Taste panel discoveries: Australia
Not knowing what to expect when I arrived, I must comment that Vanessa, wine consultant and managing partner at Unwined, did a wonderful job setting up for and hosting this tasting. It was an enjoyable and pleasant experience sitting amongst other people in a focused round table discussion who valued the appearance, aroma, and taste of our favorite healthy beverage. Although we did not agree on all wines tasted, there were two that were overwhelming favorites amongst the tasters that I wish to tell you about. Not only are they reasonably priced, but they are nice wines as well.
The first, RIP Snorter 2004, an Australian Shiraz (60%) / Cabernet (40%) blend has worked its way into my weekly sip rotation. Everyone, including myself enjoyed this selection, and for under $10 there are no wrong turns made here. The RIP Snorter displays a deep ruby color, boasting exceptional fruit of ripe Shiraz grapes, with Cabernet Sauvignon providing a nice backing. Supple tannins, blackberry fruit, and nuances of sweet oak and vanilla drive this nice blend. The Shiraz was matured in American Oak barrels for 14 months and Cabernet aged in French Oak barrels for 12 months. Australia produces a great many of these well suited blends for very reasonable prices; this is just one out the pack that I recommend you try. It can be found at Unwined for $9.99.
Now for the sweet ending, the Lilly Pilly Noble Blend 2002; an attractive name or what? I served this at our Cabernet Franc tasting and everyone enjoyed her golden and lush fruit delights. The Lilly Pilly is a Sauternes styled Australian wine made from botrytis affected Semillon grapes and Sauvignon Blanc for a kick of acidity. This rich golden colored wine fills the mouth with lush flavors of honey, apricot and tropical fruit flavors, with hints of vanilla. This dessert wine pairs well with cheesecake, pastry type desserts, Crème Brûlée, or on its own as an after dinner sipper. This noble blend can also be found at Unwined for $15.99 (375 ml).
Stay tuned as I also sat in on a Spanish wine tasting panel, and have visits to Willowcroft Vineyards and Lost Creek to report.