I am always looking for a good wine at a reasonable price, and I have had the opportunity to sample the wines of Columbia Crest for a number of years, and with their higher quality wines they are generally good wines. However, in marketing their lower-end wines such as the Two Vines, the quality takes a major hit. This 2005 Shiraz by Columbia Crest really does not leave much to be desired. The blandness and watered down taste of the cherries and red berries, followed by a hint of pepper is not something that I find desirable in a wine. Maybe I am expecting to much for a wine priced between $6-8, but not one that I would recommend.
Penfolds Wines from Australia have been around for more than 160 years, and I have enjoyed drinking these wines for many years. The 2008 Koonunga Hill Shiraz/Cabernet blend is produced using 71% Shiraz, and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon. Penfolds first introduced their Koonunga Hill wines in 1976, and have continued to implement the philosophy of blending select parcels from South Australia into these wines.
In the glass this wine is an inky dark purple color, and it has aromas of blackberries, cherries, spice, and oak. The flavors are of blackberries, cherries, currants, tobacco, slight oak, and the ever present spice at the back of the palate from the Shiraz. While this is not a high-end wine by any means (retail between $8-9), it was a nice wine in that price range. It was a medium to full-bodied wine, with tannins that were not overwhelming, and a medium finish. This is an everyday drinking wine by Penfolds, and worthy of a try.
As a resident of the Pacific Northwest I have the opportunity to sample many of the wines coming from this region. When most think of wineries in the Pacific Northwest they think of Oregon and Washington, and rightly so with many great wines coming from these states. However, I do have the chance to sample wines from Idaho, which for many have never been exposed to wines from this state. In my opinion, wines from Idaho cannot come close to the quality coming from Oregon and Washington, but I still have the opportunity to give these wines a sample.
I recently sampled the 2006 Cold Springs Syrah. The Cold Springs Winery is located in south central Idaho along the Snake River basin, and is part of the Snake River AVA. This Syrah had a ruby red color to it in the glass, and the aroma and flavor profile was of cherries, red berries, a slight hint of raisins, licorice, earthiness, oak, and spice. This wine was not as big and full-bodied as I would like for a Syrah, and it left me desiring something more. This was a decent, everyday drinking wine, but nothing special.
During a recent wine segment that I do at a local television station, my focus for the day was on the Shiraz/Syrah grape variety. I explained to the audience why this one grape variety has two different names, and then sampled several different Shiraz/Syrah wines from various wine regions around the world. I of course wanted to focus on Australia’s work horse, Shiraz, as one of the featured wines. The wine that I choose was from the McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate, since the McWilliam’s family have been involved in wine making in South Eastern Australia since 1877. The 2009 McWilliam’s Shiraz had a deep purple color to it in the glass. The aroma and flavor profiles of this wine were of blackberries, black plums, raspberries, raisins, anise, black pepper, and a slight touch of oak. This wine was full-bodied, with medium tannins, and a long finish. This inexpensive ($10 retail), everyday drinking wine was not bad, one that I would recommend you trying.