Friday, December 7, 2012
Friday Night and Four Wines Down (Chile, Australia, Washington)
Twas the night before my birthday, and into the house, we welcomed some friends to take part in a souse (sousing that should be, and actually it was for dinner it turned into a sousing, for one of us at least). This evening, four bottles were consumed and one stumble away into the darkness - thankfully his wife was sober enough to get him home. The evening started with a Chilean Chardonnay (Vina Maipo 2011 Vitral Chardonnay) - turned out to be a very quaffable wine with good acidity, nice fruit, hints of vanilla and a creamy smoothness on the finish. Next up, to pair with tonight's "classic" pork roast dinner (the "classic" moniker was on the packaging), I pulled out two Penfolds wines: 2005 Koonunga Hill Shiraz-Cabernet and the 2005 Thomas Hyland Shiraz ... I wanted to see how these two wines had aged. The supposition, before I opened the bottles was that the straight Shiraz would outperform the blend because of its price and quality on the Penfolds scale. Unfortunately, the Shiraz-Cabernet was never given a fair shot at trying to out-best its pricier counterpart as it was sealed with a plastic cork. While my guests were generous (to a fault - no pun intended) about the blend it was obvious that the Shiraz was the one more up to the task. While the Koonunga Hill was slightly oxidized (and got more so with each 5 minutes that passed) and according to my guests, "drinkable as a third bottle" - the Hyland was nicely peppered and spiced with lovely dark fruit and could stand to be aged another few years if not more. I knew it was time for one more when I saw my guests pour themselves from the skanky-ass Koonunga bottle. I quickly asked what they would prefer and a Washington Merlot was suggested. Columbia Crest 2007 H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) Merlot ... what a stark contrast to the aged Aussie. The Merlot was juicy without being jammy, smooth and mellow, as one expects Merlot to be, with some sweet fruit driven elegance. Everyone tried at least a sip - the aforementioned wobbler/stagger-er polished off most of the bottle, but all agreed it was one of the best Merlots they had had in quite some time. Thanks for coming over (and you know who you are) - let's do it again soon, it was a lovely evening ... even if (I am sure) one of us had a massive headache the next morning.