Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review: ***+ $$ Washington Hills Shiraz, Washington State, 2008 = GOOD VALUE

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Initial review, by way of background: This is Washington Hills Shiraz, Washington State, 2008, finished at 13.5% alcohol, and sold as part of a Barclay's wine bundle.  As you try to read about the wine on its back label, you'll surely confuse yourself, as the label title clearly says "SHIRAZ" while the label description goes on to  talk about how the "flavors make this Merlot a perfect match with..." etc etc.  Well, enough for the label, let's check out what's in the bottle itself. 

Original review, March, 2011: 

In the glass: Deep magenta with a youthful purple edge, opaque a quarter inch in from the edge.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows sweet plum and chocolate.  From the aroma, seems like this will be round, young but generous, perhaps a bit bright and sweet.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact full round ripe plums.  Mostly all simple fruit, although a touch of tannin slides alongside.  There is a slight element of cocoa in the finish that gives it a nice touch of complexity. 

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for its bold friendly nature. This shiraz seems to have promise for movement to three stars with a bit more time in bottle, or decant time.

Following long decant, several hours:  Remains all about the plums, with that persistent and helpful hint of cocoa.  Following longer decant, two days kept cool in partially filled bottle:  The plums have softened on the nose, while the milk chocolate has grown, making a nicer balance.  Also true on the palate: this is now a nicely knit-together shiraz, showing soft palate touches with surrounding layers of fruit and tannins.  Jumped a notch to three stars with the long decant.  Suggest waiting til this is at least four years from vintage date, or taking the long decant.

Updated review, over a year later, June, 2012:  Color and nose are consistent with a year earlier.  A balanced palate of cafe latte, with a touch of cocoa powder.  Improving.  Three stars with a plus now for balance and continuing promise.  Good value.

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