Saturday, January 31, 2015

Washington Syrah v. Barossa Shiraz

The Tour Down Under is another top level Southern Hemisphere bike race the pros like to use for early season racing.  It gives them a chance to stretch their legs and relax with a Fosters (or two).  The pros with bigger contracts might spend more of their time tasting the wines of Australia culminating with The Grange from Penfolds.

Most of the pro racers head to Australia for the warm weather and casual early season racing.  The race is well organized and offers an opportunity to visit a part of the world that doesn't host many top level races.  The Australian pros always show up in top form ready to battle it out for the overall victory.  This year was no exception with Rohan Denis taking the overall victory.

Speaking of battling and victory, this week's challenge features an Australian Shiraz from John Duval -  the Penfolds' Grange master himself - taking on a unique Washington Syrah from Owen Roe.

2011 Owen Roe Ex Umbris v. 2012 John Duval Entity

Tale of the Tape

2011 Owen Roe Ex Umbris

100% Syrah sourced from the following vineyards:

Yakima Valley AVA
11.5% Red Willow, 6% Outlook, 38% Erickson

Horse Heaven Hills AVA
24% Six Prong Vineyard

Columbia Valley AVA
15% Lewis Vineyard

Walla Walla Valley AVA
5.5% Isidore Vineyard

Aged for 16 Months in French Oak Barrels (10% new)

Purchased from Full Pull Wines for $24.99

2012 John Duval Entity Shiraz

100% Shiraz from the Barossa Valley with grapes sourced from the Krondorf, Greenock and Eden Valley Regions

Aged for 16 months in French Oak Barrels (1/3 new).

Purchased at Total Wine for $36.99

Round 1. First opening

The Owen Roe Ex Umbris enters the ring, eyes blazing with fire.  This Luchador rose out of the ashes of wild fire and the angst and aggression is clear in this combatant's nasty attitude.  The nose shows dark currents, blue berries, funky dry leather and cracked pepper.  The palate is showing dark fruit, plum, spices and cracked pepper with a slightly hot finish.

The Entity battles back with an outrageously massive power attack.  The nose is wickedly dark and features dark fruit, smoky cracked pepper, coffee and oily asphalt notes.  The palate is rich and dark with notes of smoked meats, cracked pepper, coffee and dark black fruit that leads to a finish that is dark and slightly acidic.

The John Duval Entity takes round 1 with a brutal power packed assault.

Round 2.  One hour after opening

Owen Roe storms into the ring for round 2 looking for revenge.  This bad boy is bulking up like The Hulk!  The nose is showing smoky dark rich fruit, leather and pepper notes.  The palate is plush and smoky with dark fruit and cracked pepper that carries over to the smoky finish that also includes herbal notes of paprika.

Entity can't get much bigger.  Can it?  This Terror from Down Under is a beast!  The nose blasts off with camp fire smoke, burnt marshmallows, black fruit and roasted coffee.  The palate repeats the torched camp fire marshmallows along with black fruit, cracked pepper, smoked meats and bacon fat that is followed with a finish that features cracked pepper.

Round 2 was close with Owen Roe earning a slight edge with the Hulked up complexity in its attack.

Round 3.  One day after opening

The match is all tied up at one round each.  Round 3 will determine our winner.  Who is going to bring the pain and take the victory?

Owen Roe strikes first with a nose that features dark fruit and sweet cracked pepper.  The palate is showing plum, black cherry, vanilla and cracked pepper followed by some eucalyptus spices that carry over to the finish.

The John Duval Entity is showing strength and stamina grabbing Owen Roe in a head lock and not letting go.  The nose is dark, oily and smoky with black fruit, orange peel and subtle herbal mint notes.  The palate is equally dark and sultry with notes of smoke, oily cracked pepper and black fruit. The finish shows smoky paprika and cracked pepper.

The Owen Roe Ex Umbris brought the battle straight at the Terror from Down Under but it wasn't quite enough to topple the giant and its potent attack.  Entity takes the final round and the match.

Wrap up and overall observations.

Both of these Syrahs (Shirazs) are big and bold.  The John Duval Entity was massive and held its character through to the end of the match.

If you like your Syrah big, rich and smoky you will like both of these wines.  I would recommend them for lovers of big lush wines.

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