PlumbBob goes sideways for a wine from downunder part II
You may recall last week I wrote about tasting the 2004 Schild Estate Barossa Shiraz. Quite an experience. Among the important points was that the 2004 was intense, somewhat like a Zinfandel, while also having some of the elegance of a good Pinot, with hints of Roses, Chocolate, Vanilla, Tobacco. Like many big wines, it had a port-like feel to it.
I wanted to follow up with the 2005 while I could still remember the 2004, so my wife and I invited our erstwhile friend and tasting champion for a second go. Same venue: good food, music, friends and wine. This time pork tenderloin, roasted potatoes, and a salad. I rubbed the pork with some Herb De Provance and a bit of brown sugar, wrapped it foil to keep in the flavors. The potatoes were quartered lengthwise and basted with olive oil. All in the oven at 380 for 40 minutes and there you have it, toss the salad, and PlumbBob is your uncle. And of course don’t forget the baguette and triple-cream Brie.
As last time the wine was tasted blind. But with a difference: our friend brought along a Cabernet — Martellotto 2006 Reserve, Paso Robles. This added quite a challenge, even though we knew in advance the identity of one wine (of course I knew both, but you’ll see what I mean).
The Martellotto is a great cab. I didn’t look closely at the label before I tasted; by glancing briefly at the back label I took the wine to be from Italy (rather then Paso Robles). It’s not all that rare to get a foreign wine labeled with the varietal these days, and the wine did have that “old world” quality — not super-jammy, or candy like but more earthy, with a hint of roses, figs, and oak. Very balanced (which to me means alcohol, acidity and sweetness all come together). At only 17 barrels produced it won’t be easy to find. I did not ask the price. Serving temperature was ambient (in our house that means 68 degrees F.).
After a bit of the Martellotto we poured the 2005 Schild, which I had decanted about half the bottle an hour before. Temperature at serving was about 17 centigrade.
The 2005 Schild is a very different wine then the 2004. By comparison it is muted, reserved, not nearly as big. It was more like elegant — like the Martellotto. Had I not known what it was, I would not have made the connection. It took quite a while before our friend arrived at the Australian connection — Barberra, Sangiovese, Petite Syrah, Cabernet were all suggested. The Barberra/Sangiovase guess was not a bad call, because around here we have some great wineries producing some very sophisticated Italian varietals (Vino Noceto, Youngs, to name two). But eventually, the verdict was Australia.
The 2005 Schild Shiraz has the same roses, licorice, vanilla overtones, the same great balance as the 2004, but it takes a while to open up. And that’s an important point: the 2005 actually does open up, while the 2004 doesn’t, it’s big and stays big. The 2005 has a bit of mahogany going on at the rim, so I’m guessing it is at it’s peak now. I would suggest not decanting it either (the 2nd half from the bottle seemed to hold up better for me). If I had to pick one and only one of the two Schild’s, I would pick the 2005. I think it has a bit more finesse. But of course that is strictly a matter of preference.
I have to admit it gets difficult to taste two really good wines side-by-side, because I find it a challenge to not over-analyze them. Which gets in the way of actually tasting them! By which I mean enjoying the flavors. So we ended up with two empty bottles, wanting more. Oh well.
Both wines were great. I started out liking the Martellotto a bit more, but towards the end I came to prefer the Schild. A tough call if I had to pick only one. Next day’s bottle test didn’t help, as both were still exhibiting wonderful fragrance. But I would still go with the Schild.
Final verdict on the 2004 and 2005 Schild Barossa Shiraz: the 2004 is Zin-like, the 2005 more Sangiovase like. The 2004 is intense, jammy (without being cloying), port-like, complex. The 2004 is more subtle, but has the same flavors, and continues to open up throughout the evening. Brian McGonigle at the San Francisco Wine Center says he has a few more bottles, but it won’t last.
Thanks for stopping by and Best Holiday Wishes!