New York strip was on sale at the local grocery store this weekend, so I picked up a ‘value pak’, looking forward to a good steak and veggie dinner with one of the wines I’ve kept around for a treat. Monday night was the night, I expected my wife home, and was ready to fire up the grill when she called.
My wife is a Realtor, and as anyone in an entrepreneurial or sales business can tell you, when clients need you, regardless of time of day, they need you now. So a client called this afternoon, and instead of a steak, veggies, and glass of wine on the deck, she had to scarf down some frozen thing in a box and get back to work.
I, however, was not to be denied my steak. (I had eaten all the other leftovers from the weekend for lunch, so I didn’t really have a choice). I decided instead of opening a bottle I knew was good, I would take a shot on a Cab/Merlot blend from a producer we’d liked recently. Alas, as you’ll see in a minute, I had the opportunity to compare all that is great about new world wine with all that is, well, not. Two Bordeaux blends, two very different outcomes.
NV Mark Davidson Cabernet/Merlot
Appellation: South Eastern Australia
Tasting Notes: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. 13.5% ABV. Dark purple in the glass. Nose is very candied, jammy, with a hint of more sophisticated dark fruit under the syrup. Fruit bomb. Dark fruit, a little jammy, but not as much as the nose indicated. No tannic structure to speak of, and a very short finish. A hint of licorice/eucalyptus. Hot, which at 13.5% shouldn’t be the case. Mostly, though, tastes like medicine. Disappointing, as we had a Mark Davidson Semillon/Chardonnay blend that was fantastic. My wife tasted it and agreed. Down the sink it went.
Rating: 1/5, 6/20, 71/100
Price: $10.99 at Bin 604
2005 O’Neill Vosti Petit Batard
Appellation: Napa Valley
Tasting Notes: 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 16% Malbec. 14.9% ABV. Pretty violet in the glass. Nose is dark fruit, chocolate, tobacco and a hint of cedar. Tastes of black cherry, plum, some spice, and a touch of oak. Complex layered flavors of coffee and chocolate along with the fruit. If you didn’t know this was wine, you wouldn’t know it had alcohol in it until you had finished the bottle and fallen asleep on the couch. A perfect match with a basic grilled steak. Just wonderful wine, and this is supposed to be the wine not good enough to make Xtant (which I’ve tasted and have a bottle waiting for… another steak). Very new world in style, this is fruit forward and bold, but balanced and elegant.
Rating: 5/5, 18/20, 94/100.
Price: $432/case direct from the winery.