Three Brothers: Tom, Bob, and James. Four wines. First, tasted blind without food. Second, tasted blind with cheese, cherry tomatoes and sirloin steak. Third, wines rated and revealed.
1. Dark ruby garnet. Nose of smoky oak, cedar, bacon and hint of underlying fruit. Tart fruit on the palate with cherry and red raspberry and nice tannins to tingle the tongue. Great long white pepper finish. Overall impression: Very good wine that is overoaked, especially on the degree of barrel toast. Fruit is masked on the nose as a result. Great finish typical of a good shiraz but according to James the longest but not the best finish of all the wines.
With food: good with steak, which especially seems to smooth out the tannins. With white chedar reveals sweet fruit on the palate. Awesome pepper jack cheese interaction with the white pepper finish of this wine.
2. Medium garnet. Pretty and balanced nose of dark cherry with some cola and plum undertones. The palate explodes with sweet black cherry and plummy fruit. A medium long finish that caresses the palate like a wonderfully warm tropical breeze encountering a Canadian forehead in January. Overall impression: Great balanced wine with wonderful sweet fruit and the best sipper.
With food: Excellent with aged white cheddar and pairs well with cherry tomato (sweet million). Oh my god, with steak With pepper jack cheese an added bacon and white pepper dimension to the wine. This wine goes with all foods tasted
3. Deep garnet, probably darkest of the wines. Shy nose dominated initially by alcohol. With time black raspberry, black licorice, and black berry fruit is reavealed on the palate. Big, blowsy, high tannin wine that is tight on opening (infanticide). Long tannin influenced finish. Overall impression: This wine needs time, as it improved during the two hours we tasted. It opened up and the fruit was revealed in both the nose and the palate.
With food: White cheddar: with cheese in the mouth it tames the tannins and reveals the wonderful sweet fruit: with cheese consumed and out of the mouth prickly tannins are dominant. (Ever wonder why some people have different reactions to wine and food?) The sweet and acidic cherry tomato does not match well with this wine. Great with steak as tannins are smoothed out.
4. Medium garnet with bricking at the edge. Candy-like nose of swedish berries, raisins, acetone, and rubber. Overly acidic taste and a short finish. Overall impression: cooked wine. To be returned to vendor.
With food: About as bad as without food. Still over ripe cooked wine.
Ratings (only for wines 1-3, 4 was excluded):
Rater: Tom Bob James
Wine without food
#1 2 2 2
#2 1 1 1
#3 3 3 3
Wine with food: overall same ratings (but the best single food-wine pairing was pepper jack with #1 - Tom)
Most improved with time after opening #3, although some oak did blow off with time in #1, not enough to get the fruit revealed well on the nose. With aging Bob and James both thought #3 would surpass #1 in quality.
All three brothers guessed the first 3 wines were new world shirazes, relatively recent vintages. James and Bob guessed up to 5 years old and
Tom up to 4 years old.
#1 (Tom's contribution) 2002 Australian Shiraz Annvers from McLaren Vale 14.9% abv
#2 (Bob's contribution) 2001 Australian Shiraz Forefathers from McLaren Vale 14.3% abv
#3 (James' contribution) 2003 Australian Reserve Shiraz Jacobs Creek from South Australia 14.5% abv
#4 (James' contribution) 2001 French syrah, hippolyte by Chateau
Grande Cassagne, unfortunately cooked as it was the only syrah.