Saturday, September 26, 2015

Issue XXXII: 19 Crimes Edition

19 Crimes [Blend]

The mantra of wine experimentalists I will say now for us all to hear and if this not your motto, if you are a wine experimentalist, it should become it and that motto is this: I shall fear not to ever buy wine based upon the visual nature of the bottle.

Take this case in point, this stunning little gem of a wine, packaged in the most extraordinary packaging. In fact, I think this is the best bottle for any wine I’ve yet seen, heavy, coated in black and covered with a picture one surmises must have been a criminal relating to Australia somehow. Based on the idea of being sent off for violating a set of laws resulting in one of 19 listed crimes (full list is on the winery’s website, which is definitely quite worth your while), the packaging comes quite inspired…in a sort of cheeky way. Once I saw the bottle, I knew I had to get it.

This could result in a bottle of crap, of course, but here it does not. This is another that we loved right out of the gate. My wife adored the labeling of the bottle, because crimes, serial killers, etc. etc. evidently hold some of fascination…perhaps just deviant human behavior. I largely though it was cute and just hoped the wine lived up to that awesomely heavy and painted black bottle. It did…and then some.

This particular one blends Syrah, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon and it’s got an adoringly wonderful deep red blood color to it, the hue of which would be the envy of property managers on vampire film sets worldwide. It tastes as good as it looks, again mostly berries, but in a very complex and full manner, complete with several grace notes, all exquisitely balanced. This is a very lush wine and the mouth feel and smoothness are beauties to behold.

It’s around $14 a bottle, but this is right near the top of my favorite wines. As such, it is a Standard.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Issue XXXI: Borja Borsao Tinto Seleccion Edition

Borja Borsao Tinto Seleccion [Garnacha]

Grenache is one of those wines that I just can’t ever quite seem to latch onto, much like Beaujolais. I suspect this is because of the high astringency factor, which always seems jarring to me, particularly since I rarely eat food with the wine…or take wine with the food, however you like it. If wine and food are together around me, it is generally with the food cooked in wine.

This is one of those rare cases where I actually like a garnacha, even with the high astringency. This is a fairly rare case of a wine being excellent despite that aspect. Make no mistake; this one too has a very high astringency rate, but that factor makes it a very nice change of pace. It is extremely well-flavored and will smooth out over time, though that air time is pushing a solid hour or so. This particular one is a blend with 15% Temperanillo, itself also prone to astringency, though in this case, I believe it has added what little smoothness there is to be had here. You will catch a bit of bitterness here, a touch of berry, some perhaps less than ripe cherry, but the flavor is spectacular. This is definitely one of the better drys out there. I don’t find it particularly light or refreshing, but when I want to deviate from the soft and lush tones I usually have, this tends to be a solid pick.

As I recall, if not on SPA, this is around $13 or $14 and I definitely like those smoother and velvetier ones much more than a wine of this type, so it’s a bit lesser often I get this, irrespective of SPA, though it will show up there from time to time, so let’s go with Mixed on this one.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Issue XXX: Sixth Sense Syrah Edition

 Michael David Sixth Sense Syrah

Syrah, as noted in here frequently, is one of my very favorite grapes in a wine, though Petite Syrah (quite different) is one of my least, though that is perhaps because I have not yet moved into the idea of storing the wine. I admire the density of taste, the mouth feel and most of all, the rich flavor, though it never seems to me clunky ala the Cabs. At some point, perhaps when the HSC reaches 50, I will go back through and do some statistics (another enjoyable pastime of mine) and see which varietal shows up most often. I fully expect that blends will show up in there the most, but with the introduction of Syrahs, my wine consumption has certainly taken a turn and developed since I first started drinking wine regularly.

As to this particular wine, it is another fine example of the huge power-packed punch that Syrah can provide, all while maintaining its characteristic smoothness. This is a rich wine, with quite a lot of staying power, but all the while, it remains quite drinkable. It actually is a blend itself, with a degree of Petite Syrah and Petite Verdot, though those are mainly for grace notes. The real star is the Syrah, which here has notes of berry and some other darker tones.

It is also slightly higher in alcohol, so it does better with more air time. I like about half an hour to start, with the subsequent refills being gorgeous and velvety, but you can reduce that time, if you can’t wait and this delicious and succulent wine is difficult to back-burner, but it’s well worth it, if you can.

I’ve never seen this on SPA and at $17, it approaches the upper edge of cost, but it is a fantastic enough wine that I know I can always rely on it. For that reason, I’d say it’s more of a Mixed than Standard.