Tasting of Shiraz 2008 from Dalton Winery

About two weeks ago I opened a bottle of Shiraz Reserve 2007 that I had purchased at the winery a few days before.  Upon removing the cover and exposing the cork, I noted that there was a bluish discoloration to the outside surface cork where it was not in contact with the wine.  I then inserted my corkscrew and pulled out the cork which had stains along its outer circumference and had started to deteriorate.  The taste of the wine was not good.  In fact, it had a bit of a vinegary taste.  Since I had bought two bottles, I went to open the second one and, lo and behold, the outer surface of the cork had the same wine stain.  After a couple of calls to the winery,  they apologized and said they would send me two replacements.  I opened the Shiraz Reserve 2008 which was sent to me and found an intact and unblemished cork and a full bodied complex dark wine.  Here’s a picture of the two corks, side by side.

Bad cork on the left - note wine stains. Good cork on the right - note clean & crisp lines

Incidentally, the man who started the Dalton Winery approximately 20 years ago, Alex Haruni, has written a informative discussion entitled, “The Problem With Corks” on a web page which is definitely worthwhile reading.  The URL is http://www.dalton-winery.com/content/dynamic-web-content.aspx?contid=58&lang=eng.

But let us get on to this wonderful wine.  How can I tell you what it tasted like?  I could use one of the descriptions which I paste here taken from the kosherwine.com web page:

Dalton’s Shiraz Reserve is a full-bodied, premium wine with buttery notes of cherry jam, caramel and a hint of black pepper. Over a year in the finest oak barrels ensures a rich and complex palate with soft tannins and a long finish.

A rich powerful wine with soft integrated tannins giving a spicy, velvety feel and a long lasting finish.

Daniel Rogov  90 Points   2004 vintage  
Full-bodied and concentrated with soft tannins and generous but not overpowering sweet cedar and spices from the barriques in which it aged. Aromas and flavors open with raspberries, go on to cherries, berries, red plums, pepper and an attractive earthiness. Generous and long.

Thus you can see that it is buttery, cherry jam, caramel, black pepper, raspberries, cherries, red plums and earthiness all rolled into one bottle.  It is hard for me to imagine all those tastes in a drink that anyone in their right mind would say is good.  I am sure that if I did more research, I would find others describing it as having many other tastes.  This is all very subjective, unlike a measured alcohol content.  Being subjective, in the words of my good friend and fellow winery visitor, Naftali Admoni, “It doesn’t matter what Rogov or Parker or anyone else says about the wine.  It matters what you feel and taste in your own mouth.”  This is so simple and so true.  Of course, one has to spend some time educating one’s palate, mainly by tasting and comparing wines.  Then, and only then, will you be able to slowly develop a sense of what is good, better, and best.  And most of all, what you like.  A beauty of a wine is in the fragrance of the beholder.  So buy a bottle of this and enjoy the experience of smelling its fragrances and feeling its textures.

As an added note, I read the description of the wine on the two labels, one from the 2007 Shiraz and the other from the 2008 Shiraz.  The 2007 is said to be blended with 5% Viognier and the 2008 is co-fermented with about 6% Viognier.  Not knowing what “co-fermentation” is, I did a bit of research and have become enlightened by an article by Stephen Reiss on his wineeducation.com website.  If you care to learn what it is, go the the link, http://blog.wineeducation.com/2007/01/co-fermentation-why-and-what.html.


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