Apr 09 2010

“great ideas are made in the head”…

Published by at 5:12 PM under Platinum & Gold Member Events

…said Dan Philips in response to the saying “great wines are made in the vineyard.” And that seems to sum up an evening with the man who pretty much brought Chris Ringland and Aussie wine to the US market with 40 cases of wine and maybe a dime of his life savings left in his pocket. A gamble? Perhaps, but isn’t anything worth while? With that investment Dan started the Grateful Palate and R Wines, which is one of, if not the, single largest importer of fine Aussie wine to the US. To prove this; as if it really needed any validation, he brought along eight stellar examples to taste out to Just Grapes Platinum and Gold members.

The theme for the night…Shirazathon!
The guests were greeted with a glass of Bitch Bubbly a sweet sparkler made from Shiraz. Then everyone made their way into the “barrel room”. On the flight were:

1) 2008 Strong Arms, Shiraz, South Australia $9.99

For the money this one was really quite nice and complex with a rich spicy nose, lush peppery attack with rich dark fruits and cherry cola notes on the palate with soft tannins and finished with nice acidity.

2) 2008 Marquis Philips, Shiraz, Mclaren Vale $14.99

This one was close to stealing the whole show last night with its meatier and earthier nose of subtle white pepper, cherry and tobacco leaf notes. Rich and almost sweet on the lead off but lively spice notes emerge mid-palate with supple and smooth tannins in support of a long finish the had bright acidity and light chocolate notes.

3) 2007 Boarding Pass, Shiraz, South Australia $18.99

This one is 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier with a nose of cedar spice box and dark cherries. Earthier on the palate with dark fruits mingling with richer mocha notes and soft tannins provided a nice structure. A long finish caped off this value quite nicely.

4) 2007 Luchador, Shiraz, Barossa Valley $18.49

Dark cherries, tobacco leaf and spiced chocolate aromas greeted the nose with warmth. Lush fruits and spice lead off the palate with dark cherry and black berry notes rising up mid-palate with dark chocolate notes heading into the long finish with subtle acidity and smooth tannins.

5) 2007 Chris Ringland “CR”, Shiraz, Barossa Valley $21.99

This one is personal favourite of mine. It’s ages 20 months in seasoned French and American hogsheads, which instead of over oaking provide this wine with a big spicy nose with hints of licorice, cedar and spice box cherry. The palate is treated to lush dark fruit flavours accented with hints of vanilla and oak all supported by strong yet smooth tannins and the finish was full of more spice box notes with lovely dark chocolate ribbons running throughout.

6) 2007 First Class, Shiraz, Mclaren Vale $31.99

As the name suggests this is the upgrade to the Boarding Pass and another favourite of mine. It was aged 18 months in French and American oak. Black berry, licorice, warm baking spice and ever so subtle hints of wet river rock minerality make up a very complex nose, which translates into an equally complex palate that seems to coat the entire mouth with silky chocolatiness, rich dark fruits, baking spice and velvety tannins but a lively note of acidity chimes in on the finish to keep this from getting too heavy.

And last but not least la pièce de résistance! And the cause of the most nerve-racking part of the night for me since I first started working at Just Grapes six months ago…pouring 30 people a fairly good tasting portion straight from the decanter, while the boss looked on!!!

7) 2005 Anamorphosis, Shiraz, Barossa Valley $249.99

RP awarded this 99 points! It comes in a mirrored bottle with a poster of a man’s POV looking down into a wine glass while standing in the woods. Place the mirrored bottle onto the glass in the center of the poster and watch as the portrait of Bacchus the god of wine appears in the reflection on the bottle! Very cool! And the wine was stellar as well. The nose was sweet tobacco leaf with dried fruit notes and whiffs of Chambord. The palate was rich and lush with all the dark fruit and spice notes one comes to expect from a good Shiraz with mingling notes of cedar and spiced chocolate leading off a long and supple finish!

Overall it was a great night and rare opportunity to meet someone who has made such a huge impact on the world of wine!

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