Saturday, 6/2, Little Rock, AR
After a day of shuttling kids to various places, #1 and I had the good fortune to be invited to a Shiraz/Syrah tasting party. Attended by about 15 couples, as well as the host's extended family, lots of good food was laid out on several tables which we dug in to in preparation for the tasting. Each couple was advised to bring a bottle of Shiraz/Syrah, $9-$16, for the tasting. Only one person knew the identities of each bottle as they were all placed in brown paper bags with a different number on each. In all, 21 different bottles of wine were tasted. Of those 21, 2 bottles rose to the occasion and won this unscientific contest. The 2004 Black Opal Shiraz from Australia and the 2002 Tolosa Syrah from California. The Tolosa had a rich, ruby color, aromas of blackberry and cherry with tastes of blueberry and soft tannins. A smooth finish put this one in my Top 2. The Black Opal also had a rich, ruby color, with more strawberry on the nose and spiced cherry on the palate. Also a very smooth finish. One interesting thing about the Black Opal was that someone had brought a 2005 Black Opal Shiraz that did not compare to the 2004 and was, in fact, not even in the Top 15. It just shows that a year can make a whale of a difference in taste. The Black Opal was purchased for $11/bottle, while the Tolosa went at the higher end of the range at $16/bottle. #1 and I brought the Tolosa but had no idea how it tasted as we had never tried it. It came highly recommended by the retailer and I had enjoyed a Tolosa Chardonnay a few weeks ago so I thought I would give it a try. If you like Shiraz/Syrah, try both of these as 15 couples pretty much agreed that they carried the night. Sit Long, Talk Much, Laugh Often, Drink Wine!

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