense black berry component. I timed a 2+ minute finish. The wine covers the palate in an indescribable way, from front to back. I believe they call it fruit weight, a catchy term but very appropriate.
I then moved on to the aerated and decanted wine and was in for a further treat. The first thing I noticed was a bracing acidity on the front end that was entwined with a gorgeous black cherry component. Capsicum and blue fruits came across in various waves as the wine progressed, an interesting combo if you ask me.
Close your eyes and imagine drinking—— purple. That is possibly the best descriptor I can think of to emphasize the wine’s purity and concentration. It is rich and layered, precise without being bombastic, lengthy. A slight hint of its 16% alcohol comes out on the nose yet is well crafted into the wine so you can’t taste it. The wine gives me the impression that it was stirred with an oak ladle, imparting only a touch of wood and not over doing the treatment. The extremely fine-grained tannins are a pleasure on the palate and give this wine a drinking window between 2016-2025 in my opinion. I would look forward to this wine evolving somewhat but think it will be a pleasure to drink at an early age.
At $180 this is no everyday drinker, but a super special treat wine. I think its depth and complexity will please any fan of red wines as it offers multi-dimensional flavors and great length. Pairing it with food would be ideal, but enjoying it on its own is certainly one way of experiencing its many nuances. I have only had a handful of 98 point wines in my life, to be able to taste near perfection is truly a treat. If you can find a bottle or two, get them, cellar them and enjoy them. PS. Did I mention that the packaging is amazing: a velvet black bag and velvet-like labels with a lithe bottle shape- all adds up to an incredible wine. 4 stars when you weigh the price and value. Salut….