2005 Block 50 Shiraz

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Cumulus Wines

What They Said:

Per Wine Warehouse’s Wine Blog “2005 was an ideal growing season for the Block 50 Shiraz as it was characterized by low crops in a warm, dry year. The fruit for this wine was sourced from two prime blocks, one with limestone soil and the other an elevated section with stony, red soil. The grape crop was kept low at around 2.5 tons per acre, which tends to intensify the grape’s flavor. Harvest was in the middle of March. At that time, the grapes showed ample acidity and balance, capturing plum like flavors and avoiding any overripe characteristics. This Shiraz macerated on its skins for 5 -10 days to gently extract fine grape tannins. A small portion was taken off skins and transferred to American oak barrels for 12 months for maturation.

The Block 50 Shiraz displays aromas of attractive dark berry fruit with a hint of white pepper. On the palate one can find deep and rich plum and blueberry characters that combine to exhibit a rich and vibrant fruit core with a solid vanilla compote component at the finish.”

What I Think:

Obviously we all know TJ’s delivers tremendous value but I continue to be amazed whenever I see the details. Per the post above this wine is suppose to retail at $14 and at warehouse pricing you get it for $9. TJ’s $6… Interestingly I have heard much about Stelvin’s (also mentioned above) as a seal enclosure but never knew it was just a plain old screw top. That reminded me of the great debate in the wind field regarding corks and screw tops. A conversation for another day…

When searching for this one I used the tools mentioned in my Wine Search Engine post. Google was the clear winner here tracking down the above, the rest really had nothing to offer. Great find as when I was doing the research for the Chasing Clouds I had considerable difficulty. The winery website mentions neither this Block 50 label or the Chasing Clouds. Nor does the post referred to above. That leads me to believe that perhaps these vineyards are too young to make the wines described on the winery website in mass. Perhaps these are dumped but not relabeled to another winery… Now onto the wine…

To make it quick the Chasing Clouds was better at half the cost. This had much more acid on the forefront of that palate. This overshadowed the fruit that tried to make its way through and resulted in something that almost ended up tasting carbonated. Perhaps I’ll like that sparkling shiraz I have waiting in the rack but for now I’ll stick to the Chasing Clouds…

2004 Chasing Clouds Central Ranges Shiraz

Price: $2.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Cumulus Wines

What They Said:

Per corkd.com we get a variety of insight from others like me. Here is the best of the bunch “Some jammy plum in the nose w/ light tannin & blackberry. The taste is light in body but juicy, with some tannin but some sweetness as well. Only a hint of the typical Shiraz pepper.”

What I Think:

As for the research this one seems to come from Cumulus Wines though they don’t acknowledge it there. Given that this is a newer winery perhaps these are the planting they don’t consider up to snuff at this time. If that were the case I would expect them to relabel the wine but perhaps not. I have reason to believe they are behind the “Block 50” offerings we have been seeing at TJ’s as well.

Now to the main event, a bit of barnyard and earthiness in the nose with dark fruits and chocolate lingering within. Interesting but not the most pleasant. On the palate this holds itself together quite well for the $3 investment. This is not a typical Shiraz as the white pepper I expect is absent as is the richness of the fruit. That said while the wine is light the finish lasts longer than one would expect at this price range. A bit thin perhaps to those on the pickier side but at this price point this is the best bang for the buck. If Aussie isn’t your thing drop the extra dollar for this 2006 Abrazo Del Toro Carinena Tinto, otherwise don’t hesitate to put a bottle in the cart.

Rating: 12th Bottle