Sunday, July 27, 2008

Review and Rating: **** $ 2006 Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red, Padthaway, Australia

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Review June 2007: Well, I'm finally trying the "practically-free" Pillar Box Red. It is a shiraz, cabernet and merlot blend put together by Chris Ringland, the well-known winemaker responsible for, among others, 3-Rings, Three Rivers, Bodegas Alto Moncayo and Bodegas El Nido. The label and name, clearly enough, are symbolic of the postal boxes of the late 1800's in this region.

The color of 2006 Pillar Box Red is a quite dark red/black/purple. The bubbles at the side of the glass when the wine is poured have a Welch's concord grape juice look. On the nose, any thought of Concord grapes is chased quickly away. What you have is a dark, oak-and-wool-overcoat sensation. Plush and deep. Serious. There is one dark red berry aroma there too - a sort of hybrid blackberry/currant.

A sip brings the fruity wool to the roof of the mouth, slowly trickling sweet fruit along the sides to your tongue. Not a lot of layers, but very satisfying in what it brings. The finish - though also unidimensional - is full and long. I'll stay with this one. Four stars. Incredible QPR. One of the highest I've encountered.

By comparison, Robert Parker gave 91 points to the 2005. I don't spot his rating yet for the '06.

Update July, 2008:
Jay Miller began picking up Australian wine reviews from Robert Parker for the Wine Advocate this past year. He awarded 91 points and here's what he said about the 2006 Pillar Box Red: "The 2006 Pillar Box Red is 50% Shiraz, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Merlot aged in a mix of used French and American oak. Purple-colored, it offers an enticing, fruity nose including aromas of cassis, black cherry, black raspberry, and blueberry. Full-bodied, ripe, and layered with flavor, this wine totally over-delivers on my hedonist's meter. Drink this awesome value over the next 2-3 years."

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