Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: **** $ Off The Leash Max Shiraz Viognier, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 2006 - BEST VALUE

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Original Tasting and Review, July, 2010:

By way of background: This is Off The Leash Max Shiraz Viognier from Adelaide Hills, Australia. The 2006 vintage is finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass: Off the Leash shows as a deep burgundy in the glass, slightly brick at the edges.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Aussie shiraz/viognier  shows a peppery brightness.  Gonna be a different experience from other Australian shiraz/viognier combo's I am familiar with.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a bright and vibrant mid-palate, full of that peppery brightness that was apparent in the nose.  This is the kind of pepper that appeared on the seeds of a certain weed I recall chewing as a youngster.  Rounder fruit and a touch of tannin bring the sip into your cheeks for a modest finish.

In summary: Overall, unique and pleasant bright and mid-weight experience. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, generating a best value nod.

Following long decant, three days under vacuum kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Still that distinct bright pepper on the nose.  It knits now into an even rounder mid-red middle, bringing the experience up to three stars with a plus for provocative and pleasant distinctiveness.

Updated review, over a year later, August, 2011:  The brick color is more prominent at the edge, now that this shiraz viognier blend has touched its fifth year since vintage date.  Bold wild peppery brightness remains along with the fruit aromas.  Now earns its 3+ stars even without a decant.  Closing in on a fourth star - sooo close. Following long decant, one day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Somewhat less pepper in the nose, along with some added plums.  Rich, balanced and flavorful, still has the pepper on palate. Just touches that elusive fourth star.  Crazy, screaming best value.

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