Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Semi-Final #1 - Shiraz vs. Malbec


This little World Cup of Wine of our's is getting down to the final matches. I don't doubt that picking winners among our final four countries is going to be pretty subjective. The fact that I even have the wines in our cellar is likely going to be indicative that we already like the wines. So, picking a favourite for the night and saying that it wins national honour and winemaking supremacy might be a tad over the top - particularly when it's not like the local consulates are sending along their country's top wines for the taste off.

Then again, who cares? Wine drinking is meant to be fun - at least around our table - and the Wine Cup has been nothing, if not fun.

Boo and I have a couple of heavy hitters in our glasses tonight though - Barossa Shiraz vs. Mendoza Malbec. Are their any wines that better capture what Australia and Argentina are both best known for?

515. 2005 Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz (Barossa Valley - Australia)

516. 2006 Bodegas Sur de los Andes Malbec Gran Reserva (Mendoza - Argentina)

Both bottles come in at just under $30 in Vancouver. Langmeil is rather a favourite of our's and this is the third vintage of the Valley Floor Shiraz to be added to The List (the '06 is #58 and the '02 is #183). The Sur de los Andes isn't so well-known around our place, but, then again, I doubt that there are any Argentinean wineries that have made it to "always on hand" status with us. I'd picked this bottle up after a tasting at Marquis Wines. They, on the other hand, have done a bit of championing for this label.

As expected, both bottles were fine drinking - full of dark fruit and good structure. Once again though, both Boo and I didn't have too much trouble picking a winner. At the risk of incurring the wrath of Maradona and all soccer fans, this win goes to the Aussies. The Socceroos may not have a realistic chance at trumping the La Albicelestes on the pitch, but the Wineroos have got what it takes in the wine glass - at least on this outing.

The Shiraz had just a bit more finesse with the integration of its components. Both wines might have seemed a bit heavy on the fruit extraction, but the Langmeil countered that a bit with a touch more tannin and some nicely balanced oak. And, just like on the soccer pitch, you need some great finish and the Shiraz definitely had that down. I don't think that this is my favourite vintage of Langmeil, but I'd still never turn down a bottle or a glass.

And it's still enough to give a 2-1 win over the Malbec - extra time wasn't even needed.

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