Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bad Impersonator vs Flinders Run Shiraz - Reveals Hint in Wine Reviews

Bad Impersonator Reveals Hint in Wine Reviews - Pair of Aussie Shiraz' for hearty Angeli's Italian Dinner

With son Alec home from NYC/Hoboken for the weekend and holiday, and Aunt Dr Pat visiting for the weekend, our Italian fest this week continues with another dinner at Angeli's, our local neighborhood Italian eatery. Tonight, we shed the Italian wine for a pair of big bold fruit filled Aussie Shiraz' from Flinders Run and Two Hands 'Bad Impersonator' Single Vineyard Shiraz. Perhaps this comparison is a lesson in the subtleties of reading wine reviews. (See my earlier Winesite page on Wine reviewers and reviewers).

Two Hands Bad Impersonator Shiraz 2005

From a perennial top rated Shiraz producer, Two Hands, comes this single vineyard select label with the whimsical name 'Bad Impersonator' and faux Groucho label artwork. The winemaker writes - The charm of this label is the fact that it is not typical of Barossa Shiraz at all, it is the most finicky but perhaps one of the most interesting wines that Two Hands makes. The fruit comes from a single vineyard of mature vines on deep red sand at the top of Kalimna Road near Angaston in the Barossa Valley.

Winemaker notes - 
"Deep purple black in color to the core. Lifted notes of charcoal and dark cherry emerge from the glass, followed by some excellent spice and dark plum, complex and interesting. The palate starts out focused with great definition and weight. Pronounced flavors of warm chocolate cake, licorice and blackcurrant explode over the palate. The highlight of this wine is once again the very seamless tannins. This wine has great balance and will reward with extended cellaring."

This label received wide acclaim and high ratings including 94 Points from the and 90 Points from and theThat Wine Advocate rating should have been a clue to this wine since they often 'over rate' these wines, giving them higher ratings than even I would afford them. Over time, tasting, reviewing and rating a large number of wines, I have found consistency in my reviews. In light of the consistency of the professional wine reviewers, there are natural correlations between my reviews and there's. Here is one of those rare cases where we diverge. Simply put, despite the acclaim and top reviews of this wine, we didn't like it. 
Reviewers' indications that this wine may be 'off' from our preferred tasting profile is references to "bouquet of cedar, spice box, pepper, clove, and blueberry", and in the earlier winemaker's review, 'charcoal'. Note five different references before mention of fruit - the very trait we love about these (South Central Australia Barossa Shiraz/Syrah) wines. 
Another reviewer says, "Dark ruby. Smoky, graphite-accented blackberry.....". There it is again, the fruit subordinated to smoke and graphite! 

We found this wine predominantly graphite and metallic elements overshadowing the fruit so much that we capped and it and set it aside. Perhaps not a fair fight against the huge forward unctuous fruit of the Flinders Run below. We'll reopen it today and see if its Bad Impersonation of an Aussie Shiraz continues.
RM 85 points. 

Flinders Run Southern Flinders Ranges Shiraz 2006

We love this wine and consider it a benchmark representation of Southern Australian Shiraz at its very best, and at a pricepoint between $25-30 it offers a relative great QPR (Quality to Price ratio). I wish I could find more of it. Not sure what happened to Flinders Run. It appeared on the market selectively and we haven't see it since.

Overall hit of this comparison tasting of varied big reds. Consistent with earlier notes, the 2006 Flinders is dark inky purple, full bodied, powerfully scented bouquet of dark berries, smoky minerals and fresh flowers bursting with flavors of thick chewy black raspberry, blueberry and cassis with layers of nut, vanilla and hints of mocha flavors on a tongue coating lingering finish. As much as we like this wine, the 2005 may be even better.

RM 93 points.