Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wine tasting notes: Down Under wines

This evening's tasting at my favorite coffee shop/wine bar featured wines from Australia, and really, what's not to like about the Land Down Under? It's a country and continent all in one, it even has its own cheesy 80's song, and one of its most beloved animals, the koala, is drunk all the time on eucalyptus and still manages to be adorable, if a little funny-smelling (yes, I've seen/smelled one in person). But really, with all the good wines in Australia, who wouldn't want to be constantly intoxicated?

This wine tasting was one of the best ones in a while. The wines:

1. 2006 Heartland Viognier-Pinot Gris from Langhorne Creek: It was nice, crisp, and dry, and the two grapes balanced each other out very nicely.

2. 2006 Woop Woop "V" from the Limestone Coast: The wine rep informed us that Woop Woop is the Australian equivalent for "middle of nowhere" and not, as I had suspected, the means by which little Australians are made. This one hit the palate with a rush of fruit and floral flavors, then turned suddenly into a mineral monster for the finish.

3. 2006 Milton Park Shiraz from Barossa in Southeastern Australia: Imagine, if you will, a typical Australian shiraz. Now make it light, less tannic, and with a smooth, buttery finish. This was a really nice surprise and drinks well on its own.

4. 2005 Woop Woop Cabernet Sauvignon from Southeastern Australia: It was a cab, very tannic and acidic. This is the only wine on the list that rated merely an "ok" from me.

5. 2006 Black Chook Shiraz-Viognier from South Australia: One of the gentlemen at our table dubbed this to be a "jail bait" wine in that he felt it wanted to be a little older, but I liked it now. Nice cherry flavors ended up in a smooth finish. And, like you would expect from a Shiraz-Viognier, it was as pretty in the glass as it was on the palate.

6. Grant Burge 10 year Tawny, NV from Barossa Valley: Kudos to Jess and the wine rep for including a dessert wine in the lineup! This was like breakfast (in bed) in the glass with flavors of toasted almond, coffee, and maple syrup. I also heard "waffles" used to describe it. The grapes were Grenache, Mataro, and Shiraz. I haven't heard of Mataro before, but you can't go wrong with the other two. It went really well with a piece of almond chocolate cake.

Wine of the evening: The port seemed to be a strong favorite, but of the non-dessert wines, the w00t (wine One Oughta taste) award goes to a white wine: the Heartland Viognier-Pinot Gris, which got an overwhelming number of votes. Others with two or more votes: the Milton Park Shiraz and the Black Chook Shiraz Viognier.

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