Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sandalyn Estate 1997 Shiraz

Sandalyn Estate 1997 Shiraz
Most people who know me would tend to agree that I'm a bit of a wine snob. I appreciate a GOOD bottle of wine. A year ago I couldn't tell a Cab from a Zin or a Syrah from a Pinot. And to tell you a little secret; I often look back on those days with a wee bit of nostalgia, as drinking wine back then was ignorant bliss. I liked all wine back then. It was either sip worthy or gulp worthy.

After spending a year travelling to wine regions all across the New World, I now have to pay attention to the colour, clarity, opacity, aroma, palate presentation (acidity, tannins, residual sugar), the cellar process (tannins, steel tank vs oaked), the varietal, general taste, and finish. Whew! By the time I'm done all that I feel like I've just written an exam. I do have to admit that being able to distinguish a varietal by taste and being able to identify the appellation makes me all warm and proud, and that's not the wine talking.

This post will be my first in a series of wine reviews. Now our food budget does include wine and beer so most bottles I will be reviewing will be under $10.00 US. I do not judge wine based on price. I've had incredibly good wine for $2.99 and incredibly bad wine for $40.00. The following bottle is an exception.

My boyfriend picked up half a case of this Shiraz on one of his first visits to Australia's Hunter Valley. This bottle remained in his cellar until he moved this past year. We made note of the age and decided to save it for a special occasion but for an occasion that was sooner rather than later.

Before opening the bottle we did some research and discovered that optimal cellaring was between 3-5 years...whoops!  Well this wine was either going to be really good or really bad and thankfully it was the former. This Shiraz withstood the years and travel with a grace and character rarely found.

Sandalyn Estate 1997 Shiraz 
Tasting notes:
The bouquet had a hint of mellow oak, rich cassis flavors, and a smooth red berry finish.
The pallet was fruit forward with velvety oak overtones without loosing the peppery spice finish that Australian Shiraz's are know and loved for.

This was by far the smoothest classiest Shiraz I have ever tasted! The wine had lost practically all its acidity and was almost akin to an aged California Cab-Sauv. If it wasn't for the ground pepper spice finish, I would not have guessed this wine to be a Shiraz.

Score: 99.0% 
*nice to start on a high note