Pertaringa Undercover Shiraz ’05 & Mendel Malbec ’06
One of the advantages of working in a wine shop has got to be customer tastings. Not only do we get to try the wines but it’s also a great opportunity to talk with our customers, to get an understanding of what consumers are looking for in their weekly wine shop. I also love the look on people’s faces when they try a wine for the first time and discover something new. I definitely get a sense of satisfaction when they enjoy one of my recommendations. What if they like the wine and I don’t? Well, I’ve learned to be quite diplomatic in my critiques and of course, if they don’t like it, then I let rip and steer them to wines I think they’d like.
We had two wines on tasting the other day, one I loved and the other? Meh. What surprised me the most was the wine I liked was an Australian shiraz and the wine I wasn’t crazy about was an Argentine malbec. Usually my tastes run the exact opposite so it’s always eye-opening to revisit a style or grape I thought I knew and discover something totally different.
I do like Australian wines but when I actually buy wine, Australia is not my go-to place. That is until the Pertaringa ’05 Undercover Shiraz came around. Pertaringa is a small boutique vineyard in the McLaren Vale in South Australia and most of their shiraz is used as a blending grape for other wineries in the McLaren Vale, hence the name “Undercover” since it’s an unbilled player in those blends. The Undercover is 100% shiraz, they’re not pullling any punches here.
The first thing that hit me was ripe, red raspberries! Loads of them mixed up with a heady creamy scent. An image of raspberry ice cream jumped into my head. Very fruity nose, I was loving the aromas coming up from the bottom of the glass. On the palate more of those ripe, raspberries but not jammy which I detest in New World wines. It had a nice balance between fruit and oak, hints of black pepper and mocha coffee on the finish. After about half an hour, a minty freshness seemed to evolve from the glass. Very creamy mouthfeel. This one was a delightful mouthful, could be drunk on it’s own or maybe with a mature cheese. A great buy for £11.99.
The Mendel ’06 Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina, on the other hand… well, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement. It started off promisingly enough, a deep pomegranate colour with a vegetal, minty, herbal nose, not much fruit on the nose, though. Then, the swish – green tannins, unripe black fruit (blackcurrant and plums) and black licorice. It was full bodied and not jammy but there was something nagging at the back of my mind, I know! I felt it was unbalanced with too much oak on the palate, there was an overpowering taste of vanilla and oak. It finished off with an earthy licorice note but I just didn’t care for it, not at £13.99 a bottle! That might have been another reason I didn’t really care for it, way overpriced for what you got.
So there you go, the surprising and delighful world of wine where just when you think you know exactly what a wine will taste like and then – BAM! Expect the unexpected, no?
All wines available from Oddbins