Saturday, August 28, 2010

Three Aussies: a Pinot, a Shiraz and a Cabernet (Australia)

For those who  think Australian wine is dying, don't tell that to Albertans - from what I see there, Aussie wine is alive and well.  After the Oilmen's Glassware tasting I retreated back to my room at the Jasper Park Lodge with my cohorts from Schott Zwiesel and Tannin Fine Wines for a tasting of three amazing products - again not available in Ontario.  I am not going to get into the evils of monopoly versus free enterprise systems here - I'll save that for another time.

First wine tried was from a producer with a rather funny name: Ten Minutes by Tractor and their 2007 10x Pinot Noir (their entry level product).  This is a wild ferment, let-the-fruit-and-the-land-do-the-talking kinda Pinot from a South Australian region just across from Melbourne.  The nose mirrored the palate with plummy, red cherry and wild raspberry aromas and flavours - smooth and fresh with a good tannin to acid ratio.  I rarely give scores on this blog but since these are new and currently available wines, we'll make an exception: **** (out of 5 stars).

My next two wines were also from Australia, both from the Sister Run winery: the Sister's Run 2008 Shiraz is made from fruit sourced from 110 year old vines, it's all concrete fermented with no oak influence (well, maybe just a little - I am told - two months worth of oak chips for seasoning).  The grapes are sourced from the God's Hill Vineyard in the Barossa Valley.  A ballsy brute with 14.5% alcohol - a nose full of cardamom, white pepper, violets and white chocolate lead to a palate showing off raspberry, white pepper, plum, spice and the aforementioned white chocolate - a pretty wine loaded with flavour - not typical Aussie Shiraz, but very good. (****)

But the real bang for the buck was the Sister's Run 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon that blew me off my chair.  Fruit sourced from the Gomersol Vineyard in the Barossa Valley and with a minimum age of 85 years; again no oak except for maybe the minimalism of oak chips for a couple of months (same concrete fermenting regiment as the Shiraz above).  This wine proved to be creamy smooth in the mouth with red cherry, raspberry and milk chocolate, which caressed the tongue with boatloads of flavour sip after sip.  My palate, and the palates of my colleagues were very much taken by this wine in our glass.  (****1/2)

After our in-room tasting it was time for dinner - and the call of the wild was upon us, and only a big hunk of meat would satisfy - must be the meat-friendly wines we were tasting.  We wondered over to the Moose's Nook in the Jasper Park Lodge main chalet where our threesome feasted on scallops and boar belly appetizers and three proteins: lamb, bison and beef - all Alberta raised ... exquisite.

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