(The Bottle In Front Of Me is a series of somewhat regular, brief tasting notes from the Rogue Estate’s resident wine guy, Ian.) HOY HOY HOY! I promised over a month ago to complete the comparison between a worthwhile west-coast Syrah, and the Aussie inspiration that I believe most Californians are chasing, and may someday perfect. G'Day mate. The Barossa Valley lays claim to the home of classic Australian Shiraz, but I also believe the non-corporate wineries there are functioning as great laboratories for the grape, perfecting the tannin and fruit balance, and considering aging potential. I enjoyed this inexpensive blend only slightly more than the entry level 100% Shiraz from the same maker.

St. Hallett 2008 Shiraz-Cabernet, a refined bomb.

  2008 St. Hallett Shiraz-Cabernet (About $13) Learn more about the winery: http://www.sthallett.com.au/ (Flash-heavy site) Learn more about the bottle in front of me: The winery seems to have moved on from this blend and currently offers no info. Cellartracker has 6 reviews: http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=791020           SEE: Deep, rich medium ruby throughout, with great clarity SWIRL: Thin even slow coating of the glass, with stubborn slow legs SMELL: Jammy black raspberry and overripe strawberry upfront, with a background of light tobacco and dry forest. SIP: Rich, bright sweet fruit resolving to a mild warm spiciness. A full body and a pleasing burst of acidity. SAVOR: A faint touch of chocolate covered cherry on a relatively short but pleasant finish Final impression: A brilliant wine for the price (QPR = Quality for Price Ratio). Characteristic of the Aussie "fruit bomb" but showing some real depth and complexity, even at the low end of St. Hallett's portfolio. Pair with: Simple, powerful, familiar favorites. Burgers, takeout lasagna, bratwurst.

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