Sunday, September 30, 2007

'04 Barrel Monkeys Shiraz (Redhead Studios, McLaren Vale), '05 Cycles "Gladiator" Pinot Noir

In Brief:

2005 Gladiator Pinot Noir ($13, Community)
Unremarkable, unoffending

2004 Barrel Monkeys Shiraz (Redhead Studios) ($19, Community)
Remarkable clarity and intensity of flavors, especially blackberries and smoke. My reference point so far for a delicious, complex, and individual Shiraz. (RP90)

Tasting Notes:

The 2005 Gladiator Pinot Noir was briefly chilled before tasting (~10 minutes at 4 C). Faint sweetness on the tip of the tongue yielded to an assortment of soft flavors, some too faint or brief for me to isolate. A smooth finish with a hint of dryness, it was a wine to linger over. The second time I tried it, it was too cold, and the flavour seemed washed out. In retrospect, it seems unremarkable and lacking clarity, especially compared to the Barrel Monkeys.

Later we tasted the 2004 Redhead Studios "Barrel Monkeys" Shiraz. It was briefly and faintly sweet on the tip of the tongue for a fraction of a second, then deep and powerful, the dark fruit registering boldly and lucidly, but again, almost too quickly to capture. Blackberries and smoke! There were multiple dimensions to the flavour: mouthfeel (viscosity, texture, astringency, alcoholic bite), flavour, associations (visceral associations with smoke and dark fruits), location on the tongue, and time (the time-sequence of flavours and sensations was surprisingly quick and difficult to dissect).

RP: 2004 Barrel Monkeys:
"As the hilarious label says, "Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Taste No Evil." A saturated ruby/purple color is accompanied by aromas and flavors of blackberries and licorice in this medium to full-bodied, classic Australian fruit bomb. Pure, ripe, and undeniably delicious, it should be enjoyed over the next 1-3 years. Score: 90. —Robert Parker, October 2006."

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