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Friday, 15 June 2012

Black, black and more black...

Looking at my blog photo, you can probably tell my hair colour is black.  As I sit penning this blog post, there is currently black dye in my hair to keep it that way - black.  That being said, I thought to myself: "why not sip a glass of Mr. Black's Little Book while you wait for your hair to work its magic?"

I had the opportunity to taste this wine at an open house held at my local wine store.  Yes, the same local wine store that I frequent quite often for both tastings and purchasing.  Of course, the whole reason why I wanted to try it because it was an Australian Shiraz.  Yes, I am a "New World" wine girl, and I'm not afraid to say it out loud!  And I am particularly fond of Shiraz...GOOD Shiraz.  First of all, the wine looks black, the label is black, and the name of the wine has the word black in it.  I was further intrigued by the description on the back of the bottle.  You can see it in the photo here, but if you can't read it, let me help you out:

"They say 'don't judge a book by its cover', so open a bottle of Mr. Black's Little Book and pour over his formulae, mixtures and little secrets"

Ooo...that DOES sound intriguing doesn't it?!  I'm not gonna lie:  this wine has some bite to it.  At 15.2% alcohol, that's no surprise.  And the Australians are allowed to...ahem...downgrade the alcohol level, so it's likely even higher!  Don't let that scare you though!  There are some nice chocolate notes on the nose, along with some black fruits, and that ever so subtle hint of eucalyptus.  Lots more black fruits, and black pepper in my mouth.  And it's a 2008, only four years old, also from the Barossa Valley, so I bet it would age a little longer.  Just sayin'... 

But wait a there a recurring theme of black here?  Funny you should ask. The winemaker is Mr. Robert Black, and he also has another great wine out there:  Mr. Black.s Concoction.  A blend of 4% Viognier, and 96% Shiraz.  Another curious, bold wine that offers lots of black.

So what is the little secret inside this wine?  Well...try it for yourself and maybe you'll find out. And at 20 bucks a bottle, it's not too much to try it a few times to figure it out.

Monday, 4 June 2012

SW United States - a small sampling..

Renwood Winery
2009 Petite Sirah
Shenandoah Valley, California
Hey folks, sorry for the crappy picture...sometimes the camera on the phone is outstanding, other times, any little shadow or bizarre lighting seems to just create a lot of havoc!  At any rate, I'm not here to talk of photography!   (sorry Carmie...I'll leave all the good shots to you! ;) ) I'm here to talk about this incredible Petite Sirah that I had the pleasure of tasting a couple of weeks back.

May's theme for our class tasting was Southwest United basically California!  Yup!  All wines brought for the evening were from California.  We decided since the weather was getting warmer, we'd talk about warmer climes!  Originally, the thought was to taste patio wines, and to actually SIP them on the patio...well, the weather wasn't THAT nice!  We had six wines this evening, and I usually talk about them all.  Not this time. I will showcase only one.  I WILL say, that James and I uncorked and sniffed out our first faulty wine.  Poor Jen...her night to host, and her wine was corked.  Needless to say, she wasn't impressed!  At least she can return it right?  I digress...tonight is not the time to talk of faulty wine...

Today we talk GOOD wine! And this was an outstanding wine!!  So what IS this Petite Sirah? Well, we know that the French call it Syrah, and the Aussies dub it Shiraz...any relation?  Well, the short answer is no. 

First of all, you can see that they are spelled differently.  You may actually see it called Durif  on the bottle, named after its founder Francois Durif.  And it's given the adjective Petite because it refers to the size of the berries, which are tightly packed clusters with large leaves.  The highest quality Petite Sirah's seem to be found in California and Australia.  And I would agree...this one was very good.  And interestingly enough (& also unfortunately) rumour has it that Renwood wineries will no longer be producing Petite Sirah. So disappointing...this wine was by far, the best wine of the night.  Lots of black fruits, but even some fennel (herb) and violet overtones on the nose.  We all found this to be a well balanced glass of wine.  Tannins weren't too harsh, and balanced nicely with a little acidity and not too high of a level of alcohol (13.5%).  Again, lots of black fruits, and oodles of chocolate!  In fact, Jen had the coup d'etat..."Glosette Raisins in a glass".  Keep in mind that we opened it immediately upon arriving, and tasted it last in our round of tastings. (Meaning it sat for about an hour before we got to it?)  As time went by, it just kept opening up and getting more and more stunning...those "Glosette Raisins" didn't appear right away...they "developed" in the glass, and just got more pronounced as the night went on.  What a fantastic description for anyone who loves chocolate and raisins!  Outstanding!

Pairings?  Well, we had the various array of cheeses, but in my book?  A nice thick piece of chocolate cake...yum!

All this to say...if you're looking for something a little different, give this a try!  You won't be disappointed!