Australian Red Blends
John Duval Wines Plexus 2003 (Shiraz 46%, Grenache 32%, Mourvédre 22%) $32.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Rich, opulent jammy notes of raspberry and strawberry dominate smoky, charred oak aromas. Mouth filling with racy acidity and silky soft tannins. French oak is over done leaving a dominant charred character on the palate ending in harshness on the persistent finish. May come together with time but not pleasing at present. 2, 2, 4.3, 9.4 = 17.7/20, 88/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted January 30, 2006.
Tait Ball Buster Barossa Valley 2004 (Shiraz 74%, Cabernet Sauvignon 14%, Merlot 12%) $15.99USD (Screwcap)
Dense cherry red with red edge. Subdued, almost closed. Hint of concentrated burnt blackberry, menthol and pepper. Full bodied, very good mouthfeel with astringency on the end palate. Has more complexity on the palate which adds length to the finish. Mared by the tannins that impart bitterness to the finish.At 24 hours more toasted/burnt notes over ripe fruits. Soft and supple entry but bitter astringency to the finish. 2, 2, 3.2, 9.5 = 16.7/20, 84/100. 15.5% alcohol. Tasted November 11, 2005.
Marquis Philips Roogle Red 2003 (60% Shiraz, 405 Cabernet Sauvignon) $14.99USD (Screwcap)
Dense cherry red with red edge. Nice mint, cedar and dusty earth notes. Full bodied with bright acidity tending to sourness against a core of drying tannins. Flavors carry well onto the palate. 2, 2, 4.1, 9.8 = 17.9/20, 89/100. 14.8% alcohol. Tasted August 28, 2005.
Kalleske Clarry’s Barossa Red 2004 (80% Grenache, 20% Shiraz) $29.99USD
Cherry red with pink edge. Very open with spices, cherries, walnut and a hint of jasmime. Soft and supple entry onto the palate. Mouthfilling with clean refreshing acidity and soft tannins. 2, 2, 4.1, 9.9 = 18.0/20, 90/100. 14.5% alcohol. Tasted May 12, 2005.
Rolf Binder Halliwell (Barossa) 2002 (70% Shiraz, 30% Grenache) $14.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Confected notes of Grenache over plums and blackberry. Developed menthol and licorice with time. Full bodied with soft tannins. Seemingly elegant until marred by a little metallic hardness to the finish. At 24 hours rich, ripe and port-like with smoky oak and bitterness to the finish. 2, 2, 3.9, 9.5 = 17.4/20, 87/100. 14.5 5 alcohol. Tasted August , 18, 2005.
Penfold’s Bin 389 2002 $18.99USD
Thought I would retaste the 2002 Bin 389. Dense cherry red with red edge. There is no doubt that the aromatics on this wine are seductive. Ripe fruit mixed with sweet oak notes and the Cabernet coming off in a nice mint character. Medium to full bodied. Initially the palate has pronounced astringency backed up by clean acidity at the finish. Excellent retronasal. But there is not a lot of depth to the wine. At 24 hours aromatics still excellent but there is an annoying lack of integration midpalate. Its not a doughnut, its more structurally intact than that, its just not a seamless caress from start to finish.
Conclusion: Its certainly a great wine to smell, but there really is not a lot of depth across the palate. For $19USD its reasonable value. For $35AUD I'd have my doubts. Still its one of the best blends I've tried from 2002. 2, 2, 4.2, 9.7 = 17.9/20 (89), 14,5% alcohol. Tasted April 7-8, 2005.
Penfold’s Bin 389 2002 $18.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. The aromatics on this wine are excellent. Initially its very open with sweet ripe fruit and vanilla oak (perhaps a hint of ethyl acetate, VA?). It then closes down. In the mouth its full bodied, but lacks intensity across the midpalate. The finish is firmly tannic. Over the next few hours the wintergreen mint and cedar of the Cabernet comes up as does the acidity. At 24 hours its fuller and more complete across the palate. 2, 2, 4.4, 9.8 = 18.2/20, 14.5% alcohol. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Shiraz. Tasted February 21-22, 2005.
Penfold's Bin 389 2001 $18.99USD
Dense cherry red with red edge. Initially a promising earthy, gamey nose underscored by a less than medium weight mouthfeel. Mouth drying tannins with refreshing acidity at the finish. Good retronasal. Needed time but opened nicely with plum, pepper and dark berry fruits overlaying a pleasant toasted character. Vigorous agitation revealed sweet vanilla oak. This is a wine that definitely needs some air to soften it. This adds some weight to the mouthfeel and creates a better balance between the structural components. 2, 2, 3.8, 9.8 = 17.6/20, 14.3% alcohol. 60% Cabernet sauvignon, 40% Shiraz. Tasted December 1-2, 2004.