Tuesday, March 18, 2008

An Austrailian Shiraz

I've had several Australian Shiraz wines from the poplualr Yellow Tail to my favorite, Layer Cake. My favorite is a fruit-bomb that might be properly discribed as a "nuclear" fruit-bomb, it is SO big, fruit-forward and high alcohol. I wanted to try some more Australian Shiraz so I picked up a bottle from Aramis Vineyard.

Aramis Vineyard is in Southeast Australia. This particular region is called the McLaren Vale and is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The climate is described as Mediterranean, which means there are four distinct seasons with warm dry summers and mild autumns. Grapes tend to have more time to ripen than in the classic vineyards of Italy and France. As with most good wine growing areas, there is a source for cool breezes that cool down the vines at night to promote an even balance between sugars and acidity. That source is the surrounding ocean and 'Gully Winds' from the hills.

Wheat was originally the crop grown in the McLaren Vale, but in the 1850's grape vines were planted. Since that time the area has had various periods of success with wine, but the present wineries didn't really take hold until around 1965. Today there are about sixty-five wineries growing shiraz, cabernet and grenache.

The Aramis Vineyards Shiraz was less of a fruit-bomb than the Layer Cake I had already had. The Layer Cake is made from Shiraz grapes from a different Southeast Australian region, the Barossa. The Aramis Vineyards wine was a little more complex, though. It was fruit-forward, but it had more tannins and some spiciness to it. I drank a glass of the wine by itself the first night and with home-made pepperoni pizza the second. It didn't go as well with food as I remember the Layer Cake. Maybe a different dish, like a steak or other hearty meat dish would have been better. I liked the difference between the two and I'll have to explore some more Australian Shiraz. When I picked up the bottle of Aramis, someone recommended the Elderton Shiraz (another Barossa for $24.99) The Aramis was more affordable at $19.99 and I'd gladly pick it up again.

Tasting Notes:

2005 Aramis Black Label Shiraz

Color: Dark cranberry

Aroma: Cherry, bread

Taste: Spicy, almost jammy like a Zinfandel, nice tannins

Finish: Sour cherries and lingering tannins (pleasant!)

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