Hill of Content Shiraz 2004
Australian Shiraz has become overly popular — to a fault. Once a secret among wine geeks “in the know” as an affordable alternative to high-priced Syrah-based wines from the Rhone, Aussie Shiraz has become wildly popular among all imbibers, to the point where pedestrian wine drinkers are surprised to find out that French wineries are “now” making “Shiraz” as well — but spelling it differently.
With the influx of Shiraz on shelves across the United States — and overflowing the bargain bins — trying to find high-quality bottles is akin to searching a needle in a haystack. Sure, it’s fairly easy to find a nine-dollar Shiraz filled with upfront jammy fruit, but what about something with complexity, or a wine to contemplate? Perhaps a Shiraz with a finish that lasts longer than the time it takes to bat an eyelash?
They’re out there, but it’s hard to know them without tasting them first — kind of a catch-22. One way is to find them is to follow the old “you get what you pay for”, as it’s unlikely you’ll find a mindblowing wine for, say, eleven bucks. But when you start pulling out the bills with Andrew Jackson’s face to pay for a bottle, you’d like to be satisfied with the purchase. Aside from relying on friends’ recommendations, I have a secret: look for a strip around the neck of the bottle, or above the label, that says “Australian Premium Wine Collection“. Chances are good that if you see their seal stuck to the bottle, you will at least get what you pay for when it comes to Australian wine. Such was the case in my plucking this Hill of Content Shiraz off the shelf.
The Tasting Notes
A big jammy wine â€“ so big it seems to be jumping out of the glass. The aromas are open, with ripe fruit of blackberry, black raspberry, menthol, alcohol, with hints of earth and spice. Take a taste and you are rewarded with a mouthful of rich, ripe blackberry, black raspberry, and mild touches of earth, vanilla spice, tar, dark chocolate, and tobacco. Ripe, medium-high tannins and medium acidity balance things out nicely, and become apparent in the finish which is fairly long and pleasant. Though there seemed to be a good dose of alcohol on the nose, it blew off after a few minutes in the glass and wasnâ€™t overbearing in the mouth. Itâ€™s a touch hot at the very end of the finish, but nothing out of the ordinary for a wine packing so much punch. Drink this with a hamburger, sirloin steak, runny cheese, or well-grilled veggies. If youâ€™re really into big, jammy reds, you will also enjoy drinking this by itself.
a-8 t-9 b-8 fc-7 v-8 ~ 90 Points
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