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.

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.

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.