Sunday, November 25, 2007

Winter Wine?

Well, on the first day that winter blew in we thought it time to search out some beefy winter wines. First up we gave a pair of siblings a try - the Francis Coppola Blue Label Merlot, 2004 and Green Label Syrah-Shiraz, 2004.
The merlot has a light blueberry nose with a fleshy medium bodied plummy/blueberry palate. Silky, a good wine but not the beefy monster we're looking for and not worth the $25. I thought the Syrah was a shade less enjoyable but had more substance - bigger body with tougher tannins, but this comes with harshness. Also not worth the $25.
Ok, lets move on to Australia - these guys know how to make full bodied monsters. The Wolf-Blass, Grey Label Shiraz, 2004 has a very very promising nose - fantastic aromas of tar, spice and vanilla. Woo-hoo, this is gonna be fun. Full bodied, blackberry-cassis and oaky (in a nice way). A little tart on the finish, this actually helps it as a food wine. WOW. A little pricey at $35, but worth it.
A worthy foil was an old standby, the Rosemount Estate, Show Reserve Shiraz, 2001. What's it like? Take the Grey Label and pass it through a smoothing filter and you get the idea. This WOW wine is aging well.

Next up we try an interesting hybrid from Argentina - the Caro (Catena-Rothschild), Mendoza, 2003. A blend of new and old world, guess which style wins out? Hello Bordeaux!! Classy, elegant, refined, much more subtle than the Aussie efforts. Improved with time in the glass - this will age well. A "good" wine, but not worth the $38 it costs....
As an aside, I snuck a sip of the Coppola Syrah right after a glass of the Caro - the Syrah tasted fake afterwards....

Last up was a speculative effort - I was advised this might be a sleeper - the Wolf-Blass Yellow Label Merlot 2005 however just turned out to be an "OK" effort, it's only positive being that it is head and shoulders better than the last Yellow Label Cab we had. Not worth buying again at $18, though.


PS: If you want to try a good turkey wine at Christmas, try an Argentinian Malbec!! We had two this year at thanksgiving and they were perfect...


At 11:54 a.m. , Anonymous Frauke said...

Hi! I'm glad you enjoyed some Malbec with your Thanksgiving Dinner. I represent Bodega Norton, a top-selling and award-winning winery from Argentina. Please let me know if you're interested in more info. You can reach me at fscheben[at]

All best,


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