Sunday, November 26, 2006

2003 Kangarilla Road Shiraz

Foods that warm up the house and everyone in it are highly desirable on the Sonoma Coast in November. Stews, things baked in the oven, roasts--all fit the bill perfectly. We decided on a beef stew with a twist for dinner, an unusual Singapore-influenced curried beef stew from Cooking Light. It starts with an aromatic paste made of green onions, orange juice, ginger, jalapenos, and other sweet and spicy ingredients. After long, slow simmering the beef, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, celery, and carrots are tender, the whole house smells delicious, and you're sitting down to a perfect early winter meal.

What to serve with it? I love shiraz or syrah wines with stews, and even though this had some oriental influences to it, I felt that the opulent fruitiness of an Australian shiraz would be perfect. We opened the 2003 Kangarilla Road Shiraz to go with dinner ($14.99, Costco). It is still widely available throughout the country, based on my internet search. I purchased this wine in March and it's been stashed away in our cool, dark windowseats ever since.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the right shiraz for this meal. It looked like a shiraz--deep inky purple--and even smelled like a shiraz with blackberry and earthy aromas but it drank like a grenache. This is an austere red, and on the mouth there are tastes of dusty and brambly black fruits, spice, and smoke. There is a real pucker of tannins in the finish, but I wasn't convinced that this would become smoother or rounder over time. Instead, I think it is what it is--and what it's likely to become.

This wine would be much better with grilled meats or even barbeque than with a stew. I don't think it would do well with tomato-based dishes, either, which is often a good match for syrah/shiraz wines. Because the varietal characteristics were a bit skewed on this wine, and given its cost, this gets a rating of good QPR. If you like grenache, however, and find shiraz too fruity for your tastes, this would be a good option for you.

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