Another beautiful and unseasonal evening yesterday and friends dropped by with a couple of large steaks for the grill.
I opened two wines. The first was a 2003 Cullen, Ellen Bussell Red wine from the Margaret River area of Western Australia. This was part of the mixed case of Australian wines discussed below, and since there was more than one bottle of this wine in the case there was no reason to wait.
The wine was brick red in the glass and the nose was black cherries and a little mint. The fruit was wonderful in this wine, forward, fresh and balanced with just the right amount of tannin and acid to keep the mouth refreshed. There was some oak, but not a great deal. The wine was medium bodied and finished with a dry fruit taste. Apparently this is the entry level wine from Cullen and is meant for a drinking window of up to five or six years. Whatever - it was delicious with the steak. Without opening the other bottle it won't be possible to see how this wine tastes on the second day since the bottle was empty when the evening ended. That's a very good indication of a good wine.
The second wine was Bodegas Alto Almanzora Este a non vintage red wine that is on sale in the local market for $9. Several years ago Spanish wines appealed to me but lately too many have 'gone California' and become overtly fruity and sweet with extract. This wine is made from Monastrell and is exactly what I liked about Spanish wines in the past. It's medium to light in body, has good fruit, just a touch of tannin, good acid and a pleasant dry finish. It's an excellent buy for $9 a bottle, or less than $100 a case. It's not trying to be serious, it's just trying to be enjoyable and fresh and that's exactly what it accomplishes.
Nice effort here.