A tasting of two halves

After many weeks of tasting alone during lockdown, the shift to Level 2 allowed my old tasting compatriots Messrs Collins and McLaren to sit in once again.

A group of bolder reds gave us food for thought on two fronts.

It turned out to be a bit of a"game of two halves" tasting, with the syrah/shiraz set outperforming their Bordeaux blend counterparts, while tasting blind (with the bottles masked) saw the lesser-priced wine across three pairs outrank their higher priced siblings.

No complaints there on the value front!





2019 Ka Tahi Rangatira
Seven Barrels Reserve
Gimblett Gravels Syrah 
Price: $29.99
Rating: Excellent
Tilled earth, humus, brambles, dark berries and bonfire embers. Youthfully tight and rather linear at first, fleshing out with aeration. Developing fragrant notes, mint/herbs, chocolate and earth. A sappy, youthful crunchiness to this, fruit swelling and growing in interest all the while. Give this plenty of air or some time in bottle. Potential and value here. 

2018 Vidal
Gimblett Gravels Syrah

Price: $34.99
Rating: Excellent

Subtle nose initially butgrows in volume with violets,dusty stones, spices andmixed fruits. Bright andvibrant, filling the mouthwith excellent depth offlavour, feeling open for
business already. With aeration, notes of wet stones, dark fruits and choc-berry begin to emerge. Lovely balance and drinkability now and for the medium term.



2017 Pirathon Blue
Barossa Valley
Price: $20
Rating: Excellent
Chocolate, a little funky note, schist, sweet perfume and a touch of oak char with aeration. Dark and brooding palate with dark fruits and lead pencil, intensely flavoured and nicely balanced, while the tannin and acid balance is spot on. Lovely vibrancy and drinkability here, yet there feels like potential too. Delicious drinking and value for money.
2017 Pirathon Silver
Barossa Valley
Price: $25
Rating: Very good
Fragrant, dark fruited, charry oak, eucalypt hints and smoke. Pours to a core of sweet fruit which is rich and full, yet not jammy, adding milk chocolate to the eucalypt and dark fruits with soft, spicy overtones. Flows to notes of coffee and vanilla pod on the appealing finish. A lot to like here.
2018 Main Divide
Merlot Cabernet 
Price: $20.99
Rating: Very good
Toffee, smoke, yeast extract, crushed leaf and charry elements, becoming more fragrant with time in the glass. A rush of sweet fruit evolves to savoury nuances, adding chocolate, leaf, lead pencil and spice notes, growing and building in the glass with aeration. A little tangy bite on the close. A reliable choice.
2018 Mills Reef
Reserve Gimblett Gravels
Cabernet Merlot
Price: $24.95
Rating: Excellent
Fragrant with berryfruit, cedar, leaf notes and chocolate. Silky entry before the fine grained tannins get to work and the structure builds. Lovely balance, fruit depth and elegance, flowing to a long dry close. Wouldn’t be out of place in a line up of red Bordeaux. Classy wine, already drinking well, yet potential too. Great value.
2018 Vidal Soler
Gimblett Gravels
Cabernet Sauvignon 
Price: $34.99
Rating: Very good to excellent
Fruit jube, leafiness, oak scents along with a growing earthy touch with time in the glass. There’s energy and vibrancy here; classic blackcurrant and leaf cabernet notes grow, 
while there’s a crunchy, juiciness as it flows to a long, fruit driven finish. Lovely freshness to this and very appealing drinking already.
2018 Trinity Hill
L’Eritage Gimblett Gravels 

Price: $120 Rating: Excellent to outstanding
Fragrant, lavender, spices, red fruits, charry herbs. Very powerful structure frames the palate, with dusty stones, iron filings, red fruits, black pepper and spices. A depth and intensity more reminiscent of the Northern Rhone with serious complexity and interest. Amazing depth here and clearly built for the long haul. Fabulous.

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