Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Aramis "the Governor" McLaren Vale/South Australia Syrah, 2003

I had this last night at a Taster's Guild wine dinner. It impressed me as another McLaren Vale Syrah with a strong mid-palate presence. (See my earlier report on Nine Stones McLaren Vale Shiraz).

It's very dark in color and appears huge and tannic with black fruits, coffee, leather and dark chocolate smells and flavors. The intense spiciness and the coffee/toffee overtones undoubtedly come from the oak barrels (50 percent French, 50 percent American oak, of which 30 percent are new). Tannins are substantial, but the very long and pleasing mid-palate presence is impressive and bodes well for the future. Joshua Raynolds, in his review in Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, writes "...the oak is plenty suave, but I'd love to see it ratcheted down a notch." I agree with that.

At least in part because of the lavish use of new oak barrels, this wine retails for more than $30/bottle. While I haven't tasted them side by side, at this point I would prefer to drink the Nine Stones McLaren Vale Shiraz...and not just because of its $13.99 price tag.

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