Saturday, October 5, 2013

Richard Hamilton 2002 Colton's SGM & Pike 2002 Shiraz - Clare Valley (Australia)

Tomorrow I start the long process of re-organizing my wine cellar ... well, it shouldn't be that long, but it'll take me most of the day.  Tonight I have Syrah on the brain, but suddenly these two wines strike me as something interesting to try - they are in line with my original hankering, but the year and the comparison factor make them interesting to me on this night.  I first open the Richard Hamilton, a Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre combination (SGM) ...  it smells of pepper and alcohol (it clocks in at 14%) - in fact alcohol seems to be a dominating smell here.  Gave it a little bit of time and found some black fruit and spice coming to the surface, but always with that whiff and (as it turns out) overly alcoholic taste, it smells hot and tastes the same way (and by that I mean alcoholically so) - bad balance, or it did not age well, which ever it is not a favourite.  But if you get past that alcohol there is some pleasant white pepper and dark fruit, but you really have to find it.  From the same year I tried a straight Shiraz from Pike (Clare Valley), this proved to be a more elegant and smooth wine, and although it had .5% alcohol higher than the Hamilton, you hardly noticed the booze at all - and that's what I call a dangerous wine.  Red licorice, blackberry, and a touch of cocoa kick it off, but as it aerates it develops dried character and that adds some depth and additional flavours to this wine; it's smooth character made it a much more enjoyable wine than the Hamilton.

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