02.24.2010 Getting Saucy with Aussies

10 04 2010

We met at Andrew H’s place which, oddly enough, is directly above Fernanda’s by a couple of floors – same building, same corner, same great view of the Ferry Building and Embarcadero Center. We got together to taste Australian wines, no special conditions added to that one, so we got a pretty wide variety of wines.

We started out with a pre-tasting bonus bottle, which wasn’t really a bonus in that it fit the category, but it was a bonus because it was weird and wasn’t a serious contribution to the tasting: a sparkling shiraz. Tasting notes ranged from “weird” and “I don’t like what it does to my mouth,” to “bubbly Welch’s.” Not a lot more to say there. Let the real tasting begin…

Colin and Kelly

1. Some Young Punks Riesling, Clare Valley 2009

Nose: Katie got crayons and candy, while Ellen smelled cheese rind. Colin commented that all the wines from this company have boobs on the label (we had another of their wines on our label night; see “Cycle Buff Beauty”, which was rated a 38DD.) Back to the nose: Alea smelled peach, while Kelly thought it smelled tropical and of watered-down pineapple juice.

Palate: Colin tasted pineapple and grapefruit, while Russ was less impressed as he identified barf. Andrew tasted watered down apple juice. Dave tasted a swimming pool, while Kelly said lime rind with mineral on the finish. Alea’s tasting note reads as follows: [capital of Kansas “Topica” Colin is a jerk], which probably refers to an argument about whether “topica” is a real thing a wine might taste like. According to Google, Alea thought this wine tasted either like an email marketing company or a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Moving on…

Rating: 5/10 Location: Swirl Price: $24.50

2. Lawson something something, some year

Nose: Alea found it grassy, while Ellen smelled citrus pith. Kelly described the nose as “lawnmower butt, with diesel action”. Russ smelled rubber, which Colin expanded to rubber cement, and Brian smelled lemon and white grapefruit.

Palate: Colin described it as lemon water in a plastic cup. Ellen thought it was unintentionally bubbly, and Alea got a mineral taste. Katie tasted chicken water, crankiness, and disdain, which might explain why she forgot to write down the details of this wine and its vintage. Alea thought it was too tart overall.

Rating: 4/10 Location: BevMo Price: $13

3. Barossa GSM  Loose-end 2006

Nose: Colin smelled a blueberry pop tart, while Alea described a currant aroma. Brian smelled raspberry-flavored earth, and Kelly got a “big hot jammy mess” best summed up as sex berry. Dave said it was a little chemically.

Palate: Katie found it to have a well-balanced flavor. Ellen tasted blackberry and raspberry, and Rachel found it curranty and rich. Kelly said it was super juicy, plummy, and a little hot, with “stuper-ripe” fruit flavors. Alea said it was surprisingly mild fruit, with “dancing tannins”.

Rating: 7/10 Location: Vino Price: $14

Ellen and Russ

4. West Cape Howe Shiraz/Viognier, 2006

Nose: Colin got “sharpie like whoa” and vanilla, while Kelly found it meaty and Brian found a faint, sweet, tobacco odor. Alea smelled teriyaki beef jerky, and Ellen’s note says “alcohol (asian),” which is confusing. Kelly also added blackberry.

Palate: Colin tasted a raspberry carpet; Dave thought it was very peppery, and Brian tasted leather with an undercurrent of berry. Alea tasted BBQ sauce.

Rating: 6 Location: K&L Wines Price: $16

5. Diggers Bluff “Watchdog” 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Shiraz, Barossa Valley 2001

Nose: Alea smelled boysenberry, while Colin smelled a forest by the edge of the farm, like the smell of leaves and shit. Ellen smelled funk but not funkberry – stable smell. Dave added the smell of Boyz II Funk. Katie smelled sweet berry horse poop, and Brian smelled dark chocolate. Kelly got a raspberry balsamic reduction, and Rachel added blueberry to the list.

Palate: Russ tasted sugar, and Ellen tasted a barn; Dave thought it tasted like smoke blown in your face. Katie got the taste of “bareback and bush” – dirty. Eric tasted prune, and Kelly said it was mad juicy with tannins.

Rating: 5/10 Location: Swirl Price: $16

6. R Wines “Marquis Phillip” Shiraz, Barossa 2008

Nose: Dave got tobacco, Ellen and Katie both smelled a library full of musty books. Colin smelled baking spice, while Kelly found bacon and dark brooding (like his heart). Katie also smelled corn syrup.

Palate: Alea tasted 64% dark chocolate – very specific. Rachele said it tasted like Jamba Juice, Dave tasted tonic water, and Colin got a hint of peaty scotch. Shilpa tasted raisin juice, and for Ellen it started juicy and ended with alcohol flavors. Eric thought it tasted of feet that had stomped on berries.

Rating: 6.5/10 Location: Costco Price: $14

7. Lawson Wines Morton’s Vineyard Shiraz, Clare Valley 2006

Nose: Ellen smelled chocolate and caramel, Colin had leather and Russ had crème brulée. Brian smelled a blueberry cheesecake.

Palate: Dave tasted bleu cheese, described it as a patriotic cheese wine (it’s unclear what that is supposed to mean.) Russ said it did not taste like shiraz, more like a bad cabernet sauvignon. Ellen tasted strawberry and raspberry, and Alea said it tasted harsh with berry flavors.

Rating: 4.5/10 Location: BevMo Price: $17

8. Blackwing Shiraz, South Australia 2006

Nose: Dave smelled blackberry and ice wine; Alea plum and rasbperry. Andrea smelled pepper while Katie thought the wine smelled like Ellen’s sassypants. Russ smelled fructose, Kelly cinnamon and Andrew allspice.

Palate: Kelly said it was pretty fucking ripe, while Katie tasted green banana and Russ tasted plantains. Alea thought it was harsh and Shilpa said it was acidic.

Rating: 4/10 Location: CheesePlus Price: $15

9. Layer Cake Shiraz, South Australia 2008

Nose: Katie smelled German chocolate cake frosting, and Kelly got “motha-fuckin lasagna”. Dave thought it smelled like a big stick of buttah, Andrew had cream cheese and Graham smelled pralines.

Palate: Russ tasted cake, milk chocolate and brown sugar. Katie also tasted chocolate, and Andrew tasted brown butter. Kelly got ripe dark fruit, Graham huckleberries and Ellen raisins.

Rating: 3 to 7/10 (wide disagreement) Location: Wine Merchant Price: $18

Eric, Andrea, Graham

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