Thursday, May 04, 2006

Clare Valley Taste-off

Tonight was decision time. I'm returning to my wine source in Ontario tommorrow, and it will be my last chance to buy some of their latest releases (before they disappear!). We had some interesting wines this week, some of which I have talked about. Two are left - and lo & behold, they are both from the Clare Valley in Oz land. Should be interesting. The first we tried was the Wakefield, Merlot 2004. This was advertised as a "huge wine". Well, huge it's not. It's actually a medium bodied, fruity sipper. Koko actually thought it continued with the jammy style that we seem to have been inundated with this week.
The verdict: Good. Kind of grows on you.
Value: at $17.95, good. I'll buy some more.
The foil was the Leasingham, Magnus, Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003. I've had this wine in previous vintages, and they have always been good. The 2001 was most impressive, especially back in 2003 - a massive brooding tannic mouth coater, probably one of the best quality:value wines I have ever tasted (the best Q/V wine ever was the 1991 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cab at $8.95 a bottle, it was a black masterpiece that has never been matched under the Koonunga Hill label. I bought 4 cases back in 1993, and the last bottle was consumed just last year. You have to pay at least 40 bucks to get a Penfolds wine that good these days...). OK, enough sidelines. The '03 Magnus is another dark wine with a black stained cork. This vintage is not overpowering like earlier ones - just a very nice medium dense and medium chewy example. Definitely fuller bodied than the Wakefield (kinda like like Pam Anderson vs. Cameron Diaz).
The verdict: Good.
Value: also at $17.95, very good. I'll buy twice as much as the Wakefield (and there's your ultimate tiebreaker!!!).
The best part - I have the 2001 and 2002 Magnus to compare with the '03 in a mini-vertical... anyone interested???



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