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Hardy’s OOMOO Sparkling Shiraz 2004

Hardy's 2004 Oomoo Sparkling Shiraz

[Image copyright Taste.com.au]

Winery: Hardy’s

Region: Clare Valley, South Australia

Vintage: 2004

Alcohol: 13%

Review

I owe a debt of gratitude to two people for this review: first, Mick Vaughan who tipped me off about a stunning deal for the Oomoo sparkling shiraz; secondly, to Chris Plummer whose reviews are always informative, enlightening and well-considered.

The Oomoo normally retails in the $15 to $25 price range. I got a case for $9 a bottle. The problem in acquiring wines is that it’s hard not to let price be a variable that affects one’s perceptions. Knowing that I got these super-cheap must have had some effect.

Interestingly, the back label’s on these are in Japanese. Wine exporter’s pain from a high dollar is my gain, I guess.

Held to the light, it’s more transparent on the edges than I had imagined it would be; deep purple transitions to an irridescent brick-dust red. Moderately persistent pink beady bubbles. I had secretly hoped for something a bit more full-bodied; this is a medium-full-bodied wine.

The Oomoo is loaded with jammy fruit, with a subtle mintiness throughout (how those two work together I’m stull unsure of!). Hints of chocolate mingle with cranberries, mulberries, a pinch of cherry tartness. Some reviews posit this in the middle of the sweet-dry spectrum; I’d edge it slightly further to the sweet side, but only a little.

I should probably lock a couple of these away for a few years (though it’s already 7 years old!). I think Shannon and I are over halfway through the case of these I bought. If I were blind-folded, I’d rate it as a good, par-for-the-course sparkling shiraz. Maybe I’m biased a bit because it was so cheap. At $9 a bottle, it’s stunning 3.5 / 5.

Bought from Skye Cellars | Hardy’s | Tony Love | Australian Wine Journal

Pairing

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Season 1)

Throughout high school, I had dismissed Buffy as being a vampified variation on Dawson’s Creek, an assumption made without having watched it or evidence beyond doubting the tastes of my peers. In about the second or third year of university, I had begun working night shifts at a service station (cash in hand, often 16 hour shifts [longest was 20!!]) and flush with hot cash and hotter pockets had amassed a substantial DVD collection (as some form of alleviation to my employment’s flow-on effects of sleep deprivation, social deprivation, and depressed personability).

(Perhaps mentioning that after my Sunday-to-Wednesday bloc of nightshift – uni – 3 hour sleep – nightshift – uni – 2 hour sleep – radio co-hosting – night shift , I’d go home and drink homebrew to get myself to pass out is unsuitable in an alcohol review… but I digress)

Having found a copy of Buffy Season 1 for $15 (new), there was little to be lost, particularly for aforementioned escapist purposes. Needless to say, Buffy – as many Joss Whedon fans would attest to – was well-written and far more substantial than (what most people would assume supernatural fare to be) expected.

The general “no one understands what it’s like” theme throughout resonated with the coalescing overworked and post-adolescent-youth themes of that cahpter of my life.

Alternative

2010 Red Knot GSM

Not in the mood? Shingleback’s cheapo line put out this stunner. I think the two bottles we picked up were $10 each. Again, maybe the price relative to quality was a factor in it’s reception. Upon drinking the first glass and being impressed with the value, I searched and found it had received numerous positive reviews, including a 94 from Saint Halliday.

Kinda changes the implications of “mid-week quoff”.

Website

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Review

 

Hugh Hamilton ‘The Madam’ Sparkling Merlot

Winery: Hugh Hamilton Wines

Region: McLaren Vale

Vintage: NV

Alcohol: 14%

Review

‘The Madam’ certainly looks like an attractive, if not elegant, beast, pouring with a blood red fizz that kept a-buzzing for some time. To the eye, it’s a thick blackcurrant purple. I wasn’t sure what to make of the nose; restrained and breezy, with a bit of mintyness and some indistinct berry fruits.

Appearances are a little bit deceiving – it looked like it’d have a much fuller body, but the mouthfeel was rather flat. Like many a mid-level sparkling red, tart berry preserve is rather ubiquitous. Something jammy, something limey; and sweeter as you persevere, showcasing sweet plum.

I don’t think Hugh makes his sparkling red as a Sparkling Merlot anymore; it appears that he’s moved ‘The Madam’ to be a Sparkling Sangiovese-Tempranillo, which I’m eager to try. However, this release really felt like a “Oh, what are we going to do with all this Merlot that’s laying about?” 2.5/5

Bought from Porter’s Bowgowlah for about $22 | Hugh Hamilton Wines | Lonely Grape

Pairing


 

The Toxic Avenger parts II (1989 – IMDB) and III (1989 – IMDB)

In somewhat of a thematic flip from my concluding comments about “what to do with this leftover Merlot?”, Troma’s use of ‘leftovers’ in this series was actually better than it’s intended purpose. Troma founder and director Lloyd Kaufman (whose fervent independence was an inspiration to my teenage-self) shot something like four hours (!) of footage for the sequel to 1984’s head-crushing exploitation classic The Toxic Avenger.

Troma split the sequel into two separate parts: part II is atrocious and lame, but part III manages to be a genuinely funny, campy and light-hearted, albeit gory, film. It’s counter-intuitive to think that ‘the leftovers’ that made part III would be superior in all senses.

As always, there’s caveats to this recommended pairing. Like sparkling reds, Troma films are an acquired taste. You also need to ensure you get the best expressions of the style, and for the Toxic Avenger films you need to get the unrated, uncut director’s cuts of the films as the cinema/VHS releases were mangled by the MPAA.

Alternative

Not drink?

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Review

 

Nice one, ‘Selector’

Bleasdale in the Summer edition of ‘Selector’ which I happened to come across at work…

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Distraction

 

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Sommeliers and Beer

Sometime ago, my wife’s family and I went for dinner at Pilu at Freshwater, in Sydney. It was generally enjoyable, and the restaurant is widely recognised as having Australia’s best wine list, a fair statement when you peruse said impressive wine list (pdf).

But the beer list is ordinary, and almost insulting next to the wine list. Pilu aren’t making any claims about their beer list, it should be said, but the dismissive treatment of ales is indicative of a wider trend among (some) restaurants and sommeliers for whom there is a divide between beer and wine (or assumptions about their demographic).

I rather take the line of thought that suggests that both wine and beer are so diverse; with depth of style, flavour, and pairing; and ability of their brewers and purveyors, that being dismissive of one field or the other is erroneous and naive.

As such, it was refreshing to see an article titled Beer Me, Sommelier over at Slate, the conclusion of which is as follows:

Like great wine, great beer deserves well-trained people who can build a strong collection of barrels and bottles, and know how pair them well. Many restaurants and bars have a long way to go, but the example of people like Engert and Daniels points the way to an auspicious future. A well-chosen and expertly-paired beer can be a revelation, so it’s time for more establishments to get their people in the revealing business.

I concur.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Distraction

 

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Fox Creek ‘Vixen’ NV Sparkling Cabernet Sauvignon / Shiraz / Cabernet Franc

It’s good to be back in the saddle. The holiday period was anything but; interstate travels, writing the new Heartbreak Club album in Melbourne, assignments, yadda yadda yadda. Have had many new and interesting drinks, though none have been sparkling reds (!)

Fox Creek Vixen Sparkling Red

Winery: Fox Creek

Region: McLaren Vale

Vintage: NV

Alcohol: 14%

Review

So, unlike the Padthaway Estate Eliza which I bought concurrent to this, the packaging of Vixen was a big turn off. However it had far more in common with the Eliza than the label suggested:

The wine looks identical the Eliza.

The wine smells identical to Eliza.

The wine tastes identical to Eliza, but with more Mr Sheen.

It really felt like they splashed whatever leftover shit was around into a barrel and added bubbles. If it weren’t for the price tag, it’d belong with many of the Cheap Tuesday cohorts. How this got an 89 for Saint Halliday is beyond me.

Alas, a same old story that’s getting tiresome; 2/5.

Fox Creek | Bought at Vintage Cellars Mosman for about $25

Pairing

South Park – You’re Getting Old

[IMDB | Wikipedia | South Park Studios]

From Wikipedia:

“You’re Getting Old” is the seventh episode and mid-season finale of the fifteenth season of the American animated television series South Park, and the 216th episode of the series overall. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on June 8, 2011. In the episode, Stan, after celebrating his tenth birthday, begins to develop a profound sense of cynicism, and his inability to see anything positive in the world around him alienates him from his friends.

The episode was written by series co-creator Trey Parker and is rated TV-MA L in the United States. It was seen by some critics as a metaphor for the frustration experienced by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone stemming from the show’s continued production, and an unofficial series finale. However, Parker and Stone denied being unhappy with the show and stated that they still enjoy producing episodes.

This episode was frequently mistaken as a swan song for South Park, and indeed, the cynicism Stan Marsh was afflicted with in this episode was similar to the (brief) feelings of cynicism I had while reviewing this wine.

On it’s own merits, the episode manages to be tasteless, satirical and somewhat poignant. And much, much better than Vixen.

Alternative

Not in the mood? Red Duck Limited Release Golden Dragon is worth checking out.

Red Duck are one of Australia’s smallest microbreweries, but some of they’re releases are deserving of much more notoriety and acclaim. Golden Dragon is well balanced and very tasty, and a very pleasant pick as I work my way through the extensive McCoppins Fitzroy beer range during my month-long stay in Melbourne.

Image taken from Highly Hopped review

Red Duck | RateBeer

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Review

 

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Go read this…

Chris Plummer has an excellent review of the Rockford Black Shiraz (2010 disgorgement) over at his excellent Australian Wine Journal. If there was ever a sparkling shiraz review that could make you salivate, it’s this one.

In the new year sometime, I’ll be reviewing one of the 2009 Disgorgement I have… but man, 2010’s sounds amazing.

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Distraction

 

Holiday Break / Christmas Recommendations

Hey Team,

Haven’t had much of chance to write any posts/reviews this week. I’m in Melbourne on a kind-of break; meaning I’m not “working” but Heartbreak Club are writing a new album and when we’re not in the studio, I’m furiously plowing through my Summer Semester readings. It’s all fun, just not sparkling-shiraz-fun.

In saying that, I had the pleasure of drinking and playing Euchre with friends last night. We started in Collingwood’s The Gem Bar (we also had a pretty grouse dinner there too; Haloumi burger this time) with some pints of Cavalier Pale Ale.

Pale

Altogether a very pleasant, summery ale with refreshingly fruity hops.

Taking a detour on the way back home, we stopped in at McCoppins Beer & Wine which had a highly impressive beer selection, and a pretty good sparkling shiraz section. We picked up a bottle of BlackBilly Sparkling Shiraz NV for $15. I was too lazy to write notes. It’s the second time I’ve had BlackBilly, and I was certainly more underwhelmed than the first time I had it. It’s not bad by any stretch; it actually ticks many boxes for the style, but it wasn’t unique or complex enough to warrant much more than a 3/5 rating. Good price though.

Family holidays, assignments, more writing in the studio, and study will mean posting will be sporadic until mid-January. But in the pipeline I have a bundle more reviews and a feature which has proven to be quite interesting in writing.

In short, thanks to my incrementally increasing readership for the comments, feedback, tips and general welcoming into the underground Australian BoozeBlogosphere! Have a happy holidays, play safe, and I guess it’d be remiss of me not to recommend you have some sparkling shiraz on Christmas Day (or any hot summer day these holidays!).

2011 Recommendations

No particular order.

Houghton ‘Museum Release’ 2004 (review) if you can find it!

Leasingham ‘Classic Clare’ 2004 (review) if you’re willing to pay a bit more…

D’Arenberg ‘Peppermint Paddock’ Chambourcin Shiraz NV (review) a bit divisive this one; you’ll love it or hate it!

Bleasdale NV (review) best <$20 widely available I rekon

Joseph Sparkling Red (unreviewed; link to website) absolutely delicious; unbeatable, and a superior yet unique expression of the style. 

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Distraction, Review

 
 
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