Over the years Australia has been known for the Shiraz grape and while the luster has diminished a little over the last couple of years in the lower price range, be it due to exchange rates, globalization of the wine trade, weather or even a smug feeling of success, they are still capable of putting a good well made wine on our shelves. For those looking for a value price easy to drink wine with their grilled foods or even those looking for a full and fruity wine for sipping try the 2011 Shiraz from the Little Penguin Wines.
In the glass this wine looks dark and impenetrable, but hold it up to a light source and it becomes a pretty garnet color. As you seek the light let it pass by your nose, wow, the aroma is full and strong, with black fruit and pepper dominating with a very subtle strawberry note lurking in between. The full nose is a prelude to a soft, fleshy texture that is a fruit forward grab the tongue and wrestle with it flavor of blackberry, black cherry and the peppery spice expected from many Australian Shiraz. Not a layered wine, the flavor up front in the mouth and is a full frontal assault on your taste buds, what come people call a drinkable fruity wine and while many may look down on the Little Penguin Shiraz for that trait, the grape is known for lending weight and punch at the front end of the wine and is one reason why it is often blended into other well known labels.
This wine is made for food with a finish that will cut through creamy fat laden dishes, but it really shines with grilled meat and hard cheese. One strong suggestion is that you don’t try to be delicate with flavors in your meal as this wine will eliminate the subtlety of all but hearty foods that can match the presence in the mouth. Personally I found it equally pleasing as a standalone beverage and while it lost some freshness it was very drinkable for several days after opening the bottle.
So, it is a great food wine that is loaded with fruit, what is not to like? Well, I would have rated it higher than two stars if there was a little more style or separation in the flavor profile, while the smash mouth character is appealing to a lot of people it leads to a wine built to quaff rather than sip and appreciate. However, with a regular shelf price of $5.99 at Publix the 2011 Little Penguin Shiraz is widely available in the area and hits the mark in bang for the buck.
For a fun little activity try the wine personality quiz on their website at http://www.thelittlepenguin.com/penguinzone/winepersonalitytest warning, they will ask for the opportunity to ‘sign you up’.