Tag Archive for 'budget red wine'

Big Ass Shiraz

Big Ass ShirazBig Ass Shiraz
2006, SE Australia, $8.50 for 750 ml, 13.5% Alc
Red Wine

I like Shiraz.  I really do.  But when my husband brought me this bottle to review, I wasn’t sure how to take it.  I mean, it isn’t a very subtle hint at one’s physical endowments, is it?  Well, upon seeing my arched eyebrow after viewing the label, he assured me there were no untoward messages involved with picking this particular bottle.  I told him he was a sucker for marketing.

Enough of domestic issues.  You want to know if this is just another whimsical label masquerading a less than stellar bottle of grape juice, or if there is really something to that Big … kangaroo.  The answer?  There is.

Big Ass Shiraz pours with a deep, rich-red color and the flavor is very raisin-plummy with medium tannin (that pleasant, drying undertone that seems to grip one’s tongue).  However, what makes this Shiraz interesting to me is that it has a much higher acid level than other Shiraz I’ve had.  The acid really zings the tip of one’s tongue and makes the unsuspecting sipper take notice. Most Australian Shiraz bottlings are very “juicy” (for lack of a better word) and don’t have the backbone of strong acidity that makes other reds like Pinot Noir or even Cabernet Sauvignon so interesting.  This vino had all the pleasant full flavor of most Shiraz, but it also had a firm slap of acidity that gave it some oomph and added a layer of texture missing in other bottlings of this varietal. 

Bottom Line?  The Big Ass Shiraz is quite good and is a unique version of the Aussie varietal.  Definitely worth a try.

 Wine’s Website:  (Couldn’t find.  The bottle indicates it as www.bigasswines.com, but it does not appear to be the correct address.)

Black Swan Shiraz

Black Swan ShirazBlack Swan Shiraz

2006, SE Australia, $8.00 for 1.5L

(Red Wine)

Amazing! For the price, I was so very happy with the Black Swan Shiraz.

I had read a review in the past that eschewed inexpensive wines as nothing but plonk and used inexpensive Australian versions-particularly naming Black Swan wines-as an example of cheap cost=cheap quality wine. So, maybe I entered into this tasting with lowered expectations. Or, maybe, my Black Swan was just trying to prove a point….

According to my research, the term “Black Swan” is a saying used back more commonly in the day when folks in Western Europe sipped their afternoon tea with curled pinkies. Apparently, it was (and still is) an expression employed when one meant to state that something was impossible or did not exist. As in, “a unicorn is nothing but a black swan.”

Well, leave it to the Australians to actually discover a species of black swan in the 17th century! In fact, black swans in Australia are a pretty common form of fowl. Kind of turns around the meaning behind the metaphor a bit, doesn’t it?

It makes me wonder about unicorns, too….

With such an independent spirit behind the name, it should come as no surprise that my Black Swan Shiraz defied expectations.

Was it inexpensive? Yes, very.

Was it poor quality? Not at all.

The Black Swan Shiraz isn’t necessarily a layered and complex wine, but it is definitely a berry filled, slurpy drink that is friendly and very easy to enjoy. Less caustic on the tannins and acidity, it still has a nice, easy going balance filled with juicy, almost strawberry-like flavors. It’s a pleasant sipper for an evening book reading, or as an accompaniment to dinner.

Bottom line? Good bargain and recommended if you want an easygoing red wine filled with lots of berry flavor. At least for this inexpensive and delicious Shiraz, harmony of economy and quality is not an impossibility.  It’s just a Black Swan.

wine’s website: www.blackswanwines.com

Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon

Delicato
Cabernet Sauvignon
2005 Manteca, CA $5.50 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

The Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium-bodied wine imbued with blackcurrant flavor.

For the price, I found this vino to be a pretty good deal.

While it doesn’t have the rolling layers that many other Cabernet Sauvignon offer, I found the Delicato Cab to be pleasant and a little less demanding, too. The flavors were smooth enough to offer the versatility of a wine to be sipped alone or with dinner.

That said, I’ve had other similarly priced Cabernet Sauvignon (think: Little Penguin or Barefoot) that I enjoyed better.

Bottom line: For the price alone, the Delicato Cabernet Sauvignon is worth a try. However, given similarly priced options that I find to be more complex and interesting, I don’t have a compelling reason to buy this again.

wine’s website: www.delicato.com







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