A jammy, sweet and reasonably priced shiraz to share

Of the many wine regions in the world, Australia stands as one of the youngest, with the first vine cutting brought over in 1788. However, the land down under has since become a force to be reckoned with, currently serving as the fourth largest wine exporter in recent years. In a nation literally overflowing with great wine, Penfolds stands among the greatest.

Best known for their Grange Hermitage, a shiraz-cabernet sauvignon blend that became the first “New World” wine to receive 100 points from “Wine Spectator” and “Wine Advocate,” Penfolds produces a range of bold reds and flavorful whites. Located in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia, Penfolds takes advantage of the cooler climates to make superb wines, even at affordable prices.

We Elise Ozarowski ’15 and Jake Bleich ’16, decided to try Penfolds’ 2012 Koonunga Hill Shiraz, purchased for $10 at a New Hampshire liquor store on I-95. Upon pouring the wine, we found it unlike many we’d seen before. Elise described the color as “deep, almost black, but there’s definitely a nice burgundy color.” I corroborated that the Shiraz was “inky purple. It looks kinda like Barney the dinosaur’s blood… but dark.”

The nose invoked a little more discussion between the tasters. Elise didn’t think the nose was overwhelming, remarking that there were some “berry notes” but not much else. I found the smell to be reminiscent of “someone opening a jar of Smuckers and then have someone douse it with Vodka.” Ozarowski agreed that there was a slight alcohol aroma.

Then, came the moment we were waiting for: the first sip.  Jake and Elise both agreed that the palate was underwhelming, with Elise saying the palate was “soft on the tongue, with a juicy feel” while  I disliked the overall watery nature of the wine. However, the taste was exquisite. “It’s neither tart nor sour. It’s really on the sweeter side, but it’s balanced,” Elise said. She also felt there was an earthy quality to the taste. I agreed, saying “it’s pretty jammy, with a little bit of astringency, like an under ripe strawberry.” However, both thought it was very good.

For an everyday, inexpensive wine, Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz exceeds all expectations and demonstrates why Australia has shot to the top of the world’s wine exporters.

Grade 4/5         Price: 10$

wine website

Leave a Reply