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17 August 2007

Basic Juice Top Ten

Topten_1 Yellow Tail wine's recent ad campaign displays this slogan: "Have you spotted it?"  Through a secret source, I have smuggled the top ten rejected ad slogans, out of YT HQ.  I think a few of these were definite winners..

From the Home Office in Beaver, Utah..

Top 10 Rejected Yellow Tail Wine Slogans

10. Plonk* 'R' Us

9. Yellow Tail - Because we gotta glut of wine, and you Yanks will drink anything with a cute critter on the bottle

8. Our label is in English

7. Throw a 'roo on the barbie

6. We sell most wine before its time

5. Cheaper than a gallon of gas

4. Now with Mega-Purple!

3. Not French, like what those lefty-liberal-tree-hugging-gay-hugging-readin-writin-feminazi-Prius-
drivin-wine-snob-commies drink!

2. Pairs exceptionally well with the McRib

1. A nutritious part of this healthy breakfast

*"Plonk" is also used in British English as slang for cheap, low-quality wine (from the French word "blanc" for white wine)

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07 February 2007

Is it/Isn't It?

Question_2 Let's do something a bit different for WineBloggingWednesday #30.  This month's theme is new world S[hi]yra[z]h.  My entry is most definitely new world.  But, the 100-Shiraz question is this:

Is this single-varietal wine a Shiraz or something else?

 The Entry: An old-vines (allegedly really old vines) 2004 red w/screwcap from Australia's Barossa Valley.

This deep, indigo wine offers initial scents of cedar chips and bacon fat.  However, rather quickly, these nasal treats are overtaken by big, burly berry scents of blackberry preserves (some may say, "jam") with hints of black pepper and asphalt.

In the mouth, this red Aussie wallops the tongue with hearty, shrivelly fruit flavors coupled to coffee and vanilla accents.  Even though body-wise the wine is a big-un, it still possesses fairly balanced acidity (a nifty trick) and semi sandpapery tannins.  All in all, as new world reds go, this wine is actually hospitible to food - the right food of course.  Try it with mashed potatoes slathered in truffle butter and a medium rare, dry-aged slab of steak.

So what say you, S[hi]yra[z]h or no S[hi]yra[z]h?

Reminder: SLC folks can taste more wines like this at next week's, "Wines of the Future" class/tasting.  Don't forget to sign up.  It's only twenty-bucks!

05 February 2007

The Aussie Signature?

Jhan I may be crazy..

It seems every red Australian wine carries a typical scent signature.  Whether it's Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre, or any of the permutations of "GSM" blends, I can nearly always sniff out an Aussie.

The tell-tale scent can best be described as, "blackberry preserves, with a hint of pepper and dash of asphalt."  Yes, asphalt isn't the most savory of descriptors, but I believe it aptly completes what my nose detects in most any glass of Aussie red.

So the question is this:  Does anyone else detect this Australian scent signature?  Any hypotheses as to what actually causes it?  Or is it just me?

31 January 2007

Red, Magenta, Have I Been Drinking?

Hewitson Ned & Henry’s Barossa Valley Shiraz 2005 ($19, Australia) – All sun-loving Aussie Shiraz isn’t simply big and brawny.  Ned & Henry’s Shiraz is an excellent example of winemaking talent from the super sunny southern hemisphere. 

Segura di Viudas Brut Rosé Cava, NV ($10, Spain) – Day-glo, magenta-colored bubbly!  Crab cakes are calling.

Have I Been Drinking?


(click to play @ Youtube)

Or is that the best music video ever?

11 December 2006

Tail Questions

Yellowarning_1_3 Readers R & B ask:

"Does Casella Wines [producer of Yellow Tail] add flavor enhancers to their yellow tail wine such as vanilla, almond, or cherry flavoring?"

While I doubt such flavorings are added to Yellow Tail, I don't doubt a number of other flavor/aroma/color additives lurk beneath the smiling 'roo's exterior.  So a question to any & all oeno-goeks (spelling just for Ali): What common additives are normally found in mass produced wines such as Yellow Tail?  Yummy, isn't it?..

04 September 2006

An Australian Chateauneuf?

Cigale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2004 ($19)

92 pts Wine Spectator Web Site (1/25/06)
Peter Schell and his wife Magali Gely came to the Barossa from New Zealand, but their hearts are in France, where Gely's family still owns vineyards near Montpellier. Their wine, a dead ringer for a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, is rich and spicy, with a gorgeous core of blackberry, blueberry and plum fruit, shaded with smoky white pepper notes that keep ringing through the long, beautifully balanced finish. Tannins are there but well-submerged. Best from 2007 through 2016.

After reading this review and before sampling the Cigale GSM, I had the following two questions:

1. Is this wine indeed a "dead ringer" for a Chateauneuf du Pape?
2. Is the finish long and "beautifully balanced" ?

Cigalegsm2004_1 The Skinny
Cigale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2004 ($19)

  • Imported by the Australian Wine Connection (no Website); 56% Grenache, 26% Shiraz, 18% Mourvedre; 14.9% alcohol; 800 cases made.
  • Deep indigo in color with a wide, bright pink rim.  The wine nearly defies gravity by clinging to the sides of the glass after swirling.
  • The initial, overwhelming scent is of fresh concord grape juice.  After 15-20 minutes of air time, the wine evolved scents of blackberry jam, dates, hints of Pernod (licorice/anise-flavored liqueur) and notes of black pepper.
  • In the mouth, Cigale is very full-bodied and full of cooked berry flavors.  It possesses soft, round tannins that stay in the background due the intense flavor and alcoholic heft.  The finish is indeed long.  However, I found the wine slightly hot (alcohol overpowers acidity) on the finish - not terribly balanced.
  • I paired Cigale GSM to a roasted Portobello burger with mozzarella and artichoke aioli.  The wine was a bit too hefty for food.  If you enjoy extraordinarily big, intense Aussie reds, this might be a wine for you.  As to my taste, I found it too overbearing - not recommended.  However, I did notice that this wine was far less overbearing on day two.  One suggestion for these types of wines is to decant them and let them breathe for several hours before serving.

To answer my questions:
1. I didn't find this wine to be a dead ringer for C. du Pape.  It does have some similarity to 'modern', youthful C.d.P.s.  However, I didn't detect any meatiness or herbs - which for me is always part of great du Pape.

2. The finish is quite long.  However, I didn't find it to be well-balanced.  It was definitely hot due to the high alcohol-to-acidity ratio.

Other reviews of this wine: Winorama

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28 July 2006

A is for..

Asshat_1 Asshat  ass-hat ( sht ) n. 1.  One who threatens legal action over a less-than-stellar wine review by a well-qualified wine critic.  2.  See also Graeme Miller, wines of

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11 April 2006

History, Screwed

Stelvin_1 Thanks to Cam of Appellation Australia for providing more details on boutique Aussie wines with screw-caps.  He also provided a link to Yalumba winery's screw-cap history.  In 1970, Yalumba employed its first screw-cap.  It was something called the 'Stelcap.'  The Stelvin (producer of most of today's screw-caps) came along in 1976.  Somewhat ironically, the Stelvin closure was designed by a French company - Le Bouchage Mechanique.  While 70's consumers embraced velour, shag and disco; they were a bit more apprehensive when it came to screw-capped wines (i.e. they weren't buyin 'em).  Yalumba shelved it's screw-caps until the 2000 vintage.  Yalumba's winemaker maintains that screw-caps are the shizzle:

"It offers the perfect environment, providing consistency and not allowing oxygen to influence the wine."

There's the rub.  While I love that screw-caps will prevent a smelly, frustrating corked wine situation, I'm somewhat apprehensive that hermetically sealing wine will slightly alter the ageing process.  Cork is semi-porous, thus allowing some oxygen to make contact with wine as it matures.  Of course, 90-plus percent of wines aren't really aged - they're made for drinking now.  But what about wines such as Barolo or old school Rioja that are traditionally aged several years prior to release?   I wonder if the discerning Penfolds enthusiast could tell the difference between two 10-year old bottles of Grange - one under cap, the other with cork?  Of course, were the following to happen, the difference would be dreadfully obvious:

"The group of people I was with at dinner on Saturday certainly enjoyed the romance of pouring $600 odd worth of two corked bottles of wine (one '72 Grange and one '86 Mount Mary) down the drain." (email exchange with Cam Wheeler)

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08 February 2006

Wine: No License Required

Absgourmet_redknot Our foodie friend, the Abstract Gourmet, from Western Australia (Perth, to be exact) has dipped his toe into the wine review pool.  Matt's post on Red Knot Cabernet goes to show that one needn't be a 'licensed' wine expert to articulate the wine drinking experience:

"My take on the wine would be definitely a full fruit flavour. Lots of cherry/blackberry flavours hit you in face as soon as you take that first sip, and linger until you’re ready for the next. It’s definitely full bodied. Not the kind of wine that you can drink nonchalantly… It’s big flavoured and makes you sit up and take notice. The subtle nuances and flavours of the wine are lost on me I must admit, and being an avid coffee drinker/roaster, I didn’t pick up on the roasted coffee flavour as described in the wine makers notes."

In fact, I found Matt's review of this wine quite informative and refreshing.  He's not playing to the wine geek crowd.  Rather, he has simply written about something he enjoyed drinking.  What a concept!  Cheers, Matt - and keep the wine reviews coming.  Also, seeing as how you live in Western Oz, perhaps you might introduce us to some of the wines from this region?

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12 January 2006


Shingleback The 'shrinking violet' Christian of Turn the Screw sinks his teeth into a new sparkling offering:

Shingleback Black Bubbles Sparkling Shiraz

Just keep in mind, we are in the midst of an Aussie wine glut, so all the marketing stops, including creative critters, are going to be trotted out.  Prepare to be bombarded by clerverly named & labeled wine that must be sold!

(FYI a Shingleback is a nifty-looking skink with a blue tongue)

Tagged with: +shingleback +

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