Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Rosy Night

I recently enlisted 7 fellow tasters to see how well Rosemount Estates is treating their best selling line, the Diamond Label Shiraz. I have harped before about how Wolf Blass have cheaped out on their "Yellow Label" Shiraz, which used to be a good wine and a pretty consistent value. It is so bad now that I won't buy it.
A bit of history first - the Rosemount diamond label shiraz used to be so good that it made the Wine Spectator's "Top 100" of the year list in 1994 through to '96. It scored 90 points but also earned it's place on the list because it was cheap and easily available. I bought cases of each. However, I got the feeling as I tried this wine in later years that the quality was dropping, so I hung on to a few of the older bottles to taste with some of newer ones. My taster-helpers were blinded as to the vintage, but they knew they were getting some older and some newer shiraz's from the same producer. The results were easy to tabulate; only 6 tasters handed in results (one was too busy with screaming kids to give it a good shot, the other stated that he was not a shiraz fan and they were all "too sweet..."). The 1994 and the 1995 tied for number one with two firsts, three seconds and one third place. These were mature, good wines with lots going on, but the fruit was fading and they weren't as in your face as they were in the late 90's. Still, they were considered solid "GOOD" wines. And outstanding values at about $10-12 a bottle at the time. The 1996 came in a close third with two firsts, three thirds and a fourth place. Same comments as the '94-'95. Now, the 2002 was a distant fourth, with one third place and five fourths. A solid "OKAY" wine, questionable value at $15 per bottle. This wine was reasonably fruity and medium bodied. Nothing special but drinkable, certainly a step down from the nineties wines. The 2004 was instantly hated by all tasters, getting a unanimous six fifth places. This had a markedly different nose and taste from the other wines - had that cheap bubble gum nose and horrible tanker-bottled kind of taste. Ugh. A CRAP wine, not worth $5 never mind the $19 they charge these days. STAY AWAY FROM DIAMOND LABEL SHIRAZ...the producer is putting cheap crap in the bottle and trying to get you to buy it based on it's past reputation. I hate this shady marketing.

Here are the corks - four nice darkies and plastic one. The crap wine came dressed in the plastic....

It looks like if you want to buy one of the million case-a-year medium priced aussie lines ($15-20) of wine that are supposed to be more or less reproducible year to year, stick with Penfold's and their Koonunga Hill line (Shiraz-Cab) or maybe the Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz (I heard the latest release is verrry good, but haven't found it in the stores yet).



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