Yellow Tail reserve shiraz review

4 01 2012

Today we examine a 2010 Australian shiraz that sells for $10. 

I’ve heard this reserve is good, so I was excited to try it.   It has a nice “berry” aroma, and in the mouth it feels dense, with a texture that is almost thick, or viscous.  It is pretty darn sweet, with blueberry, huckleberry, maybe a little blackberry.  Some mild spice in the background.  The label says “cherry” as well, which I didn’t get. 

You may like it, but the problem for me is, Yellow Tail reserve shiraz is boring.  Generic.  It tastes “fine,” but I wouldn’t buy it again.   Especially with Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz in this price territory, and Koonunga Hill even cheaper.

Not bad, but not recommended.

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Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz review: WHAT WHAT!!

2 01 2012

Today it’s a 2008 Australian shiraz that goes for $9.99.

Question!   How is this intense, spicy wonder only 10 bucks?!  It used to be $11 or more.  In my last review of Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz, I said the 2006 was a good buy, but not the best year for this stout red wine.   

But today’s 2008 reserve, which also carries the name Barossa, and still comes with a real cork and everything, is a huge taste winner.  It’s more delicious, AND cheaper, AND more complex.  

That combination threatens to topple the current all-time Wineguider red wine value winner, Koonunga Hill shiraz/cabernet from Penfolds (reviewed here).  I will edit this (see below) to let you know.  For now, get ready for a subtle aroma of spice, impressive “Napa cab”-like tannins, and a big, warm taste of cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and a little rhubarb.  Plus subtle blackberry, and no sweet blueberry pie in the face, as is so common with shiraz from down under.   

Jacob's Creek reserve shirazA Best Value winner at $10, and highly recommended anywhere up to $15.

EDIT:   After several bottles, I have decided not to dethrone Koonunga Hill shiraz/cabernet, for one reason:  I have found the 2008 Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz to be inconsistent.  Some bottles have been wonderful; others have been pretty bad.   I don’t know if this is the fault of the winery, the importer, the store, or what.  But at this low price, it’s still very much worth checking out.





Layer Cake shiraz review

1 01 2012

Today we check out a  2010 Australian shiraz that is $13 at Total Wine, $12-$15 most other places.

Have you ever shopped for speakers?  Some of them have a “wow” or “hell yeah!” factor that grabs you in the store.  But later, you realize the “wow” is just hyped-up treble or bass, and they become unacceptable over time.

That’s similar to Layer Cake shiraz for me.  The first sniff is a wow — blueberry shortcake — and the first taste is another — like red wine combined with one of those jelly bar desserts from middle school.  But after a few sips, there comes a realization:  uh-oh, this wine is just too sweet. 

Compared with the cheaper and fairly delicious Jacob’s Creek 2008 reserve shiraz (only $10), Layer Cake loses.  Restaurants may want to consider Layer Cake, because with this name, everybody is going to want to try it.  But for us home gamers, this shiraz is:

Not recommended.

P.S.  For a very different view, and a potential primer on everything that is wrong with wine reviews in America, try this, which states that Layer Cake tastes like “melted” licorice, “crushed” black currants, and also has “intense dry extract” (WTF?). Then there’s the color:  “Layer Cake Shiraz is a tremendously dense blackish-red color with a deep opaque purplish core going out into a fine violet-fuchsia rim definition with super high painted viscosity.”





Shotfire shiraz review: DEBT LIMIT TONIC

28 07 2011

Hi!!  Tonight, as the United States dissolves into default on its obligations, we review an Australian shiraz from 2008 that costs $20 at Total Wine.

Well, well, well.  Here’s a delicious shiraz.  Importantly, for tonight’s governmental festivities, it has a stout 15% alcohol.  It’s spicy.  Dense.  Big.  Loaded with dry tobacco and juicy blueberries.  And yes!  Some chocolate.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM.  I’m drinking Shotfire together with another little Aussie shiraz from 2009 that I like to call, “Rosemount” (reviewed here).  It’s really good.  Although sorely lacking in House/Senate anesthetic potency — it has a meager 13.5% alcohol — it is in fact beautifully dense, warm, juicy, and spicy.  And it costs a big, fat, $6.50 at Total Wine.  Ha!  Less than 1/3rd the cost of Shotfire. 

Although Shotfire is clearly better, with more complexity, more transparency to its flavor, and more dry “snap” in your mouth to accompany its juicy warmth, it’s not 3 times better than Rosemount.  I’m not even sure it’s 2 times better.  So, it’s just too expensive.   Shotfire, at $20, although very nice to drink, is unfortunately:

Not recommended.





Rosemount shiraz review – ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

18 11 2010

Rosemount shiraz reviewTonight your fussy, picky Wineguider reviews a 2008 Australian shiraz that’s only $8 at my local store, and just $6.50 at Total Wine.

What is this, some kind of a joke?

How much, for this jammy plastic explosive?  $6.50??  This big, dark, chewy, fruit and tannin-filled shiraz costs what?

OK if you’re reading this, you probably know what cheap red wine tastes like.  Think about the last time you trusted a good-looking flight attendant who offered you a merlot, and suffered the consequences.  Or the last time you ordered “red wine” at a hotel bar.  Rough.  Bitter.  Weak.  Totally anonymous. Fraudulent. And you paid nine U.S. dollars for one glass of it, didn’t you.

But wait — I can offer you a whole bottle of feel-good, for $6.50 — less than a carwash.  I’m not saying it has huge individual personality.  And it’s not perfect, or layered, or complex.  But it’s SO drinkable, and it’s so cheap, that you can grant yourself forgiveness with it.  Forgiveness for all of those bad drinking decisions at “hip” after-work nightspots (for example).   Just order your favorite Chinese food, and get some Rosemount shiraz.  And get ready for a good time.

Go ahead.  You deserve redemption.  Rosemount is there for you.

At $6.50, or $8, highly recommended.  And, a “Best Value.”  Enjoy!





Greg Norman shiraz review – TOUCHY!

10 08 2010

Today we review an australian red from 2006 with the name of a famous golfer, which can be had for $14 but more often sells for $15-16.

Bottom line: a winner.  This dry shiraz does many things right for a $15 wine.

I am usually sort of bored, or even disappointed, with Greg Norman wines.  But this 2006 shiraz was really cool.  Introduced to me by the very friendly Jessica at Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Delaware, it was subtle, very dry, a little bit earthy and moderately spicy with some kickass tannins.  Although it’s not a giant fruit bomb like many other shiraz wines from Australia, it does have some dark fruit for you: the label says “dark plumb and black cherry” — sure, I’ll go with that. 

But fruit is not the main event here.  In fact, this wine from the famous golfer (yes, the blond guy — it’s really his winery) is almost like you combined a medium-bodied Australian shiraz with a dry and delicious Italian red.  It’s more about great texture than it is about flavor.  And I have to mention the label — it says that these grapes are grown on “shallow red soils overlying hard limestone.”  Wow, now there’s something you don’t hear every day.

Finally, one word of advice: serve this one slightly chilled.  As in, stick it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before you enjoy.

Greg Norman shiraz reviewRecommended!





GreenPoint shiraz review

3 08 2010

Today we review a shiraz from Victoria Australia that can be had for $17 a bottle (although Total Wine charges $22).  But holy cow, you can get it for $11.79 at wine.com.   What’s up with this one??

I don’t know, but I really like it.  As the label brags, it really does have character.  Often, a shiraz from Australia is dark, rich, purple, and even a little bit chewy.  But GreenPoint is medium-bodied, ruby red, lighter than you expect, a little sweet for a shiraz, and elegant.  It’s a little bit spicy, and has a little bit of smoke, making it a perfect for very spicy food, or just sipping.   Juicy, warm, spicy, and completely yummy — there’s a lot going on in this glass for $11.79.

A lot going on for your tastebuds, that is.  If you just smell it, you get a face full of alcohol, even after the bottle has been open for a while.  But who cares.  If you love shiraz and the dog-hot summer has been keeping you away from this grape, I suggest you try the 2006 GreenPoint.  If you can find it.    GreenPoint shiraz review

Recommended.