100 Wines for Winter 2015: Full-bodied Reds
Powerful, tannic wines best matched with grilled meats and hearty foods.
Es Lo Que Hay Garnacha Vinas Viejas 2011, Castilla, Spain ($39.95)
Brilliant example of old-vine grenache. Fruitcake, chocolate and toasty aromas, dense and spicy in the mouth. Concentrated, juicy, macerated fruity flavours, matched with expensive oak. This is a big wine, yet generous enough to sip on its own by the fire, or match with hearty winter meals. TOP 10
Geyser Peak Winery Uncensored Red 2011, California, USA ($16)
A big fruitcake nose, with currants, prunes, blueberries and even a brambly, herbal note. Sweet fruit is also evident on the palate, lowish acidity and no obvious oak. The stemmy, firm tannins are thus grape-derived and drive this big, cuddly, generous red.
McManis Family Vineyards Petite Sirah 2013, California, USA ($24)
Petite sirah is a cross between syrah and peloursin, rarely found in France, but popular in California. Deep, deep colour, a fragrant nose of violets and crushed berry, underpinned by vanillin, coconutty oak. Low in acidity, that creamy sensation continues on the palate and structure is provided by chewy, furry tannins. A solid, rich, ripe red.
Mills Reef Elspeth Merlot 2013, Gimblett Gravels ($49)
Generous fruitcake, plum pudding, spice aromatics, this is a concentrated, juicy, fruity wine, high in extract, with masses of oak and tannin. The palate is dense and creamy, yet dry and pithy on the finish, this sizeable merlot cries out for a big beefy dish.
Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Gimblett Gravels ($49)
Classic cabernet aromas of cassis and cedar, some sappy oak overtones, concentrated and tightly structured palate. Fruit juicy and unevolved in the mouth, but otherwise this is a concentrated and balanced wine with great cellaring potential. Decant ahead of time if opening this now.
Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz 2013, McLaren Vale, Australia ($50)
Another blockbuster shiraz. Blackberry and plum, mint and eucalypt, coconut oak — all combine into one powerful bouquet. In the mouth, this wine is creamy and warm, with a chocolate undercurrent and ripe, juicy tannins.
Mollydooker The Maitre d’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, McLaren Vale, Australia ($50)
A bold, warm-climate style exhibiting bags of sweet fruit and generous amounts of oak, this is a curranty, spicy, leathery wine, with richness and length. This broad, muscular wine would be great with after-dinner cheeses, or for sipping by itself on a wintry night.
Mollydooker Two Left Feet Shiraz/Cabernet/Merlot 2013, McLaren Vale, Australia ($50)
An intense wine, deeply coloured, dense and brambly, raspberry, black olive and spicy notes, creamy and ripe in the mouth, yet with plenty of firm tannins. Potentially a great wine to cellar, or pair it with a hearty winter casserole.
Palacios Remondo la Vendimia 2013, Rioja, Spain ($20)
This moderately complex, vinous, traditional-style Rioja is so reminiscent of good Bordeaux. Leather, tar and cassis aromas, backed up with earthy, dry, savoury tannins, ths is an all-round dinner party wine at a bargain price.
Rosemount Balmoral Syrah 2010, McLaren Vale, Australia ($70)
A product of incredibly old, bush-grown vines from South Australia’s sweltering McLaren Vale, this is a powerful, densely packed wine that takes time to show its best. Dark in colour with a pruney, almost sweaty bouquet, masses of sweet new oak is also evident on the nose. This is a big, tannic, locked-down wine that should be decanted if opening now, or cellared for a long time, perhaps up to 20 years. TOP 10
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz 2013, Barossa, Australia ($38)
Australian shiraz doesn’t get any bigger than this: ripe and juicy, with dark, macerated berry fruit, even a suggestion of fruitcake. It is warm and supple in the mouth and so cuddly you could almost drink it on its own, or as an after-dinner sip with salty cheese or nuts.
Valli Gibbston Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013, Central Otago ($65)
The nose is dense and brooding, macerated berry characters interspersed with chocolate and woodspice. The palate is equally concentrated, dark plum and liquorice, with chunky, cedary tannins. A big, powerful pinot, with oak, acid and alcohol all in balance, but still primary and unevolved. If enjoying now, this should be decanted well before
the meal. TOP 10
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