Sunday, October 22, 2006

More October Reds(4): Australia Grenache, Australia Blend, Australia Shiraz, Italy Nero d'Avola

YALUMBA ‘BUSH VINE' GRENACHE 2004, Barossa, South Australia, 14.5% XD, #531228 $19.95 (Tasted October 28, 2006)

A Vintages release October 28, 2006 described as "Polished, generous and powerful, a racy mouthful of blackberry, licorice, plum and pepper flavors that zoom through the finish. Tannins are almost an afterthought. Designed to deepen with cellaring. Drink now through 2014. (91/100, Harvey Steiman, Sept. 30, 2006) " The label states "...grapes grown on 70 year old bush vines, some of the oldest in the world.... intense varietal character on the nose - ripe plums, cloves and spices interwoven with gamey, earthy characters...." VH of winecurrent gives it four and one half (of 5) saying "....opens with a perfumed nose of sweet black berry fruit and spice box. Concentrated flavours wash over the palate in waves with black licorice, tar and Bing cherry to the fore. The lengthy finish offers more of the same with ripe tannins and a dollop of acidity thrown in, keeping this full-bodied beauty interesting and in balance. Drink now to 2012 and pick up a few to do it." My notes: A deep ruby, rose tinged colour with a full nose of a blackberry, bramble spice and soft raspberry mix - a very slight geranium airs out quickly. Medium-bodied, smooth on the palate with flavours of light berries with bright cherry nuances, some fine tannin and faint licorice in the background - an easy quaffer. Finishes with a roundness and a very light berry and slight licorice aftertaste. The high alcohol level wasn't apparent. Should go well with any lightly flavoured red meat: veal, ham, prime rib, vegetarian pastas. Even added a pleasing mellowness with a blackened Cajun Beef Subway with chipolte dressing and red peppers. Cellaring for several years is possible but it's drinking well now. A good value.

MOUNTADAM 'THE RED' CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT 1999, Eden Valley, Australia, 14.5% XD, #931105* $41.95 (Tasted October 25, 2006)

A Vintages release and rated an 89 but *no longer listed. The label says "The vineyards are located ... on a rocky ridge that separates the Barossa and Eden Valleys. .... has a complex nose and palate. Ripe plum, rich berry and mint characters interplay with oak flavours underpinned by fine yet persistent tannins. Cellar for many years. My notes: Mountadam is a boutique winery whose website couldn't be found. The single bottle was purchased in October 2004 and cellared 'til now. Has a deep ruby colour with a warm nose of berries, mint and soft earth. A medium-bodied red with a soft approach but soon with a somewhat assertive tang full of berries. Fine tannins finish with lasting mint and berries. An interesting sipper with shaved meats, pork ribs or seasoned meatballs. Have with full flavoured cheeses, spicy party sausage or pair with full flavoured meat entrees. Cellaring for a few more years would be OK.

ROSEMOUNT DIAMOND SHIRAZ 2004, South Eastern Australia, 14.0% D, #302249 $15.95 (Tasted October 24, 2006)

A General listing described as "Opaque purple colour; blueberry, blackberry aroma with toasty oak nuances; dry, full-bodied with rich, fleshy fruit character. Serve with pepper steak; game dishes." The label claims "Diamond label ... displays intense, spicy fruit with a richly textured finish. ..." My notes: The Rosemount Estate name was used in 1864 by the original owner, Carl Brecht, and then purchased by Bob Oatley in 1968 who was a grape supplier until a grape glut in 1974. Rosemount released their first wines in 1975 using their own grapes and in 2001 they partnered with Robert Mondavi. A deep ruby with a soft nondescript nose and a sharp metallic first impression on the palate. Not much fruit, perhaps unripened purple plums, but a medium-bodied red with well balanced tannins and acids. Have with prime rib or grilled T-bones, beef ribs or stews. An uninteresting sipper and needs a red meat entree to make it a passable meal wine. Not for cellaring. A commercial shiraz.

VULCANIA 'LUSIO' NERO D'AVOLA 2003, Sicily, Italy, 13.5% D, #581918 $17.95 (Tasted October 21, 2006)

A Vintages release on September 16, 2006 and descibed as "Cherry, spice, black licorice and a touch of tar dominate this rich, ripe, plush, medium full-bodied and long finishing wine. This wine is an excellent partner for late summer barbecues. (Vintages panel, Jan. 2006)" The Hobbs website gives this description "The Curatolo family has been growing grapes and making wine in Sicily since 1875... Today the fourth generation of Curatolos continues the winemaking tradition of their forefathers. They farm over 350 hectares and now employ famous Tuscan winemaker Alberto Antonini as a consultant. This wine comes from two vineyards – one located in southwestern Sicily near Marsala, the other in the central part of island near Agrigento. The former cool region gives a vibrancy and an aromatic dimension to the wine, while the latter, a hotter, drier zone provides the colour, weight and structure". My notes: A full ruby colour with a nose of blackberries and bright spice, light- to medium-bodied with a nip on the tongue carrying through to the back of the throat and flavours of bright red currants. The finish has a light tar leaving a background of this to compliment the fruit and adds a firm tannin. A dry red sipper better paired with meaty pasta dishes - was great with a meaty lasagna. Could pair as well with prime rib or lamb. A drink-now rather than for cellaring.

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