Random thoughts on the world of wine, presented in no particular order.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quite a bummer.

One of the less-expensive "cult wines" in my area is a Shiraz called Layer Cake.  It's made by Jayson Woodbridge, of Hundred Acre fame; the Layer Cake line is, as Mr. Woodbridge would say, a chance to bring global fine wine to the American consumer at a low cost.

My take on the wine?  It's repackaged bulk wine, harvested uber-ripe, with high residual sugar levels, and high alcohol.

In fact, the wine's factsheet (PDF) supports that idea: "For our Shiraz, we pull from vineyards all over McLaren Vale; from the full-clustered, sandy soiled blocks on the sea coast of Gulf St. Vincent, to the Terra Rosa based, tiny-berried wind-blown hills across the Vale.  The vineyards are all within a few miles of each other, yet give us a broad array of flavors to blend into a complete wine.  Each year we pull a small amount of fruit from tiny vineyards in Padthaway and Wrattanbully for added layers; combined they represent less than 10% of the blend."

Traslating: "We got grapes and/or juice from a ton of places, and threw it together."

Their tasting note?  "Dark, dense and creamy, complex aromas of black plum, Bing cherry, blackberry and pepper merge with licorice, tobacco, mocha and dark chocolate.  This is one inky Shiraz; an explosion of dark, super ripe, wild blackberry, with a touch of cigar box finishing with a mélange of exotic spices. A pure fruit bomb…complete from attack through a long, lingering finish."

My tasting note?

Inky black/red. Fairly strong nose of raspberry and some herb. In the mouth, the wine has some slightly velvety notes, and is reasonably weighty. However, it is quite hot (14.9% abv) and the alcohol throws it out of balance. Flavor profile is mainly towards the raspberry-and-slightly-spicy side, with some mint on the finish. Balance is, as noted before, off -- it's flabby. Finish is average-length.

If you like slightly sweet, flabby wine, this is great. For me, not so much.  83 points.

There just wasn't a lot to the wine.  Here's the fruit, lots of heat, some spice, and done.  Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.  No backbone, no subtlety.  I had been hoping for something with some structure, and wound up with alcoholic grape juice.  Sigh.  And I'm forced to wonder, why is it that people lust after this wine so much around here?

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