The Back Story:
After you drink wine for awhile, you’ll notice you have an affinity for certain flavors in wines. Some people crave the feeling and flavor of biting into a slice of ripe grapefruit; Sauvignon Blanc is their kind of white. Others go nuts over the luxurious cherries and strawberries of a Pinot Noir, so much so that they’ll be more forgiving of minor faults in the wine as long as it delivers what they desire.
Myself, while I’m still discovering my palate to a large degree, I do have certain flavors that really stand out to me. I’m a sucker for Rosés, the bright summer fruits of sweet citrus, ripe berries, and crisp apple creating an array of flavors that gets me every time. Much to the amusement of people I drink wine with, I’ll usually opt for the Rosé if we’re going to be outside. It’s manly, I know, but if I can get a well-made Rosé, I’m a happy guy.
Of course, there are more nostalgic reasons you may find an affinity with a certain style of wine. Maybe the woody, tobacco flavors of a Tempranillo remind you of the cigars you shared with your dad after you graduated college. Maybe the butterscotch and cream characteristics of a French-oaked Chardonnay remind you of candy-making around Christmastime. My mom recently fell in love with a wine that smelled exactly like the orchard where she grew up, fruit blossoms and apples and pears accenting and reviving memories that lay dormant for years.
Along those lines, I’ve found I have a particular fondness for wines that exhibit the characteristics of northern European berries. Lingonberry, currant, cloudberry, basically any of those cold-weather-ripening tart specimens, they all remind me of a semester spent in Sweden. As soon as I get one of those flavors in a red wine, I immediately become more forgiving of the faults in the wine (if there are any). Truth be told, though you’ll see in my review that I wasn’t terribly fond of the structure and tannins in this wine, The 2008 Concannon Central Coast Shiraz, I still finished the bottle. The reason why? Lingonberries.
The appearance of the wine is a bit… confusing. It’s a very deep red, not a hint of purple anywhere in the wine. There’s a slight tan quality at the edge. On the swirl, however, the light catches a vibrant purple tint. I’d think the acidity is unnecessarily high based on the depth of red, but that swirl throws me off a bit.
The nose of the wine is very subdued, with hints of cranberry and lingonberry. Not a typical red fruit scent at all, more sour and vegetal. It’s also fairly hot.
The mouth feel of the wine is rather thin and a little weak. It doesn’t have a fantastic structure to it. Especially for a Syrah, it’s just unimpressive.
The flavor of the wine is very similar to the nose. There are those sour red fruit flavors of cranberry and lingonberry, which I always adore in a Syrah. The rest of the flavors don’t really impress. It’s a bit vegetal, with an alcohol heat that seems very excessive at 13.5%. The acidity is a bit high, and you can detect it on the finish, which is bitter and short.
For the Casual Drinker:
If the name Shiraz invokes a glass of massive, jammy, aggressive, red fruit, in your mind, this one’s not going to fit the bill. The flavors are much less indicative of a traditional Shiraz, the structure rather tame, and the overall experience is subdued. It’s a drinkable wine, just not typical of its grape. Something like grilled pork, burgers would do all right. Keep it away from spice, hefty red meat dishes, and tomatoes.
Though the flavors are pleasant and the nose makes me nostalgic, the structure just doesn’t deliver, and the profile is far too tame for this varietal. I can’t recommend it, though at $10.00 per bottle, it’ll do in a pinch. 4/10.
Note: This wine was provided by the winery as an industry sample.