Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Flat Destinations: Week #50

Holy Shit.  Week #50.  Only three more bottles to go, and then of course some sort of final post to sum up my Shiraz-tic journey.  Helpful Husband and I packed up our boys and headed on the highway to travel about 20km in order to select my final three labels at a newish liquor store in the "city."  So, that is that.  All done with blog-driven wine selections.

Just as a side note - Helpful Husband and I enjoyed dinner out on Monday night.  We ordered a half litre of Shiraz - Blackhorn (Australian) and it was absolutely delicious.  If you see this label on your local shelves, you will not be disappointed, and please let me know where you happened to find it!  Maybe on my trip to Ontario in a few weeks I will find the elusive Blackhorn.

Long Flast Destinations Barossa Valley - Australia, 2008
15% alc./vol.
A word from the wine:
"Our 2008 offering sits in the middle of the spectrum with aromas of plum and dark chocolate and berries and spices on the palate imparted by time in American oak"
What is with all the "ands"?  Use a comma people!

I enjoyed this wine well enough.  It was solid - it had a nice flavor and an interesting soft touch.  It had a bit of a spice, not peppery, but just a hint of tang.  The thing with being this far into this journey is that I know there are many good wines that I will never purchase again.  It isn't that there is anything wrong with this wine - its nice - its just that there are others I would prefer for $17 (Rosemount or Wolf Blass Yellow Label for instance).

Helpful Husband Tip: "You're not going to like this one.  It has a weird zing"
Me: "Really? I like it fine.  I don't find there is a jarring aftertaste at all. I'm surprised to hear you don't like it"
HH: "I like it"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wyndham Estate Bin 555: Week #49

At this point, I do not want to risk drinking bad wine.  The adventure in choosing new things is wearing off - I want to reach for trusted friends (and I have made many!) and know that I will enjoy their company.  Luckily for me, I remembered that while I have tasted this week's selection before, I have yet to review it.  Perfect.

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 (Australia, 2008)
14% alc./vol.
A word from the wine:
"George Wyndham became the father of Australian Shiraz after planting Australia's first commercial Shiraz vineyard.  His dedication to handcrafting intensely flavoured wines is a proud legacy that endures at Wyndham Estate."
If this dude is the father of Australian Shiraz, then I have an official answer to the proverbial question "Who's your Daddy?"

This is a good wine; it is a solid Shiraz.  It has a medium body and lots of flavor.  It is smooth and a very approachable Shiraz.  Wyndham might be a little more fruity and a little less spicy than some of my most favorite brands...or maybe it is just missing that hint of vanilla... but it is still very yummy!

No Helpful Husband Tip available. Sorry.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Misterio Week #48

This was a quick selection - except that my 5 year old needed to pee and "couldn't hold it" until we got home.  So, I asked the cashier if there was a public bathroom he could use and she gave me a lengthy explanation about how there was, but an employee needed to unlock it for me and there wasn't anyone available to do so because there were only two staff members at the store and they both had costumers, but I could wait until there were none.  I'm thinking the bathroom must be on the other side of the store or something and he'll just have to pee up against the building in true wino style, when the other cashier just said "The little guy needs to go?" and walks approximately 3m behind him and unlocks the door. So, thank you liquor-store-cashier-man for your ability to solve complex problems in a quick and efficient manner.  Also, thank you to those fellow customers in line for waiting the extra 4 nanoseconds to ring up their beer.

Misterio- Argentina, 2009
A word from the wine:
"Misterio is the result of years of investigation in our vineyards and winery to achieve a unique type of wine.  Focusing on fruit and softness, we have created this friendly wine."
Well, I will say that the smiling mask on the label does seem friendly.

I think that after years of investigation, you probably just forge ahead even if you're product sucks.  This wine started off with a broken cork, moved to the glass via a knife stuck in the bottle to keep the cork out of the neck, then precisely three sips passed my lips before it ended its life down the drain.  On another day, I might have been able to stomach the glass, but I just had no patience for bad wine on this occasion.

Helpful Husband Tip: "This one is a miss, eh?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wakefield: Week #47

This week I was feeling bold, adventurous even.  So I drove 8 minutes to the next closest liquor store to check out the digs.  There were a few labels I haven't yet tasted - and I carried a Spanish and Chilean wine around for a while, thinking that I haven't reviewed many from those fine nations.  But, then I saw the Australian section and I decided that at this point in the blog's history, I should be choosing wines I think I will like.  And, this one had lots of awards on the label and the tasting notes mentioned vanilla - and I always really like the ones with vanilla.

Wakefield - Australia, 2008
14.5% alc./vol.
A word from the wine:
"This Shiraz from our founding range of wines displays seductive ripe berry and plum flavours perfectly balance with enticing mocha, spice and creamy vanillin characters from quality American oak"
Okay, so it said "vanillin" - but that's the same as vanilla.  Right?  In either case, it certainly seduced me.

This wine is what this blog is all about: the search for the perfect Shiraz.  I've found one here.  Wakefield can definitely contend with Wolf Blass Yellow Label and McWilliams with its perfect balance of fruit and spice.  It is full bodied and lingers on the finish.  It is rich and delicious. 

Helpful Husband Tip "Oh, this one is good!"

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Wolftrap: Week #46

Homestretch baby.  I found another un-reviewed Australian Shiraz while perusing the liquor store today - so that will probably be on deck for the remaining 6 weeks.  I also had a total brainwave: I bet other local-area liquor stores might carry more, or different, varieties of Shiraz!  So, since I'm off work (yeah!), I might go beyond my 3km radius when choosing next week's selection.  It will be scary to travel outside my comfort zone, but I will do it for the sake of the blog.  In retrospect, it really surprises and impresses me that I've been able to review 41 bottles of Shiraz from my local shelves... after all, I do not live in a booming metropolis.  (For the keeners: 5 bottles have arrived from "foreign" liquor stores)

This week's selection has been taunting me for 30+ weeks.  I first saw it on the shelf way back in week 14 or 15 and I was captivated by its label.  I don't know whether it was the fact that the wolf is holding a "downward dog" yoga pose or his skeletor-esq styling, but I was intrigued.  Plus, you can't deny the similarities between Wolftrap and Wolf Blass.  I passed it up for another label and then by the time I went back to pick it up I noticed it was a blend.  Not just any blend, but a Syrah (68%) blended with Mourvedre (30%) and Viognier (2%).  The very same grape that made a guest appearance in the winner of the "Weirdest Shiraz" award, Angove of week 20.  So, it turned me off the weird yoga-skeleton canine until utter desperation of the remaining weeks pushed me to finally pick it off the shelf. 

The Wolftrap - South Africa, 2009
14.5% alc./vol.
A word from the wine:
"The Wolftrap is a spicy, aromatic, red blend that has been French oak matured.  The name is a tribute to the pioneers who in early days of the Cape erected a wolf trap at Bockenhoutskloof.  To date, no wolf either real or mystical has been seen in the valley."
So, either this was a kick-ass wolf trap or the pioneers really wasted their time building that stupid thing.  Do wolves even live in Africa?  (Turns out they do - I found out via the interwebs that the Canis Simensis, aka the Ethiopian wolf, does reside in Africa. Too bad it is extremely endangered, and there are currently only five hundred adult wolves in existence. Way to go pioneers, thanks for the amazing wolf trap.  You done good.)

The Shiraz is definitely lost in this one.  I wouldn't say it was as weird or "white" as the Angove, but there was just something a touch "off" - especially in the bitter and jarring aftertaste.  Now, with that said, my guest-tester and myself polished off the entire bottle.  We needed something to wash down that cheese ball! However, please heed my final warning: do NOT consume this wine in conjunction with chocolate. Vile. 

The other strange thing was despite its 14.5% alc./vol. content neither of us felt a good buzz after ingesting 1/2 the bottle each.