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Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Three from Down Under
Invited to a vegetarian Indian repast at a friend's house Saturday night, we were detailed to bring the wine, and decided that (in the absence of Indian vino), wines from Down Under would fill the geographical bill -- specifically, two New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and a modest Australian red that I'd been holding for a couple of years to watch it evolve.
Matua 1996 Hawkes Bay (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99)
Pale brass color. Odd but pleasant yeasty aroma, reminds me of a low-end California "Champagne," but it blows off to reveal a more pleasant fresh green-pea scent. Crisp and very tart flavor, citric fruit, clean and consistent in a long finish. Importer: Preiss Imports, Whittier, Calif. (Oct. 11, 1997)

Palliser Estate 1996 Martinborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99)
Bright brass color. Honey and cooked greens and a touch of caramel combine in a very strange but oddly appealing aroma. The flavor is substantially different from the nose, citrus and golden raisins, so fruity it almost seems sweet but finishes crisp and dry. Idiosyncratic wine, but easy to like. Importer: Preiss Imports, Whittier, Calif. (Oct. 11, 1997)

Penfolds 1993 Bin 2 South Eastern Australia Shiraz/76%-Mourvèdre/24% ($7.99 in 1995)
I've had this one around for almost two years now (started in December 1995) as a "mini-aging project," and it's certainly showing its ability to hold up well and improve under my less-than-ideal "passive cellar" storage. It was the hit of the evening last night, and went very well with the varied earthy flavors of not-too-fiery vegetarian Indian cooking. Very dark garnet color. Good ripe black-fruit and earthy "forest floor" aromas. Ripe, juicy black-cherry fruit, with soft tannins and earthy notes (is it oak, or is it Mourvèdre?) showing up in a long finish. Importer: PWG Vintners Inc., Monterey, Calif. (Oct. 11, 1997)

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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