Thursday, December 2, 2010


My super-cool cousin, Lori, gave me a lovely bottle of wine during our last visit. (I knew she was my favorite cousin for a reason.) Lori, bless her heart, is not a wine drinker, and I haven't had time to convert her yet. I mean, yeah, I've known her since before I was born, but she lives far away and I don't get to see her often. Thus, Cousin Lori's wine-drinking status is a work in progress.

Meanwhile, I get to enjoy the (fermented) fruits of her shortcoming. At some point she had been given a 2004 bottle of Rosemount Estate Shiraz as a gift (from someone who doesn't know her well, obviously. OR . . . could it have been a fellow wine evangelist?) The bottle followed her on several moves and quite possibly had questionable storage circumstances on more than one occasion, but I have high hopes that the wine will still be enjoyable. And tonight--tonight!!--I will find out.

But wait, there's more. During my most recent hunting and gathering expedition to the Party Factory, I picked up a pair of bottles for a horizontal tasting (yeah, I had to look up the terminology to refresh my memory, so to keep you from having to do the same thing: that's a comparison of wines from the same vintage but different wineries) and the pair I picked up happened to be two 2008 Shirazes. (Shirazi? Shirazeses? Whatever.)

By a happy coincidence--or perhaps some sort of strange subconscious guidance?--guess what one of those two bottles was? None other than a 2008 Rosemount Estate Shiraz. I didn't even realize the serendipitous duplication until I got the two new bottles home where they belonged. So tonight I bring you not only a horizontal tasting, but a concurrent vertical tasting as well (different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery).

The other 2008 Shiraz is a [yellow tail], and as the odd man out, I will begin with the description of that one. The label claims mulberry, spice and smooth vanilla (sounds excellent), as well as an "approachable, fresh, flavorsome personality all of its own." Now THAT sounds like a wine I could be friends with.

The 2004 Rosemount is described as "intense, spicy fruit with a richly textured finish . . . [and] subtle oak." I guess by 2008 they gave up trying to describe their Shiraz, because that label doesn't give me any help. I guess I'm on my own there. But the bottle is kind of cool because it's square at the bottom. Unique. I just hope that's not the best part of the wine.

The 2004 bottle, by the way, isn't without its own pleasant little idiosyncrasies: a cute little red wax seal on top of the cork instead of foil, and a great big lip around the edge of the mouth that almost kept me from letting out that extra (and for me, apparently inevitable) drip.

First, a good look at each. Of course they're all a beautiful deep dark red, and nearly opaque. The 2004 Rosemount has a discouraging brownish tinge which I'm hoping is not a portent of doom. The 2008 Rosemount is a pure ruby red, and the [yellow tail] is just a tad purplish. I am not sure if Shiraz is commonly an amputee, but I'm not really seeing much in the way of legs on any of these three. The 2008 Rosemount is a definite Bob (you know, what you would call a legless man in the ocean). But since I have no idea what legs on wine might signify, I'm not too worried about that.

Now for the sniff test. Mmmm, the 2008 Rosemount smells good. Good and spicy. The 2004 Rosemount smells disappointingly bland. But, urg, it smells better than the [yellow tail]. (Do I really have to type those pretentious little brackets every time?) It doesn't have a strong aroma, but it smells a bit green. Already I'm predisposed to prefer the 2008 Rosemount.

And now--yippee, the best part!--to taste each one.

Ahhh, the 2008 Rosemount is lovely. Spicy, a little tangy, and a very smooth finish. I'm afraid this may be one of those that is all too easy to drink!

The 2004 Rosemount is not as bad as I expected, though it tastes every bit as bland as it smells. It really just tastes kind of watery, though I'm sure several years of less-than-ideal storage conditions are to blame.

The 2008 [yellow tail] is a pleasant surprise. I think I really do taste a bit of berries and vanilla. It doesn't have the zippy spice of the 2008 Rosemount, but it's definitely worth drinking--though I must admit I've not met many wines that aren't.

My vote is for the 2008 Rosemount Estate Shiraz. I'm still in search of the Best Wine Ever, but this was a nice little pit stop on the journey.