Evans & Tate – 2009 Metricup Road Margaret River Shiraz

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This wine is a surprisingly fruit forward shiraz.  Juicy ripe cherry, plum and berry aromas delightfully waft from the deep ruby wine.  Those aromas carry through nicely to the flavor.  The flavor also hints of very light spice and a slight touch of cedar.  Perhaps the biggest surprise is the absence of alcohol heat, which almost invariably comes with a 14.5.% alcohol level.    The acidity is well-balanced with the nicely structured tannins.  This medium-bodied beauty has a fairly long, pleasant finish.  A good value that pairs well with a seared, peppered steak.

Francis Ford Coppola – 2004 Syrah-Shiraz Green Label

There are some great wines that mature gracefully with age.  Some do not.  I popped this bottle with hopes that time would have been kind to this syrah – after all, syrah frequently has the raw materials for great aging.  I immediately noticed that the color wasn’t quite what I was expecting – what it probably once was.  I did capture the aromas of a deep cherry, melded to oak.  It wasn’t bad.  I tasted and found very deep, jammy flavors of black fruit, and just a little bit of spice, but sadly, past its prime.  This bottle contained a lesson far more important than the wine.  Not every wine, or moment, should be saved for later.  Some wines should be drunk in the moment.

Yabby Lake Vineyards – 2008 Cooralook Shiraz

This wine is everything you would hope for from an intense Australian Shiraz.  It’s deep, rich, dark garnet hue is the first sign of the lushness to come.  The aromas of warm blackberry and dark cherry are lovely, and combine with a light smokiness and spice that beg you to taste your first sip.  The flavors are indeed full, well-developed and complex.  The tannins are very well-balanced, with a slight alcohol heat, but yet the fruit is still evident.  Round and full-bodied, this wine was everything I hoped it would be.  The finish was long, with the spice most notable.  I would be happy to enjoy this wine again, especially as I did this time – with intense cheeses, roasted garlic bread and a spicy dipping oil.