OK, lets start with a same grape challenge - two BC wines from the same producer but very different styles and one from a lesser known appellation in Argentina. The Domaine de Chaberton is a winery in the little known Fraser Valley, but they actually make their good reds from grapes sourced in the scorching Okanagon. The Fraser Valley is too wet and cool to ripen noble red wine grapes. These two wines get their grapes from the Black Sage bench. The Domaine de Chaberton, Syrah, 2006 is made in an old world style. Leather and grapefruit on the nose. Yes, grapefruit. It's medium bodied with lots of pepper and blackcurrant. Medium length with leathery tannins on the back end. Good wine, but number 3 in this mini-tasting. $30 is too much.
These guys also make the new world style, Canoe Cove, Shiraz, 2004. Sweet smelling with clove/nutmeg aromas. Medium bodied with creamy caramel and cranberries and chocolate - sounds horrible I know, but it's actually nicely balanced. It initally comes across as a "good" wine, but with time it simmers to a "wow". Give it time in a carafe. Number 2 in the tasting, $30 is not cheap but about what you have to pay for really good BC wine. And you get the best wine label that I have seen in a long time!!
Right, now for the winner. This is the third wine I've had from these guys, and they have all impressed in their own way. Who said San Juan in Argentina cannot produce good wine? (well, actually, some twits at SCL in Mendoza did, but this winery proves them either brainless or liars). The Las Moras, Gran Shiraz, 2005 has a beautiful full blown oak and spice nose. Full bodied, the tannins meld seamlessly with the cherries and spice. Great length, this is stunning and impressive wine for $24. Wow.
Alright, now for the banal. First, kudos to the Australian marketing team behind Shot in the Dark, Shiraz-Petit Sirah, 2008. Impressive modern packaging. Too bad what's in the bottle is a pretty generic Aussie shiraz. Medium coloured, medium bodied, some good black berry fruit and some smooth smokey undertones. But one glass is enough. And $15 is too expensive. OK wine.
The Wyndham Estate, Bin 555 Shiraz, 2005 tries to impress with 6 gold "medals" and a silver on the bottle. Very soft, smooth wine with sweet stewed plums, but again, pretty generic. Makes you reach for a second glass but then you wonder why. OK wine, $16 could be spent on something better.
Last up is the Michel Torino, Cuma, Organic Malbec, 2008 from Argentina. 14 bucks gets your nose thinking its one of those intense smelling dried fruit berry bars that they used to sell at Costco. Medium bodied, bright juicy boysenberries with a little rusticity built in. OK wine, not complex but not apologetic at all - and a better buy than those banal Aussie efforts that cost more.