Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gumdale Shiraz & Shiraz Reserve

Price: $6.99 / $10.99
Region: Australia
Year: 2009 / 2008

I just got back from a wonderful vacation in Jamaica, and trying to catch up on some reviews from before my trip. I had the idea to do a double-review right before I left as I had tasted two versions of the Gumdale Shiraz within a couple of days of each other. My wife had bought a couple of bottles of wine for me the week before last. We had a couple of friends over one Friday night, and when Saturday came around, I needed another bottle for dinner. Since I had just had the regular Gumdale Shiraz, it was interesting when someone pointed out this bottle of Gumdale Reserve, so I decided to give it a try. As I was paging through my wine notebook, I decided to write the notes down for the Reserve next to the regular Shiraz and do a comparison review. So, here goes...

Even though I started this blog to review bottles under $15, I rarely buy wines that are much less that $10. Something about a $7 bottle of wine just makes me hesitate. When people come up to me and say you have to try this wine or that wine, and it is between $5 - $7, I usually pass. This has been the case with Gumdale Shiraz on more than one occasion. I have seen many good reviews, and the employees at my favorite wine store have recommended it many times. Since this one my wife actually bought for me, I guessed it was about time I gave it a try. This wine had very good clarity, but a bit on the light/clear side for a Shiraz. Along those same lines, the aroma was ab it faint. I could definitely pick up hints of earthiness, but they were definitely int he background. When I took a sip, the one word that came to mind was consistent. The taste went right along with the color and smell. Really not bad at all, but just not as bold as I like my Australian Shiraz.

Rating: 2.75 corks (Not bad for $7)

As I found myself in the Shiraz aisle once again (just what I've been in the mood for lately), I just couldn't make up my mind. I was asked if I need some help, and I gave my usual "just looking" response, as that is really half the fun for me. As he started to walk away, he pointed to this bottle of Gumdale Reserve, and said "that is a great value". So, as I mentioned above, I said "why not"? The color of this wine was much darker then the regular offering, which maybe wasn't much of a surprise. The aroma on the other hand, still lacked that stand up and take notice kind of smell. Again, not bad, just not very strong in my opinion. As is usually the case, it was all going to boil down to the taste. The extra flavor in the wine was apparent from the get go. It was just a bit smoother, with wonderful length and very good structure. As the wine still was very well priced, I would say it is definitely worth the four extra dollars for my money.

Rating: 3.25 corks (Worth the extra $$)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Penfolds - Thomas Hyland Shiraz

Price: $12.99
Region: Australia
Year: 2008

Wow, post number 100!! Not sure it has quite been 100 reviews, but am very close. I do however, need to get on a better wine review schedule. I am just leaving out too many good wines (and I guess some not so good ones as well). I already had a bottle wine for Saturday night dinner that my wife had picked out for me, but decided to save that for another time. The reason was, I was really in the mood for a bottle of Shiraz. So, as I went to pick up a buffalo chicken wrap for dinner, I stopped next door to grab a bottle of wine. As I mentioned, I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to grab a bottle of Shiraz, however, as I was walking towards that section, I almost stopped and grabbed a bottle of Yellowtail Malbec, but thought better of it and kept walking (maybe another time). As I browsed the Shiraz section, I spotted this bottle of Penfolds. It had been a while since I have had a bottle, and I always seemed to enjoy their wine from what I could remember, so I thought it was a good opportunity to become reacquainted.

As I sat down with my dinner, I poured myself a glass. For those that have followed along with most of my reviews, you'll know I I love the color of a good Shiraz, and this was no different. A very nice dark red wine filled my glass. I was also quite impressed with the aroma. As I gave it a few swirls, a very pleasant smell came out of the glass. There was a hint of spice that just made me anticipate the flavor that much more. As I went to take a sip, it hit me right away with a wonderful fruit forward taste. This wine was a bit young, but I'm pretty sure that is by design. It had a nice balance of fruit, reminiscent of blackberry, and a touch of earthy undertone. It was consistently smooth from beginning to end, and really hit the spot. A really great value for $13, and I'm glad I went back to visit the Penfolds brand.

Rating: 3.75 corks (Excellent Value)