Sunday, May 01, 2005

3 Reds: Australia, Chile

KILIKANOON ‘KILLERMANS RUN' SHIRAZ 2002, South Australia, 14.5%, #925453 $18.95

Robert Parker Jr. says: "It is a dense, full-throttle, big, chewy, peppery, black fruit-dominated Shiraz offering sweet tannin, an attractive plushness, and an up-front style designed for consumption over the next 2-4 years. Score - 90. Natalie says: "Another bruiser that kicks sand in the face of 90-pound weaklings. Humongous would be the technical term, I think. Big black fruit. Drink with members of your local motorcycle gang. Score: 90/100." Winestar says: "the 2002 ...blows socks off. Kevin Mitchell (winemaker) has found another gear with the 2002 which is not surprising given the superlative wines that have already emerged from the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Clare.... The 2002 is a deep purple colour, the nose giving off aromas of spicy fruit and aniseed. The palate is a symphony of luscious fruit flavours of dark berries as well as cherry, chocolate and a hint of licorice, etc. My notes: This is an unfiltered wine but doesn't show any roughness. Not being 90-pounds but still a weakling I was not intimidated. There is big black fruit and pepper in the nose and a balanced flavour of berries and cedar. Enough fruit and tannins for cellaring two years - should have a mellow future. Pair with any beef, venison or other wild thing, duck even. Casual sipping is pleasant but the aftertaste has a cloying aspect so have with food or nibbles -the alcohol content may be a surprise. Vintages release April 30, 2005. Go for it!

PENMARA RESERVE SHIRAZ 2002, Barossa, Australia, 13.5%, #912782 $18.95

LCBO says: "Rich, concentrated shiraz with a ripe, vibrant, briary fruit bouquet … Elegant strawberry fruit palate perfectly in balance. Should age very well. Score 5 stars (out of 5). (Winestate, Special Edition 2004, Vol. 27 Issue 7)." Beppi states: "full, smooth and luscious, with notes of plum, chocolate, coffee and spice." The Penmara website says: "The wine is bright purple in colour, with the nose showing fresh aromas of ripe berry fruits, with a touch of spicy pepper and the sweet lift of oak. The palate has ripe fleshy fruit flavours, which are enriched by hints of chocolate and liquorice. ... and great complexity with the structure to last for another 3-5 years." My notes: Still features the 5 Families name as #565929@$13.15 (reviewed Mar 31, 05) adding "One Vision" to its label. Colour is a deep ruby with ripe black cherry/plum with cedar and some pepper. Medium-bodied bright loganberry flavour with some licorice in the follow through. Shorter on fruit than typical Aussie shiraz's A short cherry finish. An OK dry sipper but should be paired with any beef, red pasta or burgers. Laying down initially for two years should smoothe and improve blending of the light tannins.

SANTA RITA 'FLORESTA' CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT 2000, Maipo Valley, Chile, 13.5%, #680942 $25.95

Vintages notes: "From the premium range developed by winemaker Andrés Ilabaca comes this sensational Cabernet blend. Decanter magazine rated it 4 stars (out of 5) gushing with praise: '. Marvellous, huge silky flavour. Huge and splendid.' " Vintages release April 2, 2005. My notes: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon 70% and Merlot 30% so the Cab is softened by soft merlot fruit - in theory anyway! In this case the fruit has disappeared leaving a leather/licorice nose with a dry tannic cabernet flavour and a long herbal, cigar box finish. The nose is soft enough not giving away the somewhat flat but well-balanced tannin and acid. Decanting and letting breathe 30 minutes improved the nose but, still, not a pleasant quaffer. Likely aged too long. Roast beef, beef stews, or spicy pastas would be suitable companions. Not 'sensational', not 'huge and splendid', not a value, not recommended.

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