In preparation for Open That Bottle Night (live, only on Palate Press; Saturday, February 26 from 7 pm - 10 pm EST), contributor Erika Szymanski shares some thoughts on the bottle she plans to open for the event.
A rather fascinating red blend from South Africa. A wine that is fat but racy enough that it doesn’t have to go on a diet. A big nose of smoke, bacon fat, and blackberries. Follows through with vanilla and cumin notes and nice tannic structure on the intrigued taste buds. Like all good shows, ends with a big finish. If there ever was a wine to go with BBQ spareribs, this is it, to my (admittedly subjective) way of thinking.
For those who fear wine websites only review wines they like, a tit-for-tat deal to ensure the steady flow of free samples, read on. Stewed cherries, black raspberries, and artificial vanilla flavor create a mish-mash that cannot be recommended. The Palate Press Grand Tasting panel awarded this an overly-generous two out of five stars.
Opaque purple in the glass, with a nose of chocolate, smoked bacon, and nutmeg. (Chocolate and bacon is a great combination, in fact.) Opens up tantalizingly but with great promise on the palate, with long, expressive flavors of black currant and nuts, perhaps pistachios. The Shiraz and Cabernet are in fine balance, ending in a languorous finish. A really splendid wine. Try it with really good, true, smoky BBQ brisket (which may be as difficult to find, or more so, than the wine if you are outside of Texas.)
The nose is very jammy, but I wonder if there is some Pinotage in the mix. There is a hint of burnt rubber typical for South African Pinotage. The flavors on the palate are candied cherrry, loam, and burnt rubber. Palate feel is relatively smooth, but a lingering aftertaste of artificial cherry candy means this wine cannot be recommended.
Wonderful nose with coffee, cherries, oak. Cherries, chocolate, blackberries and tar on the palate. Long dry finish, with fruit, plum skins, and toasted coconut. Extraordinary. I would put this up against any $75 big name Australian Shiraz and have another bottle left to drink later. Maybe the key was 25% new oak, rather than the 100% new oak of the big blowsy fruit bombs floating over from the land down under these days.
Dark and inky. A concentrated nose with a bit of leather and plum. Smooth, but with a nice tannic structure lending a pleasant “abrasive” mouthfeel. Dark fruits, anise, minerals. An umami note on the end that leads to a very long, satisfying finish.