Saturday, September 10, 2011
Peter Lehmann of the Barossa Shiraz `08 $12.99 ***
It is unofficially Fall. We've had gallons upon gallons of rain dumped on us and the sun finally decided to peek out from behind the clouds to say hello. We've been craving comfort food. For S & JPH, that would be Chanterelles (opening the box below made me go weak in the knees) and Andouillette (an S. & JPH favorite: French Tripe Sausage... I agreed to try one bite).
As the smell of sauteing Andouillette filled the kitchen, JPH suggested that I grab a "BIG" bottle from the rack to have with dinner. We agreed on this Peter Lehmann Australian Shiraz from a mixed case bought at Coves Discount . I love mixed cases - there is a discount (JPH declared this case averaged $12.00 per bottle), we get to try some new selections, and have some old favorites.
This Barossa Shiraz is now in the latter category - we will be having more in the future. At 14.5% ETOH, it was bound to be a prize fight in a bottle, and at first, it was. First pour straight after unscrewing the top, it was rugged; all you get is a punch in the mouth of flavor and an after-burn. As we cooked, it sat for a while. I didn't get a chance to aerate it, but time did the trick anyway. Between having time to "breathe" and a swirl in the glass, the magic of natural aeration had a chance to release the rugged concentration in the wine.
Our plates were filled with the powerful flavors of Andouillette with spicy mustard, fresh baked white bread, chorizo potatoes and garlic & bacon dressed with spinach (I called the meal "Pork Three Ways"). Paired with this Shiraz, the flavors worked really well together. By the time S. joined us at the table, it had become a robust, smoother wine - still with a punch of flavor, predominantly chocolate - but blackcurrant was there too. S. took a sip and declared it a good wine. It became a fruity, chocolaty Shiraz that tamed the wild beast of tripe sausage (well, my one bite at least). Between the three of us, the bottle was finished before the plates were empty.
Thank you Peter Lehmann, for being the champion of the Barossa Valley. In 1979, he saw an over production of grapes and a need for wineries. The original consortium was named Peter Lehmann Wines, and now, 31 years later, Barossa Valley is on the wine map and on my list of places to visit. This is a good Shiraz for a fair price. When you pair it properly and treat it with respect (let it get some air), it will make you very happy.