March 3, 2008

Henry's Drive - Dead Letter Office 2005

Shiraz Blend / $16 - $25
Padthaway / Australia

Every once in a while, I am asked to taste a wine and post a review. Being politically correct, some of the reviews don't make it to print if the wine doesn't perform. Over the years, there are very few that I just could not stomach. I see merit in most wines, without regard to price. I see it as a matter of value.

My friend Brian Pawsat sent this wine over to me to review. I can tell you in advance, that ALL wine tastes better when free....this fact aside, here is what I found.

It seems that most Australian wines these days have a gimmick label. With competition fierce, and prices low, anything the producers can do to grab attention, they do. This bottle label was stamped with postmarks to complement the "Dead Letter Office" theme. Cute, attractive and certainly attention grabbing. It also has a screw top, which seems more and more common these days with Australian wines under $20.

For me, the screw top is actually an attractive feature. Although controversial, screw tops are perfect for everyday wines where you are only drinking a few glasses and resealing. It also alleviates having to worry about a bottle being "corked" or needing to carry a corkscrew on a picnic. I think you will see more and more screw top closures. I have good information that even the French Bordeaux producers are bottling some of their wine in screw tops to determine the viability for upper end, expensive Bordeaux wines. I say bring it on.....although there is something nice about the custom of uncorking as we know it.

This wine is 98% Shiraz (Syrah) with 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is deep purple, almost a bowl of blackberry jam. The nose reveals Black fruit, blueberry, vanilla and pencil lead. The wine looks thick and jammy, and certainly is inviting, especially to those of us who appreciate a "fruit bomb" now and then.

The wine is certainly jammy. Lots of blackberry, blueberry, with a tinge of smokiness on the finish. The wine is thinner then I anticipated...not much glycerin or roundness. It is a big wine, but is well integrated. An easy wine to quaff, you have to be careful not to polish off the bottle with dinner.... It is 15% alcohol which will certainly disable you the following morning.

For the money, this is a great value. It can be found locally retail for less then $25.00. If you are willing to go on line, it is available at $16.00 per bottle. This is exactly as I describe, a fruit bomb. If this is your thing, you will love this wine. If you are a purist and want something more complex....move on to the next review. Thanks Brian, for bringing this one to my attention. As I mentioned earlier in the review.....when the wine is always tastes better... Cheers!

Links: Henry's Drive Website
Order on-line: $15.95 per bottle, Shipping $24.00

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