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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Late Night ‘Strange’

Let’s face it – crazy things can happen in the wee hours of the night:  spontaneous, wild acts that are better left forgotten and definitely never mentioned the next day.  You know exactly what I’m talking about – the kind of night that when you wake up the next morning, rub your eyes, half open them and say to yourself, “What the hell happened last night?!” 

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m no angel – I’ve definitely had my fair share of rude awakenings!  In most cases, I generally abide by the code of silence that is expected after these nights; but every now and then, shouldn’t a little late night “strange” be shared with others?

Instigation

It usually begins with a long talk that goes deep into the late hours.  In this particular case, it was pretty late when my wife said, “But I’m not ready for bed yet.”  Next, comes the familiar phrase, “So, what do you have in mind?”

Standing at the Crossroad

On this particular late night, my wife asked, “Can you make us a snack and grab a bottle of red?” 

I had two options here:  I could suggest that we call it a night or I could throw caution to the wind and see where this goes.

I’m a gambling man, so I said, “Sure.”  I thought to myself, “I can either keep things under control or I can take a turn so sinful and dirty that it might require asking for forgiveness the next morning.”

What do you think I did?

The Dirty

This little ‘unmentionable’ consisted of diced, (leftover) grilled Chorizo with sautéed corn, chopped bacon, chopped pecans, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, fresh raspberries, with a scoop of sour cream and a handful of fresh cilantro.

Before you go judging my little late night indiscretions, I did take some prudence when picking the wine to go with this naughtiness.  This would require a red wine gutsy enough to contend with any “wrongness” that was happening on the plate.

I decided to go with the 2007 Wyndham Estate Shiraz George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve – that’s a mouthful!  :)   (Sample, MSRP: $20).  Chief winemaker, Nigel Dolan does a fine job of reigning in super-ripe black fruit, coupled with a tonsil-clinging nutty characteristic (reminiscent of a port wine), and knows precisely when to apply the brakes on the alcohol level.  It’s a Shiraz that offers up a lot of “impact” on the finish – which ain’t a bad thing if you’re gonna do ‘The Dirty’. 

3 Stars out of 4 for the 2007 Wyndham Estate Shiraz George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve.  The combination of flavors between the snack and wine was almost as good as an impromptu basement burlesque show…from what I hear! :)

I’m Going to Tell You Something Flaca, and I Want You to Listen Tight…

One of my favorite varietals in the whole world is Riesling.  Originating from the Rhine region of Germany, Rieslings cover a wide spectrum of styles from dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling; and it also blends quite well with other grapes.  It’s an aromatic grape varietal capable of showcasing a wonderful floral bouquet, while delivering just the right amount of an acidic charge – which is what makes this varietal so extra special in my mind.  It can be enjoyed equally as a sipping wine or as an accompaniment to a multi-course meal.  Finally, if you’re not one for oak in your white wine, in most cases, Rieslings are kept pure and oak-free.

If you’re already a fan of this versatile white wine, then you’re probably familiar with offerings from destinations like France, Germany, and from different parts of the US.  However, one place that you may not be aware of that is producing some truly spectacular, bright, lip-puckering and affordable Riesling is the Land of Oz.  As best-selling wine author Mark Oldman of Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine puts it:

 …their splendid Rieslings have been relegated to the shadows when they really deserve a throne of their own.

I’ll second that!!  If you haven’t had the opportunity to try one yet, two of the best Aussie regions to look for when shopping are the Clare and Eden Valleys in South Australia.  So now that I’ve beaten you down with my sermon and finished touting my penchant towards Riesling, I need to share an encounter that I had with an Australian Riesling.

Disclaimer: For some, you may not like this next part, but as Colonel Davy Crockett said, “…that don’t change the truth none.  There’s right and there’s wrong…”

Last night, I endured (not for long thankfully) one of the most devastating losses in quite some time; and sadly, I need to recommend a strong “Beware” on the 2006 Lindemans Bin 75 Riesling.

Lindemans is usually a very reliable Aussie producer, so how can that be?!

Let me start off by saying that Lindemans is one of the largest and premier names in Australian wine; and quite frankly, I’ve never had an awful experience with any of their selections over the years.  However, when I opened up the 2006 Lindemans Bin 75 Riesling, it felt as though I had been turned into a two-stroke engine getting filled with one part gasoline to one part oil.  Sadly, this Aussie Riesling had such an overwhelming and persistent petrol component to it that it was nearly impossible to consume.  To be fair, the rubber meets the road, or petrol factor, is something that can happen to Rieslings as they start to age and mature.  Interestingly enough, this unique profile is actually something that many Riesling collectors pay big bucks to experience.  I’ll pass…

1 star out of 4 for the 2006 Lindemans Bin 75 Riesling (Price:  $8 US).  Caveat emptor!

 

 

4 Nights with an Aussie Beast!

It’s not very often that a little ‘ole bottle of red wine can make the hair on the back of my neck stand up – but this red wine sent shivers down both my back and throat, and stamped a purple “toof” grin  on my face for 4 straight nights – count’em 1,2,3,4.

mclaren-vale-footbolt-shiraz-2006 

This unruly Aussie red smacked my chops around the room on nights 1 & 2, then said, “Come to Papa” on night 3, and finally surrendered on night 4 saying, “Let’s you and me be friends.” 

 

This wine is one of four red wines in the d’Arenberg wine portfolio that they playfully named “The Four Musketeers Red”.

 

The Musketeer red that I had the pleasure of wrastlin’ around with over a four night span was their 2006 “The Footbolt” Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia.  This humungous Fruit Bomb, compliments of The Land of Oz has received a lot of attention and accolades from industry big shots like Parker, Wine Spectator and the International Wine Cellar.  After tasting this wine for the first time, I can now see why they all made such a big deal about it.

 

Here’s the skinny on this wine straight from the winemaker’s mouth:

 “Aromas of dark red fruits, black olive and beef stock open into notes of blueberries and licorice with a savory dried herb edge. The palate shows great balance with blueberry and mulberry fruits, spices and a hint of white pepper on the finish. As always The Footbolt is a very approachable wine in its youth but has the capacity to age for many years”

I’m not so sure if I’d agree with thea very approachable wine in its youth” part, but…

 

Here’s my take on the 2006 d’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz:

  • Night #1:  “Holy Cow!… How in the world can anyone just crack the lid off of this sucker and live to talk about it the next morning.”  This wine was breathing fire and told me to come back tomorrow.
  • Night #2:  “Hmmm, Excuse Me Sir?? May I please drink you tonight?”  The 2006 Footbolt’s response:  “Man Up partner and we can talk about it.”
  • Night #3:  “Are you ready now for us to be friends?”  The 2006 Footbolt’s response:  “Sure, lets get to know one another a little bit better tonight.”
  • Night #4:  “You’re actually not the tough little S.O.B. that I thought you were on night #1.  I’m actually starting to like you a whole lot Mr. Footbolt!”  The 2006 Footbolt’s response – “I’m glad you like me kid.  Now you and I can be BFFs.”
The dirty ‘ole low down on this wine : The 2006 d’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia ain’t wimpy, that’s for sure!  It packs a pretty decent punch when you first open it.  But, if you’re patient, it’ll be a good friend to hang out with, say - in about 2 years.  Do yourself and your wallet a favor and grab a few bottles of this under $15 killer juice and lay it down for a bit - before it’s all gone!

 

If you’d like to learn more about this wine and the rich tradition of winemaking at d’ Arenberg, check out their website.

 

2004 Longview Vineyard Black Crow Nebbiolo – Save it for Later!

From: Adelaide Hills, Australia

Price: $40 marked down to $19.99 “Last Call”

 

Most so-called wine experts will tell you that nearly 95% of the wines made nowadays are meant to be consumed within one to three years of their labels’ “born-on-date”, or vintage.  Unfortunately for wine collectors, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for options (or error!) when making their selections.  Otherwise, a mouthful of dissatisfaction will be swallowed after they have waited patiently for greatness to occur.

 

I recently stumbled across the 2004 Longview Vineyard Black Crow Nebbiolo at one of my familiar stomping grounds.  This wine originally retailed for around $40-$45 back in its hey day.   However, the last remaining bottles that sat on the shelf collecting dust over the last few years were just marked “Last Call” and slashed down to $19.99 to make room for new product.  I decided to pick up a bottle to see if this baby still had some mojo left in its tank, or if I would find out that it was marked down because the sun had set on this Aussie red.

 

2004-longview-vineyard-black-crow-nebbioloAfter sitting on this wine for about two months, I finally popped the cork.  What this wine unveiled completely caught me by surprise.  To start, this red wine is not your usual Aussie specimen (i.e., Shiraz/Syrah, whatever you like to call it).  This wine is made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes.  Nebbiolo grapes have been grown and used for centuries to produce fine wines in Northern Italy, and recently many Australian growers have started working with this noble grape because of its drought resistant capabilities.  To this point, Australia’s drought problems have been well publicized in the news over the past years; and as a result, Shiraz plantings have not faired well at all.  However, Nebbiolo has proven to be much more tolerant to the heat and lack of water and has adapted very well to its new surroundings.

 

The back label of this particular wine offers would be buyers this cellar note:

 

“No other red wine rewards cellaring than a great Nebbiolo, the high tannin and acid of this wine ensures it will develop more complex qualities with careful cellaring of 5-10 years”.

 

After tasting this wine over a 4 night span, I’d say that the peeps at Longview Vineyard certainly know their wine.  This wine is still so very young.  On the first night, I could barely drink this brawny beast.  By night two, it had calmed down a bit, but it was still ornery.  By the third night, maraschino cherries, dry herbs, and black pepper were beginning to show through.  And finally on night 4, it had surrendered and was approachable.

 

The 2004 Longview Vineyard Black Crow Nebbiolo was reminiscent of a 25 year old tawny port wine to me.  It bursts with big fruit, spices, and nut flavors, and really socks you with the cedar.  The alcohol content is listed at 14.7%.  I mention this, because it tasted extremely hot on my palate, just like an aged port wine.  Additionally, this wine received 18 months in 2-3 year old French barriques prior to being bottled.

 

If you’re looking for a bruiser of a red wine that you can “forget about” for say 5-7 years at least, this $20 gem is a good bet for all you cellar rats!      

 

 

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