Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Different Second Pass

1961.  2013 Nugan Estate - Alfredo Second Pass Shiraz (South Eastern Australia)

I'm a fan of Ripasso wines out of northern Italy but, every once in awhile, I run across a wine from a different country or region that uses the same concept of re-passing and re-fermenting a wine through the pomace (remaining skins) and yeast cells that are left over from another wine's fermentation. The concept endeavours to embolden the second wine, giving it a bolder texture and more complex flavour.

One site I saw referred to the Alfredo Second Pass as an "Australian Shiraz done Italian style." Being probably even a bigger fan of Aussie Shiraz, I was quick to grab for this bottle. There was a great hope that 1+1 might = 3.

I guess the big question are there even any Australian Shiraz wines that need to be emboldened and enlarged? The last decade has seen, if anything, a concerted effort on the part of Aussie winemakers to scale back the extravagance of their big Shiraz beasts. For me, it's a completely different story when it comes to Valpolicella. My first reaction to them is that they're usually a bit on the light side for me.

In any event, despite the big hopes, the Second Pass Shiraz didn't really pass the muster for me. At least, it didn't raise the bar at all. Granted, the nose burst out of the glass and was pure enjoyment. It's just that the wine on the palate simply came across as one of the many commercial wines that try to catch your eye nowadays. The added element of the Ripasso technique didn't seem to add any depth or nuance to an ordinary wine.

Don't get me wrong. We didn't have any problem finishing the bottle with dinner. It just didn't generate any "wows" or "we definitely need to pick this up again." Maybe my expectations were just a little too high.

It won't stop me from actively searching out more Ripassos.

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