Log In / Join Now

what we're drinking now

Editor at large Harvey Steiman joined Wine Spectator in 1983.
Harvey Steiman

A Shiraz Cuts the Ice

Mollydooker Shiraz South Australia The Boxer 2006

Harvey Steiman
Posted: March 4, 2010

“Bring up something easy to drink,” my wife said as I headed down to the cellar, “so we can sip it while we watch the figure skating.” Knowing her tastes, she did not want something froufrou, despite the ice-skating reference. She likes ripe reds, so I headed for the Shiraz section and plucked a bottle of Mollydooker Shiraz South Australia The Boxer 2006.

I had an ulterior motive. Nearly four years old, the bottle should demonstrate whether this winery’s entry-level reds could age. Big Aussie reds like Mollydooker’s have come in for considerable flak these days because they’re not supposed to age. This one wasn’t designed for the cellar, but three-and-a-half years after bottling it had tamped down some of its youthful baby fat and become a lovely, spicy, meaty glass of red.

It had aged nicely, its berry and cherry flavors coalescing well with the smoky, peppery nuances that were there originally. It wasn’t doing any quads, but it glided as smoothly as Evan Lysacek. 90 points, non-blind. And darned if those skaters weren’t even more impressive after a couple of glasses.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Mollydooker Shiraz South Australia The Boxer 2006 (90, $20).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among recently rated Australian reds.

Chris A Elerick
Orlando, FL —  March 4, 2010 10:26am ET

why is it that you all never post bad wine experiences in this section? the wines are always reviewed with glowing adoration. i too drink well, but every now then something i uncork falls flat on its face and finds its way down the drain. is it possible that the ws editors are immune to such misfortune?
Richard Zaremba
Philadelphia —  March 4, 2010 11:42am ET

I find the WS editors are very open about cork taint.

James Laube wrote on 3/1/2010:
"...The two wines I uncorked, Cos-d'Estournel and Ducru-Beaucaillou, reminded me of wanting to stay in touch with Bordeaux, since it has been an important part of my wine life. Alas, the Cos was corked"

The article from 1/4/2010 'Cork Taint Is Sadly Still With Us' discusses the issues with cork.
"A few years ago, when we began tracking cork-tainted bottles in our Napa office—bottles that were flawed by TCA taint—the figure ran around 7 percent. It peaked at 9.5 percent in 2007 and then dropped back to 7.5 percent in 2008. At 8 percent, that means about one bottle per case is spoiled by cork taint, a level most people should find wholly unacceptable."

Harvey Steiman
San Francisco, CA —  March 4, 2010 11:54am ET
Chris, I take your point but we're not trying to be encyclopedic. For this feature, we want to pass along some recommendations to you based on our experiences outside the tasting room. Do you really want to click on "What We're Drinking Now" and read about the mediocre Cabernet I spent $14 per glass to drink in a restaurant?

In my blog I do comment negatively on certain wines. Well known wines often get dinged in the reviews; just search the database for wines that scored below average. Even in this feature, many of the wines "only" score in the mid 80s. It surprises some people that we like them enough to recommend them.
Stephen Stewart
new mexico  —  March 4, 2010 1:05pm ET
Hey Harvey
Nice blog! I love Aussie wines,makes my mouth water just thinking about them.For me they are great summer wines.I love that peppery nose that u get from some of the Rieslings.
The other day my wife and i opened up a bottle of Fetish, the watcher 06.We were blown away how good this was for the money.We quickly ordered a case to drink over the summer.Perfect barbie wine!
Chris A Elerick
Orlando, FL —  March 4, 2010 1:25pm ET

i certainly wasn't questioning whether you were candid, and i appreciate all of the invaluable insight you and the ws team give us readers. i enjoy reading about the next great wine to try (which is what i look for in this section), but i also like a heads up when you guys are disappointed.

and tasting notes are only as good as the sterile environment in which they're performed and in the short time frame you give attention to the wine. i prefer to know how the particular wine performed in the occasion in which it was chosen, which is what i appreciate so much about this section.
Michael Bonanno
CT —  March 5, 2010 5:14am ET
lol hey harvey, we need a glass of 04 schild. . .

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 365,000+ ratings.