Clos du Bois Shiraz 2012

Thanksgiving was an all day affair in my house this year.  That was basically because work was so hectic – they kept me working until late the night before – that we did pretty much all the cooking on Thanksgiving Day.  The only dish done prior was our homemade cranberry sauce!

All tolled, the dinner was a big success.  Being in an adventurous frame of mind this year, we decided to try out several new recipes.  Every single one of those extremely tasty, successful recipes took longer than the instructions said they would!  Luckily it was just our family, so we didn’t have to worry about hungry guests waiting for the slow cooks to get their act together.  We at late, but we ate well.  Keeping the adventure going, we decided to throw our wine choice to the fates.  We had two red wines in the rack, so we tossed a coin.  It was heads!  And that’s how I ended up having a Clos du Bois Shiraz with my Thanksgiving meal.

Winemaker:  Clos du Bois
Varietal:  Shiraz
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:   North Coast, CA
Price:  $16.49

Notes:  The color of this Clos du Bois was a dark purple.  The bouquet held scents of berries and menthol.  It was a medium-bodied wine with good acidity and medium tannins.  Alcohol was at 13.5%.  Flavors I found were dark berries, plum, a distinctive leather note throughout, and menthol on the finish.  It was what I’d call a friendly and approachable wine with some fun complexity to boot.  I wouldn’t normally have paired a Shiraz with my turkey, but we were being a little daring.  This time, at least, it worked out just fine.

The other wine was a more traditional choice – a Pinot Noir.  Guess I can have that with the leftovers!

 

 

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A Naming Convention For My Wine

There are times when I find the “name game” in wine labeling just a bit frustrating.  That’s because there are a number of varietals that are known by numerous titles.  At times it just feels like folks are trying to make things hard to suss out.  I can appreciate that much of it may stem from long-held, local traditions, but it still feels a bit like secret code sometimes.  On the other hand, there are instances when a naming convention provides important information about what a person may reasonably expect from the wine they’re choosing.  Shiraz v. Syrah is just that.

Consulting the Wikipedia Page on the subject of the Syrah grape and Syrah wine we find “As a general rule, most Australian and South African wines are labelled Shiraz, and most European wines (from such regions where varietal labelling is practiced) are labelled Syrah. In other countries, practices vary and winemakers (or wine marketers) sometimes choose either Syrah or Shiraz to signify a stylistic difference in the wine they have made. “Syrah”-labelled wines are sometimes thought to be more similar to classic Northern Rhône reds; presumably more elegant, tannic, smoke-flavoured and restrained with respect to their fruit component. “Shiraz”-labelled wines, on the other hand, would then be more similar to archetypical Australian or other New World examples; presumably made from riper berries, more fruit-driven, higher in alcohol, less obviously tannic, peppery rather than smokey, usually more easily approached when young, and possibly slightly sweetish in impression.

Having seen but never tried a Little Penguin wine, the question remaining for me was, “Is the Little Penguin selection exemplary of this Shiraz v. Syrah delineation?”  Well …

Winemaker:  The Little Penguin
Varietal:  Shiraz
Vintage:  2012
Appellation:  South Eastern Australia
Price:  $6.99

Notes:  The color of this medium-bodied Shiraz was dark ruby.  On the nose I found pepper, spice, berries and damp earth.  It showed good acidity and a certain “coat-the-tongue” quotient that was reflected in very present legs on the glass.  Tannins were moderate, and alcohol was at 13.5%.  Flavors for me were straightforward and engaging, including plentiful oak, pepper, plum and tea leaf.  I’d call it a simple, casual wine that would be fine with some take-out pizza.

And, yes, I think the use of Shiraz on the label followed the convention nicely.