Tag Archive for 'Shiraz'

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

Little Penguin Shiraz

Little Penguin Shirazthe Little Penguin Shiraz
2006 SE Australia $5.00 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

 

The Little Penguin Shiraz packs a lot of flavor into such an inexpensive bottle. And, while its namesake might be the smallest species of penguin in the world (Little Penguins only weigh about 2.2 pounds!) this wine has a presence that’s anything but lightweight.

The color is velvety red and the taste reflects this opulence. Flavors of blackberry and oak—mixed with just a bit of spiciness—simply roll through your mouth (okay wine snobs, your palate) and leave you wanting more.

What’s not to like about this Shiraz? According to its website, it even helps support a penguin protection, rescue and rehabilitation group called The Penguin Foundation. Awww. Now, that just makes me feel even better about drinking this stuff. Am I a sucker for marketing or what?

Bottom line: Excellent wine for the price. And, it’s really fun to sip on while you research obscure facts about Little Penguins…. Did you know that they’re also called “Fairy Penguins” or that they often mate for life? Or that there are environmental groups that knit sweaters for them? Seriously. Or that their feathers are actually not black but blue? … Okay, I’ll stop.

wine’s website: www.thelittlepenguin.com

Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz

Lindemans Bin 50 ShirazLindemans Bin 50 Shiraz
2005 SE Australia $7.35 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

Lindemans enjoys an excellent reputation for quality, affordable wines and the Bin 50 Shiraz is another illustration of why.

Intrigued a bit by this company, I checked out Lindemans’ website and read that Dr. Henry Lindeman decided to start a vineyard back in the 1800’s as a means to provide quality, everyday wines for everyday folks. Hmm. Sounds like he might have been an antiwinesnob….

Whatever the case, the Bin 50 Shiraz demonstrates a quality (of the wine) to quantity (in the cost) ratio that would be nice to be found more often.

This wine is full bodied and higher on the acidity than many Shiraz. And, it has a nice “dusty” amount of tannins; just enough to give it some substance, but otherwise, it lets the higher acid flavors of berries-mixed with a bit of woodiness–do the talking. The result is a deep, rich, luscious liquid that I very much appreciate. It is a yummy sipper all on its own or as an accompaniment to a meal.

Bottom line? The 2005 Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz is a very good bargain. Thanks Dr. Henry for thinking of us antiwinesnobs way back when!

wine’s website: www.lindemans.com

JackaRoo Big Red (Cabernet, Merlot and Shiraz blend)

Jackaroo Big RedJackaRoo Big Red
2003, SE Australia, $7.35 for 750 ml
(49% Cab, 44% Shiraz, 7% Merlot)
(Red Wine)

According to my Google search, “Jackaroo” is an Australian term for an apprentice on a cattle station or ranch…. Well, that makes me want to say something cutesy involving Australian slang and barbecue, but I shall refrain from doing so. You’re welcome.

In short, “Big Red” is a good description for this JackaRoo wine. While it doesn’t have a lot of depth, it is full of easygoing, juicy, round flavors, and it also has a good dose of tannins that save the wine from simply tasting like a fat, fermented grape.

The tasting notes cite flavors of blackberry, spicy aromas and a hint of vanilla oak. The Big Red did have a plump, berryness that I can see described as blackberry, and I did get the vanilla oak flavor (more oak than vanilla), but honestly, I would never describe the aroma of this wine as “spicy.” It just isn’t.

While I would have said that this wine was okay (not great, but okay), unfortunately, my Big Red had an undercurrent of unpleasant spoiled, nutty flavors that tasted as though it had not been properly sealed. In other words, it tasted oxidized. I don’t know if this is a problem with all JackaRoo Big Reds, or just a flaw in the bottling that I happened upon.

Bottom line? While the JackaRoo has potential, the flavors I found were ruined by the funky, old taste of oxidization. For the price, I have found other wines that have a bit more depth and taste much fresher. Sorry, apprentice. I think you’re fired.

wine’s website: couldn’t find

Hardys Shiraz

Hardys ShirazHardys Shiraz

2006. Southeastern Australia $5.95 for 750 ml
(Red Wine)

I soooo wanted to give the Hardys Shiraz a positive review.

Aside from its affordable price, Hardys Shiraz puts itself into boxed wine and bottles with screw caps.  I mean, how much more defiantly underdog can a wine get?

Lest you take me the wrong way, antiwinesnob does not disparage the use of screw caps or of boxed wine.  Rather, it applauds Hardys for doing this.

The fact of the matter is, both methods (boxed wine and screw-cap bottles) have been shown to actually preserve wine better than traditional corks or synthetic ones.  The problem is, there’s still a lot of snobbery out there regarding wines marketed in screw-cap bottles or in boxes.  It takes a certain level of gumption (and common sense) to market one’s wines this way and antiwinesnob is a fervent supporter of gumption and common sense.  And of underdogs.  I even had hopes of the Hardys Shiraz becoming the antiwinesnob mascot….

Alas, the search shall continue as one sip of the Hardys Shiraz revealed the lurking evil that is acetic acid (“AcAc”).  While the rich, berry flavors were all there, the sickeningly sour/sweet flavor of AcAc sabotaged any redeeming qualities along with my taste buds.

In an effort to be fair, I employed the same technique I tried with the Marcus James Cab: I sipped it with my dinner of turkey breast and steamed veggies with melted cheddar cheese in the hopes that the proteins in my food might masquerade the nasty AcAc flavor. This time, the trick did not work.  Instead, my dinner just tasted bad, too. Or maybe it was actually my cooking….

Bottom line?  Pass on the 2006 Hardys Shiraz.  But darn it, I’m still not ready to give up on them, so you might see another review in the future on a different Hardys wine.

wine’s website: www.hardys.com







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