Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: **** $$ Mr. Black's Concoction, Small Gully, Shiraz Viognier, Barossa Valley, Australia - BEST VALUE

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Original Review, March, 2008: Mr. Black's Concoction Small Gully shiraz/viognier wins my strange label award for 2008. A labeled man's skull with an adjacent organic numbered thing. Strange indeed. Let's see what the traditionally blended 96% shiraz/ 4% viognier Barossa Valley blend looks and tastes like.

Not too strange in the glass - a deeply pooled magenta, virtually opaque in center. On swirling, deeply vibrant streams of blood-like, thick fruit aromas pour (not leap) from the glass. They are oily and rich in their consistency. Engulfing.

On the palate, the intensity wanes just a bit. Rich, sweet, blueberry fruit in the middle; it teases up just a bit into your mouth, then pools for a sensible finish. Touch of black pepper at the close. Balanced as an aperitif. Not a great deal of tannic life - and not sure it would work with too many foods. Four stars out of five.

Wine Spectator gave the 1987 Concoction 87 points. Gary Vaynerchuck said 91 points. I'm closer to Vaynerchuck's assessment. Great value.

Updated review two years later, June, 2010:  Label is still weird - go figure!  Color is consistent, moved to deep red in the fringes.  Thick, oily blueberry on the nose.  Sweet, peppery, rich blueberry and now even a bit acidic on the palate.  Falls off slightly to three stars, with a plus for potency.

Updated review, now three years from vintage date, August, 2011:Same color.  A touch of oxidation at first blush on the nose.  Deep fruit includes a definite coconut streak.  Palate retains a deep blueberry and oily style.  Thick with very background acids. Rates three stars with plus for drama.  The highest rating remained immediately upon initial opening.  Following long decant, one day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Less oxidation on the nose, now shows full-on chocolate coconut macaroons!  Palate brings chocolate, coconut and blueberries.  Regains its fourth star!  Best value.

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