Monday, February 21, 2005

Blue Tongue Shiraz offers powerful flavor for less than $5

I tried this last week and it was excellent especially for the price. Although I have not yet been able to find it for less that $5.
This is the seventh and final -- for awhile -- Australian wine I have written about since the beginning of the year. That just goes to show how strong Australia is in producing great drinkable wines at good prices.

This Blue Tongue Shiraz is no exception, being slickly packaged and packing a ton of fruit and pleasure for less than $5 per bottle. It takes real savvy to be able to bring a wine of this quality to the market in that price category.

There is a serious winemaking team behind this effort featuring juice blended from several different vineyard sites in southern Australia. The name of the wine comes from the dangerous Blue Tongue lizard that bites with a vengeance and doesn't let go, which is what the producers want you to do with this wine.

In the glass, Blue Tongue Shiraz is a deep crimson red with underlying purplish-pink streaks and a deeply opaque core going out into a purplish-red rim and medium-high viscosity.

On the nose, there is an amazing plethora of toffee, crme caramel, vanilla extract, crushed blackberries, soft black licorice, juice from Bing cherries and peppery mineral undernotes.

In the mouth, it hits you like a black fruit-laden freight train, filled with ripe supple cherries, blackberries, brambleberry juice and tons of licorice, star anise and slightly spicy pepper, then minerals and oak references. The midpalate is solid black fruit and licorice going into a lengthy powerful finish with serious structure.

A big Australian wine, Blue Tongue Shiraz requires some time out of the bottle before consumption. Try it with a black pepper-crusted grilled ahi tuna and a bed of truffle mashed potatoes. It will be good now through 2006.

Wine: Blue Tongue Australian Shiraz

Grape: Shiraz

Region: Victoria, South Australia

Vintage: 2001

Price: $4.99

Gil Lempert-Schwarz writes his wine column each Wednesday. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749 or e-mail him at