Wolf Blass ‘Grey Label’ 2012 McLaren Vale Shiraz

December 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

WB Grey Label ShirazWhen I say the word Shiraz what do you think of? Probably Yellow Tail right? I have a very clear recollection of the Aussie wave that hit our shores in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Every Shiraz coming into the market seemed to fit a very thin taste spectrum. I remember thinking that could be a big mistake. As it turned out, like most things, people tired of the same flavour and body and started to migrate to Malbec thus insuring the rapid decline of Australian wine fortunes in BC.

The fact is that only those Shiraz’s manufactured to taste the same year after year do. 99% of Shiraz made in Australia is not manufactured and actually reflects the region and winery it comes from.

I know that the Grey Label is outside of the $20 but holy crap does it represent a great value. Close your eyes here comes some dorky terms – very well balanced, bright acidity, dense flavours and aromas from start to finish. This is the whole package and thoroughly enjoyable.

Price ~ $29-$33

Score ~ 9.3/10 Best Buy

Unscrew the cap and let this wine breathe for a few minutes (10-15) and you will be well rewarded. Stick your nose right in the glass and take a deep breathe. What you will notice is the scent of blueberry, blackberry, ripe plum, black cherry, black pepper, violets, lavender, and just a hint of cured meat. I know, I know it seems like there couldn’t be all that, but there is.

The palate is bright yet full and ripe and the finish is juicy with just a kiss of spice and sultry smoke.

Grapes ~ 100% Shiraz

Store Section ~ Australia

Availability ~ Both government and private stores.

Food ~ Roasted or grilled lamb, Duck, even Turkey, Aged Cheddar.

Acknowledgements: Stacey Brennan, Pam Sanderson, Ernest Sargent, Brianna Kirby, Jami Wood, Karin Kallio, Angela Phillips, Patti Raffle.

Cheers

the Dork UnCorked

Chapel Hill 2013 ‘Parson’s Nose’ Shiraz

July 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

Price: $17.99Chapel Hill Shiraz

I bought this wine because I was in the mood for a hedonistic fruit and baking spice explosion, and because McLaren Vale is the source of my favourite Aussie Shiraz’s.

There is a lot more finesse in this wine than what I was expecting… and that is a good thing. This wasn’t your run of the mill fruit bomb explosion so it kind of missed the mark there, however it more than made up for it with finesse.

The trick here is to let it breathe. I had this wine open on my counter for 4 days. Tasting on days 2 and 3 were far better than day 1 or 4.

The nose shows classic dark fruit, smoked meat and a little purple flower thing that I really liked. The palate is richly texture but not bomb-ish, and it was very well balanced with the alcohol (14.5%) and not boozy. Flavours of blue and blackberries with some cardamom and bergamot spice thrown in for good measure.

This is a great wine to have with grilled lamb or a pizza with prosciutto on it.

Score: 6.9 – Good Drop – Certainly an enjoyable wine, but I thought I got what I paid for, but what I am looking for is a wine that exceeds what I paid for it.

Purchased At Everything Wine

Best Wine Gifts For The Unknown Palate Under $20

June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s the end of the school year and time to get gifts for our kids very deserving teaWine Gift Bagchers. I happily take on this challenge but was faced with an interesting challenge. What wine do you get for someone whose wine tastes you are not sure of?

My answers are below and they all share a similar trait; they are fruit driven, silky with soft tannins and are complex. I know the last one is usually lost on most people, but what complexity does is never lost. Complexity simplifies the taste experience. That’s right simplifies it. In a moment a fruit driven, soft tannin, complex wine provides all that the drinker will want. They don’t have to dive into the details to know they enjoy it.

Red Wines

Ca’ Montebello BarberaItaly (click on the name to go to the original review)

Score: 7.9 Over Delivers and I Love It!

Price: ~$13.99 to $15.99

Barbera by nature is very juicy with big grapey and plum flavours. The Ca’ Montebello has a wonderful silky finish and has delightful complexity as a result of the bright acidity and flavour nuances of dried herbs and pepper. Letting it breathe is advised but not necessary.

Penfolds Koonunga Hills Shiraz- Cabernet Sauvignon – Australia

Score: 7.4 Good Drop – I Like It

Price: ~ $16.29-$17.99

The Australians are famous for making hedonistic crowd pleasing wines and the Penfolds winery has lead the way for years. The Shiraz-Cab is big richly flavoured, juicy with flavours of black fruits, red berries, and plums. There is a spicy back end that features baking spices. The finish is juicy and soft making it an ideal gift for those whose palate you are not familiar with.

Fascino Passo Negramaro-Primitivo– Italy

Score: 9.3/10 Best Buy & WOW!!

Price: $17.99 (only available at Everything Wine)

This may seem like an odd choice given that the grapes are not household names, however the Italians have long known the pleasures of hedonistic food and wine and I think these two grapes embody their centuries of practice. Dark fruit of crushed  ripe plums, blackberries, cherries with nuances of savoury spices and the delicate scent of freshly wrapped cigars.

White Wines

Aveleda Vinho Verde – Portugal

Score: 8.9 Over Delivers & I Love It!!

Price: $14.99 – $15.99

This wine is vibrant and alive and I guarantee that every sip brings on a smile no matter the experience of the palate. From northern Portugal this wine has a little bubble (frizzante) with white peach and pear flavours. Chill this down and this will please anyone.

Painted Wolf Chenin Blanc – South Africa

Score: 848/10 Over Delivers & I Love It!

Part of the reason why I love this wine as a gift is because that is how I discovered it. The wine is fresh and alive with great complexity just like the Cape that it hails from. Pear, apple, honeydew melon and brisk freshness. Your gift goes a little further as every bottle means a donation to save the wild Painted Dogs of southern Africa.

One Chain ‘The Wrong’un’ 2013 Shiraz-Cab

February 3, 2015 § 2 Comments

Price: $14.99IMG_0725

As you know I am a cork dork, so one of my favourite things to do is walk down the aisles of various liquor stores and pick a wine solely on the quality of the label. Part of the reason I like to do this is because sometimes you hit a home run, where the beauty and attractiveness of the label are matched by what is inside. Sadly, this wine showed itself to be less than what the label promised, especially when you consider it gave itself an A+ for quality (bottom right of the label).

Tasting Notes Sipping: The colour is medium crimson with dark ruby in the center. The aromas are simple spicy red and dark fruits with some hints of oak. The palate is lighter than expected and featured many of the same flavours as were on the nose. This wine is pretty straight forward and not very complex, certainly not the complexity that is good to great value at $14.99.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this with roasted Pork Tenderloin basted with a very simple, mustard & taragon mixture (the trick is to add some maple syrup so that you get some caramelization). The wine was over powered by the dish and it wasn’t because of the mustard. It seemed to shy away from showing itself.

Value: The value here is to save yourself some money and pick up either the Rosemount Grenache-Shiraz or trade up to Penfold’s Shiraz-Cabernet (previously reviewed).

Added Value: I’m not sure when this wine would shine best, perhaps as a BBQ wine.

More To The Story: Did you know that there have been numerous studies that show that 98% of people choose their wines based on the label? Certain colours convey different emotions. Classic ‘french’ style labels show higher perceived value. High contrast labels are primarily created for retail shops, whereas minimalist labels are ideal for the restaurant table. There is a ton of psychology that goes into each label, sadly, this, sometimes is at the expense of what is in the bottle.

Score: 5.8  – Dead Average

Service: Twist the cap and let it flow.

Grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: South Eastern Australia

Available: BC Liquor Stores

Alcohol: 14.0%

The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at email.

 

Penfold’s Koonunga Hill 2012 Shiraz-Cabernet

January 29, 2015 § 4 Comments

Price: $16.29-$17.99IMG_0723

The Shiraz-Cab blend is the best of the Koonunga Hill red wine line up. The Shiraz has big opulent fruit, but lacks some structure and finesse. The Cab shows great structure, but lacks big bold fruit. The good news is that the Shiraz-Cab is masterfully blended to showcase each grapes strengths and minimize their weaknesses. Having said that this is a Good Drop and decent value for the money, however at $14.99 or $15.99 I would have said this Over Delivers. If it every goes on sale for $15.99, buy it!

Tasting Notes Sipping: First impressions mean a lot. Either your impression is confirmed or shattered and that makes a difference how you approach people or a wine. In this case the colour is a deep ruby red giving you the impression that the wine will be big, ripe, expressive and round. It is.
Aromas of dark fruits, red berries, chocolate, pepper, spices and even a little vanilla. The palate is ripe, juicy and round. Pretty hedonistic and very easy to enjoy. The finish is of medium length, juicy, sweet tannins and just a hint of spice.

Tasting Notes with Food: I had this wine with left over Roast of Beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and raw veggies. I think the gravy over powered the wine, but it was a great match for the beef and potatoes. I would imagine that this would have been brilliant with some grilled lamb, or burgers.

Value: This wine shows decent value for the price, as I have said before, and it is well worth the trade up from items like Yellow Tail. I would even trade up in price from Apothic for this wine. As for competitors in the Australian category at a similar price, it would all depend on the occasion or the food. A big thick steak would mean a quality Cab Sauv like Wolf Blass. A burger or if I’m in a happy go lucky mood, definitely this wine.

I would also suggest that this wine offers better value than Skulls Shiraz at $19.99.

Added Value: Having a BBQ, this wine shines with BBQ. Whether it is southwest style or burgers and such. It is also a great Crowd Pleaser wine that may also appeal the the wedding goer… as long as you have the budget.

More To The Story: Penfold’s has been around for 165 years. That is a long time to be around. In that space of time they have become of Australia’s most recognized exports which means it is really difficult to remain relevant to the consumer. I know that there has been some significant re-direction of funds to product from marketing and I think that is brilliant. After all if you want to remain relevant, the best course of action is to consistently produce a great product.

Score: 7.4  – Good Drop

Service: Twist the cap and let it pour. Room temp is ideal, unless room temp is 30°C, then chill it down to around 18-20°C

Grapes: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: South Australia

 

Alcohol: 13.5%

The Dork UnCorked is getting hundreds of views a day which makes it ideal for sponsorship by complimentary items. If you are interested please contact me at email.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

January 12, 2015 § Leave a comment

Score: 8.0 – Over Delivers2015/01/img_0682.jpg

Price: $17.99 (also available in 375ml and 1.5L bottles)

About the Wine: The wine that started it all for Australian wines in Canada 30+ years ago is classic Aussie Cab. The nose shows rich, ripe berry, cassis, eucalyptus and spice, while the palate is full, layered and complex. Flavours of cassis, berry, spice and mint dominate the palate. The finish is medium to long in length and is awesomely juicy.

Value: This is a much better wine that wines like Apothic Red and Cupcake Cabernet. In both cases I would recommend the trade up in price. I would also recommend that you save a couple bucks by trading down in price to the Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cab from Louis Martini Sonoma Cab and The Show Cabernet Sauvignon.

Added Value: This is a great BBQ wine, and really shines as a Crowd Pleaser or on Move and Date Nights.

More To The Story: A little inside information. The grapes from this wine, although it is not on the label come from the phenomenal Cabernet region of Langhorne Creek. I understand that it will be on the label with the next vintage.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed a renaissance in quality. A few years back the decision was made to get more money out of the brand by reducing the cost of the grapes. Predictably the wine started to get thin, unappealing and would have been given a Waste of Wine rating. However a few years back a new team took over the brand and the winemaking. They decided to invest millions in new winemaking facilities, vineyards and people. I had written the wine and the brand off, until a good friend told me I was an idiot and that I should give it another whirl, I’m glad I did.

Service: Twist off the cap and let it breathe or run it through your Vinturi. Grilled up a big thick steak and take it all in. It is also a great pairing with poutine, yup poutine.

Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Store Section: Australia

Appellation: Langhorne Creek

Available: BC Liquor Stores, Everything Wine, Liquor Depot, Cascadia Liquor Stores, Beverly Corners Liquor Store, Liquor N’ More Stores, Hillside Liquor Store, Liquor Express

Buy Online: Everything Wine, Liquor Depot

Alcohol: 13.0 %

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