These three selections were chosen for January 2006.
2002 Famiglia Bianchi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza
Bodegas Valentin Bianchi has been producing wine for over 70 years. Mr. Valentin Bianchi arrived from Italy in 1910 and by 1928 had started a small winery known as El Chiche. Almost 80 years later the Bianchi family is still involved in running the winery. This wine is a blend of 85% Shiraz, 5% each Malbec, Merlot, and Petite Verdo aged 12 months in 90% French and 10% American oak, with 33% new, 33% one and 33% two-years old. A light nose of red berries. Blue and black berries on the palate that are integrated with soft tannins and good acidity. A balanced wine to drink now. Drink upon opening bottle or up to 24 hours later.
2004 Tait Wines, The Ball Buster, Barossa Valley
Tait Wines was founded in 1994 when brothers Michael and Bruno Tait, and Bruno’s wife Michelle bought the property. Their father, Giovanni Tait, migrated to Australia in 1957. He was a cooper for the Seppelt winery. Tait Wines attempts to mix old and new winemaking techniques to produce full-flavored wines. The crushing, fermenting, and punching are all computer controlled. The grapes are then pressed using a traditional basket press. The Ball Buster is their least expensive offering. This wine is a blend of 74% Shiraz, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Merlot aged 12 Months in re-shaved French and American oak. Medium to dark fruity color in the glass. Black fruit on the nose. An explosion of well-integrated fruit and oak on the palate of this massive wine. Drink now or over several years.
2004 Thorn-Clarke, Shotfire Ridge, Shiraz, Barossa Valley
Thorn-Clarke wines are owned by David and Cheryl Clarke nee Thorn. Both families have a long history in the Barossa Valley. Cheryl’s family has been grape growers since 1870. David’s family has been mining gold from the Barossa Goldfields for generations. The Thorn-Clarkes have been producing wine for two decades. The Shotfire Ridge range of wines all come from the Karbiningie vineyard and receive special oak maturation. This wine is 100% Shiraz aged 12 months in 40% new French and American oak and balanced in 2nd and 3rd fill hogsheads. Medium to dark-purple in the glass. A slightly aromatic nose of cherry and strawberry candy. The fruit explodes with fine tannins following. Drink now or wait one year.