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2001 Turkey Flat Shiraz, Barossa, Australia

I've already written about my favorite wine from a recent blind tasting of several international Syrah's, but it was not the top choice of the evening. That honor went to this Shiraz from Turkey Flat which was everyone's first or second choice for the evening.

The Shiraz grapes for this wine come from some of the oldest Shiraz vines in Australia, planted in 1843, which in my experience contributes (along with skillfull and restrained winemaking) to the stunning aromatics. Like Zinfandel, the older vines seem to produce fruit that can generate a cornucopia of aromas that can exist without beat-you-over-the-head jammy extraction in the body of the wine.

Tasting Notes:
Perfect dark ruby in color, this wine has a nose of exploding candied papaya, dried mangoes, dried cherries, dried cranberries -- thick pungent fruit that makes the aromas in the glass a heady draft. Luckily, these fruits don't signal an overextracted mess in the mouth -- for all that nose, the wine itself is more restrained, with nice spices and redcurrant fruit flavors that swirl around well integrated, dusty tannins. There's just the right amount of tartness in the wine, with a hint of oak, and a nice finish.

Food Pairing:
I love to drink Syrah with cheese, and the restrained body of this one would do well with prosciutto-wrapped gorgonzola with arugula.

Overall Score: 9/9.5

How much?: $40

I bought the bottle we tasted at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant downtown. See my entry about this wine store. The wine presses have lauded the last three or four vintages from this little family outfit in Barossa, with Spectator, Enthusiast, and Parker ratings all above 90. As a result it's a little hard to come by with only 500 cases imported, but well worth seeking out.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.