Thorn Clarke – 2010 Shotfire Barossa Valley Quartage

NV_ThornClarke_Shotfire_Quartage3Some of you may already be acquainted with my love of rich, red wines.  You know the kind.  The kind that warm you up and wrap you in their deep aromas and flavors.  Perfect when the seasons start to change, and you’ve said your good-bye’s to summer’s Sauv Blancs, at least for now.  That’s the kind of wine that this evening begged for, even though the leaves haven’t changed yet.

I perused my wine rack to see what might hit the spot, and lo’ and behold, I came across this Australian lovely.  I already had a pot of thick bolognese on the stove, so (even though it’s not Italian) this would be perfect.  Perfect, but not without some effort.

Ok, a lot of effort.

After the foil wouldn’t let go for love or money, and the cork broke, and the ah-so failed to do its job, I did what any wannabe wine pro would do.  I grabbed an iced tea spoon and shoved the cork into the bottle.

So now that I’ve washed the kitchen down, and since my shirt has stopped dripping wine, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on the wine.

In the glass this deep, opaque, leggy red was begging me to drink it.  As I turned the glass toward my nose, the rich aromas of cassis and dark currant rushed out of the glass.  I pulled my nose into the rim to discover violet and leather, with just a tiny bit of graphite swirling below.  A little cedar and eucalyptus were there, just around the edges.  The first sip was just wonderful.  Smooth and full, with black fruit and spice.  The acidity was perfect and lingering.  Just lovely.

This wine is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot.  It has an alcohol of 14.5, but no real heat, which was a  pleasant surprise.

In retrospect, the effort was worth it.  Well worth it.

Chateau Greysac – 2009 Medoc

greysacSometimes getting your first choice of something is good.  Sometimes getting your second choice is even better.  I was out with friends the other night when our second choice turned out to be perfectly delicious.

This wine is a deep and rich Bordeaux blend, roughly half Merlot, and balanced out with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  On the nose were dark fruits with leathery undertones.  Slight hints of violet and char were also noticeable.  The flavors stayed fresh and juicy.  The tannins were fairly well structured and restrained, with nicely balanced acidity, resulting in a lush mouthfeel.  The flavors opened up a little more after a few minutes, so decanting is an option.  The finish had a light spice and was moderate in length.  With an alcohol level of 14%, the wine was enjoyable with no unpleasant alcohol heat.

This wine paired particularly well with grilled filet mignon and haricot verts.  This wine is a great value and worth exploring for yourself.

Hauser Estate Winery – 2010 Reserve Meritage

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this wine.  We all have our biases, whether about regions, or varietals, or styles, or whatever, when it comes to trying new wines.  With a purposefully open mind I uncorked the bottle, and poured a tasting.  I found the aromas to be quite nice – the air filled with  dark, dried cherry notes, and lots of red and black fruits.  Herby spices were also there, wafting out of the glass.  My first taste confirmed that the flavors matched the aromas quite nicely.  The mouth feel was substantial, and the finish fairly long, with a nice acidity.  There was a bit of a lingering sweetness, for me, in this dry wine, and I would have probably enjoyed it more without that.  But all in all, I think this is a noteworthy Pennsylvania wine.

Sunset Hills Vineyard – 2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc

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If you enjoy a smoky, round red, you will just love the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Franc from Sunset Hills Vineyard in Purcellville, Virginia.  This Cab Franc fills the air with memorable aromas – smoky, but not to a point of overpowering the deep, luscious fruit.  This wine has a really nice balance and mouth-feel, and a long, delightfully peppery finish.  This wine would be perfect with an elegant, rich dinner, but don’t hesitate to have it with a hearty blue-cheese burger.  Sunset Hills may very well be the winery that puts Virginia on YOUR wine map!