I have an odd addition to my earlier notes.

My first bottle was slightly cooked... it was left in my car for a couple of hours (yes, I know this isn't good), leaked a little through the capsule, and I decided to try it anyway.

It was fabulous.

The second bottle, tried this weekend, wasn't nearly as good... had the cough syrupy taste several of you have mentioned, as well as an unpleasantly harsh alcohol tone.

For good drinking... buy one bottle, leave in hot car for about 2-3 hours, move to cool cellar, and open within 24 hours.
Futronic,

I wrote the above post about a half an hour before the lights went out. As it turns out, Friday afternoon wouldn't have worked for me after all, but I just wanted to follow up on your earlier e-mail about a Toronto-area MP tasting.
I've tried 3 different bottles of this wine. 1 at R2D2's home 2 weeks ago and we opened 2 bottles at my house on Friday during an offline. I decanted 1 for 12 hours and the other got opened accidentally and was consumed with no decanting. All of them were dark inky black wines.

I have to say that this wine is a bit of an anomoly. Decanting should help this wine tremendously and yet the decanted bottle did not show as well. The bottle I had at R2D2's and the decanted bottle at my home were similar in profile. They were big and brawny with rich chocolate, cassis, plum and tar notes. Full bodied and thick texture. I tried the decanted bottle agian the next day and it had not changed. Frankly I did not detect much heat in any of the 3 bottles I tried. I would rate these 2 bottles in the 88-89 point range.

The indecanted bottle at my home was another matter. It showed much more pepper and spice notes with a greater depth of flavor. I had another glass the next day and it rounded out and opened up even more. I would rate it at 91 points.

The bottom line is that I suspect bottle variation may be the cause of the distinction in the bottles I've had. From some of the other posts in this thread it appears a few other memebers may have noticed the same thing.

VM

Eamus Catuli!
I waited until Saturday, 8/15 to try it. I admit that I cheated and looked at the first few notes and I'm grateful for doing so.

As a result, I poured a half glass out, chugged it, corked it up and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours. After, I poured a glass and let it come close to room temp.

The legs were slow...which makes me reconsider the alcohol content vs. speed of legs factor.

The nose was primarily ripe blackberry, with some chocolate.

The tannins were firm; it felt like it could last a lot longer than the 2001. I tasted chocolate and a hint of mint along with the massive berry flavors. I didn't pick up any warm toasty vanilla like I did with the 2001. Did any of you?

The finish was medium to long.

Overall, I really liked the wine and I sincerely appreciate the advice on decanting...I didn't suffer the alcohol burn like some of you did.

Mike

"Gimme back my monkey!" - Marty Wolf, Big Fat Liar
Tried this for the second time tonight. This wine is young, raw and without balance. There is too much alcohol that throws off the balance. It also seemed a bit over-manipulated, i.e. the winemaking seems overdone.

I bought a few bottles and they are going into short-term sleep to hope for the best.

Not bad by any means but flawed. "I" for incomplete.
Eucalyptus!!! Yes!

Zinfanman, here is my note from two weeks ago:

"The nose on this wine is very sweet and complex possessing candied black cherries, grilled meat, cassis, eucalyptus and vanilla. Had I not known what the wine was, I definitely would have guessed Napa cab. While the palate definitely packs a fruity punch, there is a lot of uneasy tart on the finish. To be honest it was slight distracting and took away from the wine. After 10 hours it never subsided which gives me some pause. At $12.99, I could buy more but I think I will pass in favor of other wines that intrigue me more. 89 points"
At the end of the day, this wine is either an “I like it for what it is and its price” or I don’t. I feel there is complexity in this wine. Only time will tell if the wine will come into balance. It seems to me this wine will be much better this winter and next year. After that, I don’t think it will improve much. I don’t really care. I think it’s a very good value for the $12.99 per bottle I spent for a general house wine.
I wasn't overly impressed with this wine. This is the first time I had a MP shiraz and I guess my expectations were so high because of all the hype. I had a hard time getting past the alohol
but it did start to soften after a couple of hours. I like a wine with lots of layers and I don't see the potential for that with bottle aging; however, there was some nice rich fruit trying to show through all that heat. I have another bottle which I'll try again in another 6-12 months. Certainly can't beat the price. My husband also picked up a "Sara's Blend". Would be interested to get a recommended drinking time for this from you folks who have had "Sara's Blend" from previous vintages.
Bought this based on the strong opinions of its supporters on this forum.

Color: Gorgeous, inky, "high- extract" look, a very pretty wine to look at. . .

That's where the beauty ended for me. This is a botched wine in my opinion. It seems contrived and way over done. It reminded me of some of the Riccardo Cotarella wines that seem to always taste the same regardless of the varietal. This is over ripe and poorly balanced. I didn't even finish the bottle. I'm gonna reduce it with some shallots, sugar, lime juice and butter and put it in a squeeze bottle to garnish some scallops this weekend. These guys are clearly pandering to Parker, to whom they owe much of their popularity and their "discovery" by wine drinkers.

Are the other wines better?
I haven't read this thread at all. This is posted without others' notes:

Inky purple and almost black color. The nose is a little hot, yielding dark blackberries, and a little jam. Nice palate of dark fruit with a very slight minerality, and a short finish. In fact, the only lingering finish is the heat from the 15.5% alcohol. I remember thinking that I was really feeling it on my first bottle, and I have reconfirmed that now 2 more times.

I'm a little disapointed by this one, I like the Sarah's better, and I like the 01 Shiraz better. I like this wine, but it's not as stunning as the previous vintages. I give it 88 points.

********
Flower power my ass.
Inky black color with long slow purple legs. I opened a 2001 on Saturday and the '02 on Sunday. I have had this a few times and based on comments written here I decided to give it a good 4 hours of decanting. First I will say, the '01 is clearly much more integrated and is a much better wine than the '02 is (not surprising given the extra year in the bottle). However, the 2002 has shown me potential.

Served this at room temp, which was probably around the 72F point. Alcohol dominated the nose much more than I have experienced with this wine previously. However, with a vigorous swirl this wine began to show it's true spirit. Loads of blueberry, vanilla, cedar and All-Spice... very pleasant indeed. On the palate it was rich and full with a similar profile to the nose with an added a bit of oak and a rather hot finish.

This was the first time decanting and I served it at a rather warm temp (approx 72F). Given these circumstances. I would only give this wine 86 points. However, my experience with this wine so far has been that it shows best about an hour after being opened in a relatively cool environment (65F) or lower. I have thought this was a 90pt wine in a couple of times, just not this weekend under this environment.

I can't compare the '02 with the '01 at this point in it's life cycle because I didn't try a '01 until 6 months ago. They seem to have a similar profile and if the alcohol integrates I believe they will both prove to be outstanding. You still can't beat this wine for the price but I will concur that the Sarah's blend is the much better wine at this stage.
Opened this up on the Friday evening of the TAA weekend.

Decanted for 5 hours. Opaque inky black colour. Fat, thick slow legs. Big concentrated aromas of vanilla, raspberry, cassis. Full-bodied and concentrated fruit bomb with cassis, plums, and oak. Smooths out with even more time in the glass. Slightly hot and alcoholic on the finish with some coffee notes that linger for 45+ seconds. Had with BBQ'd ribeye and morel sauce. Hopefully this will come together with a little time in the cellar. 87 points
Tasted from Riedel Vinum Cab Glass
63 degrees
decanted 2 hours

what can be said that's new

I'll just sum it up

Lots of dark ripe fruit and exotic spices, Baked Blueberry Pie with cinnamon.

Vitis : I also caught the "butter" but my notes called it "cream". I didn't find this to be over oaked, but I did think it was a bit cloying and over the top rich. There was a perfume smell - like Channel No 5. that was odd. A little structure would have gone a long way, this wine is almost greasy.

88 pts but very nifty, a great BBQ bottle!
Here is something to think about. Parkers review just came out for this wine. Here it is:
quote:
The exciting, saturated inky purple-colored 2002 Shiraz reveals a gorgeous perfume of blackberry liqueur, white flowers, vanilla, and a hint of figs. Opulent, voluptuous, and sexy, it is both flamboyant and immensely satisfying. This big, silky, flesh bomb should drink well for 3-4 years. For the price, it offers unbelievable value.

He rated it a 93. His score is higher than ANY of the 39 opinions in this thread.

~Is it because Parker likes big, oaky, alcoholic shiraz more than we do?

~Is it that we are stricter scorers?

~Is it that Parker is given special bottles to taste?

Does anyone want to express an opinion on this issue?

VM

AC145895 but dreaming of AC000000
He obviously wasn't drinking the same bottle I was! I'll give in to the blackberry but I couldn't pick up any of the other flavors he mentioned. Maybe the bottle was mislabeled and was a 2001.

But of course I'm no Robert Parker... or even a Fess Parker as far as that goes!
When I tried it the wine didn't resemble his review at all. I'm being swayed over to the "special bottles" arguement. Plus he doesn't taste these blind. I've always wondered about Parker's palate and obvious love for huge fruity oak-bombs. Not to nit pick or anything... Wink
Especially about the 3-4 years. I am surprised at his inference that it is ready now. This wine is very different from the 2001 and may peak in that time frame but may drink well until 2011. It's very dense and structured. Why does he rate such an unevolved wine so highly?

I completely concur with ratings on the '01 Shirvington shiraz & cab and the '01 Henry's Drive reserve shiraz. These are life-changing wines, but the '02 MPs are nowhere near their class.

Let's roll...
Parker is certainly second guessed a lot. I'm not saying that we should take everything he says as truth, but you should keep in mind that he probably has more tasting experience than most everyone on this board combined. The guy knows a few things about wine...

-Brettay
VM: My thoughts:
The "release" of this wine seemed to have been delayed for months. (May-July). I wonder what the storage conditions of the wine were during this delay. Was this stuff stuck in the hot, musty hold of a cargo ship crossing the Pacific? I can't help but wonder whether Parker's bottle had a better journey than ours. That's not to say that mine (or ours) was bad. (I gave it 90pts). But 39 scores and no 93+s makes me think that Parker's bottle was just different.

Just a theory. Don't know if any shop owners/distributors have any insight.

[This message was edited by JimmyV on Aug 27, 2003 at 10:05 AM.]
JimmyV,

I also have this little theory, admittedly based strictly on a hunch, that many participants prefer to hold back a bit with their score. I sense that some folks don't want to seem like they're too excited about a $12 wine, like there's some sort of shame associated with that.

Rob a,

Golden cork award! Eek
It hasn't been mentioned around here in ages!
quote:
Originally posted by andreasx:
JimmyV,

I also have this little theory, admittedly based strictly on a hunch, that many participants prefer to hold back a bit with their score. I sense that some folks don't want to seem like they're too excited about a $12 wine, like there's some sort of shame associated with that


Maybe, but I still did not like the wine enough to want to buy another bottle at a low price. So, while the MP fans chase this down, I'll be loading up on the Paringa...oh my, did RP rate Paringa? I hope not or if he did I hope it is rated below 90
I think the reason the wine was scored highly is because Parker likes those monolithic fruit bombs. This is one reason why I rarely follow scores given by WA. My palate does not align well with his. Personally I prefer a wine with more elegance and structure as opposed to a glorified Welch's grape juice.

That said, I still think the MP Shiraz is a good wine, but definitely not in the league of other highly rated wines.
There is often a grain of truth to stereotypes. Yes, Australia makes some big reds. Yes, their topo is (generally) most condusive to red varietals. And yes, Parker loves big reds.

With that said, it's a big place! I've had some very "sophisticated", multi-dimensional reds the do cost a bit more than $14 that Marquis Phillips does. But then again, How many Calfornia reds are $14 and REALLY inspiring? Additionally, I've also tasted some very good whites from the Margaret River region.

I guess my thesis is Explore. If you stop only on the doorstep of Marquis Phillips you are missing quite a bit.
I can see it. Although For my taste I think this wine is in the 88 - 90 point range (maybe 90 if it settles down, based on day two tasting), It has a unique quality that makes it very individualistic. If that appeals to the reviewer then the wine will be rated very high. I think that anything that has unique qualities will be very appealing to one person and offensive to another.

I also think (I might take some heat here) ----- in a TAA no one wants to have a rating that is off the charts out of fear that the group might question their palate.... Sorry, I think it is a subconcious element that affects the scores.
TCK: With repect to your idea that forumites don't want to go too high for fear of being questioned, remember that the "word on the street" was that the '02 was going to surpass the '01, which Parker loved. In fact, that is exactly what happened. Knowing this, there should have been a subconscious incentive to OVERRATE the wine, not underrate it. I suspected that RMP was going to give this a 92 or 93. It would have been very easy for me to bump my score to align with his. No one would dare challenge the palate of a forumite who nailed Parker's score. Nevertheless, our scores were lower. I just don't think peer pressure had an effect on our scores. If anything, I was afraid of underrating a wine that everyone else was going to give 92+ pts to. But I stuck with my honest rating. I believe others did as well.
TCK, you make a valid point in regards to people holding back a score. But, i think it works in reverse too, ie. not scoring a wine as low as they would have liked. Why? I guess there is a fear of being ridiculed or questioned. However, I've only seen one person who consistently questions the scores of another person on this board.
JimmyV and R2-D2,

I agree that many times people may overrate. However, I think it's more likely to underrate a cheap wine, even if you expect RP to rate it highly. After all, who wants to be called a lemming? It's also more likely to overrate an expensive wine, if nothing else to better justify having payed a lot for it.

As far as fear of being ridiculed, I accept that it happens but I don't understand why. Isn't it all a matter of personal taste? It makes as much sense to ridicule someone for liking the color yellow better than green. Confused
When I taste wine for the purpose of scoring/TNs, I like to have something to compare it against to 'calibrate' my palate. It allows me to pick out distinct flavors/nuances better than I would otherwise. My point is that I think that you need a frame of reference when scoring a wine, so that you are unbiased. Take a bottle that you rated a 90 to warm up your palate, and then try the wine in question.

"So what brings you to this nape of the woods...neck of the way...how come you're here?" - Ty Webb
JimmyV - I trust your palate Smile

I admit that I have not participated in many TAA's, but as I look at the scores they are all between 85 and 90 points. I think that this is due to 2 seperate facts.

The first is that people who may not be as confident in their own scores think "this can't be that bad, or this can't be that good".

The other factor is the fact that unique features in a wine will add to some and detract from others scores, the same way that some people love the taste of Brussell Sprouts and others hate it. when the scores are averaged this causes the unique charecteristics to be discounted.

I find that the TAA is very usefull for finding individule people who's scores I tend to agree with and tracking their other notes. The total score I find to be less usefull. Anyway, it's always fun. Big Grin

TCK
TCK –
I think there are some other factors that also influence the tight range of TAA average scores (between 85-90).
The wines are all handpicked by people who really care about wine and want to feature something that will show well to other participants. So it’s unlikely you’d wind up with a truly awful wine – or even one that would score consistently in the low 80s.
Limiting the upside potential are two other factors – price and availability. While there may be some smaller-production wines selling under $20 that would be consistently rated by tasters over 90 points, those wines wouldn’t be picked for a TAA because they’d be hard to find nationally. And while there are almost certainly larger production wines selling over $20 that would be generally highly rated, those wouldn’t make it as a TAA wine either because of the price-ceiling on picks.
So, since the TAA features easier-to-find, larger-production, lower-cost wines that the “host” feels might be very good, it’s not surprising that the average score winds up in the upper 80s…
But like other professional ratings/reviews, I tend to look at the words used to describe the wine more than the numeric point value assigned to it when deciding what to buy.

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