Saturday, December 01, 2007

Aussie wines, yet another disappointment

Last night, in celebration of Kelly successfully defending his Master's thesis, I prepared a nice meal. I seared some beautiful strip loins of beef in butter & olive oil, set those aside and began work on the sauce. I sauteed baby portabello mushrooms in the same pan I seared the steaks in with sherry, red wine, beef stock, onions & garlic. After reducing that for a bit I stirred in butter, poured that on a rectangle serving dish and placed slices of the rare steak over the sauce. On the side I served roasted garlic mashed potatoes & baked broccoli. De-licious!

So I wanted a bold red wine to pair up with the steak & sauce. I pulled out a bottle of 2003 Shirvington Shiraz from the McLaren Vale region of Australia.

Very disappointing. It was rich, almost port-like, with heavy tannins, a bitter astringency, no mid-palate, a very odd stewed fennel flavor profile & a finish that left my palate exhausted with alcohol. I almost wanted to get up and brush my teeth after tasting it. 96 points Robert Parker, whatever. Is his palate so jaded that all he can appreciate are overpowering wines that are exhaustive? Even Kelly didn't really care for the wine & he LOVES big, bold, tannic wines.

Oh well, you win some you lose some.

1 comment:

Remy said...

I'm always puzzled by this "more is better" approach to wines that makes the so-called blockbusters stand out above all others. One possibility is that when you're blind tasting 30, 40, 50 wines or more at a single sitting, the bigger ones tend to stand out, especially as your palate gets fatigued from all these flavours, tannins and alcohol. So these tend to get rated higher.

In the case of Australia, it is difficult to find wines that are truly balanced and don't aim for maximum ripeness. Many producers use the word balance on their labels, but it doesn't correspond to my definition of it. I'd found a producer, Roundtable Wines, who aimed for a Spanish-style "joven" style, with crisp acidity, in both reds and wines, but he seems to have fallen into difficulties with the very tough 2006 and 2007 vintages. I'm keeping my eyes (and palate) peeled for more wines produced in that spirit, though.

The Wine Case