PENFOLD'S BIN 2 SHIRAZ MOURVEDRE 2003, South Eastern Australia, 14.5%, #468629 $19.95Tony Aspler says: "A steal at the price. Dense purple colour; chocolate, evident oak and crushed black fruits; sweet, full-bodied flavour, spicy and rich with great length. Great value." and gives it 5 stars. Vintages says: "... This juicy and rich wine is a dark, deep, plum red color in the glass. The nose is a combination of sweet aromas - ripe plum fruits, blackcurrants and liquorice. Some freshly-tanned leather, a touch of cinnamon and clove spices. On the palate, there are baked fruit cake flavors, with some ripe blackcurrant tones. Savory, meaty flavors combine with crisp natural acidity and defined tannins.... (A blend) to create a medium-bodied, soft-finishing "Australian Burgundy." Southcorp Wines owns Penfold's, Lindemans, Rosemount Estate, Wynns, Seppelt, Coldstream Hills and Devil’s Lair." My notes: Cellaring for a year might be stretching it. The mourvedre (20%) adds sobriety to the shiraz (80%) fruit. For the price this is a full-bodied serious red with enough spicy tannins and alcohol to share taste space with roast beef, grilled steak, bbq'd ribs, etc. Close to a 'Burgundy' with the shiraz flavour still apparent. If sipping decant to soften the initial acids. Vintages release April 2, 2004.
CASTELLO DI FONTERUTOLI SERRATA BELGUARDO MAREMMA 2002, Tuscany, Italy, 13.5%, #594887 $19.95
Vintages says: "From one of Tuscany's best producers and his newest winery (see photo), comes a new, exciting blend of Sangiovese (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Merlot (10%) from the red-hot Maremma region (south Tuscany)." The WineSpectator (J Suckling) says: "Wonderful aromas of violets, fresh rosemary and berries. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a pretty finish. Best after 2005. Score - 90." Vintages release April 2, 2005 (a Wine of the Month). My notes: Any nose it has needs time to develop in the glass - at first being earthy before the light herbs and floral. Colour is deep crimson, opaque except at the rim. Flavours as well need time to breathe or after decanting. Finish is short, dry, flat - definitely not fruity. I dont think this will improve with cellaring - altho' there's lots of tannins more fruit would be needed to avoid over-acidity. The 'new winery' referred to may need a few years 'cellaring' to let the vines mature. A disappointing sipper and too pricey. If you're stuck with a bottle, serve with roast beef, baked red pasta dishes or spicy pizza.