Wednesday, April 14, 2004

A tasting of the latest releases from Southcorp

After last weeks Californian debacle, I approached this tasting with fear and hesitancy. It was not so much that I would be let down by the wines, but maybe, just maybe, the problem is me and more precisely that I just don't like these kind of wines anymore. I' ve always liked Taltarni Cabernet, most of Coldstream's output (again the french oak gang) and Penfold's Grange is great. Well... in the end...g'day!

White Wine
I ran into alot of the expected woody, watery chardonnay... including an awful Chardonnay-Viogner mix from Talomas ($22) (a Mondavi-Rosemount Sonoma effort). Viogner is tough, and to boisé it up, you must be a master (see Yves Cuilleron or Francois Villard in Condrieu). And then to dull it up even more by adding Chardonnay... it just doesn't work. I don't understand. I was beginning to believe after the first ten wines or so that I was spiralling.

Red Wine

Pinot Noir 2002, Coldstream Hills ($30)
A perennial favorite, I found the 2002 a little too fruit driven. A touch more acidity to freshen it up would have been nice, but a fine drink nonetheless.

Shiraz-Mourvedre 2001, Bin 2, Penfolds ($19)
A 60-40 mix, nothing too complex but with nice spice and herb notes, and a touch of that barnyard stink that only Mourvèdre can deliver. All at a very reasonable price.

GSM 2001, Rosemount ($35)
An excellent mix of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Again, not complex, but with a ton of fruit, slightly jammy, loads of pepper and just a hint of chocolate. A nice level of acidity cuts right through it's chewy texture.

Shiraz 2000, Show Reserve, McLaren Vale, Rosemount ($30)
My favorite of the tasting. Shiraz as only Australia can do it. Classic pepper with hints of cassis and a touch of rhubarb jam. Rich and fruity but with just enough tanin and wood to create a nice, fat but elegant big wine.

Fifth Leg Red 2001, Margaret River, Devil's Lair ($24)
Cab, Merlot, Shiraz and Cab Franc all packaged into a wonderfully light, spicy, fruit driven wine. Can you say Bar-b-Q.

Balmoral Syrah 2000, McLaren Vale, Rosemount Estate ($60)
A monster of a Shiraz, uncomfortable to drink and probably will be fantastic in a decade or so. Elusive fruit but you can sense that it will give more with time. My tastebuds were a bit blown out by this point.

Sorry, no Grange to taste. If they had a bottle hidden somewhere I didn't find it. We'll see at the Salon des Vins next week.

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