Friday, April 10, 2009

Langhorn: The Winner's Tank

If the Heartland Stickleback was a divisive white, this shiraz was a unifying factor for the group. It was almost universally hated. Which sucks because this was the wine that I brought. This means that out of three tastings, people have hated two of my selections. Both times, the wines were strong, powerful, and inky.

People found the Langhorn Shiraz to have a highly, highly alcoholic nose - it had a rather high alcohol content of 15.3%. It had a really dark color. Inky. You could barely see through it to the other side of the glass.

With flavors of dried figs, cloves, and even pipe tobacco, I think the group found that this wine was a little much. Did it suffer from following three whites? Maybe. Although I think only my wife and I liked it. It was a pretty unanimous trashing.

Which is unfortunate since in the past, I've found this to be a smooth and wonderfully drinkable wine. I've had it three times now. The first two times it had the same inky color and the same high alcohol content, but it seemed more refined.

At $12.99, I have to say that I would be reticent about picking up a bottle again. If I saw it on sale for maybe $8.99 or $9.99 I would be willing to give it another try especially if I had some cheeseburgers( with blue cheese) or a flank steak grilling.

Regardless of whether or not you like it, this dusty wine is really Australian: dark eggplant color and in your face potency.

RATING: 1.5 screwcaps
LABEL: Langhorn: The Winner's Tank
GRAPE: Shiraz
PRICE: $12.99

Heartland Stickleback

Did I love this crisp Australian White. A mixture of Verdelho, Semillon, and Chardonnay grapes. It had a great nose of straw and a slight citrus with a beautiful pale straw color. With a clean, quick finish, I thought that this crisp wine would be great with buttery fish like Monkfish or a shellfish either shrimp or scallops. I found it refreshing in its own way.

Again, looking at the write-ups that the group gave - tastes do vary widely. They are nearly impossible to account for. Some found it too sweet, even effervescent as if the sugars were causing it to fizz on the drinker's tongue. Ratings ranged from unenthusiastic 5 out of 10s to 8 out of 10.

Now next weekend, we have the next Brown Bag Sommelier meeting. The kill zone for next week is Spain. Three of our weekly attendees have signed up to bring whites. I'll be curious to see how they are received. I know that whites are really out of favor with wine drinkers - at least the ones that I know. It will be interesting to see if choosing some good Albarinos, we'll be able to build a consensus.

Or is there something really broken with the production of white wines? Are they too sweet... acidic... syrupy... etc.,

Again, I really enjoyed the Stickleback. However, it came in at 13 bucks - out the door at the Silver Lake Wine shop. I don't know if I would drop 13 dollars on a wine that so clearly divided the room. I don't think I am willing to gamble 13 dollars on people's indifference to white wine.

Even though in the scheme of things, 13 bucks, is a modest sum, you should still be highly satisfied at that price point.

RATING: 2.75 Screwcaps
LABEL: Heartland Stickleback
GRAPE: Verdehlo, Semillon, Chardonnay
PRICE: 13 bucks out the door at Silverlake Wine