Sunday, November 29, 2009

Minty Twins

Pillar Box is an Australian Winery that takes its name from the old style postal boxes...note the black slit on the label that corresponds to the slot that you put letters through. What that has to do with wine beats me. Anyways, we blindly tried two of their offerings, the premium black labeled Reserve (50% shiraz, 42% cab, 8% merlot) 2006 and the the mid priced Red labeled 100% shiraz, 2006. It was easy to tell them apart - the Reserve was just more intense than the Red.
The Red comes in at 15% alcohol. Shy nose with a faint whiff of ageing raw meat. Medium full bodied, it has loads of cooked fruit compote - mostly cherry. Firm. Finishes with camphor and eucalyptus, these minty flavours last about 30 seconds. Interesting wine, but awkward and will find few fans. This is tough to match to food. It's "OK", would not buy again ($18).
The Reserve is hot at 16% alcohol. Way too hot. Much nicer, more aromatic nose than the Red with some plums. Full bodied, it hits you with menthol and eucalyptus full bore. Very weird, because this is very unbalanced - the mintiness hides everything else, except the high alcohol. The mint just goes on and on - it's overpowering, meaning it has a huge finish (too bad it's not one you want to savour). Dense wine. Forget about it with food. The next day, after leaving it open for 24 hours and then decanting, and then chilling it down to 12 degrees, it becomes somewhat enjoyable. If you don't have this wine, don't buy it. If you do, put it away for 10 years and hope the mint blows off. $25.


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