My Fellow Inebriates,
If only I could catch up on reviewing the wines we tasted over the holidays without becoming morose about the lack of wine in the house now. It’s tragic not to have any wine in the house—unreasonable really and a general travesty.
I can’t dwell on the superlative festive wines we drank last month or I’ll end up in tears. Instead let’s talk about MORSE CODE PADTHAWAY SHIRAZ (2009), a reasonably decent Australian offering ($13.99) with a healthy alcohol content (14.7%), a nice-looking label and a catchy name. Reviewing MORSE CODE won’t plunge me into desperation, simply because it wasn’t extraordinary. It was pretty good and certainly inoffensive, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have it again, unless you were sitting beside me bogarting it or perhaps playing keepaway with it to hurt my feelings and impress on me how short I am and how much of a loser.
To wit: MORSE CODE is pretty good. I want to tell you that it’s fruit-driven but just saying that reminds me of this recipe for Chemical Apple Pie, described by its originator as “an old chemistry lab experiment to teach the limits of human senses.” The pie has no apples, if you follow me—but it apparently tastes like it’s made with ‘em.
So if I tell you a wine is fruit-driven or fruit-forward or fruity, well, I’m not trying to differentiate the wine from a UVIN chemical experiment in which fruit was not used. I’m just saying it’s a fruity-tasting Shiraz, meaning you can pick up on various berry and currant notes, plus the grapes that reviewers usually don’t think to mention.
MORSE CODE isn’t even the most fruity Shiraz—not by miles. But its product literature emphasizes that aspect of it, perhaps because the all the other flavors in MORSE CODE comprise an imperfect orchestra.
There’s a bunch of them: berries, currants, licorice, tannins, eucalyptus and—almost intrusively—tobacco. The whole thing is sort of tight, as though some of these flavors would like to knock the tobacco out but they’re too nervous to get a posse together.
We probably should have decanted this wine, and more importantly we probably shouldn’t have drunk it second to a better merlot that spoiled our palates. So I would give MORSE CODE another chance if somebody (the vintner maybe) sent me another bottle. I would decant it and let it open up for a good 45 minutes. I wouldn’t have any other wine before it; I would simply wait, twitching with DTs. Then I would knock it all back and dance on the table, wiggling my bum.
The resulting review would probably be more positive than this one, but unfortunately the experience I did have with MORSE CODE (sedate family dinner, better vino first) is all I’ve got. It tastes pretty good, and it would really appeal to fans of mouth-drying tannic and tobacco notes. The good news is it’s definitely made from grapes.
So would my mum ever make a Chemical Apple Pie? Holy crap, I hope not. Although if she did it would probably indicate a lowering of standards that might allow her to get out the debit card at the local UVIN and cook up 200 bottles of abysmal plonk for the dark days when I just need to pollute myself.