Last night our wine club met for our Summer meeting. The original plan was to have it outside on my father-in-law’s screened in porch. With the warm weather from last week we thought we really would be enjoying the Summer temperature. Unfortunately it was rainy and cold so we were forced inside but we still had some great wine and fabulous food. The theme for this meeting was the wines from New Zealand and Australia. We were a few members short this meeting so we decided to do the tasting non-blind. We started off with the whites first as we feasted on homemade empanadas.
Wine 1 – 2008 Matua Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Paretai
I must admit that I am not the biggest New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc fan. Not that I don’t think they are good, I just don’t like the taste of grapefruit and that is all over their Sauvignon Blanc. This was a little different though. It had a grassy nose with lemon and lime aromas. In the mouth this was zippy and refreshing with flavors of peach, melon and lemon with a long finish. I didn’t get any of the normal grapefruit flavors I normally find. I ended up really liking this and for the money it is great. I gave it 91 points.
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Wine 2 – 2006 Colonial Estate Expatrie Reserve Semillon
The Colonial Estate is the now defunct Australian winery of Bordeaux vintner Jonathan Maltus. There wines were very well made but unfortunately they launched just as Australian wines went into a tailspin. Their Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz were terrific for the money and the reserve wines were even better. This Semillon was selling for $25 a bottle but during the height of the recession we were able to get a couple of cases at a really good price. This had a nonexistent nose at first until it gave away to the faint aroma of flowers. This needed a little time to warm up but once it did, it had some decent flavors of peach and green apple that led to a decent finish. I think it might actually need more time to age. I gave this 89 points but I think I might have been a little generous last night.
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Wine 3 – 2008 Craggy Range Chardonnay Kidnappers Vineyard
A Chardonnay from New Zealand you say? Yes they make this too! And if all of their Chardonnay’s taste like this they may be on to something. Craggy Range makes a wide range of Pinot Noirs, which I think they are a little more well-known for but this Chardonnay is a nice surprise. Some great aromas of slate and mineral, it smells like a great Chablis. This wine is mouth-watering and kind of starts out like a Chablis with flavors of mineral and stone but changes gears when you get a touch of oak that brings out some butterscotch flavors. It ends nice and long with pear on the finish. A very unique wine and this won the wine of the night. I gave it 93 points and it drinks like something twice the price.
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Wine 4 – 2008 Tait The Ball Buster Proprietary Red
We switched over to reds and brought out some Sheppard’s pie, sweet potato’s and grilled lamb. The Ball Buster is listed as a proprietary red being made up of 76% Shiraz, 12% Cab and 12% Merlot. So for all intents and purposes it would be listed as a Shiraz in this country. It had a very interesting nose of cherry, rhubarb and butter. It’s mouth feel was dense and what I would consider to be an Aussie fruit bomb. Got some blackberry, current and spice flavors with butter mixed in again strangely enough. This topped the scales at 16% alcohol which explains the almost port like finish. I gave this 90 points.
Wine 5 – 2005 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden
I bought this a few years ago and decided it was time to give it a try. This was #5 on Wine Spectator Top 100 wines of the year a few years ago so I was anxious to try it. Two Hands are known for their big Shiraz’s from their garden serious, with all the wine names after gardens. The wine was decanted about 2 hours before we tried it. This had a nice nose of blackberry, spice and current. Not sure if it was the decant or the age but this wine was very smooth with very silky tannins. This had some nice cherry, blackberry, chocolate and cream flavors that were well-integrated in its full body. This Shiraz tops the scales at 15.2% alcohol but although you know the alcohol is there it is much more balanced than the Tait. It ended with a nice long 25 second finish. My favorite wine of the night and I gave it 94 points.
No longer available but 2007 Two Hands Shiraz Angel’s Share in Stock $29.99