Thursday, April 2, 2009

An Afternoon of Aussie Shiraz

Mr Riggs 2006 Shiraz “The Gaffer”
$23.95 (Cdn) per 750mL
**** (4 stars out of 5)

Very pleasant aromas – most fruit; not overly intense. Black fruit & spice predominate the palate; blueberry on the finish. Good firm tannins make this wine ready to drink now but it would be very interesting to see it in 1-2 years.

Mr Riggs 2006 Shiraz
$55.00 (Cdn) per 750mL
**** (4 ½ stars out of 5)

One of the two darkest table wines of today’s tasting. Similar aromas to “The Gaffer” but deeper and more complex with the addition of tar, leather and a slight hint of cocoa once it has had an opportunity to open up. There was a very large, silky mouthfeel to this wine with flavours of black fruit, spice and more blueberry. Although this wine would definitely benefit from aging, it is tasting great right now so you might have a hard time being patient and letting this one age.

Mr Riggs 2007 “Coonawarra” Cabernet Sauvignon
$22.95 (Cdn) per 750mL
*** (3 ½ stars out of 5)

The only reason why this wine is scoring so low is because it does need some time – give it 3-4 years and it has the potential to be an amazing Cab. If you are drinking it now, decant this for a couple of hours to let the wine really open up and you will be treated to a vegetal, herbal nose that continues on to the palate. It has a very big mouthfeel (like any truly great Cab should) and you can detect the oak influences at the moment but the tannins are smooth and it will benefit from aging.

Penny’s Hill 2007 Shiraz “Red Dot”
$30.00 (Cdn) per 750mL
**** (4 ½ stars out of 5)

This was the second table wine that was extremely dark in today’s tasting. Predominant fruit nose with just a slight (and I do mean slight) hint of cooked fruit. This wine has the potential to have one of those huge, over the top, mouthfeels – it’s almost there now. There are lots of black fruit flavours to it but it is not quite overpowering on that front either. Definitely falls into the category of can drink now but if you can, age it for 2-3 years.

Penny’s Hill 2004 Fortified Shiraz
$37.95 (Cdn) per 500mL
**** (4 ½ stars out of 5)

This wine is unfiltered so don’t be surprised if you see some sediment in the bottom of your glass when you have finished every sweet, delectable drop. When it comes to dessert wines from Australia, the wineries tend to make Port style wines as opposed to Icewines, Late Harvests, Sauternes, etc. This particular wine was made using 100% Shiraz grapes and is so dark that “blacker than sin” is the only way to describe the colour. It is thick, inky and coats the glass and your throat the whole way down. Hopefully the smell of prune juice on the nose won’t put you off trying a taste of this heavenly decadence that has a slight hint of spice at the back. Personally, I would love this with nothing more than Michael Potter’s Chocolate Souffle.

In Ontario, Penny’s Hill and Mr Riggs Wines are available through:

John Hanna & Sons

In the United States, they can be found through:

Epicurean Wines

In Europe, please check the Penny’s Hill and Mr Riggs websites for specific information:
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