I had promised to keep up with recent notes and fill in with backlogged ones as time permits. Well, time permits me to post last Thursday's Rhone notes, but I just realized I forgot to get pictures of the bottles, so I don't remember all the vitals--specific blends/bottlings, vintages, etc.
So as I track them down, here are some notes from the Jan. 8 Aussie tasting. I don't have numerical ratings for them, because I took the notes before I started assigning them. (And, by the way, this was an absolutely exceptional tasting. Not a bad wine in the bunch, and several outstanding ones.)
1. Evans and Tate Chardonnay 2005 ($18.99/bottle)
An interesting and appealing nose of fried apples, smoke, and flint gives way to a rich, creamy, mouthfilling body, with a flash of acidity and stony minerality to provide balance. The finish is long and vibrant. Very nice.
2. Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 1999 ($29.99/bottle)
Yes, it's an Aussie that calls itself syrah instead of shiraz, presumably an homage to shiraz's forerunners in the Rhone. This full-bodied red has a beautiful, complex nose of dark berries, coffee, pepper, leather, graphite, and tree bark, with an intense, peppery kick to the raspberry, leather, and tobacco notes on the palate. Firmly tannic and quite acidic, this wine needs at least 3-5 more years in the bottle. Let's hope the fruit holds out that long, because if it does, this will be breathtaking.
3. Tait Ballbuster 2006 ($17.99/bottle)
Rich, full-bodied, and easy-drinking, with raspberry, blueberry and cola notes, and lots of nice, spicy tar on the back end. This wine nods toward complexity, but it doesn't demand that you think about it--only that you enjoy it. Great value.
4. Kalleske Greenock Shiraz 2005 ($49.99/bottle)
Rich, ripe, and very smooth, with flavors and aromas of blackberry, raspberry, spice, and tar. Not overly complex, but seamlessly executed, with a very welcome touch of elegance you don't normally find in "big" Aussie shirazes.
5. Massena The 11th Hour Shiraz 2005 ($49.99/bottle)
The nose on this one is so complex--each time I went back, I got something new--it seems almost a shame to drink it. Until you taste it, that is. Thick, almost chewy, this is nevertheless not your standard fruit bomb, with nice balance and well-integrated flavors of black currant, tar, pepper, and leather and a very long, luxurious finish. Very, very good.
6. Glaetzer Amon-Ra 2005 (no price listed on sheet; high $70's, I think)
A big, big wine, with classic Aussie aromas and flavors of black and blue berries, spice, vanilla, and black olive. This shiraz could have been too rich for its own good, but for a brilliant streak of acidity that gives it a lovely, sprightly quality despite its overall heft. A stellar offering.