Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Wine Reviews - Syrahs and Rieslings

FEBRUARY 26, 2013

Sitting down with a group of friends and doing a side-by-side comparison of a varietal grown in diverse climates helps to break down any prejudices or pre-conceived notions they have about the grape.  So on a Sunday afternoon, I pulled a few bottles and headed to a friend's house for some tasting.

The first session was a comparison of Rieslings.  Germany vs. Australia.  Here's how the caper broke down:

Wine the First: Some eschew Riesling because they used to drink Black Tower and Blue Nun before a high school dance.  Sugary sweet (not in a good way), little acid...gross. 

However, high-quality German Riesling continues to be some of the most highly sought-after juice around.  Better yet, the wines come at very respectable prices.  Look to middle Mosel for the best producers. We tried this one on for size:


REINHOLD HAART PIESPORTER GOLDTRÖPFCHEN RIESLING KABINETT 2009
Mosel, Germany
VINTAGES 282335 $19.95

This wine brings some serious tropical and ripe stone fruit to the table.  The vibrant acidity slices through the sweetness and leaves you thirsty for another sip.  I was 91 points on this wine.

The second wine...

PEWSEY VALE RIESLING 2011
Eden Valley, South Australia
VINTAGES 686600  $19.95

Aussie Rieslings are usually bone dry, with the best examples coming from the cooler climates of Eden and Clare Valleys, as well as Margaret River on the South Western coast of the continent.  Yet Aussie and German Rieslings can sometimes display similar profiles, especially after a few years of bottle age. 

The Pewsey Vale was all business, with fresh cut pear, candied lemon, and verbena on the nose drive towards fresh squeeze lime and even some tropical fruit on the palate.  My friends were amazed at the contrasts between these wines.  I was 90 points on this Eden Valley gem.



ROUND 2 (DID PETER MCNEELEY EVEN MAKE IT THIS FAR?)

The second session featured a trio of Syrahs/Shiraz.  Normally for this comparison, I use a wine from the Northern Rhône to serve as a benchmark.  However, I opted for something a little different, and led off with a Syrah from Washington State (middle):

COEUR D'ALENE CELLARS SYRAH 2007
Columbia Valley, Washington State
VINTAGES 177162  $22.95

This Syrah had incredible aromatics of smoke, dark cocoa, cassis and espresso - followed by ripe purpple and black fruits, graphite and a touch of roasted herbs on the palate leading to a beautiful 30 second finish.  This wine is ready to drink now.  I was 93 points on this wine. 


The second wine (right):

SOL DE ANDES RESERVA ESPECIAL SYRAH 2008
Colchagua Valley, Chile
VINTAGES 274159  $17.95

In retrospect, I should have led off with this wine, as it showed higher tones than its more brooding Washington counterpart.  This wine led off with similar notes of smoke, cigar box and garrigue, but then moved through the higher blue and red fruit tones. Quite elegant for the price, but a little short on the finish.  I was 89 points on this wine.

Bringing it home (left):

SCHILD SHIRAZ 2009
Barossa Valley, South Australia
VINTAGES 66555  $28.95

Perenially featured in the Wine Spectator's Top 100, I figured this was a great wine to introduce them to Barossa Shiraz done right. 

This wine did just that, with beautiful aromas of hung meat, eucalypt, baking spice and ripe plum lead to a lovely spectrum of blue and black fruits.  Refreshing acids are present, balancing the alcohol.  I was 91+ on this wine. 


A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

-Andy








No comments:

Post a Comment