Saturday, September 22, 2012

Two Hot Climate Reds (South Africa / Australia)

Tonight I had a past winner of the Wine Tasting Challenge over for dinner ... I have to admit I totally forgot that until my wife asked what prizes they had won ... after that the night became its own challenge, to see if I could stump the champ (or is that chump); which is actually a lot easier to do than you would think - when someone is put under that kind of pressure to be right they usually start to second guess themselves ... I know that each time I have participated in the Challenge (at which in 2008 I came in fourth place, professional category) I felt enormous pressure to be right - especially in 2009 because I had an award to live up to.  That all being said I will tell you that my chump-friend missed both wines: guessing one as a California Zinfandel and the other as a Merlot ... as for what the wines really were:

We started the night with a little bubbly and a white - but those were not the stars of the show so they will not be mentioned here - they were warm ups for the main attactraction.  Staritng with the Ayama 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine I had bought a few years back as one of the best Cabs I have ever had out of South Africa and a great value to boot.  It was smooth and fruit driven with lots of red fruit goodness and a dark cherry finish - yes, there was a hint of that South African tarry note, but it was masked very well by all that fruit.

Next up was a favourite I was sure my friend was going to figure out in a heartbeat ... surprisingly their significant other nailed it first shot ... who knew that my friend had a block when it came to Shiraz: the Stalking Horse 2008 Shiraz is textbook Australia with big alcohol, rich jammy black fruit, chocolate, vanilla and white pepper notes that carry through to the jammy yet spicy finish.

To my friend, all I can say is "Better luck next time" ... and there will be a next time ... because if there is one truism about wine - it always brings people (back) together.

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