Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Something (Relatively) Old, Something New
Twelve Staves McLaren Vale Shiraz 2002 $29.99USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Initially quite closed. Inky, caromel, earthy notes opening to stewed blackberries. Full bodied, very chewy with persistent tannins. Well balanced with an extra long finish. 2, 2, 3.6, 10.2 = 17.8. 15% alcohol. Tasted November 10.

The inky, earth notes of the Twelve Staves put me in mind of (poorly) aged Penfolds St Henri shiraz and seeing as how I have so much of the stuff sitting in the cellar with the corks crumbling I decided to pull out a bottle to compare. What did I do to the wine Gods? This time the cork comes out in one piece!!

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1992 $21.99USD
Light cherry red with faint orange edge. Initially faint caromel and kerosene! Developed into minty, resinous, licorice notes. Medium weight but not carrying completely across the palate. Otherwise structurally sound with a solid backbone of tannins and good acidity. Persistent finish. 2, 2, 3.4, 9.5 = 16.9. 13.5% alcohol. Tasted November 10.

Comparisons, comparisons!!
In color the St Henri is not a lighter red hue its a lighter brown hue compared to the Twelve Staves. Up against the St Henri the Twelve Staves is all chocolate and on the palate much richer and more seductive. The inky, earthy notes are still there but now the differences between the two wines are more evident. In contrast the St Henri is clearly lacking the fruit forward character of the Twelve Staves but the palate is full and holding its own. Certainly not as rich, and perhaps a little sour acidity does show through, but not as badly behaved for a 12 year old as I had expected.

The take home message? Whenever you get the chance, compare wines.

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