Friday, January 11, 2013

Walla Walla Syrah v. Aussie Shiraz

The Pro road race schedule is getting underway down under.  This past weekend featured the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.  This is a great opportunity for some up and coming Australian riders to show what they have leading into the Australian National Championships.  Then the following week features the World Tour calendar kick off with the Tour Down Under.

To celebrate all things Australia, this week's Lucha Vino challenge features an Australilan Shiraz taking on a Washington State Syrah.

2007 Otis Kenyon Syrah v. 2005 Mt. Langi Billi Billi Shiraz



Tale of the Tape

2007 Otis Kenyon Syrah

100% Syrah from the Petite Vineyard and the estate Stellar and Windy Ridge vineyards.

Purchased at the Woodinville tasting room for $30.












2005 Mt Langi Billi Billi Shiraz

100% Shiraz from Grampians, Swan Hill and Bendigo

Aged for 12 months in 5% new and 95% used French Oak (95%) and American Oak (5%) barrels. 

Purchased from Garagiste for $8.99.










Round 1.  First opening

The Otis Kenyon is saluting its heritage by coming out on fire.  The nose is floral with dried lavendar and violets followed by notes of earthy red berries.  The palate features the same floral notes with medium red fruit finishing off slightly hot.


I can't help but think of Judge Smails whenever I say the name Billi Billi.  This Australian Luchador is demonstrating the Smails take no prisoner attitude right out of the gate.  The nose features notes of dark and dusty fruit combined with hints of cracked pepper.  The palate is showing dark plush fruit with some menthol spices followed by a tart vanilla and white pepper finish.

It may be unfair, but Billi Billi appears to have taken this round by bringing a golf club into the ring.

Round 2. One hour after opening

The Otis Kenyon is showing off some finesse and style with a nose of earthy dark fruit, menthol spices and light lavender.  The palate is full of dark fruit, clove spices and a finish featuring coffee bean and tart cedary notes of menthol.

Billi Billi is building on its powerful base with a nose of dark fruit, roasted coffee and bacon fat along with some  dusty cracked pepper.  The palate also shows smoky dark fruit with a slightly sweet tart cedar finish.

Otis Kenyon takes round two with superior Kung Fu style.

Round 3.  One day after opening

Otis Kenyon is building some complex character with a nose of floral lavender and raspberry.  The palate is also showing lavender with white pepper, red fruits and menthol that trails over to a spicy tart finish.

Billi Billi isn't sitting still.  Bobbing and weaving this Luchador from Down Under is flashing a change of pace with a nose of sour dark fruit, stoney mineral and leather.  The palate remains dark and brooding with dark fruit and tart leather building to a tart coffee bean finish.

This one was close to call and we are going to have to go to the replay booth for a final ruling.

Wrap up and overall observations

The Otis Kenyon showed some real interesting floral notes that reminded me of lavender and lush meadows.  This shouldn't be mistaken for weakness or a shrinking violet of a Luchador.  No.  This Washington wine was robust and complex showing a variety of moves that kept the bulkier Billi Billi off guard throughout the match.

In the end the complex character of the Otis Kenyon made the difference for me and the judges in this matchup.  There could have been some intimidation and threats of burning homes down involved.  Nobody is talking so we can't say for sure.

In the end, what we can say is. Two different styles.  Two good wines.  But, you can only have one winner.  And the winner of this match was the Otis Kenyon.

I give the Otis Kenyon an 89 and the Billi Billi an 88.

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