The Second Floor Wine Tasting Group

January 11, 2004

We gathered at Christine's and tasted some of the best Shiraz' Australia had to offer.

The Wines

  1. 2002 Shriaz "Hill of Gold" (Mudgee, Australia) by Rosemount Estate - $16
  2. 1999 Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia) by Larrikin - $25
  3. 1999 Shiraz "St. Henri" (South Australia) by Penfolds - $42
  4. 2001 Shiraz (Coonawarra, Australia) by Wynns Coonawarra Estate - $11
  5. 2001 Shiraz (South Australia) by Buckeley's - $10
  6. 2001 Shiraz "The Footbolt" (McLaren Vale, Australia) by d'Arenberg - $18
  7. 2001 Cabernet Franc (Cucamonga Valley, California) by Joseph Filippi - $24

The People

Jason, Helen, Greg, Jeff, Peter, Sunny, Gaia, Jerome, French, Aaron, and Christine

The Impressions

Every tasting, we find wines to love, and wines to hate. This tasting was different. We all found wines to love, but there was a strange absence of wines that didn't taste good. Maybe we were all in especially positive moods. Or, maybe there is some truth to the theory that Australian wine consumers don't let bad wines last on the market for long...

Most of the wines exhibited balance and good flavors, but one wine stood above the rest. We weren't surprised that #6 received the gold medal in the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Eight of us called it the best or second-best wine of the night. Helen enjoyed flavors of leather, liver, and steak found it well-balanced. Sunny called it "classic Shiraz" and thought it would serve well as a "communion" wine. Gaia said it was "fresh" and noted flavors of pepper and vanilla. Peter thought it both "freaky" and "flamboyant"---not much aroma, but very interesting.

#5 was the only wine that made some of us question the taste of Australian wine consumers. It also proved to be the most divisive wine. Three of us gave it top honors; five thought it barely better than toilet water. Greg liked the leather and smoke aromas but found it too spicy for his taste. Jason found it very juicy with "musty" and "old leather shoe" aromas---"very enjoyable." Jeff thought the lily, smoke and leather aromas overpowering; "I can't see how someone might like it," he proclaimed. Jerome knew just the right accompaniment---a "Big Mac." Gaia caught an initial Gorgonzola smell and didn't like the bitter aftertaste. "Undrinkable" and "would go well with battery acid" were Helen's impressions. French found it "different, sweeter, pleasant" and found it to have a "hot" finish.

#4 could be called the value wine of the night. Most everyone had good things to say about the wine. Jason called it "fairly intense," with some spice and flavors of smoke and red fruit. Peter discovered liquorice, a deep berry flavor and said it had "all the dials turned up." Jeff found that it "opened up" after some airing and would like to try it again after a few years in the cellar. Aaron likened it to "flowers in a wide-open meadow." Greg called it fruity, but not spicy and found the wine well balanced. Helen thought it would go great with lamb; she found that it had great "synergy" and gave it a "50 Vietti" rating (on a 100 point scale).

#7 was the only non-Shiraz of the night. French and Greg both correctly guessed that it wasn't like the others. Greg found strawberry on the nose and guessed that it might be a Pinot Noir. Aaron enjoyed berry flavors but didn't like the sharp, acidic aftertaste. Jeff had "mixed feelings" about this wine. He liked the "soft, velvety" texture, but wished it would have lingered a bit longer. Peter called it "finely crafted" and "very, very delightful." Gaia didn't like the smell and found it bitter. Jason thought the bitter finish quite unpleasant; "leaves a bad taste in the mouth," he said.

There were no screams of delight for #1, but there were lots of positive comments. Jason thought it young and acidy, with spice, red fruit and little body. Peter called it "focused" with a nice bouquet. Jeff "really enjoyed it" and thought it "balanced." Aaron found it "leathery in a good way." Greg called it fruity, spicy and young. Christine would serve it as a "pre-meal" wine as it "leaves the palette clean." It "stung my tongue," said Sunny. Gaia liked the floral, cinnamon smell and not-too-complex taste. Jerome called it well balanced.

#2 had a full body and many of us thought it was aged. Jason found vanilla and red fruit flavors. Helen called it a "good food wine." Greg called it "older" and liked the flavors of leather, nuts and dark fruit. Jeff got flavors of pepper, wood, capers, and olives and found it "longer on the palette." Peter called it "heavy handed" and "not as well made [as #1]." Gaia found some of the most unusual flavors of evening: "rubber" and "feet." Sunny called it "explosive" and "more developed." Christine said that it had a "weak finish."

#3 was possibly the most "drinkable" wine of the evening. But, for the price, I don't think any of us would buy it. Jason called it "clean" and "sophisticated." Jeff said it wasn't complex and compared it to a "house wine." Greg called it "basic," but "enjoyable." Helen found flavors of dark cherry and horseradish, and would serve it with bluefish, but thought it "too harsh" to be good. Christine said it "delivered" and liked it better with food. Sunny said it "wasn't remarkable"---"flat." Gaia enjoyed aromas of mint and liquorice. Jerome thought it went badly with the steak. Peter called it "very fine" with a "grudging bouquet" and a "long finish."

<-- The 2nd Floor Tasting Group Home

Last modified: Sun Dec 5 12:16:16 2004