Tasting Notes: Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz

I picked this bottle up at Fresh Market a few weeks back. There was no rhyme or reason to the choice other than my parents were in Australia at the time, so I thought I'd live vicariously through them and this wine. I'm not sure it was quite the same as an exotic vacation, but it was nice to go back to a full-bodied wine!

The Facts

  • Producer: Penfolds
  • Region: South Australia
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Variety: Shiraz
  • Where I purchased: Grocery store
  • Price: $13.99
  • Eyes: This Shiraz was definitely a change from the Pinot Noirs we seemed to be unintentionally focusing on recently. This wine is a deep purple color and is opaque. The coloring is very pretty (I'm a sucker for deep red and purple wines) and is characteristic of the Shiraz/Syrah grape. 
     
  • Nose: To be honest, the first thing I noticed was the sting of alcohol. I had poured my glass and let it sit for at least an hour to "breathe", so I was a little surprised by that. According to the bottle, the wine is 13.5% ABV so it's on the border of "medium" and "medium high" alcohol, but regardless, that was the first thing I noticed. After my initial surprise, I got the fruit forward berry aroma with a hint of earthiness. 
     
  • Mouth: Holy blueberries, Batman! I could not get over how much this wine tasted like blueberry. I don't mean that in a bad way, but I think it was the first time I found blue fruits to be so prominent in a wine. There was a sweetness aspect to it, almost like jam, but I wouldn't say it was a sweet wine. I got some blackberry as well and a hint of spice. There was a tang of acidity, and I did not find this wine to be very tannic.
     
  • Thoughts: This was a good choice to branch out from our typical Cab or Pinot Noir. We've had a couple of other Syrahs, and this one fell in the middle. Blue fruits aren't my favorite flavor profile, but it was definitely tasty and K really enjoyed it. I tend to like more spice and tannin to my big reds, so I'm not sure I'd get another bottle, but for a venturing out, I'd say it was a success! If you don't like tannin, but still want bold flavor, I'd say check this out. 

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Tasting Notes: Wild Oats Shiraz

The recovery process from a cold and bronchitis has been long, but I am back at it! I've had a good return to wine with this Australian Shiraz.

The Facts

  • Producer: Wild Oats by Oatley Family Wines
  • Region: Central Ranges of New South Wales (NSW), Australia
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Variety: Shiraz
  • Where I purchased: Harris Teeter. I hear it can be found at World Market, too.
  • Price: $13.99
  • Eyes: This wine was a very pretty color! It was a very deep red with some hint of purple. The wine was opaque, so paired with the fact that this is a Shiraz, I expect this wine to be full bodied and fruit forward.
     
  • Nose: This wine's aroma was very fruity, but not sweet smelling. I picked up on some blackberry and cassis (liqueur made from black currant berries). It also reminded me of chambord, the liqueur made from red and black raspberries. I also picked up on some spice notes, which is typical for the Syrah grape. The spices reminded me of what is referenced in the wine world as "baking spices", so think cinnamon, allspice, etc.  The aroma was very pleasant and definitely made me want to try it, which is always good!
     
  • Mouth: The wine had great flavor of ripe berries (blackberry, blueberry, raspberry) with notes of pepper. It had a great texture where it was smooth and easy to drink but had a little "bite" to it. I enjoy tannins, so this was a great addition. I didn't detect anything herbacious or earthy, which speaks to it being an Australian Shiraz as opposed to a Syrah from the Old World.
     
  • Thoughts: I really enjoyed this wine. It was a great bottle to open after being sick and will definitely be purchased again in our household! We had steak with some roasted vegetables and potatoes, and I thought it went wonderfully with that meal. It's fun to have something that can give depth and flavor without a huge price tag, so this was definitely a win! It's a screw top, which I am coming to love more and more for the convenience factor. I actually opened it, poured a glass, and let it sit for a few minutes by chance, and I think it really developed good flavor after opening up for a bit. However, if you don't like spicy wines, I would skip over this one.

    Wondering what the difference is between Syrah and Shiraz? There is none! It's the same grape variety that came from Europe and Australians simply call it Shiraz. If you'd like to learn more about New World Shiraz vs. Old World Syrah, check out this article by Wine Folly! 

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Tasting Notes: Tilia Malbec

The Facts

  • Producer: TILIA Wines
  • Region: Mendoza, Argentina
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Malbec
  • Where I purchased: Harris Teeter
  • Price: $11.99
  • Eyes: This wine was between a medium red color and a deep purple It was opaque... I tried to read my existing notes through the wine and couldn't! There were distinguished legs which indicates it's higher in alcohol. I didn't think to look at the alcohol percentage on the label to corroborate. 
     
  • Nose: This wine definitely had fruit aromas on the nose. I picked up on dark red fruits like plum and black fruit like blueberries. The wine also had a smoky smell to it... it wasn't overwhelming but there was definitely a tobacco and smoke aroma going on.
     
  • Mouth: The first thing I noticed was the smoky taste. I don't know if was on the forefront of my mind because of the nose, but that is definitely what I picked up on immediately. I think the smokiness is what added a spice to the wine. The black fruit also came through with flavors of black cherry and raisins. I realize that raisins aren't really black fruit, but I'm throwing it in there anyway. There was a bitterness to the wine that surprised me. I am not sure what caused it, but the finish was definitely not smooth and supple like the bottle described.
     
  • Thoughts: To put it frankly, this wine was not my favorite. The bitter finish threw me off and I am not really a fan of smoky things. If you do like smoky things then this may be the wine for you!  The one upside is that it's a screw-top... I travel quite a bit for work and sometimes I like to get an inexpensive bottle for the week. I often forget a wine opener, so I always look at the screw-top wines since it's really my only option. I have another Malbec in this price point that I prefer**, so this one will most likely not a be one I purchase again.

    **I will be opening this wine tomorrow as the start of a new "Friday Favorites" series, so be on the lookout!

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