Wine Blogging Wednesday #55: North vs. South

By Kori ~ March 18th, 2009.

Wine Blogging Wednesday #55 tastingOur host for the March edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, the blogosphere’s monthly virtual wine tasting event, is Remy Charest of The Wine Case. Remy selected North vs. South as this month’s theme in which he asked us to taste and compare similar wines from different regions, one North and one South. He left the theme wide open to interpretation; North and South could be two regions within the same state, within the same country, or on opposite sides of the world from each other.

Regular Wine Peeps readers will not be surprised to see that we chose to blind taste four Syrah/Shiraz wines. We took the “similar wines” requirement one step further and selected wines with similar price points, $11-$22. And keeping in line with the North vs. South theme, we decided to focus on the Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere. Our tasting included wines from the United States (both California and Washington State), Australia, and South Africa.

As you’ll see from the tasting notes and ratings below, this tasting was awesome! Three of the four wines received 4-star ratings with the fourth right on their heels with 3.5 stars. And most importantly in these tough economic times, all four wines have a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck.

Four Syrah/Shiraz wines: Lincourt (CA), Peter Lehmann (Australia), Syncline (WA), Fairview (South Africa)While each wine has its own unique characteristics, I thought that there were definite similarities between the Lincourt from California, the Peter Lehmann from Australia, and the Syncline from Washington. The Fairview from South Africa was the outlier. It was not as fruit-forward as the others and reminded me more of an Old World Syrah. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very good wine but the flavor profile of the other three is just a bit more to our liking.

Bottom line, you can’t go wrong with any of these. If you enjoy Syrah/Shiraz and are looking for excellent wines that are easy on your pocketbook, you’d be well-served to pick up a bottle of any one of these wines.

2005 Lincourt Syrah (Santa Barbara County, California): Deep red. Very aromatic. Mint and coffee come through on the nose. Black fruits and chocolate show up on the palate. Full-bodied with high tannins. Smooth, well-balanced, and extremely flavorful with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Winery, $20; Available elsewhere, $17 to $25

2005 Peter Lehmann Shiraz (Barossa Valley, Australia): Dark red with slight browning around the edges. Floral, squash, and cedar box aromas lead to flavors of blackberry and black cherry. Medium to full-bodied with medium, dry tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: (Seattle), $13 [2006 is currently available vintage]; Available elsewhere, $13 to $23

2006 Syncline Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Very aromatic and flavorful. Aromas of black pepper and black fruits. Chocolate flavors come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium, dry tannins. Smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle), $22; Oregon Wine Merchants (Oregon), $21.95

2005 Fairview Shiraz (Paarl, South Africa): Different aroma and flavor profile than the others. Not much fruit. Aromas and flavors of black licorice and bacon bits dominate. Full-bodied with high tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Wine Exchange (California), $11; Shoppers Wines (New Jersey), $12.49

Filed under: American Wine, Australian Wine, California Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, South African Wine, Washington State Wine, Wine Blogging Wednesday, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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