Monday, February 22, 2010

The Great Syrah/Shiraz Showdown

One way to kill the winter blues in this snow covered area is to drink a lot of wine.  That was the case on Sunday afternoon as seven of us got together and each brought a bottle. The only rules were that it had to be mainly Syrah and some professional critic/publication had to have rated the wine at 90 points or better.  I hate the 100 point scale, but it's winter here and I was thirsty.

Of the seven bottles, four were from Australia, one from Napa Valley, one from Washington State and one from France.  Over the next few days I'll discuss my impression of each of them.

We decided not to rate the wines, but in the spirit of the currently in progress winter Olympics we each named a gold, silver and bronze medalist. When all was said and done one wine received 6.5 gold medals, clearly the favorite wine of the day.

That wine was the 2003 Ulithorne Frux Frugis from the McLaren Vale in Australia, a wine I was not familiar with.  For those not speaking Latin, Frux Frugis is 'fruit of the earth'.  The nose was medium dark fruit with a little earth and a little herbaceous quality.  With some extra nosing I finally decided there was almost a fresh sage aroma to the wine.  The taste was fully fruity with a good dose of dark cherries and blueberries.  The acid was high and the tannins were ripe and mature.  There was elegance to the wine and a physical maturity that wasn't present in the others.  It wasn't a youngster or a teenager, it had maturity to it and all the parts were together.  The finish was about smooth tannin and tart, dark cherries and the last little bit of acid to clear the palate.  Great length to the finish also.

There was a great deal of food hanging out on the table, from beef to lamb to seafood to cheeses, crackers, bread, bruscetta and more.  The beef and lamb were excellent with this wine.

I'd be very happy to drink this wine again.

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