2008 California-Australia Shootout
at First Sip
Male: Deep dark ruby in color. Lovely aromas, of red blackberry fruit, chocolate and toasted oak. Deep cassis fruit, licorice and black cherry flavors with back notes of cola. Big and round in the mouth. Good balance and structure. Enjoy with grilled lamb chops. When the oak fully integrates, this wine will be amazing!
- Écluse Wines 2006 Ensemble - 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Petit Verdot, 18% Merlot
Paso Robles, California, $38.00
- 392 cases produced
Female: Intense inky hue. Bright notes of pomegranate, blueberry, anise, and mushroom on the nose. Dense dark fruit intermingling with spices on the mid palate. Nice tannins that underscore the lingering finish.
Male: The impressive nose delivers pomegranate and mulberry aromas. Very ripe baked plum, strawberry, red cherry, cocoa, cola, and spice flavors. A distinctive wine with mild tannins.
- Ecluse Wines 2006 Rendition - 57% Syrah, 22% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre
Paso Robles, California, $38
- 429 cases produced
Female: Sweet toffee and baking spices on the nose. The fruit is dark and brambly. Herbs wrap around the black fruit flavors mid palate. The finish has smoky overtones.
Male: Very likeable from the start with raspberry, black cherry, graphite, plum, licorice, and vanilla aromas that deliver very similar flavors on the palate. Excellent Bordeaux-style blend with firm tannins and a long life ahead.
- Prix Vineyards 2005 Red Table Wine
Napa Valley, California, $75.00
- 300 cases produced
Female: Beautiful clean and deep claret color. Sweet cassis and vanilla aromas. Cherry flavors with candied fruit notes and cedar accents. The texture is chalky. Big tannin structure. Needs time.
Male: Coffee, raspberry, sweet cherry, and anise on the nose. This wine is supple, fleshy and easy to drink. Warm climate characteristics with raspberry compote flavors. Pretty structure with balanced alcohol. A very nice wine for its style.
- Magito 2005 Cabernet Blend
Sonoma County, California, $18.00
- 150 cases produced
Female: Dusty plum fruit with vanilla custard aromas. Boysenberry, blueberry and eucalyptus in the mouth. The oak dominates the fruit mid palate but then comes back into balance on the finish.
Male: Black cherry, graphite and black currant on the nose. Great color. Nicely restrained with dense fruit on the palate - black and red currant flavors, sweet oak, a touch of spice and wood. Big mouthfeel with good acid and medium tannins. Bordeaux-like Cab-Merlot blend - Margaret River?
- Protero Wines 2005 Gumeracha Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Adelaide Hills, Australia, $25.00
- 1200 cases produced
Female: Black fruit and licorice notes that come forward in the nose. Fresh berry explodes on the palate. Juicy with hints of black pepper on finish. A bit edgy with grape tannins that are apparent. Enjoy with grilled meats.
Male: Medium ruby color. Red raspberry and spicy aromas. Darker fruit is perceived on the palate, with red fruit highlights of sweet raspberry syrup and cherry at the core. Nicely balanced with sweet toasted oak on the finish.
- Black Swan 2007 Shiraz-Merlot
Southeastern Australia, $8.00
- 20000 cases produced
Female: Powerful aromas of dark crushed berries. Bright cherry and black cherry cloaked in spice on the palate. Fresh and clean. A pretty wine!
Male: In the glass the color is ruby garnet. The wine emits ripe aromas of black fruit and sweet balsamic. The mouth feel is sweet and lush. Delicate yet focused. Easy to drink. Well done!
- Thomas Henry 2006 Zinfandel
Russian River Valley, California, $9.95
- 2300 cases produced
Female: Ripe cherry aromas become cherry and brown baking spice on the palate. Pleasant and easy to drink.
Male: The complex nose of plum and blueberry cream pie opens to a dark, jammy and lush wine with a big, full finish.
- Magito 2005 Zinfandel
- 1600 cases produced
Female: The wine is a deep dark purple and is a touch cloudy. There is a prune-like quality on the nose –dark and brooding reminiscent of amador county wines. The palate has dark plum and prune flavors.
= An Affair to Remember
Male: Cedar, black cherry and red currant with hints of red bell pepper, black pepper and graphite on the nose. Nice layers of aromas and flavors. This Cab/Shiraz blend tastes like it has some age. Nicely balanced. Drink in the next year or two. Serve with venison.
- Wakefield 2005 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon
South Australia, $12.99
- 30000 cases produced
Female: A masculine wine. Brambly texture. The nose is gamey with ripe red fruit – raspberry, boysenberry and with hints of earthiness. Soft dark berries in mouth with cedar, clove and eucalyptus accents. Very well balanced with good acidity.
Male: In the glass, the wine is opaque with pine aromas. Sweet black fruit flavors with pine overtones. Moderate finish.
- Castagna 2005 Un Segreto 2005 Sangiovese/Syrah Blend
Beechworth, Australia, $60.00
- 300 cases produced
Female: Smoky bacon fat aromas open to dark concentrated black cherry and cassis on the palate. Full tannins with herbal notes late through the finish.