Ron's Shiraz Tasting: Jan. 31, 2002

A very enjoyable intimate tasting and birthday celebration was had by
Teresa, Dawnelle, Annabel, Scott, and Ron this evening in Berkeley.
Five Australian Shiraz wines were quaffed (love that word) with
CheeseBoard bread and cheese, and then a Masse's Pastries dark chocolate
chocolate mousse cake was decimated by all. "Just give me a small
piece," said Annabel, who then proceeded to "tax" Scott's plate and pick
pieces of chocolate off of the cake. One of the wines was described as
a "come-to-mama" wine, which I diligently wrote down, but now am too,
um, happy to recall which wine that was. Here are the notes, based
mostly on my notes and my recollection (however warped) of others'

1st Place (by a longshot):
Charles Cimicky Signature Shiraz Barossa 1998 ($26.99) - 4 1st place,
1 2nd place vote
Nose - good smoky, barnyard, oak (but not overpowering), deep, lurking
dark fruit
Mouth - bacon, earthy, full-bodied, balanced, nice balance of
fruit/acid/tannins, great length, tannins need a year or two
(I'm finishing the last of this as I write and now that it's been open a
couple of hours I'm absolutely loving this wine)

2nd Place (2nd, 3rd, 4th were nearly a tie) - best performance/price ratio:
Penley's Estate Coonawara Shiraz 1998 ($13.99)
Nose - bright fruit, cherry, earthy
Mouth - balanced, fruity, touch of spice (cinnamon?), good dose of acid
(in a good way - food wine), good length

3rd Place:
Yalumba Signature Cab/Shiraz Blend 1996 ($31.99)
Nose - vineous, bright-to-medium fruit (raspberry?), oak, herbs or
eucalyptus, some cab? (most agreed that this was likely the cab blend -
and were correct)
Mouth - more dry than others, cab?, meaty, good structure, less fruit on
palate, good steak-au-poivre wine, nice balance, fine tannins, a touch
sour (lactic?) on finish
(definitely stood out as the cab blend, and the oldest wine - those that
like it dry and vineous (for lack of a better word) liked, but those
that wanted more up-front fruit didn't like as much)

4th Place:
Rosemount Estate Show Reserve Shiraz 1998 ($18.99)
Nose - good but non-descript, a little fruit, a little earth, alcohol
Mouth - same as nose, overall good wine but boring, a little of
everything (fruit/oak/acid/tannins) but nothing stands out and makes you
want more, needs time?

5th Place (good for the price, most liked and once the price was
revealed thought it was a bargain, but one person just thought it was
too harsh):
Paringa Shiraz 2000 ($7.99)
Nose - plummy, leather, zin-like
Mouth - medium fruit, some artificial fruit character, leather, tannic,
tannins too harsh or just young and needs time?