Thursday, November 13, 2008


Every year, around this time, I get in a decent amount of Tait’s whimsically named The Ball Buster. This year was no different, and the Ball Buster 2007 ($19.99) arrived this past week, rather stealthly I might add. Most of the time, we receive the wine right after a Parker review, whose Aussie critic usually doles out a robust 90 or above and lavishes it with lengthy prose. This year, no Parker review – yet, so time will tell if this year’s model will continue as a Parker darling.

I am personally not a big fan of Aussie wines, though that is not to say I don’t like them. On the contrary, when chowing down to a big steak dinner, or serving up some Mandarin Orange Beef take out from P.F. Chang’s, dial me up a nice big Barossa fruit bomb. But for the most part, I like a wine that is a bit drier, more subtle, with distinguishable fruit character and some minerality to boot.

So I was more than a bit surprised when I spied Stephen Tanzer’s score of 90 points, and a pretty nice critique as well. Tanzer doesn’t give out 90s too easily, and especially for Australia. I feel a kindred palate to Tanzer, leaning more toward Bordeaux, Rhone, and most European wines.

I will have to say that The Tait Ball Buster 2007 is actually a nice, medium-to-full bodied red blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it shows off multilayered red fruit and spice character, with a black pepper, licorice and cedar backdrop that leads into medium tannins and a plush, pleasant finish. If anything this year, it’s something of a misnomer.

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