07/12/06 – Australian reds (pt. 2)

By Jesse on July 11, 2006


Well, for those who haven’t heard the rumors yet, let me be the first to tell you that they’re completely true, and you can take that to the bank.  Besides that, though, it’s also a fact that Marie and I took a trip up to Sonoma this weekend, which actually turned out to be a wonderfully enjoyable excursion.  Due to schedule constraints we were only able to stay one night, and it’s a long drive up there, so by the time we got to town, found our hotel, unpacked and had lunch, we only had time to visit two wineries before the rather inhospitable closing time of 5 PM rolled around.  But the two we picked were great; we got to Arrowood and Cheateau St. Jean, the latter of which features a classical European garden and a tasting room where they really know how to treat their customers.

StJean01 StJean02

She and I had a genuinely awesome time and I think it’s a forgone conclusion that the long-discussed Young Winos “field trip” really needs to take place.  We should decide on a weekend in September to head up to Santa Barbara, and if that goes well, perhaps an October or November weekend in Napa/Sonoma.  Details to be discussed at next occurrence of mass intoxication.

Lets shift gears here and talk about wine, for once.  Shiraz is to Australia “what cabernet sauvignon is to Bordeaux — an icon.”  For those still struggling with the metaphor, try this one that I made up: it’s “what J.J. is to Good Times .”  Can you imagine Good Times without J.J.?  Didn’t think so.  Similarly, Shiraz has been essential to Australia’s success and recognition as a major wine nation.  Wine Bible: “the best of them have almost syrupy plum, boysenberry, mocha and violet flavors, with hints of spice and black pepper.  By comparison, they are much more saturated with fruit than their parents, the syrahs of the Rhone.”  I seem to remember that when we did Rhone, we focused more on the blends of the southern part of the region (i.e. Cotes du Rhone and Hermitage) than the Syrahs of the north.  Regardless, we’ve all tasted Syrah / Shiraz, and it should be extremely interesting to taste it in the country that’s helped make it famous and accessible to the international market.

Please bring any Australian Shiraz, either a 100% or a majority-Shiraz blend.  We’ll be meeting at my house in Sherman Oaks.  (Indeed, this is an uncharacteristic parting with a long-held aversion to hosting red-wine evenings that dates way back to one of Andrew’s first meetings ever, but there are special circumstances this week, which I will be happy to explain to everyone in attendance, that made me want to throw caution to the wind just this once.)  The address is (still the same).

Grab your bad self an Australian Shiraz and we’ll see you on Wednesday night at 9PM sharp.  I promise I’ll be on time to this one.