I tend to gravitate toward wines I already know I like.
But on a recent trip to the local giant beverage depot, I decided to expand my horizons and try a couple of new wines.
I purposely selected wines I had never tried before and with which I was completely unfamiliar. I did no research prior to tasting them. The goal was to make it as blind a tasting as possible.
The wines I selected were the Oxford Landing Estates 2010 Shiraz from Southern Australia and the Stump Jump 2010 Shiraz from the McLaren Vale winegrowing region, coincidentally also in Southern Australia.
Both wines were precisely the same price: $7.99/bottle, which, of course, is my upper limit for budget wines.
I tasted the wines on consecutive days because I wanted to enjoy each wine fully and also because I’m too cheap to waste wine by spitting it out after tasting it.
I tried the Oxford Landing Shiraz first. It was a decent wine and had a full fruity flavor, like any shiraz should. It tasted better than some of the mass marketed shirazes I’ve had — such as Yellow Tail, Jacob’s Creek and Lindeman’s — but I’m not sure it was that much better to justify it being nearly double the price.
The following night I tried the Stump Jump Shiraz. At first I was a little put off by the twist off cap, but more and more really good Australian wines are featuring these nowadays so it doesn’t necessarily reflect on the wine itself. I just prefer the romance of pulling a cork from a bottle of wine, although admittedly it’s easier to keep wine fresh with the screw caps.
From the very first sniff of the Stump Jump, I realized I was on to something pretty amazing here. It smelled fruity, not at all flowery, and the aroma told me before I even poured it that this wine was going to have a great flavor.
And it did. I was blown away by this wine. It has a dominant raspberry flavor with dark cherry undertones and a vanilla finish, which makes me suspect it is fermented in oak barrels.
A lot of times, inexpensive shirazes tend to have a bitter aftertaste, but not the Stump Jump. It was completely smooth from start to finish.
After tasting the Stump Jump, I would have expected to pay far more for this bottle of wine. At $7.99, it’s a real bargain.
Australia has a lot of great shirazes, and plenty of mediocre ones as well. But I would put the Stump Jump among the best I have tasted at any price point.
Winner of the first Battle of the Australian Shirazes: Stump Jump 2010 Shiraz!
That was really fun. I’ll have to try that again sometime!